Wrap It Up: Porn Actors in Los Angeles Must Wear Condoms

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Adult film industry actors in Los Angeles will be wearing a bit more, thanks to a new law signed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this January which will force stars to wear condoms on set.

The law is meant to provide better protection from sexually transmitted diseases.  For those saying, “well duh” this ideology has actually taken years to be put in place.  Historically, the world of adult entertainment has been lenient about protecting its actors and actresses from prolonged, repeated, and risky sexual encounters, says former porn actress Shelley Lubben.

“I personally caught the non-curable disease Genital Herpes in 1994 and was not given any information or help from porn producers or the adult industry.”

Recently, when regulation does go through, performers are required to pay for their screening tests, and sign consent forms permitting the disclosure of their tests to other performers and producers before filming.

Because it was legalized in California through case law not statute, the industry has mostly escaped governmental oversight unlike gambling or commercial sex work.  However, since this new law pertains to the immediate visual of the industry, it has created talks about relocation.

“We’ll look for other areas that are more welcoming. And we’ll take the thousands of jobs we create along with us. If we leave the state, those dollars and the tax dollars will go along with us,” Steve Hirsch found and co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment told Forbes.

Some outside the porn industry have come out against the mandate.  News Medial reported that executive director Diane Duke of the industry trade group the Free Speech Commission was outraged.

“The significance of this is government reaching into areas it doesn’t belong. It’s government telling us how to produce films, and it’s government regulating sexual behavior between consenting adults.”

But even if the studios have reacted poorly, they are not shaking behind their cameras.  Adult film industry actors on soundstages are not required to wear condoms.  Also, although Los Angeles may seem like the porn capital of the country, the mandate only applies to production houses registered in L.A. county.

The law’s lack of true bite may seem careless, but for some it is a huge step in the right direction.

“The tide of history here is pretty clear, and we’re not going to stop,” said AIDS Healthcare president Michael Weinstein about their next steps to push for the law in more cities.

Yet the real questions is, will audiences click away? The porn industry was once a multibillion-dollar industry that reached far and wide across millions of computers and televisions. Yet, The Economist reports the production studios throughout counties of California suffer from economic recession just as much as small business on Main Street. “If the Valley used to make 5,000-6,000 films a year,” says Mr. Kernes, “It now makes perhaps 3,000-4,000… And the Internet, with its copious free clips, is an increasingly viable alternative to the paid stuff.”

So what if Los Angeles studio performers have to wear the shower cap of love if the viewers click the free streaming version created outside the city?  Condom or no condom, many viewers might have other things on their mind while viewing porn movies.

And did anyone care to ask the actors? Veteran Actor Darren James told the New York Daily News, “We’re just trying to protect people’s lives. We’re still human beings even though we chose to be in this business.”

Mia Greenberg I am a journalism student born in Bolivia and raised in Massachusetts. I love coffee, dogs, and obscure news. Some day I hope to be a documentary filmmaker.

View all posts by Mia Greenberg

One Response to “Wrap It Up: Porn Actors in Los Angeles Must Wear Condoms”

  1. Renee Mitson

    I am kind of on the fence about this. I do think that having them wear condoms not only promotes safe sex to the viewer but also teaches people how to put them on properly. However I think making porn stars wear condoms is kind of missing the mark when it comes to priority. Most legit porn studios require serious amounts of testing before and after a video.

    Less legit studios may not follow the rules, but do you think they are going to follow the rules about the condoms?

    Reply

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