New Law Could Force Porn Actors to Wear Condoms Like Filthy Sailors

This Election Day, voters in Los Angeles County will have the chance to weigh in on Measure B, a law that would require porn actors filming vaginal and anal sex scenes in the locale to wear condoms. Proponents of the law say it's a public safety issue. Opponents of the law say that porn is already safe and self-regulating and adult film actors already get the shit tested out of them. And apprehensive masturbators sit anxiously, the future of their chafed genitalia in someone else's hands, for once.

The issue of condom use in pornography is what Mitt Romney might call a "tender, tender" issue; people on both sides of the debate are ardently in favor of themselves and don't see much room for compromise, and today, Slate's Amanda Hess explored both sides of the debate.

Porn studios have formed a united front against the Rubber Menace, filming sexy PSA's heavy on both the James Deen and the dystopian hazmat suit imagery. Hess reports that even Wicked Studios, which requires actors to wrap it up, is against requiring all studios to follow the same guidelines. Besides, they argue, anyone who wants to wear a condom can just ask for one.

Adult film actors and actresses are more of a mixed bag on the issue. While one female performer said that the "you can totes ask for condoms!" rule is oft-repeated, it's not really something a female porn actress who wants to work does. Asking for a condom in a sex scene is an off putting faux pas for an industry that sort of expects women to go condomless. Other actresses have countered that wearing condoms for long sex scenes will actually be awful, because latex + friction + hours of getting pounded like a Natty Light 10 minutes before kickoff = vagina pain.

Meanwhile, a group of porn enthusiasts Hess casually interviewed had mixed to negative reactions:

Most people expressed ambivalence ("not a deal-breaker") or mounted defenses of the sexiness of safe sex ("condoms make the porn look more like the kinds of sex I actually have-and that makes for hotter fantasies"), but those who rejected condoms in porn seemed … particularly energized by the issue. These viewers-all of them men-announced that condoms are just "less sexy," "understandable, but ugly" and "UNWATCHABLE, FOR SURE." "Who cares about condoms in porn," one 27-year-old guy told me over email. "You watch it just to get off … caring about that would be like caring about the nutritious value of fast food when all you want to do is stuff your face."

An informal survey of the staff here (heh heh — staff) left me with a resounding "meh" on the issue of condoms in porn, and the predominant attitude seemed to be "let them decide what is best for themselves." If condoms are really awful, then let the actors not wear condoms. If they're best for reducing frequency of STI outbreaks, then wear 'em. No one seemed prepared to prioritize their personal horniness over the safety or comfort of adult performers.

Hess's group of surveyed dudes, on the other hand, seem extremely distressed about anything shattering their fantasy that barebacking is great or that what women really love is when a guy goes in and out really, really fast. Please, Los Angeles, think of the boners.

[Slate]