Porn star August Ames committed suicide Tuesday. She was young, how to refuse sex 23, and married, insofar as marriage means something when you have sex with other people for a living. Now, the porn world is regularly subject to high-profile suicides, and I’m not going to pretend it’s a normal occupation pursued by people making enlightened choices. However, her death is stirring up quite a controversy, because in the days leading up to it, Ames was being bullied heavily online, including several specific suggestions that she kill herself.
Ames had tweeted that she had backed out of a sex scene because it wasn’t disclosed that the man she was supposed to have sex with had done gay porn. This is because reservations about crossovers aren’t typically perceived as homophobia—Ames claimed she was also attracted to women—it’s simply one of managing risk, as it’s pretty undeniable that gay men are more likely to contract HIV and STDs. Nonetheless, gay and bisexual performers resent this stigma as unfair, as every performer is subject to the same regular sexually transmitted disease tests before they are cleared to do porn. Despite her protests to the contrary, Ames was called homophobic nonstop online for a few days before she eventually hanged herself. For a while now, the joke has been that political correctness is moving so swiftly that not only will you have to approve of gay sex, it will become mandatory. I don’t mean this as an unfortunately literal bit of gallows humor, but Ames’ death does raise eyebrows because it speaks to a frightening dystopia where any traditional deference to female vulnerability becomes subservient to liberal pieties about sexuality. The day Ames killed herself, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about a case involving a Colorado cake baker who doesn’t want to make cakes for gay weddings.
The baker, quite understandably and credibly, insists there’s a rather large expressive and artistic component to his vocation, so he shouldn’t be forced to endorse any particular message or religious ceremony he disagrees with. After all, she’s open for business, if you want to call it that. Wouldn’t it be discrimination to exclude working with an entire class of people? Again, it’s worth noting that Ames and other performers believably insist that their aversion is simply about health risks, not discrimination. Well, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a mob that would tell Ames to kill herself if she won’t have sex with someone who has sex with other men would also happily pass a law requiring porn stars to be subject to penalties for discriminating in who they sleep with. In the end, it’s hard to know what to say, because we’ve heard it all before and we’ll hear it again. Ames was an innocent young girl who was molested by her grandfather.
Becoming a porn star gave her the illusion of gaining control over the most traumatic aspect of her childhood. When she made the mistake of trying to publicly assert control over who she had sex with as a Sex Positive Adult Film Star, hordes of angry people she’d never met bullied her and told her to kill herself. The entire porn industry is built on the fact that Ames’ story is repeated thousands of times over. Maybe the story doesn’t always end in suicide.
Maybe it ends in addiction, or maybe it ends in physical abuse, but it always ends in tragedy. No matter how many times the curtain is peeled back, our desire for selfish and destructive gratification outstrips our willingness to care. Mark Hemingway is the Book Editor at The Federalist, and a senior writer at The Weekly Standard. 2018 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved. Be lovers of freedom and anxious for the fray.
A password will be e-mailed to you. More effective people at dialogue refuse Sucker’s Choices by setting up new choices. We can do this AND that. OR choice into a search for the all-important and ever elusive AND. Clarify What You Really Don’t Want.
Present Your Brain With a More Complex Problem. Clarify What You Really Want First, clarify what you really want. What I want is for my husband to be more reliable. I’m tired of being let down by him when he makes comments that I depend on. Second, clarify what you really don’t want. What I don’t want is to have a useless and heated conversation that creates bad feelings and doesn’t lead to change. Third, present your brain with a more complex problem.
How can I have a candid conversation with my husband about being more dependable and avoid creating bad feelings or wasting our time? Is There a Way to Accomplish Both? Is there a way to tell your peer your real concerns and not insult or offend him? Is there a way to talk to your neighbors about their annoying behavior and not come across as self-righteous or demanding?
Is there a way to talk with your loved one about how you’re spending money and not get into an argument? Is it possible that there’s a way to accomplish both? OR that into this AND that certainly resonates with me. Don’t fall prey to a Sucker’s Choice. The assumption is that you have to trade one thing for another. Find a way to have it both ways.