Government Launches Attempt to End Anal Sex
Jerry Barnett, Sex & Censorship
A government consultation, which closes on April 12th, provides cover for a new attack on sexual freedom, and a power grab for the control of online content by Ofcom. The consultation – “Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography” – was issued by the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). It is purportedly an attempt to prevent children from seeing sexual imagery online, though (as our response explains) is flawed in multiple ways.
The most worrying part of the consultation is the weakness of its attempt to prove pornography is harmful. Few informed people, reading the summary of evidence provided, could be convinced. The evidence is weak for a good reason: there is no strong evidence that porn causes harm. indeed, DCMS’ own research, conducted by Ofcom in 2011, is clear that if anything, porn availability reduces rather than increases sexual violence (DCMS’ own research is missing from DCMS’ consultation – a telling fact).
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’:
“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 which suggests that it is often not seen as a pleasurable activity for young women”
The reasoning is poor, and begs the question: does DCMS consider it within its remit to stop young people having anal sex? This is a strange goal, given that sodomy laws were scrapped half a century ago. The term ‘unwanted sex’ is also odd, implying a grey area between consensual and non-consensual sexual activity.
Jerry Barnett from Sex & Censorship:
“The consultation is basically an attempt 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. And the suggestion that it is somehow government’s role to prevent anal sex happening is surreal in the extreme. We call on DCMS 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.”