Sex & Censorship: U.K. Seeks to End Anal Sex in Porn

Apr 11, 2016 10:04 AM PST

LONDON — Sex & Censorship today issued a statement about the U.K. government's age-verification consultation survey that closes tomorrow.

The London-based organization that campaigns against censorship within the adult entertainment space said that the consultation, issued by the government’s Department of Culture Media and Sport, is an attempt to end anal sex in porn.

“[T]here is no strong evidence that porn causes harm” and that, if anything, government research shows availability the sexually explicit content reduces rather than increases sexual violence, said Jerry Barnett, who leads Sex & Censorship.

“In the absence of strong evidence of harm, the document instead suggests that porn is causing more people to try anal sex, and labels such sex as ‘unwanted,” Barnett said.

“There is also a question about the effect of pornography on ‘unwanted sex’ — for instance more young people are engaging in anal intercourse than ever before despite research that suggests that it is often not seen as a pleasurable activity for young women.”

Barnett, who noted that sodomy laws in the U.K. were scrapped half a century ago, said the term “unwanted sex” is odd — implying a gray area between consensual and nonconsensual sexual activity.

“The suggestion that it is somehow government’s role to prevent anal sex happening is surreal in the extreme,” he said. “We call on [the Department of Culture Media and Sport] to halt the consultation pending a review of the evidence, but we fear that a new and dangerous law to further censor Internet content will appear in the coming Queen’s Speech.”

The online consultation survey seeks views from stakeholders worldwide on the government’s manifesto to require age verification for access to adult sites online. 

Barnett stated that one of the goals of the consultation is to grant Ofcom stronger censorship powers to block overseas adult content.

“The weakness of the evidence provided suggests that the government has given up even trying to make a credible argument for censorship, instead hoping that nobody pays attention as more and more power is granted to an unelected regulator,” he said.

The online survey, called “Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography,” will close on Tuesday, April 12, at noon (British Summer Time).

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