A Master Debate

Okay, it isn’t really a debate, but I just wanted to use the term “master debate” in honor of sex-positive former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, who is slated to be interviewed by sex educator Tristan Taormino on the radio show “Sex Out Loud” this Friday (1 November). Dr. Elders was influential in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS in the 1990’s but was criticized by social conservatives for recommending masturbation as an alternative to risky sexual activities.

For more information about the interview, check out Lila Gray’s article at Xbiz.com.

Free-Speech Opponents Make New Specious Claims

Free-speech opponents are now using a questionably designed study to support their claims of the supposed dangers of allowing sexually oriented expression. NBC News reports that a recent laboratory experiment, performed without “any kind of pre-test or assessment of the participant attitudes,” found that female video-game players who used sexy game avatars felt insecure about their own body-image during a debriefing right after the game. The study also claimed that women who interact with sexy avatars accept “rape myths.” The main point of the article was the unchallenged, but inaccurate, claim of a supposed “double standard” in which only female video-game characters are hypersexualized and have unrealistic body proportions, even though most male characters’ bodies are just as exaggerated as female ones.

Anti-sex activists have had little success with criminalizing erotic expression in the US, with most such laws (such as the seminal Communications Decency Act) being struck down on First Amendment grounds. Because of this, many sexual-speech opponents instead have been calling on the video game industry to self-censor or face boycotts. However, thanks to ambiguities in US Supreme Court decisions regarding civil liability for sexually explicit speech, a few neo-puritan activists have implicitly threatened civil legal actions against game designers over the claimed “secondary effects” of exposure to sexualized material, whether that material is violent or not.

Self-described feminist gamer Kristin Bezio addresses the lack of evidence for the harmful effects claimed by one prominent opponent of sexually oriented video-game content, Anita Sarkeesian, concluding that:

Videogames don’t cause misogyny. They don’t cause violence. They don’t cause any of society’s ills. Like any other form of popular culture, they reflect those ills and seek to make changes to those things they can.

Obviously, civil and criminal issues regarding sexually explicit video games could set legal precedents that would profoundly affect the entire adult content industry, including non-commercial websites such as this one and our related forums. For this reason, adult webmasters and adult-site users must remain vigilant and not allow today’s neo-puritans to divide adult-content consumers for easier conquest.

(Edited to add Wired.com link)

Online Vendors Mass-Deleting Adult E-books

According to Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader, an article in “The Kernel” last week breathlessly reported that several online vendors, such as Amazon, were selling explicit, but legal, self-published erotic e-books. Surprisingly for this day and age, the reaction from online booksellers was both swift and severe. Multiple vendors in the US and UK began pulling titles based on erotic keywords, with some even going as far as deleting all self-published e-books; one vendor even closed its entire website!

This reminds me of the great Yahoo! adult-groups purge around 2005, which cost me my 4,000-member female-wrestling group and my Yahoo! e-mail account to boot. Around the same time, PayPal stopped accepting adult transactions and reportedly confiscated money from some customers’ accounts for supposed violations.

In the case of the electronic booksellers, many authors who depend on e-book sales for income will have to make alternative arrangements, perhaps with less-savory companies based overseas. It is unfortunate that some companies’ view of corporate “morality” does not include upholding the principle of free speech and the right to share controversial ideas.

Mainstream Company Tries Ads on Adult Sites

In her column “Funny Business,” CNBC’s Jane Wells reports that in an apparently unusual move, a mainstream company has expanded its advertising presence to include adult websites. The somewhat provocatively named food vendor, Eat24.com, details its marketing strategy in a hilarious blog article, which I highly recommend reading.

Along with humor, the blog post has some interesting information about the ecology of the adult Internet. Key stats: adult sites account for 30% of all web traffic. Most visitors are men between ages 18 and 24, and most visit between 7 pm and 3 am. The demographic at Ocmb and my forum is a little older, with most of our visitors being between 25 and 50, although most TT visitors are between 18 and 24.

Here’s hoping that more mainstream companies will advertise to the 40 million Americans who regularly visit erotic websites 🙂

Erotic Art, Misogyny, and Hypocrisy

Recently, singer Sinead O’Connor sent an open letter to Miley Cyrus in which O’Connor complained that she felt Cyrus’ act, which includes sticking out her tongue and humorously wiggling her butt (“twerking”), is too provocative. In an excellent article, columnist Danielle Paradis explains why O’Connor’s unsolicited advice was so condescending. Paradis also points out that male entertainers are not subjected to the same types of criticism for erotically charged performances.

Although the commentary in this article deals with musicians, I feel that the same principles apply to models and adult video performers, which is why I have linked it here.

Excerpt:

“Cyrus doesn’t need O’Connor to drape her coat over her and hide her away. She’s a little messy, and very provocative — but if O’Connor really wants to respect her, she’ll realize that Cyrus isn’t a victim, she’s a volunteer.”

Policymic.com