Censorship of Erotica is Bad and Wrong

There’s some serious shit going down that people should know about.

Due to pressure from credit card companies based in the States (because, y’know, it’s an election year, and who’s going to weigh in and defend erotica when votes could be at stake?) PayPal – which, by all accounts, is a dubious company anyway – is suspending the accounts of erotica distributors.

Bookstrand has booted indie authors entirely. All Romance eBooks has threatened account deactivation if any of the hot topics are submitted to their catalogue. Now Smashwords has reluctantly joined them, which is a huge blow for indies outside the USA – Smashwords is the only way they can get books distributed by Barnes and Noble, iBookstore and Sony’s Reader Store, amongst others.

On the surface, you might think they have a valid point. Bestiality, rape as titillation, incest and pseudo-incest, necrophilia… they’re all morally wrong, or at the very least, morally questionable. I don’t write any of this since I’m not into it, personally. When I first found out about the huge amounts of cash indie authors were raking in from pseudo-incest titles, I was squicked out – no word of a lie.

But let’s have a think about this. Credit card and money services companies get to dictate the availability of what we read? Didn’t they fuck up the economy already? Why should they go unchallenged?

Yes, erotica depicting sex that is criminal should be stopped. Minors, animals and dead people can’t legally give consent. Sex with blood relatives can result in deformed and disabled children with serious health defects. But if all the parties are over eighteen, and portrayed that way? If they’re not related by blood? If they get off on the fantasy of being raped, and give their consent to their partner to pretend that they actually are in that situation?

These things are all legal. They’re just taboo. And because they’re taboo, people get off on it. Fact.

And this is fiction, people. No one is being exploited. No one is being mentally or physically scarred. It’s all fantasy that comes from the highly sexual imaginations most of us have, deep down.

Maybe you like talking dirty in bed. The word ‘cunt’ gives you a thrill. That’s because it’s considered the most extreme commonly-used curse. Should all books featuring that word be banned? Fuck, no!

You don’t have to want to read the books that are being censored to protest about this. The basic fact is this: book censorship, when no criminal acts are actually being portrayed in a titillating way, is wrong. It’s oppressive. We are being told what to think, made to feel guilty about how we feel. And where does it end, once we start?

What if the heads of the credit card companies decide they don’t like gay or lesbian fiction? What if they start calling for any books with BDSM – clearly or dubiously consensual – to be censored? And what about authors like Virginia Andrews, whose books are hugely popular and also contain incest? Should they be censored as well?

We have to put our collective foot down before the credit card companies, PayPal or any political entities decide to see how far they can extend their reach. Get angry about this. Post on Facebook.Tweet about it. Sign petitions. Write to your government expressing concerns. Call the media. Just raise awareness, so we don’t end up giving more than this tiny inch to people whose control isn’t democratic, but based on money and subjectivity.

Please share this post, and as many others as you can find. And please bear in mind that this censorship isn’t affecting me at the moment. My concern isn’t for myself and my bank balance, but for society in general.

Don’t let corporations get away with this, or it might be your fantasies they try to take away next.

Thank you for reading.