Sunday, September 14, 2014

Erotica vs. Pornography - A Personal Opinion

Being a strong believer in the concept of “Calling It What It Is” …

I wanted to take a few moments to share my thoughts on the differences between Erotica and Pornography.

While I do believe that each is a legitimate form of entertainment …  I also believe that we do both genres a massive disservice if we allow the lines of distinction between them to fade into the background.  And finding a clear line of separation between the two is often not that easy.  Mainly because of two quite disparate groups.

 A – The Overly Moralistic

 B – The Shameless Hucksters

While the motives of each group are completely different …  The two sides are all too often contributing to the same result.  Making it nearly impossible for Joe and Jane Average to discern the difference between what is Erotica and what is Pornography.

The “Overly Moralistic” make it a point to rail against Porn and to point out the slightest occurrence of Porn whenever they believe they have found it.  Unfortunately …  In their minds …  The term Porn usually translates into “Any picture or story or subject which causes an individual to have fond thoughts of sex”.

Then the “Shameless Hucksters” contribute to an already massive degree of confusion by allowing the “Almighty Coin” to be the primary cornerstone of their business philosophy.

If you can sell it by calling it Erotica …  Do so.

If you can sell it by calling it Porn …  Do so.

And the result of all the crazy actions from both of these groups (and a handful of others) is that the narrow boundary between Erotica and Pornography gets lost among the ruins.  So please allow this Southern Gentleman to offer his two main guidelines on recognizing the difference between the two genres.

- 1- Stories
In a written story or a motion picture …  The rule which I follow, for determining the difference between Erotica and Pornography, is very similar to the rule I use for classifying the differences between:

Epic Adventure  VS  Shoot Em Up


Epic Fantasy  VS  Hack & Slash

In an Epic Adventure or Epic Fantasy …  A moderate amount of action should exist to help advance the plot and give strong reasons for character development.
In Shoot Em Up and Hack & Slash …  A bare bones degree of plot and character development exists to provide a reason for tons of action to take place.

Lord Of The Rings was Epic Fantasy and Epic Adventure.

Masters Of The Universe was Hack & Slash.

Likewise …

If flirting / hugging / kissing / sex are simply one important part of an intricately woven plot, which has a strong degree of character development – You most likely have erotica.

If three minutes of plot are there simply to provide a storytelling excuse for the Real Estate Sales Vixen  to meet and fuck the Horney Home Buyer, the Buyer’s Well Hung Contractor and the Contractor’s Large Breasted Bimbo Secretary –  It’s most likely Porn.

( or possibly a G.A.O. training film )

– 2 – Pictures
In the realms of Photography, Painting and Drawing …  My dividing line between Erotica and Pornography usually depends on the absence or presence of two different activities.

( A ) Penetration

( B ) Masturbation

It is my sincere opinion that if either of these is occurring in a picture (or picture set) … The presentation has most likely crossed the line into pornography.  And if you do any business with models who define their work style as “Limited to Mainstream or Erotic” …  You will quickly learn that most of them follow this train of thought.

Now, I am the first person to admit that this little set of rules can not – will not – should not cover every single instance of properly defining what is erotica and what is pornography.  The are merely starting points for beginning a constructive dialogue on the matter.

 And I’d be very happy to hear opinions on this topic.


Travis Clemmons


  1. Or as a publisher/author once said to me "Porn is about bodies having sex; erotica is about people having sex." For me it is a matter of what function the sex has -- if it advances the plot or helps develop characters then it is more likely erotica... of course some folks go further and try to say romance is a third category... what are your thoughts on that?

  2. I think Romance can be a 3rd distinct category.

    One of the most beautiful love scenes I've ever observed was in a live production of the Musical 1776. When John Adams and Abigale Adams are composing their love letters to each other and (in their daydreams) they are walking side by side. Often being incredibly close to each other bur never quite touching.

    Near the end of their second song with each other ... Their faces are separated by less than 12 inches. And as he closes his eyes and reaches his arms out to wrap them around her ... Abby quietly backs away from him ... Leaving John to embrace nothing but thin air.

    As he opens his eyes again ... The look of disappointment on the man's face reveals all we need to know about how much he is missing both her conversation and her body.