Pornography is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal. Pornography may be presented in a variety of media, including books, magazines, songs, poems, operas, dances, fashions, plays, puppets, postcards, photographs, sculptures, furniture, gardening, architecture, drawings, paintings, animations, sound recordings, films, videos, television shows and video games.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- I once stole a pornographic book that was printed in Braille. I used to rub the dirty parts.
- Woody Allen in Bananas (1971)
- In this connection we may refer to fornicatory acts effected with artificial imitations of the human body, or of individual parts of that body. There exist true Vaucansons in this province of pornographic technology, clever mechanics who, from rubber and other plastic materials, prepare entire male or female bodies, which, as hommes or dames de voyage, subserve fornicatory purposes. More especially are the genital organs represented in a manner true to nature. Even the secretion of Bartholin's glans is imitated, by means of a "pneumatic tube" filled with oil. Similarly, by means of fluid and suitable apparatus, the ejaculation of the semen is imitated. Such artificial human beings are actually offered for sale in the catalogue of certain manufacturers of "Parisian rubber articles."
- Iwan, Bloch (2015) . The Sexual Life of Our Time in its Relations to Modern Civilization, p. 660
- Pornography has been so thickly glossed over with the patina of chic these days in the name of verbal freedom and sophisication… Part of the problem is that those who traditionally have been the most vigorous opponents of porn are often those same people who shudder at the explicit mention of any sexual subject… There can be no equality in porn, no female equivalent, no turning of the tables in the name of bawdy fun. Pornography, like rape, is a male invention, desgined to dehumanize women… Pornography is the undiluted essence of anti-female propoganda.
- Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will (1975), p. 392
- Listen, I'm no social scientist and haven't done a survey. I don't pretend to know what John Q citizen thinks about this. But I've lived in prison for a long time now and I've met a lot of men who were motived to commit violence just like me. And without expectation, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography. Without question, without expectation. Deeply influenced and consumed by an addiction to pornography.
- Those of us who are, who have been so much influenced by violence in the media, in particular pornographic violence, are not some kinds of inherent monsters. We are your sons and we are your husbands. And we grew up in regular families. And pornography can reach out and snatch a kid out of any house today. It snatched me out of my home twenty, thirty years ago.
- ...well meaning decent people will condemn [the] behavior of a Ted Bundy while they're walking past a magazine rack full of the very kinds of things that send young kids down the road to be Ted Bundys.
- Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.
- Horror and pornography are the only two genres specifically devoted to the arousal of bodily sensation. They exist solely to horrify and stimulate, not always respectively, and their ability to do so is the sole measure of their success: they 'prove themselves upon our pulses"
- Carol J. Clover (Fall 1987). "Her Body, Himself; Gender in the Slasher Film". University of California Press. Representations 20 (Misogyny, Misandry, and Misanthropy): 187–228. doi:10.2307/2928507
- It was Raimondi who created the images for the first work of printed pornography, a book called "I Modi" (“The Positions” or “The Ways”), also known as "The Sixteen Pleasures" (or, if you’re into Latin, "De omnibus Veneris Schematibus"). As per the title, the book was built around engravings of 16 sexual positions, based on a lost series of paintings by Giulio Romano, Raphael’s pupil, which he had painted for Federico II Gonzaga, to decorate and provide inspiration at his Palazzo Te in Mantua (destroyed in 1630, during the War of Mantuan Succession).
- Noah Charney, "The Renaissance origin of porn: Inside “I Modi,” the 16th-century sex manual masterpiece", Salon, (02.12.2017).
- [I]n the male sexual lexicon, which is the vocabulary of power, erotica is simply high-class pornography: better produced, better conceived, better executed, better packaged, designed for a better class of consumer. As with the call girl and the streetwalker, one is turned out better but both are produced by the same system of sexual values and both perform the same sexual service.
- Andrea Dworkin, Pornography, Men Possessing Women (1981), p. 10.
- Pornography is used in rape - to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act.
