I have a quick question as I am curious about the legality of websites such as literotica as an example.

These websites are aimed at the kink community. I have heard Literotica contains countless stories involving kink and some of these are of a sexual nature.

The problem is some of these stories I have heard involve minors so would this site be legal or illegal in UK?

All these stories are completely 100% fictional. Not sure if this makes a difference. Just interested to hear about these sites.

As a disclaimer I have not visited this site or read any stories regarding minors. I am just interested in the law.

  • 1
    In the USA they are probably legal because of the first amendment. I say probably because they could be adjudged obscene and then there would be little if any constitutional protections for these works.
    – Viktor
    Sep 15, 2015 at 13:51
  • What about in the UK?
    – user2585
    Sep 15, 2015 at 13:53
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    I have no knowledge of UK law. But I believe your government had the authority to adopt and law they wish, with no constitutional restrictions. Which means, it could become illegal later.
    – Viktor
    Sep 15, 2015 at 13:56

2 Answers 2


In the U.S.

Those stories could constitute "obscenity," in which case they could violate all sorts of federal and state laws.

I was surprised to discover on this DoJ page:

  • 18 U.S.C. § 1465 and § 1466: It is illegal to sell and distribute obscene material on the Internet. Convicted offenders face fines and up to 5 years in prison.
  • It is illegal for an individual to knowingly use interactive computer services to display obscenity in a manner that makes it available to a minor less than 18 years of age (See 47 U.S.C. § 223(d) –Communications Decency Act of 1996, as amended by the PROTECT Act of 2003). It is also illegal to knowingly make a commercial communication via the Internet that includes obscenity and is available to any minor less than 17 years of age (See 47 U.S.C. § 231 –Child Online Protection Act of 1998).

Under some state laws merely authoring or possessing obscene material is a felony.

However, if the material is not obscene then it is actually protected by the first amendment. In fact many public schools (at least when I was growing up) required us to read "literature" (e.g., The Color Purple) that included descriptions of child rape and sexual abuse. Descriptions of purportedly actual sexual abuse of minors are also common in the testimony and published biographies of abuse victims.

In the U.K.

Such obscene stories are also illegal in the U.K. The relevant law is the Obscene Publications Act 1959. The Crown Prosecution Service provides information on the specific application of that and related laws.

  • 1
    what if you accidentally come across this literature? I was reading around fetlife and people said that even when searching for something like "tickled by mom" stories, they stumbled accidently on stories involving minors and a sexual theme.
    – user2585
    Sep 15, 2015 at 14:07
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    @user232183 - my understanding is that an obscenity conviction would require mens rea. So if you accidentally encountered obscene materials and immediately backed away you would have a strong defense to any such charge. But this is a very tricky area of law. Here is one site that tries to provide guidance.
    – feetwet
    Sep 15, 2015 at 14:17
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    The strange thing is literotica hosts these sort of things and it is a huge website.
    – user2585
    Sep 15, 2015 at 15:11
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    Notwithstanding legal standards, in the 21st century U.S. and most of the developed world, verbal descriptions, as opposed to visual images, are almost never prosecuted as obscene. The justification for treating child porn harshly is that it requires child rape to produce. This does not apply to text descriptions. Piers Anthony, e.g., a mainstream sci-fi/fantasy writer has a novel series (Bio of a Space Tyrant) that features considerable child sexuality yet is was published by a legitimate firm and rarely even banned. Obscene text is mostly an anachronism due to changing community standards.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 28, 2016 at 19:46
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    @JAB There was federal child pornography litigation passed, a court case partially invalidating it, and new federal legislation in a volley mostly pertaining to CGI images that look like child sex act photos but are in fact CGI. It is a complex subarea of child porn law that I am only vaguely familiar with (and there are state law issues too). The child pornography statute laws are more critical than the general obscenity statutes which are largely toothless. There was a case of a man who pleaded guilty to child porn for a Japanese hentai comic, but it isn't binding precedent.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 29, 2016 at 23:57

You are wrong, Literotica actually FORBIDS including underage characters in the submitted stories, even if they are not involved in sexual activity. They did not publish a chapter of my non-pornographic novel because a 30 years old character who was genetically engineered to look 12 years old was presented in the nude; I had to modify the text so that there was no more nudity involving the said character.

  • I can second that. Their guidelines basically work both ways, which is not a bad thing. The character can't be younger than 18 (have lived for that long), but also can't look younger than 18. An immortal elf of 75 years old who looks like a teenager, or a fairy with a lifespan of 10 years who matures at 2 years old, a vampire who gets bitten at 15 and doesn't age for a century - none of these are allowed. And this is not unique to literotica - this is a pretty universal blanket rule on platforms dealing with porn.
    – Nezhul
    Sep 15, 2022 at 4:21

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