Etymology[ edit ] A distinction between "hardcore pornography" and "borderline pornography" or "borderline obscenity" was made in the s and s by American jurists discussing obscenity laws. United States the government brief distinguished three classes of sexual material: And that is all. Ohio , Potter Stewart wrote: I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so.
But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case [The Lovers] is not that. Ohio and other cases, the United States Supreme Court ruled that only "hardcore" pornography could be prohibited by obscenity laws, with the rest protected by the First Amendment.
The category of "borderline obscenity" thus became obsolete. The report of the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography said: This, of course, is not a legal definition Some judges have employed the term "hard-core pornography" as a synonym for "material which can be legally suppressed".
In this Report, the term is used as a synonym for "under-the-counter" or covertly sold materials. This is, in effect, the definition of hard-core applied in the marketplace. It can be argued that because of the confusion about the meaning of the term, which stems primarily from an undefined legal concept, it would be well to avoid the use of the term altogether There is one genre of sexually oriented material which is almost universally sold under-the-counter in the United States: A[t] present, distinctions between materials sold openly and those sold covertly have become extremely unclear.
From the s, the salient distinction was between hardcore pornography and softcore pornography , which may use simulated sex and limits the range and intensity of depictions of sexual activities. For example, William Rotsler 's classification subdivided the X rating for erotic films: Stag film The prehistory of modern pornography is the classical American stag film, also known as blue movies, a body of clandestine short pornographic films produced during the first two-thirds of the 20th century.
While the exact corpus of the distinctive stag film remains unknown, scholars at the Kinsey Institute believe there are approximately films produced between Women were excluded from these private screenings that were shown in American "smoker" houses such as fraternities or other exclusive institutions.
In Europe, films of the same kind were screened in brothels. The mode of reception of the all-male audience of stag films was raucous, collective sexual banter  and sexual arousal. Film historians describe stag films as a primitive form of cinema because they were produced by anonymous and amateur male artists who failed to achieve narrative coherence and continuity.
Today, many of these films have been archived by the Kinsey Institute, but most are in a state of decay and have no copyright , real credits, or acknowledged authorship. The stag film era inevitably ended with the beginnings of the sexual revolution in the fifties in combination with the new technologies of the post war era, such as 16mm, 8mm, and the Super 8. American stag cinema in general received scholarly attention first in the mid-seventies by heterosexual males, e.
Di Lauro and Gerald Rabkin's Dirty Movies and more recently by feminist and queer cultural historians, e. Williams ' Hard Core: Pornography by region On the set of a pornographic film The distribution of hardcore pornography had been widely prohibited in many countries until the second half of the 20th century when many countries began to allow some dissemination of softcore material.
Supply is now usually regulated by a motion picture rating system as well as by direct regulation of points of sale. Restrictions, as applicable, apply to the screening, or rental, sale, or giving of a movie, in the form of a DVD, video, computer file, etc. Public display and advertising of hardcore pornography is often prohibited, as is its supply to minors. Most countries have eased the restrictions on the distribution of pornography , either by general or restricted legalization or by failure to enforce prohibitive legislation.
Most easing of restrictions has been by way of changes to the criteria of a country's movie classification system. The anti-pornography movement often vigorously opposes legalization. In , Denmark became the first country in the world to legalize pornography. Hardcore pornography was legalized in the UK in A study found that one third of all British Internet users accessed hardcore porn.