- Andrea Dworkin, testimony before the New York Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in 1986
- The pornographers actually use our bodies as their language. We are their speech. . . . Protecting what they 'say' means protecting what they do to us, how they do it. It means protecting their sadism on our bodies, because that is how they write: not like a writer at all; like a torturer.
- Andrea Dworkin, Women Transforming Communications
- Men characterize pornography as something mental because their minds, their thoughts, their dreams, their fantasies, are more real to them than women's bodies or lives; in fact, men have used their social power to characterize a $10-billion-a-year trade in women as fantasy.
- Andrea Dworkin, Pornography, Men Possessing Women (1981)
- Pornography is the essential sexuality of male power: of hate, of ownership, of hierarchy; of sadism, of dominance."
- Andrea Dworkin, Pornography, Men Possessing Women (1981)
- Pornography incarnates male supremacy. It is the DNA of male dominance. Every rule of sexual abuse, every nuance of sexual sadism, every highway and byway of sexual exploitation, is encoded in it.
- Andrea Dworkin, Pornography, Men Possessing Women (1981)
- Everyone knows that child pornography is bad because it's been demonstrated over and over that people who look at that stuff end up acting it out—and really destroy people's lives. That's beyond the unconscionably cruel exploitation of the children involved.
Other forms of pornography are harmful for a similarly oft-repeated reason: Pornography makes women into objects of desire rather than real people. We want to have relationships between person and person, not person-to-object.
- Tzvi Freeman, "What's Wrong with Pornography?", Chabad.org.
G - L
- Peter Griffin: What's the difference between art and pornography... a government grant!
- The oppressive measures on pornography by the Korean government are totally insane... It is actually seen that it oppresses masculinity and that it distorts the essentials. It is all done by the Ministry of Gender Equality and women’s organizations led by Korean feminists.
- Though watching porn may seem degrading to some women, the fact is that it's one of the few jobs for women where you can get to a certain level, look around, and feel so powerful, not just in the work environment but as a sexual being. So, fuck Gloria Steinem.
- Jenna Jameson, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale
- To this day, I can't watch my own sex scenes.
- Jenna Jameson, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale
- Of the roughly half who had seen pornography, 53 percent of boys and 39 percent of girls said it was “realistic.” And in the recent Indiana University national survey, only one in six boys and one in four girls believed that women in online porn were not actually experiencing pleasure: As one suburban high school senior boy told me recently, “I’ve never seen a girl in porn who doesn’t look like she’s having a good time.”
- “There’s nowhere else to learn about sex,” the suburban boy told me. “And porn stars know what they are doing.” His words reflect a paradox about sex and pornography in this country. Even as smartphones have made it easier for teenagers to watch porn, sex education in the United States — where abstinence-based sex education remains the norm — is meager.
- Daley went on to detail a 2010 study that coded incidents of aggression in best-selling 2004 and 2005 porn videos. She noted that 88 percent of scenes showed verbal or physical aggression, mostly spanking, slapping and gagging. (A more recent content analysis of more than 6,000 mainstream online heterosexual porn scenes by Bryant Paul and his colleagues defined aggression specifically as any purposeful action appearing to cause physical or psychological harm to another person and found that 33 percent of scenes met that criteria. In each study, women were on the receiving end of the aggression more than 90 percent of the time.)
- A., the young woman who said she had never seen an image of a penis until she watched porn, resisted the idea that porn was uniformly bad for teenagers. “At least kids are watching porn and not going out and getting pregnant,” she said. But recently, she told me that she’d given up watching it altogether. She disliked looking at women’s expressions now, believing that they probably weren’t experiencing pleasure and might be in pain. When Drew watched porn, he found himself wondering if women were having sex against their will. As another student said with a sigh: “Nicole and Jess ruined porn for us.”
- Maggie Jones, "What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn", New York Times, (Feb. 7, 2018).
