A council committee has voted to keep a zero tolerance approach to erotic entertainment in the county and the last application for a sex shop licence in Hereford met with a big fat, unsexy NO. The problem with this is surely it isn’t up to them, or at least it shouldn’t be.
Businessman Mick Bushell—the last person to apply for the licence to run a sex shop on the outskirts of Hereford—said that the only difference between his shop and Ann Summers was that he wanted to sell pornography.
I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure what Ann Summers sells is both erotic and entertaining … if you’re into marinating your genitals in flavoured gels anyway.
So in order to get an idea about the general view on a new sex shop I conducted a very unscientific poll of a few friends and family.
Some people thought that it wasn’t a problem but they’d be sticking to their broadband-based methods of getting their rocks off, while others thought it was down right disgusting.
Some thought it would make surrounding areas unsafe. But would they be more unsafe than the average nightclub on a Friday night? I’ve seen far more cases of sexual assault in clubs than I have in or around sex shops.
For some Herefordians it brought up the ethics debate around porn, while for others it was more an issue of freedom.
These are poignant points and they highlight how out of touch Herefordshire Council is; way back in 2008 a study found that 87% of young men and 31% of young women used pornography at some level!
Perhaps the council think exposure to a few saucy images will corrupt our innocent minds. But let’s be honest, the ‘corrupting’ has already happened and you’re not gonna shut the internet down now are you.
Porn has become a part of sexuality for a lot of people. It’s true that the industry can be damaging—its workers are exploited—but thats not exclusive to porn. Porn is also blamed for creating a culture of sexual violence towards women, although this is difficult to determine.
Despite your view on it, however, porn hasn’t changed us all into misogynistic perverts or sexual abusers ruled by our libidos.
The ethics of pornography isn’t the real issue here. We should not be in the position where an out-of-touch council committee is deciding our tolerance to a sex shop. We should be free to shop, ignore, boycott or protest when and where we choose.
I guess for now though it’s the stiff upper lip to hide the stiffy in our pants.