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When are We Allowed to Watch Porn Together?

John, an account from 2003:  “Myself and three friends were gawking at a screen, layered with the image-search results of “boobs”, “penis”, “pussy”, “sex”, and “hardcore XXX porn”.  Our friend’s younger brother stood at the door as a lookout. His head bounced between the stairs a few meters away and the screen of my friend’s family computer. We consumed so much porn in 15 minutes. We also managed to integrate enough porn plug-ins, viruses, and videos into the operating system to render it unusable without seeing layers of genitalia on startup.”

My rare memories of viewing porn with someone always ended tragically. Pornographic media is abundant yet our experiences of it in public are dealt with motherly scoldings and reinforced taboos. Porn remains a private form of media. No, porn remains an activity that no one ever does, most of the time. Without a doubt, it will remain that way for some time, with or without regulation bodies prohibiting videos that show people having sex online (Lawstuff NSW, 2015). Yes,  you read that right, online porn is not allowed. You should be ashamed, you dirty dirty Australian convicts, for not supporting the print industry.

I was never informed I was breaking the law, but when are you ever informed about how to consume porn? In response to this common lapse in knowledge, a site by Reality & Risk called “It’s Time We Talked“, attempts to provide that missing information about pornography habits and what it might teach the youth.

“Pornography is now the most prominent sexuality educator for many young people. Most young people discover porn well before they encounter sex – perhaps even before they have kissed or held a partner.”Reality & Risk

‘It’s Time We Talked’ is important for Students and Young Adults to help navigate the likelihood of encountering porn. But, this website is constructed as another regulating body. It’s portrayal of porn is predominantly negative. Nothing on the site informs you of a positive aspect of Porn. It addresses that porn is the first place youth go to learn about sexual education, but it doesn’t provide anything useful to consume in its place. Why not point to good porn?

Toby, an account from 2010: “Myself, my ex-partner and my two younger brothers were binge watching funny videos (cat videos, fail compilations, etc.) together. In a moment, a mis-click disturbed the rules and customs of our collective viewing. The screen flashed a video-loop of three-elderly-naked-men-fucking in a bathroom (better known as a “lemon party”). Even worse: the web page had been coded to prevent itself from being closed, and my mother stumbled into the morale breakdown.”

What is good porn? The classification act has a vague description of what is acceptable porn. If it doesn’t meet the definitions it’s importation can be prohibited. The regulations are subject to opinion due to their vague descriptors of what’s legal and not. You have to declare pornography at Customs as Fiona Patten, president of the Sex Party, discovered upon entry from America.

“All travellers must declare potentially-RC items when arriving in Australia. However, because neither the Classification Board nor Customs publish their guidelines, no-one knows what might be potentially-RC – until they are told that they have broken the rules.”The Drum, 2011

The Classification Board was heavily criticised when rumours about a ban on small-breasted women in porn circulated. Even if they led to nothing, the concerns are justified because the board’s decision are not transparent and are difficult to challenge. My main concern about the regulation of porn is it’s direct relationship to space. Pornography audiences are private and yet they are heavily regulated and out dated. If they were trying to deal with the issues of porn presented in ‘It’s Time We Talked’, such as a prominence of abuse and a misinterpretation of sex, then they are failing to do so while conveying a negative judgement of consuming pornography.

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