Porn Through the Years
Silent movies ...
When Louis Lumière invented the motion picture camera in 1895, it didn't take long for someone to film the first sex scene.
The first known movie is an 1896 film dubbed "Le Coucher de la Marie," though only two minutes of that seven to eight minute film still exist.
In terms of American antique porn, 1915's "A Free Ride" was the first — and it shows how little plots have progressed in the past 100 years. A man driving a Model-T Ford picks up two women hitchhikers, drives them to the desert — then has sex with them.
The dialogue is about the same, too — only instead of hearing it, viewers had to read it on title cards.
As with artwork, prices for vintage porn films run the gamut.
While most museums don't display erotic works of art, in an effort to be family friendly, there's a lot of sexuality in the art world — and a lot of it is hardcore. Plenty of paintings, bronze sculptures, and objects feature graphic images of sex.
Ancient Asian art is the most prevalent, but all cultures have examples of erotic art, including some well-known artists such as Thomas Rowlandson. Prices vary widely.
"People are realizing how important erotic art is to both own and display," says Naomi Wilzig, founder and president of the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach.
She added: "People used to cast it aside as sordid, but are now realizing it's important. There's no doubt it's escalating [in value]. And I think the idea of seeing so much escalation not only woke people up to the idea that it was there but [also caused them to think] instead of looking at the smutty side of it, why not look to the more artistic, beautiful side of it?"
Adult novelties ...
Sex toys have been around for hundreds of years — and there's a growing interest in these antiques.
In March 2010, an anonymous bidder paid 3,600 British pounds (more than $5,800 at the current exchange rate) for a pair of wooden phalluses, likely from France, which dated back to the 1700s.
Typically, though, those sorts of transactions are done privately, rather than through public auction.
"Because of the category we're in, people tend to be less public, so it's hard to say when and where people have traded these things," says Ethan Imboden, founder of Jimmyjane. "I think we're at an interesting moment in the intersection of sex and art."
As far as the current toy market goes, several of today's high-end sex toy companies, in an effort to emulate Apple's design philosophy, are focusing on the aesthetic appeal of their products, in addition to the pleasure aspects — and that's drawing the attention of modern artists.
Jamie Hewlett, creator of the “Tank Girl” comic, has worked with JimmyJane to produce a series of toys, as has music group Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart.