Melon Farmers Original Version

UK Sex Sells News

2012 Jan-March

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Updated: Moralists Thwarted...

Portsmouth Council fail to attract public support for its miserable ban on lap dancing

Link Here17th October 2012
Full story: Lap Dancing in Portsmouth...Miserable council proposes nil policy

Portsmouth's four lap-dancing clubs will not be closed down, but the city's council has said no more licences will be granted for similar venues.

Councillors met to decide whether to ban lap dancing and consider the results of a public consultation on the topic.

The consultation attracted 3,425 responses - 1,672 of which were from outside the city. The council said 97% of all the respondents were against a total ban on the clubs.

They council voted to keep the status quo but to ban any further clubs.

Lap-dancers, bouncers, bar staff and other workers has protested outside Portsmouth Guildhall before the meeting. They waved banners saying Save our jobs and Listen to our voice, it's our choice . 'Better money'

Councillor Terry Hall, who wanted a total ban, spewed:

I don't think Portsmouth is the right place because we're a very densely populated city.

There's nowhere in the city that isn't close to a church or a mosque or a school or residential area and I don't think this is the right place for them.

Perhaps they should knock down a few churches then, there doesn't seem much call for them these days.

Offsite: Further Details and Insight

17th October 2012. See  article from

One of the most heartening results from the meeting in Portsmouth was when Solent Feminist Network tried to use their well worn the girls are exploited, traumatised and don't know what they are doing angle, they were firmly slapped down by the Council. Councillor Les Stevens said as follows...

We listened to well-thought out, eloquent arguments from both sides who were for and against changes to policy.

Our decision was to agree a policy where the number of current sex establishments premises were sufficient for the city and when considering any new applications there would have to be very persuasive argument to agree to any more. We took our lead from public consultation which was overwhelming in its response against adopting a nil policy.

We listened to people working in these venues and felt that the current sex establishments have not caused a rise in crime in the area. We noted the women working there did so by choice and were extremely well looked after and adopting a nil policy would put jobs at risk.

...Read the full article at the always excellent Stripping the Illusion Blog


29th March   

Krystal Klear...

Wakefield set to impose repressive 'distance rule' on lap dances
Link Here
The last lapdancing bar in the Wakefield district will face repressive new licensing rules next week.

Krystals, on Cheapside will suffer the imposition of a distance rule , meaning dancers cannot go within 30cm of customers when performing.

Claire Brown, director at Krystals Group said the new regulations, which also mean venues pay a licence tax of 2,934, could make it tough for lap dancing bars to keep trading. She said:

It remains to be seen what these new regulations will mean. I think it will close a lot of clubs down because a lot of them simply can't afford to pay the fees when, if they lose their licence, they won't get it back.

We don't have a problem with the government wanting to licence the industry because of the nature of the business. But what we have now got is councillors setting the conditions for licenses and a lot of those councillors have not set foot in a lap dancing venue and quite often don't care for them.

We have a no touching policy but by making the girls stand that far away, you're taking away the point of a lap dance. For people that want to come and enjoy a lap dance, it's going to put them off because they're not really getting what they want.

The application will be heard by Wakefield Council's Licensing Regulatory and Appeals Sub-Committee next week after an objection was raised by an elected member who claimed it will affect the status of then city centre, particularly when so much is being done to attract more people of all ages, particularly around the theatre area.

Update: Licensed

7th April 2012. See  article from

A lap dancing club has been granted a licence despite claims it will make the city centre more seedy .

Krystals, on Cheapside, is the first club in the city to have been licensed as a Sexual Entertainment Venue under new policy adopted by Wakefield Council last year.

There was no mention of the 30cm rule in the newspaper report.

The lap dancing licence tax cost the venue 2,934.


28th March   

Update: Nobs and Nutters...

Flying Scotsman strip pub under threat in King's Cross
Link Here
Full story: Lap Dancing in London...Predictable nutter outrage throughout London
Four strip pubs and clubs in Kings Cross and Old Street are under threat from Islington Council.

Councillor Paul Convery had written a long letter opposing the application by The Flying Scotsman , in Caledonian Road, to renew its sex entertainment licence, arguing it would be detrimental to the regeneration of the area and reinforce the perception that King's Cross was an area to find drugs and sex.

He added that he had been contacted by Muslim and Christian constituents, who found the sex club abhorrent to their faith.

But he told the Tribune he was going to withdraw the objection after being assured by the owners that they intended to have sex entertainment for only another year or two before turning the bar into a gastro-type pub.

There's not a lot of future in these types of geezer pubs with nude dancing and fizzy beer, he spouted.

Islington's Town Hall's policy is to ban sex clubs altogether.

Several objections to the Platinum Bar, in Paul Street, Bunhill, have been lodged by residents, citing the usual bollox about nearby schools.

The Horns, in Old Street, has attracted opposition from nearby businesses. A financial company has claimed its women employees felt intimidated when walking past the club late at night.

