A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
Did you notice it? Yesterday, a new Los Angeles city ordinance (law) come into force requiring porn performers to wear condoms when filming. The full title of the Act is the: CITY OF LOS ANGELES SAFER SEX IN THE ADULT FILM INDUSTRY ACT. A PDF of the full act is available from the Office of the LA City Clerk and can be viewed directly here. I was slightly amused to discover via this ordinance that nudity or sexual activity shouldn’t be visible or audible to other members of the public when being filmed, which seems vaguely farcical given the amount of bonking that can be heard in many a hotel room at the best of times. ￼
The key sections of the Ordinance can be viewed below:
(1) An “adult film” is defined as any film, video, multimedia or other representation of sexual intercourse in which performers actually engage in oral, vaginal, or anal penetration, including but not limited to penetration by a penis, finger, or inanimate object; oral contact with the anus or genitals of another performer; and/or any other activity that may result in the transmission of blood and/or any other potentially infectious materials as defined in California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5193(b).
This seems deliberately designed to encompass all sexual activity but how does that equate to risk?
(2) “Producer of adult film” is defined as any person or entity directly engaged in the creation of adult films.
So stand down horny boyfriend with an iPhone, you should be safe under this provision. You need to be ‘directly’ engaged, not indirectly (much dancing on that pin head to come).
(3) “Filmed” and “filming” refer to the recording of any adult film, regardless of media.
So, should you be a horny boyfriend filming with an iPhone deliberately to make an adult film, the phone counts – it doesn’t need to be super duper filming technology. Presumably, it also relates to audio only recording which is intriguing (and another potential exploratory case).
(4) All producers of adult films issued permits under the authority of the City of Los Angeles or the Los Angeles Police Department pursuant to Section 12.22(A)(13) of this Code or any other law authorizing the issuance of permits for commercial filming are required to maintain engineering and work practice controls sufficient to protect employees from exposure to blood and/or any other potentially infectious materials controls consistent with California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5193. Engineering and work practice controls include, but are not limited to: (a) Simulation of sex acts using acting, production and post- production techniques; (b) Ejaculation outside workers’ bodies; (c) Provision of and required use of condoms whenever acts of vaginal or anal sex are performed during the production of an adult film; and (d) The provision of condom-safe water-based or silicone-based lubricants to facilitate the use of condoms.
So if the State controlled sex, that’s what you’d get Bye bye Boy Butter. Interestingly, you don’t even have to be having sex, just pretending to have sex evokes the requirements to have a permit. Yes, the mind does boggle. It also doesn’t require condoms for oral sex – which is interesting.
(5) Any film permit issued under the authority of the City of Los Angeles or the Los Angeles Police Department pursuant to Section 12.22(A)(13) of this Code or any other law authorizing the issuance of permits for commercial filming for the production of an adult film must expressly condition said permit on compliance with subsection (4) of this section. Any such permit shall contain the following language: “Permittee must abide by all applicable workplace health and safety regulations, including California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5193, which mandates barrier protection, including condoms, to shield performers from contact with blood or other potentially infectious material during the production of films.”
￼(6) The City shall charge, or shall direct any other person or entity contracting with the City to administer the film permitting process, to charge, entertainment industry customers seeking permits for the production of adult films a fee sufficient to allow periodic inspections to ensure compliance with the conditions setforth in Section 12.22.1 (B)(4).
Now, I should say that I am not trained in US law (big big caveat!) but given the wording of the provision, I read California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5193. According to the ordinance, this requires barrier protection (condoms) and is being ignored. I would welcome some input from US academics/activists on this point as I’ve had a quick read of the regulations and can’t see it. Where is this requirement? Moreover, the regulations were quite clearly not intended (I would suggest) to extend so widely as to encompass such activity. I must be missing something!