Sit on my face and tell me that this parliamentary legislation is wrong
December 13, 2014 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Why were people sitting on other people's faces outside the UK parliament recently? A variety of specific sexual acts were banned from UK-filmed online porn videos under the 2014 Audiovisual Media Services Regulation, which came into effect this month. Protesters say some acts that show women enjoying sex are now banned while similar restrictions do not apply to men.

BBC: "The regulations were implemented without parliamentary debate because they transpose existing laws on to the online world, rather than create new legislation."

International Business Times: "Just when it seems society is stepping up its efforts to achieve gender equality, it seems a group of middle-aged suits pound their fists on the table."

Independent: "Somehow, many of the things that appear most dangerous to our self-selected censors are things that give pleasure to women. Or LGBTQ folk. Which certainly makes me wonder if this is all about white knight syndrome: blokes who don’t understand anything other than straight, lights out missionary position sex, believing they're somehow doing the rest of us a favour by banning whatever grosses them out."

Independent: "Seemingly arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex, the board's ruling on 'content that is not acceptable' (p.24) effectively bans 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')
- Role-playing as non-adults
- Physical restraint
- Humiliation
- Female ejaculation
- Strangulation
- Facesitting
- Fisting

The final three listed fall under acts the BBFC views as potentially 'life-endangering."

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?"

Guardian: 'Protesters chanted: 'What do we want? Face-sitting! When do we want it? Now!' Participants wearing gimp masks used mats and blankets to act out face-sitting."

The Verge: "Myles Jackman, a lawyer specializing in obscenity and pornography who supports the protest, points out that it's a bureaucratic nightmare. For example, under the new regulations, porn involving 'purpose-designed fucking-machines' is acceptable, but the use of standard power tools is not 'since most people have one lying around at home.'"

The Daily Beast: It’s difficult to deny suggestions that there is an element of gender bias in the ruling. 'Why is it perfectly fine for me to choke on a penis or be covered in semen but not OK for me to ejaculate on someone?' said Ally Jones, 25, who was attending the first protest of her life. 'Come on - this is the country of 50 Shades of Grey!'"

Newsweek: "Many of the campaigners who had chosen not take part in the face-sitting were carrying signs emblazoned with slogans like 'Fight For Your Right To Fist', and 'Life Will Be Fine If You 69'."
posted by Wordshore (72 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite


 
The final three listed fall under acts the BBFC views as potentially 'life-endangering."

So face sitting is "life endangering" but deep throating is not?

Good on these protestors.
posted by Michele in California at 12:47 PM on December 13, 2014 [10 favorites]


Life will be fine if we go sixty-nine...
posted by jonmc at 12:47 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Please tell me they banned anal sex followed immediately by a blowjob, on microbiological grounds.
posted by benzenedream at 12:55 PM on December 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


- Penetration by any object 'associated with violence'

surely penises would qualify as such
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:57 PM on December 13, 2014 [118 favorites]


And yes, the protestors are right and the new regulations are wrong. What a stupid situation.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:58 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Seemingly arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex, the board's ruling on 'content that is not acceptable' (p.24) effectively bans 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')
- Role-playing as non-adults
- Physical restraint
- Humiliation
- Female ejaculation
- Strangulation
- Facesitting
- Fisting

The final three listed fall under acts the BBFC views as potentially 'life-endangering."


I saw a special about British MPs in the 1950s-1960s a few days ago. If they want to ban these acts, perhaps they shouldn't be doing it with their teenage mistresses, themselves.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:58 PM on December 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


What, exactly is so offensive about female ejaculation? In my experience that's just something that happens occasionally, and is totally natural.
posted by dortmunder at 1:00 PM on December 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


When I hear of something as stupid as this I think of "crowd sourcing" (or whatever it was called where humans, collectively, are in theory smarter than individual humans), consider the works of the crowd's representatives, and laugh and laugh.
posted by maxwelton at 1:01 PM on December 13, 2014


Aughhhh, this is frustrating to no end. I can (sort of) understand the premise behind some of these. (humiliation, urolagnia, not using "violent" objects, strangulation). These are devices and tactics that are frequently associated with, and employed by the parts of the porn industry that profit off misogyny. And that's a very real problem-there are huge industries of "abuse porn" that let assholes get off on degrading and objectifying women. Even further, it normalizes that ideology for men who weren't previously assholes, and it just makes this vicious cycle.

