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Pornography (from Greek πόρνη (porni) "prostitute" and γραφή (grafi) "writing"), more informally referred to as porn or porno, is the representation of the human body or sexual activity with the goal of sexual arousal. It is similar to, but distinct from erotica, though the two terms are often used interchangeably.

In general, "erotica" refers to portrayals of sexually arousing material that hold or aspire to artistic or historical merit, whereas "pornography" often connotes the prurient depiction of sexual acts, with little or no artistic value. The line between "erotica" and the term "pornography" (which is frequently considered a pejorative) is often highly subjective. In practice, pornography can be defined merely as erotica that is perceived as "obscene". The definition of what one considers obscene can differ among persons, cultures and eras. This leaves legal actions by those who oppose pornography open to wide interpretation.

Pornography may use any of a variety of media — printed literature, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, or video game, and may even be performed in a live venue, possibly in front of a live audience. All of the above may be found on the Internet.


[edit] Terminology

Image:La grande Epidemie de PORNOGRAPHIE.gif
"The great pornography epidemic", symbolic 19th century French illustration

The concept of pornography as understood today did not exist until the Victorian era. Its current definition was added in the 1860s, replacing the older meaning, literally "writing about prostitutes", from the classical Greek roots πόρνη and γράφειν. <ref name = pleasures>Sigel, Lisa (2002). Governing Pleasures. Pornography and Social Change in England, 1815–1914. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-3001-6.</ref> In its original meaning, pornography was Πόρνη started as a euphemism and literally meant '(something) sold'. It is related to the Greek verb περνημι meaning "I sell" and derived from a Greek term for men who chronicled the well-known πόρναι or skilled prostitutes of ancient Greece. In more modern times, the term was adopted by social scientists to describe the work of men like Nicholas Restif and William Acton, who in the 18th and 19th centuries published treatises studying prostitution and proposing to regulate it. It first appears in an English medical dictionary in 1857 defined as "A description of prostitutes or of prostitution, as a matter of public hygiene." Within 5 years though, the second, obscene definition appeared in Webster's Dictionary. "Licentious painting or literature; especially, the painting anciently employed to decorate the walls of rooms devoted to bacchanalian orgies." <ref name = history>Marilyn Chambers, John Leslie, Seymore Butts. (2005). Pornography: The Secret History of Civilization [DVD]. Koch Vision. </ref> The term kept its first, neutral meaning in the Oxford English Dictionary until 1905. The term now refers to sexually explicit material of all kinds, particularly that which is prohibited, regulated or condemned by figures of authority.

Euphemisms replacing the word pornographic with the word adult (e.g. adult film, adult video and adult bookstore) are generally preferred within the industry producing and distributing these works, namely the Adult Entertainment Industry. Pornography can also be contrasted with ribaldry, which uses sexual titillation in the service of comedy. The definition of pornography is highly subjective, with generally accepted works of art such as Michelangelo's David being considered pornographic by some people. In a sense therefore, the definition of pornography is as much (or more) to do with the viewer's motive and response, as with the actual material, content or creator's intention.

A secondary distinction is sometimes made between softcore pornography and hardcore pornography. Softcore pornography generally includes materials that feature nudity, sexually suggestive scenes, and simulated sex, while hardcore or X-rated pornography contains close-ups of aroused genitalia and sexual activities including penetration. Within the industry itself, informal classification breaks down even further. The differing legal definitions and standards in different countries and regions leads producers to shoot and edit different versions of adult films for release to different markets. The internal rating decision is primarily made by considering whether the film depicts erect penises, close-up shots of genitals and penetration, types of penetration, and the presence or lack of a visible, external ejaculation. Some adult films are edited into an R-rated version suitable for release on late-night cable television, a softcore version designed for release on a mainstream adult cable channel (e.g., the Playboy channel), and an explicit, hardcore version designed for sale in adult film stores.

In some American jurisdictions the depiction of urination or defecation contributes to the conclusion that a particular image is pornographic (see e.g. Arizona Criminal Code <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>, 9f, 11, in combination with Arizona Criminal Code, A2, <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and for Utah, 8h). <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Another term that is often confused with "pornography" is obscenity, a legal term used in many US states meaning artistic material (any media, any genre) that has no reasonable real artistic merit and appeals to the "prurient interest" and patently offends reasonable prudent people in the community. Arizona prosecuted distributors of a pornographic film called "Taboo American Style" in 1989 on the grounds that it was not merely pornographic but obscene, which would be a crime to distribute under Arizona law. Most of what has been considered obscene in the USA has been pornography, thus the terms are often confused. (See Legal Aspects of Pornography, below.)

