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