Even in the darkest of times, there are always silver linings propping up in every corner. Our new President isn’t what we had in mind, but we managed to legalize recreational cannabis use in 1/5th of the country. California became the most recent state on the west coast to legalize cannabis use. Cannabis has always been part of a counter-culture in the state of California, with the Golden State becoming a safe haven for weed users (more on this special subject next week!). It seems as though victory has been declared for both cannabis as well as the pornography industry in the state of California.
One other controversial bill that was part of California’s election was Proposition 60, the Condoms in Pornographic Films Initiative. Condoms are already required on adult film shoots by California law, but the rule is rarely enforced. The proposition would’ve strengthen the rule with private entities taking further action against studios that violate the law. Voting “Yes” would’ve required the use of condoms and other safety measurements while filming. This measure also would’ve required producers to pay for certain health requirements/check-ups. A “no” vote would oppose the measures of Proposition 60. By a tally of about 53.94%, Californians voted “no” down the controversial proposition.
Before we can dive into more perspectives about Proposition 60, we need to understand California’s liberal history with pornography. A majority of pornography made in America is in Chatsworth, a neighborhood located northwest of the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. Adult film companies moved their filming location to San Fernando Valley after director Hal Freeman made Caught From Behind II: The Sequel in 1983. The LAPD found the idea of a sequel offensive, so Freeman was arrested on five counts of pandering (i.e., pimping). Filming has now been set in San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, and other areas of southern California.
Many adult film starts spoke out against Proposition 60. Jesse Jackman grew up in Boston and works as a senior engineer. After his 38th birthday, he was connected to San-Francisco-based gay porn studio TitanMen through his friend Roman Wright. He shot his first scene with Hunter Marx in the film Surveillance in 2012. Jackman currently lives with his partner Dirk Caber.
Jesse Jackman recently contributed an article to the Huffington Post about his stance on the initiative. Jackman stated that he DOES use condoms in all of his films, but still voted the idea down. He also made a point that condom-less porn (bareback sex) outsells condom porn. The potential for lost revenue could’ve drove a majority of studios out of the state. Other performers that spoke out against Proposition 60 were Chanel Preston, Eric Leue (Executive Director of The Free Speech Coalition), Jack Hammer XL, Sister Roma (Art Director for NakedSword/Falcon Studios Group), Siouxie Q (adult film performer/activist/writer), and many other employees of the pornography
On the business front, Proposition 60 would’ve created a SERIOUS blow to the pornography industry in California. The adult film industry generates tens of billions of dollars into California’s economy. Legalizing this proposition would’ve endangered many pornographic brands over condom use in the studios. Bareback sex (anal/oral sex without condoms) is one of the most popular search categories in pornography.
Adult film stars have also remarked some problems with using condoms in the studio. Performers spend hours during each shoot and the friction from condoms can cause rashes at times. It seems as though wearing condoms while performing has been hurting adult film stars rather than keep them safe. So not only would more condoms hurt the adult film business, but it would cause more performers to leave the industry.
There seems to be a major issue of shame within the pornography industry. Adult film stars are shamed by friends/family for working in such a risky business. Proposition 60 would’ve created more shame among employees. Pornography has always been just another form of entertainment, so why is there so much shame over this industry? Graphic violence is always depicted in TV series/movies, yet there’s more shame in watching graphic sexual content.
Proposition 60 seems to be a metaphor for how America looked down upon sex and praised violence. Performers like Jesse Jackman Eric Leue may have been performing for years, but they have always been strongly educated about sexual health. Maybe it’s time that we better educated ourselves on sexual health rather than having health officials tell us what is safe. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows that sex is one of our physiological needs that is essential for survival. If sex is so essential, then why do we become so taboo about it?
In the end, Proposition 60 was more than just about requiring performers to always use condoms. Proposition 60 would’ve created heavy restrictions that caused employees of the adult film industry to flee from California. Billions of dollars would’ve been lost had Proposition 60 been set in stone. Entertainment comes in all forms (including pornography!) and we must work hard to protect it. Performers have showed America that the adult film business will reign strong in the state of California.