For centuries, one had to look to mythological or even religious works for representations of the naked body, even a mere breast — a nude Venus, goddess of love and beauty, in Ancient Rome, or Adam and Eve as symbolic representations of sin in paradise. Historically, there have always been pockets of eroticism in art. The infamous frescoes of doomed Pompeii, for example, featured oversized erections and sex acts, and artists in India, China and Japan have long captured explicit sex scenes freely and beautifully.
Big-name traditional porn studios struggle to compete not only with the rise of free porn, but with the rise of the amateur porn star. Streaming sites such as MyFreeCams, Camsoda and Chaturbate allow models to stream live sex shows from their own bedrooms and interact with their viewers in chatroom communities, offering fans an intimate connection with performers playing the role of both porn star and virtual girlfriend.
A growing number of Chinese people are now choosing to go nude for posterity, particularly young women and new brides. However, the trend is not supported by everyone. “Nude photos are unhealthy,” warned He Lina, chairwoman of the Shanghai Wedding Trade Association, a group that is urging authorities to ban studios from the practice. And it is not just a matter of morality; critics also claim the images could be misused and even illegally distributed as pornography.