Since the dawn of time, people have loved to watch other people screw. Before interactive computer games and movies, there were wood carvings, paintings, statuary, and tapestries depicting sexual acts. Pornographic cave paintings date back to 70,000 B.C., telling us that before man developed language, he developed porn.
The classic Greek and Roman civilizations were outrageously horny. In fact, the word pornography comes from the Greek word pornographia. During this period, live sex theaters and nude wrestling matches were commonplace. Gaius Germnaicus Caligula, the third emperor of Rome, was known for having “physical relations” with statues and urns.
During the first century, Pompeii and Herculaneum were prosperous cities with markets and governments and, most importantly, brothels. In 79 A.D., these cities were buried under ash, killing thousands of people, but leaving all of the buildings intact. Today, visitors can still see the pornographic artwork that decorates the former brothels.
A popular misconception is that people living just a few centuries ago abhorred erotica and pornography, but before the eighteenth century, people were more worried about blasphemy than obscenity. It wasn’t until after the Enlightenment that porn and censorship went hand-in-hand.
According to Danish criminologist Berl Kutchinsky, modern pornography began in the 1650s when three pornographic classics appeared: La Puttana Errante (The Wayward Prostitute), L’Ecole des Filles (Girls School), and Satya. These novels have since been translated into all the major languages and were the models for all later pornographic books and movies. Yes, even Debbie Does Dallas.
Willam Rostler, author of Contemporary Erotic Cinema, says that there are five common plots to pornographic movies: “Plot 1. Reading or handling some phallic-shaped object arouses a woman alone at home. Masturbation follows. A man arrives, is invited inside, sexual play begins; Plot 2. A farm girl gets excited watching animals copulate. She runs into a farmhand, or a traveling salesman, and sexual play begins; Plot 3. A doctor begins examining a woman and sexual play begins; Plot 4. A burglar finds a girl in bed or rapes her or vice versa; Plot 5. A sunbather or skinny dipper gets caught and seduced.”
Photography was invented in 1827. Soon afterwards, photographs of women disrobing or bathing began to circulate and a new, exciting medium furthered the world of pornography. About five minutes after the development of motion pictures, the first pornographic film was shot. These early films were known as “stag,” or, “for men only.” By 1920, all major European and American brothels stocked stag films.
One of the most popular early pornographic films made in the United States was titled A Free Ride (c, 1915). In this classic, a man picks up two hitchhiking girls and the good times roll. This film includes voyeurism, urination, and menage-a-trois.
VCRs in the 70s and 80s made it possible for people to enjoy pornography in the comfort of their own homes. Increased use of the Internet came in the mid to late 1990s and with it a new way to share information. Of the 8,058,044,651 web sites Google.com searches, 5,210,000 are web sites containing the word “pornography.” Of course, many of these are sites fighting the battle against pornography. To get the good stuff, one needs to be more explicit, such as using slang terms for reproductive organs. Or you could head over to Booble.com, the “adult search engine,” but that only searches 10,000+ sites.
Porn may be great, but for hundreds of years there have been arguments against adult entertainment. As pornography becomes increasingly more accessible, debate over the issue has increased as well.
In 1789, a group that was later known as the Vice Society began a moral crusade in the United States against printers, distributors, writers, and artists that produced sexually explicit material.
The famous communist Vladmir Lenin was against erotica and “free love.” He considered these things the decadent behavior of the petty bourgeois. Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung, also communists, were so opposed to pornography that it was eventually outlawed in both Russia and China.
The Feminist Argument states that most adult entertainment objectifies women and treats women unequally to men. One example of this is the ever-popular “money shot,” which is a film shot of a man ejaculating on, rather than within, a woman.
Unsurprisingly, some of the most vehement opposition comes from religious groups. In the Christian bible, Matthew 5:27-28 states that “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart.” This means that pornography of any kind is a sin against God. The Christian religion also believes that sex is a sacred act committed only between a man and wife, so pretty much the entire adult entertainment industry is on the naughty list.
The first recorded attempt to outlaw pornography came in 1580 when the UK Obscenity Bill, which sought to outlaw any published works about sex.
Pornography and the laws prohibiting pornography have come a long way since those days way back when, and the evolution of the adult entertainment industry will continue to change as long as mating is necessary – perhaps even after that. Either way, porn is awesome. God bless porn.