Erotica, Porn, Legality and Obscenity

The Erotic Art Society will not support, promote or publish any material that is illegal under UK law.

The measure for illegality and obscenity here in the UK remains the rather outdated ‘Obscene Publications Act’ which dates back to 1857 (amended in 1964) and the time of The Erotic Art Society’s Victorian forebears, Section 1 of which concerns itself with the test to determine whether or not something is ‘obscene’; something is taken to be obscene if ‘taken as a whole, it is likely to deprave and corrupt persons who, having regard to all relevant circumstances, might read, see or hear it.’

It has been legally established that it is not sufficient for a single individual to be depraved or corrupted, but that it must be a significant number of people who are likely to become corrupt. It should be understood that the ‘person’ or persons referred to are of legal majority (18), as obviously showing any material to minors is an offence we can all understand.

As it stands, notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, it is NOT currently an offence to show an erect penis; ejaculation; urination; penetrative sex (normal, oral or anal) by a penis, finger, object, implement or toy.

Bondage and S&M are considered fine so long as everyone taking part has consented and no one is in ‘distress or suffering or has been coerced or forced’.

However, ‘fisting’ falls into a grey area and is a matter of legal opinion, based on whether the prosecution thinks it would ‘corrupt and deprave’ a jury of one’s peers. The legal advice we have is that people are far more broadminded these days, largely thanks to the explosion of online hardcore and extreme porn, but that depictions of it should be avoided.

Offences still exist in respect of bestiality (images and non-fiction texts, but not in fiction), and images of under-age sex (texts are something of a grey area as non-fiction, where a description is used to make a point in a moral, physiological or legal text is acceptable, but fiction again is a grey area and best avoided when the person is under 16). Necrophilia is generally a no-go area as well (although, again, works of fiction and academic works have some latitude).

In 1979 the Williams Committee recommended that restrictions on written ‘pornography’ be lifted and these restrictions have now largely been abandoned.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but serves to set the general ground rules for the definitions of ‘illegality’ and ‘obscenity’ as used by The Erotic Art Society.

This website conforms to UK law and we will not display images here we believe to be 'obscene', or which may violate our web hosts terms and conditions.