08/09/11

Responsible porn hits the Financial Times

20110908-171326.jpg

It’s not that often that I sit reading the FT on a Tube full of morning communters. Even less often that the Pink Paper (no, boys, not THAT Pink Paper) carries full page ads from the Purveyors of Porn. The ad is pimping a new internet domain ending: .xxx (Slogan: Coming, now!)

The porn industry is positioning itself anew (they don’t excuse the pun, so I wont either) as responsible citizens, protectors of children and the integrity of your credit card details. Re-registering your porn domain with a .xxx extension will make it easier to filter, keeping it away from kids and the easily-offended. Since all .xxx domains will be screened daily by Mcafee, they will be virus-free. The xxx admin folks will also enforce standards of financial transaction probity, apparently. In the meantime, they stand to make an awful lot of money themselves. But here’s my question: what does it say that the ad was placed, as a FULL PAGE, in the world’s most prominent financial organ? Perhaps that purveyors of porn have more to invest than the rest of us?

Certainly, the porn industry could do with brushing up its image after the recent kerfuffle over HIV transmission on porn film sets. Though plenty of people are demanding the introduction or enforcement of condom-only porn shoot rules, I suspect they are on a hiding to nowhere. Isn’t the whole point of porn that is is a bit transgressive? If condoms were sexy, we probably wouldn’t have reached over 60 million HIV infections to date. Goody-two shoes safe sex is rarely enough the stuff of our reality; it is almost never the stuff of our fantasies.

The Salon piece acknowledges this. It fails to stress another important point. Most of the on-set transmission of HIV occurs right after the infected person themselves became infected. This is a time when there is tonnes of virus floating around the body and it is very easily transmitted. It is also a time when antibodies have not yet developed. Since the standard HIV tests are for antibodies rather than the virus itself, they will miss these very new, very dangerous infections. Indeed it was a classic case report from the porn industry that confirmed in life what we suspected from lab work about the dangers of early viral load.

Possible solutions: set a minimum time between shoots of six weeks. That way, if someone gets infected on one shoot, they’ll test positive before the next one. Another solution would be to invest some of the massive profits of the porn industry in testing actors for the HIV virus itself, rather than for antibodies. Both of these solutions seem unlikely, given the profit imperative of porn, but in my mind they are both less improbable than condom-only porn.

One thing that interested me about the .xxx ad was that they are offering, for a small, one-time fee, to BLOCK names from being used with an .xxx extension. Do you think I should sign The Wisdom of Whores up to prevent our good name from being abused?

Apologies if this post looks odd. My first attempt to post from an iPad.

Be Sociable, Share!

This post was published on 08/09/11 in Condomania, Pisani's picks, Science.

Send this post to a friend Send this post to a friend

5 comments

You can follow the comments on this post via this RSS feed.

Tags: , , , , , .

  1. Comment by gregus, 09/09/11, 08:31:

    AIM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_Industry_Medical_Health_Care_Foundation) was there offering RNA tests for ‘performers’ every 30 days, so they were not just testing for antibodies. There have been outbreaks, but all have been responded to with a total shutdown of filming, which so far seems to have minimized transmission. AIM seems to have shutdown due to their database being published, which looks to be a loss to the adult industry.

  2. Comment by Lee Rudolph, 09/09/11, 12:48:

    “Do you think I should sign The Wisdom of Whores up to prevent our good name from being abused?”

    Yes, absolutely.

    “My first attempt to post from an iPad.”

    Oooh, transgressive!

  3. Comment by Dag Brück, 12/09/11, 09:05:

    How often do you signs today that your site is mistaken for non-scientific sex?

  4. Comment by Aitor, 14/09/11, 07:12:

    Interesting topic. Unfortunately I can’t agree with your conclusions; basically that it’s unfeesable for the authorities to mandate compulsory use of condoms in porn (though they can tell us not to drink before 21 or smoke on a beach), so improved self-regulation is a good enough alternative. Precisely because porn is not a private pursuit, but a thriving industry, it can and should be regulated. Whether or not it would make any difference to people’s behaviour is a different story. But health authorities have the duty to lay down limits to manifestly hazardous activities, if arguably not when engaged in by consenting adults, certainly so when they are a form of paid labour.

    As for the assertion that condoms are unsexy, I find the contrary to be true. As someone who was 4 at the time of the fist reported case of AIDS, I was made aware of the importance of condoms well before I knew quite where they were meant to go. It’s the sight (and implications) of unprotected casual sex that turns me off. If the market still deems safer sex between strangers to be unsexy, it’s high time our collective psyche engaged in a serious paradigm shift, and the porn industry could do a great deal to help.

  5. Comment by Lee Hertel, 03/11/11, 11:37:

    Absolutely I think you should register Wisdom of Whores.

    Lee Hertel, Advocacy and Outreach
    Morpheus Project, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Comments are closed at this time.