The Republican Party has committed to "vigorously" enforcing obscenity laws. A look at what that could mean
It’s official: A Romney presidency would mean a renewed war on porn. This week, the Republican Party added the following line to its party platform: “Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.”
Vigorously enforced. Just what does that mean? Which genres would be safe, and which taboos would be targeted? Would they go after wildly popular tube sites like PornHub or industry bigwigs like Hustler? I decided to talk to some experts to find out.
Before we go any further, it’s worth reviewing the legal definition of obscenity. The 1973 Miller decision established a three-pronged test: It must appeal “to the prurient interest,” based on “community standards”; depict sexual behavior “in a patently offensive way”; and lack “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” But, clearly, “community standards” not only vary but are ever-changing — there is no master list of approved pornographic acts. This makes obscenity prosecutions at once more difficult and more accessible.
Clay Calvert, director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, says, “They would lose prosecutions if they went after vanilla sex, like Wicked Pictures and Vivid.” Instead, federal prosecutors are likelier to go after edgier fetish films where “it appears like there is violence happening.” We certainly saw that with some Bush-era obscenity prosecutions. Take the indictment in 2003 of Extreme Associates for films involving simulated kidnapping, murder and rape (as well as, um, vomit-ingestion). Then there’s the conviction of Paul F. Little, aka Max Hardcore in 2008: His work featured intense slapping and choking — indeed, scenes where “it appears like there is violence happening” — as well as vomiting and urination. (As journalist Susannah Breslin wrote, “Watching Little’s work is less like watching a porn movie than it is akin to witnessing a vivisection.”) ...
"Fifty Shades of Grey," the best-selling BDSM erotica novel written by E.L. James, might have housewives blushing, but the real-life version of the story can be more of a nightmare than a fantasy.
An unnamed Italian woman, who signed a contract swearing complete sexual and mental submission to her husband, is now suing him for divorce and physical abuse after seven years of "slavery," the Telegraph reports. She signed the agreement, which stipulated that she would be his "slave," in 2004 when they were dating. They married in 2006 and separated last year.
"The slave agrees to obey and to offer herself for the satisfaction of the desires of her master," the contract read.
"The slave agrees to place her body at her master's disposition, to be used at his pleasure."
Any "infraction" would be punished, the contract stipulated, with the woman expected to accept the penalty with "humility".
As part of the unusual accord, the husband agreed that he would not subject his wife to "coprophilia, bestiality, asphyxia/restriction of breathing, branding by fire, any activities involving weapons and any acts in general which could permanently mark her physically".
The contract between dominant Christian Grey and submissive Anastasia Steele, published in the first "Fifty Shades of Grey" book in 2011, includes similar agreements. ...
This week a new magazine hit newsstands, called: Fifty Shades Of American Women Who Love The Book And Live The Life. That is a terribly lengthy name for a magazine, but if you slap the words "Fifty Shades" on anything these days you're sure to move some product. The publisher of the glossy reportedly got the blessing from EL James's reps, which is sort of hard to believe considering she could have cashed in on this herself... but who cares about the ins and outs of the deal when we could be talking about important things like how to release our inner goddesses? This magazine features 80 pages on that topic alone! When did porn get so wordy?
You'll also get a poll that shows 93% of women want to spice up their relationship with role play, and a list of twenty books "even steamier than Fifty Shades" (traitors!). The official description reads:
"For those 'Who Love the Book and Live the Life,' Fifty Shades comprises the true recipe for magazine success: part tabloid (with predictions for the actors that will play the novel’s characters in the eventual film), part Cosmopolitan (with tips on how to write a flirty email, a spread featuring 20 of the best-loved sex toys, and a feature from a woman who’s been both a domme and a sub, but prefers now to just 'cuddle and makeout'), and part Shape (with tips on how to get Ana’s butt and how to 'eat like a sex goddess')."
The magazine will be available at places like Barnes & Noble and Walgreens for $6.99. But if you're just in this for the hardcore BDSM, stick to YouPorn—you know what they say: "Reading about porn is like dancing about architecture."
The young wife of a Marine stationed in Afghanistan was killed after refusing to participate in “sadomasochistic sexual activity,” investigators said in a new batch of unsealed court documents.
Brittany Killgore, 22, was apparently unaware that she had been targeted by her new friend, Staff Sgt. Louis Perez, to participate in a bondage session, the court documents released Wednesday said. Investigators called her an “unwilling participant” in Perez's sexual habits that included bondage, cutting and restraint, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Perez, along with two of his companions, Dorothy Marie Maraglino, 37, and Jessica Lopez, 25, have been charged with murder, torture and conspiracy in connection with Killgore’s death. All have pleaded not guilty.
