Moving forward to freedom in the bedroom

Several years back, I wrote about the UK’s plan to block all pornography by default and, before that, mentioned their past treatment of BDSM activities. I can now say something positive about the UK as they have recently declared that several sexual acts, particularly BDSM related, are no longer classed as obscenity. This is a great step forward which resolves some oddities in UK law where certain sexual acts were fully legal to perform but illegal to show in pornography. It’s especially good as we should not be classing activities as illegal if they have no victim. It’s absurd to suggest that a legal activity becomes illegal once on film. Continue reading


The UK porn block and the concept of obscenity

I made a passing reference the to the UK’s new plan to block all porn but I decided that it, and obscenity in general, required a more thorough examination. In short, David Cameron feels that UK internet service providers need to block all porn by default to protect children. In short, again, that idea is stupid. It’s stupid partially because it will not work and partially because the mindset behind it is one that should not be accepted. Continue reading

EU to vote on banning pornography

In what I consider a wildly misguided attempt to improve gender equality, the EU is preparing to vote on banning all forms of pornography. Rick Falkvinge has described the vote as a deceptively named (Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU) bill that was “really about tearing down the most fundamental of our rights and liberties.”

While gender equality is a noble cause this is not an ideal way to go about achieving it and would have terrible consequences for our freedom of expression. Whether one believes pornography has intrinsic value or not, should be protected for those that wish to partake in it. I’m not saying that it’s never sexist or stereotyping but rather that it is not that by definition nor does all pornography involve gender stereotyping. As an article from today in the Telegraph points out some of the problems with the thoughts underpinning this vote but a number of them should be obvious. Continue reading

Problems with circumcision and HIV/AIDS

When I blogged about the German court ruling on circumcision I said that there was evidence that circumcision reduced the risk of HIV/AIDS infection. I may have been a bit premature.

I haven’t read the papers but had my own problem with the idea. If you tell someone it will reduce their risk then they’re more likely to take the risk. After my post I heard from a colleague of mine who has read the paper that at least one of the trials was flawed because those undergoing circumcision where educated on safe sex practices while the others were not. This means they weren’t equal from the start.

Both those issues and more are brought up in this blog post from an Oxford ethicist. In short the studies are described as:

Poorly conducted experiments with dubious results presented in an outrageously misleading fashion.

Rhinos need evidence-based thinking

Late last year the Western black rhinoceros was declared extinct in West Africa. This year South Africa, home to up to 80% of the world’s rhino population, has had to deal with incredibly high levels of poaching. They are being killed for their horn, even by the very people that are meant to protect them, which sells for an astronomical amount. If the trade on rhino horn was lifted South Africa would be sitting on a stockpile worth R10 billion! Continue reading

International Fetish Day essay

BDSM SymbolThis year, the 20th of January was the fourth International Fetish Day, building off the 2008 National Fetish Day in the UK. The purpose is both to raise awareness and support for the BDSM community and create opposition to laws concerning extreme pornography. I’m mostly going to focus on the laws as it shows what I’d consider governments going to far, i.e. attempting to regulate people’s private lives. Continue reading

Islam detests sex and women’s bodies

It’s not really a secret that religions often have warped views of sex, generally that it is a terrible, disgusting act that people should do purely for procreative reasons. This obsession with sex appears to have reached the climax of irrationality in the Islamic world (pun intended). In the past week not only have we been warned that “letting women drive would increase prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce” but that women need to be prevented from contact with certain vegetables, namely bananas, carrots, cucumbers and zucchinis, because they “resemble the male penis.”

On a related note you can fight back against these sort of warped attitudes by submitting a photo for a nude calender in support of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy. Aliaa and her boyfriend are both facing legal action from the Coalition of Islamic Law Graduates for “violating morals, inciting indecency and insulting Islam” after she posted a nude photograph of herself on her blog to show her “screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.”