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Lesbian spanners: A Re-appraisal of UK Consensual Sadomasochism Laws: a re-appraisal of UK consensual sadomasochism laws

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/06/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Liverpool Law Review
Number of pages38
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


There continues to be legal invisibility of lesbians as sexual beings; in particular, for those lesbians who engage in BDSM. A cursory glance at work both within and outside of the academy gives the impression of increased social and legal acceptability for those who engage in BDSM. However, I suggest that this acceptance is illusory and that instead, gay men who engage in BDSM experience increased legal supervision and increased invisibility for lesbians. These issues are examined in the context of two seemingly disparate legal events. The first is the 30 year anniversary of Operation Spanner and the second is the introduction of the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014. Amongst other things, the 2014 Regulations criminalise the portrayal of female ejaculation (but not male). Given this criminalisation of certain kinds of female sexual pleasure, the potentiality to significantly adversely impact upon lesbians is clear. 2017 will be the 30 year anniversary of Operation Spanner and the subsequent focus has been primarily upon gay male BDSM. I speculate as to the possible legal reaction(s) to a lesbian 'spanner' BDSM event. I speculate as to the legal reactions to an all-female BDSM dungeon.