Australia is one of the horniest countries out there, according to PornHub.
Australia is one of the horniest countries out there, according to PornHub.

What you don’t know about Aussie porn

"Lesbian", "MILF", "anal" and "massage".

No, it's not an average Saturday night out for yours truly, it's some of Australia's most-searched terms on PornHub last year.

According to the company's 2018 Year in Review, Australia is one of the horniest countries out there. We're in the top twenty countries who visit PornHub most frequently and when we're on the site we spend an average of ten minutes and four seconds browsing. That's more than those in Russia, Italy and Japan, but not quite as much as people from the Philippines, who spend an average of thirteen minutes and fifty seconds.

We're also between 20 - 25 per cent more likely to view the "gangbang", "outdoor", "threesome" and "popular with women" categories than other countries. Diverse tastes indeed!

But while it may seem like the whole country is chomping at the bit to log on and get off, you might be shocked to hear that when it comes to our one-handed browsing habits, the law isn't always on our side.

"I think most people would be surprised to learn than porn is illegal to sell, distribute, exhibit, and produce across most of Australia," says Jarryd Bartle, 'vice' policy consultant and Adviser to the Eros Association, Australia's leading adult industry body.

"Moreover, under current Australian broadcasting laws, porn is not allowed on the internet!"

As strange as it may sound to anyone who's recently watched porn here in Australia, our country's laws don't quite reflect our own enthusiastic attitude towards adult entertainment. Films showing sexual intercourse or activity between two adults are classified as X18+ and are legally only able to be sold in the ACT and the NT, while any material likely to be classified as X18+ is prohibited to make anywhere other than the ACT.

But what about the hours and hours of online porn that we're collectively watching on the daily?

All online content hosted within Australia is overseen by the eSafety Commissioner. If a video that could be classified as X18+ is uploaded to a website hosted by an Australian internet service provider, the eSafety Commissioner can ask the ISP to remove the video or even the entire website. But websites and ISPs outside of Australia don't fall within the same jurisdiction, so as long as your favourite lesbian massage video isn't hosted on a server here in Australia, you're essentially free to watch it as much as you want.

Looking at our porn consumption habits, it's clear that those Aussies who are aware of our restrictive laws certainly aren't going to let them get in the way of a good time. But many Australian adult industry professionals will be quick to tell you that when it comes to porn and the law, a big change is long overdue.

To get the inside word on what it's like making porn in Australia, I spoke to Jessie Lee Pierce. She's worked in "every area of sex work" that she can think of; she's been a stripper, a full-service worker, and a porn performer. You might also recognise her from more mainstream screen appearances, such as Underbelly: Chopper and Trial by Kyle. Her first experience shooting porn was around three years ago and she's since worked with production companies to star in porn as well as producing her own.

Jessie has run in to the same issue that many other Australian performers have; the laws around porn production aren't only confusing, they're incredibly restrictive for those wanting to work within the industry.

"Australia has some great talent for porn. Heading over to the US isn't an option for everyone and it's not easy to get a working visa, so the correct laws would help Australia's porn industry grow.

"I think it should all be completely legal - but at the very least, the laws should be clear.

"The important things like consent [being obtained], people being of age, and not under the influence of alcohol or other substances should be a must," she said.

And for many producers, this isn't just the law: it's company policy that performers are consenting, of age, remain sober on-set and have current, itemised medical certificates to reduce any concerns about sexual health.

"We're all doing the right thing," Jessie Lee says.

Even for those performers and producers working within the law, there are still heavy - and confusing - restrictions on what can and can't be shown.

Films can be refused classification (and effectively banned) if they show any "revolting or abhorrent phenomena", which is defined as "fetishes or practises, sometimes accompanied by sexual activity, which are considered offensive".

As with all censorship, the question is left open as to who decides what is offensive and how, but the examples of "stylised domination and rubberwear" is given, as is "bondage and discipline".

The Film Classification Guidelines also offer "bondage, spanking, and fisting" as examples of banned fetishes.

While certainly these particular kinks may not be everyone's cup of tea, it feels only fair that as consenting adults in a free society we should be allowed to do, view, and screw whoever we want, in whatever way we please.

As our country's taste in erotica moves away from the heteronormative standard of a boy/girl scene, should we not also take a more open-minded approach to what consenting, adult performers are permitted to do on-screen?

After all, it seems ludicrous that we can take grandma and the kids down to the local cinema and watch as much on-screen violence and gore as our hearts desire, but a single adult can't watch two women choosing to spank each other for mutual pleasure.

If Australia has the appetite for diverse porn, we should also foster the industry that makes it. As with any other kind of adult work, banning and censoring things that threaten us or feel strange to us won't make them go away.

In 2019, porn should be seen as a legitimate industry, with laws that protect its workers and help their business grow.

After all, Jessie says, "What you do isn't necessarily who you are as a person. I think people would be surprised to find that we are just regular people."

- Kate Iselin is a writer and sex worker. Continue the conversation @kateiselin


Anakie burglar in custody

Anakie burglar in custody

Citizens step in to help police catch thief

Hooning on sports field damages turf

Hooning on sports field damages turf

Police are appealing for witnesses after a sports field was damaged.

Low impact collision, Gindie

Low impact collision, Gindie

A low impact collision has occurred in the Gindie area.