To be supplied only in licensed sex shops to persons of not less than 18
The 'R18' category is a special and
legally restricted classification primarily for explicit videos with clear
views of real sex between
consenting adults. Such videos may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops. 'R18' videos may not be supplied by mail order.
||The following content is not
- any material which is in breach of the criminal law
including any material judged to be obscene under the current
interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act [Melon Farmers' comment: The BBFC previously
published the obvious examples of bestiality, necrophilia &
defecation. The authorities also dubiously contend that fisting and urolagnia
are also obscene. Urolagnia is defined as pissing during a sex scene.
Pissing when not related to sex is acceptable and is in fact passed in
- material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in
sexually abusive material (eg paedophilia, incest,
rape) which may
include adults role-playing as non-adults.
- the portrayal of any sexual activity which involves lack of consent
(whether real or simulated). Any form of physical
restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of
- the infliction of pain or physical harm, real or (in a sexual context)
simulated. Some allowance may be made for mild consensual activity.
Penetration by any object likely to cause actual harm or associated with
- any sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which does not form part of a
clearly consenting role-playing game. Strong abuse, even if consensual,
is unlikely to be acceptable.
These guidelines make no distinction between
heterosexual and homosexual activity.
[Melon Farmers' comment: The
BBFC previously confirmed that the following content was acceptable. They
now hold that it is sufficient to say that "clear views of real sex between consenting adults" are acceptable and have
removed the following list from their guidelines. The Melon Farmers' believe
that it is still useful to readers to continue to publish the list of
The following content, subject to the above, may be
- aroused genitalia
- oral-genital contact including kissing, licking and
- penetration by finger, penis, tongue, vibrator or
- non-harmful fetish material
- group sexual activity
- ejaculation and semen]
The S&M genre is not prohibited in its entirety
– some allowance is made for clearly consenting role-playing games where it
is clear that no one suffers any real injury or significant pain. However,
such material may be given an ‘R18’ certificate rather than an ‘18’ even in
the absence of explicit sex, depending on the detail and treatment, on the
grounds that its presence in general shops may offend public sensibilities.
Focus on activities such as urination or bondage could confound public
expectation at ‘18’ and/or encourage potentially harmful imitation on the
part of uninitiated viewers.
The Board's policy is that you can show enemas in 'R18'
tapes. However, you must not see any faecal matter being emitted and the
fluid from the enema must not be released onto (or into) another person.
This position is based on the latest advice from the police and the CPS.
Their position is, in turn, based on a number of recent cases in which enema
tapes were found obscene by juries.
The BBFC responded to research
on female ejaculation submitted to the BBFC by
If I may clarify our position, the Board does not in fact take
view on whether or not female ejaculation exists. As you admit in your
letter this is a controversial and much-debated area with a range of views
being taken amongst medical professionals. At the most basic level, however,
the Board is content that the pornographic tapes so far presented to us as
examples of 'female ejaculation' are in fact nothing other than
straightforward scenes of urination masquerading as 'female
ejaculation'. This has been confirmed by a female sexual health expert who
the Board has consulted on a range of issues relating to videos intended for
the 'R18' category.
Quite the opposite of attempting to confront the issue of female
ejaculation in a reassuring, sympathetic or informative light, the tapes in
question appear to be nothing more than a cynical attempt on the part of
porn distributors to get around the constraints imposed on urolagnia in sex
tapes by the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act. It is
worth noting that the kind of material that the Board has been cutting is
regularly sold as 'orolagnia' in other European countries (France, Germany,
Netherlands, etc) where there is no equivalent legal restriction on the use
of urine in sex videos. Indeed, although videos featuring urolagnia are very
much in evidence on the continent, videos purporting to show 'female
ejaculation' seem to be invisible. Perhaps female ejaculation is less
exciting (or profitable) to pornographers and their viewers than urination?
Generally speaking sex videos of the type encountered at 'R18' neither seek
to inform nor educate about female (or male) sexuality but merely offer
graphic (and grossly distorted) views of sex for the arousal of viewers.
Indeed, as you acknowledge in your letter "much of the material [the Board]
passes with an 'R18' certificate does not necessarily represent the sexual
experiences of all women".
To conclude, the Board remains open minded about the issue of female
ejaculation but we have yet to be presented with any pornographic video that
has convinced us - or our medical advisor - that it consists of anything
other than an excuse to display scenes of urolagnia. Such scenes are
regularly found obscene by juries in the UK and therefore cannot be
The BBFC routinely cut fisting as the
authorities have defined fisting to be obscene. They claim that juries
regularly find such scenes to be obscene.
