Porn Industry Doesn't Want Law to Force Them to Choose Between Business and Pleasure

California voters could be asked in 2016 whether adult-film actors should be forced to put on a condom before doing a sex scene in pornographic movies.

If it is approved, the people who make a living by producing sex videos warn the entire state will realize the fate Los Angeles County now suffers and the loss of a $6 billion industry.

Proponents call it a simple matter of workplace safety.

The decision to launch a public initiative drive came after proponents of the legislation failed to win approval for the condom requirement in 2014. The statewide ballot proposal is similar to legislation approved in Los Angeles County and upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012.

Those who will be trying to collect enough signatures by September to put this on the November 2016 ballot are pointing to a UCLA study released in 2014 that showed sexually transmitted diseases were running rampant on X-rated movie sets.

One in four adult film performers participating in the study reported an infection of gonorrhea or chlamydia — two serious, but treatable sexually transmitted diseases — while working in the industry, according to the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

The study also showed out of 366 adult film industry performers 23.7 percent tested positive for gonorrhea and/or chlamydia, and 69 percent never used a condom on a production set in the past 30 days.

Researchers also found there was a statistically significant association between testing positive for STIs and the number of days working on set, along with a statistically significant association between testing positive for STIs and age and type of scene.

“This study confirms the extremely high STD risk facing adult film workers each day as they go about their work on adult film sets throughout California and elsewhere,” said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“Unscrupulous producers place these actors in jeopardy every time they require — or intimidate — these performers to work without condoms or other workplace safeguards. These adult film workers deserve better—as this study clearly confirms,” he also said.

But still, there is the money. California has already lost hundreds of millions of showbusiness dollars to other states. Can it afford to lose any more?

The Free Speech Coalition, the industry trade group for the adult film biz, warned on its blog before Los Angeles County voters approved legislation that mandating condoms for actors in the adult film business would only hurt the economy.

“Government cannot compel an industry to create a product for which there is little to no demand. Demand for non-condom movies drives the market, which is distributed worldwide. An industry based in LA County will not be able to survive when competition from other states and countries can provide the product the consumer wants, while L.A. producers are prohibited from supplying what is in demand.”

“It will take jobs and revenue out of California – the adult industry in California employs many thousands of individuals, as well as ancillary businesses and services,” the blog post continued.

And that is just what happened.

The Los Angeles Times has reported the number of permits for the filming of porno movies dropped from 485 in 2012 to only 40 in 2013 in California. But Clark County, Nev., has seen hundreds more adult videos being shot within its boundaries.

That is exactly what opponents of the condom legislation warned would happen.

Just the idea that porn actors would be forced to condom-up and porno makers would have to submit to new licensing regulations nearly drove one of the BDSM smut kingpins from California to Nevada.

The company known by its website name, kink.com, which did its sexy business in the San Francisco Armory, was in the process of packing up its whips, chains, and everything else required to make a really hot movie, and take it all to Las Vegas.

The proposal died in a California Senate committee, so all the leather goods were unpacked and actors were again being disciplined for the amusement of a worldwide audience.

But this is not as simple as no harm, no foul. The building where Kink created the dungeons of its customers’ imaginations is being sold and its dungeons will probably be turned into office space.

As bad as it is, the fear that California X-rated video producers will be tripping over themselves to get into Nevada or some state more open to actors sans condoms is not even the worst-case scenario.

The Free Speech Coalition warned Los Angeles County voters in 2012 that producers who did not flee to a more welcoming legal locale would dive underground to a space untouched by state regulators.

On its blog, the coalition wrote: “If producers are forced into other areas or to go ‘underground,’ it will make it difficult – if not impossible – to impose existing industry standards for performer testing and health & safety protocols, which have been proven to be effective in preventing the incidence of STIs.”

Perhaps the adult-film industry needs to start digging that route underground sooner rather than later.

Nevada health officials said in January they are thinking about imposing the same condom regulations on the adult film industry that are part of an afternoon’s delight in the state’s legal brothels.

What do the men who buy and rent adult videos think of their favorite actors wearing condoms?

“Porn is about fantasy,” one avid X-rated video fan told The Guardian, “and honestly, no man wants to use one in real life.”