Erotic Imagery of Children: An Overview

December 17, 2006

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell

To have a rational conversation about child porn, it is necessary to understand the different visual materials that can serve those with an erotic interest in children. Some of these materials include

  1. Depictions of children subjected to sadistic abuse, torture, violence, or severe pain.
  2. Depictions of children engaged in anal or vaginal intercourse.
  3. Depictions of children engaged in oral sex or masturbation.
  4. Depictions of children made by children who photograph or film themselves and possibly their peers having sex or masturbating.
  5. Depictions of children combined with the lascivious exhibition of someone’s genitals or pubic area.
  6. Child erotica such as that from child modeling websites, Japanese Junior Idols (e.g., Mayumi Yoshizawa), Brazilian beaches videos, etc.
  7. Pictures and videos featuring nudists or naturists.
  8. Anime variants like Lolicon and Shotacon.
  9. Mainstream products such as children’s toy and clothing catalogs, and bathtub photos from photo sharing sites.

This list is not intended to be comprehensive. It’s merely to give an overview of the enormous range of materials that might interest those who are erotically attracted to children. I hesitated to even include #1 in this list. I wonder if someone who is “aroused” by material such as that described in item 1 is actually erotically attracted to children at all. They may just be sadists who hate children. For now I’ll leave item 1 in the list since occasionally a news report of a child porn bust will describe some of the materials seized as violent or sadistic. Of course, the story writer is only repeating what the law enforcement agency told him, as he would never be allowed to actually see that material that was seized.

Items 1-5 clearly fall into the definition of child porn under U.S. Code Title 18 § 2256. Item 6 is a gray area that while generally legal, has occasionally been the subject of prosecutions in the USA. A number of “news” organizations (MSNBC) have taken to calling these materials “legal child porn”. Items 7-9 are almost always legal in the USA, though that hasn’t stopped a few idiotic local prosecutors from harassing innocent citizens over these materials.

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