Some days, “Alyce” and “Justin” get off work, eat dinner and shoot a porno in the comfort of their home, an hour north of Sacramento.
It started as a lark.
For three years, the romantically-linked photographers took intimate pictures together and uploaded them to Tumblr. Last year, they decided to make their first adult film, which they shot and edited themselves, and then uploaded to the internet. Two dozen erotic flicks later, the pair has earned a little more than two grand. But cash or fame isn’t their motivation.
“It can be a major confidence booster,” said Justin, who, like Alyce, uses a pseudonym to maintain privacy. “It’s a funny feeling, it’s almost like having a secret identity as a superhero in a way. You walk around during the day and nobody knows what you do.”
Those good times may end if a majority of California voters approve Proposition 60 in November.
Sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the bill would strictly enforce an existing federal regulation that all adult performers wear condoms and file permits before filming sex scenes. AHF President Michael Weinstein claims the initiative is necessary to protect adult performers’ health, but many opponents have questioned his real motives. Meanwhile, at least 1,500 adult performers have protested that the proposition would drown them in slut-shaming civil lawsuits that expose their identities and bankrupt mom-and-pop erotica producers like Alyce and Justin.
“It could ruin my life,” Alyce said.
Only performers with a financial stake in their movies would be liable, and only after self-styled condom cops exhausted an official complaint process. But there are more do-it-yourself pornographers than ever, thanks to the YouTube-ization of the internet, say adult entertainment experts.
“Even if you thought that condoms were the best way to keep us safe, you’re basically reducing one risk and creating another because of the lawsuits,” said Chanel Preston, chairwoman of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, which is opposed to the measure.
In other words, Prop. 60 may sound like a compassionate measure aimed at protecting a marginalized work force, but the very people who make up that work force say it’s a stealth attack on their livelihood and safety.
So who’s shooting straight?