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A Definition of Pornography

"Pornography," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000
© 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

   Pornography, written, graphic, or oral depictions of erotic subjects intended to arouse sexual excitement in the audience. Pornography is commonly divided into two categories: soft-core, in which the erotic material is more titillating than explicit; and hard-core, in which erotic content is explicit and intense. Although in common usage pornography is often equated with obscenity, the latter is a legal term covering anything offensive to public morals, whereas the former refers specifically and exclusively to the erotic content of a book, painting, recording, motion picture, or other form of communication.
   Pornography is an age-old phenomenon. The ancient Greeks were familiar with it, as is evident in the derivation of the word, which is classical Greek for "writings about harlots." The Roman emperor Tiberius allegedly compiled a personal library of the most explicit pornography of the day, much of it from the East. Until modern times, the most graphic and widely disseminated pornography appeared in the great Eastern civilizations, especially those of India and Japan. In the West, the Judeo-Christian view of sex as a taboo subject in art and literature limited depictions of erotic subjects until the 20th century.
   Historically, most objections to pornography have been based on religious grounds. Because in the Judeo-Christian tradition sex is considered primarily a means of procreation, any purely erotic treatment of the subject was looked on as perverse and immoral. With the recent proliferation of hard-core pornography, however, its possible social consequences have become the subject of intense debate. Proponents of a liberal attitude toward pornography argue that it is essentially a harmless diversion and may serve to relieve sexual tensions. Opponents of this view, including many feminists, contend that the hard-core pornography presents its overwhelmingly male audience with a degrading and socially harmful picture of women. Opponents are particularly concerned with the effects of pornography, especially that found in the mass media, on the ideas and values of young people.
   Modern-day controversy over pornography's impact on society is the latest manifestation of a still-unresolved debate over the legal status of pornography. Basically, this debate centers on whether or not pornography should be considered a form of obscenity, and whether it should be subject to some form of censorship.


From - Focus on the Family

   An Internet saturated with pornography is making it alarmingly easy to bring sexual temptation right into our homes. This is a growing problem for thousands of families that struggle with the effects of sexual compulsion and addiction
Sexual images ranging from the seemingly harmless airbrushed nudity you find in "skin" magazines to violent, hard-core pornography are easily available to anyone with a computer and a modem. Plus, the interactive features of the Web--e-mail, newsgroups and chat rooms--easily connect strangers who share sexual interests, luring married men and women away from their families
   Dr. David Greenfield, a psychologist who has treated Internet addiction, discovered in a survey of over 18,000 people that a major reason individuals go online is to find intimacy. While the Internet offers plenty of sex—intimacy can be much harder to find. Pornographic Web sites and steamy chat rooms may lead to moments of stimulation, but they fail to offer the depth and long-term satisfaction of face-to-face intimacy with a real person in a committed relationship.
   Dr. James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, is very aware of the psychological bondage and emotional pain that comes from the use of pornography because of his involvement with the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in 1986. Every year, Focus on the Family corresponds with hundreds of families who have been impacted by pornography.
   Focus on the Family has created this Web site as a practical resource for individuals who want to overcome the grip of online pornography and affairs.
   If you are struggling with online sexual temptation,
this site provides resources for you.
    If you love someone who is struggling with online sexual temptation, this site focuses on you.

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Gay and Lesbian Pornography Court Battle article

Censoring the Net - from C-NET

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