October 22, 2012 08:52pm
Condoms, Porn Etc. 1
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Will (Taliesin) Jarvis
Will "Taliesin" Jarvis Breaking the Pornographers Code: Porn's Secrets Revealed - Condoms, Porn and the Unique Nature of Sex Work Part 1. Follow my train-of-thought, if you will, and tell me if I go off-track anywhere:
Seems to me that if an actress in adult movies tells a producer she doesn't, for example, do anal sex, said producer should not be able to force her do that which she does not want to do. Nor should anyone else be able to force her; not any individual, business, organization or government.
Thus, if an actress says she doesn't use condoms, then said producer, again, should not be able force her to do that which she does not want to do. To me it's that simple. No producer, no director, no government agency – Nobody! - should be able to force this actress (nor any performer) to do that which she does not want to do. If anything, the government should be on the side of the talent, should bolster the negotiating strength of the talent so that no actress or actor ever has to do anything they do not want to do.
Prohibitions, both religious and secular, against the use of force with regard to sex work, or Red Collar work, are among the oldest known laws concerning sex work. Don't force a woman to work as a prostitute. But should she choose to work as a prostitute, don't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do. It's a shame we need laws for this bit of common sense.
And that brings us directly to the issue of the government forcing the use of condoms in all porn productions. In November, the citizens in California will be asked to vote on whether or not condoms should be mandatory in porn movies. Thus, it is necessary to dispense with the "condom" argument once and for all so that we may move on and address the main topic of this column, that of the unique nature of Red Collar work. The condom argument will lead us to that topic, but it is only the beginning.
Alas, reason alone has proven insufficient to prevail against those calling for mandatory condom use. While the matter of condoms-in-porn may be relatively new to California voters, within the porn community we have been dealing with this issue for years. The proponents of Measure B (as it is called) seemed to have missed a fundamental point: Measure B is unconstitutional. It's that simple.
Given a choice, win–win situations are the best. I love it when that happens, 'cause I hate to be confrontational. I really do. I like it when we can all get along, can agree on things, can work together for the common good. So with regard to the issue of forcing condom use in porn, believe me when I say I really hate to oppose these well-meaning but misguided individuals who are advocating mandatory condom use; I believe most of them have the welfare of the talent at heart, and are trying to make things better for the talent. However, the way they are going about it leaves something to be desired.
So, my saying that a law mandating the use of condoms in porn is unconstitutional is not an argument; it is simply a statement of fact.
Here's why: The Government cannot dictate the content of movies or novels or songs or any other art form. Insisting upon condoms in porn movies is censorship, and under the Constitution of the Us of a, censorship is illegal. If California's voters should approve of Measure B, any porn production company can go to court and challenge the constitutionality of the law. And that porn production company will win because the law is a form of censorship.
How is the presence of a condom in a porn movie censorship? It's censorship because it limits the types of stories that can be told. Any movie being created (XXX or other) is art. (the copies of that movie, on DVD or film or whatever format, are product, and, as such, may have, under certain circumstances, some government regulation.) Art, however, cannot have any government regulation (except art funded by the government; in such an instance a measure of control may be exercised by the government if it so chooses to exercise such control).
Government interference in art is censorship. 'you must have condoms in your movie' is the same as saying 'you must have the color orange in your movie'. Or 'All movies must have a running time between six minutes, twenty-three seconds and twenty-five minutes, eighteen seconds, and four frames'.
Requiring condoms in all porn movies would be like requiring that all TV shows include an authentic 1960s Captain Action doll (or action figure as such are called today) in all scenes. If your TV series is set before 1966 (the year the Captain Action doll was introduced), say during the Revolutionary War, a time when men and women laid down their lives for freedom, having a Captain Action doll in any scene would be ridiculous.
Safety is one thing, but there is more than one way to be safe when it comes to sex on-camera.
Let's try an example: Let's look in at Will's Widget Works (and it works just fine; just look at any of my movies) and see what's happening. A problem has developed. Toxic fumes are leaking into the factory. The government says all the workers have to wear gas masks to protect themselves from the fumes. But what if there's another, more practical, solution? Maybe one of the workers suggests: "Hey, why don't we, uh, just open a couple of windows?" Maybe that helps, but maybe it's not enough. Maybe a ventilation system has to be installed.
Well, years ago the porn community did just that; we installed the ventilation system, that is we started testing for HIV. I was there from the start of the testing program that began with PAW (Protecting Adult Welfare), thru Aim (Adult Industry Medical) to the current clinics and facilities that are now available to performers across the United States. We have something that works, that helps keep the talent safe from HIV and STDs, and there's no reason to change it.
