I asked Ogi Ogas, one of the amazingly nerdy neuroscientists behind A Billion Wicked Thoughts , who says he and co-author Sai Gaddam are sitting on what they think is the most comprehensive collection of porn-use stats
on the web.
So Ogi: How much of the Internet is actually for porn?
There are a couple ways of thinking about the proportion of the Internet that is porn:
In 2010, out of the million most popular (most trafficked) websites in the world, 42,337 were sex-related sites. That's about 4% of sites.
From July 2009 to July 2010, about 13%
of Web searches were for erotic content. Both of these are from our research in Billion Wicked Thoughts. We consider our data the best available. It's an impossible task to say exactly what % of *ALL* websites are pornographic or anything else, because
the web is both so enormous and so dynamic; looking at the million most popular sites is a very reasonable sample.
A new study investigates the link between a country's relative gender equality and the degree of female "empowerment" in the X-rated entertainment it consumes.
Researchers at the
University of Hawaii focused on three countries in particular: Norway, the United States and Japan, which are respectively ranked 1st, 15th and (yikes) 54th on the United Nations Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM).
simplify their analysis, their library of smut was limited to explicit photographs of women from mainstream pornographic magazines and Internet websites, as well as from the portfolios of the most popular porn stars from each nation. Then they set out to
evaluate each image on both a disempowerment and an empowerment scale, using respective measures like whether the woman is bound and dominated by leashes, collars, gags, or handcuffs or whether she has a natural looking body.
Their hypothesis was that societies with greater gender equity will consume pornography that has more representations of empowered women and less of disempowered women.
It turned out the
former was true, but, contradictory as it may sound, the latter was not. While Norwegian pornography offers a wider variety of body types -- conforming less to a societal ideal that is disempowering to the average woman -- there are still many images
that do not promote a healthy respect for women, the researchers explain.
In other words, Norwegian porn showed more signs of female empowerment, but X-rated images in all three countries equally depicted women in
demeaning positions and scenarios. This, the researchers surmise, suggests that empowerment and disempowerment within pornography are potentially different constructs.
The number of sex crimes carried out by juvenile offenders in Ireland is 109 more in the past year than the mean over the last 4 years.
Irish police and the Irish rape crisis center have suggested, without evidence or justification, that easier
access to hard-core pornography might be a factor in the increase of sex attacks.
A spokesperson for the Irish police told The Irish Examiner that the rise in sex crimes is due to an increase in both the incidents and reporting.
of such offences rose from 74 in 2009 to 195 last year. There were 102 sex offences in 2008, 87 in 2007 and 82 in 2006.
It is terribly worrying to see such a big jump like that. It is absolutely shocking, Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop, the chief
executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, told the Examiner: There is no doubt that easy access to hard-core pornography on phones, on computers, is a factor. There is research that supports that conclusion. When someone is exposed to hard-core
pornography, it definitely desensitises them, particularly at a young age, when young people are developing.'
The Chinese government has started a two-month long tirade against pornography.
Despite previous crackdowns, pornography, especially that on compact discs, are showing a tendency to rebound as many sellers hawk porn videos right outside
computer shopping malls, an official statement said.
According to the National Office against Pornographic and Illegal Publication, the repressive campaign will run from September 5 to November 5 and will focus on enterprises, stores, websites
and merchants that are involved in the sale of porn disks in large cities.
During the campaign, local anti-porn offices have been asked to cooperate with press and publication bureaus, police and local government departments to close down major
The Indian Supreme Court has asked the Maharashtra government to examine whether it can modify certain provisions of the Bombay Police Act to ban only obscene and objectionable form of dance in bars, hotels and restaurants.
not want them (dancers) to go from the bars and restaurants to the streets, a three-judge bench observed, while granting the state two weeks time to examine the idea.
The court felt that dance by itself cannot be considered as obscene, as
banning the activity may render thousands of dancers jobless, thus pushing them to the streets.
We have children dancing. Couples dancing at different places. There are dance floors. That by itself does not make it obscene or objectionable,
the bench remarked, asking ex-Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium appearing for the state to examine whether sections 33, 34 of the Bombay Police Act could be modified to ban only obscene and objectionable dance forms.
The Bombay high court had in
2006 quashed the ban imposed by the Mumbai police under the impugned provisions of the Act on dance shows in bars and restaurants on the ground that they were obscene, titillating and many of the girls were indulging in prostitution. The Supreme Court
had in 2006, admitted the state government's appeal against the high court verdict striking down the legislation as being unconstitutional .
During brief arguments, Subramanium claimed the ban was imposed to prevent trafficking and
exploitation of women. He however, offered the government's willingness to discuss the issue with the various stake holders in the dispute for an amicable solution.
