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Pornography (or porn, pr0n) refers to publications, whether in photography, cinematography, or writing, which have the act of sexual intercourse as its subject with the purpose to sexually arouse the viewer. The abundance of both professional and amateur publications as well as its easy access through online means have made pornography a subject of Internet humor and is sometimes referred to as the purpose of the Internet. Pornography is regarded as “one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the World Wide Web.”
Earliest Known Pornography
The oldest surviving depictions of erotic scenes exist in the form of paleolithic cave paintings and carvings (shown below). These depictions involved sexual activities, often with exaggerated human genitalia. One of the oldest surviving erotic scrolls is the Turin Erotic Papyrus, dating back to Ramesside period (1292-1075 BCE). Consisting of 12 different scenes, the men are depicted as short and scruffy, while the women were drawn with lotus flowers and monkeys. The ancient Greeks also used ceramics to paint pornographic images, containing some of the earliest examples of homosexual pornography and pederasty.
In the late 1980s, pornographic images were shared as ASCII art through anonymous FTP servers. By the early 1990s, pornography was distributed via Usenet. As the access to the internet grew, so did pornographic websites including places offering live streaming webcams as well as amateur and professional video and photography. By the 2000s and the Web 2.0 era, porn sites began to simulate the YouTube concept of generating user submitted content, allowing users to upload their own material. Dubbed Porn 2.0, these sites often have problems with age verification and the submission of copyrighted materials.
The Internet Is For Porn
The Internet Is For Porn is a catchphrase originating from a song of the same title that appears in the broadway musical “Avenue Q.” It argues that pornography is the purpose the Internet exists. Since the musical’s premiere in 2003, videos of the performance have been the subject of parody videos and image macros online.
Rule 34 is one of the Rules of The Internet which states that “if it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.” Image macros and fan art depicting endless numbers of pairings can be found online, many of which only serve the purpose of proving the validity of the rule, by turning common objects into pornographic ones. These images can often be found depicting cartoon characters, in effort to surprise the viewer.
-Porn as a Suffix
“Porn” has been used as a suffix since as early as 1984 to describe photographs that are remarkably high quality and pleasing to the eye of the viewer. Beginning with Food Porn, this use has been expanded on Reddit where a number of non-sexual subreddits have been created, featuring large, hi-resolution photos collected by topic including Earth Porn, Space Porn, City Porn and Book Porn.
On Tumblr, animated GIFs of scenes from gay porn have been occassionally used as reaction images. On October 10th, 2013 Buzzfeed staff Matt Bellassai and Heben Nigatu posted an image compilation of 14 GIF examples from different Tumblr blogs.
Pornhub’s 2013 Statistics
In early August 2013, pornographic video sharing website Pornhub compiled user data about the most popular search terms used on the site broken down by state. The data also revealed that Mississippi residents spent the most time on the site, clocking in at nearly 12 minutes per visit. The list was featured on Cosmopolitan on August 23rd, who investigated a handful of the top searches that stood out to her, including “smoking” in Wyoming, “Anita Queen” in Nevada and hentai in Kentucky, Virginia and Massachusetts. Three days later, Redditor jeweloree used the data to create a map highlighting each state’s most common search term and submitted it to the subreddit /r/DataIsBeautiful, where it accrued 4,001 upvotes, 2,348 points overall and 640 comments within 24 hours. Her map was subsequently shared on Animal NY, the Daily Dot, Gizmodo and Jezebel the following day.
As early as October 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron asserted that he would be fighting to ban internet porn. His initial proposition included an opt-in system where ISPs would automatically block questionable content unless a user specifically asks to make everything available. Three separate times in 2012, Cameron was reported to be working on these measures, citing children as young as 11 who had become addicted to online pornography. In June 2013, Cameron was interviewed by Sky News (shown below, left), where he said that internet service providers (ISPs) were not doing enough to prosecute pedophiles and remove child pornography from the web. The following month, Cameron announced the creation of a global alliance to remove child pornography and encouraged search engines including Google and Bing to have a blacklist of search terms like “child sex” that would direct users to alternate searches (i.e.: “child gender” or “child sex education”) instead of yielding illegal results. (shown below, right).
In the announcement, Cameron revealed that the opt-in system would begin this year for new broadband accounts, going into effect for all internet users in the UK by the end of 2014. In addition, “violent” or “extreme” porn would become illegal, including images or video that depict rape. Free-speech advocates in the UK were angered by this move, questioning who will sanction what is and isn’t okay after the filter is up. On July 22nd, “UK Porn” was mentioned more than 36,000 times on Twitter, with people from all over the globe criticizing the filter’s censorship as well as the impact it will have on people who work in the industry.