For Your Eyes Only, in City Road, is also seeking to have its licence renewed, although no objections have been lodged.


27th March   

Nutter's Kiss...

Nutters threaten to march on County Hall in protest about a lap dancing licence in Newquay
Link Here
A nutter councillor has vowed to march his people to the doors of County Hall in Truro if plans for a new lap-dancing club in Newquay are approved.

Dave Sleeman, chairman of Newquay Town Residents' Association (NTRA), is urging locals to sign a petition against an application for Kiss Gentlemen's Club, in Bank Street.

Nightclub owner Jane Hawkey has applied for a sexual entertainment venue (SEV) licence for the premises, formerly occupied by Halos.

Sleeman said he had no confidence in Cornwall Council's Miscellaneous Licensing Committee after members granted an SEV licence for Wild Cherry on Beach Road last year, despite nutter opposition. Speaking at a residents' association meeting, Sleeman said:

I'm disgusted with the licensing panel. They are not fit for purpose.

We need to go and fight this. There's no point in giving up and pulling back because then more [lap-dancing clubs] will start. If it comes to the push we have to get a demonstration going and go to County Hall and complain about this licensing committee because it's totally useless.

Residents have until April 2 to make their views heard.


25th March   


The CPS (and therefore the BBFC) still hold that fisting depraves and corrupts people, even though a recent high profile jury case resulted in an acquittal
Link Here
Sergio has asked the Crown Prosecution Service about the number of prosecutions for obscenity that involve fisting and their outcomes.

So far he has only obtained the statistic for all cases of obscenity:

Offences charged and reaching a first hearing in magistrates' courts

Obscene Publications Act 1959

2005 147
2006 82
2007 138
2008 123
2009 130
2010 78
2011 76

Apart from that he has been referred to the Ministry of Justice for further information.

And as Sergio says, So when the BBFC say they talk to someone at the CPS [about fisting still be considered as obscene] , then how do they know what the stats are?


16th March   

Updated: Secretive Moralists...

Hull Council to reconsider sex shop application after it refused a previous application without even informing the owners of the council hearing
Link Here
Full story: Sex Shops in Hull...The usual trivial reasons cited to get sex shops banned
Hull councillors are set to reconsider an application to open a new sex shop at the junction of the Boulevard and Hessle Road in west Hull.

An application by Sheffield-based The Naughty Company was refused by councillors in January supposedly because of the shop's proximity to a special unit for schoolgirl mums.

However, that decision has now been rescinded after company owner Paul Darker complained he had not been invited to speak at the licensing committee meeting or even told by the council when it was taking place.

The same  licensing committee meeting will hear applications for two lap dancing venues. The Fantasy Bar and The Purple Door.

The Fantasy Bar application has attracted one letter of objection. Moralist Mike Brown said:

I don't feel the location is very suitable. It is on a main road in the city centre and is covered by a large amount of public transport. I have no negative moral beliefs towards these establishments ... BUT ... I do not feel this site is right.

A report for the committee says Humberside Police has raised no objections to either application.

Update: Local Monopoly Maintained

16th March 2012. From

A sex shop boss says he will open a new shop in Hull after being refused a sex shop licence. Paul Darker said he still planned to open the shop, selling lingerie and adult toys, which do not require a licence.

Licensing councillors refused Darker's application for an empty shop unit in Boulevard after arbitrarily deciding on a limit on the number of sex shops in the Hessle Road area. They decided that the existing licensed Private Shop across Hessle Road was sufficient.

Councillors also scraped the excuses barrel and said opening another sex shop directly opposite a memorial to lost trawlermen on Hessle Road and close to a unit for schoolgirl mums in Boulevard would be tactless .

At the same meeting, councillors granted new-style sex entertainment venue licences for two existing lap-dancing clubs in the city centre. Approval of the licenses for the Purple Door in Dock Street and the Fantasy Bar in George Street came after the committee agreed to set a limit of two venues in the city centre.


9th March   

Update: Piano Detuned...

Richmond lap dancing venue refused a sex entertainment licence
Link Here
Full story: Lap Dancing in London...Predictable nutter outrage throughout London

The Piano Lounge in Twickenham has had it's application for an lap dancing  license turned down by the council. understands that no appeal will be made and comments:

The club has closed for good and looks like it's got the dubious honour of being the first actual victim of the 2009 act, though in truth it's problems with the council predated the new act.


3rd March   

Updated: Scraping the Barrel of Bollox Whinges...

Nutters take aim at Spearmint Rhino in Sheffield
Link Here

About 50 people are objecting to Sheffield's Spearmint Rhino lap dancing venue.

The venue has been operating for a number of years without complaint but now has to apply for a sexual entertainment venue licence.

The application by owner, London-based Sonfield Developments, will be considered at a Sheffield Council licensing committee and the the full council.

56 letters of objection have been submitted claiming such nonsense as that the club is inhibiting growth and development of nearby firms.

One objector, who described the area as a cultural hub for young people , said: For this area to develop into a thriving area, drawing investment and supporting the production of world-class artistic products, its quality needs to be protected.

