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AFT Meets: The Woman Putting Her Arse On The Line For Porn

There’s a saying: put your money where your mouth is. Well, at the moment I’m literally putting my arse on the line to fight regressive new porn laws.

Last month new legislation was introduced controlling online Video-on-Demand porn produced in the UK, and it criminalises a whole swathe of niche kinky content such as facesitting, squirting, fisting, trampling, watersports, full bondage with gags, and spanking that leaves marks.

This is bad news for me, because my passion for BDSM isn’t just in the bedroom – I also run a feminist spanking porn site called Dreams of Spanking. Since 1 December 2014, when the AudioVisual Media Services regulations 2014 came into effect, the work I do could land me in court.

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I’ve never been a fan of punishment I haven’t consented to, so I decided to fight back. I teamed up with my friend and fellow UK porn producer Nimue Allen, and together we pledged to take one hard cane stroke for every £10 raised. All proceeds will go to Backlash UK, the campaign group that is challenging these regressive new laws, and the caning will be filmed and released for free online.

Donors can also claim perks ranging from a spanking date with me or Nimue to a customised erotic story, or a subscription to one of our membership sites.

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Little did I know when I launched our kinky indiegogo campaign ten days ago that it would take off in a big way. My initial funding target was £500, which would have meant 25 strokes for me and Nimue each. Painful, but not impossible. But it turned out that the Brits have strong opinions about their right to watch kinky porn without government censorship, and we blasted through our initial target in the first 24 hours. Within two days, we’d raised £1000 – double our funding target.

We quickly realised that we were going to have to start recruiting more bottoms to share the pain, and as the donations keep coming in, our group of volunteers keeps growing – all UK porn performers willing to take a caning to protest for our right to freedom of expression.

We’ve raised over £2000 – even now I’m recruiting more volunteers to fulfil our campaign pledge of one hard cane stroke on the bare bottom for every £10 donated, and there are still two more days to go. At this rate we are going to be a very sore bunch – but none of us want to take this censorship lying down. We’d much rather bend over, if it will help fight these new laws.

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For years, the internet has offered free reign for people to make their own porn and distribute it online – by contrast with selling DVDs, which is tightly controlled in the UK by the British Board of Film Classification. It’s illegal to sell any DVD that hasn’t been classified and given a BBFC rating – the highest of which is R18. But even R18 is a very limited category, and there’s an awful lot of things you aren’t allowed to show.

Most of the banned acts are based on the Obscene Publications Act, which dates back to 1959, when it was still illegal to have homosexual sex. Hardly a suitable set of guidelines for the internet age! The banned list include things like fisting (penetration with the whole hand including four fingers and thumb) and watersports (peeing on a partner, peeing during sex or consuming pee). The ban against pee also includes female ejaculation, because apparently the BBFC can’t tell the difference, and they think that neither can we.

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It has never been legal to sell a DVD in the UK showing these acts – you couldn’t find them in sex shops, and although it was legal for consenting adults to do them at home, it was illegal for anyone to film it and distribute the film. So as technology made it possible, kinksters who wanted to make their own niche porn turned to the internet.

What happened on 1 December last year is that the existing regulations controlling DVDs were applied to porn distributed online – and so all the happy perverts who have been making and sharing consensual fetish porn for years with likeminded enthusiasts now have to stop. Including me.

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Niche fetish porn might not seem like the most important of issues, but when it comes down to it, this is a heavy-handed act of state censorship. The BBFC guidelines desperately need updating – instead they’ve been slapped on to a whole new medium. And the laws only apply to porn produced in the UK – so it doesn’t affect consumers, who can still view foreign sites. Which makes a mockery of the law’s stated intention to protect people from viewing “harmful material”, really. The only effect is to cripple UK independent businesses, mostly small one-person companies like mine and Nimue’s. It will create a trade barrier and disadvantage UK businesses compared to our overseas competitors.

The restricted list also includes things like breath play (that is, restricting someone’s breathing, whether with a hand around their throat or by sitting on their face – although apparently choking them with a cock is fine), full bondage (both hands and feet plus a gag), and spanking or BDSM play that’s hard enough to leave marks. So that’s pretty much all the fun stuff I like, then.

The regulations disproportionately target acts associated with marginalised communities. Fisting is non-phallic and closely associated with queer sex and the LGBT community. Squirting is an unfakeable act of female orgasm, a woman enjoying the pleasure her body can give without shame. Face-sitting is an act of female dominance, which is obviously far too threatening for the censors – when you read the “clarification” which says it’s fine to restrict someone’s breathing with a cock, but not by sitting on their face, you can’t help feeling that these laws are sexist, and specifically discriminate against female sexual pleasure and dominance.

I’m a feminist, and I aim to make feminist porn – although of course everyone’s definition of that is different. For me it means expressing female fantasies and desire, casting a diverse range of hot performers of all different genders, skin tones and body types (and paying them all equally), treating my performers well – respecting their choices and boundaries, letting them choose their own co-stars and scenarios – and being transparent about the ethics of production, including publishing performer interviews and lots of behind the scenes footage. I believe that performer consent is crucial in ethical porn – and that it’s okay to stage a fictional fantasy that involves coercion, as long as you also show that everyone had fun making it.

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My films are an authentic depiction of my own fantasy landscape – I make the porn I want to see. They show the sort of thing I do for fun with my lovers. I’m now being told that those things are obscene, and it’s illegal for me to share images of them with other people. How is that meant to make me feel about my sexuality?

I’ve fantasised about spanking since I was a little girl. I don’t know why. It’s always been with me. I’ve learned to accept is as part of who I am – and I’ve discovered that when you accept your kinky side, you can have an awful lot of fun with it.

I wouldn’t have been able to come to that place of acceptance if I’d lived before the internet. When I was small, I felt ashamed of my naughty daydreams. I knew I could never tell anyone my secret, and I thought I was the only person on the planet who wanted to be spanked.

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Then in the 90s, I got online and I discovered I wasn’t alone. My explorations of kinky porn gave me the courage to start exploring my own desires – and I’ve been able to live a fulfilled and happy life as a result. For me, BDSM is sexy, cathartic, healing and intimate. I use it for stress release, to reconnect me with my inner strength, to exchange trust and vulnerability with a partner, and to turn me on and give me mind-blowing orgasms. I’m so lucky to have been able to act on my fantasies, rather than keeping them secret my whole life.

It breaks my heart that the UK government want to stop future generations from having access to this sort of material. They want all the porn we watch to fit into a tiny, heteronormative box of boring sex, in which men are allowed to be more dominant than women, the consent of the participants is irrelevant, and no-one does anything that the censors think are squicky. And that sounds like a terribly depressing world to live in.

Words by Pandora Blake

If you’d like to learn more, visit the campaign page here,  or hear more from Pandora here. read about Backlash, an umbrella organisation providing academic, legal and campaigning resources defending freedom of sexual expression, here

If you’re more interested in spanking porn than campaigning, you can check out Pandora’s site here, or Nimue Allen’s here

AFT is a sex magazine for the passionate, intellectual modern woman. Female sexuality deserves its own voice; we believe that good sex isn't a privilege, it's a right. Follow us on Twitter @AFT_mag and join the conversation #WeComeFirst

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