Lesbianism in erotica
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Depiction of lesbianism has been a relatively common theme in erotic art and pornography throughout history. Studies indicate that heterosexual men were more aroused by depictions involving lesbian sex than they are by depictions of heterosexual activity, while heterosexual and lesbian women were aroused by a wide range of sexual stimuli. Historically, erotica and pornography involving sex between women has been produced by men for a predominantly male audience.
Lesbianism in visual arts
Depictions of lesbianism are included among the erotic frescoes of Pompeii.
Since the Renaissance, a number of European painters, particularly modernists, have included themes of eroticism between women among their work. These artists include François Boucher, JMW Turner. Gustave Courbet's Sleep openly depicts two women asleep after love-making (indicated by the broken pearl necklace). Other painters include Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Christian Schad, Albert Marquet, Balthus, and Leonor Fini. More explicit depictions were an important part of the work of erotic illustrators such as Édouard-Henri Avril, Franz von Bayros Image:Franz von Bayros 003.jpg, Martin van Maële File:Martin Van Maele - La Grande Danse macabre des vifs - 33.jpg, Rojan, Gerda Wegener, Vala Moro, and Tom Poulton. Explicit depictions of lovemaking between women were also an important theme in Japanese erotic shunga, including the work of such masters as Utamaro, Hokusai, Katsukawa Shunchō, Utagawa Kunisada, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Yanagawa Shigenobu, Keisai Eisen, Kawanabe Kyōsai, and Ikeda Terukata.
The rise of photography was instrumental in the genesis of modern visual pornography, but erotic themes, including erotic lesbian themes, have been an important genre in art photography. Erotic and fetish photographers, such as Heinz von Perckhammer, David Hamilton, Steve Diet Goedde, and Bob Carlos Clarke frequently have included themes of eros between women in their work. More recently, lesbian and bisexual photographers such as Nan Goldin, Tee Corinne, Judy Francesconi, and Della Grace have focused on erotic themes, reclaiming a subject that has traditionally been mainly treated through the eye of male artists.
Lesbianism in cinema and television
Lesbian and erotic themes were restrained in early cinema. Even scenes suggestive of lesbianism were controversial, such as the presentation of women dancing together in Pandora's Box (1929) and The Sign of the Cross (1932). Pandora's Box is notable for its lesbian subplot with the Countess being defined by her masculine look; she wears a tuxedo. The Hays Code also banned any homosexual themes in Hollywod films. The Sign of the Cross originally included the erotic "Dance of the Naked Moon", but the dance was considered a "lesbian dance" and was cut for a 1938 reissue, when the Hays Code was in force. Even suggestions of a romantic attraction between women were rare, and the "L-word" was taboo. Lesbian themes were found in European films such as Mädchen in Uniform (1931). Lesbianism was not treated in American cinema until the 1962 release of Walk on the Wild Side in which there is a subtly implied lesbian relationship between Jo and Hallie. Depictions of lovemaking between women were first shown in several films of the late 1960s – The Fox (1967), The Killing of Sister George (1968), and Therese and Isabelle (1968).
During the 1970s, depictions of sex between women were largely restricted to semi-pornographic softcore and sexploitation films, such as Cherry, Harry & Raquel! (1970), Score (1973), Emmanuelle (1974), and Bilitis (1977). Although semi-explicit heterosexual sex scenes had been part of mainstream cinema since the late 1960s, equivalent depictions of women having sex only began making their appearance in mainstream film during the 1980s. These were typically in the context of a film that was specifically lesbian-themed, such as Personal Best (1982), Lianna (1983), and Desert Hearts (1985). The vampire film The Hunger (1983) also contained a seduction and sex scene between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon.
Henry and June (1990) had several lesbian scenes, including one that was considered explicit enough to give the film an NC-17 rating. (There was some controversy as to whether the MPAA had given the film a more restrictive rating than it normally would have because of the lesbian nature of the scene in question.) Basic Instinct (1992) contained mild lesbian content, but established lesbianism as a theme in the erotic thriller genre. Later, in the 1990s, erotic thrillers such as Wild Side (1995) and Bound (1996) explored a lesbian relationships and contained explicit lesbian sex scenes.
