Tobi Hill-Meyer

Stop Fisting Censorship

Filed By Tobi Hill-Meyer | October 21, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: censorship, International Fisting Day, obscenity

tattoo.jpegToday is International Fisting Day. I'm celebrating in a very personal way on my own blog, but here I want to discuss another important issue around fisting. Did you know that fisting is not allowed in almost all porn?

Production companies might skirt the line by allowing performers to use up to four fingers, but will often check to make sure the thumb stays out. When fisting does happen, it's creatively edited out or obscured to the point that there's reasonable doubt that not all five fingers are in.

With all this effort to keep fisting off the porn shelves, you've got to wonder, "Why?"

As a porn producer, I have to be aware that if I include fisting in a film, most distributors would refuse to distribute the film solely on that basis, and it would be very hard to get into a store. To explain this, they often point to the incredibly vague restriction on "obscenity."

According to the Miller test established by the 1973 case Miller v California, the key criteria for obscenity is whether "community standards" would deem the work as appealing to "prurient interest."

It's so vague the best I can tell is that sexual material is deemed obscene if a jury decides it is obscene. Because that could include anything that is not common and because fighting obscenity charges can destroy a business even if you win, distributors and retailers have to guess what might be obscene and avoid it.

That makes sense, but there's still little reason to guess that fisting might be interpreted as obscene. There haven't been any major obscenity cases against fisting, and many of the retailers who refuse to carry fisting still carry things that have been the focus of major obscenity cases.

Ultimately, when you think about the less desirable elements of the porn industry, I don't think anyone places fisting on that list. Clear depictions of consent and pleasure are a lot more important to me than how many fingers are used for penetration.

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I did not know that about fisting. I rarely see it in porn but I just thought that was because of low interest (I've never been particularly interested). It's weird because if I were to take every sex act and rate it in terms of obscenity, fisting would be nowhere near the top of that list.

Paige Listerud | October 22, 2011 1:06 PM

Because I'm cheap, I go to pornhub for free porn clips and I've been able to see some fine fisting clips--both in a vanilla and bdsm porn context. So it's strange to hear that there's fisting censorship going on.

Yeah, websites often have looser guidelines and restrictions than DVDs. For one thing, they don't have to use distributors or retailers, so that's two fewer parties they need to get approval from. For many websites, no one needs to sign off on it except the website owner.

Yes -- I was about to say that a global Internet makes the notion of "community standards" a bit parochial ... and besides, the Internet viewer is clearly consenting to whatever he/she is watching, otherwise they will hit the CLOSE button on their web browser.

One would also assume that someone browsing an adult video store is clearly there by consent or otherwise they would walk out.

On the other hand, someone using a public computer could expose those around them to materials those individuals did not consent to. I once, while looking for something innocuous on google and using a crowded campus computer lab ended opening up a window with porn on it. Fortunately no one noticed.

As for the topic on hand, I agree with Alex. I never noticed it personally, but fail to see what the big deal is. If our society could ever focus the time and effort it puts into going after porn featuring consenting adults on the sexual exploitation of children instead, one wonders what could be accomplished...
-Jeremy Redlien

That's one of the interesting parts of obscenity law -- consent has absolutely nothing to do with it. The concept is that some material is so vile that it doesn't fall under the first amendment and that anyone engaging in it is committing a crime regardless of whether they sharing it with consenting adults or even just creating it for personal use.

Benders Law on Obscenity: Its only obscene if I think its obscene. That is exactly the way Obscenity Laws work. The judge or those that sit on the jury are usually the biggest prudes you can find in church and fairly well past any thought of sexuality. They are usually the one's who look for and bring these cases to trial to start with and they load the deck to use thier ends. So for course they'll fall back on Benders Law of Obscenity.
And its just bizzare, they'll sit through hundreds of hours of porn to find 'obscenity'....far more than the average person would just to get their freak on. Makes me kind of wonder about it all. Prudes who watch hundreds of hours of porn, demanding that it be eliminated so no one else can watch it...but they'll never destroy thier stash because they need it for 'research'. Just one word, hypocrites.

Funny how it is supposed to be not allowed in porn, yet there are a lot of companies and videos featuring fisting. Go Dick Wadd!

Om Kalthoum | October 25, 2011 3:16 PM

Okay, I'll bite, since all the posts so far seem to be of the Right On! variety.

I'm thinking, maybe you (and everyone into this activity) need to consider a re-branding. Come on, fisting? I'm trying to stay polite here, but clearly you're dealing with a basically unattractive term.How could it be otherwise? FISTING? Nothing says "I love you" like a fist, eh?

I'm kinda drawing a blank about an alternative name, though. Something with "digital" in it was as far as I got before I lost interest. Does somebody else have any ideas?