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Are You Watching Consensual Pornography? Here's How to Know You're Watching Ethical Porn

Resist revenge porn, and enjoy some guilt-free self-loving.

Yes, porn can be ethical. But we need to put in the work. It’s time to remove non-consensual content from the internet. Consensual pornography only, please! This campaign is here for ethical, consensual porn on our screens. Because porn and consent should go hand-in-hand.

Related: A Guide To The Best Porn For Trans And Non-binary People

Consent, Consent, Consent

We need to have more conversations around consent. In our relationships, in our society, and on the internet. So what is consent? Let’s break it all the way down.

Consent, according to Rape Crisis Cape Town, is:

  • ‘to agree to something, give permission or say “yes”
  • when you understand what is being asked of you and
  • when you are not forced or deceived into giving consent.’

Most of us – let’s be honest – either watch and have watched porn. And there’s no shame it that. But have you ever thought about whether the porn you watch is consensual? The internet is full of revenge porn and leaked nudes. And that is not ok.

What is non-consensual porn exactly? Videos and images that have been posted without that person’s permission or even knowledge. Revenge porn (posted by an intimate parter who has explicit images of you) is just one example of this. FYI, this does not only happen to celebs. Another example is child pornography. Minors CANNOT give consent, guys.

If either of these elements is in the porn you watch, stop. And get help. Violation shouldn’t turn you on. If you come across revenge porn or child porn, report it.

Related: How to Withdraw Consent During Sex

Holding Porn Sites Accountable

Porn sites profit from revenge porn every day. And it’s time to hold them accountable. There’s a whole genre of consensual porn called “leaked sex tapes and revenge porn”. That’s why activist Kate Isaacs founded #NotYourPorn. It’s a campaign to remove non-consensual content from UK porn sites. And we hope this idea will spread beyond the UK.

Related: 5 Feminist Porn Sites Changing Our Perceptions

Kate Isaac told Bustle that “[Revenge porn] is a massive tool of oppression. It can completely ruin your life. You can lose your job, you can lose your partner. It’s not something to be taken lightly.” She aims to make it “illegal to profit and host revenge porn” and “anything that isn’t consensual.”#NotYourPorn is here to hold porn sites accountable. Let’s do the same.

PornHub made this statement in response: “Here at Pornhub, we stand alongside victims of revenge porn who are demanding justice against perpetrators.” BUT, it isn’t quite that easy…

Related: 9 Women-Friendly, Safe Porn Sites That Won’t Break Your Computer

Revenge Porn and Child Porn on PornHub

The story that inspired this campaign is relatable AF. Someone posted a sexually explicit video of Kate’s friend onto PornHub, after hacking her iCloud and stealing videos and images. PornHub maintains that if the victim can fingerprint the content, they can avoid having the video re-uploaded.

“We got in contact with PornHub,” Kate explains, “to get [the video] pulled down and they did … But PornHub has a download function.”

And here’s the problem. The video had already gone viral. It had also been downloaded thousands of times. So, even after being pulled off the internet, more of the same video can be uploaded over and over again (with her full name).

MindGeek is reportedly the company behind the most popular porn sites: Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn. Do they check for consent and minors in their videos?

According to Kate, “they don’t even have age verification for the videos that get uploaded in the first place. There’s nothing in the upload system which checks if the content is consensual or legally of age.”

Related: R. Kelly is Arrested for Sex Trafficking and Child Pornography

How Do They Get Away With This?

Well, basically, PornHub passes the responsibility onto the video uploaders. It’s up to the uploader to confirm that they have permission to distribute the content legally. If any video violates their Terms of Service, PornHub will apparently remove it as soon as they know about it.

But that’s not enough. And here’s why. The download function “basically means it’s going to exist on their website forever,” explains Kate.

Her campaign hopes to force the government to put a stop to this. But it also hopes to make you – as the consumer – aware of what you’re watching: “Spreading the word that what you might be watching as a consumer might not even be legal is so important,” she says.

So let’s have these conversations. Let’s be deliberate about the porn we watch. And let’s resist non-consensual pornography.

Next time, as you click play and get ready for some self-loving, ask yourself: Is this porn consensual or nah? If it’s consensual porn, you can masturbate guilt-free. How about that?

Related: Taylor Swift Just Liked the Shadiest Post Calling Kanye West Out for “Revenge Porn”

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