Another opponent said: Many institutions in the Cultural Industries Quarter work with children under 16. Having a sexual entertainment venue is inappropriate.

Update: Licensed

3rd March 2012. See  article from

Sheffield councillors have voted in favour of allowing Spearmint Rhino lapdancing club to remain open.

Despite letters of objection being sent to the council, a new sexual entertainment licence for the Brown Street club was given the go-ahead.

Sheffield Council chief licensing officer Steve Lonnia said:

The committee looked carefully at all the evidence and took everything into consideration.

Unfortunately there were no grounds to refuse the application.

The licensing service will continue to monitor the venue, and will be working closely with the operators to make sure any marketing or advertising outside the premises is appropriate.

Councillors also granted new licences for Villa Mercedes (previously Scores) in Charter Square in the city centre and La Chambre swingers club in Attercliffe. There were no objections to either application.


2nd March   

Enhancing Portsmouth's Reputation as a City of Censorship Culture, Miserableness and Repression...

Portsmouth proposes a ban an strippers, lap dancing and sex shops
Link Here
Full story: Lap Dancing in Portsmouth...Miserable council proposes nil policy

Portsmouth Council have proposed a repressive policy which could lead to all of Portsmouth's lap dancing clubs being closed down.

According the draft policy there will be no place within the City of Portsmouth where it is appropriate for sex establishments to trade; this includes lap dancing clubs, sex shops and sex cinemas.

The proposal is now open for a six-week consultation. To share your views email by April 12.

Businessman Paul Ojla, who runs Wiggle, in Surrey Street, and Elegance, in Granada Road, said he couldn't believe his eyes when he read the proposal being put forward by the city council. He said:

My licences are already reviewed every year and if I break the rules they could close me down. But this policy says because Portsmouth is so densely populated, and you are always within three miles of a church or school, there is nowhere in the city that is suitable for us, which is taking it way too far.

We don't get the trouble they have at other clubs in any shape or form.

We will be fighting this policy all the way to the court of human rights if necessary.

The issue split the council's licensing committee, with several councillors claiming the policy was unfair and could lead to a the closure of law-abiding establishments that have done nothing wrong.

Conservative Cllr Lee Mason voted against the draft policy and said:

This is not a fair consultation because we are saying we should have none, regardless of what people think.

The whole thing is totally unfair. It is people forcing their Victorian morality on others and trying to create a new kind of puritan society.

I think the long-term aim of some Lib Dem councillors is to put all the clubs out of business.

But the Lib Dem chairman of the council's licensing committee, Cllr Les Stevens, said the existing clubs would not be forced to close down.

Prudish Councillor Lynne Stagg said:

I wouldn't have any of those places anywhere. Not because I'm a prude ...BUT... because they are demeaning to women. It was the right decision to make. But I do think we should leave the ones that are there already.

A group on social networking site Facebook -- called Save the Stripclubs of Portsmouth -- has attracted nearly 1,000 members, while Solent Feminist Network spoke out in favour of the repressive policy at the meeting.


27th February   

Grating Teeth...

Green Party moralist whinges about a lap dancing venue for being near a dentist
Link Here

Nutters have been whingeing after a second club in Leamington Old Town applied for a license to provide sexual entertainment throughout the week.

Amara, a nightclub in Court Street, is pushing for the sexual entertainment venue license, which would allow it to offer lap dancing.

Jonathan Chilvers of Warwick and Leamington Green Party, said of the application:

Amara is close to local flats and houses which were built to provide accommodation for families with young children.

It's also close to the academy of dance, the Polish Centre, a dental practice and a medical centre.

To have a lap dancing club so close to all of these community facilities is inappropriate and I am calling on the licensing committee to see sense.


21st February   

Xcite Awards 2012...

Results and winners
Link Here

Xcite Books is delighted to announce the winners of the first Xcite Awards 2012.

They include internet retailer Lovehoney, Bonny Hall, Head Buyer at Lovehoney, commented, At Lovehoney we love erotica and are passionate about great sex writing, so we're thrilled to be named Best Internet Retail Site in the Xcite Books Awards 2012.

The Best Blog category was won by Cara Sutra who, on hearing the news, commented, I am completely stunned that I won Best Sex Blog in the fabulous Xcite Books Awards, I am so pleased to hear that people enjoy reading my blog as much as I do writing it!

The Best Publication category was won by Erotic Trade Only which pipped Cosmopolitan by just four votes. Dale Bradford, Editor of Erotic Trade Only said Xcite Books has championed the cause of erotic literature over the last five years and introducing its own awards to highlight, support and promote the market is the latest in a long line of initiatives from the company. We are humbled, surprised but most of all delighted to be the inaugural winners of Xcite's Best Publication award. We were up against five very well respected titles so we'd just like to say a very sincere 'Thank You' to everyone who voted for us and express our congratulations to all the other category winners.


