Panic in Pornville

John Ashcroft loves pornography. Sometimes, when he's in the mood to be by himself, he'll rent Inner City Black Cheerleader Search and have an extended self-loving session. He especially likes adult film star Midori and believes she gives the most enthusiastic blowjobs. Dick Cheney only goes for the girl-girl features; his library includes Where the Boys Aren't, Shane's Slumber Party, and his newest favorite, Lesbian Survivor, a spoof of the hit TV show. At Laura's request, George W. buys titles like Debbie Does Dallas, on DVD, of course, because of the bonus footage: George W. is intrigued to see what goes on behind the scenes. They watch a feature together on their big-screen TV, then retire to the bedroom for some spirited role-playing. Those white Dallas Cowboy cheerleader go-go boots Laura wears really get him going.

I wish.

In reality, since Bush was sworn in as president and put his extremist buddy John Ashcroft in the attorney general's office, word has it that the adult industry is having a collective panic attack. The main fear of pornographers is: Will they be targeted under stricter obscenity laws and antiporn legislation? Well, George W. did vow during his campaign to "vigorously" enforce federal antipornography laws. No surprise there, but his presence in the White House has some skin-flick producers running scared. Four of the biggest players—VCA Pictures, Vivid Video, Hustler, and Video Team—recently met with their lawyer, Paul Cambria, to discuss strategies. One unidentified company drew up a working list with Cambria of "Box Cover and Movie Production Guidelines." I like to think of them as the New No-No's. The list was subsequently leaked and appeared on a porn-gossip Web site in late January and then on the Adult Video News Web site ( Here, in the italics below, is the list, followed by my blow-by-blow commentary.

No shots with the appearance of pain or degradation. No blindfolds. No wax dripping. No bondage or bondage-type toys or gear unless very light. No forced sex, rape themes, etc. No degrading dialogue, e.g., "Suck this cock, bitch," while slapping her face with a penis.

Thanks for the example, guys. These don't come as any big surprise, since, even when it is a consensual fantasy, bondage and other s/m combined with sex are considered potentially offensive. That's why, to stay on the shelves, most s/m videos have already done away with such cover images. But who wants to see someone whipped and degraded without then being fucked into oblivion?

No facials—body shots OK if shot is not nasty. No bukkake. No spitting or saliva mouth to mouth. No girls sharing same dildo in mouth or pussy. Toys are OK if shot is not nasty. No peeing unless in a natural setting, e.g., field, roadside. No squirting.

First of all, if the shot is not nasty, I don't want it. So now they want to limit the representation of bodily fluids. Since many women, including porn stars like Dasha, Alisha Klass, Ava Vincent, and plenty of others, ejaculate when they orgasm, is there the implication that these women are now not allowed to come on camera? That's one of the perks of the job, stupid!

No food used as sex object. No coffins. No mentration [sic] topics. No incest topics.

My condolences to necrophiliacs, vampires, and Barbi twins fans everywhere.

No two dicks in/near one mouth. (Notice that double penetration of a pussy or ass is still OK.) No shot of stretching pussy. (Luckily, Extreme Associates' Planet of the Gapes is safe—they only show gaping assholes.) No fisting. No hands from two different people fingering same girl. Just when I was hoping that things would loosen up when it comes to sticking all five of your digits inside a girl's pussy—a depiction that has been taboo in videos for far too long—we're back to square one.

And here come my favorites: No male/male penetration. No transexuals [sic]. No bi sex. No black men with white women themes. What kind of blatant homophobia, transphobia, and racism is this bullshit? So white men can fuck black women, but black men can't fuck white women? Whispered in a closed boardroom meeting, I'd definitely believe it, but who would put such a thing in print?

Remember, these activities aren't against the law to depict, but they may be considered obscene according to certain community standards. And this isn't Ashcroft's list—I shudder to think what might be on that. (Can you say, "No penetration whatsoever"?) Self-censoring themselves, the porn masters are anticipating what might get them into trouble during the Bush years, and will be shooting and packaging accordingly. Will there be antiporn witch-hunts, prosecution, and legislation? You can bet on it. Do you think all the faith-based organizations funded by Bush's new federal program are gonna be opening up soup kitchens? Some of them are going to go after sex in the name of religious morality. Like Boy Scouts, these pornographers want to be prepared. They are some of the largest, richest enterprises, with the most to lose if they are prosecuted.

But some industry insiders smell a rat. The big studios are already pretty squeaky-clean, especially since much of their revenue depends on softcore versions of their films being sold to adult-cable channels. These so-called new standards may be a way to further distance themselves from the more radical, independent (and less well-funded) "little guys" who push the limits in porn with extreme, outrageous, and yes, potentially offensive material. (Does the title Ass to Mouth mean anything to you?) But good pornographer versus bad pornographer is a dangerous direction to go. In the end, they are all vulnerable to the sex-hating, censorship-loving right wing.

I'm going to go rent Thighs Wide Open before it gets pulled off the shelf of my favorite video store.

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