- In this study, we examined the unique contribution of pornography consumption to the longitudinal prediction of criminal recidivism in a sample of 341 child molesters. We specifically tested the hypothesis, based on predictions informed by the confluence model of sexual aggression that pornography will be a risk factor for recidivism only for those individuals classified as relatively high risk for re-offending. Pornography use (frequency and type) was assessed through self-report and recidivism was measured using data from a national database from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Indices of recidivism, which were assessed up to 15 years after release, included an overall criminal recidivism index, as well as subcategories focusing on violent (including sexual) recidivism and sexual recidivism alone. Results for both frequency and type of pornography use were generally consistent with our predictions. Most importantly, after controlling for general and specific risk factors for sexual aggression, pornography added significantly to the prediction of recidivism. Statistical interactions indicated that frequency of pornography use was primarily a risk factor for higher-risk offenders, when compared with lower-risk offenders, and that content of pornography (i.e., pornography containing deviant content) was a risk factor for all groups. The importance of conceptualizing particular risk factors (e.g., pornography), within the context of other individual characteristics is discussed.
- Kingston DA, Fedoroff P, Firestone P, Curry S, Bradford JM, "Pornography use and sexual aggression: the impact of frequency and type of pornography use on recidivism among sexual offenders.", Aggressive Behavior. 2008 Jul-Aug;34(4):341-51. doi: 10.1002/ab.20250.
M - R
- Men may buy pornography but women pay for it – in terms of exploitation, rape, violence, and a society that sees them as disposable sexual objects.
- Rosalie Maggio The Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage (1991)
- Pornography? I've been looking at it all my life and it hasn't affected me anything.
- I saw no reason why you couldn't create a work of pornography that adhered to all the same standards as the best art or literature. The big difference between art and pornography is that art, at its best, makes you feel less alone. You see a painting or read a piece of writing that expresses a thought that you had but didn't express, and you suddenly feel less alone. Pornography, on the other hand, tends to engender feelings of self-disgust, isolation and wretchedness. I wanted to change that.
- Pornography is such a degraded genre with absolutely no standards. It doesn’t serve any function other than to make people feel wretched, ashamed and alone. It reinforces our loneliness and our wretched human misery. And it shouldn’t.
- Alan Moore "7 MORE ALAN MOORE COMICS THAT COULD GET LIBRARIANS FIRED" Scott Thill, Wired, 11/13/09.
- Pornography is the theory, and rape is the practice.
- Robin Morgan "Theory and Practice: Pornography and Rape", 1974 in Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist (1977)
- The story begins in the 1920s, when the Bolsheviks turned what was once the Rumyantsev arts museum into the country’s national library. As the newly named Lenin Library began amassing new literature, it also opened a rare book department to house compromising materials acquired primarily from confiscated noble libraries.
One of the most stunning items seized from an unknown owner is The Seven Deadly Sins, an oversized book of engravings self-published in 1918 by Vasily Masyutin, who also illustrated classics by Pushkin and Chekhov. Among its depictions of gluttony is a large woman masturbating with a ghoulish smile.
Before the revolution, it was fashionable among the upper classes to assemble so-called knigi dlya dam (Ladies’ Books) – a kind of bawdy scrapbook. An ostentatious leather-bound album with Kniga Dlya Dam embossed in gold on the cover opens to reveal a Chinese silk drawing of an entwined couple. Further on, dozens of engravings show aristocratic duos fornicating in sumptuously upholstered settings. Erotica was also consumed by Russia’s masses, as evidenced by a set of pamphlets from the 1910s. A pamphlet labeled Pikantnaya Biblioteka (Naughty Library), containing a tale from the 14th century Italian classic Decameron and a story titled A Consultation, sold for 50 kopeks. On the cover, a satanic figure grips a silky-tressed damsel in distress.
In the 1930s, increasing control over books led to hundreds of new additions. Items deemed inappropriate now extended to Soviet writings on sexuality from the previous decade, when abortion was legalised and Alexandra Kollontai, the most famous woman in the Bolshevik government, called for the destruction of the traditional family — a movement reversed under Stalin.
- After Skorodumov’s death, the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB, raided his collection. According to a letter sent by library director Vasily Olishev to the Council of Ministers, a post-mortem search of his apartment revealed a staggering 40,000 items, 1,763 of which were “books of an erotic nature” while 5,000 were “pornographic or vulgar” brochures and magazines. The Soviet state snapped up the collection from Skorodumov’s widow for 14,000 rubles, then a considerable sum. However, Olishev was careful to note that the money did not extend to the erotica.
