Law mandating condoms in porn is violative and suspect

Feb 23, 2012
AHF
0 0

Quietly and under the guise of worker safety and public health, the city of Los Angeles enacted an ordinance last month that violates the reproductive rights and sexual freedoms of porn performers.

In its definition of reproductive rights, the United Nations includes not only access to birth control and HIV prevention methods, but also the ” right to control one’s health and body, including sexual and reproductive freedoms.” It explicitly denounces the use of forced sterilization and coercive contraception. When the new L.A. law takes effect, porn performers – mostly women – will be forced to use condoms.

Recent media coverage has been dominated by the scandal surrounding the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation’s initial decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood. A common view is that the “right of all women to choose” is under attack. I agree – the right to choose is under attack. Unfortunately, one battle has been fought, while another has been met with silent consent.

In every setting, women have the same rights to sexual and reproductive freedoms. Whether for protection or for contraception, a woman has the right to decide if she wants to use a condom or not – even in porn.

Without question, condoms reduce the rate of HIV transmission, but prevention should never become an excuse for the government to seize control of a consenting adult’s health or body. Women are capable of freely choosing a career in porn and do not need to be rescued or protected from it. Where coercion is present, intervention is warranted but not in the form of this paternalistic law. Women who object to unprotected sex but feel unable to walk away from the industry would be best served by more options, not less – education and employment opportunities are an obvious place to start.

The city council cites concern for the safety of performers as motivation for the law, but this seems suspect. A true commitment to worker safety would compel some changes that would have more far-reaching effect, like revision of laws that criminalize sex work in favor of policies that focus on outreach, education, testing, and care.

Public health concerns have also been claimed, comparisons being made to laws that require food-handlers to wear gloves. The comparison is not quite apt. Porn may be a job, but it is still sex between consenting adults. Sex holds certain societal privileges that make it different from food-handling.

The city’s concern for public health is called further into question by its loyalty to failed policies that prohibit sex behind bars, where HIV transmission rates are significantly higher than in the general population. Partly, this is due to intravenous drug use and unsafe tattooing, but the role of sexual contact between detainees should not be ignored. Good public health policy recognizes that prohibition does not prevent the intended activity; it simply creates a category of illicit behavior.

Regulation of sex, in any setting, is almost guaranteed to fail while also creating the possibility of unintended consequences. Decades of dogmatic “safe-sex” campaigns that used fear and social pressure to essentially prohibit “unsafe-sex” have resulted in a growing bareback backlash – an active rejection of the notion of safe sex. That being said, people have always barebacked and probably always will.

Porn is a reflection of viewers’ behavior and desires; not the other way around. Claims that exposure to bareback porn makes one more likely to practice bareback sex are completely unfounded and based on the same logic that leads to support for abstinence-only sex education.
Ignoring, shaming, and prohibiting do not make bareback sex disappear but do contribute to the stigma experienced by those of us who are HIV-positive.

Rigid, pozphobic safe-sex campaigns do not work. Neither will mandating condoms – in porn or in any other setting. Instead, let’s adopt truly comprehensive prevention models. Let’s really talk about sex and HIV.
Sex is soft, wet, assertive, transgressive. It is risky. It enraptures. It is all-consuming. It makes us vulnerable. In the midst of it, we don’t want safe – we want connected, limitless, cosmic. It can cause lapses in judgment or accidental slips. It can transport us to a place beyond reason where we take the forbidden risk. And it can be hot, messy, and bare – just the way we want it.

However we want, like, or choose to have it (with consenting adults), we must fight efforts to police sex. When it comes to our sexual freedoms, every concession is dangerous. Rumor has it that AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the driving force behind the condom mandate, is set on implementing similar laws throughout Los Angeles County. San Francisco is also a target because it is home to some of the major bareback studios. They must be stopped before too much momentum is gained.

If you are committed to sexual freedoms, believe in reproductive rights, care about sound HIV prevention policy, or are a fan of bareback porn, I urge you to stand up for the rights of porn performers.

Write to AHF and tell them to keep their laws off our bodies. Regulate pharmaceuticals, not sex. Educate, encourage, and ensure access to condoms, don’t legislate away the right of choice.

The AHF website states that “lack of condoms in straight adult films sends the message that safer sex isn’t sexy.” State control of the body is far less sexy, for sexy does not exist absent the presence of choice.

Edward Cervantes studies HIV/AIDS policy at Mills College, where he is a candidate for a master’s degree in public policy.

Source bayareareporter.com

20120223-150207.jpg

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Spread the love
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
TrafficHolder.com - Buy & Sell Adult Traffic
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x