What are the Different Types of Illegal Pornography?

G. Wiesen

There are a number of different types of illegal pornography, though they will often vary depending on the specific laws of an individual country. Many countries in the Middle East, for example, outlaw all depictions of sexual acts and pornography, regardless of the material presented in such images. In countries in which some pornographic material is legal, there is often a separation of images along the lines of what is depicted and whether such depictions are considered obscene or not. Many countries that do allow for some legal depictions of sexual acts will often indicate illegal porn as depictions of sexual acts that are themselves illegal.

Many countries in the Middle East outlaw all depictions of sexual acts and pornography.
Many countries in the Middle East outlaw all depictions of sexual acts and pornography.

Illegal pornography is typically any type of depiction of sexuality that is considered illegal due to the laws of a given country. This can vary quite widely from country to country, and in the US these laws are often established at a state level based on the views on decency of a community. Care should be taken, therefore, by anyone who wishes to transfer pornographic materials between different countries or states to be aware of what materials may be considered illegal pornography in the area the person is moving into.

Softcore pornography is typically not explicit.
Softcore pornography is typically not explicit.

In some countries, all depictions of sexual activities are considered illegal porn and the punishments for possessing or distributing such materials can be severe. Other countries tend to break down depictions of sexual behavior into different categories, and define legality based upon those categories. “Softcore” images, for example, are legal in many countries and these images are often sexual in nature but are not always explicit in what is shown. “Hardcore” images, on the other hand, are typically much more explicit and may constitute illegal pornography in countries that allow depictions of human nudity in other forms.

Many countries that do allow some forms of pornographic materials, even “hardcore” materials, will still establish certain forms of illegal pornography. These forms of illegal pornography are typically depictions of sexual acts that, themselves, are illegal. Child pornography, which is depictions of sexual activities involving someone under the legal age of majority in a country, is illegal in the majority of countries. In some countries this can include even simulated child pornography, involving actors who are of legal age but pretending to be younger or illustrated depictions of characters that appear to be children.

Softcore images are legal in many countries.
Softcore images are legal in many countries.

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Discussion Comments


Really quite unhelpful. Simply trying to define what constitutes illegal pornography in the US and other Western European Nations. We all know the insanity of Islamic rule where you can be put to death for making the mistake of wearing the wrong colored socks on a Tuesday.

Honestly a chimpanzee could write something like this.


I've rarely heard of any illegal types of pornography ever being redefined as legal in the United States. If anything, the laws against things like child pornography keep getting stronger over time. There's absolutely zero tolerance for anyone who is found in possession of print material, computer files or videos depicting minors performing sexual acts. I've heard stories of minors getting charged with production and distribution of child pornography simply by texting nude photos of themselves or other friends on their smart phones.

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