Last year, Britain loved female ejaculation; squirting was amongst the top ten most searched terms on PornHub in the UK.
But the Digital Economy Bill (DEB) is threatening to put severe restrictions on what porn producers can show us, potentially taking away one of Britain’s most loved types of porn and of course, a basic female response to arousal.
That along with face sitting and water sports and a range of other fetishes, which the government deem to be obscene.
We know that we’ll have to enter a shed load of information into age verification software to confirm you’re 18 before watching anything that isn’t deemed obscene; but what happens if you are an independent UK porn producer that specialises in said obscenities?
Pandora Blake, a sexual liberties campaigner and director of the specialist spanking website, Dreams of Spanking told us: “The way it would work is that me, the site owner, would have to pay a fee to the age verification software provider for every check that is done. So, for every user that visits my website, I will have to pay anywhere between four pence to £1.80.”
Costs like these are often impossible for independent porn sites and DIY porn producers to pay as their monthly turnover won’t cover it.
“I’m paying £5,600 a month just for age checks and that’s before I’ve paid for web hosting, bandwidth and production costs,” Blake told us.
“Not only will we risk being ISP blocked at a national level if we don’t install these expensive age-verification systems. But even if we can somehow afford to install them, we have to be BBFC compliant in order to pass.”
Although many independent producers are still unsure of exactly what will be allowed as the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) have yet to release their own guidelines.
“I’ve asked for a meeting but they’ve said they are terribly busy and asked if they can meet with me in a few weeks once the bills been passed. But that’s not much help,” Blake said.
“I’m not sure that age verification is the solution anyway, it’s a technological solution to a social problem.”
Blake believes that sex education for children is key: “If you are trying to make children more resilient to sexual messages they are receiving in the media that would be the place to start. Rather than imposing top-down censorship which most kids will probably be able to get around anyway, which discriminates against adults with marginalised sexualities and small business owners and not actually achieve what they’re trying to do.”
The restrictions are not completely new, they have always been put on DVDs but are new to the internet, where a lot of people first begin exploring their kinks.
Any spanking, whipping or caning that leaves marks will be caught up in the ban, sending the message that these kinds of acts are not acceptable even with consent.
Pandora Blake believes these restrictions will affect the way people, like her clientele, will be affected, “I get messages daily from people who say that I have helped them to accept themselves and changed their lives and got rid of their shame.
“If your sex isn’t man on top, woman on the bottom, penis in vagina then it’s too dirty and we don’t want to know about it”
“If you can’t find out that there are other people with these fetishes, and learn about consent and, how to practice it safely then you might think that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. I did until getting online at 13 and saw preview pictures of spanking and finally thought ‘Wow I’m not the only one’.”
Kink itself appears to be under fire, whether it is on mainstream or niche websites.
FetLife.com, a social network for the fetish community, deleted thousands of fetishes because of financial pressure from the Trump administration, meaning that kinksters worldwide can no longer access material which can be considered “obscene” on the site.
From race play to incest and drug use to vampirism, it’s all gone, meaning that several communities are no longer catered for.
Kink.com, another fetish site, based in San Francisco is struggling financially and being blocked in the UK could lead to them shutting down.
“If your sex isn’t man on top woman on the bottom, penis in vagina then it’s too dirty and we don’t want to know about it,” Blake said about the British government’s stance on sex.
Jerry Barnett, free speech activist and author of Porn Panic! believes that the bill is only the beginning of other things to come: “There’s more to it than sex. Politics isn’t in a healthy direction at the moment and porn is a good excuse to introduce censorship by the back door without calling it censorship,” he said.
“They’re calling it child protection at the moment but, I think a significant factor isn’t porn. It’s about introducing a censorship regime and once it’s in place they can always add extra categories to it.”
Many independent and amateur porn actors and others within the adult industries could be affected by the DEB as well. They post clips from their content and promote themselves just like anyone else would, but Barnett believes this could be under threat too.
“Twitter is likely to become a more boring and censored place. Twitter is a company so the government can always put pressure on them and threaten them with legal action,” Jerry told us.
“There is a rising intolerance to free expression. If people don’t like something for whatever reason, then rather than avoid it they will try and ban it. Really that’s just a change in the culture, this wasn’t the way people thought 10 or 15 years ago.”
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons