Except for a 1993 amendment regarding “child pornography,” the criminal law does not use the word “pornography” but rather “obscenity.” Some people consider any depiction of nudity or sexual activity to be pornographic.
What is objectionable to others, however, is not sexual content per se, or “erotica,” which depicts normal consensual sexual activity, but material in which one or more participants are demeaned, degraded or abused in some manner.
Even those conducting the experiments concede that their results are not readily transferable from the laboratory to the real world, where a wealth of other stimuli and inhibitions also affect social behaviour.
Not all studies of the effects of pornography inquire into its negative consequences.
What is viewed as pornographic varies from one person to another, from culture to culture, and over time.
The term “pornography” can be used in discussion and debate to refer broadly to material that is sexually explicit, or more specifically to sexually explicit material designed primarily to produce sexual arousal in viewers, or to sexually explicit material that subordinates women or is harmful to women and children, or with some other definition in mind.
The presence of such material may be merely symptomatic of anti social behaviour, rather than its cause.
According to this view, the self evident fact that pornography contributes negatively to societal perceptions of women and sexuality is sufficient justification for its suppression.
The Committee declined to give an explicit definition of what it considered “pornography,” prin¬cipally because there is no accepted definition in the community at large.
It acknowledged the validity of the idea that pornography should be distinguished from erotica, and agreed that, although it is violent pornography that is of most concern, to some extent there is a continuum from apparently mild sexually offensive material to violent material.
To begin, it explores the definitions of pornography and the challenges resulting from the lack of agreement over what is meant by the term.
A great deal of the difficulty in discussing pornography results from lack of agreement over what is meant by the term.