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Porn and Politics with King Noire and Jet Setting Jasmine: Sex Work in the Time of Corona

Porn and Politics with King Noire and Jet Setting Jasmine: Sex Work in the Time of Corona

Written by Keyanah Nurse & Ronit Pinto

Coronavirus —#COVID19— is rightfully on everyone’s mind. From school closings to stock market plunges to overwhelmed health care systems, the global concern around the spread of the Coronavirus is touching all corners of daily life.  Within this pandemic, everyone is navigating new uncertain normals, including how to maintain intimacy and connection with those around us.  How do we stay connected, how do we experience intimacy, all within the context of calls for “social distancing”? 

This will be our first Honeysuckle article addressing the virus and how it affects our daily lives. Normal programming for our Porn and Politics:  “Compromising in Kink” column with King Noire and Jet Setting Jasmine will be delayed. Instead, we turn to a new topic:  love, intimacy, and sex in the time of corona.  

In this extensive conversation, Jasmine and King shared their insights on COVID-19 and how they are navigating the inevitable changes to the sex industry in the midst of this pandemic.

Honeysuckle:  Both of you have been traveling a lot.  We saw that you were in Miami and Atlanta. How has the virus affected your life? 

Jet Setting Jasmine:  In order to keep ourselves safe, to make sure that we’re not getting stuck in any of these locations, and because our family obviously needs us here, we put a halt to our travels until we have a better understanding of what this virus is doing and what the recommendations are.  Usually, we travel with most of the kids but because we don’t want to put them at risk, we postponed all of our tour dates at this time. Also, the events we curate are very intimate, so we didn’t want to put our audience at risk of either not having the full experience because of limiting social contact, or at risk in general, of being in close proximity to each other.

HS:  What was your timeline in discovering the virus and its effects?

JSJ: When we left San Francisco, the Northwest corner got their first confirmed case.  Then we went to New York and worked a week there. Things were still fully operating, but when we left New York, they got their first couple of cases, including the eventual cluster in New Rochelle.

Finally when we got back home last week, we decided to monitor how things progressed before we decided what to do with our tour dates.  The information and the guidance hasn’t been reassuring, especially with more confirmed cases, and less opportunities for people to be tested. There are still no treatment options or vaccine options, so we decided this week that we were postponing our tour dates.

HS: What are your thoughts on testing and treatment in the US, as opposed to Australia, for example, where testing is readily available and free?

JSJ:  The US has a deficient healthcare structure, and it really shows that a “have and have nots” type of system does not work for anyone.  If your neighbors don’t have access to healthcare, then it has a direct impact on you. For example, if you have insurance and go to your urgent care, but your urgent care is filled with people who don’t have insurance, and their only source of healthcare is the emergency room, now we all have a backed up health care system.  Everyone in that scenario now has less access to care. So inequality puts everyone at a disadvantage when we don’t have universal healthcare coverage.

I’d like to add one more thought to that. From the standpoint of a relatively young healthy person, I feel pretty confident that many of us will be okay, even if we test positive and we’re asymptomatic or we can manage our symptoms. However, people make rash decisions when they’re panicking or their anxiety is through the roof.  People’s behavior changes when they feel like there’s a shortage of supply and high demand. When someone is under the anxiety of, “I don’t have health insurance. If I get sick, I don’t have a doctor that I can go to. I can’t afford a test. I can’t afford treatment. I can’t afford it.” — that type of anxiety feeds behaviors that have an impact on all of us.  It leads to things like hoarding of resources, it leads to high levels of frustration and anger.

But when people have a certain level of reassurance even in the midst of the worst case scenario, then everyone makes decisions differently. You think, “I’ll be able to go and see a doctor. I don’t need to hoard all the supplies…” Our government failing to provide healthcare access puts us in these anxious situations, and not just when we have a pandemic like this.  It does this to people on a day-to-day basis.

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Photo Credit: @TheSinematographer

HS:  How does the virus affect the sex industry? In your personal work and overall?

JSJ:  It’s important for us to understand the huge umbrella around sex work because people jump to the conclusion of body-to-body contact, which a lot of sex work certainly is.  But there are sex workers who do live calls, i.e. call-ins where you’re actually seeing and engaging with a person, and then there’s sex work where it may just be over the telephone.

In any case, sex workers often use our bodies for a living.  As a result, we have learned how to make sure we don’t contract everyday colds and illnesses. It is pretty common for us to forgo work when we’re not feeling well out of respect for our colleagues, clients, and also out of respect for our bodies.

I think that’s a great thing, just knowing that the community that we work  in already operates from a place of self respect, respect between colleagues, respect for our clients and our bodies.  However, because of miscommunication and misinformation, there are some concerns about people failing to heighten their precautions. Are they making decisions that maybe they wouldn’t if it was not attached to their financial earnings?  But we have been getting some pretty solid and consistent advice from the Free Speech Coalition, which serves as an advocacy organization for adult performers.  It has been encouraging us to reconsider non-essential travel, follow CDC guidelines, and suspend production when/ if there are healthcare concerns.

Finally, one of the greatest pieces of advice is to look at avenues to create solo work. Many of us sell a lot of our clips online. This is a great opportunity for people to stay home and work on building content.  Other avenues include phone sex, webcamming, etc. Many of our clients are stuck at home, and that doesn’t necessarily change their desires to escape some of the news. We know sex and fantasy-based sex allow people to escape. There’s an opportunity for us to serve in that capacity without human-to-human contact by using webcamming.

