This extensive (but not quite exhaustive) body of research takes a look at the other side of porn, the side that totalitarian censors would have you believe does not exist. Unafraid to ask confronting and as-yet unexplored questions (such as whether porn has produced any benefits for its consumers), TPR gazes through the looking glass, into bedrooms and analyses the users and consequences of pornography.
The first chapter alone is worth the cost of the tome. Living as we are in progressive 21st-century democracies, most of us are innocently naive of the sheer volume of books and films banned in the past for nebulous justifications as "obscenity" and indecent. This included information on birth control in the United States as recently as 1873. Even simple nudity was considered pornographic back in the days of ancient Greece and Rome, since they precipitated excessive libidinousness in healthy young males.
For those who are curious, this is a brief list of fictional novels that were illegal in Australia in recent decades.
William Adlington (trans.), The golden ass of Lucius Apuleius (banned 1933-1936)
Richard Aldington, All men are enemies (banned 1933-1953)
Richard Aldington, The colonel's daughter (banned 1931)
Nelson Algren, Never come morning (banned 1951)
C.E. Allen, Homosexuality (banned 1958)
C.E. Allen, The sexual perversions and abnormalities (restricted 1946-1969)
Stuart Anderson, The how and why of birth control (banned 1937)
Anon., Hash cookery (banned 1970)
Anon., The hippie papers (banned 1968)
Anon., The mad, mad world of Aubrey Beardsley (banned 1969)
Anon., Marihuana (banned 1969)
Anon., Memoirs of Cardinal Dubois (restricted 1936)
Anon., The strap returns -- new notes on flagellation (banned 1936)
Abdullah Azzam, Defence of the Muslim lands (refused classification 2006 to present)
Abdullah Azzam, Join the caravan (refused classification 2006 to present)
James Baldwin, Another country (banned 1963-1966)
Honore de Balzac, Droll stories (banned 1901-1923)
Marjorie Barnard & Flora Eldershaw, Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow (abridged before publication, 1947; published in full, 1983)
Joan Beauchamp, British imperialism in India (banned c.1935-1937)
Simone de Beauvoir, The Marquis de Sade: An essay (banned 1956-1973)
Brendan Behan, Borstal boy (banned 1958-1965)
Riza Bey, Darkest Orient (banned 1938-1953)
George Bishop, Sex behavior of the American divorcee (banned 1966)
Jean Blanche, The outsiders (banned 1958-1971)
Their research has revealed that consumers of pornography are NOT, by and large, dirty, old or male. 55% of consumers were 35 or younger. 4 per cent were into kinky BDSM. Almost 60% were religious, revealing the increasing irrelevancy of both the church and a regulatory system that is more anachronistic, draconian and Puritanical than the populace it supposedly serves.
In a nutshell, acts that are perfectly legal to engage in, provided all parties consent, are utterly illegal to film or photograph. Only Islamic theocracies have similar rules in today's modern, net savvy society. Fortunately, prosecutions are almost non-existent (even for sex shops, which are not even allowed to exist, legally). A more modern, liberal and rational stance to adopt would be this: "If you don't like it, don't watch or read it. Don't make it illegal for mature adults to purchase, so long as they are not hurting anyone." Sadly, some feminists like the ultra-communist Gail Dines and Dawn Hawkins, believe that all heterosexual sex is rape and consensual bondage fits under the United Nations' definition of torture. Anyone who cannot see the prima facie callous disregard and staunch absurdity in such a position simply isn't thinking hard enough.
Among the most inane, facile and plainly silly restrictions on pornography is the categorical and all-encompassing ban on fetishes (wax, spanking, bondage, piercings etc). One former censor revealed that the regulations forbade ALL violence in erotic films (that contain actual sex), no matter how mild, and whether the violence occurred in the sex scene itself. Australia is the embodiment of totalitarian ideals (but felicitously, not of totalitarian results).