To this end we will attempt to first clarify the perceived differences between allowed erotic literature and the type of literature which should be deemed pornographic and therefore prohibited. I would like to specifically point out that the explanations and guidelines that follow are not new and in fact simply detail the way deviantART policy has been applied to literature for several years.
The difference between erotica and pornography as defined by dictionary definitions is fairly non-existent, as much of what is considered erotic encompasses explicit sexual themes. Therefore we should clarify that, when the term erotic is used during this discussion, it is intended to represent literature which could more clearly be described as romantic with mild sexual content. In this respect we refer directly to the type of sexual content which may be found in the typical 'R' rated movie or mainstream romantic novel.
DEFINING PORNOGRAPHIC LITERATURE
Pornographic literature will be defined as literature written in which the only apparent purpose of the story is to provide a setting for a explicitly described sexual encounter. Such literature is particularly graphic in its descriptions of sexual acts and often resorts to language which can be considered obscene. In general, pornographic literature can be recognized as having little purpose beyond placing two or more characters into a situation to have sexual relations and describing those relations in enough detail to sexually excite or stimulate the reader.
Pornographic literature may be well written and may contain plot or relevant context but will ultimately resort to eliciting sexual arousal through the description of explicit sexual acts between people, objects, animals, etc. It is this factor which will be used to classify a particular literary submission as pornographic as opposed to erotic.
As with all things of this nature the determination of whether a work is pornographic or erotic is the responsibility of the reviewing staff member and this judgment will be made after a reading of the complete work and the examination of the exact language used.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE EXPLICIT?
Explicit writing will be defined as writing designed to leave little to the imagination. Sexual acts are detailed and graphic and often (though not always) stated in very obvious manner. As the purpose of pornography is to entice and arouse the reader, the language used and the actions of the characters are focused on providing the reader with detailed descriptions of each sexual act, often with acts such as penetration, oral sex and ejaculation being described in high detail and often using crass and vulgar terms in the description.
When crafting these guidelines and forming the official policy which the staff is responsible for enforcing we considered it vitally important that the rule set and enforcement actions not be so strict as to strangle the creative process. The intent and scope of these rules is to address the submission of pornographic literature and is not intended to stifle the submission of any literature that includes a mention of a sexual encounter.
The intention of these policies is to guide literary submissions towards the type of content which you find in a rated R movie or in a mainstream book which, while often clearly sexual, very obviously falls short of the type of content found in a Rated X film or a book from the local sex shop.
While the following rules and guidelines are written in a very strict and straight-forward manner which excludes any grey area, administrators are aware of the intent behind these policies and know that the policy need not be enforced strictly in situations where a sexual encounter is secondary to the literature and not the apparent goal of the literature.
Literary works with redeeming artistic or social merit may be granted an exemption after a review by authorized deviantART staff members.
The FAQ entry dealing with this subject has been updated to present the guidelines outlined below.
We apologize if the descriptions below are slightly graphic.
Literature which contains the following themes will be considered unacceptable for submission if the reviewing staff determines that the work possesses no redeeming literary qualities. Any work deemed unacceptable will be removed by staff without prior warning.
A literary work may not detail the act of masturbation.
A literary work may not detail graphic or explicit sexual intercourse. This includes descriptions of sexual penetration, oral to genital contact, genital to anal contact, oral to anal contact and may also include certain types of genital to genital contact and oral to breast contact.
This prohibition extends to descriptions of bodily fluids associated with sexual acts such as semen and vaginal lubricants.
Adult-oriented (sexual) toys
A literary work may not describe the use of adult-oriented sexual toys such as dildos, strap-ons, vibrators and similar 'adult toys'. This prohibition extends fully to other household objects or food objects used in sexual acts or for a sexual purpose.
A literary work which presents fictional characters under the age of eighteen in a sexually-suggestive manner or which depicts children or underage teenagers engaged in sexually oriented acts will be immediately classified as child pornography and removed by the reviewing staff.
In cases involving established characters under the age of eighteen taken from popular entertainment, fan fiction involving sexual relations of any type will be prohibited for these characters without exception.
FAQ #251: You prohibit the submission of 'pornographic literature'; what do you consider this to be?