On Tuesday, a considerable list of sex acts became illegal to film and distribute in the UK, spanning from spanking to, bizarrely, female ejaculation. The move has been a cause for controversy amongst adult film actors and the media as a whole, and has left a nation baffled rather than grateful of the ever-watchful nanny state.

The justification for the extensive and rather arbitrary exclusion list comes from a ‘Think of the children!’ narrative, just like Cameron’s ‘internet porn ban’, which came into action earlier this year. While you will struggle to find anyone who advocates children’s access to pornographic material, particularly that which simulates aggressive scenes, this particular regulation will have almost no impact upon its directed demographic – children.

 Why is this? Because, firstly, it is only the filming and production of these acts that have been prohibited within the UK. These scenes will still be filmed in many other countries and, thanks to the global nature of the Internet, they will only ever be a few clicks away. Secondly, the legislation only applies to videos that are paid for online, allegedly to bring it into line with material that is currently sold in sex shops. But to watch these videos online, you would need to enter credit or debit card information. Therefore, it is not only nigh on impossible that children would actually have access to this exclusive UK porn, but the legislation is also completely undermined by the fact that free-to-view videos are completely unaffected by these new measures.

So, all this clampdown will do is prevent British adult filmmakers from producing certain scenes for profit because the acts are considered distasteful. While some of the acts may be considered to be life-threatening (understandable for acts of asphyxiation, doubtful for others), I have a hard time believing that the proponents of this ban had performers’ or even viewers’ health interests at heart. If lawmakers did feel genuine concern for adult-film actors performing certain scenes, then why not make certain agreements, contracts and evaluations compulsory before such films are allowed to be aired? Better still, why not actually do something for the people who are truly at risk of violence in sex work, and decriminalise activities relating to prostitution that frequently force sex workers into dangerous situations?

These regulations are little other than a thinly veiled censorship of “unacceptable” depictions of sex. Most bafflingly among the list of newly forbidden acts was female ejaculation, especially when one considers that male ejaculation remained completely unregulated. Perhaps this makes sense, with ejaculation being on the age-old list of ‘man things’ that women should under no circumstances do – a list that previously included studying, voting and even wearing trousers.

It is undeniably similar to the view on nipples and when they are decent or indecent to be shown. While male nipples are shown in media all over without a second thought, the same things on a female body will be shut down as “indecent” and censored. Our fear of female nipples has reached the extent to which it is perfectly normal for people to claim offence at mothers’ audacity to breastfeed their children outside. Indeed, breastfeeding is still censored online on several influential social media sites. After considerable backlash, Facebook recently caved in to pressure and allowed photos of breastfeeding and of breasts after mastectomy surgery. But images can be, and still are, removed when people cry in revulsion at the sight of women’s bodies.

Once more, shouts of “What about the children?” echo, as they always will whenever censorship is brought into question. But this most holy and innocent sounding of causes can be, and is, manipulated for the sake of prudish prohibition. The controversy over Cameron’s opt-in scheme for pornographic, violent and drug related content online is still fresh in the mind of many Brits.

Given the initial controversy of sex education sites being on the list to be blocked, this policy was met with plenty of opposition. But despite widespread disapproval at the need to declare your private viewing habits, many supported the policy, arguing that opting into such content should not be shameful or embarrassing as a grown adult is able to make their own decisions. However, Snowden’s revelation that the USA’s National Security Agency tracked the porn habits of actors and columnists with “radical” views in order to defame them should unnerve all of us. Should we really feel that comfortable opting in?

These regulations are founded upon the 1959 Obscene Publications act; this alone is reason enough to seriously consider how appropriate this ban is for us 55 years later. In 1959, our society was radically different. Whilst paying a man and woman unequally for the same job was legal, both abortion and homosexuality were not; is this out-dated mindset really a fitting base for the laws that govern our country?

This ban on obscene material echoes the moral policing of a time long gone. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, once accused in 1960 as being something you “would not even wish your wife or servants to read,” was once considered unpublishable filth – mere decades later it was used as a set text in schools across Britain.

 If our government really does want to act in the interests of our children and our society, instead of using the cause as a guise for controlling what they deem to be tasteless material, let them start where their efforts will be truly felt. Perhaps by setting a precedent and handling accusations of child abuse seriously, such as the ones that allegedly took place in Westminster over 30 years ago but have still not yet been fully investigated.