[edit] Technology

Mass-distributed pornography is as old as the printing press. Almost as soon as photography was invented, it was being used to produce pornographic images. Indeed some claim that pornography has been a driving force in the development of technologies from the printing press, through photography (still and motion) to video, satellite TV and the Internet. Calls to regulate or prohibit these technologies have often cited pornography as a concern.

[edit] Video and computer games

Pornographic computer games have also existed almost since the start of the industry — some of the earliest were Mystique's Atari 2600 video games, including Custer's Revenge, Beat Em and Eat Em and Gigolo. The Japanese company Hacker International, which also published games under the name Super PIG, produced several pornographic titles for the Nintendo Famicom — three of these, renamed to Bubble Bath Babes, Hot Slots and Peek-A-Boo Poker, were distributed in the USA by Panesian.

These games largely disappeared from the marketplace as the industry matured and the user base broadened, due primarily to increased production cost and complexity, severely limited distribution options (most national retailers such as Wal-mart and Target do not stock games with the Adults Only rating), and potential legal issues associated in developing a game without official sanction and/or licensing from the respective console manufacturers.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Recent media coverage of titles like BMX XXX, Playboy: The Mansion, and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (article: Austin-American Statesman) suggest a reversal towards producing and marketing adult-themed games.

In contrast to the console market, niche PC developers have continued to produce adult games with pornographic content. A Google search for "PC strip poker" conducted November 1, 2005 returned slightly over 2 million results.

[edit] Photo manipulation and computer-generated images

Some pornography is digitally manipulated in sophisticated image editors, such as Adobe Photoshop. This practice ranges from applying mild changes to photographs to improve the appearance of the models, such as removing skin defects and improving the brightness and contrast of the photo, to extensive editing to produce photomorphs of non-existent creatures such as catgirls or hippogriffs, or images of celebrities (who may not have consented to be filmed for pornography) doing things they have never done, with people they have never met.

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.

The creation of highly realistic computer-generated images creates new ethical dilemmas. If illusionistic images of torture or rape become widely distributed, law enforcement faces additional difficulties prosecuting authentic images of criminal acts, due to the possibility that they are synthetic. The existence of faked pornographic photos of celebrities shows the possibility of using fake images to blackmail or humiliate any individual who has been photographed or filmed, although as such cases become more common, this effect will likely diminish. Finally, the generation of entirely synthetic images, which do not record actual events, challenges some of the conventional criticism of pornography. It also challenges the traditional notion of evidence, where at present, in the United States it is possible to prosecute producers of child pornography without violating the First Amendment, because the film is evidence that an adult has had sex with a child. However, it may be possible to film things that were imagined but never done: the film would not be evidence of a crime. Perhaps it wouldn't be a crime to make such a film.

Until the late 1990s, digitally manipulated pornography could not be produced cost-effectively. In the early 2000s, it became a growing segment, as the modeling and animation software matured and the rendering capabilities of computers improved. As of 2004, computer-generated pornography depicting situations involving children and sex with fictional characters, such as Lara Croft, is already produced on a limited scale. The October 2004 issue of Playboy featured topless pictures of the title character from the BloodRayne videogame. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Mainstream movies like Troy, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the Star Wars prequel films give an idea of what is possible, showing that if a director can imagine something in sufficient detail, combined with sufficient resources, the director can put it on a screen. Pasolini created some gruesome images in Salo, without using computers, but some of them are not really seen by the viewer. De Sade described even more gruesome images in 120 Days of Sodom, the book on which Salo is based: perhaps a truly fiendish director with a roomful of up-to-date computers--costing less than $1 billion--could realize de Sade's worst visions without actually torturing a person to death in front of a camera.

[edit] Internet Distribution

Main article: Internet pornography

Some wildly successful internet entrepreneurs operate pornographic internet sites. As well as conventional photographic or video pornography, some sites offer an "interactive" video game-like entertainment. Due to the international character of the Internet, it provides an easy means whereby consumers residing in countries where pornography is either taboo or entirely illegal can easily acquire such material from sources in another country where it is legal or remains unprosecuted.

