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View Poll Results: Should 'anything go'?
yes 38 45.24%
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:48 PM   #106
MisterNatural
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Attitudes & Latitudes

IMHO: We don't (under 'normal' circumstances) go out of our way to step in a mud puddle, nor do we seek to pay admission to a movie that offends our sensibilities or sensitivities.

The same applies to the written word.

Don't like the subject/genre? Don't read it.

Don't want family members sorting through erotica to find your own posted literary pearl? Send them a copy of your work so they don't go near potentially offensive material.

Not only is the highly subjective term 'erotica' a catch-all for sexual subject matter, but it's simply a polite term for porn. Bottom line: One person's <gasp!> 'Story of O' is another person's fairy tale (no innuendo intended).

In this case, censorship itself is where the obscenity lies, not in the subject matter. Just keep it away from impressionable kids' lines of sight (as best you can).

People ought not seek to limit others' horizons in this area, with their own self-imposed limits.

Jack and Jill went up the hill. I wonder what the back-story was.

Happy reading!

Last edited by MisterNatural; 08-19-2012 at 10:19 PM. Reason: Title insertion.
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:51 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by MisterNatural View Post
IMHO: We don't (under 'normal' circumstances) go out of our way to step in a mud puddle, nor do we seek to pay admission to a movie that offends our sensibilities or sensitivities.

The same applies to the written word.

Don't like the subject/genre? Don't read it.

Don't want family members sorting through erotica to find your own posted literary pearl? Send them a copy of your work so they don't go near potentially offensive material.

Not only is the highly subjective term 'erotica' a catch-all for sexual subject matter, but it's simply a polite term for porn. Bottom line: One person's <gasp!> 'Story of O' is another person's fairy tale (no innuendo intended).

In this case, censorship itself is where the obscenity lies, not in the subject matter. Just keep it away from impressionable kids' lines of sight (as best you can).

People ought not seek to limit others' horizons in this area, with their own self-imposed limits.

Jack and Jill went up the hill. I wonder what the back-story was.

Happy reading!
Erotica is not another word for porn. Both porn and erotica serve to stimulate sexual desire, but in the case of erotica, it is done legally and usually with taste. Porn is crude and generally more gynecological than artistic in nature. You will find erotic images on public display in many well known museums, but you won't find porn there.
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:22 AM   #108
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Erotica is not another word for porn. Both porn and erotica serve to stimulate sexual desire, but in the case of erotica, it is done legally and usually with taste. Porn is crude and generally more gynecological than artistic in nature. You will find erotic images on public display in many well known museums, but you won't find porn there.
Porn is of course legal also.

And go to well know sex museum and you will of course find porn there.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:28 AM   #109
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Erotica is not another word for porn. Both porn and erotica serve to stimulate sexual desire, but in the case of erotica, it is done legally and usually with taste. Porn is crude and generally more gynecological than artistic in nature. You will find erotic images on public display in many well known museums, but you won't find porn there.
Porn is legal, and taste is subjective. The distinction is arbitrary; porn is erotica you don't like, erotica is porn you don't like. Qualitative distinctions do not exclude works from a genre, a mystery is still a mystery whether or not it is in good taste (which is, again, subjective).
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:27 PM   #110
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Actually, there is a distinction (at least in Romancelandia) between erotica and porn. Erotica has a plot, where there is a relationship that is furthered by the sexual encounters. In porn, (so I've been told, I'm not a scholar of such things), either there is no real relationship, or there's no real plot at all.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:42 PM   #111
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Actually, there is a distinction (at least in Romancelandia) between erotica and porn. Erotica has a plot, where there is a relationship that is furthered by the sexual encounters. In porn, (so I've been told, I'm not a scholar of such things), either there is no real relationship, or there's no real plot at all.
A plot's a plot, no matter how thin. "Porn" stories do often have plots, and they may not be War and Peace, but they still count. About the only kind of porn that has "no plot" is probably a video that starts at the beginning of copulation, ends at the "money shot," and has no dialogue in-between (other than moans). And even that can be said to have a plot, be it as simple as "two (or more) people strive to find common pleasure through sex."

I agree that there's no real distinction between porn and erotica. One is a word to denote acceptable material, and the other is a word used to denote unacceptable material. Which word you use for which behavior wholly depends on the individual's point of view.
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:01 PM   #112
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And I think that "individual's point of view" is often adjusted by the content they consume. Meaning, if they often consume pornography/erotica, they'll probably be happy to define it as wholly acceptable. They probably won't say, "I consume it, but I think it's a terrible thing."

