British pornography will be censored by new rules which ban video-on demand films from showing acts like spanking and caning.
New rules mean that paid-for porn watched online will have to comply with the current British Board of Film Censors guidelines, which cover DVDs bought in sex shops.
Video shot abroad can still be viewed, but there will be severe restrictions on content created in the UK.
The new Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 mean that porn bought and watched online will have to comply with the R18 rating defined by the BBFC.
The BBFC interpretation of these rules is based on a 55-year-old law, the Obscene Publications Act 1959.
From now on, material including urolagnia (urination combined with sexual activity, the smearing of urine on the body or urination onto others), and penetration with the entire hand or with extremely large dildos, will be cut by censors.
The Board has strict policies on material which combines sexual detail with activity which is illegal, harmful, abusive, or involves a lack of consent or the infliction of pain or injury.
A previous report from the board noted that: “The most common cuts for these activities were to remove scenes of choking and gagging during deep throat fellatio and instances of breath restriction during sexual activity.”
Any material which is likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults playing underage roles will also be banned, as will the portrayal of sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent.
The new rules were brought in after the Department for Culture, Media and Sport decided that the laws relating to DVDs and online paid-for video porn were inconsistent.
DVDs are regulated by the BBFC, while online porn is regulated by the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) and Ofcom.
With the rise of VOD, the DCMS concluded that under 18s would be able to access R18 content.
In its analysis of the new regulation, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport recognised that the new system might lead to some loss of British business.
“Restricting access to R18 material may lead to businesses moving outside of UK’s jurisdiction in order to avoid regulation,” noted a report.
“Nevertheless, there is public value in ensuring that there is consistency for regulation across platforms so that UK based VOD firms are compliant with the UK’s views on harmful content.”
DCMS also noted that small businesses might be particularly hard hit by the new rules.
“There are a number of small and medium sized firms among the UK-based suppliers of R18 content which may be affected by this measure,” noted a report.
By Holly Watt
There are infinite discussions to be had about the utterly bizarre, and in places, draconian changes made to the UK porn laws yesterday.
The new rules were brought in after the Department for Culture, Media and Sport decided that the laws relating to DVDs and online paid-for video porn were inconsistent and that those under the age of 18, might be able to access ‘inappropriate’ content.
So, as of now, paid-for porn watched online will have to comply with the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) rules, while DVDs fall under the British Board of Film Censors guidelines. On the banned list, among others, are urolagnia (watersports), penetration with the entire hand or with extremely large dildos, spanking, facesitting, strangulation, humiliation, role playing where one party pretends to be underage.
Where will this arbitrary legislative process end?
To misquote Martin Niemöller, “first they came for the pornography, and I did not speak up.” What next? Will this faceless ‘board’ ensure that same sex porn is banned, too?
As Myles Jackman, Obscenity lawyer writes, “Pornography is the canary in the coalmine of free speech: it is the first freedom to die. If this assault on liberty is allowed to go unchallenged, other freedoms will fall as a consequence.”
Of course, not everything banned under this act is a cause for concern for most people.
The use of power tools during porn for instance, is not something that many of us will feel a great yen for. But it’s not about the specific wording of each and every item banned. It’s about the fact that it’s being banned at all.
Every generation assumes that they will be more liberal than the last. You only have to look at the Victorians to see that this isn’t how society functions. It’s entirely possible that, rather than becoming more liberal and more accepting of a diversity of sexualities, we will instead become embroiled in regulating and legislating for desire. It’s a frightening thought.
Recent film The Imitation Game shows the realities of what happens when Governments see fit to interfere with what consenting adults indulge in behind closed doors. War time genius Alan Turing’s suffering – and eventual suicide – after being sentenced to chemical castration for homosexuality, is a tragic example of what happens when our sex lives are used as indicators of our moralities. People suffer. Which, ironically, is what this ban is ostensibly trying to prevent.
The ATVOD (part of Ofcom, who implemented the ban) don’t seem to have any worries about the portrayal of violence towards women in film, television or video games. Teenagers all across the country play Grand Theft Auto, in which you’re actively encouraged to stab a prostitute to death. But God forbid that they might see some spanking between two consenting people.
Consent, of course, is the key word within this debate.
How is anything that two (or more) consenting adults engage in – whether it’s filmed or otherwise – a cause for this level of concern? Especially when so many of the banned items on the list (face sitting, spanking, female ejaculation) are completely legal as acts within themselves?
The banning of the portrayal of female ejaculation is particularly distressing. Especially when compared with the total acceptance of the male ‘money shot’. Indeed most porn is centered around male ejaculation. Women are often overlooked (or come so quickly, as to be laughable).
The reasoning behind the ban is that the ingestion of urine (watersports) has been banned, and it is understood that female ejaculate falls into that category. Only there is no conclusive research to support this. It’s merely a theory amongst multiple theories.
Which is wholly representative of this ban: a shopping list of arbitrarily picked sexual practices, without solid factual reasoning.
If the interference of governing bodies in what we can and cannot represent, is something we have to accept, then surely we should be thinking about what behaviors really are harmful in pornography?
If we must be regulated, then it should be done sensibly. The porn industry already has a rigorous enforcement as regards ID checking to ensure that all actors are over 18. What about the blanket use of condoms, or compulsory STI testing?
What about banning the use of Viagra so that everlasting erections don’t teach teenage boys that they can’t last long enough? Perhaps they could implement a pubic hair quota so that young adults aren’t horrified when they discover that their partner doesn’t resemble a Sphinx cat when naked? Encouraging porn companies to use an equal spread of body sizes and ethnicities? Stopping whoever writes the titles for porn from referring to anyone over the age of 25 as ‘Milf’. Or simply replacing the laughably bad scripting?
It seems overwhelmingly strange that instead of concerns for the multitude of other ways that the UK is struggling, we are pouring time, energy and money into controlling what consenting adults are allowed to do on film.
Because, frankly, if you don’t have a penchant for naughty MP role play, there’s absolutely no reason the Government (or film boards, or NGOs) should be anywhere near your bedroom.
By Rebecca Reid
View full articles here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/11269271/Spanking-and-caning-just-two-of-the-sexual-acts-now-banned-in-British-porn-films.html
and here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/11270359/Porn-laws-Banning-spanking-is-bonkers-and-downright-frightening.html
Christina’s Note: On the plus side, they can make these kinds of videos all over the rest of the world… doh! As long as they are consensual sex acts, I cannot see the benefit of censorship. If we let the politicians walk all over us, we will shortly be in a big brother society that George Orwell would shocked by. What an awful waste of tax payers money… those at Westminster should be ashamed of themselves! You are not the UK’s moral police, nor should you be. RANT OVER.