Passage of Measure B shocks the adult film industry
With the passing of the recent elections, the public had a chance to vote on issues that were deemed important enough to be placed on our ballots. Topics ranged from funding public education, to requiring that genetically modified foods display their Frankenstein-like heritage. Among the various initiatives was one spawned by smut. Apparently, the adult film industry is an industry that needs to be regulated, and Measure B claims it will do that. Measure B adopted an ordinance requiring producers of adult films to obtain a County public health permit, to require adult film performers to use condoms while engaged in sex acts, to provide proof of blood borne pathogen training course, to post permit and notices to performers, and making violations of the ordinance subject to civil fines and criminal charges.
Most of us are aware of the almost laughable restrictions that are placed on X-rated movies- more specifically with regard to access by minors. The Chinese government steadily monitors its citizens, with the intent of guarding the youth from accessing pornographic images, among other things. As a consequence of being caught watching porn, violators are sent to rehabilitative schools. Spending time watching porn does not contribute to the productivity of the Peoples Republic and the welfare of its residents.
In contrast, the United States—more specifically the San Fernando Valley here in Los Angeles—is the world’s major distributor of adult entertainment. It also accounts for a relatively disproportionate parentage of California’s economic activity. Indeed producers of porn are “job creators,” and given our instinctual desire to reproduce, it’s simply supply and demand.
Watching porn is a titillating past time. Mirror neurons stimulate portions of your brain in accordance with what you see someone else doing. For example, if you see someone crying, the parts of your brain responsible for the regulation of your emotional reactions will in fact respond to that sorrowful image of the unfortunate individual. You might not have any reason to be sad, but given your inherent biological sympathy, you might just shed a tear or two.
The same goes for “displays of affection.” Observing individuals engaging in sexual acts has been known to cause arousal.
But many feel that once a condom comes in to the picture, our potential for pleasure is hindered. In the porn industry, condoms are not good for business.
Some might consider the exploitation of our reproductive protocol to be immoral, as sex is one of the most intimate experiences known to humanity. This intimacy has been mass-produced, and now anyone with a computer can access billions of images of people “doing the nasty.” Is there something wrong with American culture?
Jessica Drake, a famed seductress of adult cinema, is no stranger to carrying that conversation. Under the impression that porn had reached a more accepted status in this day and age, she said that the passage of Measure B left her, along with the rest of the adult film industry, “in shock.”
Although surprised the measure passed, Drake doesn’t see the policy being enforced any time soon. For one, there is not an established protocol- or clear set of rules that are to be adhered to. Also, there isn’t an established entity in charge of enforcing the to-be-established policies.
Referring to the stipulation regarding “blood born pathogens,” she said that it would call for a stream of sanitary measures, including the implementation of dental dams, latex gloves, and an all around sterile environment; sounds more like a dentist’s office than a porn set—anyone else getting ideas?
When asked about the overall cleanliness of her work environment, Drake said, “look, we’re having sex. Sex is not too hygienic to begin with. There are fluids and germs; but it’s a manageable risk.”
Former XBIZ Awards Trophy Girl and Penthouse Pet of the Month, Tasha Reign identifies herself as a “paranoid little germaphobe.”
As someone who owns her own adult movie production company, Reign is well aware of the factors involved in making an adult film. She said that people like porn because it’s like a fantasy and condoms are not part of that fantasy.
In addition to discouraging buyers, the use of condoms would make things harder, on the already “hardcore” actress. “Vigorous intense scenes are impossible to do with a condom. We go hard for an hour. It’s not possible. The condom would have to be changed every five minutes,” said Reign. “It hurts, the friction involved in that. I can’t even put it in words.”
Reign also said that adult film stars are not getting the respect they deserve, and that the recent policy has left her feeling like a member of a minority group.
Reinforcing the idea that the statistics for adult film stars to contract STDs is quite low, Reign said that, “there was never one case of HIV in our business.” By “ [her] business,” she is distinguishing between the straight and gay porn industries. “They are completely different industries. Gay porn requires you wear a condom, but doesn’t test for STDs,” said Reign. She made it clear that “cross-over” actors, or men who do gay porn and wish to switch to straight porn, are sternly discouraged.
Both Jessica Drake and Tasha Reign believe that the public was misled into voting for the vaguely defined Measure B.
In Reign’s opinion, much of the misinformation that was propagated was due to commercials, where two retired porn actors who are gay, and again,“were never in [her] business, were paid to speak in favor of the measure.”
As for the hypocrisy of the new policy, Reign feels porn-stars are subjected to a double standard. “It’s a private matter. None of us are telling UFC fighters they need to wear helmets,” said Reign.
Speaking to the risks Reign does encounter, she said, “I acknowledge the risk I take every time I have sex with somebody, whether you were in porn or out of porn,” and that “we’re paid the amount we’re paid because we take those risks.” She also calculates the risks she takes when getting into her car to drive to work everyone morning, which is more dangerous.
Responding to the claim that pornography both degrades and objectifies women, Reign said that “no one is exploiting me, I exploit myself for myself.”
According to Reign, if someone were to come on set, in attempt to enforce the new law, she would just walk off. “It’s an invasion of privacy,” she said.
Reign says she loves Santa Monica College, and that she had a very intimate relationship with her professors. Her sociology professors in particular inspired her to want to delve into the field of women’s studies, which she currently studies at UCLA, where she hopes to receive her BA. She says that UCLA is a very liberal school and she has not encountered any criticism from anyone.
With the argument that, lifelong infections acquired within the industry are spread to the larger community, Measure B received support from various proponents of public health, who endorse the claim that the public would carry the cost of treating these infected individuals. Among the flaws with this argument is that, actors in the adult film industry are tested at least once a month, and have a relatively low risk of contracting STDs.
It is ridiculous that Californians are tolerant of uninformed ignorant populism controlling their tax dollars. This law simply cannot be regulated. Is it our responsibility to try and make choices for people who feel the need engage in irresponsible and dangerous behavior? If so, where do you draw the line? Will the FBI be creating a new condom enforcement division, in charge of guarding “public health?” Will blood borne pathogen-training courses be introduced into our school systems? At the end of the day, porn stars aren’t the only ones having sex.