Various groups within society have considered depictions of a sexual nature immoral, addictive, and noxious, labeling them pornographic, and attempting to have them suppressed under obscenity and other laws, with varying degrees of success. Such works have also often been subject to censorship and other legal restraints to publication, display, or possession, leading in many cases to their loss. Such grounds, and even the definition of pornography, have differed in various historical, cultural, and national contexts.
Curiosa is erotica and pornography as discrete, collectable items, usually in published or printed form. In the antiquarian book trade, pornographic works are often listed under "curiosa", "erotica" or "facetiae".
Laws regarding child pornography generally include sexual images involving prepubescents, pubescent or post-pubescent minors and computer-generated images that appear to involve them. Most possessors of child pornography who are arrested are found to possess images of prepubescent children; possessors of pornographic images of post-pubescent minors are less likely to be prosecuted, even though those images also fall within the statutes.
Producers of child pornography try to avoid prosecution by distributing their material across national borders, though this issue is increasingly being addressed with regular arrests of suspects from a number of countries occurring over the last few years. The prepubescent pornography is viewed and collected by pedophiles for a variety of purposes, ranging from private sexual uses, trading with other pedophiles, preparing children for sexual abuse as part of the process known as "child grooming", or enticement leading to entrapment for sexual exploitation such as production of new child pornography or child prostitution. Children themselves also sometimes produce child pornography on their own initiative or by the coercion of an adult. Read more...
Selected work of erotic literature
One of earliest editions, 1749 (MDCCXLIX)
Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure—popularly known as Fanny Hill (an anglicisation of the Latin mons veneris, mound of Venus)—is an erotic novel by English novelist John Cleland first published in London in 1748. Written while the author was in debtors' prison in London, it is considered "the first original English prose pornography, and the first pornography to use the form of the novel". It is one of the most prosecuted and banned books in history.
The book exemplifies the use of euphemism. The text has no "dirty words" or explicit scientific terms for body parts, but uses many literary devices to describe genitalia. For example, the vagina is sometimes referred to as "the nethermouth," which is also an example of psychological displacement.
A critical edition by Peter Sabor includes a bibliography and explanatory notes. The collection 'Launching "Fanny Hill"' contains several essays on the historical, social and economic themes underlying the novel. Read more...
Bondage pornography, showing classic "wrist to ankle" rope hogtie. Other bondage methods depicted are breast bondage, elbow bondage, head to ankle tie, knees tied, and a crotch rope. Model is also wearing a muzzle gag.
Figure 12 in Zillmann, Dolf: "Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography", included in the Report of the Surgeon General's Workshop on Pornography and Public Health, United States Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, August 4, 1986
Phryne before the Areopagus, Jean-Léon Gérôme. (1861) Phryne, a famous hetaera (courtesan) of Ancient Greece, being disrobed before the Areopagus. Phryne was on trial for profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries, and is said to have been disrobed by Hypereides, who was defending her, when it appeared the verdict would be unfavourable. The sight of her nude body apparently so moved the judges that they acquitted her. Some authorities claim that this story is a later invention.