Porn & Condoms

Apparently I am a little late to this scene, but Tristan Taormino has added a new twist to her condoms-in-porn stance. You can read her full piece here and the CNN coverage about it here. (yeah, they were published in late September. I don’t know how I just found out about this!)

Taormino was deeply against Measure B, proposed in LA county this past year, mandating condom use on porn sets. A big reason she cited was the fact that the use of condoms while shooting porn can create major internal wear and tear for female-bodied people, actually increasing their susceptibility to contracting STIs. Another was that condoms don’t protect against all STIs. Some people develop latex allergies. She also thinks that the government involvement in porn is about politics and not about sex worker rights, health, and safety.

However, her commitment to porn actor health and safety, and her own personal story (her father died of AIDS in the mid-90s), has caused her to change her professional standards. While before she allowed actors to freely choose to shoot scenes with condoms or without, now she will be requiring condom use in her porn productions. 

I definitely encourage you to read the piece on her site (the first link) and read on to hear from porn actors about their preferences for shooting with condoms or not and why. It was fascinating and enlightening for me to read about, and there are a variety of views represented. One major theme from many people was that they would prefer condom use be normalized.

I would tend to agree with Taormino- that the fight over condom-use regulation is about politics and not the actual safety of sex workers. I think porn actors should truly have the choice to use condoms or not; they shouldn’t have to worry about marketability, profit, or branding in making the choice to have sex with a barrier. Safer sex shouldn’t be dependent on a company’s profit margins. 

My logical brain wants condom-use in porn to be normalized. Actors deserve to practice safer sex, just like anyone else. My lustful brain fantasizes about condom-free sex and probably would be a bit more turned on watching condom-free sex. But this also relatively moot, since I don’t watch porn. I opt for erotica that simply describes condom-free sex 😛

Regardless, I am glad that Taormino is as brave, ethical, and reflective as she is: it takes guts to have complex motivations and reasoning behind professional decisions, to own personal experiences that inform them, and to publicly acknowledge when your professional stance changes.

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