SEX

UK To Censor “Nonconventional” Porn

A bill could ban online adult content featuring everything from bondage to fisting

SEX
Illustration: R. A. Di Ieso
Nov 23, 2016 at 2:02 PM ET

Everything from fisting to spanking could soon be banned online in the UK, thanks to a bill that would allow a regulatory board to censor internet pornography that it deems “not acceptable.”

The bill, which is currently making its way through parliament, has largely gotten attention for mandating strict age verification for porn websites — but, as The Guardian points out today, a little noticed provision would also force internet service providers to block content deemed “nonconventional” by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

In 2014, the BBFC, which gives movies an age-appropriateness rating, banned spanking, whipping, fisting, facesitting, some forms of bondage, verbal abuse, and choking, among many other things, in online video-on-demand porn. Most infamously, it banned female ejaculation, or “squirting,” while deeming male ejaculation to be A-OK. Before that, the BBFC applied its puritanical standards to pornographic DVD sales. These proscriptions are largely based on the Obscene Publications Act, a wildly outdated text written over half a century ago.

But now, the BBFC would be allowed to apply its moralizing to all of internet pornography. The free stuff, the pay stuff, tube sites, mainstream porn hubs, X-rated subreddits — anywhere that adult content shows up online. “We will apply the standards that we apply to pornography that is distributed offline,” a BBFC spokesperson told The Guardian. “If a website fails on either of these tests then a notification of non-compliance will be sent to the site.”

ISPs would then be required to censor perfectly legal sex acts — acts that, based on the BBFC’s previous censorship, are disproportionately enjoyed by queer and kinky people, and women. As pornographer Erika Lust wrote two years ago when the BBFC initially censored internet porn, “The UK is in danger of finding itself back in an age where porn is simply the boring, unrealistic, male fantasy of bimbos eagerly pleasing men as if it is their duty, where women are submissive and lack ownership of their sexuality.”