Advice from Alexander Cheves on how to re-kindle your kink community in the post-Tumblr-pocalypse.
QI’m a 19-year-old bisexual woman really into orgasm denial and edging. With the recent Tumblr ban on all NSFW content, I have no idea where to indulge my kinks and find my community. I’ve never needed to go anywhere else to find porn, explore my sexuality and be surrounded by supportive people—and now I’m at a loss. A few Google searches have been really disheartening. Clearly I’ve been spoiled by all the easily found porn made by women, for women on Tumblr. Hell, I’m used to it being made by bisexuals, for bisexuals. I feel like I’m 15 again, desperately scouring the internet for anything that applies to me. Please tell me where I can find my porn!
P.S. You wrote about how this ban harms sex workers, Dan, but please write about how it harms queer and kinky people, too!
—Missing My Porn Community A“Many people are scrambling to relocate their fetish communities in the wake of Tumblr’s ban on ‘adult content,’” says Alexander Cheves, a queer writer who lives in New York City. “Porn is more than hot videos—porn creates communities. I wouldn’t know half the gross stuff I’m into if it weren’t for Tumblr!”
Luckily, MMPC, the men and women who created and/or curated the content that spoke to you and affirmed your identity didn’t evaporate on December 17, the day Tumblr’s porn ban went into effect. Many have taken their clips, captions, GIFs and erotic imaginations to other platforms and some are creating new platforms.
“MMPC should devote some time to scouring Twitter for bisexual women into orgasm denial and edging, some of whom may be uploading their original content to platforms like Just For Fans,” says Cheves. “The creators of JFF are right now working on a more Tumblr-like social-media extension to their site. Other start-ups like Slixa or ShareSomeCome and social platforms like Switter have emerged in the wake of this crackdown. These are corners of the internet where MMPC can find her porn.”
Cheves wrote a terrific piece for Out that connects the dots between Tumblr’s ban on porn and the anti-sex, anti-porn, anti-sexwork and anti-queer crackdown that was already under way on other platforms (“The Dangerous Trend of LGBTQ Censorship on the Internet,” December 6, 2018). While there’s still tons of porn on the internet, as many people have pointed out (myself included), the crackdown on explicit content on socialmedia platforms is fucking over vulnerable queers. As Eric Leue, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, told Cheves: “Many people in straight, heteronormative communities don’t understand what the big deal is [about the Tumblr adult content ban], because their lives and cultures are represented everywhere. For those in queer, or niche, or fetish communities, Tumblr was one of the few accessible spaces to build communities and share content.”
And as long as sex-education programs don’t cover queer sex or kinky sex—and there’s no sign of improvement in either area— LGBTQ youth and young people with kinks will continue to get their sexual education on the internet. And the harder it is to access explicit content, particularly explicit noncommercial content, the harder it’s going to be for young queers to find not just smut that speaks to them, but the education they need to protect themselves.
“More youth will get hurt and more will get HIV thanks to Tumblr’s content ban,” says Cheves. “That’s not scaremongering—that will happen. Case in point: I grew up in a fiercely religious home on a 500-acre farm in the middle of Georgia with dial-up and a pretty intense parental blocker. I couldn’t access porn—I couldn’t even access articles with sexual illustrations, including sexual health illustrations. When I went to college in 2010, the same year Grindr hit the App Store, I knew absolutely nothing about HIV and nothing about my community. It’s no wonder that I tested positive at 21.”
Shortly after getting the news that he was HIV+, Cheves started an educational queer sex blog. “I answer sex questions from anyone who writes in—I stole the idea from you, Dan, to be honest,” says Cheves. “I wanted to reach those kids in the middle of nowhere, kids like me.”
While Cheves writes professionally today— you can find his advice column in the Advocate and his byline in other publications—he still updates and posts new content to thebeastlyexboyfriend.com, his original queer sex blog.
“Sites like my blog are needed now more than ever,” says Cheves. “If MMPC wants to help her community survive, she may no longer have the option of being a passive consumer—she might have to start a website or blog, wave a digital flag and find others. The internet is so massive that censorship will never be able to keep people with niche fetishes from congregating, digitally or otherwise. It’s just going to be a little harder to find each other.”
Follow Alexander Cheves on Twitter @BadAlexCheves.