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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pornography and Erotica

Is There A Distinction Between Pornography and Erotica?

I’ve always been fascinated by sexual, sensual writing and wanted to play around with the form. It seemed the perfect antidote to writing my thesis. Thus, I would find myself in the morning waning on the influence of the social-constructivist concept of knowledge making on composition pedagogy, and in the evening, waxing effusively about kisses and cunts, powerful cocks rubbing nipples and then slipping into mouths willing to suck and suck and suck, a couple slow dancing in the buff with the blinds open just enough for a voyeur to catch an exciting glimpse, out-and-out public fucks, and curious onlookers more fascinated with a silk dress fluttering to the ground than the naked woman who has abandoned the dress.

I kept this sort of writing secret for quite a while, but finally unveiled a small piece (Kiss) at my writer’s group. Not my first piece of erotica, and not my best – sure to be followed by both worse and better, but it was the first piece I read aloud to others.

And then I shared What Happens When You Suck Peppermint From a Strange Man’s Mouth – the beginning line of which came tumbling out in an off-the-cuff exercise at my writing group. I began to feel more comfortable with this genre, less embarrassed that I spent my precious time on such an endeavor, and even began to confess to a few folks here and there, including office mates, that I was “writing erotica.”

But I couldn’t possibly say “I write pornography.”

I read one erotica poem at a very small, private reading and learned that such work can be wonderfully accepted, but not immediately after you read. No, at that point, your words are greeted with uncomfortable silence. Perhaps minds (and pussies and cocks) are squirming with reaction, and are secretly ashamed that they are aroused. Later though, when the readings are done and the small parlor group begins to wander to the dining room table for cookies, some cheese, a slice of pear, a glass of wine, someone takes you aside and with a blush, says, “I really loved that piece.” And you say thank you, and let them move quickly on, because, after all, it’s a bit embarrassing to be seen talking with you, the writer of erotica. Or perhaps it really is pornography. Either way, it’s taboo. But one seems more taboo than the other.

“Is there truly a distinction?” I asked myself and quickly and defensively responded, “Erotica is art and pornography is trash.”

Oh. But whose aesthetic values have determined what art is and what trash is? How do we define it? How do I define it? The art/trash dichotomy just doesn’t cut it.

Aware that I carried certain assumptions and judgments about both these words and the materials they supposedly define, I brainstormed a list of characteristics for each:

Erotica: desire, sensual, intimacy, relationships, shared power, tenderness, care, concern, rich, textured, layered, uplifting, artistic.

Pornography: desire, sexual, casual, violent, oppressive/submissive, exploitive, blunt, crude, unbalanced power, glorifies violence, forced sex, and objectifies women, degrading, depraved.

But sometimes I write “erotica” which is blunt and crude. Is it then pornography? Oh, I’ve weaved a web for myself, trapped in my own definitions. But I won’t stop writing what I write. It’s too much fun. Am I, therefore, depraved?

I check dictionary.com, which essentially defines both erotica and pornography in the same manner:

Literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire.

Yet the entry on pornography adds this extra bit of information:

Pornographic material is protected expression unless it is determined to be obscene. However, child pornography is illegal under federal and state laws prohibiting the depiction of minors in sexual acts.

And how is obscene defined?

1. Offensive to accepted standards of decency or modesty.
2. Inciting lustful feelings; lewd.
3. Repulsive; disgusting.


Now we’re getting somewhere. Author’s intent in part defines the genre, as does reader’s response. Both pornography and erotica are intended to arouse sexual desire (and I suspect authors have additional intents beyond this one – I do). But pornography seems to be smudged, dirty. It can drift into the obscene (but whose accepted standards of decency or modesty will apply – ever and always the issue – WHO is the judge?). And pornography can also drift into the illegal. I don’t see erotica defined specifically as obscene, and certainly, we don’t hear about kiddie erotica – only kiddie porn (bad/illegal). And authors of such texts make purposeful choices, have intentions for their work and the direction in which it goes.

