Safer Sex Stigma

Yesterday, the city of Los Angeles mandated safer sex practices for actors in adult films, i.e. they must use condoms or similar barriers. As I read the news article, two things struck me: the regulation and the reaction.

I was pleasantly suprised that L.A. endorses the making of porn films by issuing permits for them, just like many other businesses. It’s nice to know that for some people, making a film that features people having sex is as normal as making a film that features car chases, explosions or aliens.

I believe the average adult viewer is more likely to have had intercourse than been in a car chase or an explosion or encountered aliens, so it’s easier to relate to the story. Of course, the same “don’t believe everything you see on TV” rules apply: enjoy the show, and don’t compare yourself to what’s on the screen. My favourite teasing question when I see shows such as Shameless and Californication has become “Are there really people like that in the world?”

I wasn’t surprised, but concerned that industry representatives threatened to move production elsewhere, claiming that viewers would be “turned off” by condoms. Essentially, their position is that safer sex is offensive to viewers. I understand that porn films – like most films – are about fantasy and telling a story, but I have a bit of trouble with (likely male) personal opinion taking the place of market research. I also understand that a condom presents a scripting challenge of sorts, but I wouldn’t have imagined the resistance would still be so strong. It says something when an individual is willing to risk someone else’s health for personal gain. (Of course, the same could also be said for some one-night stands and some marriages too, but that’s a different article.)

I hope that the porn industry wakes up and realizes that adding a bit more reality to their fantasy might actually bring them more viewers. Women are a growing market segment as they continue reclaiming their sexual power. And women usually go for a different style versus male-oriented porn – instead of presenting women as sexual servants or vaginas to be conquered, portraying images that look far beyond intercourse, where men honour and respect women, appeal to their sensuality and ignite their sexual passion.

Condoms are protection, and protection is sexy!

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