LOS ANGELES—An article on policymic.com titled Porn and Football Share a Dangerous Obsession explores the ways in which each activity has to “balance entertainment with the need for safety,” and the extent to which the “demand for spectacle has encouraged both football and porn to become more dangerous.”
Published in the immediate aftermath of the news that adult performer Cameron Bay had tested positive for HIV, writer Jonathan Smith observes, "The debate between the porn industry, health professionals, and politicians is, oddly enough, reminiscent of the ongoing discussions involving the NFL's new tackling guidelines and regulations."
He adds, "The bodily risks taken by athletes and porn actors are the consequence of viewers’ demands for better entertainment in the form of bigger hits, harder tackles, and raunchier sex scenes. Players and performers gravitate towards those actions that will draw the most spectators toward them. An athlete takes steroids to enlarge his muscles for the same reason a porn star will enlarge her breasts: to stay relevant. Meanwhile, desensitized consumers expect professionals to entertain them with spectacles and performances that set them apart from their peers.”
The result, postulates Smith, is that both football and porn have become more dangerous. However, to support his theory he then cites Gail Dines’ highly questionable (and dated) book, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, in which she claims, "The most popular acts depicted in internet porn include vaginal, oral, and anal penetration by three of more men at the same time; double anal; double vaginal; a female gagging from a penis thrust into her throat; and ejaculation in a woman’s face, eyes, and mouth.”
He also cites a Business Insider article from last December that included a list (via talent agent Mark Spiegler) of escalating female performers fees for sex acts: girl-on-girl ($800), guy-on-girl ($1,000), anal ($1,200 or more) and double penetration ($4,000 or more) scenes.
“While such scenes pay considerably more, they also carry an increased risk of disease transmission,” claims Smith, who says athletes, and especially male athletes, share similar “economic pressures when it comes to health risks, and are just as defiant as porn stars when it comes to safety regulations, adding that players are upset about “the rule that forbids players outside the tackle box from lowering their helmet before initiating contact — i.e., what every running back does to break a tackle.”
Smith also makes the point that both football players and porn stars work in “age-limited” fields that generally last a finite number of years, making those overly aggressive plays and high-risk sex acts all the more tempting.
He concludes his theory with the observation, “Consumers will continue to reward the porn producers and team owners who meet the demands and expectations of a fickle public. Entertainers will be forced to take huge risks with their bodies as long as we insist that athletes perform at superhuman levels, and as long as we dehumanize porn stars. What porn and football have most in common are fans that see performers as something other than human.”
While for some that may be a rather extreme indictment of fans of football and porn, Smith is hardly the first to see both through the prism of ancient Roman bloodlust.