Porno Chic

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The Golden Age of Porn or porno chic refers to a period in the history of pornography, approximately from the late-1960s to the early-to-mid-1980s that is idealized as a time where difficult to treat STDs had not achieved wide public notice. This freedom was ostensibly reflected in the pornography industry, with adult movies and adult magazines approaching the mainstream and becoming increasingly visible.

The golden age was also typified by interactions with the contemporaneous second wave of feminism. These were radical and cultural feminists which, along with the Christian right, attacked pornography, while other feminists were more concerned with ideas of sexual liberation and freedom from government intrusion into the growing industry.

The origins of the Golden Age are typically associated with the massive success of the 1971 film ‘Boys in the Sand,’ and of ‘Deep Throat’ and ‘Behind the Green Door,’ which were both released in 1972. These three were the first hardcore porn films to reach a mass mixed-sex audience, and all received positive reviews in mainstream media. Other key films from the period include ‘The Devil in Miss Jones’ and ‘Score,’ which appeared in mainstream moviehouses of the United States for the first time.

These movies saw the blossoming of pornography in the mainstream consciousness, whereby drive-in theaters would take out full page newspaper ads to promote the latest adult features. Porn films started being shown in mainstream movie theaters, and thus were accepted as suitable for public consumption, or at least tolerated. ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ (1978) is also regarded as one of the most important releases during the period.

For a period of two or three years it was fashionable to watch and discuss such films. An influential five-page article about the movie ‘Deep Throat’ in the ‘New York Times Magazine’ in early 1973 used the phrase ‘porno chic’ in the title and described the phenomenon. Actress Linda Lovelace once stated at that time that she believed that the porn industry would merge with the mainstream film industry.

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