Sunday, 6 January 2013

Pornography and lighting

"The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting."

I love this quote from feminist Gloria Leonard (born August 28, 1940), an American former pornographic actress who later became the publisher of High Society magazine. As well as directing several porn films, she performed her only anal scene in her movie "All About Gloria Leonard".

Fascinating!  (I love wikipedia!)

I don't normally enter the pornography versus erotica debate, but at a recent writers lunch, the discussion came up.  The elderly gentleman sitting beside me reflected that the difference might lie in the choice of words  and how they were arranged (the writer's equivalent of lighting, perhaps?).  He thought that purely gynaecological language used to simply describe a mere sequence of events, like a manual, and without any characterisation of the protagonists would be his definition of pornographic (without making any value judgement).  I found this an interesting comment and it got me thinking.  Should erotica be defined in relation to the way the words are employed or merely on whether or not what we read turns us on - regardless of its literary merits? 

What do you think?


  1. I always thought it was the way it was written that made the true difference as well as the feelings/emotions that the characters show. A story that gives me the heat and turns me on, but also tells me about the character and how they feel is erotica. The definition of erotica, as defined by is "Literature or art dealing with sexual love." The scenes can be explicit (and I've read a lot explicit erotica), but give me some sweet with my spicy. The turning of the word is what does it for me.

    Chantel C.

  2. Hi Chantel - eloquently put. I love your phrase - "The turning of the word." Exquisite.