This is why I argued above that such a discussion is very difficult to bring to any point of agreement--those who consume pornography/erotica find it acceptable (usually). Those who don't consume it find it unacceptable (usually). There are, of course, many exceptions to this generalization.

Although, maybe a lot of folks who consume pornography/erotica feel like it does affect them in ways they don't want to be affected but they still choose to spend their time on it. Like folks who say, "I eat Big Macs even though I know they will negatively affect my health. It's a personal choice to consume something that negatively affects my health." I don't know if many people respond to pornography/erotica in that way, but maybe some do--maybe some say, "This has changed the way I view other people and I don't like the changes, but I'll keep watching/reading it because I want to."

Not to put anyone on the spot, but if any of you read a lot of erotica, do you think it affects how you view other people--perhaps it causes you to think a lot more about whether or not people are sexually appealing, perhaps it causes you to objectify people more often, perhaps you find yourself more often thinking about how people could sexually satisfy you, etc? If so, do you like the way it affects you? If it doesn't affect the way you view other people, what does affect your viewpoint? Or is there some other way to think about this altogether?

Last edited by djulian; 08-20-2012 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Added some more thoughts
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:17 PM   #113
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Quite an original POV, If I substitute erotica with romance, and objetifying with looking for my charming prince, I have the standard comments that a romance reader gets from someone who doesn't like romance. I don't know if people is calling me crazy/silly because I can't say the difference between reality and fiction. Do you ask to people who read a lot of mystery novels if they view everybody as a suspected killer? Or do you ask to people who read a lot of sci-fi novels if they look at people as suspected aliens? If not, why is erotica different?

Anyway, something as the adult content filter at Smashwords could be useful for everybody, activating or deactivating as you like.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:53 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Terisa de morgan View Post
Quite an original POV, If I substitute erotica with romance, and objetifying with looking for my charming prince, I have the standard comments that a romance reader gets from someone who doesn't like romance. I don't know if people is calling me crazy/silly because I can't say the difference between reality and fiction. Do you ask to people who read a lot of mystery novels if they view everybody as a suspected killer? Or do you ask to people who read a lot of sci-fi novels if they look at people as suspected aliens? If not, why is erotica different?
The idea that what we read affects how we view things is not an original POV. It's a fairly old idea, held by many people. In fact, I suspect it's why many people write books (apart from the desire to be known, make money, etc). Otherwise, why Orwell? Why Bradbury? etc.

Erotica is not different in the fact that it affects people--quite the opposite. I am arguing that it is the same, in that it affects people like other types of art affect people, and that it affects their views on things pertaining to the content. In this case, the content is sexual, so the affects are on a person's sexual viewpoint.

And I do know of some readers of thrillers/mysteries who are prone to see a potential murderer or abuser or mafioso around every corner.
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by djulian View Post
And I do know of some readers of thrillers/mysteries who are prone to see a potential murderer or abuser or mafioso around every corner.
So, everybody who has ever read a book from Agatha Christie is scarred for life?
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:13 PM   #116
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The idea that what we read affects how we view things is not an original POV. It's a fairly old idea, held by many people. In fact, I suspect it's why many people write books (apart from the desire to be known, make money, etc). Otherwise, why Orwell? Why Bradbury? etc.

Erotica is not different in the fact that it affects people--quite the opposite. I am arguing that it is the same, in that it affects people like other types of art affect people, and that it affects their views on things pertaining to the content. In this case, the content is sexual, so the affects are on a person's sexual viewpoint.

And I do know of some readers of thrillers/mysteries who are prone to see a potential murderer or abuser or mafioso around every corner.
Ahh, but is that not why they read the books and/or movies?
They enjoy being horrified or titilated or feeding their paranoia.

If a book makes me uncomfortable or causes me mental pain I stop reading it and wish I had never picked it up. Those who do enjoy what to me are abhorrent books are very different from me but I doubt that reading the books made them this way.

Bad things were done by bad people long before the written word or computers and the internet.

