Any serious connoisseur of pornography can tell you that condoms are few and far between in erotic cinema. Hopefully, a ballot measure in Los Angeles will change this allowing safe sex to prevail with mandatory condom usage for the large amount of pornography produced in the LA area.
Condoms exist as a sort of latex glove for male genitalia, the kind of thing that might remind people of bio labs and housecleaning — not sweet lovemaking. In the porn industry, which is all about appearance and creating a visualization of people’s fantasies, this image problem has led to the omission of condoms from most everything produced — outside of homosexual male pornography. The lack of condoms is an issue for a variety of reasons: it sets a bad example for viewers, it is exploitative of the workers involved and it’s also is a workplace safety risk.
While many of the porn fanatics against this proposed change would love to have people believe that mandatory condom usage is representative of the religious police state venturing into people’s bedrooms and enforcing draconian laws, this is not the case. The pornography industry itself has worked hard, often in courtrooms, to distance it from actual sex — stating that pornography is two actors depicting sexual acts, and that the actors are paid for their performance, not for sexual gratification. This distinction was immortalized in court case Freeman v. California — the reason most pornography is produced in California, where pornography enjoys the classification of being a depiction of graphic acts, and not the acts themselves. Pornographic actors should receive the same treatment that other workers in various risky businesses receive — by having government provide a legal requirement for proper protection use.
In any profession that has people coming into contact with the bodily fluids of others — dentists, doctors and medical researchers — it’s mandated that proper safety equipment be used. Sex, as we all hopefully know, is a great mess of bodily fluids. It makes perfect sense that the porn industry should have the same sort of safety standard, with all those participating in sexual acts utilizing protective items that help stop the spread of disease and infections.
Many will point to the regular testing of adult actors for STIs as a good enough protective measure. However, a recent syphilis scare and prior HIV breakouts prove that’s not enough. Condoms are a fairly cheap means of providing safety — not to mention a potentially lucrative way. There has got to be a Trojan or Durex sponsorship deal waiting to happen if this measure passes.
The porn industry should take a leadership role in promoting safe, responsible sex — which is, most importantly, condom usage. If people were to see condoms in all pornography, they would be much more likely to use them themselves, as pornography is an area where some people — for better or worse — gain conceptions of what sex should be. The studios have not implemented a mandatory condom usage policy themselves, so regulation is necessary.
Making porn perhaps a little less sexy by way of mandatory condom usage may seem a bit much at first, but the benefits largely outweigh whatever costs there may be. Mandatory condom policies are safer for all those acting in adult films, and benefit society at large as safe sex is further promoted. Even if Los Angeles residents don’t vote for mandatory condom usage, it’s still a damn sexy policy.
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