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Softcore describes pictures and films that are sexual in nature, but not as explicit as hardcore pornographic works. The New York Times was the first publication to use the term in 1966.
Like works that are hardcore, softcore still aims to arouse its viewers. It was originally seen in men’s magazines of the 1950s when it was still considered unacceptable to show explicitly sexual images.
The term softcore is short for softcore pornography.
It’s important to note that what constitutes softcore pornography and the ways it differs from hardcore can also be a matter of personal opinion. Someone who is unused to viewing pornography may view some softcore works as hardcore. An individual who regularly consumes porn may feel that some porn in the hardcore category is actually softcore. However, there are some features of softcore that most people can agree on.
Softcore works do not typically show actual penetration although this act may be simulated. It also generally does not show oral sex or ejaculation. They usually do not show erect penises; they typically feature nude and semi-nude performers. Latex genital covers may be worn to prevent physical contact between the actors.
Softcore scenes are often carefully staged to ensure that very little is shown. Draped hair, clothing, or hands may cover body parts. Plants or drapery may be positioned in front of the bodies. Camera angles will be carefully chosen to add to the mystery.
Due to their more acceptable nature, softcore films face less regulations and restrictions than hardcore pornographic works do.