Sex

Rest in Porn: Tumblr

The blanket adult content ban on Tumblr brings an abrupt end to an era of accessible queer porn.
December 11, 2018, 11:52am
pornban
Now banned on Tumblr: “Real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content — including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations — that depicts sex acts." 

It has been a stressful week. The last time I masturbated this aggressively was back when I first ‘discovered’ masturbation. If you don’t already know by now, Tumblr will be banning all adult content (any content portraying "real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples”), on its timeline starting December 17. So it’s only my noble duty to go and pay respects to my beloved wank bank one last time. When the news broke, it came as a shock to ardent users of the app, mainly because it made porn and explicit content both, accessible and personalised. But it’s the app’s queer users who were (and still are) absolutely shook. That is because for years now, Tumblr has been a haven for LGBTQ+ people.

I was first introduced to Tumblr by a guy I dated for three months. I remember him being pissed at me for using a Windows phone back then. How dare he question my loyalty to Nokia! “But along with Android, comes Tumblr,” he whispered to me during a date. He then proceeded to open his Tumblr, cover it with the menu card and slide it across to me to shield it from the waiters’ gaze. As soon as I lay my eyes on the phone screen, I knew I was hooked. I switched to an Android phone the very next week and slowly began to curate my timeline with porn that made my queer life much more bearable.

For most people, Tumblr has existed in a grey area between other platforms like Reddit and Twitter. It has wholesome posts that help people feel better and yet has enough action shot by users personally, allowing a level of exhibitionism that other apps won’t allow. I feel a strong sense of sexual freedom every time I am on Tumblr (which is thrice a day), and the hashtags out there have made it easy to find people who are on the same wavelength as you. Name your fetish, and you are bound to find it on Tumblr. For a young queer kid, following other queer men who don’t shy away from their sexuality online was incredibly liberating.

Tumblr also taught me to be proud of my body. There is a general lack of body positivity when it comes to gay porn on PornHub or XHamster. Between twinks gangbanging and muscle jocks barebacking, there isn’t much space for chubs and bears. So Tumblr users started creating sub-groups on the app and sometimes, you even get one Tumblr user hooking up with another, filming it and putting it up on both profiles. Pure co-operative technological bliss. Over the past couple of years, I have also taken the bold step of uploading my own pictures, but soon they will be made private.

Too much of a good thing results in a ban these days. The main reason Tumblr was first taken off the iOS store was because perverts started uploading child porn on the site. Trust the paedophiles to ruin everything. What’s worse, Facebook will be following Tumblr’s footsteps and introducing new censorship guidelines. There goes my supply of “bob vagene” memes.

So, here’s saying goodbye to Tumblr. You have been with me through soft times and hard. Mostly latter. Your modern-day cleanse notwithstanding, you will always occupy a space in my heart and my phone’s storage.

Follow Navin Noronha on Twitter.