RESEDA, Calif. — Before they remove a stitch of clothing or utter a single line from their Transfixed script, Nicole Aria and Claire Tenebrarum need to answer an important question.
“How are you with spitting?”
Adult Time director Siouxsie Q broaches the issue with both performers before a weekday shoot in early May. And make no mistake: when it comes to saliva, Q wants to talk specifics.
“Do you like being spit on?” she says. “What about spitting on others? Do you like spit in your mouth? What about spitting into other people’s mouths? Where do you like spit on your body? What about using spit as lube?”
Soft-spoken and bashful, Tenebrarum smiles.
“It doesn’t really matter,” she says. “I like spit all across the board.”
There are additional questions, too—ones about name-calling and choking and slapping. Others are much more tame. Tenebrarum notes that her nipples are sensitive and that her left ear is sore and tender. Aria says to be mindful of her hair extensions.
“You can’t put your fingers in there,” she chuckles. “They’ll get caught and then you won’t have a hand. It’ll disappear into the abyss.”
The head-to-toe body scan, as Q labels it, is part of Adult Time’s pre-scene “consent meeting.” With every member of the cast and crew present, performers and directors discuss in great detail the things that will make them feel the most safe and comfortable—or perhaps uncomfortable—on set. Everyone is encouraged to speak during the pre-game, which occurs with the cameras rolling.
Bree Mills, the Chief Creative Officer for Adult Time, tells her directors that the meeting is “the most important piece of footage they’ll shoot all day.”
“It’s the backbone of everything we do,” Mills tells PornCrush. “Consent is an extension of respect. It’s always going to be our first priority.”
Perhaps now more than ever.
Throughout the past year, consent and performer safety have been at the forefront of discussion in the porn industry. Every few weeks, it seems, an adult star accuses a scene partner of a boundary violation while another complains about an unprofessional environment on a set.
Instead of simply being outlets to post pictures and promote scenes, Twitter and Instagram have become sounding boards for frustrated performers and, in some cases, havens for cancel culture.. AVN Performer of the Year nominee Jane Wilde puts it best.
“People are scared,” Wilde says. “We put ourselves out there and give so much of ourselves. Some of us are scared of people taking it too far and potentially hurting us.
“When you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position and allowing someone to do things to your body that are very intimate, there’s potential for danger and violence to happen.”
Wilde notes that the majority of recent performer complaints involve incidents that allegedly occurred during individual, off-set content creation. While that may be true, multiple A-list stars, including Alexis Tae and Maddy May, have called out elite studios in recent months for failing to manage their sets in a professional manner, resulting in traumatizing situations that have led to firings and threats of lawsuits.
The only silver lining in the growing outrage is that it’s prompted porn studios and content creators—well, some of them—to reexamine and adjust their procedures when it comes to matters of consent.
And it’s no stretch to say that Adult Time is leading the charge.
The initial blueprint for Adult Time’s consent management plan was hatched back in 2019, when Mills began hearing rumblings, both in person and online, from performers frustrated by the free-for-all aura that seemed to be universal on studio sets. Discussion about likes, dislikes and boundaries—if it occurred at all—was minimal.
Just show up, shoot your scene and hope for the best.
Mills found that unacceptable. She began soliciting ideas from talent and crew about ways to enhance safety and comfort on set. Piece by piece, Mills began adding bullet points to call sheets for performers and checklists for directors. Four years later, Adult Time boasts the most elaborate and detailed consent protocols in all of porn.
“With Adult Time, I know that there isn’t going to be any type of fuckery on set,” Wilde says. “There isn’t going to be any type of anxiety that someone is going to violate my boundaries and cause me to deal with any type of trauma. It’s inconceivable that I’d ever have an experience like that on their set.”
The crux of the praise Adult Time receives is for the consent meeting that usually occurs about an hour before the shoot. Every person present—from the talent to the lighting and sound guys—introduces themselves, states their pronouns and describes their role.
From there, with a sketch of a skeletal frame in hand, the director will discuss each body part with performers along with various sexual acts to determine what is on- and off-limits.
Toe sucking, ball-licking, neck kissing, collarbone stroking, rimming, digital penetration, ass slapping, face sitting. Performers are asked about areas that may be sore from recent surgeries or new tattoos. Ticklish zones are identified along with anything else that may be triggering. Siouxsie Q says that she hates people touching her belly button.
