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Pressure group

In which the government panders to the moral minority

“Violent” pornography is back in the news again, as it has been on and off for the past year. Now, the government has announced that it is going to ban the stuff, however impossible it is to define, thanks to a single-issue campaign group who are already crowing about their success. If it’s that easy to get the government to do what you want, I think I should start up my own single-issue campaign group. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to campaign for, but I know I’ll think of something. On the other hand, the government doesn’t exactly listen to what most people say. They carried out consultation on the “violent” porn law, and found that over 70% of responses were against introducing it; but they’re going ahead with it anyway. It was pushed for by people who believe that porn on the internet can induce people to carry out fantasies they wouldn’t have tried otherwise, even though there’s no evidence at all that that happens. In essence, this is faith-based legislation.

As I said a few days ago, there’s an easy solution to the problem of people with dangerous fantasies. It’s education, helping them find safe releases. If you ban “dangerous” pornography – leading aside the question of whether it is truly dangerous or not – you don’t do anything to dissipate people’s fantasies, the fantasies that make them look for the stuff to start with. The solution is to make it easy for people with unusual fantasies to discover that there’s a huge crowd of Sensible Pervs out there, who will help them learn how to carry their fantasies out safely.

All that, though, is besides the main problem with the bill: that it will be impossible to tell whether or not something is pornographic, or dangerous, just by looking. On the first point: look at people with a “splosh” fetish.* Internet sites for that sort of thing regularly feature clips from children’s telly, or entertainment telly, where people get covered in gunge. Is that pornography, just because some people get off on it? Is it dangerous, given that you could drown in the stuff? You could easily take a photo of a couple in a lovely, romantic-looking pose, one person holding their partner’s head in both hands. There’s a specific pose I have in mind that could look fine on a photo, but would cause the partner to faint if held for more than about 10 seconds, and die if held for longer still.** Would you be able to recognise it on a photo? It doesn’t look dangerous to most people.

Sensible Pervs are still campaigning hard against the violent porn bill. There’s still a good chance it will never appear, given the constraints of the parliamentary timetable. It looks, though, that in a couple of years’ time there might be another ill-thought-out, hard-to-enforce law on the statute books.

* getting turned on by getting covered in messy, gooey stuff.

** no, I’m not telling you what it is.

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The fantasy and the reality

In which we try to be Sensible

I felt slightly ill reading the lead story in yesterday’s Guardian, about an Austrian man who kidnapped a 10-year-old girl and brought her up as his secret prisoner for eight years. It’s a horrible thing to do to someone, even if he did look after her health and education. The man – his name was Wolfgang Priklopil – has since killed himself, so his motives may stay a secret; but, reading between the lines, he was trying to act out some kind of Master/slave fantasy.*

I know plenty of people who do have similar fantasies – both as the kidnapper and the kidnapped – but the difference between them and Priklopil is that they know the difference between fantasy and reality. Moreover, they subscribe to one of the strongest rules that comes with being a Sensible Perv – consensuality. It’s no different to the non-kinky world, essentially: I will only do X to you if you want X done to you. You’re free to have fantasies about kidnapping strangers, but they have to stay fantasies. To a Sensible Perv – and they make up 99.999%**** of the kinky people out there – the thought of carrying one of those fantasies out is anathema.

No doubt if a case like this occurred in the UK, there would be further calls for “violent” pornography to be banned, whether it was linked to the case or not.*** There is, after all, an awful lot of pornography and erotica on the internet that relates to this sort of fantasy, largely because it has to remain fiction. Hell, there’s probably quite a lot of it in the catalogue of Black Lace and similar imprints. Banning all that isn’t the answer. The answer is education. If the Sensible Pervs are out in the open, and easy to find, the dangerous ones are more likely to realise they’re not the only kinky people out there. All us Sensible Pervs can make sure that people like Priklopil realise that their fantasies aren’t unique, that it’s possible to fulfil them in almost-legal ways,***** and effectively train them to be a Sensible Perv too. It can be done, and it’s the only way to stop cases like this happening in the future.

* A particular BDSM** subgroup, where one person agrees to be the property of another, with no right of veto. Well, more or less. Any one-liner definition like that is bound to upset someone.

** NSFW links.

*** After all, the internet was still fairly rare 8 years ago.

**** OK, I made this number up. But it’s probably roughly correct, apart from the exact number of 9s after the decimal point.

***** I say “almost-legal” because an awful lot of what anybody, perv or not, does in bed, is technically illegal. Anything – a love-bite, for example – that leaves a mark that is more than “transient and trifling”, is Grievous Bodily Harm. What “transient and trifling” means, of course, is entirely up to the judge. For more information, ask the Spanner Trust.

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