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Before the Deluge by Cornelis van Haarlem, 1615
Before the Deluge by Cornelis van Haarlem, 1615

Introduction

Fernande (1910–1917) French postcard by Jean Agélou
Fernande (1910–1917) French postcard by Jean Agélou

Pornography (often shortened to porn or porno) is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal. A distinction could be drawn between uncensored explicit or hardcore erotic art, and pornography. Pornography may be presented in a variety of media, including magazines, animation, writing, film, video, and video games. The term does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease. The primary subjects of present-day pornographic depictions are pornographic models, who pose for still photographs, and pornographic actors who engage in filmed sex acts.

Various groups within society have considered depictions of a sexual nature immoral, addictive, and noxious, labeling them pornographic, and attempting to have them suppressed under obscenity laws, censored or made illegal. Such grounds, and even the definition of pornography, have differed in various historical, cultural, and national contexts. In the late 19th century, various films by Thomas Edison were denounced as obscene in the United States, whereas Eugene Pirou's Le Coucher de la Mariée became very popular in France. Social attitudes towards the discussion and presentation of sexuality have become more tolerant in Western countries, and legal definitions of obscenity have become more limited, beginning in 1969 with Blue Movie by Andy Warhol, the first adult erotic film depicting explicit sexual intercourse to receive wide theatrical release in the United States. It was followed by the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984), in which the best quality pornographic films became part of mainstream culture. (Full article...)


Erotica is (in a broad sense) any literary or artistic work that deals substantively with subject matter that is erotic, sexually stimulating or sexually arousing but (in a strict sense) is not generally considered to be pornographic. Erotic art may use any artistic form to depict erotic content, including painting, sculpture, drama, film or music. Erotic literature and erotic photography have become genres in their own right.

Curiosa is erotica and pornography as discrete, collectable items, usually in published or printed form. In the antiquarian book trade, pornographic works are often listed under "curiosa", "erotica" or "facetiae". (Full article...)

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Selected work of erotic literature

Lady Chatterley's Lover is the last novel by English author D. H. Lawrence, which was first published privately in 1928, in Italy, and in 1929, in France. An unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books, which won the case and quickly sold three million copies. The book was also banned for obscenity in the United States, Canada, Australia, India and Japan. The book soon became notorious for its story of the physical (and emotional) relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex and its use of then-unprintable four-letter words. The trial was overseen by Richard Hoggart. (Full article...)

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