A production assistant on a music video shoot I did recently works with children during the week. She said that, for her, the most effective way to get the attention of a group of kids is to stand at the front of the room, loudly say “If you can hear me, touch your nose” and then wait for everyone to have their finger on their nose. She uses this method for large groups of adults, too.
So: If you can read me, touch your nose.
Pornography is entertainment. Pornography is a business. Pornography is not a substitute for sexual education. The scenarios in porn plots are not a guide to dating or picking up partners for casual sex.
I always figured that anyone old enough to be legally viewing pornography would be able to comprehend the difference between entertainment and real life. I forget that we don’t all understand that a movie like Forrest Gump is not the same as a History Channel documentary on the Vietnam War. I also forget that we don’t all understand that a History Channel documentary on the Vietnam War may not be entirely accurate. I forget that even though pornography is made to be entertaining and portray fantasies, there is a large void in practical sexual education that people sometimes attempt to fill with porn.
I want to believe that people use critical thinking skills. I want to believe that people see Brazzers/Manwin’s Get Rubber campaign and the safer sex/condom use speech at the beginning of Vivid’s DVDs. I want to believe that people watch the pre and post scene interviews included in Kink.com’s videos. I really want to believe that people don’t need to see these disclaimers and interviews to understand that what they are watching is done by tested, consenting professionals. Apparently, though, this comprehension is not always the case.
As adult performers, our job is to show up with a clean STI test and act/perform in an adult production to the director’s satisfaction. It isn’t our responsibility to take on the task of educating people about sexual technique or safer sex practices. Our job description does not include worrying about the people who can’t differentiate between what they see on a screen and what is acceptable behavior in real life, the same as it isn’t Bruce Willis’s job to go around reminding people that action movies are super cool but shooting actual people with real guns isn’t, or that calling 911 is a much better tactic than shooting someone full of adrenaline in the event of a heroin overdose. But some of us do…
There are adult performers and sex workers who talk about these things: When Nina Hartley recounts a recreational sexual encounter on her blog, she regularly mentions the use of condoms and gloves. Sometimes she mentions less standard practices, such as having a specific pair of boots for BDSM that don’t touch the ground outside so that they can be licked without concern for what they’ve walked through. Danny Wylde writes frankly about his experiences in sex work and openly discusses his thoughts and emotions. There are countless others who do frank interviews or keep blogs discussing topics relating to sex work, the adult industry, and sex-for-work vs. sex in personal lives. If someone actually wants to know about porn, there’s a wealth of information online from a variety of perspectives.
We just don’t get nearly the amount of traffic or visibility that a major news outlet gets. Our voices need to be louder, because we are talking.