Pornography or Erotica?

I never got the hang of the WordPress reader.

Shortly after I made this blog I tried to have a weekly thing where I’d recommend a blog for people to read. Riffing on Twitter’s “Follow Friday”, I called it “Subscribe Sunday”. Naturally, soon after I started that I had trouble filling the slot with new blogs, and then the powers that be at WordPress changed the “subscribe” button to “follow”, to my great annoyance, and I abandoned the project. I was having enough trouble just writing any posts at all.

But I do pick up more blogs as time passes, most of them I’ve set up to email me daily or weekly, so I can keep up with them. I still manage to only skim most of those, of course. And there are more languishing in my reader, only checked when it occurs to me that I haven’t seen anything from that blog in a while, or more often when someone else links to it.

To say nothing of the many excellent blogs that, for whatever reason, aren’t on WordPress.

Anyway, yesterday one of the posts those emails caught my attention, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to link to Trish Causey’s Aroused Woman blog and ponder this post a bit. 

The gist of it is that a man was reading Trish’s blog and his wife asked what he was reading, which led them to their first conversation about porn after six years of marriage. But what interests me about it is the part about porn vs erotica.

The difference between porn and erotica is one of those things that I’ve never seen two people completely agree on. Honestly I’ve never had a solid distinction myself. My inner-12-year-old provides “erotica is porn that’s still interesting when you’ve finished masturbating”, but I’m not sure how useful that is for discussion.

Yet the subject is interesting. To Trish Causey the difference is one of power, women represented in porn are caricatures, mere fantasies for the amusement of men, while in erotica things are far more equal between partners. These would be useful definitions for discussion, but it’s clear that they aren’t in popular use.

To my knowledge there isn’t a solid set of criteria to define porn, the famous line “I know it when I see it” comes to mind. Erotica is often used to describe erotic art of all kinds… and that’s probably the closest thing there is to a general consensus on the words. Erotica is exalted, pornography is vulgar. Porn is entertainment, erotica is art. (Erotica is Madonna, porn is whore?)

Come to think of it, did anyone ever figure out a solid line between art and entertainment?

Wikipedia addresses the question in its page on erotica, and seems to draw the distinction in intent. So works intended to be high-art are erotica, while more commercial works are pornography. Being Wiki, of course, it then contradicts itself a little.

It’s also interesting to note, though possibly irrelevant, that Wiki’s pornography entry is about ten times longer than the erotica one, and seems to include erotica within it. If Wikipedia is a mirror of society, then society considers erotica a subset of porn, not the other way around.

Like far too many interesting questions, there isn’t a satisfying answer, at least that I’m aware of. But I like to see how different people draw the line in different places.

And I also wanted to recommend Aroused Woman, which is usually interesting even if she does call orgasms “Os”, which has annoyed me at least since the movie Office Space.

About Leo Tarvi

Mostly fictional.

Posted on October 4, 2012, in Daily Post and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. You don’t want to see her “o’s” face… lol

  2. Thanks for mentioning my blog, ArousedWoman(TM). Please know that my brief distinction on how I view the differences between porn and erotica was just to illustrate the point but stick to the main topic of the post. I am, in fact, working on a longer post on this very subject.

    I’ve never seen “Office Space,” so I don’t know what that is. 🙂 But I alternate using “orgasm(s)” and “O’s” because using the same word repeatedly makes the word stale and loses its punch. Changing up the terms keeps the writing more fluid.

    As for my O’s face, I’ve never posted what I look like during orgasm :-), but I have written a nifty guide to help men (and women) understand the physiological changes that occur when a woman orgasms for the various kinds of female orgasm: The Face of Orgasm: Is Your Woman Faking Orgasms or Not?.

    Hope that clears it up. And feel free to leave a comment on any post that moves you. 🙂

    Thank you!
    trish

    • I’m looking forward to reading that longer post. I’ll have to remember to update this one with a link to it!

      MrsJuliana is referring to this scene from Office Space, which may also explain why “O” bugs me. http://youtu.be/QzIN3EgBIHg

      Totally understand wanting to not use the same term over & over, though.

      Thank you for your comment, and for your blogging!

  3. It’s like the 50 Shade trilogy… she only uses a handful of phrases over and over again… I mean, seriously, how many times can someone murmur? Just spit it out already. LOL!

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