The UK Bans Spanking, Female Ejaculation in Porn

Via Salon:

Porn produced in the United Kingdom quietly incurred some major restrictions on Monday, via an amendment to the 2003 Communications Act that bans a long list of sex acts from appearing in adult films. While the new restrictions do not affect porn produced outside the UK (and do not prevent people from watching such porn), they do require on-demand adult films to meet the same guidelines as adult films available on DVD in sex shops.

Via The Independent:

Seemingly arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex, the board has banned 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”)
Female ejaculation
Strangulation
Facesitting
Fisting

The final three listed fall under acts the BBFC [British Board of Film Censors] views as potentially “life-endangering”.

So. Some serious commentary, and some snarky commentary.

Serious commentary #1: As Salon and The Independent both point out, these prohibitions bear no connection to anything regarding actual issues of sexual ethics — such as consent. It’s really just a list of consensual sexual activities, some of which the British Board of Film Censors happens to not like. I don’t know if they really have a bug up their butt about how other people like to get off — or if they actually wanted to get rid of all porn production, and couldn’t, so they decided to put arbitrary restrictions on it to fuck with the producers. Either way, they’re fucking with people who make a living giving other people pleasure — and they’re doing it based on entirely arbitrary standards, for no good reason. (I have friends and colleagues who work in the porn industry, some of whom work in England and are very likely going to be harmed by this, so I take this somewhat personally.)

Serious commentary #2: As Salon and The Independent both point out, many of the banned sex acts are specifically connected with female pleasure. Female ejaculation is the most obvious one. I’m reminded of the MPAA ratings board that told a movie producer they had to take out the cunnilingus scene if they didn’t want to get an NC-17. Male ejaculation is, literally, all over porn — but Loki forbid you should show explicit signs of women enjoying sex.

Snarky commentary #1: Whoever put “fisting” and “facesitting” on the list as “potentially life-endangering” really needs to get out more often.

best of british spanking volume 12
Snarky commentary #2: They banned spanking in porn — in ENGLAND?!?!?

That’s like Los Angeles banning over-permed hair in porn. Spanking/ caning/ flagellation are literally referred to as “the English vice” — and England is one of the great world capitals of spanking porn. When I worked as the buyer for a porn company, we always made a point of getting spanking videos from England whenever we could. Banning the production of spanking porn in England is like banning the production of cars in Detroit, or the production of pretentious overpriced cocktails in San Francisco. Spanking porn is one of the country’s major exports. The British Board of Film Censors really needs to take some pride in their cultural heritage.

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The UK Bans Spanking, Female Ejaculation in Porn

44 thoughts on “The UK Bans Spanking, Female Ejaculation in Porn

  1. 1

    Sigh….If these people spent a tiny fraction of the time, money, and effort they spend policing peoples’ consensual sex lives on stamping out sexual abuse, we wouldn’t have such a pernicious, life-destroying rape culture.

  2. 3

    Sigh….If these people spent a tiny fraction of the time, money, and effort they spend policing peoples’ consensual sex lives on stamping out sexual abuse, we wouldn’t have such a pernicious, life-destroying rape culture.

    And that’s why they do this, instead of that.

  3. 4

    Spanking/ caning/ flagellation are literally referred to as “the English vice” — and England is one of the great world capitals of spanking porn.

    Which indicates to me that their ultimate goal is porn as a whole.

  4. 5

    rabidwombat @#3- I think that’s what they think they’re doing, but they have a broken concept of ‘consent’ combined with no sense of “not my kink, not my business”.

  5. 7

    I had the same reaction as I caught the word “caning” in there. It is to laugh. Where are your Victorian roots, UK?

    And because imposing porn filtering on ISPs has worked so well in the UK, really concerned Canadians would like this implemented as well. Special new reason to appeal to Morality And Health – Conscious (apparently cis-het) Men (And The Women Who Love Them) :
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141124/06391529226/apparently-we-need-porn-filters-to-safeguard-healthy-erections-young-men.shtml
    cf
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/porn-induced-erectile-dysfunction-and-other-problems-facing-gen-xxx/article21675828/

  6. 8

    Does anyone want to wager which percentage of those RESPECTABLE people who sit on that board got massively aroused while whittling down that list of VERY specific actions?

