Cupido's Erotic Photography

Skrevet av: Terje Gammelsrud

Sist oppdatert:

The models should be turned on - and their arousal should be believable!

What kinds of requirements do women have to erotic photos of men? And the men, what do they want when they see an erotic picture of women? A reader‘s poll among Cupido‘s Norwegian and Danish fans has given us some of the answers.

Cupido is the leading erotic magazine in Norway and Denmark. Its readers, therefore, are quite demanding when it comes to good erotic photographs.

Cupido‘s editorial staff asked them to choose their favorite photos and tell us what they meant about our erotic photos of men (Cupido 1/94) and women (Cupido 4/96). Surprisingly enough we find that men as well as women agree to a large extent as to what is needed in a photograph to trigger their sexual arousal.

Here are the four most important demands to an erotic photograph according to Cupido‘s readers:
  • Their favorite models are not the perfect, posing professional models, but rather straightforward men and women behaving naturally.
  • The models should be sexually aroused, and their arousal should be visible and believable. If for example, we get a glimpse of his sex, it should to all intents and purposes be erect!
  • The models should enjoy their own exhibitionism, they should be turned on by their own arousal and they must enjoy their own bodies.
  • The photographs function better if they are imaginative, that is if they suggest a story, or awaken the viewers‘ fantasies and create curiosity.
What it really boils down to is a matter of taste!

There can be no doubt about the fact that the readers of Cupido want a kind of photography that enlivens their sexual organs and awaken their lust. They want a kind of photography they can use during foreplay with their partners or a kind of photography that will give them masturbatory satisfaction if they happen to be alone.

So far they all agree, but when they are about to realise their ideas into the actual selection of photos that turn them on. That‘s when the differences become clear. What it really boils down to is a matter of taste - and that‘s how it should be. The ways of our sexuality are mysterious. I believe that every one of the 42 photographs we gave our readers to consider was characterised both as «no turn on» and «very much of a turn on». Some more and some less, but all were to some degree controversial.

Which is why we are not dramatically upset by the fact that as of today, it is impossible for Cupido to fulfil our readers‘ four central demands to a good erotic photo.

The paper-edition of Norwegian and Danish Cupido contains 80 - 90 erotic photos pr issue. This means 800 - 900 erotic photographs a year. And that many photos of good looking, straightforward men and women who are believable in their arousal, feel good with their own exhibitionism and are photographed in a professionally competent manner, are simple not around on the market in this day and age.

The demand for this kind of photography is, on the whole, small. Consequently very few photographer bother making them. Internationally, Cupido is still a lonely bird. We do not know of any other magazine where the editors as well as his readers have such high standards.

Afraid of being associated with traditional pornography?

Even the very few erotic magazines in Europe and the US that we feel related to in many ways, get frightened once we start talking about real sexual arousal. Primarily, I think, the male erection frightens them. This is often associated with traditional pornography and therefore more or less self-imposed decisions on censorship make the editors choose photos where the male model is allowed to hide his erection, or his lack of erection, behind her naked body. An altogether different strategy in avoiding comparisons to pornography is by choosing photos that are so artistic, politically correct or experimental that they defeat all feeling of sexual arousal.

Secondly it is a very hard task, for the photographer as well as for the models to convey a feeling of genuine sexual arousal via a photograph. Very often we experience that able photographers promise us more than they deliver. They have the will and the best of intentions, but when it comes down to finding the right models and creating the genuine atmosphere, they very often fail.

But Cupido remains defiant. We do not want pornography or the traditional men‘s magazines to have exclusive right to showing us photographs that are intended to turn us on.

In the same way as our readers we demand genuine and believable passion as well as photographic setting, but we have to be generous enough to also let photographs that do not fulfill all demands appear in Cupido. We are capable of enjoying a photo of a good-looking body even though the model does nothing but pose for the photographer.

We enjoy looking at pictures of couples that enjoy each other even though it is quite evident they are not aroused. And - to be sure - we welcome humorous pictures as well as art photography of a more traditional or experimental kind.

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