Best Internet Retail Site . This award celebrates those sites that offer a great service, a range of products, and an enjoyable online shopping experience.


Shortlisted: . . . . .

Best Blog or Author Page This category celebrates those that are using blogs to promote erotic writing including authors who engage well with readers or bloggers who are passionate about reading erotica.


Shortlisted: . . . . . .

Best Reviewer . Reviewers can make or break a book and they can help hidden gems to get a larger audience. Good reviewers are trusted by their readership for their honest appraisals. This category was open to both print and internet reviewers.


Shortlisted: . . . . . .

Best Sexpert. A good sexpert can help save a relationship, or give readers the confidence to start a whole new one. Since Xcite Books are recommended by many sex therapists Xcite wanted to acknowledge their important work.

Winner: Violet Blue

Shortlisted: . Dr Gabrielle Morrissey . Dr Laura Berman . Julie Peasgood . Pamela Stephenson Connolly . Tracey Cox . Violet Blue

Best Publication. This category was open to both trade and consumer magazines (either in print or online) which support and encourage erotic fiction with reviews, author interviews or industry news.

Winner: Erotic Trade Only

Shortlisted: . Attitude (gay) . Cosmopolitan . Diva (lesbian) . Erotic Trade Only . Jade Magazine . Skin Two Magazine


13th February   

Recommended by Nutters...

Bellissima table dancing club...An affront to God
Link Here

Table dancing clubs should not be sited near residential areas, a Swansea rector has spouted.

A club featuring table dancing and fully nude performances is planned for a venue next to a city baptist chapel. Bellissima, hoping to open on York Street by mid-April, has been criticised by the pastor of the York Place Baptist Chapel.

Pastor Haydn Dennis said it would be an affront to God and the total opposite of what the Bible teaches.

Now, Father Simon of St Mary's Church in the city centre has said venues such as Bellissima should not open near a residential area. He said:

I suppose it is a sign of the times. I have come from the city centre in Sheffield where the general opinion was that if these places had to exist they are better out of a residential area. The issues here are much the same as they were in Sheffield.

Bellissima is due to open in the former Jager bar in York Street near Swansea Marina.

Swansea Council has already granted a planning application for a change of use of the premises from a bar to a dance venue. The local authority has received an application for a sex entertainment licence for the venue.


1st February   

Update: Miserably PC...

Hetero fun banning Tower Hamlets Council in a PC dilemma as to whether also banning gay fun will be considered homophobic
Link Here
Full story: Lap Dancing in London...Predictable nutter outrage throughout London

Supporters of an East End gay pub are battling to stop it being included in a hit-list of sex entertainment establishments the council wants to close down.

Around 750 people have signed a petition to exempt the White Swan in Commercial Road from Tower Hamlets Council's plans to ban any venue from offering lap-dancing, pole-dancing or sex shows.

Campaigners, who first presented the petition in November, now accuse town hall chiefs of ignoring their concerns as they have had no response despite being told they should receive one within 28 days.

The White Swan's popular Wednesday nights sometimes feature male strippers but the campaign group is arguing there are no advertisements that could offend passersby and no prostitution or sexual activity of any kind .

Daryl Stafford, leading the campaign, said:

If we live in a truly multi-cultural society where people truly respect the lifestyles of others this simply would not happen. The venue has run its comedy male amateur strip night for 26 years without a single complaint.

And with a touch of 'I'm alright Jack', he added:

The legislation was originally set up to stop women being exploited and coerced into the sex trade... But there are no women involved in this. It's a men only night and stripping is voluntary."

Jack Gilbert, of LGBT group Rainbow Hamlets, said:

If they are making an argument that something is a social nuisance or has a history of causing anti-social behaviour and exploitation then the White Swan does not meet any of these criteria at all.

A council spokesprat said:

There was a record number of responses to the consultation and it was clear that residents felt strongly about the matter. No decision has been made in relation to which premises would be deemed to be sex establishments.

And with a particularly inept piece of politically correct confused thinking, Conservative group leader at Tower Hamlets, Peter Golds told BBC London:

I, like most reasonably minded people, have concerns about scantily clad women being exploited ....BUT... consenting adults looking for a laugh, a joke and comedy is not exploitation.


27th January   

Update: Internet Censor...

Birmingham councillor dreams up a wheeze to use club licensing requirements to restrict what lap dancing clubs can put on their websites
Link Here
Full story: Lap Dancing in West Midlands...Fun on Broad Street

Birmingham City councillor Nigel Dawkins has called for the sex establishments not to be allowed to use pornographic images on their websites.

Since last January, lap dancing clubs have had to apply for a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence. The committee has the power to refuse the licences and set the conditions under which they have to operate.

Dawkins said he wanted another condition put on the licences:

I think we should make it a condition that on their websites they do not use porn to advertise their clubs because they are using pornography to sell their business and that's a scandal, he said. They wouldn't be allowed to use these images on their windows, but they are free to use them on their websites.