But this is treating the symptom and not the problem. It's the same frustration I got when I read a trans porn actress' call to ban the word "shemale" in the porn industry. She makes a lot of valid points, most notably that the term is objectifying, and she hopes to reduce violence against trans women by framing their narrative in a more relatable, human way. But the entire time I couldn't help but think "Yeah, we should really stop using slurs in porn. But we should also stop fetishizing trans people, period."

Banning some sex acts that get exploited to cater to the male gaze that gets off on misogyny is not going to actually combat the misogyny that exists in porn.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:06 PM on December 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


It does feel like a crowd sourced list, mostly what you'd get by asking a bunch of socially conservative people with not much sexual experience to name things that sound gross to them.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:07 PM on December 13, 2014 [13 favorites]


If they want to ban these acts, perhaps they shouldn't be doing it with their teenage mistresses, themselves.

This is not about banning these acts, but making it illegal to film these acts for porn movies. It's still dumb, though.
posted by Pendragon at 1:09 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it's the case that crowd-sourcing works when each individual member of the crowd is capable of making a pretty good guess all by themself, and falls to pieces when you drop the uninformed and ignorant in. If you have a crowd composed entirely of uninformed and ignorant, you probably do less well than relying on pure chance.
posted by Grangousier at 1:10 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've heard parliament ruled that female ejaculate is just urine, and so I banned it under the urolagnia provision. I'm not in a place where I can back up that claim, but it sounds like something a bunch of old men would be willing to believe.
posted by WCWedin at 1:11 PM on December 13, 2014


The BBFC has previously stated that they consider female ejaculation to be a form of urolagnia, as (a) there is a lack of medical consensus on the nature and source of the fluid and (b) female performers regularly create the performance of ejaculation by urinating. Urolagnia is banned therefore female ejaculation is banned.

The ban on urolagnia is normally justified on the basis of it being obscene and unsafe.

These aren't my views, I am not stating my views, these are the views of the BBFC.

The BBFC are generally best thought of as batshit insane, but the lack of consensus on the nature and method of female ejaculation real and even more insane. This is basic physiology relating to one of the most interesting bits of ~50% of the population. A naive person might think this would have been thoroughly researched some time ago. But it wasn't, and is hardly being and hence it remains ripe for FUD.
posted by samworm at 1:12 PM on December 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


If they want to ban these acts, perhaps they shouldn't be doing it with their teenage mistresses, themselves.

This is not about banning these acts, but making it illegal to film these acts for porn movies. It's still dumb, though.
posted by Pendragon at 1:09 PM on December 13 [+] [!]


I can't help but think "So, the real point is to make it illegal for the paparazzi to catch them in the act and prove it with photo evidence."

/cynic
posted by Michele in California at 1:13 PM on December 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately it seems porn laws are nearly always drafted by people with limited understanding; I think they're the only ones who think it's easy to legislate effectively.
posted by Segundus at 1:14 PM on December 13, 2014


Surely there's nothing more British than spanking?
posted by popcassady at 1:16 PM on December 13, 2014 [40 favorites]


It's worth noting that these aren't exactly new restrictions. They extended the existing rules for porn sold in sex shops to cover porn sold online. So while I agree that they're stupid rules, it kind of makes sense in that it's weird to have different rules governing media depending whether you buy a download or a physical copy.
posted by metaBugs at 1:17 PM on December 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


What, exactly is so offensive about female ejaculation?

My guess is the dried, old husks that made this law have never experienced their partner ejaculating and, thus, believe it doesn't really exist, so, obviously, female ejaculation must actually be urine and, as such, is banned.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:18 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is there such a thing as "non-aggressive whipping?"
posted by jonmc at 1:20 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Surely there's nothing more British than spanking?

I would not be surprised if like 90% of all British porn involves spanking a woman dressed up like a schoolgirl. This is like France banning the production of wine.

Anyway, I guess the Brits can just go watch people being tortured to death in non-porn films instead since there is apparently nothing objectionable about that at all.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:20 PM on December 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Surely there's nothing more British than spanking?

le vice anglais
posted by betweenthebars at 1:20 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's worth noting that these aren't exactly new restrictions. They extended the existing rules for porn sold in sex shops to cover porn sold online.

