Porn and people  

rm_connor696 60M
944 posts
10/10/2005 7:41 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Porn and people


For reasons I'll skip, I recently wrote a wee story for someone. I don't know her well, which made things perhaps more difficult than they might have been otherwise, and I remain less than positive about the results. I think it read kinda like a bodice-ripping romance novel--not the worst possible, I suppose, but hardly the best, either.

But then porn has its problems. Some genres have difficulties inherent to them. Sci-fi and fantasy, for example, have to explicitly state what much literary fiction can omit: all those shared forms of life that make up a culture or even a common milieu within a culture. We all know McDonald's and the Fourth of July and bankruptcy, but not so when the customs pertain to mythical or alien societies.

Now porn--at least as I use the term--is designed to arouse, to tittilate, to make the reader all hot and bothered, even if that reader is the author him- or herself (I'm thinking of Jean Genet or De Sade). It does this not as a means to an end but as an end in itself. Porn targets desire; it seeks to enflame desire.

So one problem emerges from the multiplicity of desire. It's not just that people get off on so many different things; on top of that, the reasons behind those desires differ even if the desire is in some sense the same. Does the lesbian truly exult in another woman's body, or does that body instead offer her a safety she can't ever imagine with a man? Does the cross-dresser luxuriate in the sheer beauty so often denied to men, or does he identify with the feminine to distance himself from a despised father? These things matter enormously, and readers who operate from these inclinations will never be greatly aroused by the mere surface features of their desires, whether they be women's bodies pleasuring one another or male bodies wearing female clothing. The "that" is the structure, but the "why" is always what makes it come alive, what gives it the juice, the sap, the old elan vital.

And more deeply, porn--like any literary form--must grow from character if it is to be at all persuasive. But building character takes time and narrative space. A real genius could make a character blossom just from the description of an erotic encounter, perhaps, but for the most part, we come to understand people through all those little bits of life that seem insignificant in themselves but deeply revealing in context. The smile, the single word, the hesitation--these become epiphanies only when set in the matrix of larger experience. Yet to take your time developing character is to limit the proportion of hot, steamy sex. You need character development to make the sex really steamy, but you have to avoid too much sex if you want to create believable characters. Otherwise you just have housewives inexplicably jumping on pizza-delivery boys. That may actually happen, but until you know who the people are, they never rise above the status of puppets--anatomically correct puppets, perhaps, but puppets withal.

It can be done--at least I think it can be done--but it's tricky. In fact, as I write this, I can't think of a single pornographic text that seems entirely successful. Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers might come close--but I'm not a gay man, so I can participate in the desires it encodes only at some distance.

What are your favorites? What book or story made your heart go pitter-pat and the blood rush to those preciously termed "nether regions"?

P.S.: Yer Holiness, I hope you liked the tale!

rm_saintlianna 45F
15466 posts
10/10/2005 10:38 pm

Connor, actually I loved it. I am not sure what that means about me but I did. I wish I knew why I am like that, there has to be a reason. Thank You for revealing a piece of me to myself I didn't know existed.


MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
10/11/2005 12:43 am

Do they even still publish pornographic novels? I don't think I've seen one since people started writing porn on the Internet.

I remember the ones that were popular in the late 70s and 80s. There was some character development, but as is the nature of the book, they were 4/5 action. Some of them were done well, most were not. I always thought they were written by struggling writers who were writing porn to pay the bills, until they managed to sell their other work to a publisher.

I always preferred those books, as they were straight forward, to the bodice ripping *ahem* romance novels, which, instead of featuring two consenting adults always followed the formula of a head-strong woman being by the "hero" and then falling in love with him. As a result, we have tons of women on this site looking for play and most don't realize there's a difference between play and real and are setting themselves up for trouble. Romance novels romantasize . The people who lobby to have porn outlawed because they feel it's indecent should instead be lobbying to have these romance novels outlawed. is a crime, but featured in all of those books with Fabio on the cover. Consensual sex between two adults, or a group of adults, isn't illegal.


rm_rsp54 58F
531 posts
10/12/2005 5:46 am

What some consider porn, would not be to others. Shit, my husband thinks that Esquire contains porn! Go figure.

For a while I was on a Harold Robbins kick. Read just about all of his books in a very short span. Easy, semi mindless, but still had some very sexually alluring characters. Some of his books made me horny as hell.


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