Licensing committee chairman, Councillor Bruce Lines  said they had no powers over the internet. But the committee agreed to ask its officers to prepare a report for a future meeting on the possiblity of restricting how clubs advertised themselves on their websites.


25th January   

Update: Depraved...

The CPS still stands by its ludicrous opinion that the sight of an actress licking urine tends to deprave and corrupt R18 viewers
Link Here
Full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

The BBFC published it's decision to make cuts to the R18 adult DVD titled The Best of Lucy Law. It cut 2:35s with the comment:

Cuts were required to remove the clear indication that one woman is licking urine from another, penetration with an object with potential to cause physical harm, and dialogue encouraging an interest in breath restriction. Cuts made in line with current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 , BBFC Guidelines and policy, and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

This decision was published after the R v Peacock case where a jury unanimously cleared films depicting full on urolagnia of obscenity.

Sergio enquired of the BBFC whether anything has changed regarding the R V Peacock case and received an email from the BBFC:

The role of the BBFC is not to decide the law but to enforce it, and in this we will be guided by the law enforcement agencies. In relation to this case, the CPS have stated that the fact that a jury has acquitted someone does not mean that the guidance is incorrect.

There are no current plans to revise our Guidelines.

Yours sincerely,

J L Green
Chief Assistant (Policy)


23rd January   

Miserable Plymouth...

Baptists argue that lap dancing should be banned from the vicinity of such 'sensitive' buildings as petrol stations
Link Here
Full story: Lap Dancing in Devon and Cornwall...Newquay, nightlife capital of Cornwall

Plymouth Council has proposed suffocating restrictions to prevent adult fun and the chance for local people to make a bit of money.

Repressive new licensing laws will mean that only one sex shop or cinema and two lap dancing venues will be allowed in Union Street.

The city centre will be allowed just one sex shop and no lap dancing venues.

All other parts of the city will be generally considered out of bounds.

A one-year licence will cost 3,900, and the annual renewal fee will be 3,200 under proposals agreed by the Cabinet.

The licensing policy will go to the full city council at the end of this month for approval.

A total of 46 responses were received during a public consultation.

Hooe Baptist Church called for premises such as supermarkets and filling stations to be included as sensitive buildings.


22nd January   

Update: Squashed...

Lap dancing plans for Mangos in Dundee rejected
Link Here
Full story: Lap Dancing in Scotland...Lap dancing outside of Edinbugh and Glasgow

A bid for a new lap dancing club in central Dundee has been thrown out by councillors over bollox fears it could increase crime in the area.

The application, by Stars Sports Bar, run by Jimmy Marr, wanted to change the use of Mangos Nightclub in the Seagate into a lap dancing venue.

Katherine Sharp of the nutter group Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership voiced her strong opposition to the undesirable development. She ludicrously claimed that the move would result in an over-provision of adult entertainment venues in the city and could create a problem with prostitution in the surrounding area. She said:

Lap dancing is harmful to the women involved. They are often verbally abused by men and propositioned for sex. Support of this application would be contrary to the council's duty to protect women and goes against its equality policy as it would support one gender over another.

The ready stock of alcohol at these clubs can make it very unsafe for women. Afterwards many men use public transport and cause problems to women on their way home.

Sharp also claimed that 'research' from other anti-commercial sex groups had shown crime, or fear of crime, increases in areas in which lap dancing clubs exist.

The council's director of city development, Mike Galloway, warned the committee that although a number of moral issues had been raised it was the duty of members to make a decision based only on planning considerations. He said the fear of increased crime, as mentioned by Ms Sharp, could be taken into account as this was not a moral issue but material consideration.

Maryfield councillor Ken Lynn moved to refuse the application on moral grounds anyway, saying that he viewed the plans with genuine distaste. He was seconded by Richard McCready, who again cited morality reasons: We have to consider the vision for our city centre and ask is this something that we want?

All councillors agreed to the motion that went against the recommendation made to them by city planners.


15th January

 Offsite: It's Obscene!...

Link Here
Full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury
Podcast with lawyers and campaigners discussing impact of the R v Peacock obscenity acquittal

See article from


10th January   

Update: Rabble Rousing...

Durham MP tries to whip up moral opposition against lone lap dancing club
Link Here

A morality campaign to block a lap dancing club from operating in Consett has been revived.

The opening of Red Velvet in Consett was granted five years ago under the old licensing regime. Nutters were vocal at the time but license was allowed.

The owners have now been forced to apply for a new licence under the new legislation that allows for morality objections dressed up as 'concerns' about the area.

North-West Durham MP Pat Glass is urging people to register their objections with the council. She spewed:

This club was never wanted by local people and its activities are completely out of keeping with the local area.

It is surrounded by three churches, and is close to homes, primary schools and Derwentside College.

But in fact the venue is in perfect keeping with the local area. It is even located above a fish and chip shop.

Glass prattled on:

At the time that the initial licence was granted local people, churches and organisations were very angry that they were not given the opportunity to object to the licence, but they have that opportunity now and can object to the renewal.