Much of the discussion surrounding Chinese Internet culture has centered on the rise of online human rights activism, but the emergence of an online erotic culture that openly describes individuals' personal sexual activities has also been evident in
Associate Professor Katrien Jacobs' research at The Chinese University of Hong Kong on People's Pornography has investigated the culture of Do It Yourself amateur porn on the Chinese Internet, as well as the interplay
between pornography producers and consumers within the state's censorship mechanism.
Below is a transcript of an interview conducted by Ronald Yick and Oiwan Lam about the upcoming publication of Professor Jacobs' new book, People's
Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet.
Global Voices (GV): Can you explain what you mean by People's Pornography in your book?
Jacobs (KJ): First of all, the term People's Pornography covers the meaning of DIY pornography, which reclaims pornography by amateurs. But it also refers to pornography made in China. It sounds satirical because officially there is no Chinese
pornography, it is officially banned, even though everybody knows that there are many porn sites, including amateur porn, in China.
GV: Since you are an expert in the research of DIY pornography in
western societies, can you compare the culture in China and in the West?
KJ: In the developed western society, alternative culture is strong and you can see artists or members of weird communities
making websites to promote their own kinds of pornography in different ways. Sites like Beautiful agony, which only depicts orgasm as seen from people's faces, is a kind of critique of commercial pornography, which is too much focused on genitals. That's
the background I came out of. I've met people who are interested in or actually making those sites. Of course this culture has very soon been commercialized. So you also have a DIY porn movement that is not really for people, by people, it's just
promoting girl next-door look, a kind of amateur look. So in the West, there are two competing movements, i.e. the real amateurs and the commercial forces.
In China and in Hong Kong, you do have people who upload their
own videos and photographs. Sometimes on designated sites like the Pornotube, which is the Youtube for pornography. These sites are open to all people in the world. Of course, people from mainland China cannot get access to these sites and it is still
much more uncommon for people to participate in DIY porn movement. But we've noticed that younger people have started makig their sex videos in secret places or hidden places, like empty classrooms, medical rooms, elevators, or just corridors. This kind
of porn is definitely being made in China right now and being uploaded, because I found lots of videos compiled or archived on various websites. For sure the movement is very scattered and people say it's quite juvenile. But I think it is a sign of
GV: You've used the term erotic liberation in your book - what do you mean by that?
KJ: First of all, I see liberation in the
fact that people can have access to pornography and the second point is that, people can express their cultural and sexual identities through pornography. So in these young people's videos, it's powerful for them to have sex somewhere and film it and
upload it and share it, despite the fact that this is totally forbidden and officially banned in China. But nevertheless it's happening. We shouldn't think it so seriously, in terms of political liberation because after all these people are just having
fun. But they are breaking law by being naughty in two different ways, by doing sexually what they want, and by uploading it. Their excitement comes from that double kind of breaking the rule.
GV: Are they aware of being subversive in spreading their pornography?
KJ: The interviews I did in mainland were netizens, but not necessarily those netizens that are uploading. I did also interview netizens in universities. It's really interesting, they are completely
aware of the Chinese war of pornography, that the Chinese government bans pornography, controls pornography, or uses pornography towards controlling the Internet. However they can find what they're looking for by jumping over the Great Firewall and share
their secret websites with each other.
But sexual minorities are more vulnerable as they are still having a hard time being recognized in China. And for them to launch a porn movement would be probably out of the
GV: In recent years, more and more amateur porn has been uploaded online. Chinese netizens like to uncover the identity of those performing in sex videos, in particular when they involve
corrupt government officials. What's your view on that? Do you think it is related to gender and power relations in China?
KJ: Yes, of course. If they can catch the corrupt government official, they
may have indeed challenged the power relations and exhibited their own power. But it is problematic, because in terms of sexuality, so often they will also try to just go for people's hidden sex lives. I really don't think that we can do that because
even if this person is a party official, with too much power, I still think we cannot judge his or her sex life. I would prefer people complain more about the lack of sexuality.
I think Han Han's comment about
propaganda of impotence is very interesting. What has been promoted in the mainstream society it that we should not have pornography, maybe we can have sex, but we cannot have pornography. We should not document our joy, our orgasm. His idea challenges
China's history of asexuality. To attack the officials for having illicit sex affairs can hardly change the corrupted system.
GV: What is the relationship between the anti-censorship battle and sex
activism in China?
KJ: In China, netizens seem to be aware of the pornography war, the fights of pornography, the fights of filtering software. In fact, the Grass Mud Horse, a symbol for fighting
against the filtering software in 2009, is a sex related expression. The rapid spread of Grass Mud Horse was a powerful moment in the netizens' fight for civil liberty, or freedom of expression. In China, more than in other countries, the fight of
sexually explicit media is at the heart of netizens' struggle.
Of course, for people who are very into political dialogue, they do not want to deal with pornography questions, or even with sexuality questions. So to
some extent, I think the discourses are marginalized, but if you look at it closely, you can find it's actually in the middle of whole debate and the female bloggers are at the heart of it. For example, bloggers like Muzi Mei and Liumangyan (sex workers
activist) are two very good examples of what females and feminist bloggers who are doing around sexuality and they wouldn't try to separate political activism from sex activism.
