If emotional pornography is anything, it's the romance novel.

Men watch pornography because it's visually exciting and, presuming they masturbate to it, get a physical satisfaction from it.

What's the purpose of the romance novel? According to the Romance Writers of America, "Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." (Italics my own.) Even if the more Victorian variety of these stories aren't explicit about the sex, they are quite explicit about the emotions involved. It's satisfying an emotional need in the reader.

If modern relationships are a combination of physical and emotional experience and fidelity, then both senses of pornography provide a fantasy of satisfaction. Still, convention requests that you to head shame-faced to 'news' vendors to get your porn fix, while romance novels are next to the candy in grocery store check-out lanes.

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