Erotica vs Porn

I've realized that I have an incessant need to keep clarifying what exactly it is I do. I'm sure that probably means I have some sort of problem. Maybe I'm in self-denial and I'm really trying to explain it to myself? I don't know.


I've said on several occasions that I don't do porn. Too many times this seems to have gotten misconstrued as me saying that I'm somehow better than those who do. That could not be further from the truth. In my last I post I attempted to explain how my work isn't intended to get you off, and that it doesn't bother me at all if you pass me by for not fulfilling your needs. Yet, as careful and considerate as I tried to be, I still got people accusing me of looking down on people who do make porn, or on those who want to watch it.


That hurt. A lot. Listen, if you don't think I'm attractive, if I'm not your style, if you don't enjoy my content, that's fine. We all have our preferences. But to accuse me of essentially being prejudiced against other human beings over the content we choose to partake in? That's low. Honestly, the feedback I got on that last post sent me into a depressive episode in a matter of hours. I work so hard to choose my words carefully, to anticipate how people with different perspectives might react to what I have to say, and to advocate for my stance in a way that causes the least amount of harm. And while I'm sure many people who read the piece understood my point, the haters really got to me on this one. I know....I know I should know better than to let people like that affect me so much. But as easy as it is to block people, the action that necessitates the blocking still hurts.


Anyway.


Today I wanted to discuss the difference between erotica and porn. I still have yet to find the best way to describe my work, but I think "erotica" suits my style far better than "porn". Now, the difference between these two terms is subjective and at times, controversial. I obviously have my own opinions and ways of differentiating the two, but I thought it would be an interesting venture to breakdown someone else's thoughts on the subject.


A few days ago I found this article. I'd encourage you to read it if you are interested. But here I'll highlight some passages and add my commentary.


I'll say that I agree with how this author describes erotica, and while I understand his distinction between it and porn, his description of porn isn't quite to my taste.


Let's begin...


"It's not a coincidence that when scholars reflect on eroticism in the fine arts, they're frequently considering the human form as the artist has more or less idealized it...they view the creator as striving to capture a certain almost inexpressible beauty about the human anatomy."


I feel like I've tried to explain this before. I find something quite inexpressibly beautiful about human anatomy, and by extension, the capabilities of the human body.


"If the work has been executed erotically, it's generally assumed that the creator viewed the subject matter as praiseworthy. Something to take pleasure in, celebrate, exalt, glorify. And in this sense, the erotic and the aesthetic merge. [Erotica] engages our aesthetic sense, our judgment about how this or that figure illustrates an ideal of human beauty."


Aesthetics are a huge part of my work. I create content because it looks good. My work focuses on aesthetic pleasure.


"The objective [of porn] (typically leaving little or nothing to the imagination) is to "turn on" the viewer...The unabashed goal is simple and straightforward: titillation and immediate, intense arousal...Or, to put it even more bluntly, an instantaneous stirring of the genitals."


Before I get any further I should clarify that I do in fact watch porn. I am a consumer. I watch porn when I'm horny because I know that watching other people fuck will help to heighten my arousal in order to bring about a climax. I mean, that's the whole point, isn't it?


"Artists pursue eroticism...as they pursue beauty. It may sell, but if their goal is genuinely to transmit what they apprehend as almost ethereal in its beguiling sensuality (i.e., is fine art rather than commercial art), then the work's monetary value must remain a secondary consideration to them."


What a perfect description of my struggles.


"The very word pornography (or better, porn) almost invariably connotes a certain exploitation—at times degradation or desecration—of human sexuality."


Let's discuss the big difference between my opinion on this subject and the author's, because it's really starting to show. Throughout this article the author seems to take a very "erotica good, porn bad" stance. Personally I just think they are different. Neither is better or worse than the other. They serve different purposes.


Here he's saying that, by definition, porn harms people. While I can't ignore the fact that some people get into the porn industry for the wrong reasons, to make a blanket statement that all porn is exploitative by nature is incredibly judgmental.