Can the testing program fail? Sure. But so can condoms.
Condoms were not designed for the kind of use they would get put thru in a typical porn shoot. Let's say that Actress a has an Std. Actress B does not. Nor does the actor in this threesome scene. If said actor inserts his condom-covered penis into the vagina of Actress a and then moves said penis into the vagina of Actress B, Actress B could contract the Std. True, the actor would be safe, but the disease is still passed to Actress B. It could happen. However, if all three performers are tested for STDs, and none of them has any STDs, then none of them can pass any STDs to the others whether they use condoms or not.
Forcing condoms to be used in porn is one thing; voluntary use is another. Some porn movie scripts specify whether a condom should be used in a particular scene or not. Let's use one of my scripts as an example.
Some years ago, I wrote a movie called "Our Naked Eyes". It was my first produced script, and I also directed. (as it was my first, I titled it so that the first letter of each word spelled out "One"; just a little attempt at trying to be clever.) in that movie, I wrote sex scenes that involved condom use and sex scenes that didn't. The story is about two graduate students who are studying various aspects of human sexuality.
One of the characters meets a fellow she likes and at one point in the story has an erotic fantasy about him. The script had more romantic elements to it than we were actually able to shoot due to time constraints but I think the scene came off pretty well. In her fantasy, the woman and her lover do not use a condom; this is her fantasy after all. (Do any of your sexual fantasies involve condoms? I don't think so. But if they do, I wanna hear from you 'cause I'd sure like to know why.) Later in the story, as their relationship develops the two do get together sexually and she asks him to use a condom. That fits with her personality. The two scenes combined show the difference between fantasy and reality, which is often difficult to do in a story. But it worked.
The other scene involving a condom occurs after the two grad students have an argument and one storms out, forgetting to take her purse with her. They were supposed to interview a guy at a swing club the next day but the character who stormed out finds herself at the swing club that night. She's in need of some stress release and hooks up with a guy at the club. She's not into participating in an orgy though, so the two go off to the club's coatroom for some privacy and start to have sex. She stops after a bit and says, 'I left my purse at home and my condoms are in it.' or something like that. The guy starts picking through the pockets of the coats hanging in the room and finds a condom. They put on the condom and have a good fuck. This scene was played for humor, to lighten some of the tension of the previous argument scene, and other tensions that had been building between the two main characters.
Were Measure B to become Law, and, say, a production company wanted to remake my "Our Naked Eyes" script the Law would require condoms in all scenes, even those scenes where they would not be appropriate. This would be censorship. We would not be able to show the difference between a sexual fantasy and a sexual reality, nor would we be able to do the humorous scene with the coatroom condom. If condoms were magically popping up all over in every scene, the forgetting of the purse and the search through the various coat pockets for a condom would be meaningless.
I'm sure you can think of numerous examples where the presence of a condom in a porn movie would be ridiculous, but let me give just a few:
A serious story about a couple trying to conceive a child: Government mandated condoms would prevent this script from being produced.
Shipwrecked on an island: After a few days or weeks the supply of condoms, if there are any to start with, is going to run out. If our castaways are stranded on that island for several years somebody is eventually going to have sex with somebody else. All credibility would be ruined if condoms just somehow kept appearing.
A science fiction story set in the future where all diseases have been conquered: What the hell would a condom be needed for in such a society?
Any story set in the past before the invention of a modern condom: I'm game to try different things as an actor, but I'm not wrapping my penis in a sheep's intestine. (Intestines from animals were early forms of the condom.) and it's doubtful if this old-fashioned condom would meet with government approval anyway.
Nope. There are just too many examples to be had of how a government mandate of condoms in porn would be censorship. It simply can't happen. And if it did, porn production companies could just move their operations to Nevada, Arizona, Florida, New York or Iowa (No, really, there's porn production in Iowa.) or anywhere else. But that won't be necessary as Measure B is illegal.
Send your comments, criticisms and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2012 Will Jarvis. All Rights Reserved.
The moderately mythic Will "Taliesin" Jarvis is a popular part time porn performer, pagan pundit, practicing polyamorist and prominent prosex partisan, as well as being addicted to atrocious alliteration.
He chronicles the wondrous and whacky world of porn, polyamory, swinging and other alternative sexualities in words and pictures.
Visit him at www.willjarvis.com and www.paganpleasures.com/talbio.htm and on Facebook