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How would you define pornography?

(31 Posts)
Greatnan Tue 26-Jun-12 09:35:53

I make a distinction between erotica and pornography. The former I take to mean the depiction of sexual acts between consenting adults. The latter would cover all depiction of sexual acts that involve an element of coercion, or where the participants are under age.
This would mean that something I would consider erotic might well offend some people because they do not approve of that particular activity (sado-masochism, for example).
I have to say that I find all descriptions of sex to be boring, unless they are necessary to illuminate somebody's character or circumstances, but I would not try to stop anybody else reading/watching it.

Yummygran Tue 26-Jun-12 10:00:21

You are spot on Greatnan, I have just studied the commercial sex industry for my degree, both prostitution and pornography. Porn is a multi-billion pound industry which as you say, frequently coerces vulnerable young adults into this trade for monetory gain, a trade which they cannot easily leave without harm. It is on the rise across the world and is very difficult to police.

Erotica is not without it's problems, but if it is undertaken by consenting adults then it can be enjoyed without such harm. I have a friend who makes whips for the sex industry (erotica) and comes into contact with many people who buy such sex toys to use within their own home. If people choose to do that they I don't see any problem with it.

whenim64 Tue 26-Jun-12 10:36:29

Yes, agree with you both. Pornography can be harmful. I watched a recent Louis Theroux documentary in which he caught up with members of the pornography industry many years later and so many had ruined their lives because of it.

gracesmum Tue 26-Jun-12 11:44:12

"Bad sex" in books is excruciating isn't it? Or am I just getting oldgrin

HildaW Tue 26-Jun-12 13:09:59

lol gracesmum, probably why I stick to Jane Austen!

Greatnan Tue 26-Jun-12 13:29:04

I sometimes get the impression that a novelist has produced a perfectly good love story and then the publisher has said 'You must put a bit of raunchy sex in it'. We know what people do in bed, and long descriptions of it are usually embarrassing and boring. I can't stand watching long clinches in films or on TV either. Are they just for titillation? They rarely add anything to the plot. Nothing to do with age - I have always felt like this. Film makers used to rely on trains roaring through tunnels or waves crashing on a beach!

Joan Tue 26-Jun-12 13:33:48

I've seen the occasional sex film in the past - legal ones from the local video store -and I soon nicknamed them 'plumbers manuals' as that's all they are: various positions of inserting A into B or C or D........

Boring - in all senses of the word.

jeni Tue 26-Jun-12 13:54:46

I don't remember ANY sex on Jane Austen?

glassortwo Tue 26-Jun-12 14:05:51

Nothing worse than bad book sex grace everyone is on about these Shades of grey books, but think they come under the same category erotica.

Annobel Tue 26-Jun-12 14:44:51

A hint can be far more titillating than an all out sex scene. Makes you use your imagination! Just your bad luck if you don't have one.

jeni Tue 26-Jun-12 14:57:03

Inolden days a glimpse of stocking?

Mishap Tue 26-Jun-12 15:08:34

I'd really rather use my imagination - it seems to work very well in this context!

There was an item on Woman's Hour last week about the Bad Sex in Literature awards - very funny. I am sure, as someone else has said, that editors encourage a bit of titillation and far more detail than the author might originally have chosen.

I also get slightly irritated that an otherwise excellent book (particularly - at the risk of being branded sexist - that is written by a man) can have gratuitous sex scenes that really do not connect to or add anything to the plot. They just seem to have been added for the benefit of the author or editor.

There are lots of things that most authors do not feel tempted to include in detail (e.g. bowel emptying/sanitary protection - use of/c;cleaning the shower etc.) because we all know what it entails and do not need the detail. Sometimes these things, and sex scenes, might usefully be included in more detail, but only when they further the plot or the understanding of the characters.

Glimpses of stocking indeed - that is where my OH came in! He still waxes lyrical about the girls in his class when he was a teenager and the wee glimpses that brightened his day!

jeni Tue 26-Jun-12 16:00:32

The giggle gap!

Greatnan Tue 26-Jun-12 16:16:11

As one critic said - 'Jane gently but firmly closes the bedroom door on us after her couple are married' - and quite right too.

petallus Tue 26-Jun-12 16:21:06

Did anyone ever read 'Story of 'O'?

I hate watching sex scenes on tv as well. I wouldn't stare at people having sex in real life, or even just kissing as they sometimes do on the train, so why should I on film?

I have watched a few porn films in the past and find them horribly jading.

Anagram Tue 26-Jun-12 16:23:44

I read it in my youth, petallus. Left me cold - but I did find it rather disturbing that others obviously enjoyed it.

Greatnan Tue 26-Jun-12 16:36:01

I read The Story of O in France. I found the true story of Nazi atrocities in
The Scourge of the Swastika by Lord Russell of Liverpool much more
disturbing when I was 13.

Anagram Tue 26-Jun-12 17:03:39

I probably would have done, too, if I'd read it.

HildaW Tue 26-Jun-12 17:17:01

Quite right too Greatnan. Tis a private thing not a spectator sport. I think my understanding or erotica is that, unlike pornography, no one is being demeaned or used to acheive the results. Though I am sure its a highly subjective subject. What might seem delightfully titillating to one could be abusive and revolting to others.
I think I'm still a tad innocent as was thrilled by both Barbara Cartland (as a 14 year old) and Georgette Heyer when a coulple of years older. Jane Eyre seemed delightfully dark and passionate to me. Madame Bovary annoyed the hell out of me but that mad ride in the carriage did get just a little steamy.

Maniac Tue 26-Jun-12 19:38:09

Somewhere on my bookshelves I've still got a copy of'Delta of Venus' by Anais Nin.bought in 1980. Very erotica!

jeni Tue 26-Jun-12 19:44:32

I've got 'the sexual life of savages' neither porn or erotica! Anthropology!

Anagram Tue 26-Jun-12 19:57:13

I've got that too, Maniac. As you say, it is erotic, but I don't think I ever finished it as it all got a bit samey after a while!

Greatnan Tue 26-Jun-12 21:44:38

Poor serious Margaret Mead, who wrote 'Coming of Age in Samoa', was apparently totally taken in by the young women she interviewed, who jokingly 'sexed up' their account of their courtship rituals. The book used to be kept 'under the counter' at my local library, along with other books considered too racy for the hoi poloi.

jeni Tue 26-Jun-12 21:49:07

I think this book is earlier. Will check date of publication. Haven't read it for 55years! It's just useful for all sorts of purposes. Helping weight down a summer pudding?

Mishap Tue 26-Jun-12 21:55:28

Today's radio 4 had a programme on the sex life of animals, postulating that they don't just do it for procreation, but also for fun - and that many species are known to engage on homosexual activity. I had to park the car at the point when gay whales were under discussion and missed the rest.