"For I see pornographic literature, songs, images, or films as inevitably cheapening—for both sexes—the whole experience of physical intimacy. It takes acts that may express affection, love, adoration, or even profound caring, and dehumanizes them into something animalistic. Acts...are "mechanized" into mere outlets for alleviating stress or sexual tension. That which we humans aspire to make almost spiritual is derogated to an exploit almost barbaric in its egoistic lack of caring and concern. Pornography is literally sex sans relationship."


I get what he's saying here, and to be honest I kind of agree. But I think this passage is particularly harsh. Not all sex acts need to be about love or connection or intimacy. If I've learned anything over the last few years it's that a lot of people are specifically seeking the opposite. A lot of people want the animalistic pleasure of sex, and I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that. (I've also learned that I personally don't have this desire, so I can't fully empathize. But perhaps that's why I lean more towards the side of erotica for my personal pleasure.)


"If the subjects are portrayed in a manner that focuses on their inner and outer radiance, their fleshy vitality, and the work itself seems to manifest a passionate and powerful affirmation of life and the pleasures of this world, then I think we're talking erotic. If, however, the subjects seem reduced to so many body parts, if any beauty appears subordinate to the overriding purpose of arousal, if the sex depicted seems depersonalized, controlling, non-mutual, and devoid of fun or play (but rather seems about "getting down to business" and "getting off")--and if the sex acts pictured contain not a hint of human caring or emotional connectedness to them--that, to me, would definitely secure the work's place in the realm of pornography."


Here's the author's conclusive statement. Overall I agree with how he distinguishes erotica from porn, in the objective sense. I think he provides a good way of defining one vs the other. But like I mentioned earlier, I think his opinion on porn is very biased and he paints it in a very bad light.


Something not addressed in this article is that you can go on a porn site and find a whole gamut of content. Some of it does indeed seem degrading or exploitative. Some of it definitely reduces an act between two (or more) humans down to the mechanisms of body parts. On the other hand, I've also seen videos on porn sites where you can clearly see a real loving relationship between the couple. Some of it truly appears to be capturing love-making over the pure carnality of sex. But obviously, the distinction I've just made is due to my personal interpretation. What looks like love to one person might look degrading to another. A good example is pretty much anything to do with kink. To someone very vanilla, something like S&M could very well appear cold and exploitative. But for the couple experiencing it, they might feel a wonderful bond through the act that looks to be focused on disconnection.


...like I said earlier, this whole topic is extremely subjective.



So given all that, what exactly do I mean when I say I don't do porn?


To me, there are two key elements that make something pornographic: 1) the focus of the content is on an actual sex act, and 2) the content is made with the intention of using said sex act to entertain the viewer.


There are exceptions to these rules, of course, because there are edge-cases for everything. Some fetishes, for example, might not ever involve intercourse or any kind of genital stimulation. But in general, when I want to watch porn, I eventually want to see someone masturbating or I want to see a couple or a group actually having sex. So that's a huge part of the definition, for me.


On the second point, I think of porn as sex for entertainment. It's sex had for the benefit of the person watching. Not that the people involved don't get anything out of it--I certainly hope they do--but it's always done with the viewer in mind. Why would it be shared otherwise?


So, my response is that I just don't want these elements in my work. I don't want the focus of my content to be on me engaging in sex acts. Simple as that. And I'm not about having sex for others. Sex is for me and my partner. It's a private thing; it's part of my personal life, not a part of my public persona.


And before anyone goes and points it out, yes, I am aware that I have made content in the past that seems to directly contradict what I just said. I have several masturbation videos. (In fact they are available to watch right here on this site.) I'm not ashamed of them. They are part of the journey I took to get here. I had to make them to realize I'm not particularly interested in making more of them. It's just like anything else that you try, only to find out that you don't like it, or that it doesn't suit you. I don't like making masturbation videos. I just don't enjoy it. I always feel awkward making them, as if I'm doing it for someone besides myself. Also I can't stand watching them back, which makes editing a nightmare.


I make the content I make because I legitimately enjoy it. I thrive on the whole process, from ideation all the way through to packaging it and making it available for my fans. I'm not at all trying to claim that it's not sexual--a lot of my content is very sexual. But a lot of my content stops at the point where porn would start, which I think classifies it as something different.


I don't do porn because I don't want to, and I don't enjoy making it. That's really all there is to it.

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