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Critique Of "Smut, Erotic Reality/ Obscene Ideology" By Murray Davis And A Philosophy Of Sex

1720 words - 7 pages

In the book "Smut, Erotic Reality/ Obscene Ideology", by Murray Davis (1983),the author expresses the idea that the best source for studying human sexuality objectivelyis "soft core", rather than "hard core" pornography. (Davis p. xix). The purpose of thispaper is to critique Davis's claim and to study what understanding of human sexualitysomeone might have if they used some other resource that is available today, in this casethe Internet. Davis argues that , "hard core pornography is usually more abstract and lessexplicit than soft-core pornography". (Davis, p. xix, 1983). Davis doesn't go on toexplain how hard-core pornography can be less explicit than soft-core. However he doesexplain that hard-core pornography is more abstract in that, it depicts the sex act only andnot the emotional or personal characteristics of the people involved in the act. (Davis,p. xx) He believes soft-core pornography is describing "a sexual experience", whichconveys characteristics of the participants that are not described by hard-corepornography. Hard-core pornography describes "sexual behaviour" which involves moreof the act of sex rather than the characteristics and feelings involved with sex. (Davis, p.xix) Although Davis admits that the vocabulary of sex is changing (Davis, p. xxv), he alsostates that hard-core pornography uses considerably more vulgar terms that are associatedwith lower-class activity, such as, "prick, fuck, and suck" (Davis, p. xxiii). Davis believesthat hard-core pornography, induces imaginative behaviours by using these lower-class,four-letter words. The stories use phrases such as "First we sucked, then wefucked."(Davis p. xix, 1983), to allow the reader the tools to imagine the scene actuallytaking place. The reader is lead by the author through the story by using words that maybe more understood or common in the readers' everyday life. He also accuses hard-corefilms of being "behavioristic" and "abstract" because they often fail to "fully inform theaudience about the characters personality types and social categories."(Davis, p. xx, 1983)Soft-core pornography, on the other hand, often depicts "the subtle phenomenologicaleffects that result when a character's sexual behaviour clashes with his or her personal andsocial characteristics." (Davis, p. xx, 1983). In short, he study's literature or films thatinvolve characters with personalities that are developed and conveyed to the audience. Inthese stories the characters will have sex, but the sex may or may not be the main focus ofthe story, but rather something that is bound to happen when personal and socialcharacteristics clash. I believe that Davis is somewhat correct in assuming that soft-core is a moreobjectively reliable source for studying human sexuality. When I hear the words soft-corepornography, I tend to think of Playboy, or films and movies that depict a story about aperson or group of people, and within that story the characters engage in sexual activity.This...

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