Porn Ethics from a Writer’s View

Article by · August 7, 2017 ·

By Rich Moreland

After submitting an article a few weeks ago on how the “person on the street” defines ethical porn, I got to thinking about what it means to me as a writer in the industry. From my perspective, ethical porn is about respecting the people who make and market the product and setting standards on how I report about them. They deserve no less.

Media hounds too often follow the odor of whatever is controversial. Take, for example, the latest dustup over the Netflix presentation, “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On.” When I recently spoke before a student audience at a Catholic University (yes, they invited me!) someone mentioned the series in the Q and A afterwards. Why? Because a professor was using it as a way to discuss porn and the popular notion of how it treats women.

Though I said little about the production, the question did provide me with an opportunity to tell the students that ethics in the adult industry do exist.

From that experience, I decided to explain my personal guidelines when doing my job. Frankly, I expect all writers in the business have similar practices, but it’s important that the public understand what we as an industry value when it comes to treating our own, “Hot Girls Wanted” notwithstanding.

“I decided to explain my personal guidelines when doing my job [as a writer].” — Rich Moreland

So, here’s what’s important to me.

Never Reveal Legal Names

First, I never reveal anyone’s real name though I have a folder jammed with signed release forms from the interviews I’ve done. Also, this guideline includes private email addresses and phone numbers. I never, ever, publish them or give them to anyone.

Don’t Print Private Information

Second, if someone tells me something privately and asks that it not be printed (yes, that has happened), I don’t print it. Pretty simple, right? Well, considering the disrespect, vulgarity, lies, intolerance, disingenuousness, and abandonment of trust that has infected our society at its highest level, I wouldn’t say that following through on a promise is an expectation these days.

Let People Tell Their Own Story — Don’t Share Details!

Third, porn people, like everyone else, value their privacy. Whatever personal matters they want to put out there about their lives, let them do it on their social media. I’m revealing nothing personal without a huge “ok” from anyone I write about. Occasionally something slips through the cracks like the name of a hometown or a college attended. When it’s caught, I make the correction immediately.

Check In First

Fourth, whenever possible, I send the articles I write to the individuals concerned before anything is published. This is my insurance policy that everything gets an “all clear” before it’s put out there for the public to read.

Strive for Accuracy

Fifth, accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. Again, I urge the people I write about to check any article before it’s published so we get the facts straight and nothing is left to misinterpretation.

Don’t Play into Stereotypes or Misconceptions

My final guideline (though I wouldn’t really call it that) humors me that I’m even bringing it up, but yes, this does happen. I have civilian friends who are clueless about the industry and are certain that being a writer in porn is more fun than the average person deserves to have on this planet. Why? Because they “know” that porn girls are promiscuous, hot tasty little treats ready to “do” any guy anytime.

After all, porn people don’t have much self-respect, right? So I get asked that question. You know, what’s my scorecard? A little quid pro quo here and there?

The whole idea is absurd.

I find the question irritating and sometimes my answer can be chafing, but here it is as politely as I can put it. I regard the people in adult film to be colleagues, professionals, and in many cases, friends. That means treating them with respect without expecting any “favors.”

They are not profligates, throw-away “crack whores,” or “pimps.”

The people in adult entertainment are everyday souls like you and me. They want the same things we all desire: a livable income, home, and family.

There is, however, one more thing that in my mind makes them special.

Because of their profession, porn people have an endearing quality I rarely find in society as a whole. When it comes to sexual expression, they are the most non-judgmental, unselfconscious people I have ever met with an unflagging spirit of independence because, I believe, they are not shamed by what shames the rest of us . . . nature’s gift: our sexuality.

Does that make them any more or less “moral” than the average “person on the street?” No. But porn people do reflect what it means to be ethical in the simplest way possible . . . the possession of a true, almost childlike honesty, something worthy of our appreciation because we see so little of it today.

Read Moreland’s “Does the Public Care About Ethical Porn?” on Ethical.porn here.

rich moreland pornRich Moreland is an educator who writes in the adult industry. He blogs at 3hattergrindhouse.com and contributes articles to Adult Industry News (AINews.com). Rich’s book, Pornography Feminism: As Powerful as She Wants to Be, was published in 2015. He can be reached on Twitter at @PornoFeminism


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