The Difference between Art and Porn

Where does one draw the line between porn and viewing a piece of work called nude photography? Well, it may start from what side of the field you are making your case. For defenders of porn, the viewer receives an invitation to consider the nobler ideals of the creator in making the unclad/semi-clad creation; in order words, art, especially nude depictions should elicit different reactions from each member of an audience.


Good ol porn, in an argument, clung to by critics, centers on eliciting primal, sexual desires in the individual; no more, no less! In this light, porn is porn when there is actual penetration, where genitalia are visibly seen performing actual sexual acts, with the only aim to stir up the mind and body.

It may seem Ravi Zacharias captured the essence of the difference between art and porn in the following words: “Pornography utilizes nude figures for the purpose of stimulating the baser instincts of individuals; instincts that will not be satisfied by that alone. Art, on the other hand, utilizes nude pictures for the purpose of highlighting the beauty of man. The former engenders lust (do I hear someone say “who cares?”), while the latter fosters admiration of the human form.”

Further arguments differentiating art from porn centers on the sexual objectification of an individual. Especially women and minors. Porn respects no barriers or attains to any high bars; everything is game, from voyeurism to bondage sex to child pornography. Darker genres may feature bodily mutilation as well as sadomasochism.


Then there is the issue of context being another differentiator between art and porn. Nude or erotic art prods the viewer to communicate and connect with meaning, encouraging that individual to find and convert the remainder of the story. However, if you drool over a kinetic scene involving a gang bang and you are unable to establish a reason for a group of naked men and women having sex (including not identifying a storyline) you can beat your chest and say, you are watching pornography


Perhaps, the difference between art and porn is deeply captured in the viewpoint of “…Which is why we stick by the following rule: we don’t permit penetration, nor do we accept artworks we feel are overtly sexual without any deeper meaning. In essence, if the image is explicit and if there’s no story behind it, it’s porn.”

Where do you stand in this unending debate between art and porn?