Censorship in Erotica

Selena Kitt recently raised a number of posts on the groundswell of censorship being instigated, it seems, by PayPal and others. They are pulling the plug, one by one, on any sites that sell material they deem offensive. While some might agree with their categorizations – incest, rape and bestiality – they also include pseudo-incest; that is, sexual relations between adults who are step-relations and not blood relations. Like Woody Allen?

Censorship is a weird thing. What offends me may not offend you, and vice-versa, and there are lines across which 99.99% of people are likely to agree should not be crossed, but the blanket application of these categories to Erotica are dangerous.

The ban would seem to apply only to Erotica that crosses these boundaries. For instance, rape is a frequent motif in thriller and detective fiction.  Incest appears to be acceptable provided it is contained in a work of “literary” merit, for example  Arundhati Roy‘s The God of Small Things, as well as in works by a myriad of other writers both popular and literary. In some way I might be able to understand the distinction, because Erotica’s main purpose is to arouse, and using taboo subjects to cause arousal may disturb some people. The big problem I have is where this might lead.

PayPal is not banning these topics, they are saying you can publish what you like but we will not allow you to use our services to pay for them. From my point of view this is a subtle and even more dangerous form of censorship. Where might it end? An extra 5% on Taxes for writers of erotica?

Tread warily, my friends, because the people behind all of this are even madder than those of us that write this stuff!