On Poetry and Culture Shock

Erotic Literature

I like to take part in a couple of literary message boards, and in one of them someone said recently "I'm not interested in erotic literature at all. Explicit or not explicit, good or bad. Sex should not be told or read, sex should be practised". This guy is mixing unrelated stuff.

Would we say, "don't read travel literature, travel instead!"? "Don't read love stories, find love!" "don't read murder mysteries, have adventures!" "don't read political literature, go out and be an activist!" Exactly. We don't normally say those things.

Some people think that erotica is written and read as a substitute or complement of sex; it may be so, but that is not its primary function. We could argue forever what is porn and what is erotica, but for artistic purposes, the pornographic function is to arouse sexually; erotica is art that happens to have sex as a theme. "Porn consumed for its artistic qualities rather than its arousing ones". My definition is 100% subjective: porn or erotica are only functions; they are not even qualities. According to my definition, Titanic the movie, for example, has a pornografic function, at least for some people.

So, this guy from the message board is wrong because he took erotica to have an exclusively pornographic function, while it is merely art with a sexual theme. Right?

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