    Picture the old guy with an impeccably groomed mustache speaking perfect Received Pronunciation… legs crossed, face red, sweating a little, saying “No, no, no… I don’t think we’ve talked ENOUGH about how terribly nasty and naughty caning and fisting are. We need to talk more, MORE I say!”

    Frackin’ hypocrites.

  7. 10

    A ban on strangulation scenes I can probably support: that really can cause death, so the porn business shouldn’t encourage it. Not sure about fisting, it looks really harmful, but I’ve never heard of anyone being hospitalized or killed by it. “Facesitting” sounds more violent than it is. There’s no good reason to ban any of the rest of the things on that list.

    And ‘Penetration by any object “associated with violence”’ can easily include penises, since rape-victims, at least, would have good reason to associate penises with violence.

    Come to think of it, this isn’t a badly written law; it’s rather cleverly written to ban ALL porn while pretending not to. Sort of like the original marijuana prohibition laws.

  8. 11

    Derick: be careful complaining about hypocrisy. Would you rather our laws be written by people who really do share the attitudes expressed in such laws?

  9. 13

    A ban on strangulation scenes I can probably support: that really can cause death, so the porn business shouldn’t encourage it.

    Anything can cause death. If you do any one thing incorrectly, or especially exclusively, for long enough, you’ll die.

    I don’t know what it means to claim that the porn business shouldn’t “encourage” something. Does depicting it encourage it? Does depicting people appearing to have fun doing it encourage it? If so, I wouldn’t mind if porn movies would stop encouraging so-called money shots, but I’m certainly not going to endorse legislation forcing them to. It’s far more efficient and ethical to just not watch that kind of porn, or to do so while loudly proclaiming your objections to it.

    This is the crux of it, so far as I can tell:

    As Salon and The Independent both point out, these prohibitions bear no connection to anything regarding actual issues of sexual ethics — such as consent.

    Sex without consent is called rape, and it’s illegal whether you film it or not.
    Sex with consent is (or at least should be) legal, whether it involves spanking or fisting or choking or female ejaculation or caning or whatever.

    If it’s legal to do it, it should be legal to film people doing it. Outlawing an otherwise legal activity because it “encourages” other people to engage in that same legal activity is a non-starter, one which we wouldn’t accept for any non-sexual activity, so there’s no reason we should accept it for a sexual one. You’re free to morally and/or pragmatically object to it, and may be completely justified in doing so, but there are no grounds– at least, no consistent grounds– for using the law to punish it.

  10. 14

    Anything can cause death. If you do any one thing incorrectly, or especially exclusively, for long enough, you’ll die.

    True, but strangulation can cause death (or brain damage) more quickly, and with less advance warning (that non-experts can see at least), than most of those other things.

    I don’t know what it means to claim that the porn business shouldn’t “encourage” something. Does depicting it encourage it?

    Those are good questions, and I admit I don’t have a better answer right now than “I’m just uncomfortable with the idea of porn that shows a life-threatening act of violence as pleasurable.” It’s certainly not a point that justifies a law that’s clearly intended to stifle free expression, not make anyone any safer.

    I suppose strangulation scenes could be banned, or at least restricted, under worker-safety regs. The UK porn business does have at least some such regs, no?

  11. 15

    The story is possibly unfair to the BBFC, which operates within the legacy of the fairly recent legalisation of hardcore pornography. The British Board of Film Censors hasn’t existed since 1985,when it became the British Board of Film Classification. The BBFC is generally a relatively progressive organisation of late – granting 18 certificates to mainstream films which include real depictions of sex, for example. It is only very recently (2000) that the R18 certificate has been extended to hardcore pornography, rather than merely strong simulated sex. The general attitudes to sex and swearing in mainstream films are fairly liberal.

    The articles mangle some of the rationale for the BBFC guidance – e.g. fisting is a problem because the Crown Prosecution Service guidelines specifically cite it as an obscene act, spanking is a problem if it causes lasting injury (due to the restriction on “extreme” pornographic depictions).

    The remit of the BBFC is to provide classification for films, but a film can still be shown in a cinema without classifcation, unless the local licencing officer objects. Videos/DVDs can’t be retailed without a classification – but that is not the BBFC’s fault, resulting as it does from 1980’s moral-panic inspired “video nasties” legislation which extended the certification remit to include video recordings. The fact is that the legislators exploit the BBFC’s classifications to suit their own agenda. This amendment is basically part of a reactionary agenda by government to try to restrict access to hardcore pornography, rooted, I think, in no small part in the idea that many common sexual activities are dangerous (morally and physically).

