The Great Porn Purge of 2010

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Porn has been around forever. Sometimes celebrated, sometimes persecuted, porn has gone through various levels of social acceptance throughout history. A cyclical porn journey, as adult content becomes too pervasive and socially acceptable, there is always an effort by government and social groups to squash it. In recent news, Apple’s purge of the app store caused widespread disappointment when even the tamest sexy apps were removed. In similar news, Wal-Mart bought out video on demand company VUDU and made the decision to completely block the sale of anything pornographic – even if you’ve already bought the video, soon it will not be viewable. With adult content purveyors targeting technology like smartphone applications and video on demand as part of the constant struggle to monetize porno, could this mass effort to purge the world of porn seriously put a damper on porn industry profits?

Let’s go back, way back to the 1800s. Early porn was shared in the form of nudie postcards that could be purchased from the local optician (weird, yes), instrument maker, or art dealers. As these postcards became more and more popular, there was a huge movement to get rid of them. Although the masses loved this form of porn (sales were astronomical), the few elite that found it offensive had the power to end it. In 1802 Britain had a specific government task force whose sole purpose was to fight porn and the U.S. government took measure to remove any pornographic pictures circulated through the mail. This story epitomizes the power struggle between the majority of porn lovers and the minority of porn haters and their ability to regulate it.

With sexy iPhone applications dominating best-seller lists and porn sites like RedTube and Pornhub listed as part of the top websites on the Internet, there is clearly a large demand for adult content. If people are demanding adult content, why are government groups and corporations like Apple, VUDU, and Google trying to block it? Many ad networks including Google won’t even advertise on sites that have been deemed adult. Some say it’s to maintain a certain type of branding image, others say it’s simply an issues or being prude. In a society where a sex tape makes a career (cough cough Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian), and where everyone from school kids to public figures like John Edwards and the cast members of the Bachelor are involved in some sort of sex scandal, could this porn persecution be in response to a complete loss of control? We see Lindsay Lohan’s side boob on E! every night, but the entire state of New York won’t stock the new issue of Q magazine because it shows the bottom half of Lady GaGa’s breast? Hell, even the infamous Janet Jackson Superbowl “wardrobe malfunction” is back in court this week to decide whether the $550,000 fine is a sufficient punishment for the broadcasters who aired the footage. Perhaps corporations and government regulators are attempting to regain control in a world where sending nude text messages has become endemic and sex tapes are the norm. From a corporate standpoint, perhaps pulling sexy apps and banning on demand porn is an attempt to distance their brand name from such scandals.

The problem that the adult industry faces with Apple and VUDU’s porn purge comes in the form of profits. Smartphone applications and video on demand have been targeted by the adult industry as the future of the porn industry. In a world where free content outweighs the amount of purchased content, tapping into new technology for profit making purposes is essential to keep the adult industry afloat. Even if corporations and policy makers try to squelch it, porn is an industry based on demand. As long as there is a demand, porn will always be around. Porn will always exist in one form or another, but without profits, the quality will clearly suffer. And we don’t want that!

Guest columnist Lydia Leavitt writes about sex and, oddly enough, social media. For more information on the latest intimate technology, check out 69adget.com.

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