Sexual Humans, Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Cyber-chains
September 2, 2022 3:43 PM   Subscribe

A Manifesto For Sex Positive Social Media
  • Destigmatise sex!
  • Value the labour of sexual content creators!
  • Build safer spaces!
  • Cultivate consent!
  • Be accountable!
  • Dismantle structural oppressions!

  • About the manifesto:
    Social media is taking on an increasingly central role in shaping and constraining cultural life, popular discourse, and human sociality. Sex is an important part of this. Yet, social media policies are not very sex-positive. Through their community standards documents and content moderation practices, platforms currently make private, arbitrary and unaccountable decisions about the kinds of sex and sexualities that are visible in online space.

    We want that to change. Social media rules around what can and can’t be posted shape broader attitudes towards sex and nudity, which in turn directly impact on all of our safety and wellbeing. We believe that we’re healthiest and happiest when sex is not a source of shame but accepted as part of human experience.
    posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey (16 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

    In this Manifesto, we use the term ‘sex positive’, because we see value in bringing sex positive thinking to regulatory approaches and platform governance. In doing so, we do not suggest that all sex is positive. Nor are we suggesting that sex be compulsory or universally enjoyed. Rather, we use this term to reject the sexual stigmas underlying many platforms’ and governments’ approaches to sex; to affirm a diversity of desires, practices, activities and identities; to value pleasure-focused, non-judgmental, culturally relevant sex education, consent training and relationship skills; to support people to communicate their needs and boundaries and respect others; and to actively build sexual cultures that are accessible, equitable, decolonised, and accountable.

    posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 5:20 PM on September 2, 2022 [8 favorites]

    Where's the beef?
    posted by Oyéah at 6:33 PM on September 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

    to affirm a diversity of desires, practices, activities and identities; to value pleasure-focused, non-judgmental, culturally relevant sex education, consent training and relationship skills;

    Though I don’t participate on any social media, given all the social media discussion here on MF, I would assume that those goals and social media are mutually exclusive.
    posted by njohnson23 at 7:32 PM on September 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

    Though I don’t participate on any social media

    That's a funny thing to say, here on this media platform, where we are socializing and discussing things.
    posted by SaltySalticid at 8:39 AM on September 3, 2022 [11 favorites]

    SaltySalticid - the distinction I make is that social media is primarily a platform to gather monetizable data on users and to present advertisements, and not communication.
    posted by njohnson23 at 10:40 AM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

    While that's a feature of the most popular social media platforms, that's not how most people define social media, I don't think. Platforms with a different revenue stream (e.g. Dreamwidth, Mltshp) are still social media, just a more ethical version of it.
    posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:23 AM on September 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

    Will there be a porn category for FanFare?
    posted by Ideefixe at 12:38 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

    social media is primarily a platform to gather monetizable data on users and to present advertisements, and not communication.

    I believe that the vast majority of people who interact with social media use it for communication.
    posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 12:44 PM on September 3, 2022

    I know subdee talks about this a lot here in the comments but as someone who grew up in the usenet-to-mailing lists-to-Livejournal-to-Tumblr-etc. woman-dominated fanfic-writing fandom pipeline, the sex negativity, kink-shaming and bulling from kids, many of whom are queer, many of whom are allegedly left-wing and likely have "ACAB" and "no TERFs, no SWERFs" in their Twitter bios*, is really disturbing. I've seen lots of theories on why this is: they were raised as fundamentalists and they haven't unpacked their baggage; they were raised as regular degular C&E Christians but our culture is still steeped in sex negativity and they still haven't unpacked their baggage; there's more people on the internet and therefore in fandom than ever before plus fandom is more mainstream now, so that means the normies are here and they're bullying us in what used to be our escape hatch; it's just rebellion, and the pendulum will swing the other way soon; they're growing up under all the #MeToo revelations and that's scary, it seems like sexual predators are everywhere and no one can be trusted; it's that plus all the other scary stuff in the world and this is a way to create some sense of control over their spaces...