I would encourage anyone or organisation who objects to this club and its activities to provide their objections to Durham County Council.

If local people work together we can prevent the renewal of this licence.

People have until January 18 to express their views to the council.

Update: Delayed

21st February 2012. See  article from

More than 400 people have signed a petition opposing the license and North-West Durham MP Pat Glass has also voiced concerns.

The application was expected to go before Durham County Council's statutory licensing committee on February 28, but the decision has now been delayed and will be heard by councillors at a date yet to be fixed.


9th January

 Offsite: Trial Report...

Link Here
Full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury
Making a Fist of It: The Law and Obscenity

See article from


8th January   

Update: Delighted...

Comments about the recent victory over the Obscene Publications Act
Link Here
Full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

The International Union of Sex Workers is delighted by the unanimous verdicts of not guilty on all counts in the trial of Michael Peacock that concluded at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 6th January.

Michael's courage and determination in pursuing this case was the first challenge to the Obscene Publications Act 1959 for many years. Understandably, most people charged with offences under this Act plead guilty as an innocent plea followed by a court case that returns a guilty verdict will result in a harsher sentence. This has the effect of leaving police and CPS opinion of what is obscene untested.

The DVDs that were the subject of this prosecution were sold through Michael's website,, and on Craigslist. They contained scenes of male fisting, urination and BDSM. Michael was charged with six counts of publishing obscene articles likely to deprave and corrupt . The jury saw a substantial amount of the content which the police and CPS deemed illegal and required less than two hours deliberation to return unanimous not guilty verdicts on all counts. Therefore material showing the activities depicted is no longer defined as obscene in law.

It's time to decriminalise sex between consenting adults. Lady Chatterley trial of 1960 (R v Penguin Books) is still quoted as precedent in obscenity trials; the jury's response in R v Peacock shows public opinion has clearly moved on considerably.

Catherine Stephens, activist with the International Union of Sex Workers, says:

In a week that has also seen the collapse of the Sheila Farmer trial for brothel keeping, it is time to decriminalise the sexual activities of consenting adults, whether or not they are in front of a camera. These two trials were an appalling waste of public resources: the law as it stands does nothing to enhance the safety either of the general public or those who work in the adult industry and often actively increases the dangers we face.

Michael Peacock says:

Responsible treatment of pornography would allow adults who want to access sexually explicit materials freedom to do so and protect those who are underage or do not wish to view such content. The current legal framework fails to do either of these things. I give my thanks to my legal team at Hodge Jones Allen, the judge who heard my case and the twelve people who served on the jury whose maturity and commonsense has changed the law.

Hazel Eracleous, Chair of Backlash comments:

Backlash is delighted that a jury decided it is no longer appropriate to prosecute people based on consensual adult sexual activity. We support the rights of adults to participate in all consensual sexual activities and to watch, read and create any fictional interpretation of such in any media. We will continue to raise awareness of the unseen consequences of these draconian laws, provide legal advice and defend those same consenting adults caught up in the Extreme Pornography and Obscene Publication laws.

Myles Jackman, solicitor at Hodge Jones Allen with a specialist interest in obscenity cases states:

This case shows the Obscene Publications Act is no longer effective in the age of the internet.

See also Obscenity trial: the law is not suitable for a digital age from by Myles Jackman.

See also Interview with Myles jackman: Freedom Fister from

Jerry Barnett, Chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association (AITA), says:

We congratulate Michael Peacock on his victory. The idea that depictions of consenting adult sexual activity can be deemed obscene is a throwback to an earlier age. The adult industry continues to develop and adopt technologies that prevent children from accessing sexual content. We see no need for adults to be protected from it -- a free society should protect the rights of adults to participate in any consenting sexual act they choose.

In the Press

The judgement seems to have captured little attention from the newspapers with the exception of the Guardian/Observer which has published several items about the news.

See  article from

Feona Attwood of Sheffield Hallam University, who lectures in sex, communication and culture, and who attended the trial, said:

I think the law does not make sense. All the evidence that was heard was about whether the material had the ability to harm and corrupt. The question now is, what does that actually mean? What is significant is that the jury understood [the issues at stake].

Attwood, like others experts in the field, believes that the law has been overtaken by new understandings of the way in which people think about sexuality and the depiction of sex including whether a process actually exits that leads to moral corruption .

Others who have been deeply critical of the attempted prosecution include solicitor and New Statesman legal blogger David Allen Green. Writing during the case he said:

Obscenity is a curious criminal offence, and many would say that it now has no place in a modern liberal society, especially when all that is being portrayed in any obscene material are the consensual (if unusual) sexual acts between adults.

See also It's time to abolish the obscenity law from by Nichi Hodgson

Other Comments

See also Obscenity trial ends from by Dr Brooke Magnanti

See also An end to Obscenity Law? from by Jane Fae

See also 'Obscenity Trial Of The Century' Ends In Acquittal from

See also The End of the English Obscene Publications Act from by Mike Freeman

And from the not so delighted

Few nutter campaigners have commented so far.

