Books such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover to sculptures like The Kiss - these are works of art. Picture: Pinterest
Books such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover to sculptures like The Kiss - these are works of art. Picture: Pinterest

Does erotica really turn women on?

By ROWAN PELLING AND ESTHER RANTZEN Time of article published Nov 23, 2018

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After six years editing the Erotic Review, I have lost count of the times I’ve been told glibly that women prefer explicit stories to explicit pictures. The truth is far more complex, as famed American sexologist Alfred Kinsey found 50 years ago.

Although women were likely to claim pornographic pictures did not stir them, due to the pervasive dictate that no nice girl could ever find pleasure in them, their physical response told another story.

A recent Stanford study had overwhelmingly similar results. But the key here is the nature of the pornography viewed.

Stanford used clips depicting couples engaging in foreplay and sex. They weren’t pseudo-lesbian romps between the vast-breasted blondes beloved of male pornographers.

I suspect women consumers will only ever comprise a significant proportion of the blue movie market if filmmakers are prepared to make videos with plot, pace and passion - rather like good, old-fashioned erotic literature with pictures.


Let me make a distinction. I would always defend erotica, from books such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover to sculptures like The Kiss. These are works of art.

But pornography has no joy, no art. It is manipulative, designed to produce the most primitive of responses.

Although usually aimed at men, scientists have concluded that women, too, can be physically aroused by pornography. What they don’t report is whether the women actually enjoyed it.

Like many, I have occasionally tuned in to an adult channel in a hotel room, only to be grievously disappointed. The women don’t seem at all entranced by the odd, blotchy men they are coupled with.

An ex-prostitute friend who took part in X-rated films loathed the way she was treated by the male producer and performers. She did it to fund her child’s education.

Maybe some women are tough enough to take part without being scarred by the experience, but many are badly hurt.

Porn is like junk food: fake, filled with rubbish - and potentially addictive. The worst result of a diet of porn? Developing such a taste for it that we forget how fantastic the real thing can be.

Daily Mail

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