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Can You Go To Jail In Australia For Watching Porn

Although the Australian porn industry is small, we are some of the most frequent porn watchers in the entire world! But considering strict censorship laws, is porn even legal in Australia?

The short answer is yes; you can freely view most types of pornography depicting consensual sex between adults, no matter where you are in the country. But that doesn’t mean you are 100% off the hook in every case – so read this before you open a that new incognito window!

Is It Illegal To Watch Porn In Australia?

Is porn banned in Australia? While you most likely won’t get arrested for watching porn on your iPhone or computer, there are laws that prohibit the distribution and production of pornography in Australia.

In most states (except for the Northern Territory and ACT), it is illegal to distribute or upload pornography to the Internet. This is why most of the porn available in Australia is actually hosted on international servers – if it was on a local server, the Australian Communications and Media Authority board can remove the video.

So, to summarize: if you’re merely viewing porn, you’re most probably a-okay. But if you’re producing, selling, or distributing it? You could be in trouble.

How Do Australia’s Laws Differ From Other Countries?

Australia is surprisingly not very progressive when it comes to pornography, especially when you compare it to similar democratic nations. In a lot of places around the world, it is perfectly legal for people to produce pornographic films as long as all the participants are of legal age, although there may be some exceptions to that.

The United States has one of the biggest porn industries in the world, so it’s no surprise that it’s legal as long as it doesn’t cross the line into federally defined “obscenity”. In the United Kingdom, they’re a bit more strict, requiring an R18 certificate for all distributed pornographic films. It is illegal to possess “extreme pornographic images” in England and Wales, which targets mainly snuff or violent videos, but might extend to consensual BDSM or bondage pornography as well.

Despite Australia’s regressive views on pornography, it is not outright banned, which makes it better than most other parts of the world. Take conservative India, for example; the Indian government, working with local ISPs, blocked hundreds of websites that contain pornography.

Are Some Types Of Porn Illegal?

Most of the time, if you watch porn in the privacy of your own home, you’ll be fine. However, there are certain cases in which you could potentially be prosecuted for viewing or possessing pornographic material. So what is illegal porn?

There are a few different kinds of illegal porn. The law mostly prosecutes possession of child pornography (i.e. anything that depicts kids under the age of consent naked or participating in sexual acts). It is also illegal for anyone to make or send any form of child porn, even if the minor depicted in the photo/video is the one who made it. So if you’re still in high school, it’s best to refrain from taking and sharing nude photos of yourself until after you turn 18.

But the law also bans the possession of any kind of content with “extreme sexual violence”. Like in the UK, this most likely targets snuff films and rape videos; however, the definition is ambiguous enough that it is possible (although unlikely) for it to cover BDSM pornography as well. As it stands, films depicting fetishes like candle wax play or degradation cannot be sold in Australia.

More progressively, Australia recently passed an anti-revenge porn law that prohibits the non-consensual distribution of someone’s intimate photos or videos.

Famous Australian Porn Cases

Golden Shower Issue

In 2010, the Australian government caused quite a controversy when it floated the idea of banning female ejaculation and small breasts in pornography.

The argument against female ejaculation is that it was seen as urine (or a “golden shower”), which would classify any material depicting it as obscene. Experts agree that female ejaculate is different from pee.

As for small breasts, a handful of senators argued that materials depicting flat-chested women encouraged pedophilia.

Victorian “Child Porn” Charge

A few years ago, news broke that man from Victoria was convicted of possession of child pornography (and placed in the sex offenders registry) because he kept nude photos of his stepdaughter. But it’s not what you think – he was keeping them so he could report his stepdaughter and her boyfriend to the police and her school.

The man was advised to delete the photos, but he didn’t comply. He was later arrested, charged, and convicted, even if he didn’t know that what he had done constituted possession of child pornography.

As Aussies across the country debated whether this was the “right” way to enact the law, the local county judge agreed it was unusual but they had to prosecute anyway.

Conclusion

For the most part, you don’t have to worry about your porn habits landing you in jail – it’s mostly legal to watch porn in Australia. However, just be conscious about what kind of porn you watch. Child porn is, of course, illegal everywhere!

Bertha Spence
Bertha Spence

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