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When will the UK stop censoring adult cinema?!

The British government are certainly living up to the age-old stereotype of the English being prudish. After the outcry two years ago where facesitting and squirting were both deemed “dangerous” content in pornography, and subsequently banned from being shot in content produced in the UK, the British Government are at it again.

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New legislation is set to ban a number of acts within online pornography that is deemed, wait for it, “non-conventional”. If it’s approved by MPs, the BBFC, which is the British Board of Film Classification, which classifies the content we see in cinemas and on T.V., would have control over regulating and rating online pornography. These are the same people, bear in mind, who classify a rape scene as appropriate for a 12A, but a flacid penis as only appropriate for 18+.

As The Independent has reported, the content that will be censored will be scenes featuring:

–    infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm

–    sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent

–    penetration by any object associated with violence

–    sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game

–    any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent

–    material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults

Although facesitting, squirting and many other acts that are, while performed in consensual circumstances, completely harmless, have previously been banned from being filmed in the UK, these new regulations would also restrict anyone in the UK from watching these acts. It is also important to notice what has been deemed “non-conventional” here. They have heavily focussed on practices associated with BDSM – coincidentally at a time where BDSM is more in the mainstream consciousness than ever before. What they haven’t banned are things that, to me, seem equally non-conventional, but are perhaps instances where the female is used as an object while the men are gaining pleasure from her; i.e. a gangbang, double penetration or age-play (which is more often than not, in mainstream porn, girls who look underage with much older men).

So far, the only proposed consequence of viewing this material would be the website being blocked by internet providers. There would also be stricter ages restrictions. But are we naïve enough to believe that this will be as far as this censorship goes?

Mainstream pornography has a lot to answer for: the majority of content within mainstream porn is violently misogynistic; categorises performers and acts within racist genres and homophobic capacities; and is edcuating young people about sex in ways that are totally unrealistic and actually damamging to thier self-esteems, future sex lives and relationships to each other.

However, education and not censorship is the way forward. As a society we cannot stop this content being made – it will just become illegal, which won’t stop it being made or watched either. What needs to happen is for the demand for chauvinistic mainstream porn to decrease – and for more people to start engaging with ethical pornography that embraces sex-positivity and realistic depictions of sex. We need all body types and skin tones, all genders and sexualities and all kinds of fetishisms and desires to be represented, sensitively.

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