Risky Business: A Look Inside America’s Adult Film Industry (2013)


Director David Mech’s documentary about the ins and outs of the porn industry takes on an especially powerful resonance, when director Mech explores the argument of condoms versus no condoms in filming porn. Now in the midst of the 2013 porn industry debacle involving the AIDS outbreak among a slew of porn performers that began after an orgy scene featuring unprotected sex, the segment involving the condom debate will serve as an especially dire and powerful omen. I was never quite aware there was such a debate, but lo and behold it’s an actual issue in the adult industry.

“Risky Business: A Look Inside America’s Adult Film Industry” doesn’t exactly paint the adult industry in a negative light, but is refreshingly neutral in its views. It explores the negative and positive aspects of being a porn performer, and discusses many issues that stir in the industry. Director Mech discusses the proposed government regulation, the intent by some performers when they enter the industry, and how many women are exploited by their husbands or boyfriends. But the best segments are the ones that dig really deep in to the industry, getting both sides of the argument on the condom rule in porn, and how many porn stars will demand protection.

Director Mech even digs in to the gay adult industry and how many directors of gay porn swear by the condom rule as a means of exemplifying safe sex. Some of the most compelling moments involve director Mech discussing the goal of most porn stars, and why they entered in to the industry. After a psychiatrist proclaims that most porn stars come from shattered homes, director Mech sets out to prove that finding. It’s a surprising and especially wrenching moment when director Mech merely hints at questioning a performer about her family, causing her to breaks down in tears and rip her microphone off.

The one caveat though is that “Risky Business: A Look Inside America’s Adult Film Industry” doesn’t always provide insight in to the industry that’s new or fresh. It also can never really come to a conclusion as to why sex and sexual entertainment is in higher demand than ever before. That said, it does break down the sex industry very well, and offer an interesting approach to it. It also destroys most pre-conceived notions about porn performers, and depicts them as human beings with flaws, personal demons, and inherent ambition. Director David Mech successfully probes one of the most controversial but money making industries in America, offering an informative, insightful, and intellectual look at an often stigmatized profession.