“Do we need goggles for cum shots?”
James Deen is confused. He’s an active opponent of Measure B, mandating that all adult performers in LA County have to wear condoms on set. “Sorry, I go off on tirades sometimes!” He’s bummed, but he’ll deal. The measure passed Tuesday and today, the Free Speech Coalition and porn producers are still scrutinizing the details. How far does this law extend?
“Are we not allowed to kiss in porn anymore?” He scoffs. “Because you can contract syphilis, herpes and hepatitis from kissing.” That’s life, kids. That’s the risk you take. Now think of the super-sex practiced on porn shoots.
Deen says that most people who voted to wrap up his penis aren’t really familiar what it is he does with it every day: “They don’t know how porn works.”
“The sex that you have on camera is not like the sex you have at home,” says Stoya, another Measure B opponent. “You’re being pounded for an hour and a half with a piece of rubber to get the necessary footage. You’re going to get kind of torn-up. As a woman, you have a very high likelihood of getting little tears in the delicate skin of your vagina.” Here, the risk of transmission and condom breakage is many times higher.
“It’s sex done for entertainment purposes.” James Deen drives the point home: “To be crude, you have large penises pounding away at someone’s vagina for an excessive amount of time in unnatural ways. It’s done because it’s entertainment — it’s not to done to show how sex should be, but to arouse the viewer.”
As much as you’d like to pretend — for three to thirty minutes a day — that you’re totally up for that sadomasochistic public gang bang, most likely, you’re not.
That doesn’t mean we civilians can’t lead awesome sex lives with virility and flair even though no one is looking. There’s just no production assistant to untangle you out of that sex swing and no one to really make sure your partner is fully tested.
So, if you’re not working with thoroughly-tested fellow performers, wear a condom. James Deen says he uses condoms when recreationally pounding someone outside the industry. Stoya says she grew up around people suffering from HIV with their horrifying warning tales and used condoms until she could afford superior testing, until she was working with those that can too or when she was on a hiatus with a monogamous partner who tested clean. You know, the route regular stuff you’re doing. Right?
The reigning prince and princess of porn want to do safer sex PSAs too. Their video work comes with condom-use encouraging disclaimers, and you’d see them if you weren’t illegally streaming porn in chunks on a Tube site.
“This law doesn’t affect anyone but the adult film industry,” Deen sighs. “But we are the only community in the world with HIV transmission rate of 0. We haven’t had a case in almost a decade.”
He brags of the strict bureaucracy that precedes each shoot, the testing with allegedly best medical equipment available every 14 to 28 days, the extensive database chronicling all exchange and — since producers can’t legally discriminate against employees with HIV — the foreplay of real talk between performers, the swap of negative test result papers. When’s the last time you got tested? Talked about it? There’s a bit of stigma about sex and its realities. “That stigma is a social disease,” Stoya says.
Of course, porn star Mr Marcus fucked things up last summer when he faked his test papers and started the much storied porn syphilis outbreak. Stoya called it “a clusterfuck” and explained in tedious detail of how something like this could have happened and what was done to curb that chaos in this very small, very intertwined community. There are other precautions.
“Most of our industry will not shoot anal creampies. It is seen as unnecessarily risky.”
What now? They could also appeal. While Stoya and James Deen are talking of unionizing and mobilizing, the LA County porn industry is working out the sales figures to see if they can deal. Usually when the industry wraps it up, sales tend to go down, in which case they’ll bail, leave the county, and take billions of taxable income out of state to welcoming Arizona and Florida.
There’s something slightly condescending about the do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do-on-camera thing. But don’t get your feelings hurt. That’s business. After talking porn-sex mechanics all of last night with these two, adult industry performers seem less like the pro-atheletes I considered them to be and more like manual laborers. They’re working actors who do their own stunts together inside a bubble, pledging its sterility, with you looking giddily in.
“It’s not about safety,” Deen says. “This is about freedom of expression. This is interrupting the people’s choices of what they want to view.”
And the people want to view James Deen and Stoya, banging raw. But you shouldn’t — you should wear a condom — because you’re not James Deen and Stoya. You’re also not Jackie Chan and shouldn’t slide eight floors on an exploding light pole down through a glass roof and start pounding people’s faces.