The Evolution of Pornography in America

Posted On: May 21, 2024By Sean Genung

Porn has had a long standing history dating back millennia. The ancient Romans and Greeks had sculptures, pottery, and temples dedicated to sexual actions. The Indians had the Karma Sutra, a book devoted to tantric sex. Most cultures had their own forms of sexually explicit material.

Of course, as technology developed, the ability to make and produce pornographic material rapidly increased. Porn has drastically altered America’s culture, and here we will delve into an overview of the history of America.

The Camera and Video Camera

The first piece of visual porn that wasn’t a drawing, engraving, or sculpture came out in the 1800’s with the advent of the daguerreotype, the first camera able to capture images invented by Louis Daguerre. The first pornographic picture taken was in 1846, depicting intercourse. The first video camera was invented in 1888 by Louis Le Prince.

These two technologies would end up revolutionizing the evolution of sexual material within a single century. However, pornographic material was actually made illegal in the U.S. for some decades.

Pornography in America

The Comstock Act

Back in 1873, Congress passed the “Comstock Act”, a law in which both pornographic and obscene materials, along with tools used to perform abortions, were banned. However, this didn’t stop the distribution of obscene materials. “Stag films” were illegally viewed in brothels and other underground locations across the U.S. These were brief pornographic films that usually didn’t last more than 15 minutes. The “Comstock Act”, which slowed but didn’t halt the spread of porn, was repealed in 1957.

The Great Depression

Most people are familiar with the Great Depression, and it served as a jump off point for pornography. With millions of Americans unemployed, severely struggling financially with little hope or prospects for the future, it’s no wonder much of the country turned to vices to help numb their pain. Several forms of porn were distributed, such as “Tijuana Bibles”, pornographic comics with comedic undertones were widely distributed, albeit highly illegal from the Comstock Act. Magazines with pin up girls were becoming popular as well.

Porn was so highly valued that “Esquire” magazine, which first ran its issues in 1933, sold their magazines for $0.50 a magazine.

Porn Growth after World War 2

The repeal of the Comstock Act and the development of higher grade video cameras allowed porn to become commercially available in America. The infamous “Playboy” magazine started in 1953 and would become a huge distributor of explicit magazines and would have millions of subscribers up until the 2000s. Similar magazines like “Hustler” and “Penthouse” would also print raunchy magazines.

Andy Warhol’s “Blue Movie” in 1969 was the first theatrically released pornographic film. Since then, porn has proliferated in every form of media, from VHS in the 80s, to DVDs in the 90s, and now the internet.

The Explosion of the Internet

Today, porn has never been more accessible. Sites like Pornhub, YouPorn, and Xhamster offer instant access to explicit videos, causing immeasurable harm. Pornhub alone had 42 billion site visits in 2019.

OnlyFans, a popular adult content site, makes it easy for people to sell sexually explicit content online. The site has over 2 million content creators and over 420 million active users.

Even sites that aren’t built for pornographic usage specifically still have issues with sexual content being displayed. Twitch, a popular streaming site with millions of viewers and over 14 billion minutes of viewed content a year is constantly changing their sexual content policies due to the amount of streamers pushing the limit of what is allowed.

You can see how pornographic usage has exploded over the decades using the stats below.

People between the ages of 18 and 34 view porn the most.

Now, AI girlfriends and boyfriends are starting to flood the market. These will devastate so many lives as offer a synthetic attachment that will only serve to isolate more and more people. The problems pornography brings will only continue to grow as the world moves to a more digital and online space and the access to explicit material is only a few keystrokes away.

Its crucial now more than ever to stop watching pornography. It doesn’t only affect the viewer, but those around the viewer of porn including family and friends.