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Sex and Sexuality


Why porn and condoms don't mix

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // Current Affairs, International , Opinion Pieces, Sex and Sexuality , Revolving Door, Guest Authors

LA Times op-ed piece says “the effort to require condom use in adult films is misdirected — the porn business isn't the hub of AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases.”

Why porn and condoms don't mix

Los Angeles voters committed some bad public policy in 2012 when they approved Measure B, which mandated the use of condoms in any adult film shot in the county. Now, state lawmakers are prepared to double down on that misadventure and spread the mandate to all of California. 

At first blush, the requirement seems sensible. Who could oppose safe sex? But the effort to require condom use in adult films is misdirected — the porn business isn't the hub of AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, asking people to wear condoms is one thing; having the government order it and enforce it is another. And, most important, it doesn't work. Measure B is taking a fairly safe business and pushing it underground, outside Los Angeles and quite possibly into places that don't honor protocols put into place to protect adult film actors, which require that every performer be tested every two weeks for sexually transmitted diseases and cleared for work only if the test is negative.

Kayden Kross, an actress and director who works in the adult film business, has been one of the most outspoken critics of the condom mandate, opposing it first at the county level and now in Sacramento. Since Measure B passed, Kross and her colleagues haven't quit making movies without condoms, but a lot of production has now moved to places like Ventura County, near where I met with Kross last week during a break from her filming.

Kross' film — the latest in the "Wide Open" series (don't ask) — isn't likely to vie for an Oscar, and it's easy to sneer at the whole industry. But for this recent shoot, she paid a cameraman, an editor, a makeup artist, a sound technician and a production manager. She rented a location for $150 an hour over the course of four days. She herself acted in one scene, and hired other performers for the rest (on average, she said, performers make about $1,000 per scene, with women generally making more than men). All told, she spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000, cheap even by the standards of porn, in part because she served as director, producer and actress, but her crew made decent money, and state and local governments will get their cut in taxes.

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