“The library did not deem it appropriate to pay citizen Burovaya [Skorodumov widow] for the erotic literature, broadsheets and magazines, as this literature presents neither scientific nor historical value to the library’s readers, and is an especially harmful vestige of bourgeois ideology,” he wrote.
For just this reason, however, it was necessary to hang on to it: “The Lenin Library did not deem it appropriate to return literature of such a harmful nature to citizen Burovaya, as its possession in the home of a private citizen presents considerable danger.”
- Joy Neumeyer, "Inside the Soviet Union's secret pornography collection" The Moscow Times; as quoted in The Guardian, (25 Jun 2014).
- John Oliver: You mentioned in an interview that the NSA is passing around naked photos of people.
- Edward Snowden: Yeah this is something where it's not actually seen as a big deal in the culture of NSA, because you see naked pictures all of the time.
- John Oliver: That terrifies people.
- Gail Horalek, the mother of a 7th-grade child in Michigan in the US, has made international headlines by complaining that the unabridged version of Anne Frank's diary is pornographic and should not be taught at her daughter's school. At issue for Horalek is a section detailing Anne's exploration of her own genitalia, material originally omitted by Anne's father, Otto Frank, when he prepared the manuscript for publication in the late 40s
I had to look up what age kids are in the 7th grade. They're 12 to 13! They're only about a year younger than Anne was when she wrote of her vagina: "There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can't imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!" There cannot be a 13-year-old girl on the planet who hasn't had a root around and arrived at this exact stage of bafflement.
- Horalek is, of course, wrong to call the passages pornographic. Pornography is material intended to arouse sexual excitement, and I very much doubt that was Anne's intention when she wrote to her imaginary confidant Kitty about her journeys of self-discovery.
- Anne is going through puberty, and she describes her changed vagina in honest detail, saying, "until I was 11 or 12, I didn't realise there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn't see them. What's even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris." (Oh Anne, we've all been there.) She continues: "In the upper part, between the outer labia, there's a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That's the clitoris." It's beautiful, visceral writing, and it's describing something that most young women experience.
And yet I can understand that the junior Ms Horalek would have squirmed and wished herself elsewhere when this was read in class. We live in a society in which young women are taught to be ashamed of the changes that their bodies undergo at puberty – to be secretive about them, and even to pretend that they don't exist. Breasts, the minute they bud, are strapped into harnesses, and the nipples disguised from view. Period paraphernalia must be discreet, with advertisers routinely boasting that their tampons look enough like sweets to circumvent the social horror of discovery.
For my generation, removal of post-pubescent hair on the legs and underarms was mandatory. For Ms Horalek's generation, it is mandatory for pubic hair too. Anne writes: "When you're standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you're standing, so you can't see what's inside." How must reading this feel for pubescent girls who've already internalised the message that they must spend the rest of their lives maintaining the illusion that their body hair doesn't exist.
- Dealing with this discomfort only involves censoring Anne Frank's diary if you're quite, quite odd. For the rest of us, the answer might be a little more free-flowing boob, some brazen Mooncup sterilisation, hairy legs sprinting through the summer grasses and, to use a pun that is intended as the highest compliment, Frankness about masturbation, sexuality and our bodies. Because it isn't just the Horaleks of this world who teach girls to be shameful rather than celebratory.
- Emer O'Toole, “Anne Frank's diary isn't pornographic – it just reveals an uncomfortable truth”, The Guardian, (2 May 2013).
- Nevertheless, consistent findings have emerged linking adolescent use of pornography that depicts violence with increased degrees of sexually aggressive behavior.
- Eri W. Owens, Richard J. Behun, Jill C. Manning, Robby C. Reid; "The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents: A Review of the Research", Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 19:99–122, 2012
- Pornography. That which excites, whether from approval or disapproval.
