You may not know the name Derrick Burts, but he could be the guy who will change your porn watching habits. Burts is the guy who rocked the porn industry earlier this fall when news leaked that he'd tested positive for HIV.
The industry shut down while the actors freaked, but Burts -- who was known on film as Derek Chambers (sometimes listed as Derrick Chambers) or Cameron Reid -- came out for the first time this week to let the world know this could all have been avoided. So what's the mysterious cure to all ills? It turns out it's not so mysterious after all.
Derrick Burts says they need mandatory condoms in the porn industry. Um, duh? We've been saying people need to wear condoms to prevent the spread of STDs since, oh, I don't know, 1988? If nobody is listening in the real world -- hence the growing numbers of chlamydia and syphilis infections and the continued string of HIV diagnoses -- will the porn industry really change its ways?
In a word? Maybe.
This is an industry once gauged to be worth about $14 billion a year (that's a number from 2001 -- inflation almost guarantees it's higher). It's also one that's heavily regulated, with the state of California requiring mandatory STD testing for the actors. And now the state is actually considering pulling the porn industry into laws that already require a layer of protection between health care workers and bodily fluids. It's mostly been used to refer to medical practitioners wearing gloves, but it could easily be adjusted to add in condom usage. The people who make big money on this aren't going to want to say no to the state -- even if it's not sexy.
And why, exactly, is condom usage so "unsexy"? In real life, we know the problems: decreased sensation for the guy, a feeling that you're making love to rubber instead of your guy. But for people sitting at home, a condom onscreen doesn't affect our lovemaking (especially if it's with ourselves). Our sensations are the same. All we're missing is the "look" of the penis that we're used to seeing in porn. Last I checked, penises aren't pretty. We're not missing much.
If anything, we can hope that seeing a condom onscreen may be that subtle trigger watchers need to pull out their own love glove and make their sex safer. If that happens, Derrick Burts won't just be making the porn industry better for the actors, but helping fight disease around the world. Will it change the way you watch?
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