Wicked Pictures is fighting the good fight. As the only major adult studio to feature exclusively condom-mandatory scenes (while still raking in cash and putting out high quality stroke material), Wicked still recognizes the importance of freedom to not use condoms, and they’re doing something about it. As mentioned in an AVN article early last week, Wicked is sending its VP of Special Projects, industry big-wig Joy King, to Sacramento with the Free Speech Coalition to lobby California lawmakers against adopting condom-mandatory legislation for the state’s porn studios. To force all studios to use condoms in every scene, she’ll be arguing, would be to deal Porn Valley a death blow.
While we here at WHACK! agree that safe sex is fucking fantastic, and that every one of you jack masters out there reading this should practice it, we also agree with Wicked, King, and the FSC that banning bareback boning in fuck flicks would be wrong. It’d be great if everyone got a hard-on from watching plastic-wrapped wangs, but the truth is that they don’t. And they probably won’t anytime soon.
What this comes down to is yet another fight between idealism and practicality being brought to the level of legislation rather than common sense, industry know-how, or even judicial rulings–any of which might make more sense. I’ve had quite a brouhaha going on in my own porn-polluted noggin on this subject for a while now. On the one hand, sure, it would be great if everyone involved in the making of sexually explicit adult entertainment started practicing safe sex with condoms, and for it to continue making money for everyone in the industry while still tantalizing its tadger-tugging consumers. But in order for that to happen, a sea change would have to take place in the way those consumers view safe sex itself, and adult entertainment, to boot. The image of safe sex as less exciting and more PC would have to be done away with and replaced with a humanitarian desire to see everyone involved treated with the utmost in respect and humanity. Furthermore, the idea of pornography as “fantasy” world in which the risk of STI’s does not exist would have to be dropped in place of a more responsible and realistic outlook.
Sure, I agree that it would be great if all these progressive things happened and everyone started having condom-mandatory orgies and jerking off to shrink-wrapped dicks and fantasizing about safe sex. I’m an idealist. But I’m also a practical person, and I have to admit that it probably ain’t gonna happen. People really like that fantasy world I mentioned before. Consequence-free sex is the fondest dream of most of the human race and has been so for millennia. It’s only been in the past half-century that we’ve been able to see live action visions of our fornication fantasies, and we’re not about to give that up just yet. Even if California legislators try to make it happen. Unfortunately, something that government in this great nation has often failed to take into account, despite its democratic leanings, is that legislation and law enforcement do not a new popular point of view always make. When consumers want something and are willing to pay for it, our capitalist citizenry will always-—always—-find a way to sell it, whether it’s legal or not. Has anyone looked at the war on drugs lately? Not exactly a feather in the cap of legislators who hoped that by putting them into ink, their sunshiny, unrealistic ideals would become popular opinion. People still love weed, and they still get weed. Making it illegal didn’t change shit.
Similarly, if California legislators want to put AIDS awareness groups’ ideals and a trumped-up sense of morality into their legal code, that does not mean that porn consumers will follow suit and decide that condom-mandatory sex is what they want to see. Idealism and practicality only mix occasionally, and even then, the mixture tends to be more of an oil-on-water proposition, and as sexy as that might sound, the porn industry has always sided with practicality. What people often forget is that the adult entertainment industry is called an industry for a reason. There is a lot of money to be made, or lost, on sex. Getting all humanitarian and PC all over its ass is not going to keep it in business if it’s forced to put condoms that nobody wants to see on its performers, and much as those condoms might protect individuals, they might kill the industry. As Alexandre Padilla put it in an article on “Not-So-Safe Sex” on Forbes.com, “Good intentions do not guarantee good results.” There is a far greater possibility that more consumers will turn to underground, less-safely made porn featuring less professional, underpaid talent. Or that the big porn studios will just leave California, a move that those idealistic legislators might soon find themselves mourning, along with the revenue it took with it.
And furthermore, despite the big HIV scare earlier this year from the AIM Healthcare test that came back positive, legislators and Cal-OSHA seem bound and determined to forget that the adult industry is actually doing a phenomenal job of testing and keeping itself clean. They want to overlook the fact that the HIV scare was just that—a scare. The one and only performer who tested positive did not spread her infection to any others, and it turns out that infection was apparently obtained outside the industry. Whereas, according to Padilla, only 10% of the regular population knows its HIV status, almost every working adult performer is tested monthly at the AIM Healthcare Clinic using some of the best testing methods available. In its eleven-plus years of operation, only four HIV cases have been caught that came from inside the industry, and those were immediately quarantined and contained. The adult industry has been covering its ass just fine.
Furthermore, if the legislation in question were to pass into law, adult production companies would have to officially bring performers on as employees rather than private contractors, which would put them under Cal-OSHA’s anti-discrimination law stating that employees may not be discriminated against based on HIV status. This would eliminate AIM tests as a condition of employment, thereby actually putting performer at greater risk of HIV infection if a condom slipped or broke on set.
Of course I’m sure that deep down in their blackened, hardened, hell-bound hearts, adult entertainment workers appreciate that people want to look out for their welfare. But in porn, independent decision-making is a highly prized, often highly rewarded, attribute. People in smut tend to be able to look out for themselves and pride themselves on that ability. Taking away their right to choose won’t necessarily help anything. No word as of our publication date as to how this lobbying effort went, but at the moment I’m throwing in my jizz-rag and vote with Wicked, the FSC, and the big porn studios. – Miss Lagsalot