But this list of characteristics and these definitions just further polarize the terms. Erotica represents “good” values, and pornography “bad” values. I am uncomfortable with this dichotomy.

Some writer’s of women’s erotica say the distinction between porn and erotica is about how relationships are portrayed – women want a piece which arouses their sexual desire, but depicts loving, intimate relationships (erotica), while men don’t care, they want a piece that depicts the sex (porn).

Some feminists rail against pornography because it glorifies sexual violence toward women, represents women as objects, and is exploitive. Thus, a pornographic piece not only has the intent to arouse desire, it intends to objectify a person and render them powerless. And its production exploits others. On some levels, I can get comfortable, I think, with this sort of definition – I can clearly say – this is not a good construct for our culture. But I cannot say that only pornography and not erotica does this.

I begin to wonder…

If in my piece of sexually-arousing writing, I make the authorial decision to tip the balance of power, is that piece pornography, instead of erotica? What if I want to write a piece which pulls readers in because it arouses sexual desire, but that is merely the hook – what I, the writer, really want to look at (and have the reader look at) are gender relationships and the expression of sex as power. Now, is it porn or is it erotica? Is it neither? It is it social commentary? It is a good for society, or an ill? Is it obscene? Depraved?

What about a story which may be offensive to some, in that it depicts a violent sex act between consenting adults, or rape as a fantasy – implying consent? If a character/writer/reader consents to be objectified, if a character says,”hit me baby, hit me,” or “rape me baby, rape me” – is this porn now instead of erotica? (Some feminists would say yes.) Do the characters in these stories represent victims, or independent persons, pursuing that which they enjoy, and what concern is it of ours if they like being struck during sex, or made to do what we perceive as humiliating acts of depravity – they are getting off on it right – they choose it, want it (or at least, the authors have scripted that these characters choose it, want it). Of course, then we must look at why they choose it, and why the authors choose it for them. Do these characters represent individuals who have internalized hatred, oppression, abuse? Have these choices been imposed on them? Or is it possible that the writer purposely puts this together so we will look at and question these choices and what drives them? Can either pornography or erotica move past sexual arousal and description and critique our society, our relationships? What about when the writer merely wants to describe and arouse through depravity? Is that porn, or is it erotica? Or something else? And what does it say about us, that at some deep, dark level, we are aroused by such stories?

Take a look at this(http://ifuckedanncoulterintheasshard.blogspot.com/). Is this porn? Is it erotica? Is it political commentary? Is it degradation? Is it social commentary?

Are these distinctions between pornography and erotica derived from class lines? Erotica is highbrow, upper class. Pornography is lowbrow, lower class. And all the associations and assumptions we attribute to these two stratums are attached to either erotica or pornography.


Porn is the girl who grew up on the wrong side of town, whose father raped her
and whose mother kicked her out of the house as a result. Porn drinks and
drugs herself into oblivion and then, broke and beaten down, believing only in
the negative and basest parts of herself, finds a job working at the Seven Seas
Tavern on 2nd and Port, where she dances on a small, raised, dirty stage in the
middle of the rough tables and chairs, her eyes looking down because she can no
longer look up. Wearing an old, dirty thong, and a short, tight T-shirt
torn from her neckline to navel, she humps and grinds in time to whatever music
is playing. Drunken men call out to her, “grind it cunt, grind it,” or
“I’ll grind you, bitch.” And she dances, endlessly, as they move around
her, on their way to and from the bar, reaching with their calloused, grimy
hands to pinch her nipples far past the point of pleasure, pull her labium, and
poke their fingers into her ass. She doesn’t stop them, nor flinch, but
now and again a fleeting look of pain crosses her face and she momentarily
wonders, and then mutely accepts, that this, all of this, is what she deserves.
And when she thinks that, she tries to smile, and look seductively into the eyes
of any of the men that call out to her or feel her up. But they won’t look
her in the eyes, though they will, on her occasional break, follow her to the
back alley and take turns fucking her.

