Fact Check: Do Condoms Actually Increase STD Risk For Porn Performers?

“The shortest porn scenes require an absolute minimum of ‘half an hour of hard thrusting by a well-endowed young man. It's hard enough to deal with [without] condoms. Add latex to the mix and I'm down to being able to work with a man once a week at best, to say nothing of the damage it would do to my private life and intimacy with my husband.’” – Porn actress Nina Hartley on the use of condoms in pornography

Next month, voters in California will decide whether to enact a law requiring pornography performers to wear condoms during films in an attempt to reduce their risk of contracting and spreading HIV and other STIs. This issue has stoked a lot of controversy and has generated a number of articles and opinion pieces arguing both for and against the ballot measure. One article in particular, entitled “Why Porn Sex is the Safest Sex,” caught my attention, and not just for its provocative title (which stems from a quote by porn actor James Deen who argued that “the safest sex you can have is in the adult film business”). If you read the entire article, it goes on to suggest that use of condoms during porn actually makes the performers less safe. Needless to say, I thought this claim merited a fact check.

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