Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Free discreet shipping on orders over $50 in Aus

Beyond Pornhub: Considering Ethics in the Consumption of Porn

There isn’t one definition for ethical porn, but generally it’s porn that upholds the rights and fair working conditions for the cast and crew, celebrates consent and sexual variety, and often avoids insensitive representations.

Take the following as an example. The films on Pinklabel.tv, (Shine Louise Houston’s platform for emerging and independent pornographers) have “PL” ratings for “nudity, sexuality, pleasure, consent” and “porn with good taste”.

Press play and the statement appears: “All performers were 18 years of age or older at the time of production”. Some films boast a proud row of prizes from the Feminist Porn Awards and erotic film festivals. You can buy or stream the films at a cost and viewers are assured the director/studio earns a cut of that.

Pornhub paints a different picture. “3 HOURS OF GIRLS GETTING DESTROYED”, courtesy of the landing page, offers no explicit guarantees about the performers’ ages, consent, payment or pleasure. It’s a free video compilation of at least 100 performers, although it can generate ad revenue for the uploader. (The average pay rate per 1000 views of free videos was $0.64 in 2018.)

Since Pornhub is currently the ninth most visited website in the world, it’s worth taking stock of what porn consumers have become accustomed to on these tube sites.

Tube sites are porn sites with similar interfaces to YouTube, where content is user-generated. They’re the websites Google’s algorithm places at the top when you search for “porn”.

Piracy is a huge problem on tube sites, where paid content is often uploaded for free. As a reaction to this, and in an attempt to diversify the content out there, a movement towards more “ethical” porn has emerged.

“Porn sites often rely on insensitive language in categories and context that are offensive to people of colour and trans folk, and assume a narrowly straight, cisgender white male audience,” reads the Pink Label bio. “PinkLabel.tv exists because we want a site that is a better fit for our films and those of other filmmakers, as well as our audiences.”

Let’s park representations to the side for the moment. That’s the murkier water in the “ethical porn” debate. Standards in production and distribution are the more clear-cut concerns.

In Australia, it's actually prohibited to produce material likely to be classified as X18+ or Refused Classification everywhere except for the Australian Capital Territory.

According to the Eros Association, our adult industry body, of the small number of adult media producers in Australia, many choose to film their content overseas or act in non-compliance with existing laws.

Eros created their own minimum ethical standards for the adult media industry. These standards are only binding for Eros members, but they are also meant to guide the Australian adult media more generally. Some include:

  • Performers have a right to decline to perform any requested sexual act they do not feel comfortable with.

  • Performers have a right to producer provided supplies and safe sex products such as lubricants, condoms, enemas, douches, baby wipes and any other applicable product.

  • Performers have a right to producer provided snacks if the shoot is expected to last up to 6 hours.

  • Prior to the shoot, valid photographic identification of age is to be obtained to confirm the performer is over that age of 18.

You can find similar self-regulated standards on “ethical” porn production company websites worldwide. Over at Erika Lust, a production company creating women-led adult cinema in Barcelona, they have a dedicated page on their website for their values, with a downloadable Performer’s Bill of Rights.

It’s hard to enforce such standards on a tube site, where nearly anyone can upload content.

Pornhub does have its own terms of service. They prohibit posting any content without documentation that the performers are over 18 (or older in locations where 18 is not the minimum age). The terms also ban copyrighted content, revenge porn, impersonated material, or actual depictions of rape, torture, death, violence, incest, racial slurs and hate speech, among other.

This sounds good in theory, but in practice, Pornhub is failing to regulate absolutely everything that goes up, including non-consensual and underage material. This is no surprise, given over 6.83 million new videos were uploaded to Pornhub last year, according to the website’s data.

When you’re on a well-known ethical porn site, or getting your content straight from performers themselves on platforms like OnlyFans, you can probably rest easier knowing you’re not accidentally watching revenge porn or child abuse material.

Nevertheless, there is debate about who can claim the “ethical” label and what that actually means.

“Just putting a label of ethical/honest/feminist on something without a clear idea of what that label means in reality for the people it’s meant to protect is just advertising, plain and simple,” says Vex Ashley on her porn site Four Chambers.

Ashley is a porn performer herself. She created the “deliberately ambiguous” project Four Chambers, which rejects the reduction of labels like “ethical” or “feminist” to advertising buzzwords.

“It can mean that it plays into ideas about divisive respectability politics, adding more shame and layers of hierarchy to an already stigmatised community,” the Four Chambers transparency statement reads.

With Pink Label and Erika Lust Films defining their work in opposition to mainstream content, and Four Chambers refusing to draw that line, it can be hard to work out what’s ethical and what’s not when it comes to porn.

This genre doesn’t have hard and fast rules. But, in summary, if you want to consume porn, there are some steps you can take to reduce harm to others and improve your own experience:

  1. Pay for your porn. It’s labour. Yes, free porn can pay in ad revenue, but the rates aren’t as high.

  2. Avoid tube sites. They host stolen content and don’t regulate their user uploads very well.

  3. For production companies that do call themselves ethical, seek out their policies and rates to make informed decisions.

  4. Follow performers and buy their content from the platforms they direct followers to.

  5. Watch porn from different sources. Explore what’s out there to find out what you like, rather than what’s on the first website Google hands you.

Finally, we recommend doing this research before sticking your hand down your pants, ready to go. There’s even more out there than you may think.

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