The government is freaking out about anal sex

Politicians think it’s all about porn

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is currently consulting on proposals to make age verification mandatory for online pornography.

In the process, one presumes a lot of baffled old civil servants have had to watch a whole lot of hardcore videos. And as a consequence of doing some research on the porn young people have been watching, the stuffed shirts at the DCMS have made a shocking discovery: anal sex. Yes, you heard me.

The consultation document the DCMS has produced, called “Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography”, lists a number of alleged harms that have been linked to over-exposure to pornography. The most surprising concerns anal sex.

The DCMS states: “Many people worry that young people will come to expect their real life sexual experiences to mirror what they or their peers see in pornography, which often features ambiguous depictions of consent, submissive female stereotypes and unrealistic scenarios.

It continues: “There is also a question about the effect of pornography on ‘unwanted sex’ – for instance more young people are engaging in anal intercourse than ever before despite research which suggests that it is often not seen as a pleasurable activity for young women.

“While the increase in anal sex cannot be attributed directly to pornography consumption, it does feature in a large percentage of mainstream pornography (for example, one content analysis found it featured in 56 per cent of sex scenes).”

Many, though, are challenging whether acting on anal sex is within the DCMS’ remit, suggesting the regulation is a form of censorship.

The move comes nearly 50 years after the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, and 16 years after consent laws were equalised for gay sex. The idea that the government might attempt a crackdown on anal sex has caused consternation amongst the gay community.

Jerry Barnett from Sex & Censorship says: “The consultation is basically an attempt to grant Ofcom stronger censorship powers to block overseas adult content.

“The weakness of the evidence provided suggests that the government has given up even trying to make a credible argument for censorship, instead hoping that nobody pays attention as more and more power is granted to an unelected regulator.

“And the suggestion that it is somehow government’s role to prevent anal sex happening is surreal in the extreme. We call on DCMS to halt the consultation pending a review of the evidence; but we fear that a new and dangerous law to further censor Internet content will appear in the coming Queen’s Speech.”