    The BBFC is working within the restrictive legislation of the UK – a large part of the problem (see page 37 are pieces of legislation like the England and Wales Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 which outlaw “extreme pornography”, including:

    which features an apparently real person, and which portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, an act which… results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals…

    Serious injury is poorly defined and likely to result is too broad and preemptive to the point of uselessness in the context of consenting sexual activity. The English & Welsh definition of obscenity may also hinge on that dispute. (Under the more common definition of the word used by the 2008 Act. The – still in force – Obscene Publications Acts are worse, defining obscene as material which is likely to deprave and corrupt, that being according to the opinion of an illiberal judiciary. That legislation has often been abused to try to shut down publication of anything the establishment doesn’t much like – hence R vs Peacock 2012, which went against the Crown and may have fatally undermined the acts.)

    Basically, English & Welsh (and Scottish) obscenity/pornography laws are currently a useful mess to the conservative authorities, and a minefield for organisations providing guidance, such as the BBFC.

  12. 16

    @Gretchen

    The problem with any kind of asphyxiation scenario is there isn’t any way to do it safely. It’s pretty much impossible to make it safe, and extremely dangerous. That’s why even sex positive experts are vehemently against it. Since a porn scenario with asphyxiation would undoubtedly involve the real thing, I do agree with a ban on it.

    The other things in this ban are completely absurd, and can all be done safely with basic precautions.

  13. 17

    Bernard Bumner, what an interesting and nuanced comment!

    My only remark concerns this:

    Basically, English & Welsh (and Scottish) obscenity/pornography laws are currently a useful mess to the conservative authorities, and a minefield for organisations providing guidance, such as the BBFC


    My remark: it’s a useful mess not just for the conservatives and (in my eyes at least) this is a part of the problem.

    I will start with what Gretchen wrote:

    If it’s legal to do it, it should be legal to film people doing it.


    (where “to do it” refers to engaging in consensual sexual activity).

    The thing is that some people (not just the conservatives, mind you!) object to realistic pieces of fiction, where consent is not explicitly stated. Please appreciate that this is often the case in BDSM porn materials, where you have actors and a staged out “non-consensual” scene. Yes, the viewer knows (or should know) that the actors must have consented to participate, but the act of giving consent is *not* a part of the pornographic material in question. This is not rare at all. Quite on the contrary, it’s often done on purpose – the material is simply designed in such a way as to suit the tastes of the consumers, who want to have their fiction realistic.

    Then you could say: sure, it’s legal to engage in consensual activity; but are these people filmed as “doing it” – that is, as engaging in a consensual activity? To such a question a “no” answer can be given. (Note however that Gretchen’s original statement underwent a significant modification here.)

    Bernard said that the amendment is a “part of a reactionary agenda by government to try to restrict access to hardcore pornography”. I do not doubt that there is a lot of truth in this; I just don’t believe that this is the whole story. The thing is that some initiatives of this sort (attempts to delegalize staged out pornographic materials, mainly rape porn) received a lot of support also on the left. In the words of Clare McGlynn:

    Reform of the extreme porn law represents an important shift in priorities away from consensual activity to challenging the sexualisation of violence against women.


    So on the one hand, we have the ban happy conservative prudes; on the other, we have the progressives applauding the shift “away from consensual activity to challenging the sexualization of violence” – not just in morality, mind you, but in the law as well. Looks like an uneasy alliance … but an alliance nevertheless.

    The interesting question (for me) is how far the progressives will be ready to go in this direction. I haven’t heard so far the leftist voices supporting the amendment, have you? However, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I heard some. As soon as one starts using arguments of the form “but these and these pieces of fiction normalize sexual violence against women, so they should be prohibited by law!” – and such arguments *were* used before – the temptation is great to use them as a universal weapon against … well, practically against anything you find disgusting and/or morally ambiguous. Moreover, I think that these arguments should be broadly applied by the same people if they want to remain consistent. So the issue is really whether the progressives in question will want to remain consistent and push it further. Hopefully not! (Or is consistency always a virtue in politics?)

  14. 18

    Since a porn scenario with asphyxiation would undoubtedly involve the real thing, I do agree with a ban on it.

    I’m pretty sure that actors would NOT want to do “the real thing” routinely in the process of making movies. I’m sure they’d find ways to simulate it as safely as possible, just as all other actors are routinely expected to convincingly simulate things like reacting to an alien attack, crying when dumped by a lover, and even dying a violent death.

