Porn Director: I Was Totally Against Mandatory Condom Use in Sex Flicks, Until Now

Porn Director: I Was Totally Against Mandatory Condom Use in Sex Flicks, Until Now

honestly I feel like this post belongs on xojane and like, madam, how can you possibly be unaware that there are alternatives to latex and a bunch of other things but anyway, posting this bc some of it’s worth reading.

Here’s why this director changed her mind.

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So, when the Measure B “condom law” was passed in November 2012, I loudly objected, along with thousands of other adult industry producers. Measure B was both dangerous and absurd, we argued. First of all, our testing system works, we reasoned, because we had successfully kept HIV out of the talent pool since 2004. Secondly, the condom law would simply force pornographers “underground,” where they could no longer be monitored or held accountable for violations in safety protocol (as if everyone in porn was already held accountable for any number of random, unethical behaviors). Our hard-won testing standards would erode as performers opted not to share their STD test results, or even to test at all. And not only that, what if the condom were to break and you didn’t know your scene partner’s HIV status? What if you were (like me) allergic to condoms and the condom law would end your career as a performer?

I made these arguments more than once, and I believed them, but on a deeper, quieter level, I felt conflicted. What I knew was that, despite the validity of these “what if?” scenarios, and despite the fact that our testing system had been successful at keeping HIV out of the porn talent pool for nearly a decade, it had been far less successful in keeping out other STDs. I knew that condoms would help prevent the spread of diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea, both of which are so common in the adult industry that a performer who learns he or she is infected doesn’t even bother to alert recent scene partners to their possible exposure. And while porn’s most commonly transmitted STDs are admittedly “curable” with a course of antibiotics, they can still have some fairly serious complications (e.g., infertility and increased vulnerability to the HIV virus.)

I also couldn’t help noticing that while some performers seemed all but immune to porn’s most common STDs, others seemed to struggle with “dirty tests” constantly. I knew this because sometimes I’d try to book a certain performer only to be told by her agent that she wasn’t available until she could “take her medicine and re-test.” Even if I’d been told the same thing about the same performer multiple times within the span of a few months, I wouldn’t miss a beat. “Tell me when she’s up and running again,” I’d say, and simply ask if one of my alternate choices was available instead. While I was vigilant about keeping my set staph-and-sexual-harassment-free, apparently chronic cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea — some of which might have very well been transmitted on my set — didn’t faze me.

But after a few heavily publicized HIV scares in the past few years, including four within the past few weeks (none of which turned out to have been contracted on set, nor transmitted to other adult film performers in the course of shooting a scene), it has become harder for many of us to avoid the question of whether condoms might not be such a bad idea. In terms of sales they’re risky, but when considering performer safety, is there really a solid argument against a testing/condom combination? Yes, some producers might continue to shoot condom-free porn anyway, but is that any excuse for the rest of us to avoid taking steps to protect our performers?

Now, as the president of my own production company (which partners with the online broadcasting network  AEBN.net), I’ve been given an opportunity to follow my own conscience and to control my own career and financial future. Should I refuse to bow to “the Man” and go underground like many of my peers have already started to do? Shoot without legal film permits and operate in the shadows? Or do I search my soul for truths that don’t stem from a need to rebel against authority or protect my own bottom line?

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