Could Safer Porn Promote Safer Sex #RemoveWeinstein

Dec 17, 2015
Adult Business News
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A proposal to require all porn actors in California to wear condoms on set is meant to protect the performers from sexually transmitted infections.

But some public health experts are hoping it will protect the public as well — because when it comes to porn, a growing body of evidence suggests that in some cases, viewing leads to doing.

In particular, researchers say the growing popularity of unprotected sex in gay porn may be playing an important role in the persistence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among gay and bisexual men. So they’re hoping the reverse might be true, too: Requiring actors to wear condoms on screen could encourage porn viewers to wear them in real life.

Eric Schrimshaw, a health psychologist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, coauthored a study last year that found 34 percent of gay porn featured unprotected anal sex.

And a separate study last year by Kimberly Nelson, a clinical psychologist at Brown University, found that gay and bisexual men were more likely to have unprotected anal sex if they had watched such risky behavior online in recent months. Not only that: Their risk increased in direct proportion to the amount of condomless porn they watched. That study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

It echoed a similar study, also funded by the NIH, that was published in 2013. It, too, described a dose-response relationship between watching and having unprotected anal sex among gay and bisexual men.

The author of the 2013 study, epidemiologist Simon Rosser of the University of Minnesota, notes that watching porn in general — even watching a lot of it — doesn’t increase the risk of having unsafe sex. The correlation only holds with porn depicting unprotected anal sex.

These studies don’t prove causation, but Nelson said she hears it from the men she talks to for her research: “They all say, ‘There’s no doubt this is impacting behavior in the community,’” she said.

California workplace regulations already require employers to take measures to prevent the spread of disease, but the adult film industry has argued that the language is vague and doesn’t require its actors to wear condoms. The proposed update would make that requirement explicit. It would also compel adult film producers to cover costs of vaccinations, testing, and medical monitoring related to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

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