The History of Pornography No More Prudish Than the Present

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Pornography is often portrayed as one of the ills of today's society, evidence of modern moral decay brought to you by video cameras and broadband access.

As it turns out, modern times have got nothing on the past. Pornography existed long before video or even photography, and many researchers think evolution predisposed humans for visual arousal (It's a lot easier to pass on your genes if the sight of other naked humans turns you on, after all)....

By that standard, the first known erotic representations of humans might not be porn, in the traditional sense, at all. As early as 30,000 years ago, Paleolithic people were carving large-breasted, thick-thighed figurines of pregnant women out of stone and wood. Archaeologists doubt these "Venus figurines" were intended for sexual arousal. More likely, the figurines were religious icons or fertility symbols.

Fast-forwarding through history, the ancient Greeks and Romans created public sculptures and frescos depicting homosexuality, threesomes, fellatio and cunnilingus. In India during the second century, the Kama Sutra was half sex-manual, half relationship-handbook. The Moche people of ancient Peru painted sexual scenes on ceramic pottery, while the aristocracy in 16th century Japan was fond of erotic woodblock prints....

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