Vex Ashley to talk porn at Edinburgh Science Festival

Erotic movie star Vex Ashley. Picture: supplied
Erotic movie star Vex Ashley. Picture: supplied
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AN erotic movie star is to talk about the benefits of consuming sexually explicit content at this year’s Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Independent performer and producer Vex Ashley is due to take part in a discussion in the Dissection Room at Summerhall.

Appearing alongside Professor Polly Arnold, obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, psychotherapist Paula Hall and Richard Lucas, of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, Ms Ashley, 26, will debate whether pornography can help promote sexual freedom.

She describes herself on her website as an “ex-art student turned professional undresser”.

It is not clear whether she will be paid for her appearance during the debate, which has been restricted to a 14-plus age group.

Festival organisers acknowledged the event would be controversial for some.

But a spokesman said: “We are happy with that. A festival is a melting pot of ideas that brings together people that might not otherwise have the opportunity to speak to each other.

“We think it is valuable to give people the opportunity to think about controversial topics and hear about them from informed speakers.”

The debate will include presentations from each speaker, followed by a discussion and questions from the audience.

“We were keen to ensure a panel with a variety of views,” said the spokesman.

“Vex Ashley is here to talk about the benefits porn can have, not just to the viewer but to the performer, too.

“As an independent porn producer, she will perhaps highlight a different side to the world of pornography from that which we are used to.”

Religious figures said they would speak at the event to highlight what they claimed were pornography’s damaging effects.

Rev David Robertson, Moderator of the Free Church, said: “The reason for us being on it is simply that we want to argue that pornography is harmful – that it is dehumanising both men and women, particularly as a feminist issue as well.

“We are concerned about the ongoing sexualisation of society and the harm that occurs to children because around a third of 12 to 13-year-olds have seen hardcore porn.”

Ms Ashley has declined to comment on her invitation to the debate, which is due to take place on April 3.

Last year, around 300,000 people watched or participated in the Science Festival.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com