“Did someone give you a wet willy once, where you never want anyone going near your ear again?” Mills jokes. “Things come up that you may never even think of.”
A regular Adult Time performer, Janie Blade calls the process “a crash course in intimacy” that puts the talent at ease.
“Say you’re new to the industry and you really want to impress people,” Blade says. "You might end up over-extending yourself and end up feeling shitty afterward and hurting yourself. But on an Adult Time set, it’s reassuring to know you’re going to get the scene that you want to do. I feel comfortable and empowered to ask for anything I want or need.”
That could include a certain brand of lube. Adult Time provides all varieties. Directors discuss “safe words” with performers, too, along with signals they should give if they need to take a break. Mills says one of the most important tweaks she made to Adult Time’s consent routine was involving the entire crew in the consent meeting, rather than having performers discuss matters in private. That way, she says, everyone is looking out for the talent.
“We want people to know that we’re always going to be more conservative about their safety than they are,” Michael Vegas, an Adult Time performer and director, says. “We’re going to be the ones to say, ‘Hey, hey, hey … your skin is getting too red. You’ve got another scene tomorrow. No more spanking.’
“When you get into subspace, or performance adrenaline, you’re on brain drugs. Your body is producing these intense feelings. We’re behind the monitors. We’re watching everything that happens on the screen, and then we’ve got our PAs watching what’s happening in this actual room that you don’t see on screen. Nothing goes unnoticed.”
Wilde says one of her favorite aspects of Adult Time’s consent meeting is having performers list the things they do like. It helps create an overall vibe of camaraderie and positivity that enhances the scene.
“With Adult Time,” Wilde says, “I know that I’m going to be safe. It’s a very freeing feeling, to where I can actually enjoy myself and relax and enjoy the day with my colleagues and not worry about, ‘When am I going to be able to tell them that I don’t want to be slapped or choked until I’m unconscious?’ There’s always an opportunity to clarify those boundaries on their set.
"No one is going to roll their eyes at you or put you on some sort of ‘diva behavior’ list because you have concerns. That can’t be said for every company, unfortunately.”
Mills says creating an atmosphere of consent extends far beyond anything physical that may happen during a scene. She says Adult Time goes to great measures to ensure that the overall experience is thorough and efficient.
Call sheets and scene treatments are often distributed more than a month in advance, detailing the theme of each scene and listing every member of the cast and crew so there are no surprises.
Restrooms are stocked with mouthwash, douches, enemas, shampoos, soaps and fresh towels. Anything to make performers feel cared for and supported while they’re in studio. Instead of a plate of cookies and a six-pack of bottled waters, Adult Time provides a full meal for performers after shoots.
A few days later, questionnaires are emailed to talent seeking feedback about their experience. Vegas says performers are often taken aback by the professionalism on the studio’s set.
“In an era where people don’t have to work for studios to make money, and they can exist on their own social media platforms, you have to cultivate an environment on set that people look forward to experiencing,” Vegas says.
“Feeling like your safety is being cared for as a performer, past what you’ve even thought about, is the experience that people need.”
Mills says the biggest compliment she receives is when performers ask her for blank copies of her consent deck, so they can use it as a template in their content trade. It’s refreshing, she says, to think that Adult Time’s protocol could be impacting shoots away from the company’s own sets.
Yes, Mills says, the adult industry is competitive in a variety of areas. But when it comes to consent, everyone should come together and unite to help spark a “wave of change.” One of her favorite shirts reads, “Consent is Sexy.”
“Our industry (needs) to rally behind some of these standards,” Mills says. “The more that we can integrate consent, not only into our production standards, but even into the context of our films and our shoots … that is leading by example. Not just within our own industry, but within society at large and helping to educate adults on how they could bring that into their own lives.
“So, yes … consent is sexy. The more of us that can get behind it, the better.”
In the meantime, Mills says Adult Time will continue to seek ways to enhance the experience performers have on set. But at the end of the day, the theme will remain the same.
“I always tell people, ‘Your safety is so much more important than these videos,” Siouxsie Q says. “I love porn with all my heart. I’ve done every type of sex work there is. I’m here to stay.
“And yet, I always remind people. ‘This doesn’t matter. You matter. You matter.”