• Fri, Nov 9 2012

Does Requiring Porn Stars To Wear Condoms Infringe On Their Rights?

 

Years ago, my ex-boyfriend’s previous girlfriend–whom I actually really liked, as she was far more awesome than he was–performed in a porn. I recall hearing how strict all the guidelines regarding the production were from a mutual friend who had taken her to an STD clinic specializing in testing and treating adult film industry employees. Up until that point, I hadn’t really thought about how safe actors in pornography were required to be; I just assumed it was a sort of free-for-all. As it turned out, there were actually pretty strict guidelines that companies were supposed to follow in order to protect the performers and their health, and they’re seemingly getting stricter.

A new measure has passed in L.A. County that requires porn actors to wear condoms on set. The “Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act,” also known as Measure B, passed 56 percent to 44, ensuring that all performers will use condoms to prevent the spread of STDs within the industry.

The measure also requires that the producers of adult films obtain a permit from the LA County Department of Public Health if they plan on shooting porn scenes–a permit that will come with a fee. Those who violate Measure B will be subject to fines and possible misdemeanor charges.

Some people, particularly those within the industry this measure is supposedly protecting, feel that Measure B violates their rights to do what they wish with their bodies. According to the Huffington Post, award-winning porn star James Deen (you know, the really hot one) is saddened by the measure’s passing:

“I am disappointed. Not particularly about the law but about my community of adult entertainers being continually bullied and used by others… It will be interesting to see what happens next. People will most likely move production out of Los Angeles and take out tax money with us,” Deen wrote. “Hopefully this measure passing will help us get more organized in the future and that, along with Los Angeles losing our business, will allow people in politics to start seeing us as an asset.

“We are much like the homosexual, minority or female populations. We are a community of tax-paying and law-abiding voters who are currently being persecuted. But our opinions do matter, and I hope one day we get respect as these previously-stated groups and others have begun to receive.”

I can’t say that I have much experience with the adult film industry (at least, not on purpose) but I do know that film production has been increasingly removed from Southern California due to high costs, heavy restrictions and other difficulties, so I can understand why some people would be really displeased with this measure for economical reasons.

I also fully understand why the AIDS Healthcare Foundation–the primary group who spearheaded the campaign–wants to require condom use by law, but I lean toward the conclusion that it should be a choice. While there are so many various rules on maintaining actor safety on any type of film set, many of those are things required of the crew to keep the set safe as opposed to necessary restrictions for the actor. Making a performer use a particular precaution whether they want to or not could be seen as infringing on their artistic freedom.

Plus, with any sex act (regardless of whether it’s filmed or not), requiring anything for two consenting adults is going to be met with opposition; people typically prefer to make their own choices when it comes to sex, I think.

Measure B might not stick around long: the Free Speech Coalition has stated its plans to challenge Measure B in court, as shown by a letter sent to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday. They’ve deemed it “unconstitutional,” and intend on fighting it in court, so I assume we’ll be hearing more about this in the foreseeable future.

Pic via thecondomizecampaign.org

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  • Fabel

    Yeah, I don’t see the point of this– with the frequent testing & strict guidelines, how is adding condoms really safer? I actually had the idea that this measure was proposed more for the viewers’ sake, assuming that people only got their ideas about safe sex from the porn they watched, & seeing porn stars wearing condoms would be a “good example” thing.

    I also read somewhere that the condoms interfere with many female pornstars’ comfort, which totally makes sense. More friction & all.

    • http://twitter.com/alaskajackson Kate

      ….really? REALLY? condoms “interfere with many female pornstars’ comfort”? CONDOMS? not getting slapped around, or having outrageously large objects inserted into their orifices, or being tied up in unnatural positions, or any of the variety of porn acts commonly seen in mainstream adult films that cannot possibly be comfortable? I’m not hating on porn, I like some kind of weird shit myself, but it’s laughable that you would pick condoms, out of everything that female porn stars experience, as the one thing that interferes with their “comfort”.

      condoms aren’t painful or uncomfortable, and if you’re having a problem, the solution is as simple as a couple drops of lube

      also, did you miss the HIV outbreak? there was one year or two ago, and another before that, where a bunch of performers were infected. the “strict and frequent” testing did nothing to prevent this, because 1) they’re not testing every day 2) HIV takes a while to incubate so 3) you can test negative and still have HIV or 4) you can test negative, go fuck a rando and contract HIV, then spread it to your coworkers on set either before the next scheduled testing or before it would show up on a test.

      http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/10/former-porn-star-darren-james-speaks-out-about-latest-hiv-case.html

      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/12/28/la-may-vote-on-mandatory-condom-use-for-porn-stars/

      condoms in porn are a lot like helmets in hockey. individually, the negatives of wearing a condom or a helmet outweigh the benefits, especially if everyone else is going to go bare. collectively, I don’t see how this could be anything but a good institution.

    • http://twitter.com/OrbusTheWise OrbusTheWise

      regular people that use condoms only have penetration for around 10 minutes or less. pornstars have to have penetration for an hour or more and using a condom causes abrasions and irritates the the genitalia of both male and female performers making them more at risk from STI infection. Condom’s arn’t 100% effect either when used properly. No HIV case since 2004, when darren james got HIV. These days Darren James is employed by AHF to help them bring AIDs fear and awareness for profit. AHF is the soul reason this is even a law, they profit from large donations from condom companies.

  • lastango

    “I do know that film production has been increasingly removed from Southern California due to high costs, heavy restrictions and other difficulties…”

    ==========

    Here’s a good, quick recap of why businesses are leaving California:

    http://www.nctimes.com/top-ten-reasons-why-companies-are-leaving-california/article_be130984-2fe2-52f1-b49e-3cc2e28fbe70.html

    Anyone who googles “business leaving California” will be reading all day long.