Several image macros series, parody videos and catchphrases have poked fun at the anonymous and effortless access to pornographic material, as well as the material itself.
Tentacle Rape, also known as shokushu goukan (触手強姦), is a theme often used in Japanese erotica, both novels and animation. It often depicts a creature with tentacles using their said body part to rape any character in the work. The earliest instance of tentacle rape was one of Katsushika Hokusai’s illustrations in his novel “Kinoe no komatsu," first published in 1814.
Unnecessary Censorship refers to the practice of adding censor bleeps, mosaic blurs or black bars to source materials that were neither profane or explicit to begin with. As early as 1999, television shows have used bleeps dubbed over words to make it sound as if they were explicit. Mosaic blurs and black bars are placed over people, objects, or text to make it appear as if they are covering up pornographic or explicit material.
Work-Safe Porn is a photoshop fad which involves manipulating sexually explicit photographs so they appear as if they are not explicit by adding objects or clothing. This unnecessary censorship originated from a series of photos edited in this manner titled “Make Porn Work-Safe” that was posted to Something Awful on September 9th, 2002.
Mormon Porn, also known as Bubble Porn or “Bubble Collage” (Japanese: 水玉コラ, Mizutama Kora) in Japan, refers to photoshopped pictures of girls in which their clothing is obscured by a technique known as “bubbling," dating back to June 2007 on 2channel.
Hentai Quotes are absurd and humorous quotes and phrases taken from scenes in hentai or doujin manga. These quotes have been shared on 4chan since as early as August 2007 through cut-out images of the scene or text balloon from the manga they originate from.
2 Girls 1 Cup
2 Girls 1 Cup refers to the trailer for the Brazilian scat fetish film Hungry Bitches depicting two women taking part in coprophagia that circulated the web as a viral shock video in late 2007. In addition to viewers uploading reaction videos of themselves watching the trailer to YouTube (shown below), a number of other shock sites have parodied the name including 3 Guys 1 Hammer.
Godzilla Bukkake is a reverse caption found on image macros in which the scene depicts an image covered in water or other white substances like snow or salt. The phrase stemmed from a 2007 Warren Ellis novel titled Crooked Little Vein, which looks at what would happen if certain underground fetishes went mainstream. Despite Ellis’ pleas to ignore the idea, Godzilla Bukkake reached the height of its popularity in March 2009.
Brazilian Fart Porn
Brazilian Fart Porn is a shock site featuring a video clip of two adult film models farting on each other’s faces and inhaling for pleasure, exhibiting a type of sexual fetishism and a niche genre of adult fetish films. Though the fetish itself was discussed online as early as 2005, the specific video was posted online in November 2005 and later highlighted in a 2008 South Park episode.
Hentai Woody (Japanese: 変態ウッディー), also known as “Creepy Woody”, is a series of photos featuring a Revoltech Woody action figure posed in erotic, creepy and perverted scenarios. After the toy was released in July of 2010, photos of Woody performing various depraved acts, often to other toys, began popping up on /toy/ board in Futaba Channel (2chan).
I’ve Seen Enough Hentai
“I’ve Seen Enough Hentai to Know Where This is Going” is a catchphrase often used in image macros to suggest that tentacle rape is imminent. The original images typically depict some sort of creature with tentacle-like appendages. It’s been used online since as early as June 2011.
Brazzers, not to be confused with the eponymous adult entertainment production company, is a photoshop meme that involves superimposing the logo of the porn site over a group photo depicting two or more subjects to make it seem as if the image had been screen-captured from an adult film. The earliest archived instance was posted to FunnyJunk on July 4th, 2011.
Subway Sandwich Porn
Subway Sandwich Porn refers to a series of photoshopped images and original fan art in which explicit content has been censored with submarine sandwiches, making it appear as if the characters are engaging in sexual activities with the sandwich. It was initially used within the Brony fandom in late 2011 to protest against explicit art, but was quickly adapted by other fandoms as a way to humorously censor any image.
Olympics or Gay Porn
“Olympics or Gay Porn?” is a photoshop meme in which screen captured images from the London 2012 Olympics are altered to look like they were taken from an adult entertainment film. The images typically include a progress bar or a lower third banner covering the athlete’s mid-section to appear as if the subject is not wearing any clothes.
The Daily Dot – A state-by-state breakdown of our nation’s porn addiction
Cosmopolitan – The Top Porn Search Terms for Every State In America