I think there is male tradition of
political activism that separates the sexual questions from the political questions and there is the tradition of female bloggers, more exhibitionistic and more down-to-earth, and so I think they are from different angles. When I was writing my chapter
on bloggers, I just noticed this kind of gap between the male tradition and female tradition, and I couldn't really deny that it was there.
Australian Police have seized 4000 pornography magazines and DVDs in a raid in Thomastown earlier this month.
Whittlesea Crime Investigation Unit found 3500 illegal X-rated DVDs and about 500 X-rated magazines when they executed a search warrant
at a business premises in Brand Drive/
A man was arrested and interviewed about possessing and distributing a commercial quantity of unclassified adult material. He has been released pending further inquiries.
Detective Senior Constable
Mark Perna claimed the raid was a good result after a joint operation with the Classification Office in NSW: People may not realise how serious these offences are, and they carry a penalty of a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment or $143,000 fine .
Irish tax investigators are targeting sex shops and lap-dancing clubs as part of a crackdown on the black economy.
Officials recently carried out an operation to look into the cash flow of a sex shop in an unnamed location, saying they had
cooperated with social welfare investigators to good effect .
The Revenue declined to release any more information on this case, but confirmed it was carrying out operations to check tax compliance in the adult-entertainment industry. Revenue has carried out interventions throughout the country in the adult-entertainment sector including sex shops, lap-dancing clubs, casinos and head shops,
a spokesman said.
According to the Revenue, it has focused on the adult-entertainment industry in recent years because it is one of a number of sectors which deals with cash and is seen as a high risk.
Sex businesses in the famous Amsterdam Red Light district De Wallen must in future be closed after 10.00 p.m. The sex business owners have lost their appeal against the decision of the city council to introduce the closing times.
For 40 years, it
was tolerated that brothels, peep shows and sex shops in the Red Light district could stay open until 2.00 a.m. At the beginning of the current year, however, the city council decided that the Shop Opening Times Act had to be enforced ant all sex shops
had to close at 10.00pm.
Fourteen owners of 23 sex shops brought a case against the city council, but saw their argument rejected. With the appeal court ruling the collective route is now closed. Individually, a business can however still look
and see if it is possible to remain open for longer, said lawyer Rob IJsendijk.
China's first sex theme park has undergone complete censorship by the authorities, and instead of risque shows, it now features performances of propaganda songs praising the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Two years after Love Land was first
launched in Chongqing to howls of protest and hordes of curious onlookers, few traces of its ribald displays remain.
Its iconic statue, a revolving pair of legs adorned with a skimpy red G-string, has disappeared. A water fountain with breast-like
carvings and urinals shaped like a woman's mouth have been removed. Descriptions of various sexual techniques to please your partner have also been cleaned out.
Love Land, which was part of a larger theme park named Foreigner Street, stood no
chance against the puritan drive of the CCP in Chongqing. There was no way Bo Xilai would have allowed the sex theme park to stay, said a Chongqing businesswoman in her late 20s, referring to the city's top leader. Bo, who came to Chongqing in
late 2008, had called for the Communist Party to focus on the nation's spiritual health, as he cracked down on anything to do with adult fun.
Bare Essentials is a burlesque troupe that performs twice weekly at the Gaslight Saloon, a bar on the gritty northern outskirts of Regina in Saskatchewan.
What guy doesn't like to drink booze and look at girls? said Kevin Pattison, who
started Bare Essentials after getting laid off as an iron worker in September.
He decided a show that pushed the limits of liquor laws, but didn't break them, would sell in Saskatchewan. It doesn't really matter if she's taking off her clothes.
As long as she's sexy and doing a good job up there.
A decade ago Saskatchewan's last alcohol-serving strip club closed after the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal against the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority rule that prohibits
any striptease performance or wet clothing contest.
The ruling left Saskatchewan as the only place in Canada where stripping is banned where booze is sold, making erotic dancing an endangered species in the province with a lone dry
strip club in Regina's industrial district the last remnant.
Since then, at least six bars have been fined or suspended after varying attempts to skirt the stripping prohibition, according to reports obtained under freedom of information laws. The
bars have been hit with fines and suspensions for bringing in travelling shows that have wet T-shirt contests and whipped cream wrestling. In several instances, notices of violations have come after a dancer removed a layer of clothing backstage despite
there being no nudity.
Lawyer Ron Dumonceaux, who fought the losing case to strike down the law as unconstitutional 10 years ago, said the regulations are smart from a legal perspective. Saskatchewan avoids the constitutional challenge because
stripping itself isn't prohibited. But the ban in bars essentially doesn't make it economical to run a strip club, he said, which can't operate successfully without the profits from liquor. They don't directly prohibit exotic dancing --- they make it
uneconomical, he said.
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