The History of The Adult Business

Since ancient times, humans have been fascinated with sex. Venus figurines, which anthropologists believe were used for stimulating sexual arousal, is good evidence. Also, the ancient Roman and Greek empires created frescos and statues that depict sexual activity.

Interest in sex is a vivid similarity between ancient and modern humans. Its images and representation never disappeared through the course of history. This article will explain the history of the modern adult business, and how it reached its prominence in modern society.

Fanny Hill (1748)

John Cleland created Fanny Hill, an English prose which is considered as the first pornographic material in history, in 1748. This prose was a part of his novel entitled Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. Since its discovery, it became the most banned and prosecuted book in history, and was accused of corrupting the king’s people.

Daguerreotype (1839)

Louis Daguerre pioneered the first instance of photography in 1839 through his invention of Daguerreotype. It was a phenomenal invention that enabled modern society to track its own history, as well as the history of pornography.

Daguerreotype was used as a means to capture images depicting sexual activity. The first pornographic photograph which shows a penis inside a vagina was captured in 1846.

Obscene Publications act of 1857 (1857)

In 1857, England became the first country to take action against selling pornographic materials. Through the Obscene Publication Act of 1857, or also known as the Lord Campbell’s Act, the government can confiscate and destroy materials that are considered obscene under the law.

Medical Lexicon (1857)

In the same year, Robley Dunglison, an English Physician, released a medical science dictionary called Medical Lexicon where he used the term pornography. His definition of pornography is a description of prostitutes and their lack of personal hygiene.

Motion Picture (1895)

Half a decade after, the world became capable of recording one-minute long video clips. Eugene Pirou and Albert Kirchner used the technology to create the world’s first erotic films, Le coucher de la mariée. The film showed actress Louise Willy performing a striptease.


Despite the actions of the government towards criminalizing distributors of pornography, they failed to ultimately stop its proliferation in society. However, the government intensified its effort to curb the effects of pornography to the people: they passed legislation that criminalizes not only the distribution, but also possession and consumption of pornographic materials.

Denmark decriminalizing porn (1969)

In 1969, Denmark became the first country to decriminalize pornography. This led to the explosion in creating and manufacturing pornography in the region. It also led to the smuggling of pornographic materials in other countries.

U.S. Supreme Court on pornography (1973)

America recognized the need to address the lack of strict and definite laws against pornography by defining obscenity on three levels, namely: a person can recognize that the material was made for sexual intentions; the material depicts sexual activity; and it lacks artistry, and it will not be identified as art in any way.

VCR paradox (1978)

The VHS became popular in Japan during its release in 1976, but only a small percentage of American homes had the device in 1978. Ironically, however, a recent study showed that most of the VHS tapes bought at that same year were pornographic.

The World Wide Web (1991)

At the end of the twentieth century, the world invented the Internet. Its combination with the digital camera significantly lessened the government’s ability to combat pornography, which led to the establishment of entire websites dedicated to pornography in the coming years.

The world’s First Porn Site (1994)

In just three years after the invention of the internet, the world’s first porn site was created: by Gary Kremen. This website was the most popular and highest paid website at the time, and it became a long legal battle. In the end, Kremen sold the website for $12 million.

The 21st century (2000-present)

Although pornography is still seen today as a societal disease and a testament to society’s moral decay, it is as prominent now as ever before. In fact, in 2007, aggregate retail sales of pornographic materials reached $6 billion. Then, in 2012, Xvideos became the largest and richest porn site, reaching up to 4.4 billion views a month. Online dating is also very big. Sites like Milf Swiper, which specializes in milf dating, milf sex and trading milf pics is on the rise with the highest active member count in their history.


Pornography has a rich history, and it also has a bright future due to improvements in video technologies. Basically, humans and their need for sexual arousal has been the main engine that kept pornography thriving despite its oppositions. Today, it is not only a material that people covertly consume; it is now a business, and an industry.