Today, pornography is democratized. No longer confined to the pages of magazines, the internet has allowed anyone the means to upload their amateur videos to Pornhub or use Instagram as a marketing tool to tease their bits. Pornography is also crowdfunded. Instagram models lead you to Patreon pages or cam streams, where—for a low monthly subscription fee, or the occasional generous gift—there’s a glimmer of hope that the viewer could get to know them.
In the West, the first step in bringing pornography to the broader public came unexpectedly, with the invention of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press in 1440. The German publisher created the machine to share books—most notably, the vernacular Gutenberg Bible—with the masses. Soon, it was able to disseminate engraved images, too. Gutenberg’s press effectively opened the door for a flow of new images and ideas around Europe.