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Upcoming events and current media coverage relating to sex work and sex workers.

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LOS ANGELES — Attorneys for the adult entertainment industry filed suit today at federal court challenging the recently passed Measure B, which makes it mandatory for performers to wear condoms while shooting adult films in Los Angeles County.  

The suit says that Measure B is unnecessary because of rigorous and effective self-regulation by the adult industry and that it imposes an unconstitutional system of prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment. 

Numerous provisions of Measure B are excessively vague and burdensome, and thus place an intolerable restriction on freedom of expression. The lawsuit also challenges the county’s jurisdiction to regulate adult production on performer health and safety.

The adult industry plaintiffs include adult production company Vivid Entertainment along with adult performers Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce. 

“Overturning this law is something I feel very passionate about. I believe the industry’s current testing system works well," said Steven Hirsch, founder and co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment.  “Since 2004 over 300,000 explicit scenes have been filmed with zero HIV transmission. 

"The new law makes no sense and it imposes a government licensing regime on making films that are protected by the Constitution.  Measure B will have vast unintended consequences which may undermine industry efforts to protect the health of our actors and actresses.”

Read more here

CANOGA PARK, Calif. — The Free Speech Coalition, in response to a Los Angeles County Public Health memo that is being disseminated to producers of adult films, has provided supplemental information for decision-making involving shoots in the county.

The FSC said Wednesday that all local adult businesses should consult with their attorneys as far as where to shoot, permitting procedures, the interpretation of the law, as well as the civil and criminal risks involved. The FSC emphasized that it cannot provide legal advice.

"Only a lawyer familiar with your company’s circumstances can advise you how to reduce risk of liability," the trade group said. "What is good advice for one company could be disastrous for another."

Film LA, the entity that grants onsite permits for filming, has been asked to provide L.A. County with information about adult companies that apply for a permit, the FSC said.

"The county plans to provide Film LA with a list of adult companies on which to report," the FSC said. "Therefore, when an adult company applies for an on-site permit from Film LA for filming in L.A. County, the county will be notified about the shoot. L.A. County can inspect shoots at will without giving prior notice.

Male and transgender sex workers in South Africa are at particularly high risk of HIV infection and have significant unmet prevention needs, according to results of a large multi-site study presented last month at the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society conference in Cape Town.

Male sex workers were found to be 2.9 times (AOR, 95%CI=1.6-5.3,  p<0.001) more likely, and transgender sex workers 2.4 times (AOR, 95%CI 1.1-4.9,  P=0.021) more likely, than female sex workers to have unprotected sex, according to the multivariate analysis of a study examining the characteristics and sexual behaviour of sex workers in South Africa. The study also aimed to assess the risk factors for unprotected penetrative sexual intercourse of female, male and transgender sex workers.

Across four site, 1799 self-identified female, male and transgender sex workers were interviewed by trained sex worker research assistants during May to September 2010. The research sites included two urban centres and one semi-rural site adjacent to a mine and were purposively selected, based on the presence of sex worker advocacy groups and peer education work. Although the three cities were selected to obtain data on diverse sex work settings, these findings may not apply to other sex work areas in South Africa.

Read more here

The stereotype that female porn stars are "damaged goods" who have experienced sexual abuse as a child is inaccurate, according to a new study.

In fact, porn actresses have higher levels of self-esteem, positive feelings, social support, sexual satisfaction and spirituality, according to the study "Pornography Actresses: An Assessment of the Damaged Goods Hypothesis."

However, stereotypes regarding the actors' current sexuality are true, according to the study, which compared the self-reports of 177 porn actresses and was published in the Journal of Sex Research. The study found that porn actresses were more likely to identify as bisexual, have had sex at an early age, had more sexual partners, were more concerned about contracting STD's and enjoyed sex more than the matched sample.

The study has several co-authors, including former porn actress Sharon Mitchell and Texas Woman's University professor Christian L Hart.

However, a HuffPost blogger and former porn actress, Jennie Ketcham, would refute the study's claim that porn actresses have more "positive feelings." She blogged for the New York Times earlier this month that being a porn star was traumatic, and she experienced symptoms similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the industry.

Measure B, a law requiring the use of condoms in adult movies in LA County, fixes a problem that doesn't exist. Our sex is safe.

The word pornography has a widely splayed set of definitions. To borrow Judge Potter Stewart's words, we know it when we see it – and we all see it with different sets of eyeballs, informed by different sets of experiences and beliefs.

The term "porn industry" is used to cover a broad range of media, but here I want to talk about the capitalism-driven, heterosexual-oriented adult industry. The porn industry that produces movies such as Pirates XXX and features performers such as Jenna Jameson and Sasha Grey, and produces websites named bigbuttslikeitbig. It is the porn industry targeted by Measure B, a law requiring the use of condoms in adult movies in Los Angeles County, California, which was approved by 55.9% of voters earlier this month.

We haven't had a case of performer-to-performer HIV transmission in eight years. The fact that any sexually active community that hasn't had a single case of HIV transmission in so long even exists was interesting enough for the New York Times to send science reporter Donald G McNeil Jr to cover our self-imposed health and safety precautions.

Every 14-28 days performers are tested for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia, mostly through specialist testing agencies. We use the most sensitive tests possible. Because so many performers use these companies' services, we are able to get our results back within 48 hours, usually less. Including the remote draw fee, I pay around $180 for each test. Compare this with the almost $400 I paid to be tested for the same four diseases the last time I went to my gynaecologist, and the week I waited for results.

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