Wikipedia:Hardcore pornography images

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Articles about hardcore pornography subjects should not contain pictures or videos which are hardcore pornography.

On the one hand, the articles this essay is concerned with are mostly about obscure sub-genres of pornography. These are not vital articles. They are marginal articles, and any images in them are, perforce, images in a marginal article.

On the other hand, in return for the minimal encyclopedic value imparted by these images, we have that:

  • There is a considerable cost to the encyclopedia to host these images. These few images are among the most contentious materials hosted on Wikipedia, degrade Wikipedia's reputation, create a political vulnerability for Wikipedia, and drive away readers and potential new editors (including women; Wikipedia has a serious deficit of female readers and editors, and that is a problem, and this sort of thing doesn't help).
  • It is not a good thing for young people to be viewing these images. Other images on Wikipedia may also be problematic, but these images are especially problematic since they depict extreme sexual situations, and in some cases depict events that occur in pornography but not (at a verifiably notable level) in real life. A picture being worth a thousand words, this point may be lost on impressionable viewers.
  • Many of these images are misogynistic and degrading to women, and this is by intentional design, since the pornographic genres they illustrate are misogynistic and degrading to women.[1] While it may be appropriate to display images depicting the degradation of women in certain historical or sociological contexts, its not appropriate to use them in what is at least a borderline "fanboy" context.

The Wikipedia community is overwhelmingly composed of single, childless white males;[2][dead link] yet Wikipedia is conceived as a reference work for the general population.

Scope and definitions[edit]


This page is solely concerned with those activities which are primarily notable as occurring in hardcore pornography. It does not address the use of images in articles covering real-life human sexuality where the behavior in question occurs among populations at a notable level, and this is verified, and there is sufficient material for a worthwhile encyclopedia article, and the image depicts this real-life behavior.


"Hardcore pornography" is a fairly well-defined phrase. Wiktionary, the free dictionary, defines "hardcore pornography" as "Pornography featuring sexual penetration and other sexuality explicit acts". ("Explicit" is further defined as "very specific, clear, or detailed" and as "containing material that might be deemed offensive or graphic".) Our article on hardcore pornography (contrast with softcore pornography) discusses this in more detail.

It is true that the full application of the term "hardcore pornography" may be debated. Reasonable people may disagree over whether a particular article or image is hardcore pornography. That does not mean the term is without meaning, and in most cases, the application of the term is not contentious.

Reliable sources[edit]

Wikipedia aims to reflect the editorial judgment of the pool of published sources available. This is basic policy when it comes to the textual content of Wikipedia articles; Wikipedia makes corresponding commitments in policies such as WP:Verifiability, WP:Neutral point of view and WP:No original research. While many reputable publications on sexology feature illustrations of sexual positions and the like, by and large newspapers, books and printed encyclopedias that discuss pornography seriously in an educational context, as Wikipedia aims to do, do not illustrate their articles, book covers etc. with sexually explicit still shots from pornographic movies or other hardcore pornographic images. To be true to its basic mission, which is to reflect reliable source coverage in a neutral manner, Wikipedia should take its lead from reputable publications in this topic area, both for illustrations and textual content.

This is also consistent with the Wikimedia Foundation board resolution on controversial content, which states,

We support the principle of least astonishment: content on Wikimedia projects should be presented to readers in such a way as to respect their expectations of what any page or feature might contain. ... We urge the community to pay particular attention to curating all kinds of potentially controversial content, including determining whether it has a realistic educational use and applying the principle of least astonishment in categorization and placement.[3]

Readers will expect us to have educational articles on pornography topics, but our treatment of these topics should not be astonishingly different from the way well established reputable sources handle them.


The Wikipedia:Content disclaimer does not directly mention displaying hardcore pornography. Open to interpretation due to individual considerations, the closest it comes is this statement:

Wikipedia contains many different images, some of which are considered objectionable or offensive by some readers. For example, some articles contain graphical depictions of violence, human anatomy, or sexual acts.

The implication appears that "graphical depictions of sexual acts" are an example of material hosted here that some, not necessarily all, readers may find objectionable. Hardcore pornography images include and may go beyond images of common sexual behaviour, as depicted in articles such as List of sex positions. Were Wikipedia to eschew the display of certain hardcore images, our content would arguably be more subject to the cautions regarding objectionable material and offensiveness addressed in the disclaimer.

Alternative view[edit]

For an alternative view on the topic discussed in this essay, see Wikipedia:Hardcore pornography images/Rebuttal.


  1. ^ Gail Dines for example quotes veteran porn actor and producer Bill Margold as stating, "I'd like to really show what I believe the men want to see: violence against women. I firmly believe that we serve a purpose by showing that. The most violent we can get is the cum shot in the face. Men get off behind that because they get even with the women they can't have." Gail Dines (1 July 2010). Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality. Beacon Press. p. xxiv. ISBN 9780807044520. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  2. ^ Wikipedia Survey by the Wikimedia Foundation and the Collaborative Creativity Group at UNU-MERIT, a joint research and training centre of United Nations University (UNU) and Maastricht University. 24 March 2010.
  3. ^ Wikimedia Foundation board resolution on controversial content, 29 May 2011

See also[edit]