Killgore's body was found April 17 near a Southern California lake. She was nude and had been strangled, possibly days earlier, police said.
Killgore had just filed for divorce from her Marine husband when she disappeared. He was in Afghanistan at the time of her murder and was not a suspect.
She was last seen April 13, after agreeing to go on a dinner cruise with Perez in exchange for his help moving her belongings from her apartment.
Perez had “boasted” to his bondage community that he planned to hold a sadomasochism session on the weekend of April 14, according to police warrants.
Investigators believe he killed Killgore after she refused to participate in his plans.
Perez then called Maraglino and Lopez to “join him.”
The three suspects had previously held an unknown woman hostage in the house until she cooperated with their sex play, earlier court documents said.
New Yorkers are getting their freak on — behind closed doors.
While BDSM enthusiasts tell Metro they have definitely seen more newcomers to the underground sex scene, newly released statistics by adult entertainment site YouPorn show New Yorkers are most exploring their kinky curiosities in the privacy of their own homes.
According to the numbers, searches for BDSM-related porn on the site are up worldwide, likely due to the explosion of popularity for the erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey."
But here in New York, we're searching that kind of porn with the largest spike, at an 89.7 percent increase from April to June of 2012, compared to a worldwide increase of 67 percent, according to YouPorn.
"New Yorkers spanked the competition," YouPorn said of the statistics.
A spokesman for the site said they were able to compile the data using analytic software that could tell which geographic area searches came from.
The news doesn't come as a surprise to people who are embedded in New York's kinky community.
"There has been an uptick on the scene, but you are seeing way more people doing it from home," Bo Blaze, who has been active in New York's BDSM scene for more than 20 years, told Metro. "I would attribute it mostly to New York being an awesome, kinky town, and people here are curious."
New Yorkers are searching for the terms "sex slave" and "master" more than ever, with a 109.2 percent increase and 113.82 percent increase, respectively. The rest of the world is searching for that type of porn, but only at a 78.96 percent and 71.91 percent increase.
The master-slave relationship takes a front seat in the wildly popular "Fifty Shades," which could explain the recent interest.
"No book sells 32 million copies without a cultural shift happening, and New York leads that," Blaze said.
Guy Sanders, a spokesman for the Eulenspiegel Society — New York's oldest BDSM group, which promotes sexual liberation for adults — agreed, adding that the city has historically served as a pioneer when it comes to sexuality.
"The gay pride movement really took force in New York," Sanders said. "New Yorkers are progressive sexually and open sexually and have a tendency to lead the way."
Other terms that porn viewers in New York are searching for at a higher increase compared to the rest of the world include "domination" and "sadism." ...
Bill Brent, a prolific author of sex-positive literature and a member of San Francisco's alternative sexuality communities, died during the weekend of August 18-19. He ended his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge after a long struggle with depression and chronic pain. He was 52.
Mr. Brent was involved in the Bay Area bisexual, BDSM, Black Leather Wings radical faerie, and pro-sex literary communities in the 1990s. He published The Black Book – one of the first queer and alternative sexuality directories – and edited or contributed to more than 30 erotic anthologies.
"Bill was a leader in the fin de siecle San Francisco erotic and sex radical renaissance in countless ways," said author Susie Bright, former editor of On Our Backs. "He published so many great people, he was endlessly generous, and a devoted literature person in every way."
Mr. Brent was born July 17, 1960, and grew up mainly in the East Bay. Recalling his less than happy childhood he once wrote, "[San Francisco] was my home away from home, that suburban hell where I'd spent most of the 1970s in a deep depression knowing that I was a freak, a rebel, an outcast every time I boarded the bus for the lunatic asylum called high school."
Mr. Brent attended San Francisco State University in the late 1970s, where he studied theater arts. He got involved in the punk rock scene and began to frequent gay sex venues in the city. After college he performed with Bay Area drama groups, tap danced, and helped start a theater company.
In the late 1980s Mr. Brent began volunteering with San Francisco Sex Information. Noting the lack of a comprehensive compilation of sex-positive resources, he produced the first of six editions of The Black Book in 1992, which he described as "a resource for everyone sexual in the 'other' category – everyone who wasn't married and having children, basically."
