Erotica and Porn

One of the comments that the author makes in the “Down and Dirty” book is that she uses the terms erotica and pornography interchangeably. She is quite frankly bored with the argument regarding the differences between the two.

Now the fact that she easily uses one term or another implies to me that she doesn’t believe that there is a difference between the two concepts. On that point, I quite vehemently disagree with her.

I suspect that the standard colloquial view of pornography is that it is simply some form of visual stimulation focussed on intercourse. Perhaps the more soft-core examples of this are termed “erotica” and the more hard-core versions are viewed as the real “porn.”

I know that when I browse the erotica section of the PPV menu on my TV, I can scarcely tell the difference between the titles of “erotica” vs “adult.” According to my cable provider, the difference between the two appears to be the price tag.

Can you tell me, darling readers, what the obvious difference in genres is between titles such as “Carnal Lust” and “Date with a Porn Star” vs “Brazilian Sex Island” and “Really Deep Throats.” I’m curious to know which of you would guess correctly which title belongs in which category.

Now when actually viewing the two genres, the difference is as basic as soft and hard core. “Erotica” films are less varied, more tentative and only shows a limited amount of skin. Whereas with “porn” or “adult” films, there seem to be no limitations at all. The viewer experiences full-on, raunchy skin and thrusting. It’s much more…stimulating, and impossible to fake.

I imagine the same may hold true for the written version of the same categories. More “romance” and an attempt at a storyline in erotica, vs the more carnal limited scope of porn.

However, in my mind, this is all simply theory. The differences I’ve described above are what I’ve observed from society. It’s not how I really feel on the matter. What is outlined above is a watered down version of the truth. A truth that I believe is much more stark.

To me, soft-core, hard-core, it’s all erotica as long as there is the element of willing consent. Whether that consent is masked by apparent refusals or not. If both partners are willing participants in the event – no matter how kinky or painful- that is erotica.

Pornography? Is degrading. Is damaging. Is demeaning and unhealthy. I suspect by it’s very definition, porn is at it’s core a negative concept. Think of all the legal associations with it.

And erotica? That is a beautiful form of sensual expression in all its forms.

To use the terms interchangeably I find to be both ridiculous and insulting to this beautiful community that I have become a part of.

I would genuinely like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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4 thoughts on “Erotica and Porn

  1. Aurore says:

    First, I cannot believe no one has commented on this yet? (I would have earlier but I didn't have the time to properly address it)I certainly don't believe that erotica and pornography are interchangeable. But, I am also not convinced that pornography is as you describe it either – the degrading, damaging and demeaning type. The origin of the word is actually intriguing (thanks dictionary.com) pornographos "(one) writing of prostitutes". Of course this is completely subjective but for me, I'm not sure that there is a word that properly describes the truly obscene (ie: illegal) materials. And because we use the word pornography to describe such a vast array of material it only compounds the confusion. I say this because I would say that I do watch porn (who watches "erotica"? – as in who would say that?) but it is within the legal realm. Perhaps this is one time when language fails us or we have to accept that pornography comes in a spectrum from erotica (soft core) to hard core to obscene. Ultimately, that all erotica is pornography but not all pornography is erotica. (confused yet?)

  2. Topaz says:

    As with Aurore, only now finding the time to comment…The two are different in more than just price tag…I think 'erotica' – I think Harlequin, nude photography, sensual audio, basically, the art behind the work.I think 'porn' – I think sub-par in your face production, images, video, video, video hardcore, plot-less fuck fuck fuck til I cum. Then turn it off.For me, one is art, the other is a tool. What is my porn may be anothers' erotica. I'm not saying this is the reality of it, but it is my reality.And "Really Deep Throats" is definitely porn 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    I may not be typical of most men, but I find erotica more of a turn-on than straight-up porn. Erotica brings the mind into play, porn seems to by-pass the brain and go right to my 'happy parts'.As a man who appreciates (no, adores) women I consider the female body an art form. When I see a tastefully done photo of a beautiful woman in whatever state of undress, it stimulates me in ways porn never could.Sometimes it's sexually arousing, sometimes it just arouses by brain and I can almost feel the endorphines coming out to play.I don't believe porn is always degrading, demeaning or obscene (although there seems to be a gradually disturbing trend toward more aggressive porn, almost rape-oriented).There are different shades of porn; to me erotica is invariably beautiful. If I ever had to make a choice between which of the two I could look at, erotica would win out every time.Incidentally, for a beautiful example of the female body as an art form, check out Steve Hanks' work in watercolours. The subjects are gorgeous, and the way he captures light is exquisite. (My favourite is a piece called 'Reflecting').Barry

  4. Anonymous says:

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