Pornography and other lewd art

Morsels of oddity from the depiction of human sexual behaviour

April 22, 2020 — May 21, 2024

photon choreography

Content warning:

Discussion of sexual acts, depictions of sexual acts

Figure 1

A bookmark salad for now of things related to porn, such as, as Peter Watts argues, the universe itself.

1 Ethics, evolving norms

Ozymandias, Sex-Positive, Porn-Critical?:

In the past, I have had a bunch of pretty positive things to say about porn.

Mea culpa.

To be clear, I have pretty positive things to say about some porn. I have nothing but positive feelings about AO3, pictures of hot naked people, the Best Women’s Erotica series, the Erogamer, porn comics, caption porn Tumblrs (RIP), the work produced by many independent camgirls, and the noble person who put every sex scene from Call Me By Your Name on Pornhub. But man, guys, mainstream video porn— the thing you get if you open up the tube sites and start scrolling— that stuff is actually pretty bad!

Now, in my defense, everyone else is entirely wrong about why it is bad.

Elizabeth Bruenig is possibly thinking this, in Porn Education Is Totally Unprepared for Modern Porn:

And parents who imagine porn-literacy courses like Fonte’s to be little more than crash courses in en vogue libertinism seem entirely unaware of how dire the stakes are. The risk isn’t that their children may be exposed to something “dirty” or politically incorrect, but that their children may well be exposed to things that are brutal, cruel, vicious, even genuinely criminal—the sort of material law-enforcement agents carefully train themselves to encounter—all without a sense of how to distinguish the authentically violent from that which only masquerades as such. If anything, courses like Fonte’s aren’t given nearly enough funding, time, or other resources to fully demonstrate just how onerous ethical porn use really is. Without that kind of guidance, how are teenagers supposed to have any idea how to be good people in the world we’ve created?

How are any of us, for that matter?

To discuss: and the wave of feminist video porn.

2 What even is porn?

Gabriel Goh’s masterful ontological hacking, that uses a porn classifier to tease out Freudian sex ideation from non-pornographic images.

Figure 2

That is now difficult to find on the internet, presumably because Goh was looking for a job and it kept on bubbling up on the LinkedIn profile.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz dined out on his book about the idea that web searches were more revealing of what people were thinking than considered questions. But the bit about how their desire as expressed through porn do not match their explicitly expressed desires feels important.

Figure 3

There was an exhibition/installation whose name I can never recall, comprising that was comic books of imaginary (?) fetishes. Noted here for my improvement: It was Franscesc Ruiz’s House of Fun. From an interview:

IS: Some fetishes, such as “Cut” or “Fold”, relate directly to the world of drawing. In the latter cover image, a man with a long cock is being folded and unfolded, flattened into cardboard. It’s really apt for the bookshop.

FR: “fold” is one of the most important fetishes because of its relation to the act of printing and drawing. The figure is being flattened — and he loves it. This fetish of being flattened is a kind of visual bondage, which is bondage through drawing.

3 Censoring

Do not draw a penis, explained by Mark Wilson:

The site is a pointed riff on Quick, Draw!. Google eventually made that dataset of 15 million images public, intending to make the drawings available for anyone to use. But as Moniker’s team notes, that dataset was missing one specific thing that people like to draw on the internet, and likely drew all over Quick, Draw!: Penises. “It is quite likely \[Google has\] a penis set. We know for a fact they chose not to include it in their release,” the team writes, with an enticing whiff of conspiracy and noting that “at least one Github thread discussing the missing controversial categories is closed.” It appears Google may have shut down the discussion about the missing penises in the data set. (I’ve reached out to Google to clarify and will update this post when I hear back.) With Do Not Draw a Penis, Moniker has taken it upon itself to supply the missing data. In fact, the studio describes its site as “an appendix to the Google Quickdraw data set.”

4 AI and porn

Too much to say here, of course, so I will defer to others.

5 Finance and business model evolution

6 Incoming

  • Rennaissance god porn: Godenliefden e.g. Mercury and Herse

  • Deida’s weird erotic spiritual manuals (Deida 2005).

  • “The Farce of the Fart” and Other Ribaldries: Twelve Medieval French Plays in Modern English (Enders 2011):

    […]the Judge takes a more hole-istic approach to his verdict. He ascertains that (1) since farts issue from the asshole and, (2) since husband and wife are united as one in perpetuity, then, ergo, in conclusion, what issues from the asshole of one is the bodily possession—or liability—of the other. To that end, Jehannette offers a most unusual piece of evidence: she testifies that, on their wedding night, Hubert first “took her there,” sodomizing her—accidentally, he interjects—because he couldn’t tell which end was up. Thus, on their first night together as husband and wife, Hubert married all of her, including her asshole.

  • Der Rosendorn

  • Phallus & Vulva – Otulina

  • Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries

  • “If a medieval French vagina could speak”

  • r/Chickflixxx: A place for women to confer about and share porn/erotica.

  • MakeLoveNotPorn - social sex video sharing platform

    MakeLoveNotPorn is Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference. If porn is the Hollywood blockbuster movie, MakeLoveNotPorn is the badly-needed documentary. We’re the world’s first user-generated, human-curated social sex video-sharing platform, celebrating #realworldsex as a counterpoint to porn, with the aim of socializing sex – making it easier for everyone to talk about, in order to promote good sexual values and good sexual behavior. We’re what social media would be if social media allowed everyone to socially sexually self-identify and self-express (which sadly, they don’t).

    Social sex reassures, because we celebrate #realworld bodies, #realworld everything – including accidents, awkwardness, messiness. Social sex is funny – because if we can’t laugh at ourselves in bed, when can we?! Social sex is moving, because we celebrate #realworld emotions – love, intimacy, feelings. And our MakeLoveNotPornstars tell us that socially sharing their #realworldsex is as transformative for them and their relationships, as socially sharing everything else has been for the world at large.

7 References

Deida. 2005. Wild Nights: Conversations with Mykonos about Passionate Love, Extraordinary Sex, and How to Open to God.
Enders. 2011. “The Farce of the Fart” and Other Ribaldries: Twelve Medieval French Plays in Modern English.
Naumann. 2006. Wicked Wives: The Animate Vulva, Social Satire, and Fear of a Female Pilgrim.” Athanor.
Tingle. n.d. Dr. Chuck Tingle’s Complete Guide To The Void.