An unhappy ending for CA’s adult film industry?

One reason people enjoy pornography (apart from the obvious benefit) is that it allows them to fantasize about activities in which they cannot or do not engage in their real sexual lives. One of those fantasies is sex sans protection: adult films almost exclusively feature actors having unprotected sex–something the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) wants to put a stop to for California adult film studios. The organization today will file a petition at the meeting of California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board asking them to include a condom requirement in their rules applying to adult film workers.

Will this improve the rate of STD infection among adult film actors? For those who stay in CA and can find work, sure it probably will. But banning all porn would be even more effective, but it doesn’t mean we should do it.  Before adopting even more regulations for the industry I’d like to point out a few facts:

This is a form of censorship. Whether or not one considers pornography “art” it is a form of communication that the government should not be able to alter or censor in any way.

Allowing the government to regulate sexual activity among consenting adults, even if it is “acting” sets a very dangerous precedent. After all, what constitutes porn or a working environment? What if the “actors” are a husband and wife team with a home movie recorder or woman with a bedroom camera and her own pay-per-view website?  The government does not belong in our bedrooms, boardrooms, or studios.

Production companies could very easily leave California for nearby Nevada or other states with friendly regulations and taxation. Perhaps Delaware will be the new adult film capital of the world. Beyond the fact that it isn’t the place of government to legislate how private companies conduct their business, these regulations could drive away millions of dollars in tax revenue and jobs.

Of course porn actors have increased incidents of STDs. They have sex for a living! Expressing outrage over that fact is like being surprised that logger are more likely to lose limbs or postal workers are more likely to get paper cuts than the general public. The possibility of STDs goes along with the territory–it’s an occupational hazard, but one that actors and studios can and do mitigate against by upholding their own standards of testing and safety. It is telling that the AHF petition notes that multiple cases of STD transmission in the adult film industry occurs in the same people.

AHF claims that not forcing actors to wear condoms creates an unsafe working environment in violation of OSHA regulations. I was unable to obtain the list submitted by AHF of adult films they submitted as proof that CA’s porn industry creates an unsafe work environment for the actors…but I’m willing to bet that the these films violate a whole bevy of other OSHA regulations.

Trying to mandate how x-rated films are made is silly and won’t work, it will simply drive the studios to move out of the state.