Yeah. I went looking at the legislation, and it doesn't appear to include any particular list of things to be banned. It just amends one set of rules to cross-reference another existing set of rules. (Which also doesn't seem to have that particular list. I'm really not sure where that list came from, though I'm entirely willing to believe it accurately reflects the rules as they currently stand.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 1:23 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Surely there's nothing more British than spanking?

No; that would be dogging (New York Times piece).
posted by Wordshore at 1:24 PM on December 13, 2014


"I've heard parliament ruled that female ejaculate is just urine"

So they think that women have a cloaca, then?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:24 PM on December 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


They extended the existing rules for porn sold in sex shops to cover porn sold online.

Wait.

People buy porn????
posted by Thorzdad at 1:26 PM on December 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Buzzfeed (I know) has a pretty good photo roundup of the event.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:37 PM on December 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


(Points for being pretty brazen about it with the sign. Text reads: A common complaint was that a woman can be filmed choking on a man’s penis but a woman can not be filmed while sitting on a man’s face.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:39 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'm a bit skeeved out by urolagnia, but whatever floats your boat. And my hangups aside:

Bacteria are present at low levels in the urine of healthy people not suffering from a urinary tract infection, Evann Hilt of Loyola University of Chicago reported May 18 at a conference of the American Society for Microbiology.*

from the article Urine is not sterile, and neither is the rest of you (2014)




...acts the BBFC views as potentially 'life-endangering."

Aside from the lack of sterility everywhere on your person, even if you're only screwing missionary position, there are quite a few STDs that are "potentially 'life-endangering'" if not treated.

BAN SEX!
Don't even think about it!
posted by BlueHorse at 1:44 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do they realize how the internet works? Blatant sexism aside, as of 2013, UK doesn't host that much porn, and as of 2007, the US created 89% of the world's porn. So it's not like the UK is a porn haven as it is, and now producers are likely to move elsewhere, if they want to produce anything with this material.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


According to the article, it's no wonder most of us have a dirty, dirty, mind
posted by BlueHorse at 1:46 PM on December 13, 2014


I’ve been fisting myself for 13 years and now I have no job.

And you try telling them that down at the dole office, but they won't listen!
posted by Thing at 1:49 PM on December 13, 2014 [15 favorites]


As a side-point, been pointed out to me that this post marks another first for MetaFilter. (NSFW)

Nearly mis-typed that as 'marks another fist for MetaFilter'. Need more tea.
posted by Wordshore at 1:59 PM on December 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


- Fisting

The final three listed fall under acts the BBFC views as potentially 'life-endangering."

Death by Fisting? How often does that happen? "I thought it was a figure of speech like 'Death by Chocolate' officer! Honest!"
posted by MikeMc at 2:01 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


That buzzfeed article is everything.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:04 PM on December 13, 2014


Why is female ejaculation on there?
posted by Blitz at 2:05 PM on December 13, 2014


Is it election season in the UK? Is there a motion of no confidence somewhere on the immediate horizon?
posted by vapidave at 2:10 PM on December 13, 2014


I'm not conflicted about Chelsea Poe's petition. She backs up her words about good representation by making work that doesn't cater to that fetishizing male gaze.
posted by thug unicorn at 2:11 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


This passage quoted in the OP cracked me up:

"... blokes who don’t understand anything other than straight, lights out missionary position sex, believing they're somehow doing the rest of us a favour by banning whatever grosses them out."

I also found it hilar that they consider face sitting life threatening.
posted by jayder at 2:14 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think they think that someone is literally sitting on someone else's face, like a stool or something. Apart from anything else it's a wonderful insight into the Stygian depths of their ignorance.
posted by Grangousier at 2:17 PM on December 13, 2014


I wonder how this list was compiled:

An oak panelled room where several elderly gentlemen are seated around a large leather topped conference table...

Gentlemen, if I could call the meeting to order. Now, as you know we've been tasked to come up with a list of what I like to term... "dirty no-nos", things that I'm sure none of us like to see when we've got a few private moments alone with the internet.

Now, I'm sure like you, I'm patriotic about the pornography I consume, so this list will only apply to British pornography, and I'm sure at the end of this process British pornography will be not only the best pornography, but decent, clean, wholesome pornography that I'm sure Her Majesty herself would be proud of.

