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Porn Stars Must Now Use Condoms If They Want To Work In Los Angeles, Much To The Chagrin Of Actors And Producers

condoms
Condoms are now required by law for pornography in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

In the battle of pornography versus condoms, it looks like condoms have won. On Monday, a regional U.S. federal appeals court ruled that pornographic actors working out of Los Angeles must wear condoms during sex scenes, a decision which many feel will be detrimental to the industry.

Since 2012, porn actors in Los Angeles have been working to turn around a ruling that required them to wear condoms during sex scenes in their films. Passed by voters in the Los Angeles County area, the ruling was meant to offer further protection to the actors, on top of the already mandatory regular testing for sexually transmitted diseases, the NY Daily News reported. However, according to some of the most prominent actors in the industry, it may have the opposite effect and actually further endanger actors in pornography.

Many pornographic movie producers have complained that using condoms in their films may turn viewers away because they bring real-life worries of pregnancy and disease into the fantasy of the film. According to the panel of judges in the appeals court, however, the “unique message” filmmakers were hoping to convey in their condomless scenes would probably be lost to the viewer anyway.

Adult film star Lorelei Lee has been quite public on her stance against the bill, explaining the mandatory use of condoms will push production companies to shoot illegally.

“When our jobs are illegal, they not only become more dangerous, they also become more stigmatized,” Lee told Salon.

While a law requiring condom use might risk the health of the actors, not wearing one would surely pose a greater risk of contracting STDs. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation also argues the audiences won’t be as put off by the sight of a condom as film producers believe.

"The majority of voters who passed [this measure] into law are not only voters, but also they are customers or they are potential customers," AIDS Healthcare Foundation spokesperson Ged Kenslea said to Time.

The ruling aims to reduce the number of STDs in the sex industry, but medical consultants working in the porn industry presented different statistics for disease in the business than those produced by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. They claim that in the 350,000 sex scenes shot without condoms since 2004 there has not been a single case of HIV transmission, The New York Times reported.

The actors also claim that using condoms is impractical and uncomfortable.

"The average length of intercourse for most Americans is 10 minutes," said Nina Hartley, a former nurse and well-known actress in pornographic films, to The Times. In her work, she said, “it’s 30 to 60 minutes of thrusting. It doesn’t matter how much lube you use, it’s uncomfortable, it’s a friction burn, and it opens up lesions in the genital mucosa. I could handle two to three condom scenes a month. But actors are paid by the scene, and I couldn’t do three in a week.”

Regardless of personal preference, pornographic actors in Los Angeles now have to suit up or find work elsewhere. 

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