I’ve had two instances of people directing me to debates over porn (and the erotic industry). I will link to the two debates at the end of this article. Because it would take so much effort just to respond to all the issues people have brought up in just those two debates, I have created a new section for Sex and Science just for this topic. I will add more as I go.
Myth A: Porn actresses don’t consent.
Myth B: Amateur porn is better because of less faking, more likely consent and/or fewer chances for abuse.
For paid porn, there are usually things called tax forms, contracts, consent forms and Age Verification forms that performers have to have filled out and available to the producer before they can perform. Without the Age Verification form, it is illegal for the producer to sell the porn. Without the tax forms, the IRS will burn them all in hell before Satan does. The contracts are the basis of whatever is being done with that performer in their role in porn. The value of these contracts varies from company to company. Since performers are able to communicate to each other better now about what companies are less noble, the industry has begun to evolve and form better policies than they’ve ever had before.
Few people who aren’t consenting to being filmed while having sex would go through all that paperwork that says they’re consenting to have sex on film. I understand that many think that since there is a monetary motivator then a person can’t give resonable consent. But that’s like saying that you can’t consent to working as a garbage man because of monetary motivations. If you can’t apply the same argument to every other job, then it doesn’t apply to this one either. If porn actresses can’t consent to their jobs because money is a motivating factor then nobody on this planet can consent to their jobs because money is a motivating factor. If there is disagreement with the idea that nobody can consent to their own jobs, then perhaps there is a damned good reason to reconsider the claim about porn actors/actresses.
The debate over if one should prefer ‘amateur porn’ over mass production porn is fascinating for many reasons, but the ones that are of particular interest here are that people often claim to prefer amateur porn due to the supposed increased chance that the participants have consented. This idea appears to pretty much have been pulled out from being wedged firmly between someone’s pelvic floor muscles on the rectal side of their business. There does not appear to be evidence that this is true. In fact, evidence seems to suggest that the opposite is true. Amateur performers without contracts seem to be abused more frequently than those with full contracts and paperwork. I suspect that this is due to the amount of protection one gets from having the aforementioned paperwork. while there is a stigma attached to the industry that occasionally prevents people in the industry from seeking help when someone has violated them, when a contract is involved there is a new layer of law to consider that can be used as protection instead. when a performer goes on camera just stating, informally, that they don’t want anal, but then they are forced on camera to have anal, there is little evidence to be presented in court to prove that something went wrong, especially if they are playing along for the camera. However, if there is a contract in which it is specified that a performer will not do anal they have evidence to show a courtroom regardless of what went on for the camera. This evidence is not just evidence for anal rape, it is also evidence that there was a breach of contract, giving the performer, in some states, at least two courses of action. Producers know this. Furthermore, true amateur porn means there is less likely to be age verification, increasing the chances that people may end up watching underaged porn and no IRS forms means that performers who wanted to be paid may more easily be used and chucked out without pay.
It is important, at this point, to mention that there is more than one type of “amateur porn.” There is staged amateur porn and there is real amateur porn. Basically, producers caught on to the popularity of amateur porn and started professionally producing amateur porn. Professionally produced amateur porn usually falls into the same categories as regular porn does. The same contracts and consent forms are signed, the same Age Verification forms are involved and the company still gives each performer a 1099 and notifies the IRS. All that means is that many people are duped into watching ‘amateur porn’ that isn’t really amateur.
The two debates that inspired this section: from the forums of the James Randi Educational Foundation & from Heidi Anderson. These debates have become so extensive that there are many, many things that need addressing, so I do intend to return to the topic again. (I just don’t have enough superhuman skills to address everything in one day.)