Lorelei Lee: Why I Lobbied Against Requiring Condoms in Porn

Lorelei Lee: Why I Lobbied Against Requiring Condoms in Porn

Lorelei Lee, 34, is a porn star and activist who lobbied against the so-called “Condom Porn Bill” in California. Here, she explains why mandating condoms in porn won’t work and what she plans to do with her MFA in writing.

I did my first shoot when I was 19 and at the time I had a boyfriend who had a friend who was working for a website. I didn’t really grow up with computers or the Internet, so it all seemed really obscure to me. I thought, Oh, nobody will ever see this. So that was definitely an incorrect estimate on my part. [Laughs.]

After that I didn’t do anything for a few years. My first pro porn shoot in 2002 was for what is now Kink.com. I answered an ad and it said something like, “BDSM with a sexy dominatrix.” I had no idea what BDSM was and I had never done anything like that before. Previous to this, I was working two jobs, at a coffee shop and at a day care. I would work at the day care from 7 a.m. until noon and then I would go to school until 4 and then work in the coffee shop until 10 p.m. I was just totally exhausted.

landscape-1428607689-loreleilee

t took a long time for me to decide [porn] was my career. It kind of happened by accident. I was continuing to go to school and shoot, and it took me 10 years to get my undergrad degree in creative writing. I had dropped out a number of times. It was expensive. Even shooting porn, I was having a hard time paying my rent and paying my tuition. It was 2005 when I started performing on a very regular basis.

It’s very hard to tell people that [porn’s] your job, much less to say it’s your career. I still would have a really hard time talking to other people about it and I felt a lot of shame, some of it from my own questioning about what I was doing. Is this bad for the world, or, Is this bad for women?

My mother cried when she found out and that was really hard. My extended family found out because one year there was a piece on the AVN Awards on [one of the morning shows]. My aunt and uncles saw it, and they all called my mom and said, “Is she on drugs? Does she hate herself?” My family was extremely upset. It’s been 10 years and it’s been quite a journey for them. I’ve had a number of conversations with my mom and she’s been amazing. She has done a lot of work to understand why the work’s meaningful to me and I just really am so grateful for her.

Keep Reading