Why the death of Tumblr porn is especially bad for women


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Tumblr has announced that, starting December 17, it will ban all adult content, which it defines as “photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs, and illustrations—that depicts sex acts.” The move comes after Tumblr was removed from the App Store in November due to child pornography availablility, and though the platform has since upped its screening, and flagging, and content-removing practices, it has yet to be restored to Apple’s good graces. But this reaction by the site, which feels harsh to me, certainly doesn’t put it in my good graces.

For the uninitiated, Tumblr has long been a respite for erotica artists and folks who create, curate, and consume GIFs from porn. And for women like me, the 11-year-old website has been a trusty destination for porn that feels much more female-friendly than a lot of the material available on other sites.

I discovered Tumblr porn in college, after feeling underserved by traditional porn sites that provided a bevy of videos that seemed to be expressly for male pleasure. Tumblr destinations—which, it’s worth mentioning, were free—like Lady Cheeky (NSFW), though, offered loop after loop of sexy smut that felt more female-focused. In fact, many of the Tumblr pages touting porn were by women and for women. And since they existed on a social platform, sharing and watching the naughty GIFs felt, well, social. Maybe it sounds weird or fringe, but considering porn is still somewhat taboo in many circles, Tumblr was integral in normalizing the habit—which is a totally normal part of sexual expression for many people—for me. It also offered a space for airing my desires in a way that felt safe.

Porn is still somewhat taboo in many circles, and the social component of Tumblr was integral in normalizing the habit for me.

So that’s why I’m pretty heartbroken over the fact that my favorite Tumblr pages will likely be no more, unless they find a home that’ll host ’em elsewhere. Tumblr offered ease-of-use when searching for porn. I could type a specific performer into the search bar, and there they’d be—in all their GIF glory. It was also easier for me to find content that tickled my fancy. There were Tumblrs for men with beards, and more romantic-looking sex. Movie sex scenes had their own Tumblrs. And all of it was right at my fingertips.

Now with Tumblr cracking the whip—the boring, metaphorical kind, that is—I’m nervous about being able to find porn that feels curated for me. There are feminist sites—like Lust Cinema, Indie Porn Revolution, Pink Label TV, and Bellesa—already achieving this well by shooting their videos with women in mind. But still, the variety of content available is about to get sadly smaller.

My hope is that all the affected Tumblr pages are able to find other hosting platforms so they can continue to create the good and dirty stuff. But still, there will never be another place like Tumblr for porn. And for that, I’m incredibly sad.

Here’s what you need to know about masturbation when you’re in a relationship—and then, learn to biohack your orgasm.

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