But that’s not porn, that’s social commentary. Or is it?

I return to the idea of authorial intent. My intentions when writing porn or erotica are varied: I often intend to describe a sexual act as richly, fully, sensuously as I can, simply for the aesthetic experience. I sometimes use crude words, to either shock my audience, or call into question the “taboo” nature of these words, or lessen their negative power through casual and repeated use. Sometimes I try to critique a relationship as it is played out in sexual and sensual acts on the page. Sometimes I just want to arouse the reader because it’s fun and there is something inherently sexy and powerful (in a benevolent sort of way) about making someone hot and bothered.

I can no longer justify a distinction between porn and erotica for myself – though I can distinguish between texts which arouse sexual desire in what I deem as a positive, healthy way and texts which don’t, between texts which describe and critique the darker side of human sexuality and texts which exploit the darker side. But I do not find the labels of pornography and erotica very useful. Their lines are too blurred for me.

What do you think?

Links to explore:
http://www.feminist.com/askamy/feminism/301_fem3.html

http://www.amazoncastle.com/feminism/porn.shtml

http://www.cleansheets.com/articles/darvell_09.10.03.shtml

http://www.zetetics.com/mac/freeinqu.htm

28 Comments:

Blogger disguised said...

Sexual violence against women--sounds like a certain law that may go into effect in South Dakota allowing such behavior. Interestingly, some of the same feminists who worked in the '70s Anti-Violence Against Women movement (my first cousin being one of the people listed on the feminist website you list--she edited "Take Back the Night") is now a card carrying Republican because of "porn." This was the issue that turned her from radical democrat to conservative republican. And now look where THAT's gotten us.

I digress--Sorry. Yes, indeed, the distinctions between porn and erotica are almost nil--I agree with you bird--it's about the element of power. If power is shared, then it's erotica; if not, it's porn. If one looks at the world with the view that women never have power, than all material of sexual nature is porn. If one believes women have power, than sexual material has the possibility of erotica.

February 25, 2006 12:38 AM  
Blogger fatty ~ said...

erotica and pornography have as much difference as the constraints of language allow - its about interpretation.

Words and language can be used in any way to mean any thing. Its not about how well it is written. A power struggle may be a serious technique - or just a fantasy.

The difference lies in the intent and how it is revealed.
I see at as an issue of...
sensual vs sexual.
Sensuality implies, includes and challenges sexuality - but is distinct. It has a different focus - It is not Just SEX.

Erotica and pornography are the similar, but in the end they're just words we're arguing about.

February 25, 2006 4:48 AM  
Blogger native said...

very interesting post. i am troubled by pornography in that i think it creates a false sense of expectation for men in particular. this notion of push button arousal can make certain men take a lazy approach to seduction. i think there is a kind of man who may be frustrated to discover that a flesh and blood woman is more complex than the very agreeable woman in the film who climaxes with great ease and deep appreciation (no pun intended). and to punctuate that, often climaxing in ways i think are anatomically impossible to achieve.

I am thinking of the movie "the big easy" where dennis quaids character seduces ellen barkins character. it is sexy because of her insecurity and frailty. this woman who is a competent and motivated lawyer tells him she has never been lucky in the sex department. and he tells here her luck is about to change. and its his willingness to put the time in. be patient, read the situation and give it all -heart and soul that makes this an erotic moment.

it has been said that men who spend alot of time on pornography sites on the internet start to lose interest in the real life sex. its kind of like making a meal at home: tastes better and is better for you, but instead you go through a drive thru and get something fast and easy.

i would think that writing erotica for women would be difficult. i remember reading anais nin in college but i dont remember anything she wrote or even if or how it affected me! the most erotic thing is a man who pays attention and is a friend all through the day, winning my heart and mind, making me laugh and being at ease.
in that framework the chances of a lovely evening are greatly increased. trust is possibly what i am reflecting on here.