The low cost of copying and delivering digital data boosted the formation of private circles of people swapping pornography. With the advent of peer-to-peer file sharing applications such as Kazaa, pornography swapping has reached new heights. Prior to this, the Usenet news service was a popular place for pornography swapping. Free pornography became available en masse from other users and is no longer restricted to private groups. Large amounts of free pornography on the Internet is also distributed for marketing purposes to encourage subscriptions to paid content.

Since the late 1990s, "porn from the masses for the masses" seems to have become another new trend. Cheap digital cameras, increasingly powerful and user-friendly software, and easy access to pornographic source material have made it possible for individuals to produce and share home-made or home-altered porn for next to no cost. Such home-made pornographers are able to cater more closely to the desires of the viewers, sometimes actually playing out scenarios suggested by a particular viewer for fulfillment of their fantasy.

[edit] History

For more details on this topic, see History of erotic depictions.

Pornography is as old as civilization but the concept of pornography as understood today did not exist until the Victorian era. Previous to that time, though some sex acts were regulated or stipulated in laws, looking at objects or images depicting them was not. In some cases, certain books, engravings or image collections were outlawed, but the trend to compose laws that restricted viewing of sexually explicit things in general was a Victorian construct. 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 movable objects were locked away in the Secret Museum in Naples, Italy and what couldn't be removed was covered and cordoned off as to not corrupt the sensibilities of women, children and the working class. Soon after, England’s and the world's first laws criminalizing pornography was enacted in the Obscene Publications Act of 1857. <ref name = history /> 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 in 1868 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 their repression, depictions of erotic imagery are common throughout history, and remain so. <ref name = libido7>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Legal status

See List of pornography laws by region for detailed list

The legal status of pornography varies widely from country to country. Most countries allow at least some form of pornography. In some countries, softcore pornography is considered tame enough to be sold in general stores or to be shown on TV. Hardcore pornography, on the other hand, is usually regulated. The production and sale, and to a slightly lesser degree possession of Child pornography is illegal in almost all countries, and most countries have restrictions on pornography involving violence or animals.

Most countries attempt to restrict minors' access to hardcore materials, limiting availability to adult bookstores, mail-order, via television channels that parents can restrict, among other means. There is usually an age minimum for entrance of pornographic stores, or the materials are displayed partly covered or not displayed at all. More generally, disseminating pornography to a minor is often illegal. Many of these efforts have been rendered irrelevant by widely available Internet pornography.

In the United States, a person receiving unwanted commercial mail he or she deems pornographic (or otherwise offensive) may obtain a Prohibitory Order, either against all mail from a particular sender, or against all sexually explicit mail, by applying to the United States Postal Service.

There are recurring urban legends of snuff movies, in which murders are filmed for pornographic purposes. Extensive work by law enforcement officials to ascertain the truth of these rumors have been unable to find any such works. The Internet has also caused problems with the enforcement of age limits regarding performers. In most countries, women and men under the age of 18 are not allowed to appear in porn films, but in several European countries the age limit is 16, and in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) and Denmark it is legal for women as young as 16 to appear topless in mainstream newspapers and magazines. This material often ends up on the Internet and viewed by people in countries where this constitutes child pornography, creating challenges for lawmakers wishing to restrict access to such material.

Some people, including pornography producer Larry Flynt and the writer Salman Rushdie, have argued that pornography is vital to freedom and that a free and civilized society should be judged by its willingness to accept pornography.

[edit] Anti-pornography movement

Opposition to pornography generally, though not exclusively, comes from several sources: law, religion and feminism. Some critics from the latter two camps have expressed belief in the existence of "pornography addiction."

[edit] Legal objections

Distribution of obscenity is a Federal crime in the United States, and also under most laws of the 50 states. There is no right to distribute obscene materials. Child pornography is illegal. The determination of what is obscene is up to a jury in a trial, which must apply the Miller test.

