Exploring The Arms of Tentacle Porn!

When it comes to Asian Popular culture – there are many things in it which the Western World finds strange. Take for example Asian game shows – a variety of which can be found with a simple search through youtube. They excel in oddity and absurdity, and this often transcends through Asian exploration of sex and sexuality. Absurdity in this instance refers to a situation or thing that is deemed to be wildly unreasonable to the point where it comes across as foolish. There are no negative connotations here as absurdity often relies on surreal humour which is a collection of bizarre juxtapositioning, and irrational situations using expressions of nonsense. For these reasons absurdity, and surreal humour are either used to point out irony, or are used to poke fun at things not meant to be taken seriously. Indeed, Asian culture uses this form of humour as entertainment, and for today’s discussion this is a crucial element in understanding Asian Culture’s relationship to sex and sexuality.
Tentacle Fetish
Tentacle Romance
I speak often of the advancements of human communication and technology and how that brings cultures, civilisations, countries and continents ever closer – but not always. When it comes to sex and sexuality, the gap between Asians and Westerners simply is not getting smaller despite profound Westernisation transforming aspects of the culture. There is little discussion about sex when it comes to Asian culture, for the most part when  it comes to discussions of sex, it is largely swept under the carpet – this dilemma is expressed by Carene Chong in her article Perceptions of Sex: East Vs West as she explains her discomfort upon arriving in Australia. She describes how she knew that the Western world was far more open to the discussion of sex – but she had underestimated just how open that the Western World was. In her article she explains how she was unable to reply to her friend when she was asked if she was having sex with her boyfriend and that her friend couldn’t understand her discomfort at the question – as she puts it, to her friend ‘sex was just as common a topic as what she had for lunch.’ Despite her understanding and already acknowledging the differences between the two cultures she was unprepared for the openness, and it is topic that she still describes as ’embarrassing subject’ that she loves to hate. But why is this so? Why is sex considered to be so taboo in Asian culture that it makes an individual so embarrassed that they are unable to illicit a response?
From my own experiences in teaching in an Asian school – there is a complete lack of sexual education at school. The idea of sex is considered to be so taboo within Asian culture that i received an extensive lecture during my induction on ensuring that my teachings and class content was completely devoid of sex. An interesting and unusual perspective as the school i was teaching in at the time had no issues with students sexuality, or the way that they performed their sex such as in drag. To many in an Asian culture sex is a sinful experience and it should not be spoken about, nor should they participate in sexual activity or expression until they have either settled down, or reached an appropriate age.
Now that we have an understanding of Asia and it’s relationship with sex – it’s easy to see why there are sexual practices in Asia which seem strange. From Robotic sex, to cuddle bars, vibrator bars, and  a variety of fetish clubs catering to all sorts of fetishes – there is often a skewed perspective when it comes to how Westerners and Asians view sex and that’s without going into the tragedy and racism of Asian Pornography. Indeed, when it comes to Japan and their relationship to sex – the assumption is often that Japanese people are sexually repressed. In a way, this is partially true and arguments can be easily made pointing to their low birthrates and, due to a preference to be productive members of society and focusing on work, a preference of a single lifestyle. In spite of this, the sex industry in Japan is considered to be the second largest industry in the country and because of a unique perspective, understanding, and a relationship to sex it has allowed the growth of unusual aspects of sex to become almost mainstream within Japanese sexual culture. Certainly, as Westerners, it is the oddities that are most often reported on, and the strange phenomena that occurs in Japanese sexual culture is often deemed as fascinating.


Budding adolescents when fumbling around the internet for their introduction into pornography will search for ‘weird’ things. They are often seen as a staple of the human psyche – anything that sounds absurd we are curious with – we may only look at it once, or be horrified by it, but there is always some kind of morbid fascination with oddities. With the internet, there are no longer walls to accessing this and virtually anyone could share their thoughts, fetishes, fantasies anonymously from behind a screen safely at home. Inevitably someone, somewhere will discover tentacle porn and it will be viewed with disdain and confusion. Tentacle porn is pretty much exactly what it sounds – individuals having sex with tentacles either from an anthropomorphised animal, or some mutant/science fiction being. It is usually portrayed through in cartoon or anime style, though other portrayals do exist, albeit they are rare. Whilst many people will look at tentacle porn with a sense of mockery, it is actually far older than many people realise. The first instance of tentacle porn is often credited to Katsushika Hokusai, a japanese artist that lived in the late 19th and early 19th century. Whilst Hokusai is most widely remembered for his piece ‘Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji’ he is also responsible for the artwork titled ‘The Dream of the Fishermans wife’. The first known example of tentacle porn, it depicts a female engaging in sexual intercourse with two octopi, one which is kissing her and the other which is performing cunnilingus. The artwork is actually responsible for influencing a number of artists later on an impressive list which include;  Félicien Rops, Auguste Rodin, Louis Aucoc, Fernand Khnopff, and Pablo Picasso. Indeed, Picasso painted his own version in 1903 as well as a series of other pieces all of which were inspired by Japanese Erotica and which have been showcased at musuems around the world.
Modern tentacle porn is considered to be a little different. Whereas Hokusai depicts a consensual relationship between the woman and the Cephalopods, modern tentacle porn is often shrouded with forced acts, and rape. This was in part due to Toshio Maeda who is the creator of Urotsukidoji. Credited as being the creator of modern tentacle pornography, Urotsukidoji was developed in 1986 and contained a unique and edgy mix of erotica, dark humour and an exploration of the supernatural. Maeda was commissioned by a pornographic manga magazine and used his artwork to evade the strict censorship laws of Japan. Interestingly, Why is sex considered to be so taboo in Asian culture that it makes an individual so embarrassed that they are unable to illicit a response? the laws do not allow any representation of penis, but does not forbid viewing penetration by any other object, such as in this case tentacles.  Many people are often confused by tentacle porn, and struggle to understand it. In part, it exists as an ode to Japanese culture – fishing is an important past time of Japan and even today despite it being 20 times smaller in land mass than Australia, it has over 3,000 fishing ports. During the Meija Era of Japans history, roughly 100 years ago, roughly 1 in 20 people were considered to be fisherman , that number is dwindling, the remnants of a 10,000 year old fishing culture. As an island nation which relies on fish as a primary source of food, it is little wonder why there has been a keen interest with tentacle porn, fishing is an intrinsic part of their life in a way that many western countries (with far less reliance on fishing) could not understand. The fetish in a modern sense has shifted away from being about the relationship with fishing culture and has become valued largely due to pop culture and for those who find pleasure in the humiliation and subjugation of women by an entity that is not human.
It also somewhat escapes the stereotypes normally associated with Asian porn – a genre of sex toys and porn that is often deemed degrading and racist. Whilst many may view it as something as an oddity, tentacle porn is actually rich in japanese history and culture. Though the question is often asked, why is tentacle porn so popular? Aside from the cultural references it insinuates, tentacle porn is so popular because it bypasses the censorship laws that are in place in Japan.  Thought tentacle pornography preceded the censorship laws, it became far more popular afterwards. Combine that with the geeky context, supernatural and often horror films in a pornographic depiction which reinforces western porn cliches (think degrading women, forced sexual acts and the pleasure of the active participant a opposed to the submissive) then it’s really no different to anything else out there.
Author: Stephen Smith – BA Of Social Sciences, M.Ed

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Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.

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