Thoughtcrime on xHamster

These days, when you do a search for rape on porn tube site “xHamster“, you are banned from seeing any search results. Instead you’re met with a banner saying that it’s probably time you consulted a professional psychologist – and a link to an online therapy site.

Although it doesn’t say so on the site, this functionality is xHamster’s response to the controversial Brock Turner rape trial. I find their choice of action disturbing for a number of reasons.

Firstly, pornography is not the real thing: It’s acting, simulation and roleplay. xHamster still allows “schoolgirl” and “incest” as search phrases – presumably without condoning pedophilia or incest. Because both xHamster and the viewer know that these are actors just pretending to be related – and grown women just pretending to be schoolgirls. And why would a professionally produced video by consenting adults acting out a simulated rape scenario be any worse?

That porn is all about fantasy and make-believe should hardly come as a surprise to the owners of a porn site.

Secondly, the questions remains: Why now? Thousands of women are raped and thousands of rapists convicted every year, and this has been the case long before xHamster existed. I don’t have the insight or the judicial knowledge to determine whether the Brock Turner case technically qualifies as miscarriage of justice. But even if it does – how does that make rape a worse crime than it used to be? Wasn’t it always bad?

I find it hard to see this as anything else than a clumsy scuffle for a politically correct stance on xHamster’s part.

Thirdly, I agree that rape is a horrible crime – and the very thought of it shrouded in taboo. But on the other hand, this is excactly what triggers our morbid fascination with the subject. This just happens to be how the human mind works (and especially where our sexuality is concerned). How many mainstream movies revolve around the most heinous violent crimes? And if you watch any of those, will the xHamster bosses advice you to seek therapy? I don’t think so.

In his novel “1984”, George Orwell described a society so oppressive that not only actions, but also mere thoughts could be deemed illegal – defined as “thoughtcrimes”. By judging their users by their fantasies, xHamster is introducing the concept of thoughtcrime to the world of porn – traditionally the safe refuge for forbidden fantasies of every kind.

We can deny the existence of rape fantasies and attack those who dare admit to having them. But the fact remains that both men and women have strange sexual urges which we may not understand and certainly don’t want to live out. But by facing up to them – acknowledging that they turn us on – we make peace with them and learn a little more about ourselves.

And I don’t believe denial ever did any good.

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