  15. 19

    @ Raging Bee

    But I don’t think it’s a good idea to do that either. It seems unlikely the film would involve telling people that shouldn’t actually ever do it, because it is extremely dangerous. I’m concerned about people getting the idea it is safe, when it absolutely isn’t.

    As for the comment above from Ariel about explicit consent in BDSM scenes, all the porn I’ve seen in that genre has a short interview with the performers explaining what is planned, and that they’re consenting to their involvement.

  16. 20

    I’m concerned about people getting the idea it is safe, when it absolutely isn’t.

    rabidwombat @ #18: Are you concerned about this when actors in action movies jump motorcycles onto moving trains, or do any number of other ridiculously unsafe things? If not — why are sex movies different?

  17. 22

    Hi Greta!

    Because people jumping motorcycles into moving trains are pretty obviously doing something rational people know is dangerous, planned out as a special effect, and usually performed by trained stunt-doubles.

    However, if you ask me if I am equally opposed to how film and television minimizes the real consequences of, say, gun violence, or blows to the head, yes I most definitely am. Because I think that leads people to have a very unrealistic view of the actual, real-life consequences of those things.

    I feel similarly about asphyxiation porn scenes. One of the reasons I feel porn in unique in this way, is I disagree that the actors in porn are routinely “faking” the sexual activity, as that is sort of the whole point of porn. While all sex carries inherent risks, it is understood that the industry as a whole, seems to be invested in mitigating those risks, via STI testing and explicit consent.

    My argument is that asphyxiation is unique in the sense that it can’t be done safely.

  18. 23

    I would also add, however, that if we were talking about asphyxiation scenes being simulated, rather than actually engaged in, and if we were talking about such scenes including a warning that you should never attempt to do it IRL, due to the inherent and serious risks involved, then perhaps it shouldn’t be banned.

    Sort of like cigarettes. I don’t necessarily think they should be illegal. Last thing we need is an additional excuse to put people in prison. But people would have to be living in a remote cave for decades to not fully understand the risks of smoking.

    I’m not concerned with the kink, or the sexual desire for said kink. I’m no prude. I am simply concerned that people truly understand the risk involved, and that they are potentially risking brain damage or death.

  19. 24

    Here’s a of quote from Savage Love that helps explain my concerns:

    I’m trying to be GGG, but now it feels like every fuck needs to be a rape scene, complete with choking. She doesn’t like it any other way. I don’t want to accidentally hurt her or kill her and wind up in jail, but she’s dismissive when I share my concerns. My friends in the BDSM scene scold me and say that breath play is never okay. Your thoughts?

    Throat Harm Really Obsesses This Terrific Lady Entirely

    Here’s what BDSM author, educator, and activist Jay Wiseman has to say about choking in his book SM 101: A Realistic Introduction: “I know of no way whatsoever that suffocation or strangulation can be done that does not intrinsically put the recipient at risk of cardiac arrest… I know of no reliable way to determine when such a cardiac arrest becomes imminent. If the recipient does arrest, the probability of resuscitating them, even with optimal CPR, is small.”

    And this article by Mistress Matisse, which seems to suggest it may be possible to teach breath-play as an advanced activity (but still seems to suggest it’s an inherently highly-dangerous activity.)

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/control-tower/Content?oid=5540613

  20. 25

    Because people jumping motorcycles into moving trains are pretty obviously doing something rational people know is dangerous, planned out as a special effect, and usually performed by trained stunt-doubles.

    rabidwombat @ #21: My ex-husband was a car mechanic, and on a pretty regular basis he repaired cars damaged by people trying to imitate stunts they’d seen in movies, on TV, or in commercials. There’s a reason they include small-print disclaimers in car commercials now, warning people that the stunts they’re seeing are being performed by trained drivers. And that’s exactly what the kink movies I’ve seen do as well. They include warnings that the scenes being depicted are fantasies, acted out by professionals. In that sense, they’re actually being more responsible than producers of regular TV shows and movies, who typically don’t include these disclaimers.

    I might not object to a law saying that dangerous acts in porn have to have these warnings (although I’d want to think about it and discuss it with some people before I definitely decided on that). But since people do, in fact, imitate dangerous stunts in non-porn movies, I’ll ask again: Why should we have different rules for sex movies?

