The Incremental Hierarchy of Pornography

Having determined neither court nor dictionary provide clear definitions of pornography, I took the task to hand.

“What if,” I asked my humble self, “we change our position from made for to consumed for?”

Rather than define pornography as media created to evoke sexual response, invert the beast and consider pornography as media consumed to mentally pet the pubis?

Make the consumer responsible for defining what is and what is not pornography.

Make the consumer responsible, now there’s a thought.

If we consider all media capable of turning someone on qualifies as pornography, all media becomes pornography because, let’s face it kids, everything turns on someone. So now we know what is and what is not pornography. Everything is pornography and nothing is not. 

For the sake of compartmentalizing and finding a place to take a stand, I offer further divisions within the whole:  An Incremental Hierarchy of Pornography, grading the intensity of presentation from soup to nuts. So to speak.

The Incremental Hierarchy of Pornography.

We begin where consumers who cannot admit to libido go for groinal thawing. To provide context, consider this layer soft, soft, soft, soft soft-porn or S4 soft-porn. S4 covers same general ground as G-ratings in theaters and on TV. People do not restrain children from S4 soft-porn because to do so would admit to goings-on in the nether regions adults refuse to acknowledge. Most people would deny the pornographic effect of S4, but in doing so they lie to themselves and the rest of us.

S4 covers several acres of dirt. The I-Feel-Nothing crowd secretly squirm at the sight of beach volleyball and skin tight, strategically padded American football uniforms. Some sports offer more flights of pornographic fancy than others. How else can we explain the disproportionate Winter Olympic coverage dedicated to skating performances? And, of course, for those who like athletes in non-sport settings, let us not forget the ballet.

Advertisers saturate society with S4, using our reptilian response to sell us stuff we neither need nor really want.

S4 is the stuff of prime-time broadcast TV. Characters enjoy explicit sex lives, wake as lovers, but in a pattern that baffles, climb from between the sheets wearing clothes.

S4 pops up everywhere; advertising, news shows and the cubicle next door offer a quick fix.

In S4, the act is implied only. Or in the case of the cubicle, imagined only.

With S4 we lay a foundation for all that follows. Good because I already weary of writing this. On to incremental land. Each tier adds but a little. We are almost finished.

After S4 we have, you guessed it, S3. S3 roughly relates to PG-13 ratings. 

PG-13 deserves a bit of notice. Here we have a category of sexuality that should bore adults who have been there, done that. It is a category defined for and of most interest to hormone charged, masturbation obsessed adolescents. So good of us to let them know where to find it.

S3 adds nudity, sort of. Sort of because S3 limits nudity. S3 exposes skin but from the “Waist up only buster.”, and no female frontals. Breasts make an appearance, but arc from rib-cage to before the enhancement of aureole begins. Actresses move with adhesive skill, perpetually maintaing a barrier of linens, clothing and props between camera and flesh of intensified chroma. In S3, breasts have only beginnings, no ends.

S3 depicts the act but only under cover, cover usually in the form of sheet or counterpane.

In the pale between S3 and S2 lives a sub sub-genre of butt-no-nipple media. Obvious when encountered but to what purpose I fail to grok. Call it S2.5.

S2, roughly R-rated uncovers the nipple. That’s it. An entire category for thimbles of flesh displaying higher density of pigment. Woo hoo hey.

S2 depicts the act under cover, like S3, but with a bit less cover.

S1, or X-rated, exposes consumers to full frontal females and occasional penises. Not much more. S4 through S2 pretty much cover everything else.

S1 depicts the act but from a distance, partially covered or selectively off-camera.

Finally we arrive at soft-porn proper, a version of hard-core, XXX that avoids penetration and close ups of genitalia. Soft-porn is a rare beast found only on hotel movie channels. Soft-porn includes full-body, sexual activity with all traces of penetration removed in post-production.

Soft-porn depicts the act in naked  hilarity.

And then we have XXX. I assume most people refer to XXX when they use the label pornography. XXX shows everything soft-porn depicts plus explicit penetration at varied apertures and genitalia closeups.

Voi la, the Incremental Hierarchy of Pornography. Perhaps you may find it utile as you decide at what tiers you allow yourself to engage excitable media; to determine what tier marks the border which you refuse to cross.

The hierarchy does not, as the aficionado knows, cover all aspects of media consumed to stir linga and yoni. Sub-genres travel at the speed of thought to the far reaches of human imagination, going, indeed, where no man or woman have gone before. Most people remain unaware to what horizons this expanding universe reaches, and they should, in my humble opinion, be thankful to remain unaware. Without diving into the deep waters of the off-color pool, I give you three absurd, meretricious and imprudent words (so perhaps you may avoid them): Brazilian Fart Porn. It’s out there. It’s real. Someone, somewhere knows why. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

© 2008-2012 Chromia Poetics