I mentioned at the end of my interview with Beth Brigham last week that anti-pornographers never ask adult performers and fans what they think. I compiled some questions for fans in order to do just that! I got some takers, so I’ll post them individually. I’m curious to see how this unfolds and what kind of information it reveals!
This is not a professional study, by any means. I am not collecting sensitive information, just asking some basic questions to get an understanding of what a handful (or more?) of fans like, don’t like, and what they know about existing industry issues.
If you consider yourself a fan and want to asnwer any of these questions–maybe even want to answer relevant questions you come up with yourself–email them to me at email@example.com with the name/moniker you would like used.
Hello, “David from Ohio”!
What kind of porn do you prefer?
I don’t have a specific genre I prefer, though I have a preference for porn where the performers are having fun and their reactions aren’t overdone. Quick example: Misty Stone is a beautiful woman but in every one of her videos that I’ve seen her reactions seem fake.
Are there types of pornography that cross a line for you?
I don’t like scat or anything involving people pissing on each other, etc. I also don’t care for overly violent porn, the kind where, even if it’s made clear to the performers ahead of time, it’s clear they’re not enjoying it or are scared.
What is your preference as far as seeing condoms in porn? If you prefer not seeing condoms in porn, does knowing that condoms may enhance performer safety alter your preference?
I’m okay with seeing condoms in porn. The safety thing is good, though I’ve always recognized that there is a tight lid kept on the performers environment and that most performers probably have thought about these things ahead of time, or at least I hope so.
What do you know about existing performer safety protocols?
I’m only familiar with the regular HIV/AIDS testing rules. They seem to work most of the time, though even a small percentage of failure can be devastating, a la the Marc Wallace incident.
Are you familiar with the condom mandate?
Yes, I am aware of Measure B.
If so, what is your understanding of the condom mandate?
That anyone producing porn in, I believe only Los Angeles County, is required to use condoms when performing vaginal or anal penetration.
What do you think about fetishes? BDSM?
I think they’re great for those who enjoy them, as long as those involved are in a safe environment with trustworthy partners. I don’t find most fetish stuff that exciting, though it’s a wide world and as long as those involved are consenting, educated adults, then they should be allowed to enjoy themselves or produce content for others.
Do you feel you use porn in moderation? Your porn use is too frequent, or in any way unhealthy? Don’t really think about it?
I’ll openly acknowledge that I have watched too much porn at some points in my life and at one point visited strip clubs excessively. My girlfriend of a decade believes that classifies me as a sex addict, though I don’t think she or I know enough about what constitutes that label. Since acknowledging that issue I’ve taken steps to make certain I didn’t watch as much pornography, strictly on the basis I was afraid it prevented me from living a regular life at times. I do still enjoy pornography, but I watch in moderation and it doesn’t get in the way of my other interests or activities in life.
Do you feel porn has helped you in your relationships? Hindered your relationships? Neither? In what way?
Porn hasn’t helped in my relationships, though I don’t feel it has hurt them. My girlfriend is not a fan of porn, believing it all canned or fake, and would prefer me not to watch it at all, though she also acknowledges that I don’t cheat on her, visit strip clubs, use drugs or drink excessively (actually, I don’t drink at all) and that if I have a vice she’s alright with it being my watching pornography.
Are there types of porn you consider offensively racist?
I can’t think of porn I’ve seen that I’d immediately consider racist, though I know it exists. If I saw it I’d know it. To note, I think you recently mentioned or re-Tweeted a story about a Walking Dead themed porno in which the Asian male character was portrayed by a white male made-up to appear Asian [link here]. I would certainly consider that offensive and I’m certain many others would as well. It’s long been said that no one cares about these things, it’s just porn, but that isn’t true and never has been.
What criticisms do you have about the adult industry?
I am not affiliated with the industry and have never participated in it, so my criticisms may not be relevant to all, but I’m concerned there is an excessive amount of violent pornography and I’m concerned about the health of the performers. I’m sure there are drug users in the industry but is anyone watching out for them to make sure they can get healthy, not participate in productions if using, not trying to mask their issues when being tested for HIV/AIDS or any other pertinent illnesses? As for violent porn, as I said earlier, if all parties are consenting adults and aware of their actions it’s okay, I can choose not to watch if I have an issue with it, but what are issues regarding performers being taken advantage of in such situations? Does that happen, and if yes, is it frequently reported? Finally, I am sometimes concerned about the maturity of the younger performers. Many seem to have their lives together and are prepared for what they’re getting into, but does the screening process protect the younger, less mature performers from entering the industry?