As I say, we're only interested in British pornography, so if any of us want to spend some time watching say... female ejaculation then our American or European friends will be, I'm sure, more than happy to oblige...

Lord Eaton-Briggs, if I could start with you?
Yes, well I don't like fisting...
posted by mattoxic at 2:19 PM on December 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


A Britain without humiliation is not the Britain I know and love.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:20 PM on December 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Surely there's nothing more British than spanking?

This is terrible news for bumpaddle
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:24 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there such a thing as "non-aggressive whipping?"

I say...
posted by hal_c_on at 2:25 PM on December 13, 2014


- Humiliation

I actually wasn't aware this could be removed from British sex.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:33 PM on December 13, 2014 [31 favorites]


Needs more British porn.
posted by Talez at 2:37 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


From a commenter who prefers to remain anonymous:
A site I like appears to falls into the urologia category, and I have until now believed it to be UK-based. The guy whom I have until now believed to be the person who owns the company has since chimed in with some reassurance. I think the distinctions and loopholes noted there are of general interest.

Notable points from that response:

1) Although (I believe) the content is filmed in the UK, the company isn't based there; the content creator simply creates content for the distributor. The laws apply only to the publisher / broadcaster.

2) The laws have now been extended to "television-like" services. Content that couldn't previously been sold on DVD in the UK--that is, the list at hand--now can't be sold by such UK-based video-streaming services.

3) There are also restrictions on UK-based sites providing content that would be eligible for an "adults-only" R18 rating. They need to have a way of preventing minors from seeing such content. (I don't think this part of the law is new.)

4) In this case, the person behind the site believes that it would likely pass muster even if it were legally UK-based and television-like. He believes his content would likely be eligible for an R18 rating, and thus legal if minors were screened out. (I assume this is because it involves urination only as a solo activity, involving neither sex as such nor any use being made of the byproduct.)
posted by restless_nomad at 2:44 PM on December 13, 2014


Does this mean the queen's annual holiday mustache ride with the PM is canceled?
posted by humanfont at 2:44 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why is female ejaculation on there?

I can only hear this as a horrified question. E.g., "AHHH! MY COUCH! Why is female ejaculation on there?"
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:03 PM on December 13, 2014 [16 favorites]


Surely there's nothing more British than spanking?

A, uh, friend told me that the UK produces a huge proportion of the BDSM-themed content out there, second only to perhaps the US. And I don't mean regular-porn-with-gratuitious-violence, but content made by and for kinksters. It sounds a bit overwrought to call the legislation an assault on the BDSM community, but that's effectively what it represents.
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:10 PM on December 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I see the allusions, but has nobody actually... linked to... the song?

True story: I found a copy of the Contractual Obligation Album around the house as a 12-year old and took immediately to it, memorizing the lyrics, despite the fact that I mistook every filthy allusion for harmless absurdity (sitting on people's faces - ha ha, butts!). I spent a year happily singing the lyrics in the family car, as my parents - unwilling or unable to broach the topic - just squirmed and squirmed.
posted by bicyclefish at 3:10 PM on December 13, 2014 [19 favorites]




Unfortunately it seems porn laws are nearly always drafted by people with limited understanding; I think they're the only ones who think it's easy to legislate effectively

Fixed that for you.
posted by drivelmeister at 3:37 PM on December 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I would not be surprised if like 90% of all British porn involves spanking a woman dressed up like a schoolgirl. This is like France banning the production of wine.

Oh, I forgot to mention, in the other 10% the man is the one dressed as a schoolgirl.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:48 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


These stalwarts are simply trying to protect the purity of Britain's precious bodily fluids. They are defending life essence of the nation.
posted by homunculus at 3:57 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Lord Eaton-Briggs, if I could start with you?
Yes, well I don't like fisting...


You are talking about Tory parliamentarians here. Lord Eaton-Briggs doesn't like fisting because he got oh so bored with it back in public school.
posted by ennui.bz at 3:57 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


My guess is the dried, old husks that made this law have never experienced their partner ejaculating and, thus, believe it doesn't really exist, so, obviously, female ejaculation must actually be urine and, as such, is banned.

David Cameron isn't that old.

