AskDefine | Define prurience

Dictionary Definition

prurience n : feeling morbid sexual desire [syn: pruriency, lasciviousness, carnality]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The quality of being prurient


the quality of being prurient
  • Romanian: lascivitate

Extensive Definition

The Miller test is the United States Supreme Court's test for determining whether speech or expression can be labeled obscene, in which case it is not protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and can be prohibited.
The Miller test was developed in the 1973 case Miller v. California. It has three parts:
  • Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
  • Whether the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law,
  • Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. (This is also known as the (S)LAPS test- [Serious] Literary, Artistic, Political, Scientific).
The work is considered obscene only if all three conditions are satisfied.
The first two prongs of the Miller test are held to the standards of the community, and the last prong is held to a reasonable person standard. The reasonable person standard of the last prong acts as a check on the community standard of the first two prongs, allowing protection for works that in a certain community might be considered obscene but on a national level might have redeeming value.
For legal scholars, several issues are important. One is that the test allows for community standards rather than a national standard. What offends the average person in Jackson, Mississippi, may differ from what offends the average person in New York City. The relevant community, however, is not defined.
Another important issue is that Miller asks for an interpretation of what the "average" person finds offensive, rather than what the more sensitive persons in the community are offended by, as obscenity was defined by the previous test, the Hicklin test, stemming from the English precedent.
Because it allows for community standards and demands "serious" value, some worried that this test would make it easier to suppress speech and expression. They pointed out that it replaced a stricter test asking whether the speech or expression was "utterly without redeeming social value"--a much tougher standard than "serious" value. As used, however, the test generally makes it difficult to outlaw any form of expression. Much pornography has been successfully argued to have some artistic or literary value.
Some critics of obscenity law argue that the existence of Miller proves that federal obscenity laws are in fact not defined, and thus unenforceable and legally dubious.
In practice, pornography showing genitalia and sexual acts is not de facto obscene according to the Miller test. For instance, in 2000 a jury in Provo, Utah, took only a few minutes to clear Larry Peterman, owner of a Movie Buffs, in Utah County, Utah, a region which had often boasted of being one of the most conservative areas in the US. Researchers had shown that guests at the local Marriott Hotel were disproportionately large consumers of pay-per-view pornographic material, obtaining far more material that way than the store was distributing.
The advent of the Internet has made this definition more difficult to maintain: as material published on a web server in one place can be read by a person residing anywhere else, there is a question as to which jurisdiction should apply. The pending case United States of America v. Extreme Associates includes some content delivered purely over the Internet and may clarify the situation.


prurience in Russian: Тест Миллера

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

an universal wolf, andromania, animality, aphrodisia, appetence, appetency, appetite, appetition, bawdiness, biological urge, bodily appetite, carnal desire, carnality, clitoromania, concupiscence, coveting, craving, curiosity, curious mind, curiousness, desire, dirtiness, eromania, eroticism, eroticomania, eroticomaniac, erotism, erotomania, fleshliness, fleshly lust, furor uterinus, ghoulishness, goatishness, gynecomania, horniness, hot blood, hot pants, hunger, hysteromania, indecency, infantile sexuality, inquiring mind, inquisitiveness, interest, itch, itch for knowledge, itching, lasciviousness, lecherousness, lechery, lewdness, libidinousness, lickerishness, lively interest, lubriciousness, lubricity, lust, lustfulness, mania, meddlesomeness, mental acquisitiveness, morbid curiosity, nosiness, nymphomania, obscenity, officiousness, passion, polymorphous perversity, pruriency, prurient interest, prying, randiness, salaciousness, salacity, satyriasis, satyrism, scopophilia, sensuality, sexiness, sexual desire, sexual longing, sexual passion, sexuality, thirst, thirst for knowledge, uteromania, venereal appetite, voyeurism
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