The Erotic Engine: How Pornography has Powered Mass Communication, from Gutenberg to Google

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Pornography: The force for change that has been written out of the history of world culture.

From cave painting to photography to the internet, pornography has always been at the cutting edge in adopting and exploiting new developments in mass communication. And in so doing, it has helped to promote and propel those developments in ways that are rarely acknowledged. Without pornography, the internet would not have grown so quickly. The e-commerce payment systems that are now commonplace would be at a far more primitive stage security and usability. Without video streaming software developed for pornography sites, CNN would be struggling to deliver news clips. Without advertising from sex sites, Google could not have afforded YouTube.

This smart, witty and well-researched history shows how a vast secret trade has bankrolled and shaped mainstream culture and its machines.