Why condoms, not STDs, are Public Enemy No. 1

Why condoms, not STDs, are Public Enemy No. 1

SexJune 26, 2014

In a bizarre reversal of dick-rubber legislation, California's new forced condom regulation means condoms, not STDs, are the new bane of the porn industry.

We're talking about A.B. 1576, the California Assembly bill that just passed yesterday. It requires that condoms be used for all vaginal and anal scenes in porn, and includes a government mandate on STD testing and disclosure of results.

But porn stars don’t have boners for boner-rubber. More than 600 performers have come out against the bill, saying it will hurt the industry it was intended to protect.

Suddenly, condoms, not STDs are Public Enemy Numero Uno.

That’s because in the porn industry, condoms can actually increase the likelihood of STD transmission among performers. Not to mention forced condom use under A.B. 1576 threatens performer’s livelihood and privacy, arguably decreases the quality of porn, puts the porn industry in an unfair position of being sudden sexual-health advocates, and infringes on their right to make their own health decisions.

Let’s deep throat- er, take a deeper look at these unintended effects.

First, there's the blaring fact that A.B. 1576 might actually make getting an STD more likely, despite its sweet and earnest effort to do the opposite.

That’s for a few reasons. The first being “condom burn,” which consists of friction-based genital micro-tears for both men and women. Condoms aren't designed for the rigors of adult performance; the average at-home romp is maybe 10 minutes, whereas the average adult scene takes about an hour. That’s a lot of friction for those of you two-minute-and-quit-its. And latex isn’t exactly the most friction-friendly dick sheath.

“After fucking for 45 minutes to an hour without a condom, my insides are sore,” said porn star Casey Calvett in an op-ed piece about why mandated condom use is detrimental. “With a condom, they are rubbed raw. The extra friction from the condom causes micro tears in the walls of my vagina and anus. Besides the fact that they just plain hurt, they take time to heal. There is no way I could work as often as I do if every scene required a condom.The micro tears also leave me more vulnerable to STDs when the condom does fail, again completely defeating the purpose.” Well said, Casey. Well said.

The pain from the friction also affects male performers, who find it hard to keep a boner when their dicks feel like they’re being burned off. Weird! Men can spend a phenomenal amount of time stopping, starting, fishing for broken condoms, and applying new ones, which can be both exhausting and unarousing.

And unaroused men cost the industry time and money. Porn blogger Mike South explains in an email to us that men “have a hard enough time keeping wood as it is. Many resort to shooting Caverject into their penises or taking ED medications. Adding a condom makes it even more difficult.

If male talent is having problems it costs the production company money, plain and simple, time is money.” For that reason, if porn is your job and you work in Porn Valley or Las Vegas and you demand condoms, you will not get work, plain and simple. So there’s more at stake here than the health of the performers; their livelihoods are on the line too.

Especially when you consider that the condom law may cause a large-scale exodus of the adult film industry to Las Vegas, where you can shoot all the condom-less sex you want.
Porn star Lorelei Lee says, “The actual situation that will be created if this bill becomes law has already been demonstrated in L.A. County after the passage of Measure B,” she said, referring to the condom mandate passed in 2012. “Since that time there has been a 95 percent reduction in adult film permit applications.” That means less work in L.A. where the majority of porn is shot, and less work means threatened livelihoods and potential job loss. Not everyone wants to move to Vegas, and by not everyone, we mean no one. Have you been there? Place is crazy.

Regardless of whether or not the bill would force the industry underground, it raises privacy concerns. “This law would mandate that we ‘consent’ to the sharing of ‘information’ with the Department of Industrial Relations as a precondition to being hired,” Lee says. As the Erotic Service Providers Union of California put it in a blog post, “This is a slippery slope upon which there are no privacy provisions in place to protect this class of workers from being exposed to discrimination and negative stigma for working in adult films.” So when the industry moves to Vegas to shoot condom-free films, and all the porn stars that don’t want to live in Circus Circus are left here, their STD record will basically be public record.

Another reason that forced condom use is pointless when it comes to stopping porn STDs is that that in porn, large dicks and lengthy rough sex often means the condom will break in the middle of a scene. In the middle of an orifice.

