"Adults Only" is More Than Enough

One point about which I do not think you will find any debate in the vast majority of legitimate adult businesses is the importance of keeping adult content for adult consumers.

This is a separate issue from the critical need to keep minors from being exploited as subjects of adult media, either literally or in simulation. This is about making sure that the customer who buys a piece of porn is a legal adult, with the maturity needed to appreciate it.

In the past, it was easier to regulate access to information. There was no practical way to share a dirty picture short of passing a printed copy around from one person to the next. In those days, it was the responsibility of the store owners to keep the children away from the "men's magazines," or out of the store completely. A store owner relied on the publisher and distributor to confirm the nature of the items sold, and often demanded that they supply barriers, warning signs, or other impediments to help keep children from being exposed.

The advent of home video, the personal computer, and more recently the Internet, all contributed to a lack of practical control possible. But this situation, while it may never be reversed, does not entitle us to shrug our shoulders and ignore the problem. If anything, the responsibility is even more pressing on the adults in our society to protect the innocence of the children.

I may sound like a conservative prude, but I do not take this responsibility lightly. You may be surprised to learn that most of my colleagues feel much the same way that I do about it. There is a general agreement that what we produce, while it is of value to an adult audience, should not and must not be shared with minors.

The problem is not in the establishment, but in the attempts to regulate that establishment. When outside laws come to limit the freedoms of an industry, the least scrupulous members of our society come to bottom-feed on the aspects of the business legitimate producers avoid. These people may pop up overnight, post a few pictures anywhere they can, and try to snag as much money as possible before shutting down and scurrying away. They have no concerns about the implications of what they do; not for the consumer or for the producer.

The problem is that, to the general public, it is virtually impossible to distinguish between the legitimate and the fly-by-night businesses. This is not a situation which is unique to adult entertainment. All industries must accept that some people will approach the business with less respect than others.

The assumption that it could be profitable to go after a youth market in adult media is flawed on many levels. The bottom line is that there are more than enough legitimate adult consumers for adult media. Apart from the regulations, and the moral issues, nobody who intends to make more than a passing buck from adult entertainment has any interest in selling to minors.

The adult entertainment industry has been treated as a second class citizen to the more mainstream entertainment industry since its inception. It is only in the past twenty years or so that any recognition of this class of producer has taken hold. The trends are moving in the right direction, governmental agendas notwithstanding.

As this industry matures, I think we will see more and better efforts made to use technology and common sense to keep adult entertainment in the realm of adults.