Is it Time for the Porn Industry to Return to its Roots?

November 15, 2014
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Is it Time for the Porn Industry to Return to its Roots?

Over the last couple years, I’ve read a number of articles about the porn industry picking up stakes and heading out from Porn Valley in California to the Vegas Strip, driven in large part by “Measure B”, the ballot initiative that made condom use mandatory in adult films.

Given that Measure B was driven by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and given that AHF President Michael Weinstein has said he’ll pursue similar regulations anywhere and everywhere in the country that the porn industry seeks refuge from the legislation, and given the fact that the AHF has already filed its first OSHA complaint against a porn studio in Nevada, I have to wonder: Is it time for the adult industry to return to its “underground” roots?

Over the last few decades, I think it’s inarguable that the general public has become more tolerant of porn, and more accepting of it, at least in the “it’s inevitable” sense of the word acceptance. At the same time, porn’s high-profile visibility has also inspired more intense opposition, more scrutiny, and more involvement of outside third parties, including Weinstein’s AHF.

In the old days, before any of that social acceptance, the adult industry was run in hushed fashion. Producers tried to keep their set locations a secret, even when they knew they had all their ducks in a row where permits and other requirements were concerned. These days, with performers using social media on a near-constant basis, and studios and agents understandably encouraging that sort of interaction between performers and their fans, the industry’s secrets are far fewer in number, and far less guarded in nature.

As such, it might be hard to go back to operating on “porn-radio-silence”, so to speak, but I do think the industry would be wise to do a lot less telegraphing of its next move. Rather than openly discussing things like moving to Las Vegas en masse, it might be wise to keep one’s cards closer to the vest, and to reveal the details of one’s productions on a true need-to-know basis.

Even better might be to move productions somewhere the local authorities don’t give a shit, and where a studio’s legal position is less tenuous, should they want to produce movies that are condom-free. I don’t doubt there are European jurisdictions that fit the bill, including somewhere the laws are not particularly permissive, but they are even less particularly enforced.

Of course, the other option the porn industry has is to simply comply with the regulations, and at least a few production houses are, in fact, taking that approach. Immoral Productions, for one, has even used its compliance with the OSHA regs as a marketing element, and has made no secret of its intent to stay put in California, regulations and all.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with condoms in porn; my opposition to the regulations is more nuanced than not liking to see condoms in a scene. I just don’t like the idea of the State telling two people how to have sex with each other, even if they are having sex professionally, on the job, and in the context of a porn shoot.

If Nina Hartley and Ernest Greene, who are married, want to do a scene with each other and not use condoms, what exactly is the state’s compelling interest in forcing them to use a condom? Granted, that’s a pretty unusual situation in the context of porn shoots, but it’s not a unique one. There’s quite a number of performing couples out there, married and otherwise, and I fail to see how such people are taking a bigger risk by having “unsafe” sex with each other on-camera than they do when they have unprotected sex off-camera.

Whether one likes the condoms-mandatory rule or not, it is there, it is enforceable, and it is being enforced. To me, if the porn industry really intends to work around that rule, it is better off doing so from locations unknown than by relying on the idea that Las Vegas tourism board’s axiom “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” also applies to Michael Weinstein’s finely-tuned Porn Radar.

Coleen Singer is a writer, photographer, film editor and all-around geeky gal at Sssh.com, where she often waxes eloquent about sex, porn, sex toys, censorship, the literary and pandering evils of Fifty Shades of Grey and other topics not likely to be found on the Pulitzer Prize shortlist. She is also the editor and curator of EroticScribes.com. When she is not doing all of the above, Singer is an amateur stock-car racer and enjoys modifying vintage 1970s cars for the racetrack. Oh, she also likes porn.

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