Why Aren't More Porn Performers for Measure B?

Why aren't more porn performers for Measure B? Does anybody else think it's strange that they don't want to wear condoms? Are Aurora Snow and Jenna Jameson really the only girls who said "Yes?" Why would it preferable to be sheathless with a partner who has potentially had sex with 10 to 50 different people within the required 30-day test window? Is it because of the company executives' and Free Speech Coalition's position on the issue, and does the issue require an all-or-none, for-us-or-against-us, united front to make porn seem like a cogent professional industry? Is it really about freedom of speech? My gut tells me that some performers are demanding to remain condom free because admitting that a condom would enhance the level of personal safety would simultaneously be admitting that not wearing a condom, and thus participation in the industry as a whole, is unsafe in practice.

In my Cal State Northridge social psychology class, we learned about Leon Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory, and though no expert, I am a firm believer that it is applicable here. The simplified concept poses that we cannot have two conflicting ideas at the same time because the conflict will cause discomfort and dissonance. My argument is that a porn performer cannot think, "This is unhealthy behavior," and then continue behaving that way because it will cause emotional and cognitive discord. A drug addict must hit rock bottom and realize continued abuse will most definitely kill him. An obese person must realize that the unhealthy lifestyle she lives and her relationship with food will inevitably lead to death. And while it may have randomly occurred to some porn performers that the business practices unsafe sex, others have had to catch serious diseases to realize that performing within the industry is not a healthy or safe occupation. Justifications and rationalizations could not squash the uncomfortable feelings anymore. Thoughts, attitude and behavior had to change.

If this is really a safe, self-regulated industry and the issue is solely based on freedom of speech and reduction of government waste, where are the thousands of men and women who were once performers, are now retired, and still believe that the industry is safe and self-regulated? Why aren't they using their right to free speech to stand up for the industry from which they came? Just another guess, but I'd say that if you are not performing -- or making money off those who do -- you probably don't want to relive that part of your history because the concept of who you once were clashes with the concept of who you are today. What's more, if you're a mere viewer and adamantly against performers wearing condoms, citing that participation in the adult industry is totally safe and self-regulated, yet you have no actual experience in or intimate relationships with those in the industry, you too would be led to experience cognitive dissonance if you were to entertain any other ideas and not change your behavior. If you believe that the people you are masturbating to are not actually having fun, or that they are hurt by participating or have feelings that aren't congruent with the images that help you to ejaculate, you will no longer be able to masturbate to them.

I once attempted to enforce my own condom rule. It was with a man who had performed in scenes I found to be less safe than my own style of performing -- but I had been rationalizing the safety of my scene choice for as long as I'd been in the business. I drew an imaginary line between scenes I chose to do and scenes I would convince myself were less safe than mine. The truth is neither scene is what one would consider "safe," because both scenes involved unprotected sex with people paid to have unprotected sex. I was unable to see that at the time because I was performing in unsafe, unprotected sex scenes. A 30-day test is a joke if he or she has potentially had sex with 10 to 50 people. But drawing that line made me feel like what I was doing was more safe and thus, inherently better. As long as I could rationalize my own behavior, and ignore contradictory opinions and facts about the dangers of my occupation, I could continue working.

This is not a competency issue, nor is it an issue of intellectual prowess. I am not arguing that performers are somehow less thoughtful than the average person, or comparing performers in this chosen profession and those struggling with drug addiction or obesity. I am simply stating that once a person admits, to his or her innermost self, that the behavior in which they are participating is apt to kill them, thoughts, attitude and behavior must change for that person to continue living a happy and peaceful life.

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