Money, morals, and condom use: The politics of health in gay and straight adult film production

David William Schieber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper compares condom use between the gay and straight California adult film industries and examines the culturally embedded decision making processes that affect the use of condoms in adult films. Drawing on in-depth interviews with people in the adult film industry, I argue that those within the gay and straight adult film industries utilize condoms and HIV testing as strategic actions motivated by two separate institutional logics. Within the straight industry, I find that a logic of profit maximization motivates HIV testing with the effect of identifying and quarantining HIV positive performers. Those within the straight industry then strategically justify non-condom use stating condoms are painful and condom use is an issue of performer's choice. Within the gay adult film industry, I find that a logic of civil rights and solidarity motivates condom use by implicitly avoiding identifying and stigmatizing HIV positive performers through mandated HIV tests. Ironically, performers in the gay adult film industry also strategically use condoms to manage their reputations and stigma by signaling to consumers that they are not HIV positive. In sum, these findings highlight the important ways people strategically rationalize and justify organizational health policies and practices while motivated by shared cultural schemas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-394
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Problems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Adult Film Industry
  • Condom Use
  • Culture
  • Organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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