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Early cultures often associated the sexual act with supernatural forces and thus their religion is intertwined with such depictions.

In Asian countries such as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Japan and China, representations of sex and erotic art have specific spiritual meanings within native religions.

The movable objects were locked away in the Secret Museum in Naples, and what could not be removed was covered and cordoned off so as to not corrupt the sensibilities of women, children and the working class.

England's (and the world's) first laws criminalising pornography were enacted with the passage of the Obscene Publications Act of 1857.

On one hand, in the Villa of the Mysteries, there is a ritual flagellation scene that is clearly associated with a religious cult and this image can be seen as having religious significance rather than sexual.

On the other hand, graphic paintings in a brothel advertise sexual services in murals above each door.

The first instances of modern pornography date back to the sixteenth century when sexually explicit images differentiated itself from traditional sexual representations in European art by combining the traditionally explicit representation of sex and the moral norms of those times. Indecent speech is protected and may be regulated, but not banned.Sex acts that were considered taboo (such as those that defiled the purity of the mouth) were depicted in baths for comic effect.Large phalli were often used near entryways, for the phallus was a good-luck charm, and the carvings were common in homes.Though some specific sex acts were regulated or prohibited by earlier laws, merely looking at objects or images depicting them was not outlawed in any country until 1857.In some cases, the possession of certain books, engravings or image collections was outlawed, but the trend to compose laws that actually restricted viewing sexually explicit things in general was a Victorian construct.

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