While some porn companies may have goodwill, the industry as a whole could use some work. Last year's HIV cases came as adult film producers managed to fight off a state law requiring mandatory condom use in California, but continued their legal battle against a similar ordinance passed last year in Los Angeles County.
Before 2013, it had been three years since the industry saw a positive HIV diagnosis. And while many insiders say the porn industry's internal screening system did what it was supposed to do—catch the diagnosis early and ensure that performers did not infect others—some executives say they're still uneasy.
"When you have three moratoriums in a year and you eat your cache of movies, it has an effect," says Steve Orenstein, president and owner of Wicked Pictures—the only major porn studio that uses condoms in all of its films. "Obviously, there's nothing that has happened in the last year to change our decision to stay with condoms. If anything, it has solidified it."
(Read more: Condoms in Porn? Just another day at Wicked Pictures)
2013 saw more consolidation in the industry, the most notable of which was the merging of RedTube and Manwin—two of the biggest online operators in the industry. The combined company now controls the majority of the porn 'tube' sites, (think Youtube for porn), which stream live content and XXX clips.
Many in the industry blame the tube sites for the industry's woes, noting they are often filled with pirated content, which is offered to consumers for free. Tube sites pick up ad revenue from page views, but the producers of the films earn nothing.
Manwin also saw a leadership change—as founder Fabian Thylmann, once considered the most powerful man in porn, sold his shares in the company roughly 10 months after his December 2012 arrest in Belgium on charges of tax evasion. "Both myself and Manwin are at a stage where I can no longer add significant value to the best of my ability," he said in a letter to employees.
Manwin soon changed the company name to Mind Geek.
Insiders say they expect more buyouts to happen this year—and more companies to go under.
"I think there's more to consolidate and we will see that happen in 2014 and moving forward," says Hirsch.
(Read more: Porn's most popular stars)
Despite the moratoriums, consolidation and ongoing legal uncertainties, both insiders and outside observers say the porn industry actually weathered a tough year fairly well. Owner Scott Taylor says New Sensations did better in 2013 than it has the previous two years. And Hirsch says Vivid's revenues are strong.
"I don't think the industry is any better than it was a year ago," says Wosick. "But they're not any worse than a year ago either. I think [the events of 2013] may have forced it to be a bit more self-reflective. Studios have had to tackle some issues they've had to avoid the past few years and been forced to take stock with how they exist in this present-day economy—and present-day moral atmosphere. ... I think 2014 might be the year the industry comes together."
—By Chris Morris, Special to CNBC.com.