Two things: ETO show and Xhamster

Image by the ace Stuart F Taylor

Super-quick two things this week, because I am currently nursing a gigantic hangover, and then I have to rush out. Good news first, then a weird thing. Ready? Let’s go.

Good: ETO show

Yesterday I went to the ETO show – a trade event for the sex industry, where you basically get to walk around in a massive greenhouse filled with sex toys. It was pretty awesome, and I met some incredible people. I also got to drink cocktails made out of lube (surprisingly tasty) and catch up with some old friends – especially Horny Geek Girl, who I love and who is relentlessly brilliant.

Also I won an award for Best Erotic Journalist! I totally suck at accepting compliments, but I’m so bowled over that people voted for me, so massive thank you to the people who did! My awesome trophy is going to take pride of place in my lounge, so when my Mum comes round I can tell her, with great solemnity, that I am literally an award-winning wanker. It’s even more amazing because of the spectacular people who were nominated alongside me – Alix Fox (whose puns are unbeatable), Cara Sutra (who is one of my sex blogging heroes), Mel from Voluptasse (who is a great writer and – as I learned this weekend – a bloody lovely person too), and Emily Dubberley (who taught me LOADS when I first started blogging, and is a star).

I also have a list of things and people you definitely need to check out. None of these people has paid me to mention them, they are just all doing things I think are fucking cool. Ready?

AmazingO – a fairly new sex toy company but with plans to do Interesting Things. I met the owner and he’s lovely, and happily listened to me bore him about all of my upcoming projects. Not to mention that he actually brought me to the awards, so I wouldn’t have been there if it weren’t for him. Follow AmazingO on Twitter, and keep an eye out for cool things they’re doing.

SystemJO – these are the lubes that were in the cocktails I drank. I can’t find the recipes on their site, but when I do I’ll let you know. Lube cocktails sound like a great way to combine an orgy and a dinner party.

The Big Gay Review – I love his blog, and I got to chat to him and his husband at ETO, as well as get tonnes of tips on new and interesting ways to use a Doxy (including combining it with a wanking sheath YAY).

Talking of, Doxy were showing off a new product and it’s exactly as fucking powerful and brilliant as you’d expect. It can also be combined with great silicone dildos from Godemiche.

AND TALKING OF GODEMICHE, I am so excited because they have custom-made a really cool thing which I can use in a giveaway soon. It is, quite literally, one of a kind, and when they gave it to me I might have let out an embarrassing squeak. More details on this soon, but for now go and check out their website – they are dildo scientists – and subscribe to my newsletter if you want to know when the giveaway launches.

Kinkcraft – I’ve worked with them for a while, and it was great to get the chance to catch up with them. If you don’t know what they do, go check out their website immediately, because it’s a SUPER FUN way to combine sex and crafting.

Tansy Blue, who has a FUN NEW THING coming up.Rocks-off gave me a massive bag of sex toys and then I spent a while chatting to Tabitha Rayne about all the unconventional ways in which they could be used. Especially this one, which I have a story coming about if I can use it the way I am anticipating. It’s filth. I also got to catch up with Adam from HotOctopuss and watch him get mobbed by bloggers who love the HotOctopuss T-shirts. And spoke to lots of other people who I will mention/chat to properly when I’ve gone through my notes and all the business cards I picked up!

And I know it’s bloody weird to combine this with the bizarre thing below, but I refer you to my point above about epic hangover, and someone sent me the link below recently so I couldn’t really not mention it. So here’s the bad thing for this week…

Bad: Xhamster search

Note: the next bit of this post includes discussion of rape porn.

So, this week Xhamster decided to start tackling rape porn. Specifically, it replaced search results for anyone looking for ‘rape porn’ with a message that said:

“No results found. If you are searching for this category, probably it’s time you consulted with a professional psychologist.”

Brilliantly, the Independent did consult with a psychologist – Dr David Ley, who specialises in sexuality. Ley was pretty clear in his opinion of Xhamster’s weird choice:

“…it is a gross exaggeration to suggest that all people who have a fantasy regarding rape or forced sexual behavior are at risk or psychologically ill.”

To which I’d add: this kind of censorship is grounded on the same kind of well-meaning but misguided attempt to protect people as David Cameron’s proposed porn block. Firstly, you’ll never actually stop people watching simulated rape in porn just by blocking the search – that porn still exists, and people who want to find it will find it. What’s more, that porn still exists on Xhamster itself. On top of plenty of scenes that might not be marked ‘rape porn’ but that involve staged scenes of coercion and non consent.