    Anyway, whatever the reason is, it is really weird to go from the 2000s where people were writing about Harry Potter fucking frogs or whatever, to this super anti-any-taboo-kink environment where teens and twenty-somethings are telling each other to kill themselves over fanart and fanfic, where they learned that "sexualizing" is bad but not the power relations context in which it's bad... it's like the 1980s feminist porn wars, only a thousand times dumber and without any actual noble intended goal, just clout-chasing and rage highs and knee-jerk disgust.

    And obviously the shrinking of the internet down to a few platforms that want to be allowed in the Apple app store doesn't help with that.

    So, anyway, I'm glad for this manifesto.

    *I mean, I haven't done a study, maybe I am Making Up A Guy
    posted by pelvicsorcery at 1:21 PM on September 3, 2022 [12 favorites]

    I was summoned!!!
    I was summoned ..

    From what I've heard this shift has happened mostly because of how the social media platforms dont really let you control your own space so the only way to deal with people being horny on main in a way that disturbs you is to harass them out of the space instead of like... Creating locked groups, deleting rude comments, establishing community rules for what is and isn't allowed. It's why fans have moved to discord en masse.

    And maybe a bit of purposeful radicalization too, of the type that sees people's organic grievances with the lack of controls on social media and inability to set boundaries and arts out to radicalize and recruit those (mostly) teenagers by trapping them in negative echo chambers.

    Anyway better platforms with better user-driven moderation and control are at least as much the answer as sex positivity I think. Though that's good too!!
    posted by subdee at 5:04 PM on September 3, 2022 [7 favorites]

    Non-channelized social media can’t easily be sex-positive in this way unless it is subscription-based. Advertisers won’t accommodate it.

    Channeled social media like Reddit can be whatever you want in a NSFW-tagged non-monetized channel, whose readers pay for themselves by browsing more anodyne channels as well.
    posted by MattD at 5:36 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

    OK but what does that mean for this community? Am I going to say stuff like oh sockpuppet, you have a sensuality about your font I find enhornying. You aren't just some bored parrot at home using the text to speech function while your human is away, are you? Whaddya mean Rawk! You're breaking my heart here.
    posted by Oyéah at 8:53 PM on September 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

    It's the things like insisting 'we must have full transparency and accountability' while also declaring 'we must protect anonymity and acknowledge the presentation of multiple identities' that makes me start humming the melody to On The Big Rock Candy Mountain.
    posted by bartleby at 12:51 AM on September 4, 2022 [5 favorites]

    Well, it's the obsessive catering to (imagined!) advertisers that's causing so much of the problems, right? Take Tumblr's extremely unpopular porn ban (implemented because Apple demanded it and threatened to remove the app from its app store), or the general cycle by which platforms grow in part because of sex workers and sexual content creators, then panic and reflexively kick them off when the platform has reached a more sustainable size.

    PayPal and Apple honestly drive a massive amount of this kind of purging, and not directly because specific advertisers have complained either. They're more concerned with the imagined possibility of complaint.

    And I do agree with subdee: the thing that actually allows us to curate our content is having control over the community spaces in which we participate and observe. But those kinds of reefs of activity, with control over socialization and no helpful algorithms to shovel content into the users' faces, are less profitable under existing models of social platform monetization.

    There are for profit social networks that cheerfully flip off external demands to police legal sexual content; Dreamwidth famously has held this policy for many years, for example. But they're small and often a lot like this place, with long term legacy populations who are comfortable using sites to communicate without the aid of an app. Apps hold modern social networks hostage to Apple, and Apple's curation of its own image locks any social media app that refuses to devote a sizeable effort to removing sexual content out of its large walled garden.
    posted by sciatrix at 9:46 AM on September 4, 2022 [6 favorites]

    It was the dependence on advertisers, but now legislation such as FOSTA/SESTA and its analogues have carried this over to sites who don't depend on advertisers or payment processors.
    posted by acb at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

    Or, will it be more like gossip? And I told them, "Girl, you get a package, and sometimes it's wrapped."
    posted by Oyéah at 4:52 PM on September 5, 2022

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