Pornography is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal. Pornography may be presented in a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photographs, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games. The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease. The primary subjects of pornographic depictions are pornographic models, who pose for still photographs, and pornographic actors or porn stars, who perform in pornographic films.
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If dramatic skills are not involved, a performer in a porn film may also be called a model. Commercialized pornography accounts for a nearly 100 billion dollar worldwide industry for the production of various media and associated products and services. This industry employs thousands of performers along with support and production staff. It is also followed by dedicated industry publications and trade groups as well as the mainstream press, private organizations, government agencies, and political organizations.
Pornography has often been subject to censorship and legal restraints to publication on grounds of obscenity. Such grounds and even the definition of pornography have differed in various historical, cultural, and national contexts. With the emergence of social attitudes more tolerant of discussion and presentation of sexuality and more limited legal definitions of obscenity, an industry for the production and consumption of pornography arose in the latter half of the 20th century. The introduction of the home video and Internet saw a boom in the worldwide porn industry that generates billions of dollars annually.
Etymology The word is similar to the modern Greek ??????????? , which derives from the Greek words ????? , and ??????? , and the suffix -?? , thus meaning “a written description or illustration of prostitutes or prostitution”. No date is known for the first use of the word in Greek; the earliest attested, most related word one could find in Greek, is, pornographos, i. e. “someone writing of harlots”, in the Deipnosophists of Athenaeus. “Pornographie” was in use in the French language duringthe 1800s.
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The word did not enter the English language as the familiar conjunction until 1857 or as a French import in New Orleans in 1842. History Depictions of a sexual nature are older than civilization as depictions such as the venus figurines and rock art have existed sinceprehistoric times. However the concept of pornography as understood today did not exist until the Victorian era. For example the French Impressionism painting by Edouard Manet titled Olympia was a nude picture of a French courtesan, literally a “prostitute picture”. It was controversial at the time.
Nineteenth-century legislation eventually outlawed the publication, retail, and trafficking of certain writings and images regarded as pornographic and would order the destruction of shop and warehouse stock meant for sale; however, the private possession of and viewing of pornography was not made an offence until recent times. When large-scale excavations of Pompeii were undertaken in the 1860s, much of the erotic art of the Romans came to light, shocking the Victorians who saw themselves as the intellectual heirs of the Roman Empire.
They did not know what to do with the frank depictions of sexuality and endeavored to hide them away from everyone but upper-class scholars. The moveable objects were locked away in the Secret Museum in Naples and what could not be removed was covered and cordoned off as to not corrupt the sensibilities of women, children, and the working classes. Fanny Hill is considered “the first original English prose pornography, and the first pornography to use the form of the novel. ” It is an erotic novel by John Cleland first published in England as Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure.
It is one of the most prosecuted and banned books in history. The authors were charged with “corrupting the King’s subjects. ” The world’s first law criminalizing pornography was the English Obscene Publications Act 1857 enacted at the urging of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. The Act, which applied to the United Kingdom and Ireland, made the sale of obscene material a statutory offence, giving the courts power to seize and destroy offending material. The American equivalent was the Comstock Act of 1873 which made it illegal to send any “obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious” materials through the mail.
The English Act did not apply to Scotland, where the common law continued to apply. However, neither the English nor the United States Act defined what constituted “obscene”, leaving this for the courts to determine. Prior to the English Act, the publication of obscene material was treated as a common law misdemeanour and effectively prosecuting authors and publishers was difficult even in cases where the material was clearly intended as pornography. The Victorian attitude that pornography was for a select few can be seen in the wording of the Hicklin test stemming from a court case in1868 where it asks, “whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences. ” Despite the fact of their suppression, depictions of erotic imagery were common throughout history. Pornographic film production commenced almost immediately after the invention of the motion picture in 1895. Two of the earliest pioneers were Eugene Pirou and Albert Kirchner. Kirchner directed the earliest surviving pornographic film for Pirou under the trade name “Lear”.
