EROTIC literature depicts sexual love in more or less explicit detail, which gives rise to charges it’s really nothing but pornography.

But the genre’s apologists have argued that erotic literature also delves into the spiritual and intellectual dimesions of sexual relations.

And erotica merely show the sensuality that is intrinsic in literature’s chief medium, language or words.

“Words are just one example of an infinite variety of symbols that can arouse an emotional response,” said Floyd Ruch in Psychology and Life. Words are very powerful stimuli that elicit emotion. A simple sensual word can trigger the imagination.

But even if erotica were the same as pornography, there would be justification for it.

Marquis de Sade, the French aristocrat and writer of violent pornography in the 18th century, made no bones about pornography and defended its writers.

“They (writers of pornogrpahy) created incidents, descriptions, and conversations more in the spirit of the time and developed its cynicism and immorality in a pleasant, easy and at times philosophical style,” he wrote in Ideas on the Novel.

During the French Revolution, Sade’s works served as a channel to rebel against the norms of society and break free from its confines.

But his own life seems a cautionary tale on the violence of lust and giving free rein to it. Sade was imprisoned for 13 years for sodomy and for beating up women after seducing them.

Roy Harley Lewis believes that pornography does not exist. In his The Browser’s Guide to Erotica, he writes, “There is no such thing as pornography . . . words on a page are assembled by the eyes and minds of each reader in slightly different patterns.”

Kita sa VAT, saan nararapat?

In short, for Lewis, different people read things differently. Different strokes for different folks.

But relativism and tolerance for alternative genres and even deviant tastes can only go so far.

In his book Psychology In the New Millennium, Spencer A. Rathus warns that pornographic materials may contribute to adverse human behavior and result in the deterioration of moral values, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and Aids, and sex-based criminal activities such as prostitution, child molestation and rape. A. R. D. S. Bordado


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