Erotica

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Erotica (from the Greek language Eros - "love") — refers to works of art, including literature, photography, film, sculpture and painting, that deal substantively with erotically stimulating or arousing descriptions. Erotica is a modern word used to describe the portrayal of the human anatomy and sexuality with high-art aspirations, differentiating such work from commercial pornography. Erotica portraying homosexual people is sometimes referred to as homoerotica.

The Erotica/Pornography Debate

The distinction between erotica and pornography is difficult to identify, if not completely impossible. Proponents for erotic art argue that such work is intended to arouse aesthetic rather than erotic feelings, and is therefore not pornographic. Opponents see this as a pretentious stand, as they believe that erotic art shares the same purposes as pornography. Stephen Gilbert once remarked "The difference between erotica and pornography is simple. Erotica is what I like. Pornography is what you like, you pervert!" Another common joke is that "the only difference between art and pornography is a government grant."

The issue of whether a distinction can be made between erotica and pornography raises multiple complicated questions. These questions include whether aesthetic and erotic feelings are mutually exclusive, how the level of commercialism and tastefulness in an artwork can be objectively measured, and at what point they make the work pornographic.

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