Finally: rape fantasies are pretty common. That is not to say lots of people want these fantasies to come true, but that lots of people want to explore those fantasies in a way which is safe and pricate. We can – and do, and should – investigate why that might be, but simply telling everyone who has them that they’re likely suffering from a psychological condition is, in my opinion, not particularly helpful.


  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Firstly, congratulations on the award!

    Secondly, on the second thing: I’ve just discovered that ‘rape pornography’ is apparently illegal in England since February 2015. There don’t seem to have been any reported prosecutions for it yet. Apparently the law only applies to porn which contains realistic simulations of rape; obviously fake stuff is apparently OK. And I guess anything in a film licenced for release is OK, even if some (like Irréversible) are more extreme than most porn.

    I can sort-of see the reasoning behind this law: it’s the same logic behind criminalising fake but realistic depictions of child sexual abuse, that they make it harder for the police to stop the real thing. In this case though, the ‘real thing’ isn’t actually illegal; footage of actual rape isn’t illegal under this law (although it might well be under something else, e.g. the law banning ‘revenge porn’).

    Much like xhamster’s move, the whole thing leaves me deeply uncomfortable. I can’t find it justified to criminalise things done between consenting adults for their own pleasure where no one is being hurt. But that’s not how our government thinks.

    Anyway, I also agree that websites shouldn’t be diagnosing people with psychological problems based on their searches. Frankly, that’s just insulting.

  • Jo says:

    Why do you assert its not psycologically unhealthy to fantasise about rape of women just because lots of people fantasise about it? And what about fantasies of raping children for sexual pleasure? Perfectly healthy? Or is it only healthy to fantasise about raping grown women? Would you not recommend that it is PROBABLY time you consulted with a profesiobal psychologist in that case either? Just because its normal for men to hate women and enjoy rape fantasies doesn’t make it good. Its normal for people to think immigrants are the cause of all our problems. So what? Normal is not always not a problem.

    • Jo says:

      Also just wanted to add, saying something can’t be stopped (searching for rape porn on the internet), which I agree with, it cant, isn’t a reason to contribute further to it. we can’t stop people selling pedophilia, or finding racist porn, it hasnt gone away, and probably wont, as you say about fantasy rape porn. doesn’t mean its a good idea for Google to help people find it. Least of all promote it and profit from it.

      • Girl on the net says:

        Hi Jo, there are a lot of questions there and while I realise you’re replying to SpaceCaptainSmith, I’d like to tackle a couple of them if I may. First: your questions all assume that rape fantasies are predominantly held by men (and then go on to say that it’s by men who hate women). In fact, it is quite common for women to have rape fantasies (myself included). Do you assume – incorrectly – that women like me actually want to carry out these fantasies, and that all fantasy must necessarily spill over into reality? Because that scares me, tbh.

        In terms of Google promoting and profiting from porn, there’s actually a hell of a lot more to this than is implied in your comment. It’s an interesting area, and a really difficult one for people who produce adult content. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that Google would potentially be happier without the headache of having to deal with adult content: they are notoriously against any kind of adult content on e.g. their Blogger platform. They are also very touchy about adult content providers (including me) to buy adwords, or have adwords advertising on their sites. While I agree with you that an inability to prevent/prosecute something doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, I think you’re missing the point that in a lot of cases, prosecution would be totally undesirable. Do you want to lock up any woman who has fantasies about rape? Or do you just want to medicalise us, and insist we all have therapy? While I think it’s really important to examine your own fantasies, simply saying ‘you’re fantasising about a bad thing – go to a doctor’ is simplistic, and will only encourage more women to bottle up their desires/fantasies/sexual thoughts.

        We’re just about moving to a point where people are starting to feel more comfortable opening up about their desires, and so it’s easier for us to create a healthy environment for people to discuss them – seek help if they need it, or just be comfortable with themselves, or more able to fulfil safe fantasies with a partner. If you advocate a total shutdown on discussion or exploration of this, you make us all take a step backwards. In my opinion.

        What’s more, I’m going to take issue with your comparison between ‘rape’ porn (made by consenting adults who are acting – like they do in many many mainstream movies) and ‘selling paedophilia’ – child abuse images are, by definition, abuse. Children cannot consent.

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