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How to access adult content websites with a VPN

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Picture this, you’ve settled down to enjoy your favorite adult content, you’re alone, you’ve set the mood, everything is ready. But before you can click play, you’re asked to provide multiple pictures of yourself and official ID in good lighting with the documents clearly visible. Then upload all of this and pass it through an age-verification system. And then still be in the mood to get back to your original business. 

This is the recent reality for many in the U.S. after certain states have passed age-verification laws for adult websites. In March of this year, the popular adult site PornHub went dark in Texas in order to protest new strict laws imposed by the state requiring just such verifications, following similar standoffs in other states.

Fortunately, getting around site-specific geographical restrictions is easy enough with the right VPN. Below you’ll find more info about these new laws, how to use a VPN to access mature content, and why you should use a VPN no matter what websites you visit.

What are age-verification laws and why do they matter?

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In recent years, age-verification laws have emerged in response to a growing concern that minors can too easily access adult content online. Regulations have long struggled to keep up with the rapid pace of technology and this is seen as a belated response to the current widespread availability of online pornography.

Porn and other adult content have been labeled by some as a public health crisis, with increasing rates of porn addiction and other negative psychological impacts seen as a concerning consequence, particularly to the younger generations.

It’s always been illegal for minors to visit a porn site, but previously this has usually been enforced with a simple self-verification check, asking users to confirm that they are over 18 years of age. Some officials see these as too simplistic and ineffective leading to a call for stricter age-verification methods.

The first state to enact such a law was Louisiana in 2022. Since then, more states have followed suit and many more are considering them in their respective state legislatures as we speak.

The reason why this matters is that it has far-reaching effects not just for minors, but all of us. Beyond the possible First Amendment infringements, these laws can have serious consequences for a user’s personal data.

Most of these age verification systems require users to submit pictures of themselves and personal identification, which are uploaded and stored on a third-party database. Anytime personal data such as this is collected, it’s at risk from data breaches and exploitation by cybercriminals (or sovereign governments).

Furthermore, there’s the issue that these restrictions will drive people away from well-regulated and legal adult content sites to less secure, shady sources potentially further endangering users. It’s not dissimilar to previous attempts to regulate pirated content — most people won’t stop pirating content if you take down the site; they’ll just find an even dodgier site to access what they want.

Which states have an age-verification law for adult websites?

Sam Singleton

Currently, nine states including Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia have already enacted laws requiring verification to access adult content sites.

Three more states, Florida, Idaho, and South Dakota are all poised to join them. Age verification bills in these states have cleared their respective legislative houses and appear on their way to becoming law soon.

How to use a VPN to access adult websites

When sites like PornHub are no longer accessible in your state, the best option to turn to is a VPN. By connecting to a VPN server located in a location that isn’t affected by the ban, you’ll once again have access to all of the site’s content.

When you connect to a VPN, all of your traffic is encrypted and routed through an independent server operated by the VPN provider. These servers can be located in different U.S. states, or different countries. While connected to one of these remote servers, your web traffic will exit through that server, appearing as if you’re browsing from that remote physical location instead.

If you find that you’re unable to access the adult content you want in your location, you can boot up your VPN and connect to a remote server. For example, if you’re located in Texas, where PornHub has a self-imposed ban, you can connect to a VPN server in another state and then go back to PornHub and, voilà, the content should be available once again.

As a side note, it’s also recommended to have a strong antivirus and ad-blocker installed and browse in incognito mode while accessing adult content. Adult websites are notorious for having annoying pop-ups and dubious links. Plus, incognito mode will save you the blushes of having these sites show up in your browser history — nobody needs to see your kinks laid out in Google’s autocomplete recommendations.

If you don’t already have a VPN or are in the market for a good option, check out our roundup of the best VPNs to help you decide.

PCWorld’s pick for best vpn

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPNRead our reviewPrice When Reviewed:$6.67 per monthBest Prices Today:$6.67 at ExpressVPN

Here is where the issue becomes tricky. There’s nothing inherently illegal about using a VPN in the U.S. The problem arises in what you do while connected to a VPN. Think of it like this, if it’s illegal to do without a VPN, then it’s still illegal to do with a VPN. For example, if you’re underage, accessing adult content is illegal with or without a VPN.

Since some laws vary state to state, it’s important to research and properly understand the laws and regulations surrounding adult content in your own legal jurisdiction before attempting to access any of this content — via VPN or not.

The content in this article should only be used as guidance to get around certain adult sites’ restrictions, such as PornHub’s recent embargo. It should not be construed as advice nor advocacy to circumvent any state or federal laws.

Sam Singleton is a tech editor and PCWorld’s jack of all trades. When he’s not on the hunt for the best computer deals he’s covering VPNs, productivity software, laptops, and a wide gamut of consumer-grade hardware and software.

Recent stories by Sam Singleton:

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