Warning: if you google "Cameron squirt" you are not going to get pictures of David Cameron.
posted by homunculus at 4:00 PM on December 13, 2014


So, it's illegal to sell those types of porn in the UK.

If I were an activist and a producer of pornography (I'm not) and lived in the UK (I don't) I'd be very tempted to produce free pornography featuring the forbidden acts. After double-checking the loophole of course.

Why on earth do they think this is the best use of their time?
posted by bunderful at 4:15 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why on earth do they think this is the best use of their time?

They have to find SOME way to fill their time given their lack of a sex life?
posted by Michele in California at 4:18 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Banning some sex acts that get exploited to cater to the male gaze that gets off on misogyny is not going to actually combat the misogyny that exists in porn.

Yes. Morality prohibition is a proven failure at combating behavior, but a great way to drum up votes from an ignorant and outraged public, often about things they didn't know they should be outraged about.

Also nthing the sentiment that these prohibitions are not only sexist, but also cast a wide net across the BDSM community.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:53 PM on December 13, 2014


The plot thickens. David Cameron admits he cannot grow a mustache. Also Harold Macmillan was the last British PM (1957-63) to hold a proper mustache.
posted by humanfont at 5:58 PM on December 13, 2014


I've heard parliament ruled that female ejaculate is just urine, and so I banned it under the urolagnia provision. I'm not in a place where I can back up that claim, but it sounds like something a bunch of old men would be willing to believe.

You would be shocked at how many otherwise smart young people are adamantly convinced this is true and willing to argue at length about how it can't possibly be anything else and bla bla bla mansplainy crap.

Seriously, it's a pretty widely held belief among people. Not so much people who post on here, but people in general kinda yea. And not just closed minded old men, was my point.
posted by emptythought at 6:36 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


A, uh, friend told me that the UK produces a huge proportion of the BDSM-themed content out there, second only to perhaps the US. And I don't mean regular-porn-with-gratuitious-violence, but content made by and for kinksters.

Some of this would historically have been down to British schools' gratuitous use of the cane. This was abolished some decades ago (in the 60s or 70s, I think), so it'll be an interesting experiment in the power of cultural transmission to see to what extent (and by how many generations) spanking as a fetish outlives the last cohort of porn consumers to have been caned as schoolboys.
posted by acb at 7:03 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Penetration by any object 'associated with violence'

Oh, great. Now all we're gonna get is "harmless"-looking dildos shaped like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
posted by argonauta at 8:51 PM on December 13, 2014


I am so tired of female health and sexuality being SO poorly understood, by professionals and the public, that our bodies are constantly doing illegal and/or supposedly impossible things. Come now. Birth control, abortion, miscarriage, orgasm, g-spot, ejaculation-- what can/can't we do/have/not do!?!!

Who the fuck am I? Do I exist?? Is women people??!?!?!?!?!!!

I am forced to conclude based on society and John Mayer that my body is both a wonderland and a sexy murder prison that is ruining society. (I may be slightly drunk atm, in other words just making my body an illegal hostile work environment for hypothetical fetuses I may be unknowingly imbued with at the moment.)
posted by stoneandstar at 9:25 PM on December 13, 2014 [34 favorites]


I may be slightly drunk atm

Well I never. What is this site coming too?
posted by Drinky Die at 9:59 PM on December 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Anyway, I guess the Brits can just go watch people being tortured to death in non-porn films instead since there is apparently nothing objectionable about that at all.

"You could be on the cover of a magazine covered in blood, but God forbid you had some other fluid on you." - Scott Thompson
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:13 PM on December 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Come now.

I see what you did there.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:25 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, Oglaf is either eerily prescient or drew this week's strip about this exact issue.(NSFW, so very NSFW)
posted by emjaybee at 1:12 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's technically last week's strip—this week's is running late—but the strip in question is certainly a response to this issue. The Oglaf Twitter account had multiple tweets on the subject in the days preceding it.
posted by Shmuel510 at 1:45 PM on December 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had no idea there was an Oglaf twitter...! also I thought she drew her stuff waaay in advance. Cool.
posted by emjaybee at 2:53 PM on December 14, 2014


♫ That law there breaks / some new and glorious porn ♫
posted by Jpfed at 8:23 PM on December 16, 2014


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