Helen
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:22 PM   #117
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@ djulian
1st: yes I like pornographic art, BUT:
Although I do have a liking for specific attributes going far enough that; were I artistically skilled I'd be indeed able to create what could be called my personal flavour of Galatea, it doesn't limit me in a fetishism alike way. such Galatea or a real woman matching said set of attributes to a high degree is from my POV just an aesthetically pleasing person. Sexual attractors have to come from the character. I can without problems be attracted to a woman having exactly none of my optical preferences on her, if she's interesting as a person.
And even if she looked like my Galatea to a T I wouldn't want her were she a person i couldn't LIKE. Where does that fit with your theory?

Some people tend to equalize erotic art with "transmitter of arousal triggers" only. I regard this as insufficient. In fact I believe that such a limited view is the counterpart of the erroneous view of nudists neglecting sexual aspects of nudity completely.
If it's visual and the artist failed to transmit the model's natural beauty together with her arousing appeal he failed completely. Hornyness alone ain't enough. I want to be struck and flattened by the appearance. Longing AND admiring equally.
If it's textual presentation the artist has to be able to catch the ecstasy, joy and vulnerability of what happens. Otherwise it's a failure too. Presenting as willing and able ain't enough too.

Beauty is something to enjoy and not to refuse when exposed.
Sexual activity performed with mutual awareness of and reaction to each other is pleasurable on both physical and mental levels.

How can a branch of art dealing with it be unhealthy or negatively influencing per se, as you stated with your analogy?

I see nothing negative in that.
I'm neither ashamed of simply enjoying (and complimenting) beauty when I'm exposed to, nor am I ashamed to admit if I feel attracted in case I do. I think it would be in both cases insulting and belittling to neglect.

Last edited by Freeshadow; 08-20-2012 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:49 PM   #118
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I guess since I am not a consumer of any of these, I could be way off base, but I always thought the terms rather meant a range.

Soooo...

Romance - The primary story is about the relationships, and interactions. Sexual activities are just one optional factor in that.

Erotica - The primary story is still mainly about the relationships, but the sexual activity becomes a major player in the plot.

Porn - There may or may not even be a relationship, or much of a story, as the primary focus is on the sexual activities.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:35 PM   #119
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Ahh, but is that not why they read the books and/or movies?
They enjoy being horrified or titilated or feeding their paranoia.

If a book makes me uncomfortable or causes me mental pain I stop reading it and wish I had never picked it up. Those who do enjoy what to me are abhorrent books are very different from me but I doubt that reading the books made them this way.

Bad things were done by bad people long before the written word or computers and the internet.

Helen
People are responsible for what they do, of course. I'm only arguing that people are affected by the choices they make in what they consume.

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So, everybody who has ever read a book from Agatha Christie is scarred for life?
That's an unfair exaggeration of what I said. A fairer summary of what I'm saying is, "Everybody who has read any book has been affected by it."

--------------

Overall, the argument I'm making is one that many here would accept, I think, if it wasn't to do with erotic or pornographic books. Books like Uncle Tom's Cabin or Fahrenheit 451 affect people. Some have argued that these books only affect people who want to be affected. I don't think that's entirely true--many books affect people who aren't expecting to be affected at all. Many kids went to read Harry Potter and never expected to be exposed to a wonderful example of courage or honor. They just expected to be entertained. And Harry Potter affected their views on what was courageous or honorable.

I think it's a bit of, "Having your cake and eating it too," to argue that books (of any kind) affect people in positive ways, but can't affect them in negative ways.

In this case, I believe (my opinion of course, and no one has to agree with this) that pornography has a negative affect on folks when they consume it. Specifically, I think it leads a person towards a mindset in which sexual partners are dehumanized or objectified.

But you don't have to agree that it has a negative affect to think it has some affect. Using erotic literature as an example, if you're reading a book and you are titillated by an act you had not previously considered, then you have been affected by it--you now have a changed view on what is titillating; you have a new sexual desire. Likewise, if you read a book and are disturbed or disgusted by a sexual act you had never previously considered, you have been affected by that book as well--you now have a different view of what is not sexually pleasurable; you have a new sexual turn-off. This is an argument that seems like it would be acceptable to people regardless of whether or not they think that the consumption of pornography bears negative effects.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:21 PM   #120
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I see my point about porn being legal has already been made. I would add though that I wish the Supremes (not the singing group) had done us all a big favor and just ruled that there was no such thing as obscenity (barring specific illegal material).

Last edited by carld; 08-20-2012 at 11:24 PM.
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