  21. 26

    However, if you ask me if I am equally opposed to how film and television minimizes the real consequences of, say, gun violence, or blows to the head, yes I most definitely am.

    That’s been a pet peeve of mine for DECADES: all those movie and TVscenes where a guy (okay, mostly guys) is rendered unconscious by a hard blow to the head, and then wakes up — after pretty much the amount of time his assailant wanted him to be out — with no permanent brain damage. Does this sort of thing EVER happen in real life? I never read about it in newspapers, or see it in football games.

  22. 27

    However, if you ask me if I am equally opposed to how film and television minimizes the real consequences of, say, gun violence, or blows to the head, yes I most definitely am. Because I think that leads people to have a very unrealistic view of the actual, real-life consequences of those things.

    rabidwombat @ #21: Do you think they should be illegal?

    Because that’s what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about what you personally do and don’t like; we’re not talking about what we as a culture should or should not create social pressure against. We’re talking about what kinds of expression the law should and should not ban.

  23. 28

    I am also not talking about what I do and don’t like. I like all kinds of dangerous porn. That’s sort of my thing. However, I refuse to purchase from irresponsible creators, because I don’t want to contribute to people who refuse to make a serious effort to mitigate risk to not only viewers, but also to their performers.

    If we were talking about simulated breath control, and it was required to carry proper warnings about the risks, I think that would be ok, and maybe even beneficial, although I would need to think on it.

    More recent studies seem to suggest that porn can actually reduce anti-social sexual behaviors (such as rape) by giving viewers an outlet that is entirely simulated and consensual. If that turns out to be the case with further study, then it could be beneficial for people with a choking fetish to have an outlet to pursue their kink without seriously endangering themselves or others.

    Mistress Matisse seemed to be suggesting that extensive training in extreme breath control, such as choking, could help mitigate the risks somewhat. If warnings let people know the risks, and directed them towards sources of proper guidance, I would be less concerned.

  24. 29

    As for whether or not it should be illegal for people to do dangerous things in film, that is a complicated question for me, and really for the same reasons I have reservations about asphyxiation porn.

    I live in the U.S., and there are certain things we are woefully bad at educating people about. Sex it most definitely one of them. The real-life consequences of violence are definitely another.

    If we taught people the real life consequences of bullet wounds, and the real dangers of guns, I would say of course it shouldn’t be illegal to depict these things in an unrealistic and fanciful manner in film, because art is art, and freedom of expression, and we’ve mitigated risk by proper education. The problem is, that education never happens.

    I’m regularly surprised by how few people I talk to have any idea that choking is dangerous. I’m regularly surprised by how few people seem to understand how dangerous guns are as well.

    I don’t have any easy answers to the question of legally banning things, mostly because I find it almost impossible to imagine my society ever bothering to educate people properly on risk. Sexual risks, probably even more so.

  25. 30

    And as for the bans the UK is considering, I am completely opposed, because risk obviously has nothing at all to do with it, considering all the other sexual expressions they include. Therefore, their ability to assess risk and act accordingly in drafting a law is non-existent, and should be left to sex-positive experts.

    (I do understand this won’t happen either, so I guess, given a choice, I would have to come down on the no ban side, even for asphyxiation porn, because the government can’t be trusted to handle anything involving sex in less that a ham-handed and oppressive manner. But I would very much like to see serious warnings.)

  26. 31

    @Raging Bee

    I know right? These people keep waking up hours later with no brain damage and it drives me nuts! I’m the same way every time someone shoves a gun in their waistband and doesn’t immediately blow a hole in their leg. Or when people get their hand chopped off, and then they don’t immediately go into shock and bleed out two minutes later. My son is undoubtedly tired of listening to me yell at my television about these things. 😉

  27. 32

    In my time in the scene I’ve seen people express dislike for asphyxiation, seen some events and venues ban it (generally they specify certain kinds of asphyxia, and choking is rarely among them), but I’ve yet to see a compelling argument for outlawing it, and there is even less reason to ban depictions of it.

    Sure, asphyxia can be very dangerous. So can edge play, takedowns, needle play, fire play, and rope. Hell, rope is one of the most ubiquitous parts of the scene, and a tie can VERY quickly cause permanent damage if something goes wrong. I’ve seen far more people injured by bad ties than I have by any sort of breath play. I watched my ex-partner incur a shoulder injury that stuck with her for months during a suspension by a very skilled rigger. My point is there are a lot of things in kink that could be considered inherently dangerous (that’s often part of the fun). The secret to managing the danger isn’t to bad depictions of it, it’s to foster an atmosphere of consent, education, and support.

