Why it's so hard to write about $ Σ X online
Everybody wants sex-positivity in their media, but nobody wants to host it in Naughty List News #53
Last week I was temporarily suspended from Imgur. I make summary images of this newsletter every week where I highlight the top stories in a form that is more palatable to an audience on Imgur. I’ve achieved some viral success this way, but my posts usually languish in obscurity. I’m absolutely fine with this; you can’t have a viral hit every time.
I never show nudity in these posts, but I always make sure to mark them as “mature”, just in case. My latest summary image was flagged by a moderator for violating Imgur’s Community Rules anyway.
The automated message I received states that Imgur wants to “create a positive browsing experience free from hateful, explicit, illegal or violent content.” But beyond pointing me in the general direction of the Community Rules, the message offers no explanation for what I actually did wrong.
I’m not hugely upset about this incident, but it does happen quite often that I’m punished for trying to promote my newsletter.
Here we go again
I was previously permanently banned from posting on /r/gaming, Reddit’s largest forum for video games. The reason I was given was a terse “No adult games.”
And I understand that Reddit moderators want to keep their community a safe place for minors, but the site already has tools in place to help with that. Posts can be marked as NSFW and users can decide for themselves if they want to view them.
But instead of using those tools, moderators simply decided they don’t want to deal with adult games. So I have to turn to much smaller forums, like /r/lewdgames (185k subscribers) and /r/NSFWGaming (202k subscribers). Don’t get me wrong, I think these are both great and vibrant communities. But they’re obviously just a drop in the bucket compared to /r/gaming’s 30.8 million subscribers.
Art is pornographic too
It’s just not little old me that is struggling under increasingly strict moderation of sexual content online. Museums in Vienna are protesting how these policies affect their online presence by starting an OnlyFans.
When a 25,000-year-old statue is declared too pornographic for Facebook, I hope that puts into perspective how ridiculous these policies actually are. I remember vividly the first time I saw this comparison between a fertility statue and a modern woman looking down on her own body. I was stopped dead in my tracks.
The woman who made that statue thousands of years ago was most likely asking questions about her body. And she was trying to answer them in the most human way possible, by making art.
So why do we allow an algorithm, or an underpaid subcontractor, to call that art “pornographic” today?
Insulation breeds ignorance
When we insulate talk about sex in games from the mainstream press we are leaving people with a huge blind spot for this artform. Just this week I played a hugely ambitious zombie shooter that bolts on a dating sim. My game designer friends are loving it because they’ve never seen anything like it.
That’s not on my friends, by the way. You won’t find coverage of Seed of the Dead: Sweet Home in any mainstream outlet. If you liked the game as much as I did, you can’t talk about it on Facebook or Reddit’s largest gaming forum.
The broader effect of isolating adult games coverage from the mainstream gaming media is that people are constantly surprised about the breadth and scale of the adult games industry. And that’s no wonder when none of the writing and commentary about these games can ever make it on regular social media channels.
But when writers and video essayists are cut off from these channels, they don’t simply go away. Instead, they’re often pushed towards platforms with fewer scruples and more extreme audiences. Substack allows the hosting of this newsletter, but they also notoriously give a lot of money to extremely transphobic writers. How am I supposed to reconcile that, as someone who cares deeply about both adult games and his transgender friends?
Sex is beautiful, messy, and fundamentally weird. Humans have been making art about the act almost as long as there have been humans. I want to write about how video games can have interesting things to say about the human experience, including sex. It’s just really demotivating to see that what I want to write about isn’t welcome on any platform but my own.
Is there a solution?
When my post on Imgur was removed, I initially thought it was because of a nipple that I had failed to clip out of the frame. But I now suspect my post was flagged because of a headline I copied from XBIZ, which used the term “Adult Virtual Cam Models”.
I can’t blame social media platforms too much for being so tough on adult content. Terms like “cam models” are often used by unscrupulous spammers who give the rest of us in adult entertainment a bad name.
There is never going to be a magic solution that keeps both spam at bay and allows free artistic expression that includes the occasional nudity. One person’s artistic expression is another person’s wank material, after all.
I’m not going away any time soon. While my day job is looking to ramp up again, I still intend to write about adult games every week. And dear Reader, I couldn’t do that without your support. I know there’s a person behind every email address on my list. Newsletters are much more intimate than blogs because every week you allow me to enter into your virtual home.
So if you like my writing, would you be so kind as to share it with a friend?
Writing Wrap-Up 📖
Erotic financial sim Wolf of Stock Street is now available. Invest in your waifus and watch your stocks soar to the moon!
Otome Kitten wrote about the top 5 visual novels to play this Halloween. I hope you’re planning on having a spooky time tonight!
Sweet Sacrifices is out now on JAST. This tentacle-filled horror visual novel comes just in time for Halloween!
OpRainfall took a good hard look at HaremKingdom. Will you opt for a Rom-Com Harem or a Battle Royale one? You can have any ending you want in this game as long as it’s a harem one!
NookGaming reviewed Koikari - Love for Hire. Become employed as a “rental human” and try to solve problems for multiple heroines.
NTR visual novel The Edge Of is out now on Steam. Find out what was going on with your wife while you were away on a business trip…
Lewd platformer 20 Ladies was changed to 20 Bunnies for PS4/PS5. I like how they thought that would make it less lewd somehow?
Vox wrote about sexfluencers. The piece is very even-handed, talking to (gasp!) actual sex workers and the people who pay for their services.
Kentucky judge declares porn “more distracting” than other video content. Don’t fap and drive, kids.
Japanese webmaster arrested for unblurring pirated porn. His defense that he was merely trying to combat the inherent entropy of the universe didn’t sit right with authorities.
Girly Juice took a look at a Balldo, which turns your balls into a dildo. My mother always told me that you should try anything at least once.
Cheeky chuckle 🤭
Artist spotlight 💡
Thanks for reading this far!
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Until next time!