February 25, 2006 6:15 AM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

Bird, you sort of summed it up for me here… it’s very subjective as to what’s porn… certain members of my family thought Baywatch was porn, because of the girls bouncing down the beach in bikinis… I thought that was a joke…

I’ve read Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus… it was a collection of short stories, some of fulfilling sexuality, and some of abuse and degradation… the latter, portrayed in a vignette about a man who sexually abuses his children (Chapter 1?), and later some guys who thought it’d be funny to hold a woman down while a dog licks her, I found particularly disturbing… yet Nin’s work is usually considered erotica… there was no shortage of hot stuff in the book – like the woman who pleasured herself in the mirror – but the other elements somewhat cancelled it out… erotica? I’m not sure…

I was once staying at a relative’s house, and picked up a romance novel that was in the room, and opened to a random page… I had never seen the inside of a romance novel until that point – this was definitely the romance genre, complete with the Fabio cover… the first passage I saw was something to the effect of, “She felt the bulge underneath his pajama bottoms, before slipping them down…” that’s pretty sexy… are romance novels about love, as some have said? sometimes, but there’s also a lot of eroticism and passionate affairs, for which love may not play a part…

Fanny Hill is pretty erotic, though half the reason to read that is the humor… it’s as funny as it is sexually explicit… yet it’s sold in the literature section of the store…

the book The Godfather, which features a tryst at a wedding that’s described in great deal, is not generally considered pornographic… yet, if that scenario were filmed as written and put in the movie, it would have been called porn… so the MEDIUM, which I don’t think you mentioned, also determines the “status” of a work for many…

very informative here, bird… thanks for posting your work, and all the links…

February 25, 2006 8:33 AM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

"If a character/writer/reader consents to be objectified, if a character says, 'hit me baby, hit me,' or 'rape me baby, rape me' – is this porn now instead of erotica?"

very good question... I see a lot of what I'd call "mixed signals" in the world... I've seen or read erotic things where a guy is a very aggressive seducer... in response to that, some women will say, "He's so forceful... that's sexy! I like a man who takes charge..."

huh?

how does this statement, which is an amalgam of things actual women have said, square with the rule that "if a woman says 'no,' it's no?" that's too close for comfort for me... TO BE CLEAR, I've always adhered to the "no" rule - I'm merely saying that I don't know how those two attitudes can co-exist in one woman, and where the line is... (don't start attacking me here - this is a question in the abstract... no means no, and that's how it should be)

February 25, 2006 8:43 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

Bogs,
Ah, how a woman might respond to erotica or porn (how about: LITASD -Literature Intended to Arouse Sexual Desire)is different than how she might feel, or act, if a man were to become too forceful or agressive with her in real life.

I agree that sometimes, men and women give mixed messages (human communication is often anything but clear), but it's still incumbent upon the man to careful. Yes, no means no, even when said at the last minute.

You mentioned medium - and that's important to this discusson and provides a distinction. I think in terms of printed text - writing. In a written text, the objectivity/subjectivity, issues of power, exploitation, etc. are strictly matters negotiated between writer and reader - there is no middle man (except the printed words themselves). But in film or photos, that's another story - real people are involved in the production of those texts,and often power struggles and exploitation are not concepts worked out on the page, but real issues that are happening to and among the people producing the text.

Disguised,
Yes, I seem to be circling that issue of power...but I really find the labels useless at this point -there's too much overlap. But sexual writing which allows women power - that's fun. but maybe men would see it as oppressive to them. of course, women holding sexual power doesn't mean that power has to be used agressively or exploitively (and of course, who said it has to be used with men?).

Aka Fatty,

Just words we're arguing about? But words are not just words - how we use words helps shape our reality. Words are sybmols for our thoughts. I am puzzled by the dismissive "they are just words."

Gone Native:
Then for you, a working definition of these two terms would be that porn encourages instant sex and gratification, and erotica encourages the development of sexual and sensual pleasure and connection?

February 25, 2006 10:12 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

Sorry, just wanted to reaffirm - Bogs - I am not implying that you wouldn't understand no. You seem to be a good guy.

No attacks Ladies - he's alright.

February 25, 2006 10:15 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

In my view pornography uses the disguise of sexual behavior to exert power and control. It is indeed stimulating to some and that is their choice.

By the way beginning to write the response tends to cool the physical arousal from your posting.

Well written when it elicits an intended, or not, response.

Thanks for raising the issue. The pun was a Freudian slip. But I'll own it.

February 25, 2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger ffff said...

Interesting subject matter for you to post. Brought up lots of feelings for me, as through the years I have been slowly exposed to pornography and erotica. The difference for me is:

Pornography is when I am watching or reading something I can't help wondering '"hat about the woman"..What has she been through to get to this stage of her life, does she have any self esteem, how is this really feeling for her as she is being pumbled away, how much did she get paid, was it worth it. What was her childhood like, where did she meet the people making this movie, what are her dreams, what is she hoping to achieve?

Erotica:
I am there, it looks nice, it sounds nice, it would feel great, how amazing is that, how fabulous, how delicious.

The greatest erotica in my opinion is ... an..ti..ci..pa..tion!

Needless to say I don't like pornography, but I love, LOVE erotica.

February 25, 2006 9:48 PM  
Blogger ardlair said...

Long question.
Short answer - yes.

February 26, 2006 6:29 AM  
Blogger Lady Lux said...

could it be..that one person's erotica...could be deemed by another as pornography...and one persons sense of pornography may deemed as erotica by another....

hmmmm...

just thinking...

February 26, 2006 6:42 AM  
Blogger native said...

bird said:

"Gone Native:
Then for you, a working definition of these two terms would be that porn encourages instant sex and gratification, and erotica encourages the development of sexual and sensual pleasure and connection?"

that's good. yep.

porn to me has an ugly fakeness to it that is disturbing. empty. plastic. soulless. phony. and sometimes includes elements of veiled violence as other posts above have noted.

February 26, 2006 7:52 AM  
Blogger ffff said...

gone native: EXACTLY!

February 26, 2006 6:33 PM  
Blogger disguised said...

Yes--erotica one can feel, and it's truthful--it's not plastic, as you say (although plastic sure can be involved!!) But it's not just in the loins. And, as Alison said, a big part of it is AN-TI-CI-PA-TION.

February 26, 2006 10:08 PM  
Blogger Evil Anne McFlint said...

Okay. Here are my ridiculous opinions about the subject(s) at hand. Although it is fun to discuss.. and a nice change from our depressing political situation. (heavy sigh)

As far as the feministic extremes about porn depicting violence against, and objectifying, women I say unto thee "You haven't seen MY stuff!" Dominating women depicted in my style of porn/erotica/sexual stimuli will definitely put you in a hurt locker if you tried to violate or objectify them. This type of 'power porn' can be extremely erotic and can help build stronger relationships. (Now before everyone starts forming a lynch mob, allow me to elaborate.) Western society is hung up on gender roles. Men = breadwinners and Women = homemakers. I know, I know, the '50s are over, but this mentality still lurks beneath the
surface of TOTAL sexual equality.

Now, with women consentually 'exhanging' power with men and adopting dominatrix-style roles can help the male (especially sucessful ones) feel a bit of the objectivity women struggle with, and possibly form a new-found respect. For women, (those who can safely control a role-sensitive sexual situation), it can help release frustration which stems from that infamous gender barrier. And yes. It's PORN. It's lewd. It's degrading. It's empowering. And sometimes, it's just damn worth it!
So not all porn is violence toward women. We violate men, too! What about lesbian porn? Who's being violated when they're doing the same thing to each other?

