Culture

Facebook Really, Really Doesn’t Want You To Talk About Sex

Seems like you can’t go anywhere online to talk about rooting these days. Tumblr is out here announcing that it will no longer host NSFW art or images on the site (R.I.P Tumblr, I guess); sites like Patreon refuse to support sex workers; and a close reading of the Facebook community guidelines reveals that you’re not allowed to post dirty shit on the site at all.

Seriously: at all. It’s not even like only the raunchiest material has been banned. Demonstrating as much sex-positivity as a 14th-century nun, Facebook is coming (!) down hard on raunchy chat in all its beautiful myriad of forms.

No funny business on Facebook, please

Facebook’s community standards monitor, here to make sure you’re not getting horny.

The site’s distinctly cringey community standards page (seriously, was this thing written by your grandma?) explicitly bans not only the solicitation of tantric dancers (sorry Sting), porn actors, and strip shows, but also the vaguest erotic chats.

So, alongside banning nude photos, nude drawings, and good old-fashioned discussions of role play, the company has gone out of its way to explicitly reject the posting of any content that mentions “a state of sexual arousal (wetness or erection)”, or – my favourite – questions as simple as “looking for a good time tonight?”

Let’s move through this slowly, because I have a lot of questions. For a start, what if my idea of having a good time means a cup of tea and a lengthy, intense bout of Scrabble with a consenting partner of my choice? Say I lose my current Scrabble partner and take to Facebook to find a new one. If I don’t go into enough detail on exactly what I consider a good time, is Facebook gonna ban me?

Facebook is done with you horny bastards

Secondly, and maybe more importantly: what is wrong with adults of consenting age having a chat about boning? What harm is any of this doing? How can the company justify two of-age adults heading over to each other’s pages to talk about having a good time all goddamn night?

Oh, and thirdly: what about non-erotic explicit chat? The community standards page goes out of its way to enshrine the ability of users to talk about “sexual violence and exploitation” but bans them from talking about the hygiene of typically erotic areas. What if I wanna post about stinky butts? Who’s gonna stop me?

Anyway, this is all very strange and puritanical and feels a little like having to talk about sex with my parents. Wonder if they’ll extend that same stringency to their new dating app?