Years after Tumblr’s infamous porn ban, where have those NSFW communities gone?

Tumblr’s celebration of diversity was key to its success, providing a safe space for people who wanted to explore sexuality without judgment. So what exactly happened to all that Tumblr porn?

Digital platforms are deeply intertwined in all aspects of our lives and function as pathways for social connection and belonging. For many who feel isolated, the digital world can bring a sense of togetherness, offering miniature universes for every interest and passion. Tumblr porn was once a key part of the site’s footprint, so what happened?

For the American microblogging and social media platform, eroticism, sexual subcultures, NSFW pornography, and non-safe-for-work (NSFW) artwork and storytelling have thrived and flourished, celebrated for bringing a sense of intimacy and connection in online, especially for the queer community and other marginalized groups.

Work: Marius Sperlich

However, following the discovery that child pornography was prominent on the site in December 2018, Tumblr announced that it would ban adult content in almost all forms. This included all images and videos depicting sexual acts from Tumblr, and real-life photos and videos depicting human genitalia or “female introduction” nipples are prohibited in the service.

While it was clear that the presence of child pornography was an unacceptable problem that required urgent change, there was certainly another side to the coin. It made sense to address a large-scale problem like the presence of child pornography with a large-scale solution that was as cheap as possible.

Rather than pay for the expensive task of age-checking people in porn, Tumblr made the decision to overcorrect and ban NSFW content altogether. But at what price? Almost immediately after the ban, Tumblr came under fire for censorship, instilling digital homelessness into the colossal community of vulnerable people who once found solace on the platform.

Many of the major social media platforms seem to impose an unattainable lifestyle on their users, measuring an individual’s worth based on the wealth and appearance they convey digitally. However, Tumblr’s celebration of diversity was the key to the platform’s success.

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Unlike mainstream sectors of the internet, Tumblr provided a safe space for sex workers, erotic writers and artists, LGBTIQ+ people seeking a sense of solidarity, and people who wanted to explore sexuality, kink, and fetishes without judgment. .

tumblr porn 2020
Photo: 2nix

The porn ban quickly bled these users off the platform to the detriment of the company. While in 2013, Tumblr sold for $1.1 billion, in 2019 (and shortly after the ban) the company sold for less than $3 million, reflecting that the NSFW community had boosted the value of the platform. .

As Tumblr grappled with its disastrous fall from grace following the porn ban, users were forced into a state of digital nomadism, searching for safe alternatives that provided the same sense of belonging. However, with the rapid demise of Tumblr, an ecological niche emerged for new NSFW-compliant sites to manifest.

As Tumblr dealt with its disastrous fall from grace, users were forced into a state of digital nomadism, seeking safe alternatives that would provide them with the same sense of belonging.

Around the world, tech companies began creating what they hoped would be the most desirable haven for this group of digital refugees. In just a few weeks, Dean Abramson, chief architect of online gaming startup Stabase, launched his side project newTumblwho humorously declared that they would be filling “a newly created gap in the market”.

The site’s FAQ section even went so far as to say that there is a good chance that users “Know instinctively how to use this site” and you can also find it “eerily familiar from the get-go.” newTumblr’s offer of asylum to NSFW bloggers was welcomed with open arms by many, gaining 200,000 users in just a few months. However, its growth during the following months was far from impressive.

While the NSFW community was predicted to migrate to a platform created specifically to replace Tumblr, most users have dispersed to pre-existing corners of the internet. While many have taken refuge in sites like newTumbl that function almost identically to Tumblr, others have found solace in other types of social platforms, searching for porn on youtube reddit as well as porn pages on Twitter.

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In particular, Reddit has seen a considerable rise in NSFW subreddits, exploring all kinds of sexual niche, from erotic hypnosis to the humble foot fetish and private sex videos that Tumblr was known for. Some of the most popular subreddits have millions of subscribers, while more specific issues have much smaller communities that are thriving anyway.

R/Tumblr, of course, exists, however it does serve up a subreddit specifically suited for work where Redditors can repost their favorite Tumblr content. If you are looking for Tumblr porn on Reddit, r/Tumblr is not your way.

While NSFW content was always accessible on Reddit, Tumblr’s porn ban made the platform widely known as the most sex-positive mainstream social media platform. It has also been recognized as an educational tool in a world where sex education falls short when it comes to helping marginalized people understand their sexual identity.

tumblr porn 2021
Photo: Search Engine Journal

While many Tumblr users were looking for a sense of connection with people from all over the world they hang out with, others wanted quality NSFW that they could explore discreetly and privately, like the many Brazzers videos Tumblr had to offer. For many years, Pornhub has been the most popular free porn website.

However, many ex-Tumblr users wanted content that was made and distributed ethically. As a result of Tumblr’s porn ban, various ethical and feminist porn sites began to gain popularity, despite the fact that they cost money to access.

These platforms provided porn that celebrated consensual sex, inclusion, gender equality, and body positivity. In addition, recent allegations of trafficking have caused more than a million people to sign a petition calling for Pornhub to shut down completelyseeing more and more people switch to ethical NSFW platforms and communities.

Tumblr’s forcible banning of porn echoed a downward spiral toward online censorship that was aimed at protecting a marginalized group; however, the decision subsequently harmed many others. Despite the plethora of alternative porn sites and NSFW community forums, it will be impossible to replace everything else that made Tumblr what it was; something they grew into organically and into something really special.

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While it’s comforting to know that there is a digital haven for vulnerable groups who felt lonely and isolated after Tumblr changed forever, will they ever truly feel at home in the online world again? Tumblr xxx may never return, but many iconic Tumblr sex videos, porn videos, fanart porn videos, and of course the coveted Tumblr porn gif, will remain etched in people’s minds.

Interestingly, Happy Mag launched a Tumblr account as a means of sharing and activating a new audience. Is that what aging social media and blogging platforms are for? So for all you porn tumblr friends out there looking for some of the infamous tumblr xxx, you’re going to have to start looking elsewhere.


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