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Online Pornography In The U.K. Can No Longer Include These Acts

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U.K. online porn will soon become a lot more vanilla after the country’s film board passes new regulations on what it can and cannot contain.

In its 2014 guidelines, the British Board of Film Classification now bans a long list of acts from appearing in pornography produced in the country.

The list of acts deemed inappropriate for the ‘R18’ classification include spanking, caning, urination, whipping that is more than gentle, strangulation, facesitting, and even female ejaculation, according to Vice U.K.

Content that is banned includes any sex acts that involve "real or apparent lack of consent", or those that cause "lasting" physical harm, even if it isn't real. The film board also prohibits anything "likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults."

While porn bought on DVD already had to comply with these guidelines, new broadcasting regulations mean they now apply to online content too.

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told the Independent the R18 guidelines are a “tried and tested system” for protecting minors.

While the rules can’t stop Brits from watching the acts in foreign porn, many in the erotic film industry are still upset.

“The new legislation is absurd and surreal,” dominatrix Itziar Bilbao Urrutia told Vice. “I mean, why ban facesitting? What’s so dangerous about it?”

Urrutia, who produces what she calls “femdom” porn, is particularly concerned that small fetish porn sites are being targeted.

“While mainstream porn will be peddled without fear by the large studios… more niche, less clichéd sexual interests will disappear.”

Another critic thinks the R18 rules are a sign of broader censorship. Jerry Barnett, founder of the organization Sex and Censorship, calls the rules “weird and arbitrary”.

“They’re simply a set of moral judgements [sic] designed by people who have struggled endlessly to stop the British people from watching pornography."

Popular site Pornhub rounded up its top U.K. searches and found that interest in many of the banned sex acts is actually higher in the country than the rest of the world. Caning, for example, is 200 per cent more popular as a search term in the U.K. Spanking and whipping are searched 43 and 35 per cent more, respectively, in the country.

One sex worker who told the U.K. Mirror she specializes in BDSM said she thinks the ban on female ejaculation is "sexist." She also takes issue with the ban on penetration with a "dangerous item" on film, which will regulate the size of the sex toys she can use.

"Which minister is in charge of that, are they going to come round and measure my sex toys and tell me which ones [Prime Minister David] Cameron approves of? I would love to be a fly on the wall at that cabinet meeting," she said.

Erotic filmmaker Erika Lust writes in the Independent that she doesn’t think the rules will stop young people from watching porn, but that it will limit what teens perceive as “normal” instead of educating them.

She’s also worried about the ban on female ejaculation, which she sees as censoring female pleasure in an industry that has traditionally been dominated by men.

“The U.K. is in danger of finding itself back in an age where porn is simply the boring, unrealistic male fantasy of bimbos eagerly pleasing men as if it is their duty, where women are submissive and lack ownership of their sexuality.”

News of the new guidelines spawned a satirical Twitter hashtag, #ThingsNowBannedInUkPorn. You can check out some of the tweets in the slideshow below.

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