The history of porn

Published on October 15th, 2010 | by Admin

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porn

Pornography has been around a lot longer than you may think.

In the 1800s, the idea of porn for porn’s sake began to spread. Erotic novels had been in print since at least the mid-1600s in France (though being identified as the author of one meant a sure trip to jail), but the first full-length English-language pornographic novel, “Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure,” also known as “Fanny Hill” (Oxford University Press) wasn’t published until 1748.

Despite the reserved public attitudes toward sex at the time, pornographic novels held little back. The author of “Fanny Hill” managed to cover bisexuality, voyeurism, group sex and masochism, among other topics. By 1888, the anonymous author of “My Secret Life” was writing about sex with words that would make a modern television censor squirm.

Technology drove innovation in the porn genre. In 1839, Louis Daguerre invented the daguerreotype, a primitive form of photography. Almost immediately, pornographers commandeered the new technology. The earliest surviving dirty daguerreotype — described by Slade in a 2006 paper as “depicting a rather solemn man gingerly inserting his penis into the vagina of an equally solemn and middle-aged woman” — is dated at 1846.

Video followed a similar path. By 1896, filmmakers in France were delving into the erotic with short, silent clips like “Le Coucher de la Marie,” in which an actress performed a strip tease. Hard-core sex started showing up after 1900. These “stag films” were usually shown at all-male gatherings, and they were tame by today’s standards, Slade said.

“They look like your grandparents having sex,” he said. “They were quaint, but it was real intercourse.”

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