Girl On The Net | Contributing Writer | 1,053 day ago

Is Your Favourite Porn - Or Mainstream Film - Now Illegal?

The Debrief: New regulations mean female ejaculation, caning, and being weed on are now all illegal in online porn in the UK. So what does that mean for your favourite porn films?

If you’re not a pornographer, or enjoy watching people get spanked, fisted, or shagged on camera, then you might have missed this week’s instalment of ‘What the hell were they thinking?’ On 1 December, the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 came into force, making video on demand services subject to the same classifications and criteria as DVDs and films. 

What does that mean? Well, it means there’s a whole bunch of sexy stuff that you can’t include in porn any more if you happen to be in the UK.

Initial outrage stemmed from the fact that some of the acts which will now be subject to assessment include things like female ejaculation, spanking and facesitting. As momentum grows and more people realise exactly what's going on, attention has turned to the question of why on earth porn is being censored at all. 

Let’s deal with the rules themselves first because they’re deeply bizarre, oddly illogical, and seemingly a teeny bit sexist. Some acts which will probably be banned include: 

- caning (and any pain which is more than ‘trifling and transient’)

- fisting

- urolagnia (weeing on people)

- being tied up while you have a gag in your mouth (because the censors don’t believe there is any possible way you could withdraw your consent)

- facesitting (because if you do it in a way that stops someone from breathing, for a long enough time, they will be dead and the censors somehow think we don’t understand this)

Sorry for the sarcasm, but it’s impossible to make it through this list without crying ‘why?!’ at least once and ‘what the fuck?!’ a few dozen times more. 

As many people have pointed out, it’s pretty judgmental. Urolagnia (which I have been known to enjoy on a Saturday afternoon when I’m horny and there’s nowt on the telly) is legal, and is unlikely to harm someone unless you piss sulphuric acid, so why is it illegal to show it in porn? (Interestingly, this actually comes from the Obscene Publications Act, which deems urinating on someone to be obscene, and which the BBFC (the British Board of Film Classification) is obliged to uphold.) 

But alongside being judgmental, the censorship rules are also more than a little bit sexist. While facesitting is considered harmful if it restricts the airways, the BBFC has been remarkably silent on the subject of throatfucking, an activity which has certainly given me happy cause to choke and splutter in the past.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect, though, is the rule applying to different types of ejaculation. While female ejaculate is apparently banned if it is shown landing on a person, or being consumed, male ejaculate is totally fine and dandy no matter what the context – even if you blow those weird bubbles with it.

Ostensibly this is because the BBFC has not yet been given cast-iron evidence that female ejaculation actually exists, and to be on the safe side, they’re treating it the same as piss. 

READ MORE: Crowdsourced Porn: Meet The Woman Turning Your Test Confessions Into Bespoke Porn 

Now, in response to the outcry around the rules, the BBFC released a statement, aiming to ‘clarify’ what the new regulations mean, and to highlight the reasoning behind the classification of certain acts as ‘unacceptable’. 

‘Underpinning the BBFC guidelines is a specific requirement for the Video Recordings Act to have special regard to any harm that may be caused to potential viewers, or, through their behaviour, to society.’

Spokesperson Murray Perkins cites facesitting as an example of this. Because facesitting, if done to extremes, could potentially cause harm, then it probably shouldn’t be shown. This doesn’t really address the broad point around facesitting versus other sexual activity given that pretty much any sexual activity could cause harm if done to extremes. I mean, just because I haven’t wanked myself to death yet, doesn’t mean I couldn’t.

Likewise, I’ve never been throatfucked until I pass out, but that’s only because, until now, my partners and I have been judiciously applying common sense. Perhaps if we watched enough porn (or started working for the BBFC) then we’d get out of that pesky habit. 

The statement continues: 

‘The BBFC also intervenes where material risks prosecution under UK law. This includes prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act 1959. Indeed, the BBFC’s designation under the Video Recordings Act requires that it does not pass any content in breach of UK law.’

Which sounds kind of fair enough – you wouldn’t expect them to pass porn that actually breaks the law. But the problem here is that while piss-play might be illegal to show under the Obscene Publications Act, female ejaculate isn’t, it’s just that the BBFC can’t tell the difference.

With a seemingly heavy heart, the statement declares that they must also censor ‘any act which cannot be distinguished from urination on the basis of the onscreen evidence alone.’ Which leaves the censor looking like a surprised teenage boy after an overly-successful fingering: staring madly at his hands and going, ‘What happened?! What’s wrong with you?!’

So what of spanking, caning, fisting and all the other stuff? Well, if you’ve come to the BBFC for answers then you’re out of luck. 

