SAN FRANCISCO — Kink.com CEO Peter Acworth responded to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech given yesterday in an open letter defending the individual’s right to sexual expression.
Cameron’s speech centered on eliminating child pornography and curtaining what he believes is an excessive accessibility of Internet porn, particularly for children, arguing that it was skewing their young minds’ conceptions of sex and relationships.
However, he also decried porn depicting simulated rape and other forms of “extreme” pornography, which he vowed to criminalize.
Acworth, raised in England, said he applauded Cameron’s measures to combat child pornography, but took issue with his intentions to eradicate kink and BDSM-centric material.
He describes coming of age in a family dynamic intolerant of sexual expression. At 18, Acworth finally breached his sexual repression and purchased bondage and kink-themed magazines from “seedy London sex shops.”
“For me, access to pornography was healthy,” the Cambridge graduate wrote.
“I do not mean to suggest that if I had not been able to access pornography aged 18, I would have committed a sexual crime,” he continued. “However, had the repression I felt lasted indefinitely, had I never found communities of people who shared my sexual desires and had this led to isolation, I have no idea where I would be today. As it is, I have explored my desires to such an extent that my sex life today is probably not obscene, even to you.”
The message gleaned from Cameron’s speech is that kinky sex is wrong, Acworth said, adding that sexual censorship and repression is “inherently short sighted, unhealthy and indeed likely to have the opposite of the intended effect.”
The author notes that he isn’t trying to pass off his anecdotal experiences as hard scientific fact, but suggests that Cameron tries to do just that. Beyond a few isolated instances involving people misusing porn, the majority of adult content is “healthily consumed” and “widespread beyond your wildest imagination,” Acworth wrote.
Acworth then offers statistical evidence from a 2004 study “Porn Up, Rape Down” that shows instances of rape are inversely related to the proliferation of Internet porn in the western world. Denmark, he adds, a country that prides itself for its lack of censorship, reports only a quarter of the number of rape incidents in the U.S. and the U.K.
He finishes the letter: “As an Englishman, it saddens me to read of this shortsighted approach to policy making in my home country.”
To read the full letter, visit PeterAcworth.com.