Whether you agree or not, what two consenting adults do together is strictly between them, and it doesn’t always involve protection. Yes, on occasion mistakes happen and people can wind up with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but that’s the tradeoff for having the sex life you want: you have to accept the consequences of your actions, and if that entails a shot of penicillin in the tuchus, well, it happens.
This extends to the world of porn, too; whether they prefer safer-only or bareback sex, performers should have the right to choose what precautions they take on-set. Should being the operative term here. In the wake of the American election season, Los Angeles, which is arguably the adult entertainment capital of North America, if not the world, passed Measure B, which mandated condom usage on all porn sets.
On paper, this is a good thing, right? People should be using condoms and keeping themselves safe. And if last summer’s syphilis outbreak teaches us anything, it’s that the current system can be bypassed by someone with doctored health records. If porn producers want their industry to be taken seriously as a business, why shouldn’t they hold themselves accountable to some sort of standard of health and safety practices?
Here’s the problem: should people be wearing condoms? I personally believe so. But as an adult, you should be knowledgeable enough about your own health needs as well as the status of your partners to make an informed decision, and what works for someone doesn’t necessarily work for another. Measure B doesn’t allow people to make informed decisions so much as it forces studios and performers to adhere to a one-size-fits-all sex life.
In more objective terms, this also comes down to a matter of money for many porn studios. Simply put, bareback porn sells better than safer-only porn. The recent dip in the economy managed to take a decent chunk out of the previously recession-proof adult entertainment industry, and between a shortage of disposable income among consumers and the reality of increased piracy rates, porn studios have to keep the bottom line in mind more so than ever.
It comes down to deciding what matters more: freedom of speech or encouraging safer practices. While Measure B has its heart in the right place, not only does it restrict individual liberties, but it operates under the assumption that the government knows more about sex than the people who bang for a living. Not that pornstars are known for their intellects, but anyone who’s ever listened to Todd Akin talk about legitimate rape can agree that even the dumbest fucker probably knows more than that asshole.
If you really want porn to adopt safer sex policies, how you spend your money speaks much louder than any legislation. Supply and demand is a far better incentive than government mandates, and financially supporting studios that are condom-only will go a hell of a lot further than checking off a box on a ballot.