lifestyle

Porn ban: You guessed it, the sex acts deemed 'not okay' are all about women's pleasure.

#NSFW
#NSFW

You’d think measures put in place to protect children, and reduce the insane degradation of women in pornography would be a good thing, wouldn’t you?

Except when it’s not.

New legislation in the UK has banned the depiction of a whole host of sexual acts in pornography, from choking and spanking “beyond a gentle level” to face sitting and the highly offensive act of female ejaculation.

The laws, which apply to purchased online pornography have supposedly been put in place to prevent the UK-based production and distribution of content “regarded as harmful for minors.”

Because apparently, a woman ejaculating is harmful to minors, but a man ejaculating is just fine. Face-sitting, which is most commonly depicted in plus size and BBW (Big Beautiful Women) porn has been banned because it is “life threatening”, an assertion many who actually practice face-sitting have described as “ridiculous”.

The full list of banned acts is incoherent and penalises female pleasure, as well as sexual activities that are prominent in the queer and BDSM (Bondage and Discipline Sadomasochism) communities.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

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Basically, it’s a shambles. A shambles reminiscent of similar censorship laws in Australia which passed in 2010.

These laws denied the existence of female ejaculation entirely, insisting that pornography that featured squirters was in fact “depictions of urination”. Furthermore, the Australian Classification Board described female ejaculation as “abhorrent”.

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Instead of censoring porn, how about we make it more enjoyable for women?

Censorship laws have also deemed certain shapes of vagina to be “too detailed” and forced pornographic magazines to photoshop women with visible labia minora, a move which has contributed to a rise in labiaplasty. 

Contemporary pornography has a massive problem with women.

It’s too violent, too often.

Niche sex acts like facials are standard operating procedure and there is nowhere near enough emphasis on female pleasure. And don’t get me started on “lesbian” porn, which has about as much to do with actual lesbians as chicken Twisties have with a hen.

But banning certain sex acts in a scattershot way is not going to fix that problem.

Especially not when the sex acts you’re banning only serve to reinforce the “straight male pleasure is the only kind worth caring about” paradigm that is already way too prominent in porn.

It’s not even going to work, given than most online porn consumption (especially by minors who have no access to credit cards) is through sites that stream porn for free.

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So what should we do instead? How about we accept that pornography is something that has always existed, and will always exist. And then from there accept that what goes on between between two (or more) consenting adults is no one’s business but their own.

Then work towards cultivating a culture of pornography that’s as diverse, and as weird and as wonderful as the real life spectrum of human sexuality. “Bleach Blonde Anal Sluts 4” wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t the most easily accessible and most prevalent form of porn. Imagine if instead of “Barely Legal Brutal Gang Bang”, the first thing horny 13 year old boys discovered online was “How to eat pussy like an absolute champion”. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place?

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There are already people campaigning for a more inclusive, more realistic pornography industry. These people include the incredible Dan Savage, who runs an amateur porn festival called Hump! At Hump! people come together in a movie theatre watch a broad spectrum of amateur porn, from cutesy cartoons to hardcore BDSM. Dan says every year, Hump! is an eye-opening experience, and attendees walk away knowing a little bit more about what other people like.

Then, there’s Cindy Gallop, who runs MakeLoveNotPorn.TV (NSFW) a website dedicated to “Real World Sex”, which, as they say, is “The hottest sex there is”.

We should fight exploitation and sexual violence at every turn. But banning certain sex acts, performed by consenting adults, is not the way to do that.

You wouldn’t let a politician tell you what dress to buy, or how you should take your tea. So why on earth would you let them decide what you can and can’t masturbate to?

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