"Bill lived his whole life never apologizing for two important things: who he was and what he was into," said longtime friend and colleague Thomas Roche. "He didn't hide his bisexuality from the gay community. Now many people prefer the less restrictive, more inclusive, and for many more descriptive term 'queer.' But Bill is one of the people who helped invent that queer identity, well before it was fashionable. He helped show a bunch of people just how much their own rights to their own identities could matter." ...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Workers preparing historic Whiskey Row buildings for interior demolition have discovered what appears to be the remnants of a sado-masochistic swingers club, abandoned for decades.
"This is the weirdest I've ever found," said Greg Harris, the superintendent of the project for Sullivan-Cozart.
Two floors below Main Street, a large black and white logo displays the word "LATEX," presumably the name of the club, painted on the century old wall.
From deep inside the subterranean blackness, a series of oil paintings depict a series of bizarre images, sexual and violent.
"Very disturbing," Harris said.
Below one painting, a piece of equipment that appears fit for a torture chamber remains. A wooden rack large enough for one or two people includes a headrest and a rusted chain that can be turned by a handle. A gear resembling a saw blade is connected to the handle.
Workers found sheets of plastic that they presume separated the sub-basement into different rooms, candles, a disintegrated couch, a mysterious piece of cloth draped over a table and chair and another chair - covered in cobwebs and in a slow decay. ...
To call Fifty Shades of Grey a literary and pop culture sensation would be nothing short of an understatement. E.L. James' erotic trilogy about a young woman's romantic and sexual entanglement with a wealthy, but complicated, business tycoon and their BDSM relationship has become a phenomenon of unexpected, unparalleled proportions.
Just how big a phenomenon? The books — Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed — have been on the New York Times bestseller list for 25 weeks and currently sit in the top three slots, respectively. The trilogy surpassed the 20 million sales mark in the United States in July (the books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide), broke records previously held by fellow popular series like Harry Potter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and will soon boast a big screen adaptation from the producers of The Social Network. Not bad for something that merely started out as a piece of Twilight fan fiction.
But while James' powerhouse books have left retailers, movie executives, and readers (even those beyond that embarrassingly named "mommy porn" demographic) satisfied, what about the two groups perhaps most directly affected by the wildly popular saga: erotica writers and the BDSM community? After all, the trilogy has led readers to become increasingly aware and interested in both the once-taboo book genre (Fifty Shades copycat Bared to You has quickly climbed the NY Times bestseller list and more will likely follow) and the once-underground world of BDSM. (Everything from Fifty Shades-themed dating services to sex kits have spawned as a result from the books).
"I've been tracking media for the past 17 years for NCSF and there has never been any kind of reaction like this before," says Susan Wright, a spokesperson for the advocacy group National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. "Look at what a brilliant stonewall this is: Twilight fan fiction to open the conversation."
And it's a conversation that needed to be brought to the masses, Wright says. According to a 2008 study conducted by NCSF, 37.5 percent of respondents in the BDSM community had experienced discrimination, harassment, or violence. Fifty Shades' frankness, says Wright, has helped open up audiences to the civility of the fetish and to the accessibility of erotic novels. "The best thing about the book is that it shows the discussion," she says. "Women who have never really thought about [BDSM] can go, 'Wow, that does sound kind of appealing' and realize that these sex games are available to anyone."
Odd to think of a work of fiction as a learning tool, but BDSM advocates tell Hollywood.com that those eager to enter into the community are using Fifty Shades of Grey — which introduces not only certain psychological aspects of BDSM relationships, but also sex devices like Ben-Wah balls and riding crops — as BDSM 101. "This book is a catalyst," Guy Sanders (better known as Sir Guy), board member and media representative for the nation's largest and longest-running BDSM support and education group, The Eulenspiegel Society, says. "Now maybe it will be more open and there won't be as much prejudice against it and we may have an opportunity to make better strides as far as the understanding of the people in these practices. The opportunity for us to educate people."
Especially when audiences could only rely on the entertainment industry's inaccurate portrayals of the fetish prior to the franchise's release. "[Fifty Shades] will put a different face on BDSM," says Sanders, who does, however, praise BDSM-friendly work like 9 1/2 Weeks and Secretary. "When you look at a lot of these crime shows, even the news media, whenever BDSM is depicted, the people in it are dysfunctional, they are sexual deviants or serial killers or something along those lines. With this book and the people that have found interest in it, you'll find that the guy next door might be involved, the principal at your school, the police officer on your beat, your psychologist, your lawyer might all be participants in [BDSM], so it might open up the human side of BDSM that it's not some bizarre, secret, hidden thing." ...