“It's not uncommon for a condom to tear, or even completely break, during a porn scene … Once the condom breaks or comes off inside me, it completely defeats its purpose of preventing the transmission of STDs,” Calvertt says.

So while condoms might work for you, in your little room with your high school diploma and teddy bear shrine, their function doesn’t necessarily translate into the world of adult films.

So far, condoms are increasing STDs, threatening performer's livelihoods, and changing the landscape of the porn industry … and we haven’t even gotten to the mangling of erotisicm that forced condom use imparts. “The scenes filmed under the requirements of A.B. 1576 will simply not be as good as the scenes we film now, and the porn audience is extraordinarily particular,” Calvertt says. “There is very little loyalty. If they aren't completely satisfied with the product, they will go somewhere else. They don't want condoms, and they don't want lackluster scenes. If this bill passes, companies have three choices: move out of the state, go underground, or go out of business.”

But would it really be that bad? Would seeing a someone get safely pounded really kill your boner or phantom lady boner? Mike South, who’s never seen a negative effective from condom use on his personal sales, doesn’t think so. “For the people whom would say that it is, I think they have some deep rooted issues with women,” he told us. “I say that because by and large these are the same people who seem to want the riskiest sex acts like choking women out, what we call ass to mouth, "rosebud" porn and things of that nature. I don't think the average porn fan cares if there is a condom or not and I think the industry has abandoned its core fan base in favor of a relative minority of woman-hating ass hats.”

But, by that token, using a condom implies foresight, consideration and respect, three things that are amazing in the real world … and three things which most people don’t want to be confronted with as they unzip their flies in front of the computer. For some people, namely the people who would be prone to buying a porn subscription, condoms take away the lusty spontaneity of sex, the animalistic “I want you right here, right now” dynamic that makes porn, porn.

The little dick hats are universally renowned for killing sensation, so when someone sees a guy fucking someone with a condom on, it’s less arousing because he knows it doesn’t feel as good. It’s hard putting himself in the porn stars place knowing the porn star’s dick is chafing and going numb. And with a condom, there’s no money shot. What’s the guy gonna do, peel off the condom full of semen and dump it on the nearest tits? It’s for that reason that bareback porn is higher rated than condom porn.

Porn, largely, is about fantasy. If it wasn’t, and you could just go around doing what you see in porn, there’d be no porn and your computer wouldn’t have a catastrophic virus right now.

It has no moral obligation to depict safe sex. Although it would be a convenient vehicle for teaching young viewers that condoms should be a part of their sex routine, it’s not, and never has been a public health measure to promote safe sex. And so far, with regards to its capacity as a learning tool, it hasn’t really done much for the world of sex other than mangle people’s standards for what should be happening in the bedroom or truck bed. It’s track record as a sex professor is less than savory. Just ask the dude that tried bukkake you the other night.

The bottom line is that A.B. 1576 is a nice try, but condoms don’t fit in the world of porn like they do in the real world, and the bill infringes upon people’s right to chose their own health outcomes. Mike South, who actually uncovered a syphilis outbreak in the industry a few years ago, acknowledges that while perfect condom use could have theoretically prevented that from happening, he still believes performers should have the option to decide which health risks they do and do not accept. “I do believe that as adults we have a right to  make our own choices and bear the consequences of those choices.  I do not believe that legislation is ever going to be a good answer particularly when it deprives people of choice, even poor choices.”

He suggests civil, not legislative fixes for when STDs spread amongst industry workers. The idea is simple; if you contract an STD from someone who has not been getting tested, you sue them. “The proper remedy is civil as in the case of Lylith LaVey winning a 130K judgement against fellow performer Mr Marcus for exposing her to syphilis by knowingly faking his test results,” South suggests. That seems fair, and wholeheartedly American.

But, like it or not, the bill is a law now, and we predict condoms are going to be a prominent part of your Thursday night fap extravaganza. Whether you can stay aroused knowing that the performers are either graciously abiding the law or inside the Luxor, well, that's up to you.