In explaining its decision to reject claims that obscenity should be treated as speech protected by the First Amendment, in MILLER v. CALIFORNIA, 413 U.S. 15 (1973)the US Supreme Court found that

The dissenting Justices sound the alarm of repression. But, in our view, to equate the free and robust exchange of ideas and political debate with commercial exploitation of obscene material demeans the grand conception of the First Amendment and its high purposes in the historic struggle for freedom. It is a "misuse of the great guarantees of free speech and free press . . . ." Breard v. Alexandria, 341 U.S., at 645 .

and in PARIS ADULT THEATRE I v. SLATON, 413 U.S. 49 (1973) that

In particular, we hold that there are legitimate state interests at stake in stemming the tide of commercialized obscenity, even assuming it is feasible to enforce effective safeguards against exposure to juveniles and to passersby. 7 [413 U.S. 49, 58] Rights and interests "other than those of the advocates are involved." Breard v. Alexandria, 341 U.S. 622, 642 (1951). These include the interest of the public in the quality of life and the total community environment, the tone of commerce in the great city centers, and, possibly, the public safety itself... As Mr. Chief Justice Warren stated, there is a "right of the Nation and of the States to maintain a decent society . . .," [413 U.S. 49, 60] Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 199 (1964) (dissenting opinion)... The sum of experience, including that of the past two decades, affords an ample basis for legislatures to conclude that a sensitive, key relationship of human existence, central to family life, community welfare, and the development of human personality, can be debased and distorted by crass commercial exploitation of sex.

Attorney General for Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese, also courted controversy when he appointed the "Meese Commission" to investigate pornography in the United States; their report, released in July 1986, was highly critical of pornography and itself became a target of widespread criticism. That year, Meese Commission officials contacted convenience store chains and succeeded in demanding that widespread men's magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse be removed from shelves, <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>a ban which spread nationally <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> until being quashed with a First Amendment admonishment against prior restraint by the D.C. Federal Court in Meese v. Playboy (639 F.Supp. 581).

In the United States in 2005, Attorney General Gonzales made obscenity and pornography a top prosecutorial priority of the Department of Justice - "Attorney General Gonzales' priority: porn, not terrorists", Daily Business Review, 8-2005<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>.

[edit] Religious objections

Religious groups often discourage their members from viewing or reading pornography, and support legislation restricting its publication. These positions derive from broader religious views about sexuality. In some religious traditions, for example, sexual intercourse is limited to the express function of procreation. Thus, sexual pleasure or sex-oriented entertainment, as well as lack of modesty, are considered immoral. Other religions do not find sexual pleasure immoral, but see sex as a sacred, godly, highly-pleasurable activity that is only to be enjoyed with one's spouse. These traditions do not condemn sexual pleasure in and of itself, but they impose severe limitations on the circumstances under which sexual pleasure may be properly experienced. Pornography in this view is seen as the secularization of something sacred, and a violation of spouses' intimate relationship.

In addition to expressing concerns about violating sexual morality, some religions take an anti-pornography stance claiming that viewing pornography is addictive, leading to self-destructive behavior. Proponents of this view compare pornography addiction to alcoholism, both in asserting the seriousness of the problem and in developing treatment methods.

[edit] Feminist objections

Feminist critics of pornography, such as Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, generally consider it demeaning to women. They believe that most pornography eroticizes the domination, humiliation, and coercion of women, reinforces sexual and cultural attitudes that are complicit in rape and sexual harassment, and contributes to the male-centered objectification of women. Some feminists distinguish between pornography and erotica, which they say does not have the same negative effects of pornography. However, many Third-wave feminists and postmodern feminists disagree with this critique of porn, claiming that appearing in or using pornography can be explained as each individual woman's choice, and is not guided by socialization in a capitalist patriarchy.

[edit] Effect on sex crimes

It has been theorized that there may be a link between pornography, particularly violent pornography, and an increase in sex crime. There have been many studies done to validate or disprove this hypothesis. The results have greatly varied from study to study, which leads many to believe that there is no consistent relationship between the two, while others may believe that the research methodology used does not yield accurate results.

What has been seemingly overlooked is the lower per capita crime rate and historically high availability of pornography in many developed European countries (e.g. Netherlands, Sweden) leading a growing majority conclude that there is an inverse relationship between the two, such that an increased availability of pornography in a society equates to a decrease in sexual crime. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Indeed since the widespread adoption of the Internet as an unfettered method to distribute adult material, the United States crime rate nation-wide has consistently and steadily dropped by almost 50% from 1993.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Effect on sexual aggression

In the 70's and 80's, mainstream feminists such as Dr. Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin criticized pornography as essentially dehumanizing women and as likely to encourage violence against them. It has been suggested that there was an alliance, tacit or explicit, between anti-porn feminists and fundamentalist Christians to help censor the use of or production of pornography. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Some researchers have found that "high pornography use is not necessarily indicative of high risk for sexual aggression," but go on to say, "if a person has relatively aggressive sexual inclinations resulting from various personal and/or cultural factors, some pornography exposure may activate and reinforce associated coercive tendencies and behaviors."<ref> Template:Cite journal (Malamuth, Addison, & Koss, 2000, p. 79-81)</ref>.

