Sexuality Censorship, Law & Adult Entertainment

Adult entertainment has a multibillion dollar industry. Every year, users of pornography provide billions of money to producers, studios, websites, and content creators of all kinds.

Many countries across the world have tight regulations on adult entertainment, including the US, where it must adhere to severe legal guidelines. There’s much more to adult entertainment than just making music and movies. This covers activities related to retail, production, software development, web design, video game creation, and social media.

This industry provides opportunities for success and profitability. People in the industry include attorneys, accountants, copywriters, journalists, camera operators, audio designers, and talent agents, among others.

With pride, Adult B2B Marketing presents this piece regarding sexual censorship. 

A Synopsis of Sexual Censorship’s Past

Discussions on modern censorship have often focused on the US. There has long been censorship and attempts by authorities to impose restrictions on speech that they find objectionable.

In ancient Greek city-states and the Roman Empire, censorship was pervasive, as befitted the times in which humanity lived. However, during the Middle Ages and even in some sections of Renaissance Europe, puritanical censoring practices about sexuality were increasingly widespread. Simple political dissent was denigrated, if not downright criminalized, in the cultures that gave rise to the United States and its predecessor states, the thirteen British crown colonies that stretched south along the East Coast. These norms applied to the open interchange of libertine ideas and deeds. The terrible fact that a new era of digital puritanism is targeting the rapidly expanding adult entertainment business in the United States might have international ramifications.

A New Age of Puritanism

Both pro- and anti-porn campaigns have been known to focus exclusively on current events related to the prevalence of pornography in public life, which bewilders us.

By examining a variety of topics relating to the debate over the place of pornography in society, we argue that many digital puritans and politically driven moral entrepreneurs are attempting to outlaw forms of expression and points of view that are contrary to their prior convictions.

This is exemplified by initiatives to prevent the use of LGBTQ+ literature in public libraries and classrooms, by right-wing politicians advocating for the outlawing of drag shows, by state legislatures designating pornography as a public health emergency in the absence of supporting evidence, and by hate groups demonizing as “groomers” those who support comprehensive sexual education for minors. Or, a collection of wealthy nonprofits alleging that companies like educational database supplier EBSCO and industry leader in video streaming Netflix encourage child sex abuse by putting kids in front of “pornographic” content.

However, that statement is loaded in and of itself. The word “pornographic” has been used a lot throughout the years to disparage media and discourse that addresses topics like sexuality and women’s rights. In addition to this kind of talk being censored, another word, “prurient,” adds the condition that everything that would hint at such issues has to be removed from a community.

Canaan, the New English

The first book ban in North America was instituted by the Puritans, a fact that many people are ignorant of. Ironically, in 1637 the Puritan government took control of the colony at Quincy, Massachusetts.

The Puritan government banned Thomas Morton’s highly condemned book New English Canaan because it was considered impolite, heretical, boisterous, and overly critical of Puritan customs, spiritual power structures, governance, and general control. Morton’s memories of having relationships with Native American women formed the basis of one of the Puritan censorship theories, according to a historical records repository at the University of Maine. However, it appears that the history of the book prohibition in North America is currently at its peak.

The Chastity Laws and the Comstock Act

Two centuries later, censorship imposed by the government has progressed. The Comstock Act of 1873 forbade the mail delivery of “obscene, lewd or lascivious,” “immoral,” or “indecent” materials. It was also forbidden to buy, sell, or possess any obscene book, pamphlet, picture, representation, or message. The “anti-vice” campaigner driving the effort was Anthony Comstock, a resident of New York and secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. 

Josh Hawley

As a devout Christian, Comstock’s interpretation of public life is so distorted by his beliefs that he was appalled by what he witnessed on the streets of New York. He saw that his city’s sex business was flourishing. In the 1860s, Comstock became well-known for his efforts to unite anti-vice morality organizations and notify law enforcement about the presence of sex workers. Comstock became well-known for his tenacious anti-obscenity campaign. He was particularly incensed by the marketing and sales of birth control devices, and he quickly made them the focus of his moral crusades. Not only that, but he was “certain that the availability of contraceptives alone promoted lust and lewdness.”

Suffrage advocate and pro-choice activist Mary Coffin Ware Dennett was charged by the US Postal Service with violating the Comstock Act. Thirty years later, a federal appeals court in New York determined that Dennett had been rightfully convicted under the Comstock laws—which stipulate that real arousal must occur when viewing such material—after being wrongly accused of breaching the law. Dennett composed and mailed a pamphlet about sex education for youth. In this case, the validity of the Hicklin obscenity test—which federal courts applied based on English case law—was questioned. The Comstock Act was eventually invalidated by the courts in favor of health and privacy rights.

After-Comstock and The Miller Examined

There was a Comstock Act in place until the 1960s. As previously mentioned, the Comstock regulations made it illegal to distribute pornographic and immoral materials and goods over the mail. But the Comstock statutes were repealed in 1965 as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Griswold v. Connecticut ruling. A couple was targeted by the state of Connecticut’s effort to impose a Comstock-era prescription birth control statute. This ruling held that the legislation limiting access to birth contraception was illegal because it violated an individual’s right to privacy. The First Amendment was cited in the decision because it offered more clarification on the rights to privacy, free speech, and expression that were already guaranteed.

The Value of the Miller Test

Thus, in 1973, Roe v. Wade was decided. That year, a ruling in Miller v. California was rendered. Miller v. California tested obscenity, which is not protected by the First Amendment. The top court concluded that items considered obscene are those that the average person would find attractive to “prurient interests” by using “contemporary community standards.” These hobbies would display in a clearly objectionable manner sexual behavior or other excretory acts that are specifically forbidden by applicable state law. As a whole, this material would not significantly advance the conversation on literature, the arts, politics, or science in the cultural sphere. It’s called the Miller standard.

It is most likely unconstitutional to uphold “national contemporary community standards” as the criteria for defining obscenity. Different communities will have different standards, thus there’s a chance that certain stuff will be considered offensive in one location but not in another. If the content passes the Miller standard for obscenity, it is protected under the First Amendment. According to the U.S. Justice Department, pornographic content is only considered obscene under U.S. Code 2257 if age verification and compliance regulations have been broken.

It could also be illegal, even filthy, if the content is “revenge porn” or was made without permission. Furthermore, First Amendment protections apply to non-obscene works.

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