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Why porn stars should be forced to wear condoms

August 10, 2015Heather Brunskell-Evans

It’s a question that goes to the heart of many of the troubling political, ethical and legal issues in internet pornography production and consumption – should condoms be mandatory in porn?

From the point of view of health and safety, the question surely must be answered in the affirmative. Anyone reading this article who has even the slightest familiarity with mainstream heterosexual pornography will know that a common trope of male orgasm is the “money-shot” – ejaculation of semen outside rather than inside the woman’s body.

The most successful porn websites show sex that involves gagging the woman with a penis; pounding anal sex; spitting into the woman’s mouth; anus-to-mouth penetration; ejaculation onto the woman’s breasts or onto her face and eyes; bukkake – wherein a number of men have sex with one woman and multiply ejaculate onto her. Not only are bacteria spread from woman to man and vice-versa during these acts, but daily and multiple anal penetration causes anal fissures.

Condom use would of course fundamentally change the nature of much porn, in that the practices described above and the “money shot” would not be able to take place.

Anti-porn activist Gail Dines, in researching the pornography industry, demonstrates that not only are saliva and semen regularly found on set, but so are vomit and faeces. She points out that a number of organisations in the USA (where the vast majority of pornography is made and then distributed globally) have monitored the health hazards to which performers are prone. Alongside many health hazards, these include HIV, rectal and throat gonorrhoea, and chlamydia of the eye.

Vested interests

All other Western industries such as factories, laboratories or medical care institutions have strict health and safety regulations to protect people who come into contact with bodily fluids in the course of their work. However the organisations which have consistently campaigned to force the pornography industry to be subject to the same workplace safety standards as other legal industries have ultimately failed to compel mandatory condom use. Where does the failure lie?

Read the rest of the column in  the Conversation

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