It’s safe to say that sex and nudity are no longer taboo. There’re few social stigmas towards sexuality left these days. Hence, you can argue that we’ve become way more open in expressing what we desire and how we feel about our bodies. Well, at least in the western part of the world. However, the social climate wasn’t always like this.
During the second part of the 20th century, sexually explicit content became more prominent. Thanks to pop culture (rock and roll, movies, and MTV), we’ve changed the way we look at sex. It seems like every post-WWII decade brought something more controversial into the mainstream. Now, with widespread internet and social media platforms, we take everything to a whole new level.
The likes of Instagram and Twitter allow erotic photography to reach almost everyone in the world. Nudity and body positivity are no longer a product of individual fantasy or ridicule. Therefore, our article aims to dissect the reasons behind this phenomenon and explain why we think it is good.
Erotic Art Is Not Porn
Although we constantly praise how far we’ve come with sexual expression, there’s no doubt some people don’t understand the difference between pornography and art. And you can’t blame them because the line can be so thin sometimes. The way one perceives erotica can overlap with someone else’s view on porn. Hence, it’s important to distinguish borders between black and white fine art and anal sex porn videos.
Essentially, watching porn should awaken your primal impulses. Although that’s not bad, it’s completely different from erotica. Porn is carnal, and it aims to help people get off and blow their load. Sure, it can be artsy sometimes, but its roots lay in physiological needs to ejaculate and replicate sex acts. You could also argue that it’s exploitative.
Most of the time, porn is banal. It’s simple yet effective. It’s here to showcase sexual desire without any deeper meaning. And once again, there’s nothing wrong with porn, don’t get us wrong. In some ways, it’s like an all-out ‘80s action flick — it doesn’t offer that much except muscles, big guns, and explosions. But it doesn’t fake deeper meaning that makes it an easy-to-sell product.
On the other hand, erotic art is completely different. It exists on another plane, aiming at further to reach targets and subtext. The meaning and purpose of both classic and modern erotic art stray away from simply showing nudity because it’s bare skin and genitals. Therefore, we suggest that we dive a bit deeper into it.
The True Meaning of Erotic Art
Somewhat broad in its definition, it’s still safe to say that erotic art is a wide spectrum of visuals that consist of overtly sexual themes and acts. However, most art historians can agree that its primary intention isn’t simple arousal, which is not the case with pornography. Erotic works of art use basic human needs and desires as a way of expressing deeper meaning.
In archeological findings, we can find instances of erotic art (drawings, sculptures, engravings, etc.) that aim at different targets. The earliest examples often use erotic art to symbolize potency and fertility. Solid figures and drawings of human genitalia are present in prehistoric and especially ancient civilizations like Rome, Greece, and Egypt. Portrayals of nude male and female bodies can help explain beauty ideals from those times too.
We can use nude art to track how our perception of human beauty is subject to change as cultures develop and intertwine. Nevertheless, with the sexual revolution of the 20th century, artists began to use erotica to explore sexuality in new and controversial ways. And since nudity is no longer taboo, erotic art began to spread messages of body positivity, self-acceptance, and gender empowerment.
With the rise of social media platforms, male and female artists became free to share their work way easier than before. Ideas of accepting your body the way it looks is one of the prime examples of what artists try to preach. Also, they look to break traditions like portraying masturbation as something negative. And while doing so, they try to be subversive, escaping banal porn tropes and cliches.
All in all, the thin line between art and porn is still present. It will probably last for years to come since they tend to overlay one another. However, it’s safe to say that erotic art aims at something more profound than simple sexual satisfaction. It has social commentary elements that hard-core pornography doesn’t care about. Unfortunately, distinguishing what is what on social media platforms can sometimes be a problem that leads to censoring.
Social Media Take Over
Nowadays, Instagram is where it’s all at. This social platform for sharing photos and videos quickly took power over from Facebook, solidifying itself on the digital throne. People have a short attention span, and sharing selfies, and short video recordings are as much as they can handle. Hence, it’s no wonder why Instagram reigns supreme.
Luckily, this means that artists can use this platform to reach a broader audience. And since most of us enjoy nudity, mixing it with messages and ideas is a great way to share your opinion on the world around us. But, porn on social media is still a big no.
Unlike Reddit and Twitter, Instagram has a strict policy on nude content on their site. Genitalia and female nipples are forbidden. So, erotic works of art must somehow evade these restrictions and think of ways to still grab attention while being acceptable for Instagram. Whether they cover the “problematic” parts of human bodies with paint or something else is entirely up to them.
Either way, there’s no doubt Instagram and other social media platforms give artists a new way of communicating with their audience. No matter if these sites aren’t liberal enough in terms of what’s acceptable or not doesn’t change the fact that more and more people are accepting sexuality with an open mind. In some ways, the 21st century will surely be remembered as the golden age of erotic art.