Nice ‘n’ Naughty would like to respond to the comments made by Councillor Marshall at last night’s successful sex establishment license renewal for our store, located at 27 High Street, Bangor. We are grateful to Councillor Marshall for raising the concern that Nice ‘n’ Naughty stores could sell violent hardcore pornography that is demeaning to women since there is often confusion as to what types of material are available in licensed sex shops.
At each of our 12 licensed stores, we are carefully regulated and perhaps an object of greater scrutiny, than for example, an unlicensed premises who sell adult material. We are acutely aware of our responsibilities and staff are trained to ensure only adults gain access to the premises. Any pornographic products found within each store can only be viewed by adults who choose to enter them. Once inside customers may purchase a variety of items ranging from massage oils and lingerie on one end of the spectrum, to sex toys on the other. However I assume by Councillor Marshalls comments that she is referring to the extensive range of over 500 R18 certified DVDs available in store. Customers often use the word hardcore to denote R18 classification.
Before we can sell an adult DVD, it is subject to classification by the British Board of Film Sensors (BBFC), much in the same way as any movie. DVDs classified as R ( restricted) 18 may only be supplied in licensed sex shops and supplied to adults of not less than 18 years of age. The category is primarily for explicit works of consensual sex or strong fetish material involving adults. During the classification process, the BBFC state that certain types of material are not acceptable and films containing such material will fail classification. Included in prohibited material is anything that indicates withdrawal of consent, or any infliction of pain or acts that may cause lasting physical harm. At the more extreme end the classification prohibits penetration by an object associated with violence or likely to cause harm. On this basis, it would be impossible for us to supply an R18 DVD that was in any way violent, since it would not pass the stringent classification of the BBFC. We are unsure what shops or products Councillor Marshall may have previously encountered or when, but the classification laws are quite explicit on this point. Nice ‘n’ Naughty would however be delighted to invite her to our premises in order to allay any concerns.
In terms of being demeaning, the BBFC is equally as clear, stating that any humiliation or abuse which does not form part of clearly consenting role play is not acceptable. They go on to say that strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be accepted. As such the content of the certified R18 titles sold by Nice ‘n’ Naughty, is neither violent nor demeaning and would strongly refute the allegation.
But of course there is the wider point that some may feel any sexual activity portrayed in a DVD is demeaning to women. I do understand and empathize with this view. However it is not born out of fact. Over 60% of customers visiting our stores are women who clearly do not feel demeaned by our products. Similarly almost 30% of adult DVDs sold in store are purchased by women. Clearly many women have no objection to R18 media.
There is also the issue of social responsibility, in that Nice ‘n’ Naughty attempts to control who may purchase the material in store. This is a considerable improvement on the position taken by the leading internet providers, whose search engines in the main allow unrestricted access to a variety of hard core material, some of which may never have been classified. Hence whilst it is easy to tarnish the role of a licensed sex shop, it at least offers a regulated alternative to the plethora of downloadable pornographic material.
Nice ‘n’ Naughty would urge Councillor Marshall to visit our store and gain a closer understanding of the challenges we face and the control we exercise.