Safe Sex Onscreen and Off

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Yeah, yeah, Obama, hurray(!) and stuff. What we were all really dying to know is if Measure B would pass in Los Angeles County.

The answer is yes, it did, and porn actors will now be required to wear condoms while filming. How this will affect porn sales remains to be seen, but most people in the industry, including actors, aren’t optimistic. Which raises the question: How do porn actors protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections if they’re against wearing condoms during shoots? A Smithsonian Magazine blog post explores the answer and what it means for prevention outside the porn industry.

The money quote (so to speak), from porn actress Stoya: “If I get gonorrhea, we have to cancel the shoot, the crew is angry at me, and that’s unprofessional. And besides, it’s gonorrhea — yecch.”


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →