What Nobody Ever Told You About The History Of Porn
History

What Nobody Ever Told You About The History Of Porn

Avatar of Francisco Ramirez

By: Francisco Ramirez

March 7, 2017

History What Nobody Ever Told You About The History Of Porn
Avatar of Francisco Ramirez

By: Francisco Ramirez

March 7, 2017




Porn History pizza-w636-h600

This is a classic premise: the pizza delivery guy, most of the times a handsome man who probably spends more time at the gym than actually working, gets lucky. A gorgeous woman opens the door, and she's craving for something more than a pepperoni pie. She invites him inside, and the foreplay begins. They leave the food aside and move their erotic game to the bedroom, so the tacky plot is no longer needed. Although there are variations, most porn movies made today start from this illogical, absurd, narrative principle. They are pure fantasies. But if they're so incoherent, why are we hooked?

The reality we're living nowadays, in general terms, is characterized by the hypersexualization of human beings, especially in media and publicity. The increase of sexual content through new technologies facilitates the dissemination of information. Because now news  travels faster and more efficiently, the line that divides what can be shown and what cannot is blurred. As a result, society has found a way to contextualize and thus profit from pornography.


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Today we associate pornography with audiovisual media, especially films or videos that are just a click away on the Internet. But still, there's much more to know about porn. It offers so much to analyze from a critical perspective; for example, many studies have been made about the consequences of the consumption of pornography. Sometimes it is difficult to determine the nature and sense of the content people are exposed to, so the discussion about porn can be taken to a more intellectual level.

Pornography refers to a series of content that explicitly shows the sexual act. But this is nothing new. It's one of the most ancient practices and its forms have evolved throughout history.


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Although the most conventional form of pornography is the one we see nowadays, some experts claim that erotic and pornographic motifs in women's images dates back to the paleolithic era, when primitive men started using tools to sculpt wood, marble, and stone. The "Venus of Hohle Fels," a 35-thousand-year-old piece, is accentuated with sexual features, and yet, her face and limbs (traits that could give identify her) are less detailed. Her breasts and vulva are the most emphasized components. According to archaeologist Paul Mellars  in Nature magazine, the figurine "could be seen as bordering on the pornographic." For many, these figures exalt sexuality; others assure that they're only symbols of fertility. However, many others speculate that these representations had masturbatory functions.



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The model of pornography as we know it today has prevailed since Victorian times, the period when the Industrial Revolution and the British Empire reached their peak. An emblematic example is Édouard-Henri Avril, whose illustrations on philosophy books about sex depict explicit and diverse sexual situations. This erotic and hyper-realistic aesthetic would move to other art disciplines, like painting, sculpture, and literature, but it would reach its pinnacle in photography. Later on, erotic images made an incursion in the first steps of silent cinema; however, a lot of time had to pass for pornography to loose its clandestine status and become a product of mass consumption, that would be seen essential for society.


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The seventies were the golden age of pornography, when it positioned itself as the profitable industry it is now. Europe, especially the northern countries, were the first to legalize pornographic material during the sixties. But the United States soon saw a potential market and developed independent and mainstream productions. Soon Americans became specialists on the genre. With its natural controversies, the success of porn is obvious today. The United States is the country with the most pornographic online content, followed by Holland, and Japan. Also, a recent study made by CyberSentinel.co.uk determined that people dedicate around 7.25 hours per month to porn, which is almost the same time as a working day.


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The evolution: a fight of role and power 

Throughout its history, pornography has focused on the sexualized image of a dominated woman as a means to satisfy men. This has even led to a normalized conception of denigration of women that overlooks her vision of pleasure; women in these films are there just to satisfy their male partner's –and the male viewer's– desires.


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Recently, with the change of paradigms regarding gender roles, that representation has slowly changed. Some actresses have portrayed stronger, more confident female characters or have simply taken charge of the productions to show their own visions. Among some of the bolder and more peculiar proposals are the ones created by feminist directors, like Candida Royalle and Erika Lust. The first one, who passed away in 2015, acted, produced, and directed films focused on relationships, a topic that is not as frequent in the genre. The second director is a Swedish screenwriter who offers an empowered image of women through sex, eroticism, and their femininity. It is also relevant that her productions show something that might seem insignificant in a traditional, phallocentric film: the female orgasm as the main purpose of sex.


The damages that pornography can cause

As it was mentioned before, according to the data provided by CybeSentinel.co.uk, people spend a lot of time watching porn. Many wonder if watching too much of it can be harmful, and apparently, it's a real problem for many around the world.



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In fact, Archives of General Psychiatry made a study revealing that an excesive consumption of pornography could cause cardiovascular, renal, and endocrine disorders. This could also cause an addiction comparable to those related to hard drugs.


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In a sense, the history of pornography is that of humankind; we must not forget that it has defined an important aspect of humanity's nature from a social, cultural, and even economic point of view. For many, real sexual education starts by watching an X-rated movie. It's important to remember that beyond being a film genre, porn is also an industry that has generated millions in profits and has even influenced other art forms, such as photography, literature, or music.




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Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards











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