Demand Sex Positive Social Media

Demand Sex Positive Social Media

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Zahra Stardust started this petition


Social media is taking on an increasingly central role in shaping and constraining cultural and social life. Sex is an important part of this. Yet, social media policies are not very sex-positive.

Platforms currently make private, arbitrary and unaccountable decisions about the kinds of sex and sexualities that are visible in online space.

We want that to change.

Social media rules around what can and can’t be posted shape broader  attitudes towards sex and nudity, which in turn directly impact on all of our safety and wellbeing. 

Current trends in regulation create a hostile environment for those for whom sex is an active, visible part of life, especially through legislation that  incentivises platforms to remove all sexual content. 

Platforms have pre-emptively shut down spaces that have been safe havens for systemically marginalised communities and actively shadowbanned, demoted, de-monetised, suspended and deplatformed groups  as diverse as sex workers, queer folk, people of colour, sex educators, disabled people and fat activists. 

Major social media platforms have a history of exploiting sexual content to grow their user-base and then purging sexual content creators once they’ve ‘made it.’ This process of economic exploitation and gentrification treats sexual content creators as disposable.

While over-policing sexual content, platforms still lack a holistic response to addressing harassment, image-based abuse, malicious flagging, sexual racism, theft of sexual content and the unethical scraping of sexual databases.

We believe platforms can learn from existing human rights principles and community work on sexual rights, digital sexual citizenship, and sex-positive thinking.

A long history of grassroots sex positive thinking offers insights into consent culture and the non-hierarchical valuing of diverse genders, bodies, desires, identities, sexualities, sexual practices, sexual labour and relationship-styles.

At the 2021 RightsCon Summit on Human Rights in the Digital Age, community organisations, advocates, and academic experts held a Community Lab on Alternative Frameworks for Sexual Content Moderation.

We considered how social media platforms could better understand sexual content, responding to platform policies that restrict or prohibit consensual sexual communication, expression, and representation.

Here are our demands: 

Destigmatise sex! 
Sex and sexual content has cultural, social, and political value. Sex is not inherently harmful. Sex can be a positive, pleasurable part of human experience. 

Integrate sexual cultures into social media! 
Allow sexual content on social media. Banning, deleting, and deplatforming sex harms our sexual rights, imagination, possibilities, literacy and health. 

Value the labour of sexual content creators! 
Sex work is work, and sexual labour is valuable. Recognise the value of sexual content creators, avoid exploiting their value, and instead compensate these content creators through visibility, decision-making power and equitable distribution of profit. 

Build safer spaces! 
Centre sexual content creators and marginalised communities as knowledgeable platform stakeholders, decision-makers and leaders. Explicitly set out the values and ethics that guide community standards and reflect these in business structures, revenue models and platform design. 

Cultivate consent! 
Learn from, and model, consent culture. Only upload, reproduce, and share content and data where consent is informed, express, specific and dynamic. Allow platform access without requiring legal names, identification documents, biometric verification or unwanted surveillance. 

Be accountable! 
Make transparent, accessible, explainable, accountable, equitable and just decisions about sexual content. Give users and creators information and tools so they can understand and contest how their sexual content is classified, sorted and ranked. 

Dismantle structural oppressions! 
Actively participate in a broader movement for sexual justice. Work with multiple stakeholders to build enabling, sex-positive legal, policy, economic, social and cultural environments.

Sign up to support the movement for sex positive social media. 

Read our full Manifesto:

Art by Jacq Moon: 

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