Note: this is a follow up of my previous post Safer Sex in Queer Porn and The Condom Debate, which appeared on this site last year, and which I still feel is relavent in the “condom debate.” With the recent backlash against barriers from some in the adult industry, I wanted to join my friend Courtney Trouble in a blog jinx on the topic.
No on Measure B
Measure B in Los Angeles is threatening to mandate the way performers shoot porn in LA County, so many of my friends and associates in the adult industry are doing everything they can in the name of performers’ rights and free speech to spread the word to vote “No” on November 6th.
Though I don’t live or vote in LA, I advocate voting NO on Measure B. (What is Measure B? A quick Internet search will yield incredible results. I also favor Gram Ponante’s post B is for Condoms, and Other Illogical Arguments and Stoya’s Testing vs Condoms in Pornography.) There are many testaments by performers and people in the industry proving our capability to take care of our health. And as you know from my post above, I believe performers should have the right to choose how they’d like to perform — what feels best and safest to them — just as I have found and work to assert in my own performing experience.
I’ve tweeted my advocacy, and have been supportive to those in LA whose careers are most impacted. But in the past few days, I’ve started to see a disappointing trend.
A barrier backlash.
Mocking Gloves and Dental Dams
Associates on Twitter — performers, producers, organizations and advocates — began to MOCK the use of barriers. They warned, “Here’s what Girl/Girl would look like if Measure B passes” and “Show fans what a dental dam looks like — NOT HOT!” and posted staged glove and dam demonstrations with captions like “BUZZKILL.”
My heart sunk. I impulsively hit reply to at least one of these posts, and shared my disappointment publically. Not surprisingly, I was met by opposition, with further insistence that having sex with barriers is “gross.”
But I was also joined by voices of support. While I agree that it’s not porn’s responsibility to educate (unless perhaps, it calls itself a sex ed guide), it’s my hope that porn does have an ethical obligation to work in performers’ best interests. That’s what we are all fighting against, after all.
Signage at Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis.
Don’t Yuk My Yum!
Part of being open-minded about sexuality is to not put down others’ consensual sex just because you don’t like it for yourself. Some call this “sex-positivity”. I just call it being respectful, and realistic.
Not everyone enjoys sex in the same way. Sex is different, that’s kind of the beauty of it. Some like to use barriers, some don’t. I’m not saying that all of LA should be required to use barriers. I’m not saying barriered sex is the only way. Of course not.
In fact, most of the scenes I’ve shot don’t incorporate safer sex supplies, either because I was working with a fluid-bonded lover, or I was shooting for a production where testing was required but barriers were frowned upon. Currently, I enjoy using barriers in my personal life, and I really feel good about the opportunities I have to use them in porn.
Safer Sex can be Hot!
For me, safer sex can be hot sex because it helps me feel more confident and comfortable. I feel more freed to enjoy myself. Also, it’s fun to explore. Not too long ago, I gave dental dams another try, and I discovered that I LOVED the pressure of the thin, taut material against my vulva. I got so aroused by the barrier, that I forcefully ejaculated against it. Imagine pointing a fire hose against a window. That was me.
Safer sex supplies include latex and non-latex condoms, female condoms, gloves, fingercots, and dental dams. Lubricant is a big part of it too, as it provides wet slickness between materials and skin to conduct sensation and heat. There are many tips in using barriers to increase pleasure. Maybe I’ll do a supplemental post on condom, glove and dental dam tips.
I think that safer sex is not a drag. I think safer sex CAN be pleasurable. And safer sex in porn CAN be really fucking hot! Want an example? Here’s an image I think is sexy:
Akira Raine and Chocolate Chip use a dental dam on queer porn site CrashPadSeries.com, nominated 2011 AVN Awards “Best Alternative Website” and recognized website at 2011 Feminist Porn Awards.
I don’t feel it’s my place to say that the way another person has sex is gross. If it’s not my thing, I simply don’t partake. However if I see others shaming people, particularly within a context where there is already social stigma, I strive to stand up and advocate, just as I am doing to be vocal against Measure B.
As it’s my usual custom to be positive, and to make good out of a poor situation, I prefer to spend my time promoting those who are doing it right, or at least making an effort. I’ll “name-names” in the best possible way.
Here are companies I’ve worked for who go above and beyond to provide safer sex supplies on set and make it known to performers that barriers are okay. These are companies with whom I’ve made my own choices freely about safer sex practices, whether it was getting tested, using barriers, modifying sex acts based on risks, and all combinations of the above. I highly encourage you to support their work. And yes, some of them are in LA!
- Pink & White Productions (Shine Louise Houston, CrashPadSeries.com)
- QueerPorn.Tv (Courtney Trouble, Indie Porn Revolution)
- Good Releasing (includes Madison Young, Carlos Batts and Carol Queen)
- Tristan Taormino (Vivid Ed)
- Cocksexual (FurryGirl)
- Padded Kink (Kelly Shibari)
- Cheryl Dunye (Mommy is Coming, Germany)
- Kink.com (Princess Donna Dolore)
- SWITCH (Carry Grey, Aslan Leather, Canada)
- Liandra Dahl (Australia)
- Danni Daniels (upcoming!)
- Wolf Hudson (upcoming!)
I’d like to end with an image Courtney shared to illustrate the slogan SAFER SEX IS HOT, GOVERNMENT REGULATION IS NOT. (By the way, I love this image. The photo project fundraiser for St. James Infirmary, a health clinic run by and for sex workers. It was a collaboration between Courtney Trouble, Dylan Ryan, and myself, with the help of our assistant Nic. I wanted the three of us to shoot with latex of various forms, with focused lights illuminating the topic of sex work and safer sex. You can see the entire set on Karma Pervs (the current benefactor is Sex Workers Outreach Project – Bay Area Chapter).
Please help me to spread the idea of respecting each others’ choices in porn and safer sex, and if you’re a voter in LA, please listen to the many, many voices in porn asking you to vote “NO” on Measure B.