What Porn Performers Can Teach Us About Safer Sex


Published: NOVEMBER 21, 2023


Ethical porn companies are leading the way when it comes to safer sex practices that all of us can learn from.

When’s the last time you got tested for sexually transmitted infections? At your last yearly physical? Have you even been tested within the last year? If you can’t even remember the last time, you’re far from alone. A survey commissioned by LetsGetChecked, a company that produces at-home STI testing kits, found that 53% of people who responded to the survey hadn’t been tested for STIs in the past year, and 19% had never taken an STI test.

The survey also found that 48% of respondents didn’t know how often they should be tested for STIs, and 24% didn’t talk to new sexual partners about getting tested before having sex because they were too uncomfortable to bring it up. There’s still a lot of stigma surrounding sexually transmitted infections, and the sad irony is that this stigma is preventing a lot of us from protecting ourselves against STIs.

But you know where you can learn a lot about safer sex practices? The porn industry.

Safer Sex and the Porn Industry

That’s right. Believe it or not, one of the best places to learn about safe sex practices that prevent the spread of STIs is the porn industry. A common stigma associated with porn is that the performers must get STIs all the time, and as with many stigmas, this one is unfortunately based on a kernel of truth.

The porn industry has a sketchy past when it comes to keeping performers safe from STIs. Regular testing wasn’t always mandatory, and many production companies only asked their performers to test for a limited range of STIs, excluding relatively common ones, like syphilis. Even when regular STI testing was mandatory, many production companies relied on performers to get the testing done themselves and bring copies of their test results to set. Unfortunately, this practice made it easy to falsify a clean bill of health.

Although most performers would never endanger their scene partners that way, some did make that choice, leading to increased transmission rates in the industry. And even though most production companies have always put the safety of their performers first, some haven’t. In a culture that still, without good reason, horribly stigmatizes sex and sex work, the bad decisions of a few reflected poorly on the entire industry.

In response to these poor choices, as well as other problematic aspects of the porn industry, producers and directors like Erika Lust set out to create something entirely new – ethical porn. Lust has been cited as one of the current leading participants in the ethical, feminist porn movement. Since the debut of her first indie erotic film, “The Good Girl,” in 2004, Lust has founded the ERIKALUST brand, which encompasses XConfessions, Lust Cinema, Else Cinema and The Porn Conversation.

Read: Ethical Porn: How to Dive in With a Partner

What’s ethical porn?

If you’re stuck in stigma, ethical porn may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not at all. The foundation of ethical porn is enthusiastic consent, bodily autonomy and prioritizing the safety, comfort and mental health of porn performers. Production companies that make ethical porn, like Lust’s production company ERIKALUST, among others, allow performers to choose their scene partners, set the rules for those scenes, and opt out of anything that makes them uncomfortable. Ethical porn production companies also follow rigorous standards for keeping their performers safe, including multiple forms of age verification, on-set intimacy coordinators, and, of course, regular STI testing. Because of these rigorous standards Lust’s sets – as well as many others that follow similar protocols – are virtually STI-free.

Kinkly connected with Erika Lust to find out how everyone involved with an ERIKALUST production, from the production staff to the performers, contributes to safety on set and how they prevent the spread of STIs among their performers. As it turns out, we can all learn a lot from porn companies like this in terms of how to keep ourselves and our partners safer.

Read: How Feminist Porn Changed My Stance on Pornography

STI Testing for Porn Performers

The foundation of ERIKALUST’s safety protocols, Lust said, is a strict STI testing policy.

“Performers are tested before every set! To ensure complete safety for our performers, we request anal, vaginal and oral swabs, depending on the performer and the sex that will be had on set.”

Lust stressed that enforcing this testing policy is the production company’s responsibility. So, they make the process as easy as possible for each performer. They schedule the tests so the performers don’t have to arrange anything themselves. For local performers, each test is already paid for before they’re even tested. When ERIKALUST works with international performers, they either arrange to pay for the test upfront or they reimburse all costs associated with testing.

In the past, performers had to arrange their own tests and keep track of test result documentation, which they had to bring to set. Sometimes, they even had to pay for tests out of pocket. These barriers to access meant that some performers either lost out on jobs or endangered their scene partners when they missed a testing appointment, lost their documentation, or couldn’t afford to get tested. Lust aims to take all that responsibility off the performers so all they have to do is show up and get swabbed.

Read: 8 Myths About STIs – and The Truth Behind Them

Contraception and Personal Autonomy

Since every ERIKALUST production centers the enthusiastic consent and bodily autonomy of the performers, each performer involved in a scene is in charge of the other precautions taken on set.

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Article Source : kinkly.com – Sex ed for adults! Kinkly provide reviews, education and perspectives to help you have sex that’s healthy, consensual and fun.

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