‘It has recently been suggested that the introduction of the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations will lead to several acts now being banned from UK on-demand services, including spanking and verbal abuse. Much of this information is inaccurate, some of it is wrong.’

Which, as I’m sure you’ll agree, doesn’t clear things up at all. The reason I’ve been so cagey in this article around what ‘might be’ banned or ‘is probably’ banned is because I have about as much idea as you do. It’s sort of good to know, I suppose, that spanking videos (a personal favourite of mine) are not going to be subject to a blanket ban, but a ‘maybe’ is about as much use to kink pornographers as a pair of chocolate handcuffs.

I pushed the BBFC for some clarification – what should porn producers do, given that there’s no clear guidance on what they can and can’t show? They replied: ‘We regularly brief the adult industry so they know exactly what the guidelines are. Because certain acts can be found unacceptable only in particular contexts, or by way of their treatment, it would be misleading and difficult to publish an exhaustive list.’

Sad times for people who make porn, then, and especially sad times for people who make porn that focuses on female domination, spanking, or anything that might give women so much pleasure that they squirt. It’s all very well saying, ‘It depends on the context’ but those who make their living by making hot videos will be forced to ‘play it safe’ or go and make their porn in another country. 

The pressure shouldn’t all be on the BBFC, though. Sure, much of their logic seems inconsistent and odd, but as they seem very keen to tell us, ultimately they’re working within the regulations as dictated by The Authority for Television ond Demand (ATVOD). And those regulations say that online porn must fall into line with DVD porn.

In light of the UK government’s enthusiasm to pop into your bedroom and start telling you what you can and can’t watch, you might be a teeny bit concerned around what this enthusiasm for censorship might do for other forms of porn and self-expression.  

To highlight the ludicrous new rules, I wanted to point at some videos and go ‘See? Here’s what we can no longer do’, but this is ostensibly a safe-for-work site, so you’ll be pleased to know that I’m not going to link to any fisting porn.

However, what I can do is show you a bunch of scenes from mainstream telly, which you can see on TV, in the cinema or on Netflix, which would be totally against the rules if they happened in porn. Ready? OK.

READ MORE: Failsafe Porn To Watch With Your Boyfriend

Californication face punch

David Duchovny not only didn’t disappear in an alien spaceship after The X-files finished, but he went on to make a seriously hot US drama series called Californication, in which he gets repeatedly and sexily naked.

During the very first episode of Californication, he shags a girl called Mia who – at the height of climax – punches him in the face. No, I don’t know why either. Is this legal, though?

Well, under the new rules you probably wouldn’t be able to do it in porn. While gentle spanking is OK, any pain that is more than ‘transient and trifling’ probably needs to stay on the cutting room floor. So while David Duckovny can do it, UK porn producers should probably steer clear.

The Secretary

How could I possibly do this without mentioning The Secretary? It’s one of the kinkiest films in the mainstream, and is a timeless classic for people like me, who get shivery at the scenes of Maggie Gyllenhaal sitting at a desk and pissing herself for love.

Would that be allowed under the new rules, though? Well, maybe. Urination in R18 films is acceptable, apparently, as long as the urine doesn}t go onto a person, and isn’t subsequently consumed. So given that Maggie’s wee dribbles onto the floor rather than another human, this scene would probably pass muster. Bear Grylls’ gritty survival shows are probably pretty fucked, though.

On the BDSM side, there’s still plenty in the film that probably wouldn’t see daylight if put into a porn film. See the above rules on ‘transient and trifling’ pain – there’s plenty of stuff in this BDSM shag-fest that could be in breach, but as the BBFC won’t be drawn on specific examples, and has declared that comparing porn to what we see in real films is ‘unhelpful’, we’ll never really know... Unless someone makes a porn parody of The Secretary that follows the script to the letter, then submits it for review.

If you’re bored over Christmas and have a video camera, you know what to do...

And iif you want to kick off about it, you can join a protest next week or write to your MP. Or alternatively, support Backlash, an umbrella organisation which defends the freedom of sexual expression in the UK. Because really, in the face of such a farcical attempt at repressing sexuality, the question we should be asking isn’t ‘Why are they doing this?’ but ‘What are we going to do about it?’

Liked this? You might also be interested in: 

What We Learnt From Pornhub’s Stats On How Women Watch Porn 

Why The Rise Of GIF Porn Actually Makes Perfect Sense 

Five Porn Star Memoirs You Need To Read

 Follow Girl On The Net on Twitter @GirlOnTheNet 

 

 

 

Tags: Sex, NSFW, Sex O\'Clock