I'm Offended By The UK's Porn Restrictions—And You Should Be Too

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Sex

If someone wants to perform those acts in a video or wants to watch them, then that's their right.

By now, you've definitely heard about the UK's Communications Act in which certain sexual acts, some of which are often associated with BDSM, have been banned in video-on-demand (VOD) porn. To clarify, this means they can't be acted out in porn made in the UK … but if some Brits wanted to come to the States and get their hands on some good ol' fashioned BDSM porn here, then that's their choice, although I'm sure this suggestion would irk a majority of their Parliament.

Sex acts that have been banned under these new 2014 Audiovisual Media Service Regulations include: spanking, caning, whipping, water sports, verbal abuse, fisting, face-sitting, female ejaculation, and strangulation, with fisting, strangulation, and face-sitting falling under the life threatening tier.

As founder of anti-censorship campaign Sex and Censorship, Jerry Barnett, told Vice, "R18 is a strange thing. There appear to be no rational explanations for most of the R18 rules — they're simply a set of moral judgments designed by people who have struggled endlessly to stop the British people from watching pornography."

And he's right. This isn't about people being "protected" from these acts; it's about taking the rights away from those who enjoy watching them, if that's their thing, or performing them in films, if that's their profession. It's blatant censorship, no matter which way you slice it.

As a woman who watches and enjoys porn even—gasp!—when my partner isn't around, I take offense to these new restrictions. I may not live in the UK (nor will I ever), but as someone who writes about sex, both first person accounts and regarding the importance of sex education, I think putting any consensual sex acts on a banned list is wrong.

For starters it incites shame, stipulating that the only type of sex acts to be practiced and enjoyed be those of the vanilla persuasion and, in doing so, makes people feel guilty about their sexual desires if they veer off onto an even remotely kinky course.

Secondly, in no way, shape or form, should the government have any say at all in what people should being doing sexually, especially in private enterprises like the porn industry. If all the parties involved have consented to whatever the acts may be, then that should be that. Members of Parliament should not be allowed to descend upon porn sets and force their close-minded and archaic puritanical ways on others. This is not the 1500s; this is 2014.

Another place where I take deep issue is with the banning of the female ejaculation in these videos. This is not just sexist, but flirts with misogyny in the fact that it is essentially silencing a woman's pleasure. While, a man's orgasm usually goes hand in hand with his ejaculation, the same cannot be said for women.

Although there is no exact percentage of just how many women ejaculate, studies have suggested that number could be anywhere from 60 to 40 percent. Yes, this means it is the minority of women who are "gushing" and "squirting," but even if that's the case, should these women be made to feel bad about it? Should such a natural response to pleasure be deemed so vile and inappropriate that it be banned from porn produced in the UK? No, it should not. But then again, we're talking about a country where there's a law forbidding boys under the age of 10 from seeing a naked mannequin and one that says a man can urinate in public if his right hand is on the car, so go figure.

But the greatest concern of all here is the snowball effect of censorship. Once we allow one right to be taken away, there's no telling what else might be put on trial and subsequently subtracted from our lives.

Even if whatever is being censored doesn't directly affect us, if we stand by and allow rights to be taken away from others, at some point, as the snowball keeps rolling, we, too, will have something taken away from us. Before we know it, we're no longer in a democracy, but a tyranny where everything we do is monitored and inspected. This is no way to live.

I have no desire to try fisting, I have never ejaculated in my life, and the chances of me ever suggesting to my partner that we bring some urinating into our sex life is pretty null and void. But I believe, to the highest degree, that if someone wants to perform those acts in a video or wants to watch them, then that's their right. It's not my place to dictate to others what they should or shouldn't find sexually arousing, and it's especially not the place of the government to do so either.

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