- Leonard Rossiter, English comic actor. ‘...To Rossiter’, The Devil’s Bedside Book, Hamlyn paperbacks (1980) p. 46
S - Z
- Sure, pornography is full of anti-feminist imagery, and women are often exploited in the making of it (though there's a growing movement towards ethically produced pornography, as Jones notes).
But that this does not translate to the behavior of its users can be seen in another study from 2015, published in the Journal of Sex research. The study found that users of pornography held more egalitarian attitudes than non-users when it came to women in positions of power, women working outside the home, and even abortion.
The study also found that those who did and those who did not indulge in pornography “did not differ significantly in their attitudes toward the traditional family and in their self-identification as feminist.”
- Batya Ungar Sargon, ", New York Daily News, (February 19, 2018).
- When considering shunga, it is important to shed censorious attitudes towards sexuality that have been a fundamental part of western Christian culture for so long. Although printed shunga was officially illegal in Japan after 1722, it was widely tolerated – indeed, during the three centuries of its popularity many thousands of images were produced in a variety of formats: multi-volume books, bound albums sometimes exchanged as wedding gifts, painted handscrolls, and sets of small-format prints possibly sold in wrappers.
Shunga could be sensuous and comic, but it was rarely violent or exploitative. Most shunga depicts vigorous heterosexual couples in mutual bliss – and these prints were likely cherished by men and women, both young and old, from different strata of society, including samurai lords as well as prosperous merchants and commoners. “The division between art and obscene pornography is a Western conception,” says Clark. “There was no sense in Japan that sex or sexual pleasure was sinful.”
- Alastair Sooke, "Sexually explicit Japanese art challenges Western ideas", BBC, (10 October 2014).
- Pornography is about dominance and often pain. Erotica is about mutuality and always pleasure.
- Gloria Steinem "Erotica vs Pornography", in Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983)
- I can’t tell you how surrealistic it is to find myself and others called “puritanical”, “the new Victorians”, or “anti-sex” for the same views that got us condemned as “sexual libertarians” and “immoral women” until a few years ago. Women and men who oppose pornography for its normalization of violence will have to fight hard if we’re going to avoid the suffragists’ fate of being recorded in history as boring, asexual bluestockings... Depictions of mutual pleasure and the sexualization of equality are so rare that pornographers seem to have the franchise on sex. They can get away with claiming that to oppose pornography is to oppose sex… The answer to pornography lies not only in exposing it as an institution, but making sure that individuals who are drawn to it, but who are not hurting others, don’t feel condemned. It’s partly the feeling of being personally accused that has caused some women, including some feminists, to defend pornography.
- Gloria Steinem, "Preface", Outrageous Acts and Everday Rebellions (2nd ed) (1995)
- [I can't define what is pornography.] "But I know it when I see it."
- Potter Stewart, opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964)
- I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of [hard-core pornography] material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.
- Justice Potter Stewart, in Hahn Guide To Unix & Linux, Tata McGraw-Hill Education, p. 14.
- Erotica: The depiction of naked men. Depictions of naked women are far less innocent and are known as "pornography".
- Richard Summerbell, Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary, 1985
- What do my science fiction stories have in common with pornography? Fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world, I'm told.
- Kurt Vonnegut, Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut (1988), p. 133
- Not unlike urban gangs, police, carnival workers and certain other culturally marginalized guilds, the US porn industry is occluded and insular in a way that makes it seem like high school.
- David Foster Wallace, "Big Red Son" (1998), (From Consider the Lobster (2007))
- I would never want to film hard-core pornography, because it always looks like open-heart surgery to me.
- John Waters, Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste, (1981)
- In practice, attempts to sort out good erotica from bad porn inevitably comes down to 'What turns me on is erotic; what turns you on is pornographic.'
- Pornography is not a monolith, either of apolitical pleasure or of unpleasurable power.
- Linda Williams, Hard core: power, pleasure, and the "frenzy of the visible" (1989), p 170.
- Watching pornography [..] is like going to a Wikipedia page. You search for a specific thing, a specific feeling, a specific result, and that’s exactly what you find.