Pornography doesn't cause violence or desires to rape women. There is, unfortunately, a demographic who may be enticed to do violent/ degrading things when aroused... but it's largely their NURTURE. I doubt a porno movie gave these people 'new' ideas on what to do. "Hey! Thar's a good idear!" Fortunately, most will 'rub one out' and move along with their day. It's the individual who DOESN'T satisfy the animalistic desires that scare me. See? Porn can be socially beneficial, too. (I think outside a lot of boxes, by the way)

I read the Ann Coulter thing... and honestly it cracked me up. I wasn't disturbed by the pornographic nature of it. I found the author's choice of adjectives to be particularly creative and damn amusing! Notice how he doesn't use the same term twice? So, I wouldn't use porn, erotica, social or political labels to describe it. Misguided English 101 Project, maybe?

"She sputtered, gobbled and gulped what I’d have to call a very liberal, even radically so, quantity of hot splooey."

How many of you got the poitical satire in that? Some, maybe. But I bet a vast majority of readers were stunned by the audacity of the article, in general, that it went right over their heads. As with anything, sometimes you have to shed the taboo and become comfortable with the words written. Otherwise you can miss a lot of great stuff!

Bird, I applaud your decision and drive to write erotica. I believe that an author has a lot of hidden issues/ desires and projects these through the characters. (No, no... I'm not attacking. Generalizing. I also enjoy writing fiction.) This is my personal observation. Most everyone, sexually, wants their fair share; their 'turn.' It's what consenting adults do! Authors write to please their readers and simultaneously please themselves. Especially authors of erotica. It's a mental pleasure. Porn... well, yeah. That's purely physical. And equally important! What good is a mental fuck without penetration?? (joke... it was a joke. sheesh)

The argument of erotica vs. pornography can become redundant. I'll do my best to simplify it. Porn is physically and visually stimulating. Erotica is mentally and spiritually stimulating. But all four of these attributes define a human as a 'person.' Stimulate all of them!

Watch and masturbate, or read and anticipate.

Guess it all depends on how much time you have before the kids get home! (giggle)

February 27, 2006 10:46 AM  
Blogger Mr Q said...

Bird, all I can say is that this post has turned me on...
To doing some more reading into the topic and I will be licking...
My fingers so i don't have to stick...
Them on the little wet...
Sponge. Let's not go as farther than Kinsey. Forgiving moderation is what blurs the line between these hobbies.

February 27, 2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

erotica can be disturbing and violent, like porn, so the line is still blurry to me... read Delta of Venus...

interesting point about lesbians and the implied violence of the objectification of women... there is a lesbian on blogspot who's developing a "best strip clubs" site... she says she loves them... do we feel the same way about a guy doing/saying that as we do about a woman? is one more permissible than the other? and why?

February 27, 2006 12:01 PM  
Blogger infinitesimal said...

Bogs, I don't remember that part in Delta of Venus. I remember an old man who jerks it watching middle school girls. Not a father after his own....

But not a single memory of a dog involved anywhere in the book.


Personally, I like porn. Not drugged out yuck porn (and Bird, what kind of strip clubs have you been frquenting?) where the participants are scarred and molested X strippers or hookers.
I like nice classy porn with costumes and fairly good actors.

And what about girl on girl porn? does it fit this description?:

"desire, sexual, casual, violent, oppressive/submissive, exploitive, blunt, crude, unbalanced power, glorifies violence, forced sex, and objectifies women, degrading, depraved."

Even in the bad porn, women are layed down and munched and then the man services her. It is not degrading or objectifying when compared to porn in the eighties and nineties.
Violent porn went out in the seventies I think. It is a Kinder Gentler porn now.


Porn saves me from getting raped every day, think about that ladies.

I do not fancy it any more, but I used to like to watch good porn on occasion and still might.

I know a lot of it is gross, but it ain't all bad.

