SoftcoreThe term softcore - opposite of the term hardcore - is primarily used in the erotic industry. Softcore refers to a category of erotic films in which sexual acts are merely suggested, yet not visible to the viewer. As a consequence, the focal point of the films is not male and female genitalia, but predominantly on the artistic representation of sexual intercourse - yet without its explicit display. For this reason, softcore movies usually target the 16+ age group, and the 18+ age group for hardcore pornography, according to the German voluntary self-regulation of the film industry.

Softcore films usually feature a complete story framework in which the various erogenous zones are integrated in the form of short episodes. These softcore films especially enjoyed popularity in the 70's and 80's and were made accessible to a broad spectrum of viewers with the advent of independent television. For example, many productions from Germany, Italy, and France were included in the nighttime scheduling of various independent broadcasters since no explicit sex scenes were shown. The artistic value of the films is often disputed, especially since films such as The Schoolgirl Report not only became true classics, but also resulted in a staggering number of sequels and imitators. Softcore films were often also perceived as educational films, even when there was little or no actual educational value.

By today's standards, softcore films from previous generations are clearly outdated. However, many films nowadays are still being made that feature such softcore elements. Even many Hollywood films display individual scenes which are shot using techniques from classic softcore film and which suggest sex scenes without explicitly showing them and crossing over into the hardcore area as a result.
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