Hardcore pornography or hardcore porn is still photography or video footage that contains explicit forms of pornography, most commonly including depictions of sexual acts such as vaginal, anal, and/or oral intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, ejaculation, and/or fetish play. Hardcore pornography usually takes the form of photographs, often displayed in magazines or on the Internet, or films and cartoons. Since the 1990s it has been distributed widely over the Internet.
A distinction between "hardcore pornography" and "borderline pornography" (or "borderline obscenity") was made in the 1950s and 1960s by American jurists discussing obscenity laws. "Borderline pornography" appealed to sexual prurience, but had positive qualities, such as literary or artistic merit, and so was arguably permitted by obscenity laws; "hardcore pornography" lacked such merits and was definitely prohibited. In Roth v. United States (1957) the government brief distinguished three classes of sexual material: "novels of apparently serious literary intent"; "borderline entertainment . . . magazines, cartoons, nudist publications, etc."; and "hard core pornography, which no one would suggest had literary merit". Eberhard and Phyllis Kronhausen in 1959 distinguished "erotic realism" from "pornography"; in the latter "the main purpose is to stimulate erotic response in the reader. And that is all". Most famously, in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964), Potter Stewart wrote:
- I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case [The Lovers] is not that.
In Jacobellis v. Ohio and other cases, the United States Supreme Court ruled that only "hardcore" pornography could be prohibited by obscenity laws, with the rest protected by the First Amendment. The category of "borderline obscenity" thus became obsolete. From the 1970s, the salient distinction was between hardcore pornography and softcore pornography, which may use simulated sex and limits the range and intensity of depictions of sexual activities. For example, William Rotsler's 1973 classification subdivided the X rating for erotic films: "The XXX-rating means hard-core, the XX-rating is for simulation, and an X-rating is for comparatively cool films."
The prehistory of modern pornography is the classical American Stag film, also known as blue movies, a body of clandestine short pornographic films produced during the first two-thirds of the 20th century. While the exact corpus of the distinctive stag film remains unknown, scholars at the Kinsey Institute believe there are approximately 2000 films produced between 1915-1968. Stag cinema is a form of hardcore film and is characterized as silent, usually filling a single reel or less, and was illegally made and exhibited because of censorship laws in America. Women were excluded from these private screenings that were shown in American "smoker" houses such as fraternities or other exclusive institutions. In Europe, films of the same kind were screened within brothels. The mode of reception of the all-male audience of stag films was raucous, collective sexual banter and sexual arousal. Film historians describe stag films as a primitive form of cinema because they were produced by anonymous and amateur male artists who failed in achieving narrative coherence and continuity within their diegesis. Today, many of these films have been archived by the Kinsey Institute, however most are in a state of decay and have no copyright, real credits, or acknowledged authorship. The stag film era inevitably ended due to the beginnings of the sexual revolution in the fifties in combination with the new technologies of the post war era, such as 16mm, 8mm, and the Super 8. American stag cinema in general has received scholarly attention first in the mid-seventies by heterosexual males such as in Di Lauro and Gerald Rabkin's Dirty Movies (1976) and more recently by feminist and queer cultural historians such as in Linda M. Williams' Hard Core: Power Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible" (1989) and Thomas Waugh's Homosociality in the Classical American Stag Film: Off-Screen, On-screen (2001).
The distribution of hardcore pornography had been widely prohibited in many countries until the second half of the 20th century when many countries began to allow some dissemination of softcore material. Supply is now usually regulated by a motion picture rating system as well as by direct regulation of points of sale. Restrictions, as applicable, apply to the screening, or rental, sale, or giving of a movie, in the form of a DVD, video, computer file, etc. Public display and advertising of hardcore pornography is often prohibited, as is its supply to minors.
Most countries have eased the restrictions on the distribution of pornography, either by general or restricted legalization or by failure to enforce prohibitive legislation. Most easing of restrictions has been by way of changes to the criteria of a country's movie classification system. The anti-pornography movement often vigorously opposes legalization. In 1969, Denmark became the first country in the world to legalize pornography. In the U.S., legal interpretations of pornography in relation to the constitutional right to free speech differ from state to state and from city to city. Hardcore pornography was legalized in the UK in 2000.
Impact on society
Berl Kutchinsky's Studies on Pornography and Sex Crimes in Denmark (1970), a scientific report commissioned by the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, found that the legalizing of pornography in Denmark had not (as had been expected) resulted in an increase of sex crimes.
A study conducted in Denmark in 2003 and later published in Archives of Sexual Behavior found that men and women generally believe that hardcore pornography has a positive influence on their lives.
The Independent reported in 2006 that Nielsen NetRatings found that more than nine million British male adults used Internet porn services. The study also reported a one-third rise in the number of women visiting X-rated sites, from 1.05 million to 1.38 million. A 2003 study found that one third of all British Internet users accessed hardcore porn.
A 2003 study by Eric Schlosser estimated that revenues from hardcore porn match Hollywood's domestic box office takings. Hardcore porn videos, Internet sites, live sex acts and cable TV programming generate US$10 billion, roughly equal to US domestic box office receipts.
- Mulroy, Thomas R. (September 1963). "Obscenity, Pornography and Censorship". ABA Journal (American Bar Association) 49 (9): 869–875. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "345 Mass. 11 ATTORNEY GENERAL vs. BOOK NAMED "TROPIC OF CANCER.", 345 Mass. 11". Massachusetts SJC Cases. July 17, 1962. pp. 15, fn.5. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Kronhausen, Eberhard; Kronhausen, Phyllis (1959). Pornography and the Law: The Psychology of Erotic Realism and Pornography (1st ed.). New York: Ballantine.; cited in Mulroy p.874
- Rotslter, William. Contemporary Erotic Cinema. New York: Penthouse/Ballantine Books, 1973. page 251.
- "Film Archive". The Kinsey Institute. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
- Williams, Linda. Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible" (PDF). p. 58. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- Denmark in the International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. "...Denmark was the first country in the world to legitimize written pornography in 1967 (followed by pictorial pornography in 1969)."
- "Green light for porn films". BBC News. May 22, 2000. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
- Kutchinsky, Berl (1970). Studies on pornography and sex crimes in Denmark. A report to the US Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. New Social Science Monographs. Copenhagen, Denmark: Nyt fra samfunds videnskaberne. OCLC 155896..
- Hald, G.M.; Malamuth, N.M. (2007). "Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption". Archives of Sexual Behavior (Springer) 37 (4): 614–625. doi:10.1007/s10508-007-9212-1.
- Sophie Good child and Severin Carrell (May 28, 2006). Sex.com: We are a nation addicted to porn. And nearly 11 million of us got our fix on the net last year. The Independent. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
- Marriott, Edward (November 8, 2003). Men and porn. The Guardian.
- Campbell, Duncan (May 2, 2003). With pot and porn outstripping corn, America's black economy is flying high. The Guardian. Retrieved August 1, 2008.
- O'Toole, L. (1998). Pornocopia: Porn, Sex, Technology and Desire. London: Serpent's Tail. ISBN 1-85242-395-1.