Recently, businessman Raj Kundra was arrested for producing porn and distributing it. The issue soon started gaining eyeballs, as people waited for Raj's response. 

In the meanwhile, Shilpa Shetty made a statement, which was: "Erotica' is not 'porn', my husband innocent".

Which made us want to dig a little deeper into the meaning of these terms. Now, I have a feeling that most people reading this will be able to tell the difference between 'porn' and 'erotica'. I thought I could too. 

However, it isn't as easy once you start putting it in words. 

Where does erotica end and porn begin? 

difference between porn and erotica
Source: Unsplash

First of all, that statement itself is questionable. Porn need not be an extension of erotica like we are accustomed to thinking. They can operate as two different forms of expression, albeit quite similar.

Both porn and erotica, involve a display of something sexual in nature, but while the former rests heavily on arousal, the latter does not. 

Porn that does not manage to arouse a single viewer, will qualify as "bad porn". Erotica wouldn't, though arousal is one of the things many artists making erotica want to achieve.

porn and erotica
Source: Unsplash

For instance, you go to an exhibition and look at a painting of two people touching each other sexually and you may or may not feel aroused by it. You might get so overwhelmed by the beauty of the art of painting, you might not even think about sex.

Or if you do, it might be with a perspective that stimulates only the brain and not the genitals. There are all kinds of possibilities.

Porn, on the other hand, demands the involvement of genitals. Desire to involve them, anyway. As Leon F. Seltzer, American clinical psychologist, says:

If the work has been executed erotically, it's generally assumed that the creator viewed the subject matter as praiseworthy. Something to take pleasure in, celebrate, exalt, glorify.
erotica and porn
Source: Unsplash

There are no two ways about it. If you watch a porn clip, for instance, and it doesn't arouse you, you switch it off. There is no perspective to be had (well, "no perspective" might be an exaggeration but you know what I mean).

For this reason, porn and erotica are marketed differently too. Porn follows a business model, erotica doesn't always.

There are a lot of erotica artists who pursue it for the love of it. And there are others who want money, but that is no the reason why they produce erotic content.

porn and erotica
Source: Unsplash

Porn is almost always made for money or for sexual pleasure - of one's own or others. To quote Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D: 

Pornography proposes a temporary "fix" for our sexual frustrations.

This brings us to the challenge of producing porn - exploitation. Not to say that it doesn't exist in erotica (it exists pretty much everywhere), but it's much more common in pornography.

Objectification and crossing of boundaries aren't uncommon in the porn industry. People, mostly women, are often degraded and shown as someone who is ready to have sex in whatever way or form the man desires.

Which affects the production, too. Many actors have faced harassment on sets, and that's simply unfortunate.

So those are some key differences between the two terms and it looks like they could change the fate of Raj Kundra's case if it were only reliant on what exactly he is/was producing. But, the case is more complicated than that and we hope justice is delivered.