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In: Expanding and Restricting the Erotic


At least since the 1990s, there has been a notable rise in pro-sex movements, and theorists, alike. They advocate strongly for personal sovereignty, focussing more deliberately on the pleasure, transgression and experimentation aspects of sex. Pornography, or mediated sex, can be seen as yet another site to reproduce society’s obsession with all things sexual and falsely present its passive audience with singular narratives that influence the formation of sexual subjects. In this paper, we argue that alternative pornography may offer a respite from this sort of critique. Whereas mainstream pornography proliferates and predominates in the adult entertainment market, it can be unimaginative, repetitive, and artificial, as opposed to a more creative, radical, and authentic alternative pornography. Technological expansions, online accessibility and participatory global cultures have not only provided individuals a way in which to bypass the mainstream, but also, to gain relatively easy admittance to a previously obscure form of erotic life. While normalized mainstream pornography offers us a narrow sexual script that objectifies its performers and straightjackets its audience, alternative pornography acts as a form of resistance to mainstream and societal limitations, hence offering sexual subjects and objects an opportunity for greater freedom and agency.

In: Sexuality and Eroticism in a Post-pandemic World
In: Expanding and Restricting the Erotic
The current erotic landscape is contradictory: While the West sees greater sexual and erotic freedom than ever, there is also a movement to restrict the behaviour of various sexual minorities. Expanding and Restricting the Erotic addresses the way in which the erotic has been constrained and freed, both historically and at present. Topics range from the troubling way in which the mainstream media represents the erotic, to the concept of friends with benefits. Other chapters explore female eroticism, from contemporary female hip hop artists to Latin American women seeking to express their eroticism in the midst of sexual repression. Medieval and Early Modern medical conceptions of the female body are explored, as are ancient Greek erotic practices. Finally, the controversial area of teenage girls’ erotic representation is analysed.