I’m sure my title caught your attention, you dirty dog, you.
I will be discussing the genre of pornography as it existed in the 18th Century, and how it has not really evolved much into today’s culture. This post is very late for the class it is meant for, but I couldn’t not post on this. The novel I will be talking mostly about is Fanny Hill; or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, by John Cleland.
When you tell people you read a porn book for a homework assignment you get some odd looks. Though you say you read Fifty Shades and no one bats an eye. Well people, they are the same thing believe it or not. They are both made with a very, and I mean very, loose frame story to get you along through to the next sex scene. One of my classmates mentioned as she was reading she didn’t grasp the point of the story. That every time she thought she was there that line of reasoning would vanish. This really is the point, these novels are made for pleasure.
I shared parts of the novel with a friend, and she couldn’t believe it was a novel from the 18th C. The descriptions that are riddled throughout haven’t changed much when looking at the books that are written today. It is almost like people are looking for an award for the not saying penis or vagina. Instead you see machine, and wound. A lot of pornographic novels carry on a bit of a rape-y vibe to them as well.
One thing that is interesting about Fanny Hill is the fact she is introduced to her sexuality through a woman, but saphism is frowned upon. There is very little I have seen in today’s culture that involves a woman teaching another woman how to properly please men. Most of the time though the man is going to be experienced in the art of sexual pleasure, and the woman is going to be a virgin, or if she is not she will still be inexperienced and need a man to teach her. It is amusing that after centuries there is something that is being held onto about the double standard that women should be virginal, but the men are looked down upon if they are.
If you are interested in this sort of novel I recommend it, and keep in mind what has and hasn’t changed in the centuries since it was written.