Monday, April 05, 2010

This is opening up a big can of worms...

but fuck it.

We're all grownups (albeit some of us are more grown-up than others), and this is a subject that I'm curious about.

The million dollar question: What do you consider the difference between porn and erotica? Or is there one?

I had an interesting conversation with a good friend a few days ago and I was surprised to hear how vehemently she opposed porn - and interested to hear her reasons. She enjoys erotica, however.

This got me thinking, because I think I enjoy some of both. Erica Jong, for instance, is one of my favorite writers, and I think she writes both porn and erotica.

Here are the ground rules/assumptions:

1. If you are offended by this post, you don't have to partake in the discussion.
2. No name-calling or rudeness to other bloggers' replies, please.
3. I am talking about porn and erotica in the context of consenting adults.

So what do you think?


Robert Tres said...

Porn is more expensive!

Darth Weasel said...

Yes Robert...and pay me back for that last hundred pack. Some of those movies took lots of money to make...

on a less serious note, anything one person defines as porn another can define as erotica and vice versa.

The line blurred, largely due to shows like Friends. And no, I am not trying to joke, here.

If you ever watched the show, you know the reverence the guys...specifically Joey, but all to some extent...held porn in reverence as the holy grail.

Same with Futurama, come to think of it.

And it is possible they were not creating a new paradigm but rather bringing one to light.

It is no secret that many guys spend lots of time talking about what girls are hot/sexy/etc. and where to get pics. The Sports Illustrated Porn issue...err, Erotica issue...err, swimsuit issue is "acceptable" (as is the Victorias Secret catalog if you can get it) whereas Playboy or Hustler are "less respectable"...but Maxim is fine...

seems like the difference, for many people, is are you paying for the near or total nudity...or making the excuse it is not a skin mag/flick/book.

How is that for muddying the issue?

Senorita said...

Porn is so "in your face". Erotica is more subtle.

Erotica tries to preserve some sort of mystery. Porn is where people don't care if the storyline is bad, or if there isn't even one.

Fireblossom said...

To me, erotica is something that leaves me feeling good about sexuality, and which never loses a very human element. There is beauty in it. I think of porn as being nothing but fake situations relying entirely on Tab A going into Slot B. It has nothing to do with anything that I understand as sexy, I find it ugly and unsexy and the industry itself is soul-killing.

Erotica celebrates women. Porn reduces us to impersonal and valueless fantasy sperm receptacles.

Ally said...

I agree with Fireblossom. I think erotica is for females and porn is for guys.

Anonymous said...

Erotica is just porn with a false sense of class.

G. B. Miller said...

I wonder...could it have something to do with...

It is a very fine line between porn and erotica, shoot, it's a fine line between good sex and bad sex, and I've been learning the hard way (pun intended) on how to write graphic without being explicit.

Coincidentally (or not), I'm experiencing this particular issue with my latest novel, because it is about porn and the decisions/choices one person made that found herself in that predicament (yes, I said "herself". long story short, 95% of my stories feature strong women) ultimately got her to where she really did't want to be.

I would like to make it clear though, I don't write porn. What I do write mostly blurs the line between porn and erotica (and if anyone wants examples, please go to my short story blog at

Granny Annie said...

No can of worms. Good question. Here is what Merriam-Webster says:

Pornography: the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.

Erotica: literary or artistic works having an erotic theme or quality.

Erotic: of, devoted to, or tending to arouse sexual love or desire

mac said...

It's a delicate matter I suppose.
Like you state, I enjoy both.

Some people find things offensive, others may see them as artistic interpretations. I would imagine that porn doesn't have much artistic value, while erotica does.
Not everyone would share my idea of where I draw the line. And, I admit, I would not share theirs.

I find nothing particularly offensive about human sexuality. I do however find offence at violence.

Why is that?
Why is it acceptable, in this country, to show violence in the media, yet mentions of loving human sexuality are forbidden. If we watch TV, for example, we would see any number of murders, rapes, and robberies on a typical evening during Ptime Time. However, we will see damned few examples of loving sexuality. The only sex one could see is intertwined with the violence.

That is a serious indictment of our society, in my opinion. We seem to think violence is OK and sex is bad. Or at least, that is what we are telling our children who view such things.

strictly by itself is neither erotica nor pornagraphy. It is simply our natural state of being. It does not harm.

Lynn said...

I like Senorita's definition - that "erotica preserves some sort of mystery."

Maude Lynn said...

If I like it, it's erotica. If I don't like it, it's porn.

Green tea said...

I think Senorita says it best..Some of the best erotica lets your imagination take over.
I don't need to see all the graphics
after awhile it gets boring.

mac said...

I just had to come back.....

I know I'm supposed to be an adult on this and all,

You put worms in your porn post!

Riot Kitty said...

Interesting comments! I totally agree about disliking violence - this country is way to prude about sex and accepting of violence.

GA: Perfect reply!

G: This was a conversation with someone else, but you did have a hand in it (no pun intended!)

RA said...

I think it was a French film director (or something of the sort) who said, that posr shows penetration in detail, erotica doesn't show it at all. In other words, as has been already written above: erotica let's your own mind work on it. In other words, erotica can be much more of a trun on than porn ever could! :D

G. B. Miller said...

I know it was a conversation with someone else. I just found the timing a bit weird, that's all. You know me, I find controversy where none exists.

In any event, I do have a question that I want to ask you later behind the scenes. Nothing bad, just related to writing.

Good post topic though. I will probably come back and add a couple more cents to the discussion again.

Because you know, sex as a weapon is always pleasurable experience.

Word verification: "ovenc"

Take that anyway you want. :D

Ileana said...

Erotica is dreamy sexuality, fantasty of the best kind, while porn is in your face hardcore sex, more of a man's way of getting off.

PS - I didn't mean to male bash there, just talking from personal observation (well not UP CLOSE and PERSONAL know what I mean, Chica!). ;)

Riot Kitty said...

RA: So it comes down to penetration?
G: LMAO! You have the e-mail address.
Ily: Still laughing...

Fireblossom said...

It was a conversation with me.

I'll be back to read any time you post, dear Twin of mine, but I won't be going into your comments for a while. Some of this shit just makes my skin crawl.

G. B. Miller said...


My apologies. No insult was intended towards you or about you.

Like I said, I sometimes look for controversy where there is none. Bad character flaw to have.

Hope your week goes better for you.

Shionge said...

Hiya RK what an interesting post and reading the comments is just as exciting.

You know in our country, porn is banned and illegal to watch or own a DVD or something. Of course with internet ppl do get to it hahhaha...

So I do agree with some of your blog pals' comments like Lynn, Mama Zen, Ily etc.

Riot Kitty said...

S: Wow!

LL Cool Joe said...

I was talking to my partner about this, we both find porn a big turn off. Which I assume means it hasn't done what it's meant to do.

Riot Kitty said...

Joey: I don't even want to go into the debate about "what it's meant to do"!