Cancel culture is well and truly alive within the sex-writing industry, globally.
Whether you write about sex for famous magazines and newspapers or whether you’re a sex blogger who reviews adult toys and events – chances are you could be a few paragraphs away from being cancelled.
I’ve been writing for men’s magazines for close to a decade and, sadly, I’ve watched the censorship of writers tighten and tighten, to the point of no return. Our words are being strangled to death – by fear. Publishers fear causing offense. publishers fear backlash. So, their overall narrative and message essentially becomes woke and safe.
It gets to a stage where sex-articles aren’t even interesting to read anymore because the author’s ‘juice’ (pun intended) has been drained. Sex writing is meant to be sexy, and sanitizing it kinda defeats the purpose.
Playboy used to be known for their edgy contributors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood and Roald Dahl – it helped launch their careers for goodness sake.
Playboy now seems to be more interested apologizing for what their late founder and editor-in-chief, Hugh Hefner said eons ago. They even stopped publishing nudes for a time.
Between 2015 and 2017, I was writing columns for Penthouse Magazine (about topics far too explicit to mention here). If I were to pitch these sex columns today, I’d probably be blacklisted from writing for men’s magazines permanently. You’re not allowed to say anything ‘worth saying’ because it might offend someone.
So, I find myself submitting half-woke columns just to survive and earn some cash. Talk about feeling like a traitor. But, what are my options? Unemployment or a job that I despise? No thanks.
But, it’s not only men’s magazines that are suffering at the hands of cancel culture. The sex blogging community are also victims. Recently, I came on board as a contributing sex-columnist for an adult franchise. I did everything right by this company.
I got them featured in Maxim Magazine’s Christmas issue
I plugged them on my podcast
I wrote several well-written blogs for their site (which were never published)
I reviewed toys they sent me in a timely and professional manner
YET, THEY CANCELED ME.
Why? Because they didn’t agree with several columns I’d written for another publication. This company prides themselves on “diversity.” Obviously not a diversity of opinions!
Words are not violence and I’ll be damned if I’ll stop speaking my truth because a few snowflakes are offended. Thankfully, the staff member I dealt with was a consummate professional which made the experience sting a little less.
Talented writers everywhere (in all niches) will stop writing and pitching because of cancel culture, which is a real loss for literature as a whole. To me, shutting down freedom of speech and creative expression is akin to burning books.
Seriously, what writer wants to be concerned about everything they say? Writing is meant to be a joy and a release. But, with all the censorship, one feels like they are tied up in chains.
This topic makes me think about the German-born American author Charles Bukowksi and what he once said about people who enjoy censoring others:
“Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness.”
Me too, Buk! Me too.
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Vanessa de Largie is an Australian actress, author, sex-columnist, and journalist primarily based in London.
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