Beyond R18 verboten

A new online censorship law came into force on 1 Dec 2014.

It applies to an On Demand Programming Service (only) aka the Internet so Atvod kindly organised a briefing by BBFC for every adult ODPS on 14 Nov 2014 to explain how to interpret boundaries either side of R18. They showed examples that fleshed out (literally) the published written guidance or articles.

Murray Perkins essentially led the session.

Were it not for three articulate female BDSM video producers present the points raised would have been very more conventional and male orientated. Backlash is grateful to @NikkiWhiplash for these notes.

1/ R18/R18 equiv must not be accessible to children ie under 18 online. Allegedly the Statutory Instrument merely provides more clarity in law and wording, ‘puts issue beyond doubt’ but actually it slips in a significant ratchet by switching the test from ‘seriously impair’ to CPS opinion. Makes challenges to CPS decisions even more significant.

2/ Anything which would be refused an R18 by BBFC now can’t be provided online AT ALL, even behind a CACS (Content Access Control System, ie age verification makes no difference to it being ok to view or not)

3/ Amended Atvod rules and guidance not coming out til spring 2015 but law comes into effect 1 Dec so that is the deadline for compliance. No transitional arrangements.

BBFC guidelines for ‘sex works’ ie video whose principal purpose is sexual arousal. Different criteria apply to others, eg artistic or educational purpose.

Best soundbite ‘When it comes to porn we treat adults like kids’

Best revelation for a unregistered potential ODPS – Atvod ‘follow the money’

A/ Getting an 18 rating (ie available to more than 18 public in any outlet)

Nude Kissing ok if not on bare genitals. Kissing *around* pubic area but not *on* pubes or genitals.

Strap on ok, sucking strap on fine at 18.

*Could* it be simulated? Not *was* it simulated when shot, just *appearance* can be defended as simulated, ie crop frames showing moment of entry into orifice. If could be plausibly defended as simulated then ok. MASKED penetration oral/genital OK. Masked = Tasteful angles, part of body – thigh, boob – obscuring penetration point of entry.

ATVOD say that stuff which would be classified 18 would not need to be behind age verified access control at all UNLESS they judged certain material likely to ‘seriously impair’ the development of children. Which would be quite unlikely if it was classified 18 by BBFC, but Atvod reserve the right to say it is.

Underwear on – kissing licking touching genital area through knickers is ok. If male, penis flat against body. No see through underwear or clearly pushing the boundaries. Example of not ok was sucking an implied errect penis jutting away from body wrapped in a pair of panties (inconsistent, given simulation criteria above and plausibly could be simulated since no flesh visible. Don’t expect consistency in rulings).

Nudity ok INCLUDING aroused genitals. Genital close up; no extreme close up but thighs to waist ok.

Masturbation – cautious approach: Gentle stroking for long ish periods ok, vigorous for not long. No BBFC don’t provide rubs per minute against time graphs.

No actual penetration of vagina or anus (apart from possibly simulated/tasteful angle, see above)

Showing ejaculate ok but see below

B/ Staying within R18 rating (which if physical delivery eg DVD is only available in sex shop, mail order is illegal, & if beyond R18 then in theory OPA prosecutable)

Peeing, squirting ok if not onto another person or then consumed – unless as with enema, example below.

Squirting during sex or masturbation ok if fairly brief and isolated and not deliberately then consumed or put onto a body. Implied licking up if could be deemed as possibly simulated would be ok (shot soft)

No fisting! NO penetration with all 5 digits beyond last knuckle but all 5 digits of two (or more!) hands would be ok as long as not past last knuckle. OFCOM have sought medical guidance on fisting and don’t believe it to be a dangerous act to perform, but CPS specifically cites fisting as obscene, hence they still can’t pass fisting as ok. BBFC well aware of R v Peacock but obliged to have regard to OPA hence CPS guideline.

BBFC haven’t ever needed to consider amputee insertion. Reserved position.

