Because fantasies — real sexual fantasies, not the ones you read about in Hustler — are terrifying.
In the world of anonymous fantasy, there are quite literally no taboos. Anything goes — and if my exploration of Internet erotica is anything to go by, anything frequently does.
ASSTR.org and similar websites are protected by Ashcroft, Attorney General vs. the Free Speech Coalition (2001) — which ruled that any written fantasy — from pedophilia to rape — was legal as long as nobody was harmed in the making of it. It’s a ruling anonymous authors have truly taken advantage of.
Sites like ASSTR.org have a unified coding system so fans can quickly find the stories that cater to their kink — and for an example of how twisted fantasy is, here are some popular ones:
• best Bestiality
• ped Pedophilia
• rape Violent rape
• reluc Woman says no, but loves it when she is raped
• snuff Killing, supposed to arouse you
• tort Torture
• viol Violence, not necessarily connected to the sex
Tellingly, the most popular “genre” of online erotica is incest — something that leaves most of us shuddering in disgust, but is apparently a thriving theme online.
But this is nothing new.
Shocking sexual fantasies have been around since long before the invention of the Internet. In 1971, author Nancy Friday published her groundbreaking book My Secret Garden and revealed that sexual fantasies went far beyond what the covers of romance novels perpetuated.
A collection of lurid fantasies — sent in anonymously by women across America — My Secret Garden revealed that women thrived on fantasies of rape, bestiality and incest that would fit right in with stories on ASSTR.org.
In fact sexual fantasies, once you start exploring them, are like Pandora’s Box. You can’t close it once it’s open, and much within flies in the face of so-called “sex positivity.”
For example, there’s not much “sexually positive” about fantasies of rape and degradation — but Nancy Friday revealed that these remain common in many women’s sexual fantasies. Likewise, popular themes in men’s sexual fantasies would win most a spot on the Sex Offender Registry.
But that, perhaps, is the defining characteristic of sexual fantasy — it invariably remains fantasy. If ASSTR.org is anything to go by, there are literally thousands of Americans scribbling sociopathic sexual fantasies online, but none ever act upon them. The line between fantasy and reality remains resolutely rigid.
And for the “sex positive” community, that’s the attitude most take towards other people’s sexual fantasies. As long as any real sex indulged in is consensual and safe, we leave your sexual fantasies to yourself — no matter how extreme they are.
Or do we?
Because I suspect that the sex positive community have become too quick to judge what is and isn’t “appropriate” fantasy material — despite our lip service to “free speech.”
A good example? The recent “hymengate” scandal, in which porn actress Nicki Blue arranged to be “deflowered” by Kink.com.
It didn’t matter that Nicki was a willing and enthusiastic partner. For many bloggers and members of the “sex positive” community, the fantasy itself was “offensive and dangerous.”
Nicki’s performance, some bloggers argued, “perpetuated dangerous myths about virginity.” One idiot even equated Kink.com’s planned webcast to the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona (proving you don’t need to be smart to be a sex blogger).
It didn’t matter that Nicki Blue was willingly “sacrificing her innocence” on webcam for a paying audience. It didn’t matter that this stunning porn star — who boasted “I keep my boyfriends happy with blowjobs and anal sex” was very much pushing the boundaries of what could and couldn’t be considered “virginity.”
All that mattered was that a small, but vocal group condemned her planned performance as “dangerous.”
Now, I’ve always thought that the “sex positive” community had an enlightened attitude towards sexual fantasy. As long as a line was drawn between fantasy and reality, “anything goes.”
But apparently, it doesn’t. Some feel that certain sexual fantasies — like ones involving vaginal virginity — are so “subversive” and “dangerous” that they need to be ruthlessly censored.
It’s not necessarily that I disagree with that idea — God knows some of the more extreme stories on ASSTR.org disturbed me — but I found this example wildly inconsistent — even openly hypocritical.
I mean, the blogger who said that Kink.com’s “devirginizing” was parallel to Congresswoman Gifford’s shooting wasn’t just being revoltingly insensitive; he was ignoring a litany of porn performances that made Nicki’s deflowering pale in comparison.
How can he claim that Nicki perpetuated “dangerous myths” while remaining silent about rival porn companies churning out DVDs like I Can’t Believe You Sucked A Negro and [Crack Whore Confessions] — arguably perpetuating far more dangerous racism and sexism?
I mean, I’m all for hyperbole (you should know — you’re reading this) but why did this porn controversy merit myriad outraged blog posts, while arguably more “dangerous” controversies didn’t?
I fear the answer has little to do with “sex positivity.” Critics of Nicki Blue’s “deflowering” were actually doing what a certain group of “sex positive” bloggers always like to do: Get attention.
Whether it’s an offensive porn production (or just a mid-western blogger who’s “gotten too big for her boots”) there’s always a self-righteous minority who aim to bring people down with accusations of “sex negativity.”
But with the example of Nicki Blue, perhaps more than ever before, their transparency becomes obvious. If this was really about the “dangers” posed by sexual fantasy, there were many more disturbing places to start than an ethical porn production company executing an edgy idea.
This minority only focused on what was politically convenient to attack — more to draw attention than do anything constructive against the alleged “dangers” of sexual fantasy.
And while I don’t argue that such a danger exists; I do fear that those who claim to attack it are generally doing the exact opposite.