[Ah! Questions back at me. There are individuals who take performers aside and counsel them to get help if they seem to be having problems, but there's no "group" for that. Also, there's no one to report abuses to, and there is no screening process, though many think there should be. More on this after the Q&A.]
A bit redundant at this point, but… Are you in a relationship? If so, does your partner watch porn with you?
I am in a relationship and have been with the same woman for ten years. She does not enjoy porn and does not watch it with me. I watch in moderation and don’t discuss this with her. It should be noted that she and I don’t have a very active sex life at this time due to a medical issue on her part. I’m not upset with her and I wouldn’t cheat on her, but this does lead to occasional frustration. Porn, in such a case, is a great release for such a tension.
On a quick side-note, I was surprised to see Aurora Snow was listed in favor of Measure B, but I know that doesn’t mean it’s that simple or black and white. Do you know if it’s just a personal opinion on her part or if she understood the industry’s concerns? With that said, how do the opposing performers see it? Are they more interested in the business aspect than the safety issue, or are the current safety standards considered acceptable or even better without condoms? Myself, I don’t see why consenting adults can’t decide whether to put a condom on or not themselves and I’m offended that any group of people not in the industry, especially one that seems against the adult industry, would decide they needed to change the standards.
Great answers, David from Ohio. Thank you!!
The condom issue is complicated, but here are the straightforward issues presented from either side.
On the pro-choice side the general consensus is that 1) it should be the performer’s choice, and 2) AHF–because they obliterated the industry’s central testing clinic (AIM) as quickly as they were able–do not care one iota for actual performers and therefore should not be allowed to push their agenda on an industry without at least some input from that industry. And there’s much more to each point, but more than anything, AHF’s bullying has not been appreciated. They’ve taken great steps to weaken the industry’s ability to self-test/self-regulate, and shame the industry during the condom campaign. Now they are attacking a San Francisco-based gay company for “barebacking” content (non-condom) because they are pushing for statewide regulation.
Joe.My.God is an award-winning blog that reports news on (mainly) LGBT issues. Comments under last week’s post AIDS Group Files OSHA Complaints Against Bareback Gay Porn Companies really illustrate just how complicated the discussion can get. (If memory serves, sometimes the site is NSFW. Head’s up, just in case.)
I read the article, finally, and it appears that Aurora Snow just prefers the extra protection. She admits that using condoms–especially with multiple partners–can double the time for a scene, but likes them as a safety net in light of, as you already mentioned, Marc Wallace; and more recently with syphilis, “Mr. Marcus”. Many performers feel the same way she does. They feel producers don’t care for talent any more than AHF does and would feel better using them in conjunction with monthly testing. Performer activists against the measure are more involved in the politics behind the measure.
Which brings us to the other side: Pro-condom people seem to want the regulation because 1) they feel that performers don’t get a say since the decision is made by the producers and the producer’s ‘Work without condoms or don’t work at all,’ option isn’t much of an option, and 2) the industry has a responsibility to promote safe sex as part of its message.
Fact is, performers don’t get the kind of representation they should. You raise some good questions about naivety and hoping performers are informed. Without a union, performers are left with agents as their representatives, and this poses a problem because agents don’t act as educators. They are there merely to facilitate work. The issues with agents are long; so long it deserves its own post. Suffice to say, there is a growing concern that performers are not fully informed about a great many things, and that there should be some barrier to entry. I have to say I am, yet again, on the fence about government regulation. Between AHF and porn agents, performers appear to be royally screwed. But, like you, I am offended by any industry that is against said industry, imposing its will. (Again, comments under Joe.My.God. post–very interesting.)
Some of us think there should be performer representation, but so far no one’s been able to come up with a workable solution. A union is too cumbersome an idea considering performers come and go so quickly, etc. AIM provided an introduction video that covered basic things performers should know, as well as areas on their website that counseled against what types of scenes to avoid for better personal safety… but again, AHF got rid of AIM as quickly as they could.
Thank you, again, David!!! This greatly adds to the ongoing discussion.
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