    That’s one thing I’ve loved about the kink community (or at least the corner of it I inhabit). I’ve had dangerous things done to me and I’ve done dangerous things to people, but always in a safe environment. There were always explicit negotiations, education, and procedures in place to mitigate possible problems. Making people understand their limits (not only as bottoms, but as tops) and develop their skills and rapport with their play partners make these dangerous acts more safe.

    As an aside, I’d also like to note that we regularly let children engage in asphyxia in non-sexual situations without so much ado. I was regularly performing several different chokes (mostly collar chokes, guillotine chokes, and rear naked chokes) by the time I was eleven in my martial arts classes. We were trained to let up when your opponent taps out, goes limp, or you no longer feel safe applying the hold (incidentally, very similar to the rules I’ve seen applied in the kink setting).

  28. 33

    I totally agree that there are many dangerous aspects of kink, and suspension is definitely one of them. However, suspension, needles, cutting, electric shock etc. can be made much safer with proper training. While these techniques may require advanced “not for beginners” training, risk can be mitigated.

    What concerns me about asphyxiation in particular, is that I am finding very few experts that say it can be made safe at all. From a technical point of view, this makes sense. Any obstruction of blood or oxygen flow to the brain can cause sudden stroke, cardiac arrest, or permanent brain damage. Unfortunately, these effects are very unpredictable, and can come with no warning whatsoever. The fact that the participants breathing is obstructed may mean that they can’t even communicate distress.

    I feel in this sense, breathing obstruction is unique. The risks of death or permanent brain damage are highly unpredictable. I have yet to find a method to really mitigate that risk at all.

    That is why I am more concerned about it than many other “dangerous” techniques. I think people respond to other “dangerous” BDSM kinks more because they think they’re icky or something. The issue I have with asphyxiation is I have yet to find anyone I consider medically competent that can explain I way to prevent sudden cardiac arrest, stroke, or brain damage during performance.

  29. 34

    In addition, as to the end part of your comment, we recently saw a man die from a choke hold, which is the reason it had been banned from the police procedure. Not that it stopped them from doing it of course, because fuck the police, but it’s hardly an argument for its general safety I would think.

    I’m only pointing out that the tapping out works if the person needs to breathe, and can indicate it. If they suddenly experience cardiac arrest, they may be unable to speak, even if you release the hold.

  30. 35

    You know, the first part of that last comment was probably unfair. I apologize. I’ve been in a nearly continual fight with racists and their apologists at work for the last month, and I’m feeling rather beset on all sides at the moment. Sorry.

  31. 36

    What concerns me about asphyxiation in particular, is that I am finding very few experts that say it can be made safe at all.

    rabidwombat @ #32: But you’re still not answering the question. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that breath play is entirely unsafe and cannot be made safe. I don’t know if this is true or not: it’s not my kink, so I haven’t explored its pros and cons in any great detail. So for the sake of argument, let’s say that it can’t be done at all with any reasonable degree of safety.

    That’s a good argument for doing education about it, maybe even for creating social pressure against it. It is not a good argument for banning its depiction in porn movies.

    Again: Non-sex movies depict entirely unsafe activities all the time, activities that cannot be made reasonably safe, activities that people do sometimes try to imitate. Why should the laws for sex movies be different? (Unless you do think unsafe stunts should be banned in non-sex movies as well — in which case, I’m pretty much going to wash my hands of this argument.)

    And yes, the chokehold argument was terrible. Police using chokeholds are notoriously uninterested in doing it with rigorous attention to safety and deep concern for the well-being of the target.

  32. 38

    Depiction of strangulation in a porn movie would probably be justifiable if it came with some sort of advance discussion/warning (of the sort hinted at by rabidwombat @18); and the actors didn’t do the real thing on camera. That would address both the “don’t encourage it” and the “worker safety” objections.

    I’m not sure such depictions should be banned by law; but I think moviemakers should voluntarily be more careful about what they depict. Just as I think mainstream moviemakers should steer clear of worn-out plot-devices like having people knocked unconscious and then waking up with no brain damage like all they’ve had is a nap.

  33. 39

    Greta #35

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that breath play is entirely unsafe and cannot be made safe. […] That’s a good argument for doing education about it, maybe even for creating social pressure against it. It is not a good argument for banning its depiction in porn movies.


