Archive for September 1st, 2010

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  –  C.S. Lewis

As I mentioned in my column of August 17th, porn actresses are a legally protected sort of whore; however, the fact that one is immune to prosecution for one’s profession does not protect one from persecution, especially not where busybody “rescuers” are concerned.  The following is paraphrased from an AP article:

An AIDS activist group filed a workplace safety complaint against porn mogul Larry Flynt on Thursday (August 26, 2010), accusing him of “creating an unsafe environment” for his sex stars by not requiring they use condoms.  To illustrate its point, the AIDS Health Foundation also delivered 100 DVDS of hardcore Flynt films to the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s Los Angeles office. Only a single scene in one of the films shows a performer using a condom, said AHF spokesman Ged Kenslea.

These films “clearly demonstrate workplace activities highly likely to spread bloodborne pathogens in the workplace,” the complaint says; it urges the state agency to order the use of condoms on film sets.

Larry Flynt Productions President Michael Klein indicated that is an unreasonable demand, adding porn audiences don’t want to watch people using condoms.  “We won’t budge when it comes to condomless productions,” he said in a statement. “That’s what the consumer wants, and we deliver it.”  Federal law already requires that all porn actors be tested for HIV 30 days before the start of filming, and Klein said Flynt’s productions adhere to those standards; he added that none of the company’s actors has ever tested positive for HIV.

AHF President Michael Weinstein said his group targeted Flynt in part because he is arguably the world’s most famous and successful pornographer.  Hours before filing the complaint, AHF members, clad in bright red shirts, demonstrated outside the company’s offices in Beverly Hills.  This is not the first time the group has engaged in such antics; earlier this year it brought similar complaints against nine talent agencies which represent actors willing to have unprotected sex on camera.

Cal-OSHA spokeswoman Krisann Chasarik said Thursday those previous complaints prompted an investigation, although she didn’t know the status of it.  Depending on the nature of a complaint, Chasarik said, Cal-OSHA can either launch a workplace inspection or ask that an employer prove the complaint is groundless.  “Our next step now would be to evaluate the new complaint,” she said.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, workers in the adult film industry are 10 times more likely to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease than members of the general population.  The department documented 2,013 cases of chlamydia and 965 cases of gonorrhea among workers between 2003 and 2007, and noted that some performers had four or more separate infections over the course of a year.  As many as 25 industry-related cases of HIV have been reported since 2004, the department said.

The agenda of the soi-disant “AIDS Health Foundation” is as obvious as the genitalia of Mr. Flynt’s performers.  Does anyone believe for one second that these people really care about the health of porn actors?  Of course they don’t, nor do they believe that there is some epidemic of HIV infection in the adult film industry; what does “As many as 25 industry-related cases of HIV” even mean?  Don’t they know the number?  They can give an exact figure of 2013 for the far-less-serious disease chlamydia, but for HIV all we get is “as many as 25”?  There could have been exactly ONE case, and that impressively vague statement would still be literally true.  The AHF fully admits that it went after Flynt because he’s the biggest producer of adult films; I think it’s pretty clear that what they really want is to hijack the porn industry into producing free extended-length commercials for their crusade to modify public behavior.  I also wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that there were more than a few anti-porn crusaders enrolled in its ranks in the hope that they can do damage to porn sales.

Now, my position on condom use in prostitution is well-known; if you’re a new reader you can find it in my essays of August 6th, 8th and 21st, to name only three of many.  But that’s only because there is no better way for a whore to protect herself against sexually-transmitted infections; they’re certainly not necessary in a committed relationship or any other situation in which two competent, adult participants are mutually satisfied as to the safety of their interaction and have given informed consent (as in the case of porn actors).  Though AIDS activists refuse to admit it, condoms are really a kind of medieval solution to the problem of STDs; they’re ugly and clinical, decrease male sensitivity and performance, don’t prevent all diseases, and because they can break they’re not 100% effective anyhow.  Unfortunately, they are the best thing we’ve got at our current level of medical technology, and used in conjunction with visual examination (see my column of the 8th) and plain common sense they are effective enough to reduce our risk to well within acceptable safety limits (I never had even ONE infection in my entire 7-year career).

But let’s not delude ourselves; they’re nasty-looking.  I wouldn’t want to watch a porn movie where the guys wore them, would you?  And on top of the aesthetic problem, there’s a practical one; a large percentage of men start to go semi-soft as soon as the latex is on, so one needs to be sure he’s quite ready before it goes on in the first place or one may face an involved process of short sessions of intercourse punctuated by long episodes of vigorous manual or oral stimulation to get him ready to go in again.  And that is both frustrating and un-erotic, and would surely reduce the number of male porn stars able to do the job.  For both aesthetic and practical reasons porn actors cannot rely on condoms as we have to, so they need another solution, and that is the mandatory HIV testing which has been in place for decades.

“But clearly that’s not enough!” some among you may say. “The article claims porn actors have STD infection rates ten times that in the general public!”  Well, I’m not entirely convinced of the accuracy of that statement, but we’ll take it at face value for the sake of argument.  By what factor does one population’s disease rate have to exceed another’s for society to consider it a problem?  Is 10x the minimum cause for concern?  What about 5x?  If the infection rate of porn actors was only 5x that of the general public, would it still be a crisis?  The reason I ask is because some studies show as much as a 5x higher STD rate among the general population than among whores, so by AHF’s logic we should be allowed to police ourselves while all you amateurs should be forced to carry condoms around or face arrest if you’re caught without them!

Even if the STD rate among porn actresses was 100x that of other whores, it shouldn’t make a difference because these are consenting adults.  The effective prohibition of smoking from all public places was justified by the argument that “secondhand smoke” is dangerous to nearby nonsmokers (which doesn’t explain why it’s even banned in private smoking clubs or tobacco shops, but we’ll leave that for another day), but there are no such things as airborne “secondhand STDs”; one must be actively involved to contract such a disease, and the actors all give informed consent.  Still, AHF’s complaint was filed on “workplace safety” grounds, whose regulations follow the logic that since people must work it’s wrong to make them work in unsafe conditions even with informed consent; doesn’t that apply?  In a word, no.  The gaping, truck-sized hole in that “logic” is that nobody has to be a porn actress; even if her only skills are sexual she could still be a regular whore or marry a rich man.  A judge rejected a waiter’s “job discrimination” lawsuit against the Hooter’s restaurant chain on the grounds that even if his only saleable skill was waiting tables, there were hundreds of other restaurants at which he could work; that precedent applies here as well.

The truth is none of that should matter in a free society, but we seem to have forgotten that.  The reason these bluenoses are attacking the adult film industry has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with the fact that their target is part of the sex industry.  Bullets can kill much more quickly and certainly than HIV, but I don’t see anybody filing a lawsuit to require the City of Los Angeles to issue Kevlar “body condoms” to all cops.  Every single profession, without exception, carries risks; cooks get burned, drivers get in wrecks, doctors and nurses catch diseases from patients, and social workers get raped or murdered.  But for some reason nobody cares about any of this until there is sex involved, at which point even the most miniscule risks become “unacceptable” and the busybodies embark on a great crusade to destroy their victims’ livelihoods “for their own good.”

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