[edit] Production and violence against women

According to Dr. Diana Russell, "When addressing the question of whether or not pornography causes rape, as well as other forms of sexual assault and violence, many people fail to acknowledge that the actual making of pornography sometimes involves, or even requires, violence and sexual assault." <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In 1979, Andrea Dworkin published Pornography: Men Possessing Women, which analyzes (and extensively cites examples drawn from) contemporary and historical pornography as an industry of woman-hating dehumanization. Dworkin argues that it is implicated in violence against women, both in its production (through the abuse of the women used to star in it), and in the social consequences of its consumption (by encouraging men to eroticize the domination, humiliation, and abuse of women).

[edit] U.S. Government Commissions

The then available evidence as to the influence of pornography was assessed by two major Commissions established in 1970 and 1986, respectively.

In 1970, the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography concluded that "there was insufficient evidence that exposure to explicit sexual materials played a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal behavior."

In general, with regard to adults, the Commission recommended that legislation "should not seek to interfere with the right of adults who wish to do so to read, obtain, or view explicit sexual materials." Regarding the view that these materials should be restricted for adults in order to protect young people from exposure to them, the Commission found that it is "inappropriate to adjust the level of adult communication to that considered suitable for children." The Supreme Court supported this view.<ref>President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. Report of The Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. 1970. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office. </ref>

A large portion of the Commission's budget was applied to funding original research on the effects of sexually explicit materials. One experiment is described in which repeated exposure of male college students to pornography "caused decreased interest in it, less response to it and no lasting effect," although it appears that the satiation effect does wear off eventually ("Once more"). William B. Lockhart, Dean of the University of Minnesota Law School and chairman of the commission, said that before his work with the commission he had favored control of obscenity for both children and adults, but had changed his mind as a result of scientific studies done by commission researchers. In reference to dissenting commission members Keating and Rev. Morton Hill, Lockhart said, "When these men have been forgotten, the research developed by the commission will provide a factual basis for informed, intelligent policymaking by the legislators of tomorrow" <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

President Reagan announced his intention to set up a commission to study pornography, apparently with the goal of obtaining results more acceptable to his conservative supporters than the conclusions of the 1970 Commission. The result was the appointment by Attorney General Edwin Meese in the spring of 1985 of a panel comprised of 11 members, the majority of whom had established records as anti-pornography crusaders.<ref>Wilcox, Brian L. "Pornography, Social Science, and Politics: When Research and Ideology Collide." American Psychologist. 42 (October 1987) : 941-943. </ref>

In 1986, the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, called reached the opposite conclusion, advising that pornography was in varying degrees harmful. A workshop headed by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop provided essentially the only original research done by the Meese Commission. Given very little time and money to "develop something of substance" to include in the Meese Commission's report, it was decided to conduct a closed, weekend workshop of "recognized authorities" in the field. All but one of the invited participants attended. At the end of the workshop, the participants expressed consensus in five areas:

  1. "Children and adolescents who participate in the production of pornography experience adverse, enduring effects,"
  2. "Prolonged use of pornography increases beliefs that less common sexual practices are more common,"
  3. "Pornography that portrays sexual aggression as pleasurable for the victim increases the acceptance of the use of coercion in sexual relations,"
  4. "Acceptance of coercive sexuality appears to be related to sexual aggression,"
  5. "In laboratory studies measuring short-term effects, exposure to violent pornography increases punitive behavior toward women" According to Surgeon General Koop, "Although the evidence may be slim, we nevertheless know enough to conclude that pornography does present a clear and present danger to American public health"<ref>Koop, C. Everett. "Report of the Surgeon General's Workshop on Pornography and Public Health." American Psychologist. 42 (October 1987) : 944-945.</ref>

Japan, which is noted for its large output of rape fantasy pornography, has the lowest reported sex crime rate in the industrialized world, which has led some researchers to speculate that an opposite relationship may in fact exist—that wide availability of pornography may reduce crimes by giving potential offenders a socially accepted way of regulating their own sexuality. Conversely, some argue that reported sex crime rates are low in Japan because the culture ( a culture that greatly emphasizes a woman's "honor") is such that victims of sex crime are less likely to report it (e.g. chikan <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>).

