LA to Porn Industry: No Glove, No Love

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fisserman/157883309/sizes/m/in/photostream/">fisserman</a>/Flickr


Earlier this week, the Los Angeles City Council approved a new ordinance that requires the makers of adult films to use condoms in their movies. If a porn company doesn’t want to use condom, they won’t be able to get a permit to shoot in the city—which has touched off quite an interesting debate.

The porn industry says they can’t sell films in which condoms are used, and will probably just end up shooting elsewhere. From the Associated Press:

“It’s going to be interesting to see how in fact they do try to enforce it and whose going to fund it and all of the time and effort they’re going to spend,” said Steven Hirsch, co-founder and co-chairman of Los Angeles-based Vivid, one of the largest makers of erotic movies.

“Ultimately I think what they will find is people will just stop shooting in the city of Los Angeles,” added Hirsch. “That’s a given.”

Or, as one porn actress, Lorelei Lee, writes over at Salon, they’ll simply ignore the law:

The most basic reason is that ordinances like the one passed this week will not have the effect of increasing condom usage in straight porn. The adult film industry has only been legal for roughly 30 years. It is still looked down on by many civilians as a shameful business, and the workings of the industry are still, in many ways, shrouded to outsiders – which is a good or bad thing depending on whom you talk to. Many of the people attracted to this industry are still those who don’t care a lot about public opinion or about obeying authorities. In the case of a condom mandate tied to permits, many producers will simply shoot in Los Angeles without a permit. Others will move production outside of the city – to places like Las Vegas, San Francisco or Miami, where some companies are already established.

I’m not convinced that the sheer fact that people will ignore the rule is a good enough reason not to try to put it in place. It seems to me that the idea is to try to find a way to make condom use more common in adult films. Although Lee may be right that the current industry standard of mandatory STI testing is doing a good job of preventing the spread of infections, she misses the outward facing issue, which is that porn-watchers don’t necessarily know that the sexy pizza boy who drops trou upon delivery of an extra-large sausage to a dorm full of panty-clad undergrads recently got his junk checked by a doctor. They would be able to see whether he used a condom.

It’s sad, of course, that many people get their sex education from porn. But they do.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.