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Erotica Versus Pornography


Chris Donovan

We see this term online, in magazines, on the cover of books: erotica. Erotica novels, erotica stories, poems and so on. But what is erotica? Some might immediately think that erotica equals pornography. But this can not be further from the truth. The fact is that erotica is, indeed, based on sexual contents, yet it implies so much more besides that. On the other hand, pornography is simply based on presenting sexual acts, explicit sexual acts, to be more exact.

But let’s take things step by step. Presupposing that you are watching a pornographic move - what can you actually see? Is there any plot, any structure, any symbolism or anything else besides pure sex? The answer would be “no”. And now imagining that you are reading an erotica book. What would you read? You would actually read about certain characters, about their feelings, emotions and attitudes towards sex and sexual experiences, about their inner sensuality, desires, fantasies and sexual needs. You would read about their sensations, sensations that are connected or inspired by sexual acts, by foreplay, by teasing and playing, by observing, feeling, touching, smelling and tasting the human body. Erotica writing implies the use of all these sensations and senses, in real images that you can actually feel, touch and sense when reading or viewing the erotica content.

Besides the above differences, there is one more thing that needs to be said when comparing erotica with pornography – the main purpose of both these forms of expression. While pornography leaves nothing to the imagination, since everything is presented up front, in explicit images, words or noises, erotica is more subtle, more delicate, even if the main subject remains the same one: sex and sexual activities. Basically, pornography has the purpose to stimulate in a rapid manner, while erotica contents play with the viewer’s or reader’s mind and creativity, in order to allow him or her identify with the characters, to feel the action and to live the sexual act, step by step and sensation by sensation.

While pornography still battles with a wide range of prejudices and controversies, (especially hardcore and fetish pornography), erotica does not raise as many eyebrows as its opponent. Basically, an erotica sexual act is not described through aggressive actions and exaggerated attitudes. An erotica sexual act is more “human” – some might say “more normal”. But by “more normal”, we should not understand “more boring”, because what erotica does is exactly the opposite. It challenges, it stimulates our playful mind and our senses, in order to want the sexual act even more, in order to reach sexual and sensual fulfillment.

As shown, there is a wide range of differences between the two types of contents, differences which even make them have different target customers or public. Considering the facts above, a clear distinction between the two terms, erotica and pornography, should be made, in order to avoid confusions and to clarify the main features and roles of both of them.

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