A long list of sex acts just got banned in UK porn

Regulations branded 'simply a set of moral judgements'

Pornography produced in the UK was quietly censored today through an amendment to the 2003 Communications Act, and the measures appear to take aim at female pleasure.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 requires that video-on-demand (VoD) online porn now adhere to the same guidelines laid out for DVD sex shop-type porn by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC).

Seemingly arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex, the board's ruling on 'content that is not acceptable' (p.24) effectively bans the following acts from being depicted by British pornography producers:

Spanking

Caning

Aggressive whipping

Penetration by any object "associated with violence"

Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of  if consensual)

Urolagnia (known as "water sports")

Role-playing as non-adults

Physical restraint

Humiliation

Female ejaculation

Strangulation

Facesitting

Fisting

The final three listed fall under acts the BBFC views as potentially "life-endangering".

While the measures won't stop people from watching whatever genre of porn they desire, as video shot abroad can still be viewed, they do impose severe restrictions on content created in the UK, and appear to make no distinction between consensual and non-consensual practices between adults.

 

"There appear to be no rational explanations for most of the R18 rules," Jerry Barnett of the anti-censorship group Sex and Censorship told Vice UK. "They're simply a set of moral judgements designed by people who have struggled endlessly to stop the British people from watching pornography."

More worryingly, the amendment seems to take issue with acts from which women more traditionally derive pleasure than men.

"The new legislation is absurd and surreal," Itziar Bilbao Urrutia, a dominatrix who produces porn with a feminist theme added to Vice UK. "I mean, why ban facesitting? What's so dangerous about it? It's a harmless activity that most femdom performers, myself included, do fully dressed anyway. Its power is symbolic: woman on top, unattainable."

In a piece for The Independent, award-winning erotic film director Erika Lust said that she believes "we need to rethink what is offensive or dangerous and what is, in fact, normal human nature, and remember that it’s more important to educate than regulate."

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport insists the BBFC's R18 certificate is a "tried and tested" method for protecting children.

"The legislation provides the same level of protection to the online world that exists on the high street in relation to the sale of physical DVDs," a spokesperson told us.

"In a converging media world these provisions must be coherent, and the BBFC classification regime is a tried and tested system of what content is regarded as harmful for minors."

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