From  article at .

The BBC prompted a few words from Vivienne Pattison

Mediawatch-UK said the Obscene Publications Act needed to be tightened up. Its director Vivienne Pattison says the case illustrates the problem with the act:

There is not a list which says what is obscene and what is not. It makes it incredibly difficult to get a conviction on that.

As a society we are moving to a place where porn is considered as kind of fun between consenting adults, but porn is damaging.


7th January   

Update: Obscenity Trial of the Decade...

Jury clears gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM DVDs of obscenity
Link Here
Full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

R v Peacock

Michael Peacock has been acquitted of all charges after a unanimous jury decision to find Peacock not guilty on 6 counts of obscenity.

Michael Peacock (referred to in the gay porn world as Sleazy Michael) had been charged for distributing supposedly obscene DVDs including representation of gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM.

The trial was heard before the Southwark Crown Court. The films in question feature: gay fisting (the insertion of five fingers of the fist into the rectum of another male); urolagnia (in this case men urinating in their clothes, onto each others' bodies and drinking it); and BDSM (in this case hard whipping, the insertion of needles, urethral sounds and electrical torture ). Also there was an example of a staged non consensual scene.

The Obscene Publications Act 1959 features the contentious and ambiguous deprave and corrupt test, whereby an article (for example a DVD) is obscene if it tends to deprave and corrupt the reader, viewer or listener. The Test is defined in Section1 of the Act as:

An article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.

Peacock was represented by Nigel Richardson and Sandra Paul of Hodge Jones and Allen

Myles Jackman, a solicitor specialising in obscenity law, said this outcome was a significant victory for common sense suggesting that the OPA has been rendered irrelevant in the digital age .

In a tweet, Jackman said that SCD9, the Metropolitan Police unit dealing with human exploitation and organised crime, will meet with the Crown Prosecution Service and the British Board of Film Classification to review guidelines on obscenity.

And of course the authorities will be considering whether the law itself now needs changing. No doubt nutter campaigners will now be pushing for something new to replace the OPA now that it no longer supports their censorial views.

Speculation: So what may be the outcome at least in terms of BBFC censorship of R18s?

R18 StoryThe BBFC have been cutting all such material citing the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act. But now of course this will change. The BBFC will still be at liberty to cut scenes off their own bat. And indeed the board has been regularly cutting scenes involving penetration by objects that could possibly result in harm justified via its own guidelines.

I think there will be a few changes welcomed by all sides. The current prohibition of female squirting leaves everyone totally baffled as to why. This prohibition can now be rapidly dropped. Perhaps urolagnia can now be generally allowed albeit with restrictions when it is considered by the censors to be degrading.

Perhaps something similar with fisting which could be generally allowed with a proviso that it must not be seen to be causing any discomfort to those participating.

The BDSM issue is not going to be easy. The current ban is at least easy to explain. To allow any level of hurt beyond trifling may prove very difficult to define. Maybe it is still banned by legislation examined during the notable Spanner Case, the judgement of which basically disallows people from giving consent to be hurt. So perhaps the BBFC will just switch justifications but continue to ban BDSM.

And I don't suppose that the non-consensual scene will impact BBFC guidelines at all. This will no doubt continue to be banned from R18s.


5th January   

Updated: Obscenity Trial of the Decade...

Contested jury trial seems to be accepted as a test case to decide on the legality of depictions of fisting, urolagnia and BDSM
Link Here
Full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

The 3rd January 2012 marks the first day of the most significant obscenity trial of the decade; which will ultimately clarify the law on the representation of gay fisting, urolagnia as well as BDSM.

The defendant in the case, Michael Peacock, is charged on indictment with numerous offences under the Obscene Publications Act for distributing supposedly obscene DVDs.

The Obscene Publications Act 1959 features the contentious and ambiguous deprave and corrupt test, whereby an article (for example a DVD) is obscene if it tends to deprave and corrupt the reader, viewer or listener. The Test is defined in Section1 of the Act as:

An article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.

In this trial, which will be heard before the Southwark Crown Court, the films in question feature: gay fisting (the insertion of five fingers of the fist into the rectum of another male); urolagnia (in this case men urinating in their clothes, onto each others' bodies and drinking it); and BDSM (in this case hard whipping, the insertion of needles, urethral sounds and electrical torture ).

These activities feature on the current list of what the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) currently consider to be obscene. Ultimately though, it is a matter for a jury to decide whether these acts are obscene by virtue of whether they deprave and corrupt the viewer.

Interestingly this case seems to have found unofficial tacit support from the BBFC; and the Metropolitan Police's Abusive and Extreme Images Unit (the Met's old obscene publications squad is now part of SCD9): on the basis that this case will establish whether the depiction of fisting and urination pornography is legal or not.

Hence, if the jury decides that such pornography is not obscene, on the basis that it does not deprave and corrupt the viewer; then it is entirely likely that both the producers and distributors of pornography will make such material available for sale, for example via licensed sex shops.

