When I came to writing this article, I spent a long time trying to decide where to begin! Not because of the wealth of Erotic Art that has come from Europe over the millennia. In fact, for the greater part of Europe's history there is an enormous desert of time where sexuality in art is practically absent, especially compared to the rest of the world.
The reason why it is so hard to decide where to begin the history of European Erotic Art is because many of the pieces we look at today as being "erotic" weren't intended as such. Today the western world generally associates nudity, or even partial nudity, or even the suggestion of nudity, with sex though that hasn't always been the case. During some periods in European history nudity was considered an everyday occurrence and in others the nude in art was used symbolically. I suppose the controversy lies within the intent of the artist.