King and I are at an advantage because we are in the same household. We have the necessary tools and equipment to make content, so we’re definitely talking and planning in that way. We’ve reduced travel and canceled shoots that we’ve had with other people, out of respect for our colleagues. We’re definitely looking at old hard drives and planning on using this time to increase our social media engagement. Sex workers may have to change the course of their day-to-day routine as far as work, but there’s a lot of avenues still available for us to keep our members and our audience safely engaged.

HS: Do you think some of these methods and tactics will become more long term or permanent? 

JSJ: Yeah, I do.  It is forcing not just sex workers but people in lots of different industries to think about how do we work and how prepared are we if we have to do our work in a very different way. I was happy that so much of my work is online, but there’s still some concern.  People are financially concerned. However, people are becoming more creative with how they may do the majority of their work online during this time.

“The pandemic is forcing not just sex workers but people in lots of different industries to think about how do we work and how prepared are we if we have to do our work in a very different way. ”

— Jet Setting Jasmine

King Noire:  Yeah, and it’s changing the content that they shoot. I’ve even seen people doing satires of the Coronavirus in their porn already. For example, jerking off or masturbating, wearing a mask or shooting with another person wearing a mask.

JSJ: It’s not my favorite genre of porn where we sexualize and mock things that people are actually dying from, but it is definitely a showcase of creativity and using what’s trending to capitalize.  Porn is as insensitive as it has always been, I guess that makes us feel calm and familiar.

KN: Yeah. I guess people have shot porn with the background of a war. So people will make porn out of anything.

HS:  What are your personal feelings about the virus and its impact, King? 

KN: My  main problem is the lack of responsibility taken by the people who are supposed to be in positions of political power.

The world is a living thing. Our own bodies are microcosms of the greater world that we all share with one another.  People get sick and there are viruses that spread through society. It’s important that when these things happen, people don’t call it a hoax, and people don’t try to politicize it as some way of taking another party down. These things are real. Just as Jasmine said, people are really dying, so it’s important that you take these things seriously. It’s unfortunate that people in higher positions didn’t take it seriously from the beginning because a lot of it could have been prevented and could have saved lives.

“It’s important that when pandemics happen, people don’t call it a hoax, and people don’t try to politicize it as some way of taking another party down. ”

— King Noire

HS: Can you give our readers some tips on how to express intimacy during this time? Do you have any personal observations on peoples’ behavioral changes?

JSJ:  Social isolation is good right now.  We could all afford to take a little break. But maybe get to know people online, have FaceTime calls. There’s definitely some fun, sexy things that you can do virtually.

KN: Get your sexting on. Get your Facetime sex on, get your Skype sex on, some videos. Send our porn to each other. Like “I really like when King and Jas do this, so we should try this too.” Or,  you can both masturbate while watching the same scene and share your thoughts and ideas with each other.

JSJ:  We don’t have clear information yet on how this virus spreads to offspring or for women that may be pregnant or may get pregnant. For people that are family planning, this might be a time to consider using condoms until we have a better understanding. You don’t want one problem to lead to another one, especially something that’s supposed to be joyful, exciting and positive.

HS:  Do you think there will be any permanent effects on the sex industry? 

KN:   If they find Coronavirus to be something that’s not going away or something that’s sexually transmitted, they’ll probably add it on to what you have to get tested for before you shoot.

People say that now, but in our profession, it’s not like you could stay in your office. You’re expected to be swapping bodily fluids with your coworkers. So, people will have to definitely, and should have already been, exercising standard precautions.

JSJ: 

In terms of long term change, one of the things that would be great is to have a discussion within our industry about adding other things that can help us prevent the spread of communicable diseases outside of STDs and STIs because of the nature of the work.  The key here is a discussion within our industry!

The other thing that I really like is the level of accountability that’s also encouraged for producers and directors.  It’s not just talent saying ‘I got a little, a little tickle in my throat, but it should be okay.’ We need to put some responsibility on everyone that’s on set to make sure that all parties are healthy. I think that when there’s more than one person being held responsible for making sure that no one is getting sick or transmitting any type of disease, then we’re all in a better place.

Honeysuckle: So when you are working, if you see blatant disregard for hygiene, in sex work,  what is your response? 

JSJ:   Yes.   On Royal Fetish film shoots, we always make sure that performers have access to showers. We have everything from feminine wipes to soap and water, to towels available. If we need to speak up, we have a readily available solution for them. There’s no question of “can I take a shower before or after?” It’s there and it’s encouraged and we orient people to where those things are. Hand sanitizer is always on deck and we make sure that our tools are sanitized properly. We are at an advantage of owning our own company and being able to encourage any talent that we work with to make sure that they are clean.

I want to double back to having self respect and part of self respect is being able to speak up for yourself. I respect  my body and my health, and I’m not gonna allow anyone to compromise it. We hope other performers feel really strongly about that as well. If they find themselves in a situation where they need to shoot with someone who they don’t feel is healthy, they should speak up for themselves.

HS: Anything else you want to share overall?

KN:  Wash your hands!


Be sure to follow King and Jasmine across all social media platforms for more provocative content! You can find them on jetsettingjasmine.com, KingNoireXXX.com, and RoyalFetishXXX.com

IG: @jetsettingjasmine / @TheRealKingNoire

Twitter: @jetsetjasmine / @KingNoire

FB: jetsettingjasmine / TheKingNoire

Snapchat: @KingNoireXXX