UK law removes anti-bdsm rules, recognises “full and free consent”

There’s been a major break-through in the UK’s frankly insane and stupid censorship laws. 

Books, films and sites – such as this one – that depict bdsm in a consensual context can now freely discuss bdsm, and depict it in text or images.  

These marks were, technically, unlawful in the UK. Not inflicting or enjoying them, but showing them. Shades of “hide your shame, woman”

One of the oddities of the UK law was its bigotry. Acts like face-sitting or sexual spanking between adults are perfectly legal, but they couldn’t be depicted in erotic media. The purpose of law is supposed to be to protect people from harm. It’s not supposed to protect people who don’t like the idea of some sexual activities from thinking, “yuck”. 

For example, if Theresa May and Jacob Rees-Mog, say, were to film themselves having consensual sex and release the footage to the internet, I’d think that was yucky. I’d find it repellent if I saw it. However, I don’t need the law to fix my problem. That’s easily solved by not seeking out images that I don’t want in my brain. I’d avoid seeing the May-Rees-Mog tapes, which is easy to do. 

So, what are the changes?

Certain types of “violent” porn are now permitted so long as the sex acts are consensual (the wording is ‘full and freely exercised consent’,) do not cause serious harm to participants, are not ‘inextricably linked with other criminality’ and are not likely to be viewed by anyone under the age of 18.

Obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, who has campaigned for these changes for a number of years, said that the change had wider implications for the law. He said: “It is a very impressive that they’ve introduced the idea of full and freely exercised consent in the law. Even for people with no interest in pornography this is very important for consent and bodily autonomy.”

Media superhero Pandora Blake, in her civvies

Activist and queer porn filmmaker Pandora Blake, who also campaigned to have the ban on the depiction of certain sex acts overturned, called the news a ‘welcome improvement’. 

“This is a happy day for queer, feminist and fetish porn.”

It means, incidentally, that one of my own books, that had been legally problematic – because I described a consensual caning that left welts that lasted a few days – can now be published in the UK. So, even though I don’t live in the UK, I am significantly better off as a result of these reforms. I’m not the only one.

Acts that were banned that can now be depicted include:

  • Spanking
  • BDSM
  • Female ejaculation
  • Urinating (also known as watersports)
  • Strangling
  • Face-sitting
  • Fisting
  • Humiliation

Thanks to…

Myles Jackman, legal superhero

Myles Jackman and Pandora Blake both worked hard, sometimes under huge stress, to get this change through. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude, and admiration beyond all measure, for sticking to this cause and ultimately winning it for all of us. 

I dare say non-kinky civil libertarians are pleased too. Because government control of public speech always – always – begins with speech about sex. But, unless the censorious forces are stopped in their tracks, it never ends with sexual content. 

And every country affects every other country, so this has world-wide significance. I’m living in Australia, also Antarctica, and this victory in the UK means that similar, chilling, legislation is less likely here. 

So thank you, with respect and admiration, to Pandora Blake and Myles Jackman!

21 thoughts on “UK law removes anti-bdsm rules, recognises “full and free consent”

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