[edit] A case study: Japan

Milton Diamond and Ayako Uchiyama write in "Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan" (International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 22(1): 1-22. 1999) <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>:

Our findings regarding sex crimes, murder and assault are in keeping with what is also known about general crime rates in Japan regarding burglary, theft and such. Japan has the lowest number of reported rape cases and the highest percentage of arrests and convictions in reported cases of any developed nation. Indeed, Japan is known as one of the safest developed countries for women in the world (Clifford, 1980). (...)
Despite the absence of evidence, the myth persists that an abundance of sexually explicit material invariably leads to an abundance of sexual activity and eventually rape (e.g., Liebert, Neale, & Davison, 1973). Indeed, the data we report and review suggest the opposite. Christensen (1990) argues that to prove that available pornography leads to sex crimes one must at least find a positive temporal correlation between the two. The absence of any positive correlation in our findings, and from results elsewhere, between an increase in available pornography and the incidence of rape or other sex crime, is prima facie evidence that no link exists. But objectivity requires that an additional question be asked: "Does pornography use and availability prevent or reduce sex crime?" Both questions lead to hypotheses that have, over prolonged periods, been tested in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and now in Japan. Indeed, it appears from our data from Japan, as it was evident to Kutchinsky (1994), from research in Europe, that a large increase in available sexually explicit materials, over many years, has not been correlated with an increase in rape or other sexual crimes. Instead, in Japan a marked decrease in sexual crimes has occurred.

There has also been a recent increase in sex crimes in Japan which parallels an increase in all crimes. Some in Japan have blamed the increase on violent pornography and indeed, some sex offenders report having been inspired by themes in commonly available pornography. The counter argument is that some sex offenders will likely use any defense they can to lower their culpability.

[edit] Stereotypes

Pornographic work contains a number of stereotypes. Although pornography targeted at heterosexual males often includes interaction between females, interaction between males is rarely seen. In hardcore materials, a male generally ejaculates outside his partner's body, in full view: the so-called "cum shot". Penises are almost always shown fully erect (except where prohibited). In heterosexual pornography the choice of position is naturally geared to giving the viewer the fullest view of the woman, making the reverse cowgirl position, and the man holding the woman in a "dog-and-lamp-post" position among the most popular. Fellatio scenes usually involve the woman looking into the camera or at the man, for similar reasons. Especially in American and Japanese porn, women tend to be vocal and loud during hardcore scenes.

[edit] Pornography by and for women

"We came up with the idea for the Feminist Porn Awards because people don't know they have a choice when it comes to porn," said Chanelle Gallant, manager of Good for Her and the event's organizer. "Yes, there's a lot of bad porn out there. But there is also some great porn being made by and for women. We wanted to recognize and celebrate the good porn makers as well as direct people to their work."

Some recent pornography has been produced under the rubric of "by and for women". According to Tristan Taormino, "Feminist porn both responds to dominant images with alternative ones and creates its own iconography."

Some say no porn could ever be feminist. Lots of us disagree. But that doesn't mean we agree on what it is: each filmmaker defines her or his work differently. For me, feminist porn is about character, choice, and consciousness. I like to collaborate with performers on how their sexuality is represented, rather than give them a script or formula to follow. I want to capture complex, three-dimensional beings rather than stereotypes, to create an open environment that's safe for everyone - especially women - to take charge of their pleasure and be able to express their desires freely. I want to represent sex as positive, fun, healthy, and adventurous. I consciously work to create images that contradict (and hopefully challenge) other porn that represents women only as objects and vehicles for male pleasure.
In my chosen porn genre, gonzo (the cinema vérité of porn, unscripted, where the camera is acknowledged), the trend is toward hardcore imagery that supports every anti-porn feminist's claim that porn is degrading and offensive. Its emphasis is on rough (often bordering on hostile) sex, circus-like stunts, and what I call impalement contests (how many things can we fit into how many orifices simultaneously?). I'm not saying all gonzo is bad or all rough sex exploitative by nature, but a lot of it has become very one-sided. The lack of female pleasure in porn just sucks. I mean, if you're going to go to the trouble of sticking a girl's head in the toilet, you damn well better give her an awesome orgasm. "Political Smut Makers"; Village Voice;6/8/2006<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Production and distribution by region

Main article: Pornography by region

The production and distribution of pornography are economic activities of some importance. The exact size of the economy of pornography and the influence that it plays in political circles are matters of controversy. Pornography is now a major part of life for some, with many couples swearing by it to relieve themselves sexually.

