On STD Outbreaks in Porn… I’ll Defer to Nina Hartley

STD-outbreaks-nina-hartley

Trust this woman. (Nina Hartley image from WrestlingForum.com)

I’ve been reading up on the recent HIV outbreak in the porn industry and trying to wrap my head around what’s going on in a way that’s helpful. I’ve been drafting blog posts, erasing them, reading more, drafting more… And I keep giving up. The problem of STD outbreaks in porn is bigger than my blogging skills know what to do with.

My basic stance is that, far from pointing fingers and flinging epithets at people about responsibility, mistakes, and so forth, now is the time to really listen to the people in the porn community about what they think, what they want, what they fear. They know what they’re up against and what they need far better than anyone else does, and while it’s oh-so-tempting to throw more regulations at the industry–stricter testing procedures, barrier protection, etc, etc–the truth about pornography is that regulations can only do so much, and they’re often misguided. The condom mandate now in effect in LA County has driven a lot of shoots out of the county, costing performers and the companies they shoot for more to travel and putting the whole shebang in much less porn-friendly legal territory. Clearly, the condom mandate has not protected the several performers now testing positive for HIV. Clearly, the testing protocols in place, though already very strict, have no kept everyone safe. And the truth is, no matter how strict they get, or whether or not barriers are used, there is no way to make sex work 100% safe. There just isn’t. Sex is always a risk in one way or another, and certainly no more or less so in the professional world. And, should the government decide to get involved and force “safer” practices on everyone, oversee testing and regulate what can happen on set, that will only go as far as the shoots the government knows about. The thing about porn in the 21st century is that it’s nigh-unregulatable. Anyone with a camera phone and internet access can “make porn” now, and there is no way to regulate what people film on their iPhones in their bedrooms and put on the internet for others to see. The point is: whether the people in Porn Valley acquiesce to all the regulations and protocols or not, there will still be pornography being made and circulated around the world. Pinning a new set of laws to the most professional people who care the most about their talent and their products won’t necessarily help anything. But the landscape is changing–directors and performers are reevaluating their practices. Tristan Taormino and Nica Noelle have both announced that they are going condom-mandatory. Things are shifting.

The one thing that can help is consumers taking a little bit of initiative and responsibility for what they watch. Doing a teensy bit of research on the companies that make the porn they watch and consciously deciding to purchase from the companies that do it right, that support performers’ health and safety, that take their work seriously and want to make the highest-quality products. The more money the good guys make, the less money and attention there will be left for the bad guys. I know it’s difficult to get anyone to pay for stuff they can get for free, especially in this economy, but if you give a shit about the humans you like to watch fucking, you have a responsibility.

Anyway, Nina Hartley basically said everything I was thinking, and much more succinctly than I could say it myself, in an article on FetLife, which Xbiz excerpted. Please go read it. I won’t talk over her–she knows a lot more about this than I do, and she says it all just-right.

 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.