The other day I sat on a guy’s face. I know, right? With no regard to his personal safety, I put him in a potentially life-threatening situation. Except I didn’t, of course, because I am not a five-year-old playing at being a pro-wrestler, I am an adult who is capable of making my own sexual choices.
As of yesterday, some ludicrously restrictive new rules around porn came into play and they’re such an odd combination of bizarre, sexist, and nannying that I don’t really know where to start. I thought I’d throw together a few outraged cries of ‘WHAT THE FUCK?!’ though, in order to encourage you all to get involved, and support Backlash, an organisation which is fighting against this weird ‘we think it’s a bit icky’ porn censorship.
For more measured and detailed discussion, written in the spirit of genuine campaigning as opposed to the fuzzy, swearword-laden outrage that is all I can muster, please do go and read the summaries from:
– Myles Jackman, obscenity lawyer and searingly brilliant person, who explains why “Pornography is the canary in the coalmine of free speech: it is the first freedom to die. If this assault on liberty is allowed to go unchallenged, other freedoms will fall as a consequence.”
– Pandora Blake, whose excellent post highlights how the smaller, independent porn producers are disproportionately short-changed by these regulations, and why she’s fighting them. She also has some deliciously cheeky guidelines on how to complain directly to ATVOD about the new regulations, and a thorough list of all the coverage the issue has been getting.
– Stavvers, who points out why the new restrictions disproportionately affect women, and why that’s fucked up on a number of levels.
– Backlash, an umbrella organisation providing academic, legal, and campaigning resources defending freedom of sexual expression.
Male vs female ejaculate
As a fair few people have already pointed out, the new rules ban squirting, or ‘female ejaculation’, particularly if it is subsequently consumed. Which is a fucking weird thing to censor on any level – sex is a bit sticky and messy. That’s just how sex is. And some people ejaculate while they’re shagging, or masturbating. On a simple discrimination level, I’d consider this a weird thing to censor, because if you’re going to allow adult humans to sell films of them fucking, some of those adult humans are going to squirt.
I’m compelled to point out here that it’s totally still cool to ejaculate if you have a penis.
Spanking/whipping and BDSM
Spanking is still kind of OK in porn, as long as it doesn’t actually hurt. That’s pretty much what they’ve gone with, for reasons I can only assume are clear to them, despite being deeply un-clear to any person who’s enjoyed a good beating, and who understands that often the most enjoyable beatings are going to leave marks that give you a tingling sense of pride the day after. A spanking can cause ‘slight reddening of the skin’ but no marks or welts, and any kind of caning/whipping that causes pain which is likely to be more than ‘transient and trifling’ is now banned.
But, just to clarify, it’s totally still cool to get fucked in the ass. Spanked on it with a paddle that leaves a sexy round bruise the next day? No. Fucked in it? Yep.
I appreciate that piss-play isn’t for everyone, but the rules around urine and enemas seem to have come from a place deep inside the censor’s own mind where they’ve carefully considered all the possibilities then hurled out any rational thought in favour of a knee-jerk ‘eww.’
Peeing is apparently acceptable as long as it’s ‘not performed onto another person and/or then consumed.’ Enemas are acceptable in similar circumstances, with the added rule that they do not ‘contain faeces.’
Again, though, for clarification, the ‘not consumed/put onto a person’ thing does not apply to jizz, even though jizz often comes out of the same fucking hole that urine does.
Puking in porn is still sort-of OK as long as (get ready for this one because it’s fucking AWFUL) “it is not performed as part of a sexual act; and is not visibly enjoyed by the participants.”
So I’m not allowed to suck someone off until it makes me puke if I visibly enjoy doing that, but I am allowed to accidentally puke during a blow-job if I don’t enjoy it at all and actually find it a horrible experience? Hooray for sexual enjoyment and liberation!
“This will depend on the surface upon which the person is being trampled on.”
No joke, this is actually a thing. Trampling on someone is totally cool as long as – what? There’s a carpet with pile at least 1/2 and inch deep beneath them? As long as they’re not on a bed of nails? What?
Yeah you can’t get fisted.
You can take two cocks in your cunt, though.
You can’t sit on someone’s face in a way that might restrict their breathing even if you’re restricting it for a second or two. Because censors think that if you do something a bit for Sex Reasons then other people will try it at home and not understand that sometimes humans need to breathe.
Again I must take pains to clarify here in case you thought the rules had any semblance of logic to them – it’s totally still cool to fuck someone in the face with a penis. That has specifically been deemed ‘acceptable’ and so I can only assume that it doesn’t restrict people’s breathing. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong.
Gagging and bondage
It’s not OK to show someone gagged and bound, because there is no ‘visible’ means of that person withdrawing their consent. This is a REALLY interesting one because anyone who is even vaguely interested in BDSM pornography will know that the best porn producers go to great – and worthwhile – pains to ensure not only that they have the consent of their performers but that the consent is clear and explicit within a scene.
As with real life sex, which is not done on camera, it is perfectly possible to tie someone up and gag them while also having some really clear signals agreed that allow them to remove consent or ask for a break at any time. Those who do not understand this are likely people who have never had this kind of sex, or have no interest in it. That’s cool and all – I’m not going to make you tie someone up and fuck them while they’re gagged – but don’t try and tell professional BDSM performers exactly how to do consent if all you know is that you once read a Cosmo article that advised you ‘have a safeword.’
The key problem with the new porn restrictions
OK, if I were being completely honest I’d say that there are about a million and one key problems with the new porn restrictions, but let’s try to settle on the thing that makes me most angry.
The main focus seems to be on any kind of sex that falls outside what I’ll loosely class as ‘mainstream.’ To clarify, it seems like it’s totally still A-OK to watch a woman getting fucked by a gang of huge-cocked men: no specifications about how a fairly energetic gang-bang must be ‘transient and trifling.’ Likewise it’s still OK to have a dick shoved down your throat before licking the jizz off your own lips. It’s not OK to sit on a guy’s face, though, in case people try it at home.
While people are given a teeny bit of credit in some situations – enough to know that they shouldn’t hold a cock in the back of their throat until they’re starved of oxygen, in other sexual situations we’re treated as if we are barely intelligent life-forms – mere amoeba in the face of our own sexual desires. With no ability to distinguish good from bad.
Despite a couple of references to certain activities being ‘life-threatening’, the rules are absolutely not there not to keep people safe. On what planet is female ejaculation dangerous? Nor are they there to protect us, because a) we are not children and b) none of this stuff is illegal to do in the comfort of your own home. I’d hazard that the restrictions are there to dictate exactly what is and isn’t sexy – what we can and can’t be acceptably turned on by.
It’s massively ironic that in a world screaming about how important it is for us to teach people the difference between ‘porn sex’ and ‘real life sex’, porn censorship is forcing any kind of sex that doesn’t fit the mainstream porn formula (girl sucks guy off, gets fucked facially, vaginally and anally by a succession of dudes before eating all their jizz) off the screen. In short, the law is telling us that we cannot possibly be trusted with our own sexuality, and our fantasies must be strictly controlled and limited in case we show that desire and sex can be more than just cock-in-vag fucking followed by a cumbath.
Not in case we hurt ourselves, or damage other people, but in case we make them go ‘eww.’