The BBFC define fisting as
penetration with all five digits beyond the last knuckle
On police/CPS advice, the BBFC disallow scenes
of hot wax dripping on genitals or the anus. There is no prohibition on less
sensitive parts of the body.
Comment from beaunidl on
Wrong ! Just watched Tarrant On TV, and at 10:22pm on 12 Oct 2006
there was a piece which clearly showed molten wax being dripped on the tip
of a limp willy. The penis ended up coated with a wick in the end (a human
candle). The domatrix then lit the wick and the sub blew it out, on the 3rd
or 4th attempt.
In particular the BBFC have a chip on
their shoulder about the word 'teen' in R18 titles.
The title of a
work is likely to be seen by many members of the public who would never
choose to watch the contents. It will be displayed on packaging and
promotional material, and will appear on the BBFC's website database. The
potential for offence is therefore significantly greater than for language
which appears in the body of the work itself, which is encountered only by
those who have chosen to view the work in question. The degree of offence
likely to be caused will depend to some extent on how likely the public are
to come across the title by accident.
In addition to considerations of 'offence', the BBFC is also concerned about
titles which apparently promise illicit pleasures even though the material
itself is neither harmful nor illegal. In future, therefore, the BBFC may
ask for changes to a title of a work if it falls into one of the following
- It suggests that sexual participants may be under 18 or that illegal
sexual activity (eg incest, rape) is being depicted. Words such as
'schoolgirl', 'scout', 'teenager', 'very young' and 'child' are unlikely
to be acceptable if the title has sexual connotations unless the title as
a whole makes it clear that the content is not concerned with the
presentation of sex involving under-18s.
- It suggests that the content may be degrading, dehumanising or
humiliating. Words such as 'bitch', 'whore' and 'slut' may be unacceptable
if used in a context which appears to degrade women.
- It is likely to cause unusual offence to a significant proportion of
those who are likely to come across it. The use of pornographic language
in a title is unlikely to be acceptable at 18. Particularly crude or
explicit titles are unlikely to be acceptable even at R18.
Adverts for hardcore media
Offers to supply R18 material other than in a licensed sex shop, a
change of policy which will comes into effect on Wednesday 15th March 2006.
As you may be aware, the issue of mail order supplies of works classified
R18 has been the subject of recent legal action and the matter is now
settled in domestic law. Following the outcome of the court action, the BBFC
has taken legal advice regarding the use of classified video works as a
means of promoting mail order supplies of ‘hardcore’ sex tapes.
Under the Video Recordings Act 1984 it is illegal to offer to supply an
'R18' classified video work other than in a licensed sex shop. This
prohibition includes offers to supply by mail order from websites based
outside the UK: making the offer in the UK is an offence in itself even if
the supply would originate from abroad.
It is also illegal to offer to supply an unclassified video work unless that
work is exempt from classification. Hardcore pornography is, by its nature,
not exempt from classification.
Some video works include references to postal or website addresses and our
legal advice is that we are entitled to cut these if they constitute part of
an offer to supply R18 material or its equivalent (or stronger). Legal
advice further suggests that whether a reference to an address constitutes
part of an illegal offer to supply will depend on both the nature of the
reference and the nature of the video in which it appears.
The following policy will therefore apply to all works submitted after 15th
Sex works (18 or R18)
i) A simple website or postal address with no suggestion (verbal, text or
pictorial) that goods or services can be purchased from it (eg
“www.productionhouse.com”) will normally be passed uncut unless the title
itself implies that goods can be purchased from the address (eg
“www.buystuffhere.com”) in which case (ii) applies.
ii) A website or postal address accompanied by a suggestion (verbal, text or
pictorial) that goods or services can be purchased from it (eg “Products are
available in our online store www.productionhouse.com”) will normally be cut
if a visit to the website reveals that it appears to be offering R18
material or its equivalent (or stronger) by mail order.
All other works
iii) A website or postal address with no suggestion that goods or services
relating to R18 material or its equivalent (or stronger) can be purchased
from it (eg “mailorderdvds.com”) will normally be passed uncut.
iv) A website or postal address accompanied by a suggestion (verbal, text or
pictorial) that goods or services relating to R18 material or its equivalent
(or stronger) can be purchased from it (eg “get hardcore sex at www.illegal
supply.com”) will normally be cut if a visit to the website reveals that it
appears to be offering R18 material or its equivalent (or
stronger) by mail order.
NB “by mail order” involves an offer to sell a tape, disc, chip or other
storage device by means of the post or a parcel or courier service or
similar. An offer to supply hardcore material by video-on-demand (streaming,
downloads, etc) or other manner in which no physical product changes hands
does not count as mail order supply of a video work.