The 1896 film, Le Coucher de la Mariee showed Louise Willy performing a striptease. Pirou’s film inspired a genre of risque French films showing women disrobing and other filmmakers realised profits could be made from such films. Sexually explicit films opened producers and distributors to prosecution. Those that were made were produced illicitly by amateurs starting in the 1920s, primarily in France and the United States. Processing the film was risky as was their distribution. Distribution was strictly private.
In 1969, Denmark became the first country to abolish censorship, thereby decriminalizing pornography, which led to an explosion in investment and of commercially produced pornography. However, it continued to be banned in other countries, and had to be smuggled in, where it was sold “under the counter” or shown in “members only” cinema clubs. The scholarly study of pornography, notably in cultural studies, is limited, perhaps due to the controversy about the topic in feminism. The first peer-reviewed academic journal about the study of pornography, Porn Studies, is to be published in 2014.
Classification Pornography is often distinguished from erotica, which consists of the portrayal of sexuality with high-art aspirations, focusing also on feelings and emotions, while pornography involves the depiction of acts in a sensational manner, with the entire focus on the physical act, so as to arouse quick intense reactions. Pornography is generally classified as either softcore or hardcore pornography. A pornographic work is characterized as hardcore if it has any hardcore content, no matter how small.
Both forms of pornography generally contains nudity. Softcore pornography generally contains nudity or partial nudity in sexually suggestive situations, but without explicit sexual activity, sexual penetration or “extreme” fetishism, while hardcore pornography may contain graphic sexual activity and visible penetration, including unsimulated sex scenes. Sub-genres Pornography can be classified according to the physical characteristics of the participants, fetish, sexual orientation, etc. , as well as the types of sexual activity featured.
Reality and voyeur pornography, animated videos, and legally prohibited acts also influence the classification of pornography. The genres of pornography are based on the type of activity featured and the category of participants, for example: Alt porn Amateur pornography Ethnic pornography Fetish pornography Group sex Reality pornography Sexual-orientation-based pornography Straight porn Gay pornography Lesbian pornography Bisexual pornography Commercialism Economics Revenues of the adult industry in the United States are difficult to determine.
In 1970, a Federal study estimated that the total retail value of hardcore pornography in the United States was no more than $10 million. In 1998, Forrester Research published a report on the online “adult content” industry estimating $750 million to $1 billion in annual revenue. As an unsourced aside, the Forrester study speculated on an industry-wide aggregate figure of $8–10 billion, which was repeated out of context in many news stories, after being published in Eric Schlosser’s book on the American black market. Studies in 2001 put the total between $2. 6 billion and $3. 9 billion.
A significant amount of pornographic video is shot in the San Fernando Valley, which has been a pioneering region for producing adult films since the 1970s, and has since become home for various models, actors/actresses, production companies, and other assorted businesses involved in the production and distribution of pornography. The pornography industry has been considered influential in deciding format wars in media, including being a factor in the VHS vs. Betamax format war Non-commercial pornography As well as the porn industry, there is a large amount of non-commercial pornography.
This should be distinguished from commercial pornography falsely marketed as featuring “amateurs”. The focuses on prose stories collected from Usenet. Technology Advancement Pornographers have taken advantage of each technological advance in the production and distribution of pornography. They have used lithographs, the printing press, and photography. Pornography is considerd a driving force in the development of technologies from the printing press, through photography, to satellite TV, other forms of video, and the Internet.
With the invention of tiny cameras and wireless equipments voyeur pornography is gaining ground. Mobile cameras are used to capture pornographic photos or videos, and forwarded as MMS, a practice known as sexting. Computer-generated images and manipulations Digital manipulation requires the use of source photographs, but some pornography is produced without human actors at all. The idea of completely computer-generated pornography was conceived very early as one of the most obvious areas of application for computer graphics and 3D rendering. Until the late 1990s, digitally maSee More on Pornography