We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the legend Mark Davis before his Sex and Submission shoot. Davis talks about his 8+ years in the adult industry, and some advice for male talent coming into the industry today. Be sure to check out his recent shoots on SAS right here!
Dear New York Times,
My name is Lorelei Lee and I’m an adult film performer who has worked in the industry for fifteen years. I read your article, “Actors in Pornographic Films Fight Proposal to Enforce Safety Regulations,” and I am writing to say: how dare you.
Nearly 100 of my fellow performers and I took an unpaid day off from work to testify at yesterday’s meeting of the Cal OSHA Standards Board. Some woke at 4am to fly to Northern California. Some drove seven hours from Los Angeles, and some flew across the country from their homes in other states. We were there to speak from our hearts. We were there to make substantive points about a newly proposed regulation that was written without our input, with disregard for our actual safety, and in opposition to the views of doctors and epidemiologists from institutions like the CDC and Emory University. Yesterday’s meeting represented the culmination of years of our efforts to organize and speak out for ourselves, to become part of the political process that wants to regulate our bodies.
We were not, as your article described us, “a parade.” We were not there to put on a show, and our clothes, which your article focused on — pointing out that we were “fully dressed,” as though our wearing clothes was a joke — were not costumes. How dare you gloss over the real and cogent content of our public testimony to focus on our “form-fitting” dresses and “stiletto heels.” We are not cartoons, and your description of us as “colorful” demonstrates both a bias in reporting and an utter failure to hear my coworkers’ articulate and nuanced criticism of the proposed regulation. This regulation would not have been “more stringent” as your article describes, but would have substantially weakened the state-of-the art testing system we rely on, and which your own paper has previously described as a “model for HIV prevention.” This regulation would have pushed our industry underground where workers like me have fewer resources and less protection against all manner of safety violations beyond STI transmission, and, if passed, would have alienated us from the very government body assigned with our protection.
I’m not writing to you simply because I am angered by the mistakes of one reporter. I’m writing to you because the way journalists describe us matters. The way you talk about us has a direct impact on our ability to advocate for ourselves and on the tremendous stigma that we face every minute of our lives. When we are fighting for our bodily safety, this dismissal of our humanity by a journalist amplifies our daily risk of harm. It invites violence against our bodies by implying that we are not real, whole people. You know this. You report about frequent violent crimes against sex workers in your own paper.
I promise you that my coworkers and I already know what most of the world thinks of us. We know that you are surprised to see us out and dressed in daylight. We know that you think we are fictional characters whose voices are always scripted, who only speak in explicit imperatives and double-entendres. We know that most of the world would prefer we not interrupt that fictional image with our actual voices. We know that most of the world will not believe us when we speak anyway.
Time and again we’ve been told that because of the labor we do with our bodies, we must not have fully developed brains as well. We’ve been told that we could not possibly know what is good for us, that we are hapless victims, that we are brainwashed or exploited. We are told by the media and by people we love that they do not believe we value our own bodies.
And yet, we were the ones — adult performers — who created and implemented the protocols we now use to protect our bodies at work. It was performers who, in the late nineties, saw their coworkers dying, saw the people in their community falling victim to both HIV and to a doubled stigma — a stigma that still thrives — that says HIV positive sex workers are to blame for their own seroconversion. To save the lives of the people they loved, performers on all sides of the industry worked to create systems that could keep us safe. For some performers this means using condoms at work, and for some this means a stringent testing system that both protects our medical privacy and enables us to know our status and the status of our partners — something that is rare among civilians. Over the last decade and a half we’ve worked with doctors and epidemiologists, we’ve increased the stringency of our protocols immediately with each new advance in medical science. These protocols are not mandated by anyone except us. How dare you imply that the fact of us wearing clothes is somehow more compelling than our decade-long struggle to protect ourselves and the people we love.
We already know what most of the world thinks of us and yet we continue to fight. We meet at each other’s houses to go over the fine print of draft regulation and to plan our battles. We travel and we take time off from work. We out ourselves publicly and we share the intimate details of our lives with lawmakers. We stand up at the podiums of hearing rooms in front of Cal OSHA or the California State Legislature and we beg them to listen to us. We beg them to work with us to create the kind of regulation that will enable us to care for our families, to live, to keep our bodies and the bodies of those we love safe from harm. We are not above begging, and we know that as long as papers like yours continue to publish articles like this one we will have to continue to beg and plead and pray that we can crack through a thousand years of bias and stigma and be heard. We are not a parade. We are a battalion, and we are fighting for our lives.
On February 18, California’s Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board voted 3-2 against new rules for the production of adult films.
The final draft of the proposed regulations, known as § 5193.1, not only required condoms for all filmed sex, but also “barrier protection for eyes, skin, mouth and mucous membranes.” The proposed regulations were initiated six years ago by Michael Weinstein, head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
The vote on whether to issue a safety order over the rules was made by five members of the state’s OSH Standards Board, which sets standards within the Cal/OSHA program. The board needed four votes for the amended § 5193.1 to be included in California’s Code of Regulations.
The board heard more than five hours of testimony from more than 100 in the adult industry urging a “no” vote on § 5193.1, many of them performers, directors, talent agents and sex experts at the hearing in Oakland.
Much more from this historic day to come very soon.
Director of Sexual Health and Advocacy at Kink.com, Eric Paul Leue has officially been appointed to Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition! He will take over in a very important time for the FSC and the adult industry; with new Cal/OSHA regulations which would require eye protection, dental dams and condom when shooting adult film, and a ballot measure which would allow private citizens to file lawsuits against producers and performers who don’t appear to comply with the regulations.
“It’s an incredible honor to be able to lead the charge of the Free Speech Coalition, at a time when the adult industry is fighting for its very survival,” said Leue. “When it comes to free speech, performer safety, and sexual health, we cannot let the moralistic and anti-scientific arguments dictate policy. I will fight to keep our industry safe and legal.”
Here’s Leue at the Cal/OSHA protest put on by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in Oakland last year. Eric has a long history as an activist in the LGBTQ and Leather Communities and wanted to dispel the propaganda AHF was spreading at the protest:
Every new set and prop that Kink.com builds adds yet another dimension of fantasy to their already prodigious playground. But while fresh backdrops and toys undoubtedly inspire creative new storylines and torture scenarios, they rarely impact a website’s direction as significantly as
Ultimate Surrender’s brand new bleacher seating just did. As soon as the risers were in place, 40 lucky guests were invited to be part of the first Live Audience Tag Team match in Ultimate Surrender’s history. And with plans to invite members and fans to future live matches, this foolproof combination of sex, sports and spectators is likely to become the hottest ticket in town.
Think you have what it takes to be a part of the Kink.com family. Checkout our jobs page and apply!
In this special update we present a deeper look into one of Kink’s most unique sites. “At TheTrainingOfO.com, beautiful submissive women take a 4-day journey through slave training, experiencing erotic bondage, punishment, and humiliation to become trained sex slaves.” The site is inspired by the BDSM classic novel “The Story of O”, by Pauline Reage. James Mogul and Peter Acworth designed the site to reflect the intense psychological and physical training required for the perfect sexual submissive. James Mogul gives us an exclusive guide through this one of a kind site.
From amateur to established adult performer Sarah Shevon’s career all started with us in the famous San Francisco Armory with Kink.com. Sarah talked to us about her journey as a performer with her start at Kink to her current residence in Los Angeles. Her years of sexual exploration has given her an auro of sexual confidence which exudes in her performances and wow does she perform!