VIVE LA PORN!!

~Vanille~

February 28, 2006 6:58 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

Ah Cherie (sp) Vanille (now there's a porn star name, right? :) )

I don't think porn in any way prevents rape. Those inclined to actually physically abuse a woman and take her power away via rape will not content themselves with mere fantasy.

I make no distinction between herterosexual and homosexual porn or erotica - and yeah, girl-on-girl porn/erotica doesn't necessarily mean it's a healthy representation of a sexual relationship ( i just read a piece in 2005 Best Erotica STories - or something like that - edited by Suzie Bright which illustrates a psychologically abusive sexual relationship (includes consent in this one) between two women. So, is that porn or erotica, or is it literature intended to arouse sexual desire but written to show an unhealthy relationship - the story doesnt' seem to critique that relationship - just describe it.

Bogs - I know the story you're talking about in the Delta of Venus- it disturbed me greatly - described the incestuous relationship between the father and his daughters without critiqueing it - this is the troubling aspect to me. I want a critique, I want the writer to somehow question the relationship - make us think about it, rather than just illustrate it, describe it.

February 28, 2006 10:45 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

Oh - Sux -
Thanks for dropping by and you too Mr. Q. I am pondering your contributions....hmmmm...

Back to grading papers (what a strange juxtaposition).

February 28, 2006 10:45 AM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

I just brought "Delta" back out tonight... the chapter called The Boarding School has priests getting aroused by little boys, and some of the kids gang-rape a classmate... The Ring describes a knife used as a phallus... and in The Basque And Bijou two men hold a woman down so a dog can lick her... the description of the dog itself is very romanticized... bestiality is not sexy!

and here right on the cover it says "erotica"

February 28, 2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Ah Bogs, you've cycled us back to the beginning of my post - what is the difference between erotica and pornography?

I am looking at my copy too as I type. There it is, plain as day: Delta of Venus, Erotica by Anais Nin. i'm wondering if the useage of these words has shifted since anais nin was writing. maybe in her time the words held no particular distinction. I suppose now i have to do some literry criticism research - but certainly not tonight!

February 28, 2006 11:00 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

oh geesh- i mean literary , not literry! tired hands, poor lighting, bad eyesight - how annoying!

February 28, 2006 11:03 PM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

bird, maybe you can find a dictionary in the liberry...

;-)

March 01, 2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger Blue said...

Hey Bird,

I've been coming back & I must have read every link & comment a couple of times pondering this issue. I agree with what sux says about the mental/spiritual vs visual/physical....

However I have another idea - One of the probs I have with porn (which isn't many) other than the powerbase thing - is when the participants are looking into the camera instead of just participating in the act.

I like the visceral voyerism of erotica - I don't like the idea of entertainment per se..... I'm not sure if this is clear or not. - I will keep pondering - thank you for your ideas & links to keep me thinking.

B.

March 01, 2006 4:43 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Bluebolt,
when I originally posted this, I ws thinking mostly in terms of literature, but there have been lots of comments that relate to film porn/erotica. and that's very different to me - because of course it involves real people in the production. i wonder about those people. how do they feel about what they do, how do they feel when they do what they do, how do they feel after? is it just a job? is it degradation to them? are they coereced? do they feel constrained by their choices?

looking into the camera - that means the actor is looking directly at the viewer then. and that technique, it seems to me, would be intended to draw the viewer in as a pseudo-participant. now what does that mean and or do for/to the viewer?

geesh, i'm analyzing porn techniques. i suppose it's not any different that analyzing the conventions of any other "art" form.

Hahaha!

March 01, 2006 10:32 PM  
Blogger disguised said...

Yes, and analyzing those techniques works best when one tries it out oneself

March 30, 2006 12:21 AM  
Blogger disguised said...

P.S.

Bird, how (or has?) your opinion changed after reading "How to Break a Woman?"

March 30, 2006 12:22 AM  

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