I've been writing as a sex and body positive educator on Polkadotsi for five years now. It's been an interesting experience finding space to share ideas, content, and spread the idea that bodies are neutral, sex is positive, and talk about all of the things that we should have been taught as children.
It seems however, that there's a section of humanity that is hell bent on not only repressing the predatory side of human sexuality, but all of it.
That movement is seems to be gaining steam and it's quite terrifying.
I was reading Hey Epiphora's great piece When Will We Stop Fearing Sex, and I got to thinking. We need to do something, and our industry is smart, empowered, and incredible enough to do so.
Tumblr and the big bad sex ban
The recent Tumblr decision to remove all adult content from their site (despite having safe search filters available, despite having really good reporting and response mechanisms in place, and despite their community reacting vocally and negatively to the decision) is the latest in a slate of oppressing, silencing, and shutting down sex related content on social media sites.
Tumblr's decision seems to be a commercial decision after the app stores pulled their app for implications in child pornography.
But the consequences of silencing and removing adult content are a public health issue. How can we possibly have great conversations about human sexuality, if the places we explore our desires, our proclivities, and what makes us tick are consistently being removed?
How can we have positive conversations about our bodies and their quirks when we are told that anything related to sex is a negative, or shameful thing.
Tumblr's position on adult content came with the statement “We’ve given serious thought to who we want to be to our community moving forward"
Who is that exactly?
While I understand that there are most definitely individuals who live asexual and non-sexual lifestyles - and that is obviously totally okay; the vast majority of human adults are sexual creatures.
Facebook and Sexual Solicitation, including, wait for it "Sexual Preference"
Arguably there ARE spaces on the internet where sexual content is acceptable and common; however the creeping scope of silencing normal human sexual behaviour on social media sites is distressing.
The broad and vague nature of Facebook's new community standards give space for basically anything to be deemed sexual and therefore unacceptable by their rules, but where does this leave activists in the LGBTQIA community?
How do we have conversations with the broader, general public about their sexual health and the issues around human sexuality.
Sex isn't just pornography and titillation, it's a huge part of public health and as such the suppression of information, and the censoring of issues pertaining to vulnerable communities is utterly unacceptable.
And is this a war on sex? Or is it a war on the LGBTIQIA community and women??
Financial service providers like Square and PayPal are denying and shutting down accounts of female and queer entrepreneurs working in the sex industry including sex workers, film makers, erotic writers, and performers, citing excuses from credit card companies and banks not approving on NSFW content, to violations of terms of service.
But the buck doesn't seem to stop with anyone, and business owners don't seem to have a place to repeal the shutdowns, bans, and seizing of funds.
What is behind the push to suppress sexual conversation?
I question if this is due to political or religious pressure.
In my opinion conservative voices are losing their space in the political sphere, as the world is slowly electing more liberal and left leaning political leaders, so when lobbyists cannot lobby politicians, they need to hit businesses where it hurts them; their bottom lines.
Pressure to comply or face financial loss is a big deal. And while it's disappointing, frustrating, and frankly, terrifying it's almost expected.
So here's my hopeful conclusion
Which obviously comes with both positives and negatives - as the industry grows, great conversations grow with it, and while I've been working at Polkadotsi, I've had the wonderful pleasure of reading and speaking with some of those incredible people having those conversations.
If we keep pushing foward and making sex work, sex creativity, and human sexuality a mainstream thing - I firmly believe it diminishes the spaces where crime and exploitation can occur. Knowledge is power, and knowledgeable consumers are empowered to make better choices.
It's up to those of us working in this industry to create those spaces, have those conversations, and shine light on the wonderful things our colleagues are doing.
We can and do change the social standards around sex and sexuality, and we NEED to keep pushing forward.
How can you help?
- Share the work of the amazing people in our industry.
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- Pay for your darned porn!