From the 1990s, depictions of sex between women became fairly common in mainstream cinema, in no small part based on its ability to titillate heterosexual male audience members. Females kissing has increasingly been shown in films and on television, often as a way to include a sexually arousing element in a film without actually having the film gain a more restrictive rating by depicting sex or nudity.
The L Word was an American television drama series originally shown on Showtime from 2004 to 2009 and explored lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships, and contained numerous explicit lesbian sex scenes.
Lesbianism is a prominent theme in hard core and softcore pornography, with many adult video titles, websites, and entire studios (such as Girlfriends Films, Triangle Films, and Sweetheart Video) devoted entirely to depictions of lesbian sexual activity. Lesbian pornography typically appeals and is aimed predominantly at a male audience and many heterosexual adult videos include a lesbian sex scene. In Japanese adult video, however, lesbianism is considered a fetish and is only occasionally included in heterosexual videos. Rezu (レズ—lesbian) video is a specialized genre, though a large number of such videos are produced.
Most porn actresses have performed in lesbian sex scenes, with a number, such as Jana Cova, Felecia, Justine Joli, Jade Starr and Charlie Laine, specializing in the genre and only have on-screen sex with other women. Though porn industry publicity tends to portray porn actresses as being bisexual, such on-screen activity does not necessarily reflect real-life sexual orientation. Some actresses who perform in these scenes are bisexual or lesbian in real life, while others are "gay-for-pay" and are exclusively heterosexual off-camera.
On-screen lesbian sex (in both Western and Japanese pornography) is typically aimed at a male audience (though it also has a small lesbian audience), and usually grouped with "straight" porn. This is in contrast to gay male pornography, which is considered a genre of its own. Some pornography is made by lesbians, such as the defunct lesbian erotic magazine On Our Backs, videos by Fatale Media, SIR Video, Pink and White Productions, and BLEU Productions, and web sites such as the CyberDyke Network.
Views about lesbianism in erotica
Several penile plethysmography studies have shown high levels of arousal in heterosexual men to pornography showing sexual activity between women. One of these studies reported that on average heterosexual men are more aroused by pornography showing sexual activity between women than they are by depictions of heterosexual activity. These findings correspond with reports in several earlier studies (summarized in Whitley et al. (1999); see also anecdotal reports in Loftus (2002).
Enjoyment of lesbian pornography can have little connection to feelings towards homosexuals in real life. A heterosexual man may be aroused by pornographic depictions of lesbianism yet hold homophobic views. However, several studies suggest that men who perceive lesbianism as erotic may have less or no negative attitudes toward lesbians than they do towards gay men.
Lesbian views on sex between women in erotica are complex. Historically, women have been less involved in the production and consumption of erotica in general and visual pornography in particular than have men. Since the late 1960s, radical feminist objections to pornography and the sexual objectification of women have influenced the lesbian community. Some lesbians and bisexual women object to all pornography on feminist grounds. Since the end of the 1980s "Lesbian Sex Wars", however, lesbians and bisexual women are more likely to have positive views about erotica and pornography. Some lesbians are even consumers of mainstream pornography, but many dislike what they perceive as inaccurate and stereotypical depictions of women and lesbianism in mainstream pornography. Some are also uncomfortable with male interest in lesbians. As of the early 2000s, there is a very strong lesbian erotic literature movement, as well as a small genre of pornography made by lesbians for a lesbian audience (see "Lesbianism in contemporary pornography" above).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lesbian eroticism|
- Gay pornography: Audience
- History of erotic depictions
- Media portrayal of lesbianism
- Yuri (genre)
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Lesbianism in visual arts
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Views about lesbianism in erotica
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- Erotic and Pornographic Art: Lesbian by Tasmin Wilton, glbtq, 2002.
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- Shoujo-ai Canada
- Yuricon – Anime convention and publishing geared toward fans of yuri anime and manga.
- Shoujo-Ai Archive – Fanfiction, chat room and forum about lesbianism in anime and manga.
- Isle of Lesbos – Historical poetry, classical art, and vintage images for lesbians.
- Le Musee Lesbien, Saphisme.com.
- The Encyclopedia of Lesbian Movie Scenes – Lesbian scenes in mainstream film.
- Lezlove Video Group – Discussion group for lesbian erotica.