Saturday, April 5, 2014

Blogging from A - Z Challenge: April 5 Erotica

Author unknown.

For me, and possibly for others, Erotica is not yet properly distinguished from porn, which is very interesting given erotica is considered to be very positive and a great contribution to all art forms, and almost the exact opposite is considered of pornography, wish is not only "anti-art" in its commodification, soulless repetition and lack of imagination, but is seen to steal the dignity of its protagonists, and by extension all humans, particularly women.

The formal definitions of erotica and pornography go along the lines of a high art approach. It is assumed that erotica has high art pretensions while pornography does not, and therefore indulges in our most base desires, that are often an appeal to the worst in a human creature.

And yet the debate goes on a bit more than just that. Feminists have had a lot to say about erotica, particularly because of the way pornography aggressively uses violence against women, and insists on depicting a female enjoying what is being done to her. But often, the distinction between the two, ends up being subjective. Ellen Willis said it best when she said

 "In practice, attempts to sort out good erotica from bad porn inevitably comes down to 'What turns me on is erotica; what turns you on is pornographic."

I've grappled with this myself, and I'm not completely satisfied with my own answers, although I am encouraged by the changes in my perspective over time. I am one of those women who "likes" pornography, and uses to self-pleasure sometimes, even without my husband present. However, I sense the inauthenticity behind that, as if I am using both my mind and my body against itself - sort of like eating poorly rather than taking the time and effort to prepare myself healthy food.

I love to write about sex, be it erotica or pornography, but I confess, my "pornography" is rarely that - more its a "re-imaging" of it from a female perspective. While I might use the language of pornography, I never reduce the subject to the level of object.

I guess its a journey, one I am thrilled to see so many women and more and more men taking. This "problem" is there for us to solve as a community, and it is probably the best time in history for us to be solving it collectively.


  1. I love writing about sex too. A little too much at times, lol.

  2. I think Ellen Willis said it quite well.

    I guess both erotica and pornography is about visualizing fantasies, using pictures or words or both. I respect that different people get turned on by different things. Having said that, I had to add that any pornography where someone is forced to do something against their will is not acceptable. We have general laws against this, even without invoking a ban on erotica/pornography.

    Cold As Heaven