[edit] Economics

United States: In 1970, a Federal study estimated that the total retail value of all the hard-core porn in the United States was no more than $10 million<ref>President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. Report of The Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. 1970. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office. </ref> Although the revenues of the adult industry are difficult to determine, by 2003, Americans were estimated to spend as much as $8 to $10 billion on pornography. <ref>Schlosser, Eric (2003-5-08). Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market.. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618334661. </ref> The majority of pornographic video is shot in the San Fernando Valley, which acts as a center for various models, actors/actresses, production companies, and other assorted businesses involved in the production and distribution of porn.

In 1998, Forrester research published a report on the online 'adult content' industry, which estimated at $750 million to $1 billion in annual revenue. A $10 billion aggregate figure had been estimated, and repeated in many news stories, but this was unsourced and not accurate.<ref>Richard, Emmanuelle. "The Naked Untruth", Alternet, 2002-23-05. Retrieved on 2006-09-08. (in English) </ref>

[edit] Sub-genres

In general, softcore refers to pornography that does not depict penetration, and hardcore refers to pornography that depicts penetration.

Some popular genres of pornography:

[edit] Media

  • Silent "stag" film (file info)
    • Silent, black and white video clip featuring a topless blonde woman (6.5MB, Ogg/Theora format).


  • Problems seeing the videos? See media help. </li> </ul> </div>

    [edit] See also

    [edit] References

    <references />

    [edit] Further reading

    [edit] Advocacy

    • Susie Bright. "Susie Sexpert's Lesbian Sex World and Susie Bright's Sexual Reality: A Virtual Sex World Reader", San Francisco, CA: Cleis Press, 1990 and 1992. Challenges any easy equation between feminism and anti-pornography positions.
    • Betty Dodson. "Feminism and Free speech: Pornography." Feminists for Free Expression 1993. 8 May 2002 [1]
    • Kate Ellis. Caught Looking: Feminism, Pornography, and Censorship. New York: Caught Looking Incorporated, 1986.
    • Susan Griffin. Pornography and Silence: Culture's Revenge Against Nature. New York: Harper, 1981.
    • Matthew Gever. "Pornography Helps Women, Society"[2], UCLA Bruin, 1998-12-03.
    • Michele Gregory. "Pro-Sex Feminism: Redefining Pornography (or, a study in alliteration: the pro pornography position paper) "[3]
    • Andrea Juno and V. Vale. Angry Women, Re/Search # 12. San Francisco, CA: Re/Search Publications, 1991. Performance artists and literary theorists who challenge Dworkin and MacKinnon's claim to speak on behalf of all women.
    • Michael Kimmel. "Men Confront Pornography". New York: Meridian--Random House, 1990. A variety of essays that try to assess ways that pornography may take advantage of men.
    • Wendy McElroy defends the availability of pornography, and condemns feminist anti-pornography campaigns.[4]
      • "A Feminist Overview of Pornography,Ending in a Defense Thereof"[5]
      • "A Feminist Defense of pornography"[6]
    • Annalee Newitz. "Obscene Feminists: Why Women Are Leading the Battle Against Censorship." San Francisco Bay Guardian Online 8 May 2002. 9 May 2002[7]
    • Nadine Strossen:
      • "Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight for Women's Rights" (ISBN 0-8147-8149-7)
      • "Nadine Strossen: Pornography Must Be Tolerated"[8]
    • Scott Tucker. "Gender, Fucking, and Utopia: An Essay in Response to John Stoltenberg's Refusing to Be a Man."[9] in Social Text 27 (1991): 3-34. Critique of Stoltenberg and Dworkin's positions on pornography and power.
    • Carole Vance, Editor. "Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality". Boston: Routledge, 1984. Collection of papers from 1982 conference; visible and divisive split between anti-pornography activists and lesbian S&M theorists.

    [edit] External links

    [edit] Criticisms

    [edit] Commentary

    [edit] Government

    [edit] History

    [edit] Sociology

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