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Can vintage porn save porn?

By Steve Korver Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 16:21
Is modern porn out-of-date? … Is vintage porn the answer? … And can irony help in saving the day? … These NSFW news flashes and more in this week’s Sex in the Press.

Porn in decline

“While the Internet has made porn ubiquitous, it has also thrown the industry into severe decline,” according to the fascinating long-read ‘Making sense of modern pornography’.

“Pornography has changed unrecognisably from its so-called golden age – the period, in the sixties and seventies, when adult movies had theatrical releases and seemed in step with the wider moment of sexual liberation, and before V.H.S. drove down production quality, in the eighties. Today’s films are often short and nearly always hard-core; that is, they show penetrative sex.”

In 2015 the most popular porn search terms were ‘anal’, ‘amateur’, ‘teen’, and – “one that would surely have made Freud smile” – ‘mom and son’.

Come on people, can we not be more creative? Sure there’s some progressive stuff coming out – for example, Sweden is now apparently surfing a feminist porn wave – but what happened to the art?

Rich f*cking history

Perhaps we need to rediscover vintage porn.

For example, check out: ‘These 5 pieces of vintage Japanese porn make Ron Jeremy look like an amateur’. A couple making sweet 17th century love! Ancient lesbians doing it scissor style! An octopus three-way! “So. Many. Tentacles…

Or delve into: ‘Sex lives of the gods: vintage porn from the 1700s’. “This vintage porn is all about cocks. Big cocks, small cocks. Permanently engorged cocks. Cocks to lead a goddess’s chariot. Cocks to ride into battle. Cocks that even look like Donald Trump. They’re everywhere. Lurking in the undergrowth, hiding in baskets of fruit, frightening the horses and offering gratification wherever they go.”

And don’t forget porn can be educational! In ‘19th century French erotica reveals obsession with human-devil relations [NSFW]’, the pictures are less about Satan worship and more about commenting on the times: women were so repressed in this male-dominated world that they were “left turning to supernatural entities for pleasure and play.”

A couple making sweet 17th century love! Ancient lesbians doing it scissor style! An octopus three-way!

Or check out these cheeky down-under boys: ‘Photos: “Lost” vintage gay erotica on display in Tasmania’.

And if you really want to go old school: ‘Neolithic figurine, over 7,000 years old, unearthed at Turkey’s Çatalhöyük’.

But let’s not forget that India attracts millions of global visitors to its stellar vintage porn collection on display at Khajuraho.

Oh the irony. The red hot irony

“I blush when the wrapping paper comes off the April, 1973, issue of Playboy. There’s no nudity on the cover of my 40th-birthday gift – just the nose, chin and glossy red lips of Swedish model Lena Soderberg, who has a postage stamp on the tip of her tongue,” begins ‘Body politic: Why do vintage Playboys appeal to female customers?’.

This married heterosexual Canadian journalist became “flummoxed” when a female platonic friend gave him an old Playboy. Wasn’t this gift “an objectifying affront to feminism”?

“Women often buy them as birthday gifts or aphrodisiacs, but mostly they buy them for themselves,” says an owner of a vintage shop where old Playboys – in all their kitschy glory – fly off the shelves.

“The comfort food of porn.”

Vintage Playboy magazines are “the comfort food of porn”, according to the director of Toronto’s annual Feminist Porn Awards. And she agrees that the trend is “fuelled by a widespread backlash against modern depictions of women” which is often considered degrading and unrealistic.

“Back then, people weren’t expected to have this very specific body type that’s impossible to achieve. Looking at old Playboys nowadays, it feels like you could almost be that person.”

But, these magazines remain a “part of a mechanism that makes women hyper-vigilant about their sexiness, and makes them put all this time, effort and money into being sexy,” says a philosophy professor. “Men, meanwhile, can focus on their careers and other important aspects of their lives.” (And one of these aspects, one can assume, is wanking to vintage porn.)

The popularity of vintage Playboys is attributed to “a cultured, ‘hipsterish’ demographic that embraces the vintage images with an ironic, playful wink. Feminist critics, the professor says, face the classic accusation of being ‘deeply unlikeable, unattractive, humourless bitches’ who can’t take a joke.”

So is vintage porn actually different than modern porn? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook. If you have any questions, visit our discussion board.

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