Erotica vs. porn

Erotica vs. porn

As a society, we're not really good at talking openly about sex. But since we have a stereotyped thinking, I feel it's pretty important to be assigned to the right stereotype. So what counts as pornography? And what is erotica?


In German, some words are really creepy. When you talk about an erotic photographer, you immediately have a shady guy with a long trench coat and unwashed hair in mind. He says things like "Come on baby, stick your boobs out!" and you're not sure why he's actually taking pictures of naked women.

Admittedly, these are funny pictures that I describe here. But so each of us has his own ideas and interpretations. It all depends on the choice of words and since we all tick a bit differently, misunderstandings can easily occur anyway.

One of the stupidest definitions I have found on the internet is this: "Erotica is for nice middle-class literate people, pornography is for the lonely, unattractive, and uneducated." I don't think I have to say anything here, this definition is so absurd.

In this blog post I use the word erotica as a synonym for eroticism because there is no finer distinction in German language.

What is porn?

Sometimes I am accused of producing pornography. This is because in my photo series sometimes a pussy is shown (always with permission by the model). Many nude models are reluctant to have their pussy shown. They are afraid of being reduced to their sex or being portrayed in an obscene way. I fully understand that.

But a picture of a pussy does not make a porno. And the images you find on my website are all suitable for 16-year-olds and over (regarding the German classification system).

It would also be wrong to believe that pornography must always show sexual intercourse. That is not true either. Therefore my definition of the difference between erotica and porn goes this:

Erotica is desire, pornography is satisfaction.

Pornography has the clear goal to stimulate sexual satisfaction. The more suggestive and explicit the material gets, the greater the possibility of the material being perceived as pornographic.

Erotica wants to arouse desire rather than satisfaction. The idea behind erotica is to celebrate sexual bliss and the beauty and appeal of the body (not necessarily the female body).

Satisfaction definitely means sexual satisfaction including masturbation. And let's be honest, no one buys a book of mine to use it as a jerk-off template.

There is no clear black or white! The boundaries are blurred and the definitions differ depending on the culture and personal attitude. This is something we all should understand.

And because it's not so simple, here's another attempt to explain the differences.

Erotica is like slowly getting to know each other

Full of curiosity and passion. Erotica has to do with respect, pride, integrity and dignity.

Erotica implies a certain innocence and impartiality. Erotic moments are perhaps more the romantic and emotional moments. I think of excitement, the allure of the forbidden and unknown, goose bumps, great interest that becomes desire. Erotica is a game with stimuli.

Erotica is like a flirt, a chance encounter, refreshing, stimulating, but not arousing.

Pornography is to turn you on

With pornography the brain is massively stimulated. In both men and women, by the way. It's actually silly that it excites us to watch other people having sex. It's some biological thing. And it works for all mammals. So there's really no need to get upset as it has nothing to do with morality.

With porn you don't have to interpret anymore, there is no encoding here. Pornography is rarely poetic. So porn is a completely different art form than my nude photography.

In my work, I always dance on the razor's edge. I play with stimuli, tell stories for the head cinema and avoid objectifying women.

This has nothing to do with pretension. Pornography can also be pretentious. Yes, I would agree, there are an incredible number of very poorly produced and unaesthetic porn films.

But, when I think of the Spanish film producer Erika Lust or generally films from Else Cinema, you can see the ambition there directly.

And I've worked with several porn actresses in the past and they were all very friendly and very pleasant people with nothing skanky about them at all. Again, one should be careful with pre-judgments.


When I classify my own work as nude art or erotic art, it is important for me to note that I am not taking a stand against porn. This is also an art form that has its justification. Only I myself am not a porn producer.