Pornotopia is a term coined by the critic Steven Marcus to describe the idealised, imaginative space of pornography, and used more broadly to describe a fantasy state dominated by universal sexual activity.
Pornotopia is characterized by its freedom from the normal social restraints of place and time - as Marcus put it, "It is always summertime in pornotopia". External reality is either split off entirely, or its problems dissolved under a tide of sex.
Beginnings will be sketchy, but, as Marcus argues, "it is an end, a conclusion of any kind, that pornography most resists": one reason Susan Sontag singled out The Image as transcending its genre, was precisely its finely structured conclusion, retrospectively illuminating all that had gone before.
They are also largely invulnerable. Thus in the Story of O, just as the chains never rust in her fairytale-style chateau, so too the inhabitants are never damaged by their ordeals, and never lose an iota of their allure in a triumph of the imaginary over the reality principle.
- Marcus's concept of Pornotopia has been criticised for basing itself too exclusively upon a brief period of experience drawn solely from Victorian Britain.
- 21stC online-Pornotopia has been described as an arena of homosocial solace for lad culture, at the phantasised expense of their female counterparts. Certainly Pornotopia to feminist eyes can appear as a place where no woman would like to live; but perhaps that is to underestimate what sex-positive feminism has revealed about comparable female fantasies of omnipotent control and unlimited gratification.
- Raunch culture
- Repressive desublimation
- Sentimentalism[disambiguation needed]
- Steven Marcus, The Other Victorians (1971) p. 272-6
- Daniel Bell, The Winding Passage (1991) p. 302
- Steven Marcus, The Other Victorians (1971) p. 276
- Linda Williams, Hard Core (1989) p. 239 and p. 170
- T. Lovell/J. Hawthorne, Criticism and Critical Theory (1984)
- Edwin Morgan, 'Introduction' Alexander Trocchi, Helen and Desire (1997) p. vii
- Steven Marcus, The Other Victorians (1971) p. 282
- Susan Sontag, 'The Pornographic Imagination', in George Battaile, Story of the Eye (2001) p. 84-6 and p. 109-10
- Steven Marcus, The Other Victorians (1971) p. 275-6
- Jean Paulhan, 'Essay', in Pauline Réage, Story of O (1975) p. 163
- Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1992) p. 202
- Harrison, Brian. "Underneath the Victorians". Victorian Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3 (March 1967), pp. 239-262.
- E. Baruch, Women, Love and Power (2012) p. 199
- Nancy Friday, Women on Top (1991) p. 105 and p. 292
- E. Goodheart, Desire and its Discontents (1991)
- R. Poynor, Designing Pornotopia (2006)