So, it’s late into the night, you are sitting on your computer and you come across this article that seemingly talks about erotica, pornography and SEX. There you have it! Intrigued already? Let’s begin with some basics then.
Imagine two people making love; like really making love. Soft caresses, lingering touches, warmth, passion, sensuality. Both understanding each other’s needs and mutual pleasure. There is a spontaneity of the moment and a sense of each other’s being.
Now imagine sex with the use of force or any sort of symbol that exemplifies imbalance of power. Whips, chains, gags and tools of bondage. Unequal nudity where one’s clothes are ripped apart and the other remains fully clothed. Suffocation and choking to almost death.
Whenever we tried defining erotica, we emphasized on beautifying and romanticizing human anatomy in any form of visual media or literature; be it painting, sculpture or film. As a matter of fact, research shows that women enjoy erotica in literary forms and have been enjoying it for centuries under the category of romantic novels.The first visual image that you probably created in your mind a while ago was what erotic literature depicts, while moving on to the second visual image, it was plain pornography. But then again, years of pornography viewership has intertwined our ideas of pain and pleasure. In fact, much of our excitement regarding sex- all that tension and drama – comes from role plays and sadomasochism.
Etymologically, ‘pornography’ is derived from a Greek root pornѐ(harlot, prostitute or female captive) and graphos(writing about or description of). The etymological meaning itself indicates the imbalance of power. Whereas, ‘erotica’ comes from a Greek root eros (sexual desire or passionate love named after Eros, the son of Aphrodite). Thank god for Eros, there are lesser deaths in bed!
Erotica is essentially something related to our personal taste. Something a particular person finds sensual or deeply arousing might be a big turn off for someone else seeking immediate gratification or titillation of the genitals. For both erotica and pornography the ultimate goal is building an appetite for sex; but when it comes to pornography it is like feeding our brains with a cheaper substitute. Love-making mostly happens under sheets and behind bushes; even the brothels are dimly lit.
Like all human capacities that we developed- memory, intelligence, language – we developed sex as a form of expression. The main difference between the two kinds of literature would be that in erotica the character plays an important part in the storyline and ‘sex’ in it creates the conflict. Whereas in pornography characters aren’t emphasized upon. A story would be categorized as “porn” if getting off is the goal of it rather than creating visual images of intimacy. Erotica has a more lasting and sensational factor to it.
Take a look at the statistics, India is the third largest user of internet pornography in the world. It is weird how the land that produced Kama Sutra is consuming such amounts of pornography. Ever noticed the titles of the porn movies you have viewed? They have phrases that depict common terms used for humiliation or disrespect- banged, fucked, screwed and what not! There are other explicit categories that promote titillating themes like fathers raping their stepdaughters and incest love. In fact the rape and BDSM porn videos have somewhat de-sensitized our brains to real life rapes. All our lives we have fed ourselves with so much of violence, power play and fetishes that it becomes difficult for us to set pain and pleasure in different paradigms.
It is true that there are no conclusive studies on the negative effects of porn, but there are research evidences stating how men’s views regarding women change in a direction of greater callousness after watching pornography. Yet again, confusingly enough some high-end magazines do suggest couples to watch porn to “spice-up” their sex life. Your interest to discover erotica on the internet will leave you with a few websites on erotic literature or nude photography. Such is the scarcity of erotica! You surely do not need to be told about the suggestions on drop down boxes or the millions of results you come across as soon as you start typing the word ‘porn’ on any of the search engines.
Sex as a medium of communication can send messages as different as mutual pleasure and dominance, life and death, ‘erotica’ and ‘pornography’. Untangling these two terms has always been difficult for us. Now it’s your take- What would you like to discover tonight?