Tasha Tells All...On LA County's Measure B Condom Law
The Wrap on Wrapping it Up
By Tasha Reign
The adult business is effectively a minority group: we are constantly under society's microscope, having nearly everyone judge us and our profession solely on the fact we have sex on camera for a living. Because of such scrutiny, this leads to the industry taking care of itself: being vigilant about self-regulation, creating and enforcing our own policies and rules for the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Not only is it good business, it's ultimately what's most conducive to a good workplace.
It only makes sense, then, that leaders of pornography should be the voices of pornography, like people in "mainstream" industries with the element of danger are the voices of what they do. The NFL, UFC, stunt men, racecar drivers--all remain largely untouched by the electorate or government regulation. But those industries better be enjoying their freedom, because my profession just got handcuffs put on us--and I guarantee you it won't be the last profession to get regulated in a way that'll fundamentally change it.
Measure B passed this past fall in Los Angeles County with a 57% majority vote in Los Angeles County. The measure requires all porn actors to wear condoms during all vaginal, oral and anal sex scenes filmed in Los Angeles. Opponents of Measure B claim it's a waste of taxpayers money and will drive the porn industry out of the state or even the country. But the funders of Measure B had millions of dollars to sway and encourage voters that pornographic actors wanted the government to come in and regulate their sexual interactions with other performers on film sets.
Why target us? We're not financially protected. We're an easy target for all the special-interest groups--condom companies, health officials, moral police, overzealous politicians and run-of-the-mill prudes--who have a fundamental problem with what we do and will stop at nothing to mess with it.
What we do is a performance. This is entertainment: there is a risk calculus involved. Sorry to break it to everyone, but the sex we have to turn you on is not like the sex you have in your personal life. Our performance is methodical, calculated, careful and because of that, the statistical chances of a performer contracting HIV is much lower than that of any other sexually active person outside of the business. We know what we do, and anal sex, double penetration, gangbangs, blowjobs and all the other tools of our trade that you can imagine--they just don't allow for continual condom use.
Want to know a dirty secret that Measure B proponents, who say what they did was in the interest of us supposedly helpless performers, never brought up? After hours of sex with no brakes, attempting to endure the friction of the condom in your vagina or anus is...impossible. And to do this daily amounts to an occupational work hazard. Of course, due to the lack of respect towards the adult business and blatant disregard from society regarding the sexual comfort or even opinions of female performers, none of this mattered. No one asked us.
Even more disturbing is what will happen to self-instituted industry codes we have followed for years. Now, anyone can apply for a porno permit, have sex with condoms, and call themselves a production. They won't have to follow our strictly enforced regiment of testing. How will you know if the performer you're working has chlamydia, gonorrhea or HIV? You wont, because in condoms L.A. voters trust. A thin piece of rubber that can easily tear is supposed to protect the performer against everything, if used in the exact proper and specific way designated by Los Angeles County bureaucrats who only want to be there to see a condom used but not to track performers or their health. And companies whom we long ostracized for not following industry rules can now simply move shop and go to where there is no regulation, industry- or government-imposed, whatsoever.
Obviously, I have a vested interest in pornography. I don't like using condoms in my scenes, but if actors and companies want to use condoms regularly in their scenes, good for them. See, I believe in the right to choose, in that whole freedom of speech thing, and that sex--be it in my personal life or my work life--is my choice and my body. I think that UFC fighters should wear helmets to protect themselves--but I would never vote for that.
Follow Tasha Reign on Twitter @tashareign
Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!