In the notes I compiled while preparing to write my last SexArt blog post I wrote, in big, block letters: "Explicit VS. Implied." In my mind that's something of a thumbnail description of the difference between hard-core pornography and erotic imagery. It is by no means a complete representation — and erotica can obviously be explicit — but it does serve to illuminate one fundamental difference. It also opens the door to a further exploration of erotic art and entertainment. And it raises questions about what we want from erotica, as well as how individuals react and respond to it.
Consider this imagined scenario. In a hushed, darkened theater a beautiful, shapely young woman walks out onto the stage and stands in the spotlight. She is totally naked. She stands, silent and motionless. Then she turns to her right. After some time she turns to face the opposite direction. She sits down on the floor. After a while she lies down. She rolls over. Later still she opens her legs. After ten minutes have passed, she stands and walks off the stage.
Now consider the following scenario in the same setting. Propulsive, rhythmic music begins to pulse from the sound system. A beautiful young woman wearing an elaborate costume dances onto the stage gyrating to the music. Bit by bit, button by button, she proceeds to disrobe. Each gesture is deliberate, tantalizing. Every eye in the house is glued to her moving form. And with every additional square inch of exposed skin the tension and anticipation in the crowd grows stronger. By the time the song ends she is totally nude and the crowd has viewed every inch of her body — but out of a ten minute performance she was nude for less than two minutes. As she exits the stage the crowd begs for more.
Which of these performances would you rather attend?
I've blogged about hundreds of MetArt erotic pictorials. In some of them the model is totally nude throughout. In others she starts out fully clothed, and gradually disrobes. I have enjoyed both styles, but there's no denying that the act of stripping adds an element of excitement and anticipation to a series. The art form isn't called "striptease" for nothing, after all! And in erotic photos or films, sometimes the things we can't see, or the things that are slowly revealed, are the most arousing.
If you've had the opportunity to "play the field" you've probably experienced "lust at first sight" and ended up in bed with someone you've only just met minutes or hours earlier. But you've also probably had lovers who played "hard to get." You have to work, you have to put in your time, you have to want it badly enough to wait for it, right? And when you finally do "get" this teasing, "hard to get," minx? The built up sexual tension and desire can result in an extremely intense and satisfying encounter. I'm not saying that one experience is intrinsically better than the other, but they are different.
And what of the difference between men and women, specifically in how they approach and enjoy erotic entertainment?
"Men are visual," is the conventional wisdom, and "women are cerebral." Guys like explicit pictures and girls would rather read their erotica and do the detailed visualizing in their mind's eye. But I don't think either one of these accepted "facts" is entirely true or comes close to being universally applicable. And with the growing acceptance and availability of erotica of all types, the "rules" may be changing and evolving, as well.
What about couples who enjoy erotica together? How is this possible? Not only do they contradict the conventional wisdom, but we know they exist because they've told us just that when they joined SexArt! Indeed, striving to create a new kind of erotica for a sophisticated, refined, and diverse audience has been one of SexArt's central concepts from its very inception.
So, what do you prefer? The explicit or the implied? Do you want it "in your face" from the start? Or do you prefer to be teased while you're waiting to be pleased? Have you enjoyed erotica in the company of a lover or as foreplay prior to (or during) your own sexual activities? Are women and men really that different in the ways they consume and enjoy erotic art and entertainment? Or does it really just come down to personal preference, what's available, the situation, or the mood of the moment? You're invited to share your opinions, thoughts, and observations in the comments, below.