opinion

Condom or No Condom: That is the Question

Kayden Kross
Oh, condom, you pesky bitch.

That is what I want on my porn tombstone, as in, the final press release that goes out announcing my retirement from this industry, if and when it happens.

I did my first movie under contract with Vivid, and being new, and prone to placing myself in increasingly uncomfortable situations, I opted for a condom. Poor Manuel. I don’t know what I was trying to prove my first year in porn (perhaps that I was the most virginal sex worker this side of Mary Magdalene?), but I had an arsenal of stupid resolve when I came in. I was against more than one dick in a scene, and against facials, and against degradation and things that I was told were degrading. I’ve since decided that the most degrading thing of all is being told by strangers that they have a better sense of when I’m being degraded than I do. I’ve also decided that degradation is simply lovely when you’re asking for it, especially when you’re begging for it on your knees with your make up streaming down your face and you can taste your own sweat and you’ve lost all sense of your surroundings save the larger than life cock that is immediately in front of you, baiting you with the kind of intensity that can only come from extremes.

And god it looks silly when it’s wrapped in a condom.

Don’t worry. I’m aware that this in not the politically correct response. I’m all for safe sex though. That’s why I have it in porn, with people I know and trust, and tests that I can have verified 24 hours a day. So far, this method has worked for me. I’ve been testing regularly for four years without a problem. Of course this can’t be proven, but I would bet that if I’d been with the same number of sex partners that were picked up instead from bars across the country, I would not be able to say the same. I would also bet that if some stranger with white gloves and a nametag came at me with a list of the ways I’m legally allowed to have sex with other consenting adults, I would kick him in the face.

The thing is, like every other rational consenting adult on the planet, I’m aware of the risk and rewards of the sex I have, and each time I choose to have sex it is the result of an individually weighed decision. And each time I choose to have sex, I’m having sex with my vagina, not the state’s vagina. If I feel the need to use a condom, I will take the necessary steps to do so. And I do, when I don’t have access to testing records on involved parties. That never stops me from bitching about them as I dig them out of a forgotten drawer though.

If sex with condoms were exactly as good as sex without condoms, every rational person would use them, provided they were easily available and not trying to procreate. Obviously that’s not the case. Condoms hurt. They cause unnecessary friction and they don’t stay perfectly in place. They smell like a hospital. They break and bunch up and frankly I think they completely erase the organic awesome spontaneity of sex, even if the sex is scripted. As porn performers, we have continuous sex for longer than average by a factor of three to four times. Something official that I recently read and don’t care to look up again said that sex in the wild lasts on average no more than fifteen minutes. Sex on a porn set lasts on average 45-60 minutes in my experience, but I’ve gone continuously as long as two hours. I’ve heard longer from other performers. I’ve never heard of a scene shot in fifteen minutes. So if condoms are uncomfortable for people who use them as they’re meant to be used, for average sex, then imagine how much more uncomfortable they become over the course of a professionally shot scene.

And there’s more. We’re talking about porn sized dicks. Now our sex is longer and larger than the average American household, with more acrobatics. Who really does the pile driver at home? Be honest. How many guys in the privacy of their own homes really have the cardiovascular fitness to jackhammer continuously the way porn guys do on set? All of these things add up to a lot of fucking friction, and now the state wants to top it off with a condom.

We had a mandatory safety meeting recently. I would have preferred dental work over the required attendance but I understand that asses need to be covered and I really like my job. Among the things that we can no longer do before scenes, so as not to contaminate, is floss, brush our teeth with a hard bristled brush, and wax. I pointed out that one of the major things we are trying to prevent (the transmission of hepatitis) can be just as easily picked up by eating a contaminated strawberry. I’d also like to take this second opportunity to point out that I’ve never even heard of hepatitis being a major concern. I’d also like to point out that the next time Leonardo DiCaprio kisses Kate Winslet at the helm of a ship, Cal Osha better be regulating that clear and present danger.

I saw an ad in an airport that said HIV was transmitted one every eleven minutes, or maybe every nine minutes, but again I don’t want to go back and look it up. Porn is shot every day, and very, very rarely, a performer contracts it in his or her personal life and then tests positive and turns the industry upside down while everyone scrambles to assess the damages. Those damages generally turn out to be in the form of bad press. The virus does not spontaneously generate inside of our industry. HIV is a serious concern, but saying that we do not have it under control because the risk is not eradicated completely is ludicrous. The risk will never be eradicated completely so long as the virus is in the population.

With that said, I don’t see why Cal Osha is interested in the health of us sex workers when there are other, larger, more vocal industries to control. I don’t think Cal Osha really cares about my vagina. I do think the state of California would love to fine someone seventy thousand dollars for an infraction. I do think that if a performer wants to work with condoms, that is the performer’s choice, and there are companies who will shoot it. And finally, anything that forces itself into my vagina is by definition raping me, and Cal Osha, darling, no means no.

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