[THE WEEKLY READ]<br />
Dear Porno Pushers

Is safe not sexy?

Dear Porno Pushers:

First off, I realize I’m probably not the best person to relay this message to your industry. I’m not a consumer of porn so much as I am an occasional viewer on the cheap (think pirated GIFs on Tumblr).

I know, I know: I’m trifling, respectable folks pay for their smut, but the rent is too damn high and so are my student loan payments. Besides, this isn’t about me stealing from the adult entertainment industry, it’s about the adult entertainment industry doing itself in over its refusal to take a break from pushing a fantasy WHEN FRIGHT IS ALL AROUND.

I read about the moratorium on porn filming after another HIV scare and well…aren’t y’all tired? There have been two actors to test positively for HIV in the same month and apparently it’s the fourth porn actor overall given what Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times, "We were approached by a male performer who told us he had tested positive.”

Weinstein wouldn’t give any further details, but did stress that parsing whether or not the actors are contracting the disease on set to be somewhat of a moot point. As he explained, "Whether or not she [Cameron Bay, allegedly] was infected on set, she performed with HIV between her tests. If you think that Russian roulette is a great way to protect workers, then the present system is perfect."

All of this comes on the heels of calls for a California statewide mandate for condom use on adult films. Los Angeles County voters approved the measure last year, but is now the subject of an ongoing court battle that your porn-peddling peers are pushing back against. Worse, Los Angeles County public health officials aren’t doing much in the way of enforcing the condom requirement–we have U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson to thank for that.

Now, I’ve read Vivid Entertainment’s co-chairman Steven Hirsch’s statement on the law, explaining: "We continue to believe this unfunded mandate infringes upon our freedom of speech, and we will continue our fight by filing an immediate appeal to this portion of the court's ruling.”

I understand the notion of not wanting the government to tell you what to do. That is, if you discount the fact that the porn industry is, like, a business, and other businesses are regulated, so…? In any event, I also understand that there’s a business concern that consumers won’t want to purchase pornography that features condom usage.

I don’t completely buy that. Case in point: Wicked [a leading porn production company] CEO Steve Orenstein required condoms following a past HIV scare. Orenstein told Jezebel: “Yes, a lot of people in the industry feel that condoms drive away consumers but we haven't noticed a problem because of our condom policy. In fact, we have a lot of fans who are from different demographics—single males, females and couples who all tell us all the time that they love and respect the fact that we DO use condoms in our productions.”

To be fair, there are porn actors who have spoken in favor of both sides of the debate.

But, but, but, but: After decades of AIDS, recent warnings that a new strand of gonorrhea could be “the next AIDS” coupled with rumors about veteran actor Mr. Marcus spreading syphilis, and a noticeably more frequent HIV scares in the industry, why isn’t everyone in this industry championing the dawn of the new day?

If it were up to me, y’all would be on the set on these adult films channeling Buffalo Bill and going, “It places the condom on its skin or it gets the hose again.”

It begs the question: To what extent does preserving the fantasy aspect of pornography take a backseat to reality?

And the follow up: Aren’t we all into reality these days?

Happy screwing.

Michael Arceneaux is the author of the “The Weekly Read,” where tough love is served with just a touch of shade. Tweet him at @youngsinick.