Sex & Relationships

The U.K. Porn Ban: Which Sex Acts Are Out?

No female ejaculation please, we’re British!

11 - Pleasurements - ARABIC WHIP - $89

United Kingdom-made porn lost a major plot point recently. Facesitting was effectively prohibited as part of the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations Act, which was recently passed in Parliament. The act is just one of more than a dozen sexual positions/activities that were deemed “not acceptable” by UK regulators.

According to The Independent, the U.K. porn ban also includes spanking, caning, aggressive whipping, penetration by any object associated with violence, physical or verbal abuse, role-playing as non-adults, physical restraint, humiliation, fisting, strangulation, female ejaculation, and “water sports.”

The ban doesn’t apply to pornography that’s made by other countries, however, so viewers will have the option to go elsewhere. It just means that U.K. producers will be hamstrung by the new regulations.

Censoring porn is a tricky business. Critics charge that the ban’s selection is arbitrary, and looking at the list it’s hard not to agree to some extent. It really comes down to a question of taste—never a strong foundation when it comes to discussing sex. I can’t say that I’m bothered by the ban on strangulation, for example, because personally I don’t like my sexual fantasies to contain any suggestion of violence. Would I like to see the general population join me in this choice, sure. Do I think that censoring porn will affect that cultural evolution? Not a chance.

Others say that some of the selections ban acts that contribute to female pleasure (the aforementioned facesitting; female ejaculation), a circumstance that effectively cuts women’s fantasies, desires, and abilities—ejaculators, what’s your secret??—out of the porn picture. If true, then the ban isn’t just arbitrary; it’s discriminatory and smacks of a kind of creepy paternalism that should make UK women consider the merits of staging a face sit-in protest.

Clearly as a society we make judgments about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in any mainstream product, and porn that we purchase is no different from cable TV in that respect. And yet, it’s hard not to think that the intention is to clean up an area of human interest that traditionally doesn’t respond well to whitewashing.

The items appear to have been banned in an attempt to protect minors from what the regulators consider harmful content, an admirable intention surely. But it’s kind of a false protection, too, given the fact that all sorts of disturbing imagery are just a mouse click away.

I can’t help but think that greater investment in sex-positive messaging would serve kids (and adults) much better going forward than any censorship ever could. That approach to sexual behaviour may go a long way toward finally cleaving violence from sexuality, or at the very least reducing its illicit appeal. Or that’s my cultural fantasy anyway.

But facesitting? C’mon guys, leave something for the ladies, OK?