Saturday, September 7, 2013

Porn As Pessimism


PORN AS PESSIMISM


I know it will come with age. My skin will sag, my hair will gray, and no one will look at me to get off. I'll have it figured out by then. A way to live that relies on something else. Something other than my cock.



Until then, I plan to do the things I always do: write, compose, perform, shoot, edit, build, and fuck. The last part is crucial. It didn't always define me. But I've become known for sex more than anything. The rest of it could fall away, and I'd be fine.



At least this used to be true.



Last month, I learned that a veteran performer knowingly exposed my adult industry community to Hepatitis C. Before him, another did the same with Syphilis. Then a young woman came up positive for HIV. Now – a couple weeks later – it's happened again.



With each case, the performers, directors, producers, and crews stop work to be safe. The industry enacts its own moratorium.



Porn social media feeds denounce the scape goat(s) and follow up with messages of support and compassion. People appear to look out for each other, to repeat our community standards of “play it safe.”



Though, under the surface, it's fear all around. The veterans fuck us over, the new performers can't be trusted, the gays are high risk, the majority of girls escort without accountability, and no one knows when their next paycheck will come.



Moreover, the adult industry remains imbedded in a legal and ethical debate over a yet-to-actually-be-enacted policy of barrier protection. I've spoken to two female producers who've alluded that they will convert their sets to condom-only. But the reality most performers face is that of saying, “Yes,” or, “no,” to the work offered them. For producers: whether or not they can continue selling the required amount of product if it contains condoms. For everyone: if either direction is sustainable.



I used to be outspoken in regards to my stance of keeping government “safe sex” policy out of pornography. This was predicated on the statistically low level of serious (i.e. potentially-deadly) STI infections in our industry, and the self-enforced testing policy that seemed to keep it that way.



I don't believe much has changed in terms of on-set transmissions. From the evidence I've gathered, it appears that most of the documented infections transpire off-camera (i.e. in the performer's personal life or “other” line of work).



However, one detail has changed. There is no longer a low level of STI exposure incidents. I want to believe that the increase has to do with something other than chance. My suspicion is that does, and that there's not much to be done in the way of intervention.



My speculation should be read as such. But it is based off a simple reality. The economy's tough and maintaining a job in most any industry sucks. For most of us, porn is a way to keep away from the necessity of a corporate nine-to-five. When rates are slashed, the quantity of work decreases, and the need for fresh faces keeps a steady flow of performer competition, those who've made porn into a career need to find ways to fill the financial gap. For some, that means turning to less regulated forms of sex work. For others, it means doing the best they can to lie when the universe deals a nasty blow.



The digital “Kumbaya” calls for responsibility don't make a fucking difference when someone can't put food on the table or pay their rent. As human beings, we do what we can to survive. When the circumstances get scary, so do the options.



As an industry, what are the options? If (“straight industry”) pornographers start to use condoms, the amount of available jobs won't magically increase. Perhaps it will be safer. But if a performer contracts HIV off-set and then tests at one of the approved facilities, the industry will still enact a moratorium. Everyone will be forced to take time off work, which intensifies the vicious circle.



***


I had just returned from vacation when the most recent moratorium was enacted. By the time the new one rolled up, I had a chance to work a total of two days.


It's the kind of thing that makes me reconsider my life path. I mean, a friend texted me earlier today to say, “I can no longer afford to do porn.”


In the past, sex work seemed to entail an unspoken social agreement. One could make the decision to be viewed as a cum rag in exchange for some sense of financial security. Now it's like the choice to be a hooker means every spare moment must be spent figuring out plan B, C, and D.


When I look to my own alternatives, they're not great. I went to film school. The skills I picked up there are now used to produce arty porn and shoot music videos for my band (none of which currently earn me any money). If I took them to market, I could possibly get a PA job on a mainstream film set. But according to the Labor Department, the motion picture industry just laid off 22,000 people in August,2013. It's not like that job prospect is much better (actually, it's worse).


Things will get better than they are now. They have to. The question is only, “How much?”


Obviously, we're in the same boat as most middle-class strugglers. We must diversify our talents, work harder, spend less, and come to terms with the fact that – ten years ago – someone who didn't give a fuck could walk in our shoes for several months, and leave with a hundred grand.


Positivity has never been my motto. I won't make it such now. I'm just thankful that – at the end of the day – I actually get to fuck for a living. And when my job goes belly up, I can still jerk off for some of you wonderful perverts (on cam) and get by.



Thank you for your support. Please don't stop watching porn.

5 comments:

  1. Spot on man and I will continue to watch porn!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your industry has been disrupted.

    Like the industry of musicians, filmmakers, journalists, etc.

    The details are particular to porn. But in other industries and for the economy at large, it's called The New Normal. No job is permanent. No industry is stable. Everyone is freelance. No one is owed anything.

    If you were in the food business, you could start selling organic. Or buy a food truck.

    Someone will find the porn equivalent of a porn truck. Or how to digitally remix old porn to make new couplings.

    Until then, you're in the same boat with lots of other people--nearly everyone, in fact.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Danny,
    Your a smart guy. I think maybe the solution is possibly a re- invention.

    Have you considered going independent and doing your own movies?

    Maybe you could do something like Joanna Angel. She seemed to create a niche with her Burning Angel series.

    Not sure how she's doing financially but these are just some ideas.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love watching porn and nothing can stop it! People love to watch porn movies, especially men.

    ReplyDelete