Hands off! Why the new porn legislation is wrong

Hands off! Why the new porn legislation is wrong

In an attempt to sanitise the British public, face-sitting, physical restraint, female ejaculation and spanking will all be eradicated from pornography in Britain, both online and in films available in sex shops. The ban will impose great restrictions on the UK adult film industry, but videos made outside Britain may still be viewed. However, certain fetish groups and subcultures will find that their preferences will be unavailable in certain outlets.

While I appreciate that porn should come with a guarantee of safety for those involved in the creative process, the UK government is acting in completely the wrong way by banning certain acts in adult films. The focus should lie on ensuring that adult film companies create a safe environment for its employees. The Ethical Porn Partnership for example, commits itself to end trafficking, exploitation and abuse. It also supports measures to prevent minors from viewing adult content. Surely it would be more productive to work with companies such as this to ensure a safe and happy workplace for adult film actors, rather than resort to the extreme measure of censoring porn?

Surely it would be more productive to work with companies to ensure a safe and happy workplace for adult film actors, rather than resort to the extreme measure of censoring porn?

The ban on face-sitting and female ejaculation in porn will alienate female viewers. If we really want to make porn less exploitative, why are we censoring female pleasure? Porn often gets a bad reputation for showing degrading images of women, but the popularity adult films created by women with women in mind show that often, this is not the case. Adult filmmaker Erika Lust seeks to realign feminism with the porn industry, and make women-focused adult films. Her concept is simple: women can sign up to her website and ‘confess’ their ideas for a adult film, and she makes them. She also ensures the safety and full consent of her employees and actors. Essentially, she is creating women-focused, feminist porn.

Erika Lust is an adult filmmaker who seeks to realign feminism with the porn industry by creating porn specifically with women in mind

Erika Lust is an adult filmmaker who seeks to realign feminism with the porn industry by creating porn specifically with women in mind

The ban will also restrict what BDSM-focused filmmakers can show in their content. The BDSM community hold safety and complete consent as the cornerstones of their sub-culture, and dismissing their preferences as exploitative is ridiculous. Members of this sub-culture maintain that their community are safe, friendly and committed to preventing abuse, so why do the government feel the need to alienate them?

If the government want to make porn less exploitative, they should focus on the consent of the actors and the ethical nature of the industry. Porn is about building a fantasy for adults after all, and there should be more focus on creating these fantasies safely, rather than drastically restricting them. We should focus on the actors in adult films and their wellbeing, not the content of the videos. As the Ethical Porn Partnership states on their website: “We believe that consenting adults should be able to watch and enjoy adult content depicting sexual acts made by other consenting adults, without fear of reprise, shame or censorship.”

If the government want to make porn less exploitative, they should focus on the consent of the actors and the ethical nature of the industry.

If adult films are created safely, for adult viewers and with the actor’s best interests at heart, then who are the government to censor them? Erotic images have existed since prehistoric times: what has changed has been our society’s opinion of them. We must create a more open and safe space to discuss sex and pornography, and not attach shame to those involved in the adult film industry. They are working people too, and their choice of employment should not devalue them.

Eleanor Healing 

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