    One of my favorite examples (I use it occasionally in such discussions) is that of mountaineering. I mean the hardcore stuff, not rock climbing. In its hardcore version, it’s not a mere hobby: it’s a lifestyle, with its own literature and movies glorifying it. It’s also pretty dangerous, with real people dying for real. Neither the literature nor the movies hide the dangers: quite on the contrary, the dangers are emphasized … but at the same time they are presented as one of the attractions. (In this respect the example differs significantly from that of breath play.)

    This is the case where we have very good and clear reasons to think that it’s “entirely unsafe and cannot be made safe”. The education condition is also satisfied, as the mountaineers themselves are only too happy to provide it (well … sort of). The question is: should their subculture be censored? Should we ban the books and the movies presenting the lifestyle as attractive? Or should we instead grant them the right to choose a dangerous lifestyle, even though they can “infect” other people with this? That’s the question.

    I’m inclined to answer: yes, we should grant them such a right.

  34. 40

    Sorry, late to reply. As I noted before, if we’re talking depictions rather than a real scenario, and it warned people so they could understand the risks, that would make more sense than a ban. As I previously said, it could be beneficial, if it gave people an outlet for the kink, without the actual engagement.

    In addition, there are other ways to engage in breath restriction play, as outlined in the article by Mistress Matisse, that aren’t dangerous at all.

    I do think it would be beneficial if dangerous scenarios in other media included proper warnings, and were more realistically portrayed. However, that wouldn’t be necessary if we educated people properly outside of entertainment.

    So in general, I’m against a ban after further thought, because I don’t want a bunch of prude hypocrite idiots using it as another excuse to police sexual expression. But I still would like to see a real warning.

    However, I disagree with the rock climbing analogy. I don’t think you can deliberately put yourself a 1000 feet above the ground without understanding the risk. The concern with asphyxiation is with people who don’t understand the dangers, and the limited or non-existent warning signs of a fatal incident.

  35. 41

    Greta Christina @ # 24: Why should we have different rules for sex movies?

    Indeed. BBFC, how do you “classify” movies that show shootings, explosions, fistfights, & reckless driving?

  36. 42

    @rabidwombat, 33

    In addition, as to the end part of your comment, we recently saw a man die from a choke hold, which is the reason it had been banned from the police procedure. Not that it stopped them from doing it of course, because fuck the police, but it’s hardly an argument for its general safety I would think.

    I’m not arguing for the general safety of choke holds, nor am I talking about the application of choke holds in real-world “combatative situations.” I was simply pointing out that, at this moment, there are thousands of people, children included, who regularly engage in asphyxia for non-sexual reasons without the sort of response we see when discussing asphyxia is sexual situations. I’m not talking about the safety of the act, I’m talking about the acceptibility of the act in sexual vs. non-sexual situations.

    32

    The issue I have with asphyxiation is I have yet to find anyone I consider medically competent that can explain I way to prevent sudden cardiac arrest, stroke, or brain damage during performance.

    Not all breath play involves cutting off oxygen to the brain. Often times it’s the threat of cutting off air, or sometimes it’s stopping breathing only briefly (so that bloodflow is uninterrupted and they have enough oxygen in their lungs to safely last the seconds they can’t breathe). There’s a lot of mental stuff that can come into play.

    34

    You know, the first part of that last comment was probably unfair. I apologize. I’ve been in a nearly continual fight with racists and their apologists at work for the last month, and I’m feeling rather beset on all sides at the moment. Sorry.

    No offense taken, I get where you’re coming from.

    @Greta Christina, 35

    And yes, the chokehold argument was terrible. Police using chokeholds are notoriously uninterested in doing it with rigorous attention to safety and deep concern for the well-being of the target.

    See my reply to rabidwombat’s 33 above.

  37. 43


    Will this law do to free porn sites like femdomtube, http://theporndude.com/, slavestube,…? Or are only fetish niche shooters in the UK being targetted and not sites that stream/host ‘forbidden’ content?

    I just did a test and I don’t see anything censored yet in the UK(currently). Will these niche sites suffer the same fate as ‘the piratebay’ and be disabled or how will the government turn a blind eye? Doesn’t sound fair for bdsm producers and it are already difficult times to make a profit in that scene.

    Who’s still giving money on porn these days anyway?

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