New UK porn laws came into effect this month. Here are a few facts on the new law, and how it has been reported online.

Legislation introduced on Monday means that porn produced in the UK is now banned from showing a long list of sex acts.

The move brings guidelines for video-on-demand (VoD) online porn into line with what the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) deem suitable – R18 – for DVD sex shops.

The full list of banned acts includes:

  • 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

What are the new UK porn laws, and why do we need them?

A legislative provision that has just come into force bans certain acts in online pornography produced in the UK, with the effect of bringing video-on-demand services into line with the British Board of Film Classification’s R18 standard that applies to physical films and DVDs sold in sex shops, reports The Conversation.

The new UK porn laws – No female ejaculation, please, we’re British!

In this article on The Independent, Robert Rosen discusses the new UK porn laws and gives a brief history of porn and censorship.

UK Porn Laws - Bedroom secrets
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It has a biblical ring to it, the sound of a Seder as the leader recites the 10 plagues that God visited upon Egypt: Spanking… Caning… Aggressive whipping… Penetration by any object ‘associated with violence’… Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual)Urolagnia… Female ejaculation…StrangulationFacesitting… Fisting…

The aforementioned sex acts (assuming you consider verbal abuse a sex act) are now banned from porn in the UK, but only if it was produced in the UK for online paid-for video-on-demand (VoD), which, as I understand it, brings British VoD up to the same standards that already apply to porn distributed on DVD.

Watching this sort of erotica is not prohibited in the UK, however. Which means that American pornographers will have much to toast this holiday season, as they gear up to produce more spanking, caning, and so-forth videos, thus filling the void the new British regulations have created—that is, assuming the major British ISPs aren’t blocking them.

Why has female ejaculation been banned in British porn?

In an article on TheBeast.com, Emily Shire asks: “What has the British Board of Film Classification got against women’s orgasms? Unsurprisingly, sexist double standards are at play.”

“If the porn-industry were controlled 50-50 equally by men and women and and made 50 percent of its money from women, we’d have an industry that’s very different.”

“I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) when it composed the list of DVD porn regulations that, as of this week, now apply to all video-on-demand (VoD) online porn”, states Emily Shire.

Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon wrote about the significance of external, visible male ejaculation and expounded on the possible reasons for its status as standard porn fare: it can be an expression of male dominance, it provides evidence of porn sex’s “realness,” and perversely, it’s a substitute for the more difficult to portray female orgasm.

Porn censorship ruling to be protested with mass ‘face-sitting’ outside Parliament.

UK Porn Laws - Anti Porn Law protest poster
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Porn censorship ruling to be protested with mass ‘face-sitting’ outside Parliament

Around 500 people are to simulate sex at Old Palace Yard in Westminster on Friday, as MPs debate the recent changes to UK pornography regulations and the effective banning of certain sex acts the government deems morally damaging, reports The Independent.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 banned “physical restraint”, “strong physical and verbal abuse” and potentially “life-threatening” acts from being depicted in online porn on 1 December, in a barrage of ambiguous new rules.

#PornProtest will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for ‘face-sitting’ (an act that could face censorship) and hold a ‘Sex Factor’ game show, both using fully-clothed participants.

It coincides with the debate of a motion put forward by Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert to annul the AMSR changes.

No spanking or bondage: why the government’s new porn laws are arbitrary and sexist.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 impose restrictions on the content of pornography made and sold within the UK with a perplexing ignorance, reports The New Statesman.

“Not only is the law misguided, it’s also deeply sexist. Showing female ejaculation on screen has been outlawed completely, while male ejaculation (on the face, breasts, feet, backside, wherever) faces no direct restrictions. Is female ejaculation really so vulgar and explicit that people shouldn’t see it, in pornography or anywhere else?”

New powers to censor digital media are a threat to free expression.

Backlash launches challenge against attempt to shut down British websites with adult content. Backlash’s legal advisor, Myles Jackman(4), said:

“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. Today, Backlash has launched a campaign to challenge this regime of State censorship disguised as regulation.”

British BDSM enthusiasts, say goodbye to your favourite homegrown porn.

UK Porn Laws - UK Banned Porn content chart
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This chart shows the level of UK Banned porn content

Stopping the British public from watching porn is one thing that today’s legal revision will not do, reported The Vice.

That’s because the new law only covers content produced in the UK, meaning that viewers – if they really want to – can still open up that private browsing window all the adverts claimed was for “buying an engagement present” and  view as much fisting, strangulation and urination as they like.

“R18 is a strange thing,” says Jerry Barnett, founder of anti-censorship campaign Sex and Censorship.

“It’s a set of weird and arbitrary censorship rules decided between the BBFC, the police and the CPS. There appear to be no rational explanations for most of the R18 rules – they’re simply a set of moral judgements designed by people who have struggled endlessly to stop the British people from watching pornography.”

“Along with panics over terrorism and pressure over copyright theft, we seem to be edging towards a more censored network.”

Image credits: The Independent | The Vice | Dominatrix Ms Tytania

“I’m worried this will help build the case in the future for wide-scale blocking of ‘illegal‘ sites,” says Barnett.