As a self-made business mogul, a mother and wife, and a cancer survivor, there are many aspects of Jenna Jameson to admire and emulate. That said, I’m not looking to Jameson’s movies for advice on safe sex; just as I wouldn’t turn to Martin Scorcese for lessons on how to be a successful cab driver in New York City. Movies are works of art, fiction, and fantasy. The argument that condoms should be made mandatory in pornographic films due to viewers potentially imitating what they see on screen is logically indefensible and somewhat shocking, considering that it is written on a site that regularly publishes articles defending freedom of speech, free expression, and keeping government out of the bedroom.
Kellee Terrell’s article, posted on Huffington Post yesterday, gives us a glimpse into the type of thinking that leads many intellectuals to advocate at one time for social liberty while at the same time demanding that government intervene in the personal choices of others. It stems from a condescending disbelief in the ability and the right of the average individual to make choices about their own life.
While it is obvious that not using condoms on porn sets is a safety hazard, I have often wondered: How much of a safety hazard is it for viewers to consume condomless porn? How much does watching bareback sex influence or reinforce our desire to mimic that same behavior in our own lives?
…I am not so naïve as to believe that if the porn industry were to make condom use mandatory, that act alone would completely revolutionize how Americans view safer sex or condoms. But it cannot be denied just how powerful media is …
Perhaps now is the time for the porn industry to make some changes in terms of safer sex practices — not just for the sake of their own employees, but for the sake of all of us.
It is not the porn industry’s responsibility to teach anything to anyone. They make films and money. We can call them artists, or business people, and though some may release instructional videos, it isn’t fair to label them as custodians of anyone’s sexual decisions. It may be interesting to examine possible correlations between behavior and viewing habits, but even a evident connection would not make actors, directors, or producers culpable for that behavior.
Based on Terrell’s logic couldn’t the argument be made that we ought to ban films and TV shows that feature rebellious youth (i.e. My So Called Life), dangerous driving (Rebel Without a Cause) or victimization of women (everything on the Lifetime TV Network) lest someone takes them as guidance for their life choices?
Obviously, this isn’t the case. It may seem incomprehensible that the same people arguing for a condom mandate are the same people who would normally scream at the top of their lungs if the government tried to regulate bedroom activities. However, because pornography is an issue of capitalism, of “big business,” they look upon the actors as victims in need of protection-whether they want it or not.
It is not the government’s right to regulate how adults engage in sexual activity; we each can and should take responsibility for our own sexual safety. And, as Jenna Jameson has proven throughout her career, adult film actors also should be left free from government interference to make the decisions that affect their lives and career.
Note: Jenna Jameson appears to favor either a condom mandate or at least some stronger regulations on set. That doesn’t affect her status as a sharp business lady, but, like I said, I’m not looking to her for safe sex advice–nor am I looking to her for regulatory analysis.