A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
Interesting story coming out of California about worries for the porn industry there. I’ve long supported the existence of barebacking porn, and I know this fact alone is enough to get the backs up of many in and outside the industry. Barebacking ‘gay’ porn appears to be a particular phenomenon with companies such as Treasure Island Media being at the forefront of this, and indeed celebrating all things bareback. And hell why not? The answer is HIV/AIDS. Don’t you realise, people DIE?! Well of course, but I also recognise that barebacking is a choice. I recognise that many bareback in private but have to state they don’t in public. I recognise the safe sex campaigners who get paid to talk about safe sex but then some (I make no claims about numbers) enjoy barebacking.
Now we learn, several healthcare groups in California are Alex Padilla published a story at the start of last month in Forbes in which he concludes: ‘The costs and consequences of adopting a condom-only regulation far outweigh any benefits. The adult industry has done an excellent job policing and testing itself. The government is likely to do more harm than good to the health of both porn performers and the general public if it meddles in adult entertainment.’
AIDS Healthcare Foundation responded with this statement on their website. The argue that: ‘as concerned citizens who are appalled by the epidemic rates of STDs within the adult film industry, we believe it is unethical for industry executives and consumers to continue to enjoy the profits, tax revenues and gratification of adult film without ensuring the safety of performers.’
In reality, testing does seem to work as Padilla notes. Porn is big business but we don’t see big STD cases associated with those in the industry. Aids Healthcare doesn’t address the subject of those who may already be infected with say HIV, but we can imagine their response would be the same. Paul Morris at TIM seems to think on Twitter that California will lose the porn industry if these measures go through. He should know a heck of a lot better than me. After the growth of file-sharing and the recession, this is probably the last thing that California’s porn industry needs and it will simply drive it somewhere else.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation had earlier tried to argue before the courts that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has “passively observed an ever-growing epidemic” within the porn industry. That case failed. Let’s hope this new legislative effort will go the same way.