The Color of Porn

What is the color of porn? We never expected porn to actually have a color, but we were wrong! The color of porn depends on where you are in the world though. It turns out that in China the color of porn is yellow. Pornographic books are referred to as ‘yellow books’, and sexual jokes are called ‘yellow jokes’ there.

In Catalan and Spanish the color is green. A dirty joke there is called ‘acudits verds / chistes verdes’ which translates into ‘green jokes’. In greek and Japanese it’s ‘pink’. The English used ‘blue movies’ to describe pornographic material, though that term seems to be hardly used anymore.

Why refer to pornographic material as ‘yellow’? Well, a couple of explanations are floating around. As for the Chinese ‘yellow’ it could refer to the skin color, since there is a lot of skin showing in adult material. Another possible explanation is the association between ‘yellow’ and ‘bad practice’. A British magazine published in 1894 had contents considered scurrilous by some. Oscar Wilde was seen holding an issue of this ‘Yellow Book‘ when he was arrested with homosexual charges. Since then people would have connection ‘yellow’ with what was then considered ‘dirty / sexual’. It could also be that ‘yellow’ comes from the ‘yellow card’, a personal identification document of prostitutes in the Russian Empire. Or is it because of the color of the website you’re on? Who knows…

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