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Today’s literature is unanimous in choosing the definition of pornography proposed by Peter and Valkenburg as those contents that show sexual activities in a direct and unambiguous manner, often with enlargements (close-ups) on genital areas and oral, vaginal or anal penetration. Another definition allows for a clear division between (artistic) nudity and pornography, highlighting the clear goal of pornographic material to arouse the viewer. One can speak of pornography then when one is faced with sexually explicit material that is disseminated with the intent to arouse the user.

However, pornography has evolved and shaped itself over the decades. It became for mass consumption only from the 1960s onward, thanks precisely to the sexual liberation movements mentioned above. It was in the following decade that pornography developed and then spread around the world, when its film production was legalized in Denmark and California.

As forItaly, on the other hand, a notable figure in those years was Lasse Braun, a director who was a promoter of numerous campaigns in favor of the legalization of porn cinema. In his biography, the filmmaker describes how until the mid-1960s, the “pornography ‘phenomenon’ was nonexistent and the sparse underground circulation was limited to Scandinavia and the Belgium-Holland-Germany-France area.” At the legislative level, in fact, the Italian judiciary in the 1960s and 1970s, as described in Pezzotta’s (2017) text, was busy seizing all those films that did not comply with the precepts of the Penal Code, particularly those that fell on the obscene and lacked a common sense of decency.
Effort failed with theadvent of red-light cinemas: this type of entertainment was very productive for a decade before the advent of private television and VHS. The latter especially “constitute a decisive tool in the creation of mass voyeurism” (Pezzotta, 2017, p. 272), effectively marking the defeat of the judiciary. Picking up on the point of view of the aforementioned Bertolotti, in the 1980s, the era of video and the digital revolution, pornography became within everyone’s reach: not only could anyone take advantage of it, but at the same time they could also produce it on an amateur level.

This has led to a lowering of the quality of pornographic material, which has increasingly moved away from the aesthetic-erotic aspects and plot, to become predominantly an outlet for any kind of sexual pleasure. It was during this period that “sodomy scenes,” double and triple penetrations, facial ejaculations, gang rapes, and humiliations of all kinds on the body of the woman, who was considered merely an object, became widespread in hardcore cinema, in addition to particularly violent scenes.

Once it entered the public debate with the sexual liberation movements, the Pornography has divided feminists of sixties and Seventy: while some women believed that it was one of the ways in which to display and express female sensuality and sexuality, a much larger group believed instead that pornography was mere exploitation of women’s bodies for commercial purposes.

Menicocci(2011) describes in his research work how mass culture-and consequently pornographic material-are predominantly image-based, changing and shaping according to the needs of the consumer.
The same has also happened to the woman’s body, which has always been used as a form of expression, and in particular to the exposure of the intimate parts: since pornography has depopulated on private television, the woman’s body has undergone significant changes, chief among them the total depilation of the pubis.
This was mainly for visual reasons: a screen no longer as large as a movie theater required that anything that could hide details, including hairs, be removed. Shaved pubes have since been correlated with greater intimacy and less “moral filth“; porn stars are increasingly becoming role models, and women’s bodies are increasingly becoming associated with a sexual commodity on display.

Currently, much research has focused on the correlations between pornography and viewing women as objects. For example, Vandenbosch and Van Oosten (2017have confirmed that the greater the use of pornography and sexually explicit content, the greater will also be the use of gender stereotypes and objectifying notions toward women, especially for those people who have not had any kind of education in the use of pornographic material in school.

the pornography finally undergoes a new and rapid revolution and evolution with the advent of the Internet: through the spread of network access by computers of private users and the emergence of systems such as video sharing and paid sites, millions of users around the world can access and use pornographic material anonymously, reliably, and quickly. Early and most popular pornographic sites include PornHub, Youporn, and RedTube.

Summarizing an overview of research over the past decade, adolescent males and adult males report increased exposure to and use of pornographic material online and offline. With regard to attitudes, clear gender differences were also identified: the search by Price and colleagues (2016describes how more women than men, in all generations surveyed, believe pornography should be illegal; more men than women also believe pornography is a valid and acceptable way to express their sexuality.

Religious differences are present: more religious people use less (or no) online pornography at all. Research conducted in Italy by Barbagli and colleagues (2010) reports that 62 percent of nonbelieving men and 26 percent of nonbelieving women admit to having watched a pornographic film at home, rates that drop to 48 percent and 16 percent, respectively, for convinced and active believing men and women. Remaining still on the Italian scene, the 2019 Censis report finally indicates that within the Italian population between the ages of 18 and 40, 61.2 percent of Italians watch pornographic videos alone and 25.2 percent with their partners, of which 2.6 percent do so regularly (Garelli, 2010).

The motivations for teenagers in particular to use pornography are: curiosity, arousal and the need to know more about sex, but also emotional avoidance, socialization and increased offline sexual encounters.
Peter and Valkenburg point out that people with higher sensation seeking and lower satisfaction in general make greater use of online pornography.

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