Enema – ok, if squirting out it doesn’t hit anyone else and if not got faeces in. Not ok to then lick up what is expelled, unless shown to be clearly simulated as part of the scene ie Definitely Seen to be switched for other stuff.

Definitions: “Fairly brief” = less than a minute “isolated” = not more than a couple of occurrences in a scene.

Catheter ok if tube not clear and can’t see liquid moving through, even if catheter connected to mouth.

Any form of consuming ejaculate ok! Criteria is the type of ejaculate

Puking May be ok if not done as part of a sex act and not visibly enjoyed by the participants!!

Public – assure BBFC that shot abroad or shot on private land with no public access IF any nudity or activity which might outrage public decency. Simulating the idea it’s in public ok. Or in vehicle with tinted windows etc. – key is NOT CREATED IN THE PUBLIC EYE.

NO Anything which would encourage incest/sex with children ie less than 18

School uniform fine as long as no references to being underage etc. and participants clearly ‘of age’ and participating in an adult role play

No sex at gunpoint etc.etc. if believable… All depends on tone/believability… Basically if it looks like it could be a genuine non consensual scene then it’s not ok.

No grooming scenarios i.e. something non consensual throughout where the person is under duress – even if no actual sex depicted.

No Fully bound AND gagged as a rule, as needs to be an obvious (to the viewer) means to signal to stop. Ok if not all 4 limbs tied or not gagged. Means to indicate which is VISIBLE TO THE VIEWER. can be gagged and bound if there is a safe signal which is defined as part of the scene. Artistic licence, storyline, context important. Straight bondage with no scene surrounding it is less likely to be ok than something with a clear role play scene.

“Moderate” pain etc… Relating to BDSM specifically:

Acts where if they were copied by uninitiated would have potential to cause more than transient & trifling physical harm. Don’t try this at home seems to be the key issue.

Reddening of the skin ok but no raised welts/blood/bruising.

Needles more likely to be ok as considered trifling and transient, similar to allowable in real life tattoos.

Facesitting or any form of smothering NO

FacesittIng as in kiss/smell my bum OK but not breathing restriction. NO flexibility on this. Got to have airways open. Reasoning being people could die if try at home, Murray said they treat men with hardons as if they were kids – unable to make informed decisions for themselves!

Ballbusting depends on level – OFCOM recommended submitting clips for review. Comes down to definition of moderate pain AND whether viewers at home likely to get seriously hurt if they try it at home. I.e. Ball yanking not ok, controlled ball stretching IS ok.

Trampling. Depends on the surface being trampled on.

Sounds etc. ok if not too far in (ie not seen entering bladder) and if sterility/safety considerations taken. Lube, gloves etc.

Penetration – ok if clearly couldn’t get lost, ie some obstruction preventing that, so buttplugs ok. Clip of mobile vanishing up anus whilst from actors reaction shot clearly a spoof not ok, on people will try this at home grounds.

No power tools as most people have one lying around at home, but purpose designed Fucking machines ok. Test is ‘associated with violence’.

Cats and other animals in shot are ok so long as not participating in sexual activities. Or not contrary to 1937 law about no harm to animals.

Head Scissoring ok if gentle. If seen to be pushing on the carotid restricting blood flow then not good. My interpretation = no choking sounds or reddening of face as a result. As soon as any pressure was exerted (or indeed just depicting that pressure was being exerted, with associated language, even if it wasn’t in reality) it would be considered a choke hold and therefore not ok.

Wrestling ok if not going near the knockout moves, no facesitting, no apparently non gentle scissoring.

Gagging on cock and deep throat ok if not for the whole scene and NO ‘gag on my cock’ type language as references to choking etc. are frowned upon even if just verbal.

Concluded with uncut clip from A Serbian Film, what cut & why. The bit where the main charater, drugged to induce an aggressive, sexually aroused, and suggestible state (receiving exhortations through an earpiece) beats and rapes a female tied to a bed then decapitates her.

Tea and biscuits were served.