Porn Defends the Money Shot | Features | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Porn Defends the Money Shot 

Critics gain ground, demanding condom use to control AIDS

Thursday, Sep 29 2011
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"I do believe that there should be strict rules for crossover," porn star Shay Fox tells the Weekly. "That's where the problem is."

A former porn star who did not want her name used says that many who work in adult video believe "HIV is hard to get." And, she added, "It really is."

The subtext among some straight actors is that it's hard to get — unless you're gay.

click to flip through (6) PHOTO BY STEVE APPLEFORD - Ava Jay
 

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At a summer press conference, AHF's Weinstein called criticism of crossover performers "just code" for gay bashing. He told the Weekly, "There's a myriad amount of dangers" for all performers "and the reality is you can get tested today and get infected tomorrow."

Indeed, some porn insiders admit that run-of-the-mill STDs are common — so much so that outbreaks are sometimes "covered up with makeup so it doesn't show up on camera," says former performer Gina Rodriguez.

The industry's testing system "is a joke," she says. "Think about it. This is the truth. If I took my test 29 days ago, I'm OK to work with you because I have a valid test."

The "dirty secret" of porn isn't "crossover," says Weinstein. It's taking escorting jobs, or what some in the business call "making appearances" with fans such as Charlie Sheen. (Sheen seemed to have no problem tracking down some of his favorite adult performers during his famous meltdown last winter.)

"I said 50 percent of the women in porn were 'escorting' back in the late '90s," says adult filmmaker Whiteacre. "The number is certainly higher today."

Escorting is porn without the lights and cameras but definitely with the action. Whether it's safe is a question for its practitioners. Some experts say, ironically or not, condoms usually are required by the individual women themselves for such off-set activity.

"Even if the girls are using condoms when they're escorting, it's doubtful they're going to be kept totally clean," says former performer Rodriguez. "There's a lot of contact there."

Some of the biggest names in the business, such as Charmane Star and Sativa Rose, can easily be found offering private meet-ups — by the hour — on some of L.A.'s classified-ad sites. It's not clear if someone is just capitalizing on the monikers of famous porn stars or if such ads are for real. Neither of those advertisers responded to our email requests for comment.

One porn star, Adora Cash, openly advertises on her own site that she's an "adult film star, escort, domina" and "webcam fetishist."

And a performer who quit the business last year and is now a full-time escort told the Weekly that prostitution is so widespread that "most of the female porn stars are escorts."

"Most of all the girls I know that are porn stars I met on set — they all escort, all of them," she adds. "These performers are going out and being irresponsible in their own private sex lives."

An uneasy compromise may be the answer. Condoms for anal and vaginal sex are on the table at Cal-OSHA, as officials there draw up the new rule to cover porn. AHF's Weinstein says he won't demand the use of condoms for oral sex. It's a compromise, he says, that is "a reasonable accommodation" for both sides.

And that fine-tuning would save the "money shot" because blow jobs wouldn't violate the OSHA rule under development. "There would not be acceptance of condoms for oral sex," Weinstein acknowledges.

Free Speech Coalition chairman Douglas, a powerful voice in the industry, says, "I'm very much a 'never say never' person. I'm interested in a good-faith effort" toward compromise.

Yet FSC executive director Duke warns, "I don't think the industry will budge" by agreeing to the compromise plan coming before Cal-OSHA.

Larry Flynt and Vivid CEO Steven Hirsch, for example, continue to resist the use of on-set condoms for any reason, and Hirsch threatens to leave Los Angeles if restrictions come to pass. "It's a possibility we will be shooting outside California" if the condom rule passes, Hirsch tells the Weekly.

The adult-business news site XBIZ conducted a poll over the summer asking industry movers and shakers if they would leave California should condoms become specifically mandatory: More than 60 percent said yes. "I think that it's very possible that an exodus would happen on some level," says XBIZ managing editor Dan Miller.

Weinstein is among many who think the threat to leave Porn Valley is a bluff. Although porn productions are common in Florida and Nevada, and New Hampshire recognized freedom-of-expression protection for porn in 2008, California is the only state where making adult video is widely protected. "That's true," says adult-industry lawyer Diamond — thanks to a 1988 state Supreme Court case, California v. Freeman, which found that prostitution could be tolerated in cases where pornographic imagery was being produced.

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