Consequently, this significant obscenity prosecution will either reaffirm or rearrange the boundaries of obscenity law.

Mr Peacock is represented by  Hodge Jones and Allen LLP..

...Read the full article

Update: Follow Live on Twitter

5th January 2012.  See  article from

The #ObscenityTrial involving the issue of fisting (among others) goes into day three today.

If you're not already doing so, be sure to follow on twitter the excellent activist and scholar, @lexingtondymock . I'd also suggest following the journalist @NichiHodgson . Both have been providing fascinating coverage through their live tweets from the courtroom.

Many of the exchanges today would be comical, were they not so serious.


5th January   

Whingers Caned...

ASA clears adverts for Back to School Parties at Hustler Club
Link Here

A regional press ad for a Hustler Club UK which appeared on 15 September 2011 featured a blackboard, a pile of books on top of which sat an apple and a discarded bra. Text stated Back to school. JOIN OUR SCHOOL GIRL PARTY EVERY FRIDAY FOR FOUR WEEKS STARTING 23RD SEPTEMBER. SEE YOUR FAVOURITE HUSTLER HONEYS & STAFF IN THEIR SCHOOL UNIFORMS .

A reader challenged whether the ad was:

  1. offensive and irresponsible because it promoted the idea of school children as sexual objects; and

  2. unsuitable to appear in a publication which children might see.

ASA Decision: Complaints Not Upheld

1. Not Upheld

The ASA noted the reference to Back to school and associated school items such as books, a blackboard and an apple. We considered that in the context of the ad, the claim Join our school girl party which appeared in conjunction with the claim SEE YOUR FAVOURITE HUSTLER HONEYS & STAFF IN THEIR SCHOOL UNIFORMS was likely to be understood as referring to the Hustler staff as the ones dressed in school uniform. We noted that the ad did not feature any one dressed in school uniform. Whilst we understood that some readers may object to the choice of theme night, we considered that the ad would be unlikely to be seen as promoting school children as sexual objects. We concluded that the ad was not irresponsible and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and Offence), but did not find it in breach.

2. Not Upheld

We noted the ad did not include any nudity, references to sexual activity and did not feature any one dressed in school uniform. We noted the readership figures of the publication and that it was mostly read by adults. Although we considered the ad was unlikely to be seen by children, we noted that it could attract the attention of some children because it was a full-page ad, that featured a blackboard and the text back to school and because it appeared shortly after the start of the new school term. In any case, we considered that children who saw the ad were unlikely to understand the nature of the adult service being advertised. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to be seen by children and that the ad was not unsuitable for children to see.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.


2nd January   

Update: Suffocating Britain...

Councils ban lap dancing to help make Britain a more miserable place and ensure that it is even harder for people to make a living
Link Here
Full story: Lap Dancing License Change...UK lap dancing suffers repressive new licensing

Strip clubs across Britain are facing closure as an increasing number of councils use new laws to ban them. Local authorities are at varying stages of implementing licensing changes to close clubs and businesses.

There are about 300 clubs in Britain and many opened after a relaxation of the licensing law in 2003. A subsequent 2009 law rebranded lap dancing, pole dancing, and strip clubs as sex entertainment venues gave councils new morality controls.

Ten councils, given the power to impose repressive restrictions, have already opted for nil policies which will refuse applications for any new venues.

Among them is Tower Hamlets Council in East London. It is supposedly awaiting the result of a public consultation whilst keenly anticipating the closure of 11 clubs in the borough.

In Leicester three clubs were denied licences last week while in the City of London repressive licensing rules saw its only club decline to apply.

Enfield Council in North London, one of a number of local authorities to ban the clubs despite never having had any. It passed a motion last month, under the slogan no sex please, we're Enfield , which stated that it would not allow new clubs.

Elsewhere in London, Hackney, Haringey, and the City of London have all capped their quotas for new clubs at zero, though Hackney has made one area, Haggerston, an exception for existing clubs.

Islington, which has four clubs, has also voted in a nil policy on new venues. Richmond upon Thames has adopted a nil policy on new venues and its last remaining venue will hear its fate next month.

Cambridge City Council brought in new licensing laws in June and its only club declined to apply.

Newcastle City Council capped the number of clubs at five, and all are having licences considered. There are a further 15 occasional venues , many of which have not applied.

Update: Appeal

28th January 2012. See  article from

A lap-dancing club has appealed against the arbitrary refusal of a licence to allow it to continue trading. Angels, in Braunstone Gate, West End, Leicester, faces having to close or cease its shows by the end of March, unless it can overturn the decision by Leicester City Council.

Leicester councillors said they were concerned the application was being made on behalf of a third party for someone they would not grant a licence to. Councillors also claimed the club was not in an 'appropriate' location given that a sports centre is being built by De Montfort University, in nearby Dun's Lane.

The council's head of licensing, Mike Broster, said Angels had appealed on both grounds and the case was due to be heard by magistrates at a date yet to be set.

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