Sex work is fine, exploitation ain’t.
2020 was a big year for the internet sex workers (that’s me lol). While everyone was locked inside and wanking, Mastercard and Paypal broke ties with Pornhub following an investigation that exposed rampant child porn and sexual violence uploaded to the site. Meanwhile, OnlyFans, a creator based camming app boasted over 1 million creators (people making things to wank to), 50 million users (the ones wanking), and paid out over 2 BILLION DOLLARS in hard cash to people making content. That’s a lot of dollars. And whilst Big Porn is notorious for exploiting young women, and most of the people whose bodies are in videos on Pornhub do not make money from people streaming them, the commission and subscription-based model OnlyFans uses means that performers get paid their share. In other words, it gives the power back to the pornstars.
OnlyFans has shifted the market in a few other ways, as well. Most content creators are shooting porn from their own home, which feels a bit less intense and formal than a traditional porn set. That means people that wouldn’t have considered sex work before are doing like, a bit of casual sex work (ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that). And when a lot of the barriers (agents, castings, having to tell your mum that you’re flying out to LA to shoot stepdaughter porn, idk) that traditionally sit between you and an illustrious sexy camming career are taken away, it means a lot of people are leaping into sex work without considering the implications.
Have u considered???
This isn’t the bit where I slut-shame you! This is the bit where I do a welfare check, like a good camgirl big sister. If you wanna get your tiddies out for some funds then I want you to do it safely and happily, yeah?
Because sex work is a bit about sex (duh) but it’s a lot about work (DUH). It’s an exchange of labour – so, you taking the time to look bare exciting in front of a camera and chatting topless with mediocre men for a few hours – in return for cash. My body is the commodity when I take sexy photos of it, but my body is also low key the commodity when I wait tables, right? Like when I spend evenings waitressing, I use my body to lug plates of chips from A to B. It’s not like all the work we do is some higher form of expression and my artistic self. Sometimes work is just about putting food on the table. And so sites like OnlyFans, where creators are rightfully compensated for the work they do, are a good thing. Sex work is real work!
But this is not some sugar-coated tale about me sucking dick onscreen and making mad cash dolla. If we’re truly going to empower the women who work in this way, we need to acknowledge that lots of them are very young, lots of them are very poor, and lots of them have experienced sexual trauma of some kind, either in the industry or before it. Having sex for money changes how consent works. If you need the money badly, how easy is it to say no to the sex? In mainstream pornography, the theory is that your manager, your agency, producers – a whole team will look after your wellbeing. When you’re camgirling, you have to trust yourself to have your own back. Did you say yes to that film because you wanted to? Or because you didn’t have any other options?
Let’s be real here, I’ve been dead broke in my time. Like, rough sleeping broke. I was scraping together pennies for rent and food when a boy I had hooked up with three years before asked me if I would take my top off for five measly pounds.
And I didn’t want to send the Brad the nudes. But I did really, really need a fiver.
There are plenty of sex positive stories about women who earned themselves the big bucks on OnlyFans, and then used it to buy exciting things. I’m only speaking for me. And I’m a sort of mid-level reluctant mostly-former-camgirl, not very glam ik ik.
But the top 1% of accounts on OnlyFans making the 33% of money (and a big number of those are celebs, I see you Bella Thorne), and the top 10% of accounts make the 73% of the monies, so… sort of low to mid-level money is gonna be the case for the majority of women. The most common amount of money earned on each OnlyFans creator account? Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Most of the camgirls are just as broke as when they started. Power to the pornstars, but most of us aren’t stars, right. So I’ll be frank. Even mean. It’s really only worth doing if you feel really REALLY good about doing it. Because chances are this isn’t your big break. ☹
There’s not some magical difference between girls who sell sex for money, and girls who have sex for free. In both cases, you get some people who are totally in control of what they’re doing, who are emotionally secure and who totally own their sex life. And there are some people who are being coerced, who don’t say no when they should, and who are having sex that they really don’t wanna have. And having sex you don’t wanna have, whether you’re getting paid for it or not, is really traumatic, and you deserve better. If you’re not sure, better keep on waitressing.
Tips ‘n’ tricks
Camming isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Sex work is haaaard. It’s a lot of mental and emotional labour, and also a lot of literal time not only on camera, but also setting up, doing your makeup real nice, and then pretending to care about men called Neville’s day. Gross.
But if you’re sure that it’s for you, then I have a few hints n tips from me, a certified bona fide camming lady, that will help you feel safe and empowered and not like, sad and ashamed and debased.
- Tell a friend
Just one. Or more, but at least one. How many times has a friend pulled you off a middle-aged man in a club and looked you in the eyes and been like, absolutely not bro. Your friends see what you don’t see, they look out for your welfare in ways that you can’t, and if (heaven forbid) anything goes wrong in your feelings, you want someone primed and ready to listen. No one wants to tell their tearful camming story starting with the admission that they were camming in the first place.
And if you’re too insecure to tell even just one friend, please consider the amount of shame you’re carrying about the work you’re doing. The shame is totally natural – like, society shames talking about sex, and it also shames talking about money, so people that work with both really walk a tricky tightrope. But if you’re so embarrassed by what you’re doing that you can’t tell your bestie, it might not be the career path for you.
- Make a list
Of stuff you will, and won’t do. Like your own consent guidelines. And to be clear, you DEFINITELY don’t always have to say yes to the stuff on the yes list. And the no list can evolve, you can change, things don’t have to be forever. But by drawing out your boundaries, you can know when they’re moving, and you can check in with yourself, and make sure you’re okay
Like, do you *really* want to do that? Or was that man just a bit forceful with you? The best thing about camming? You can turn the camera off, and *poof* the digital man vanishes. Bubye, creep. Knowing what you’re open to can also help you know what you want to charge. Sex work is real work, and it’s tricky work, so make sure you’re being recompensated for the work you do. Google search rates, think about what your time is worth, and if you’re not sure if you’re charging enough, add £5.
- Have other options (if you can)
This is probably the most controversial one I’m gonna put on the list, because I don’t want it to sound like a class or wealth barrier to sex work. I don’t mean, be a trust fund baby (because duh, would if I could), and I don’t even necessarily mean, have another job. What I mean is, maybe have some savings put aside and a roof over your head before you swing your whole life on sex work. It’s going to be a LOT easier to put in place healthy boundaries and barriers when you’re not scared for your life. For the record, this is true of all jobs, like. If you need a job, you put up with bullshit. We’ve all had dreadful managers we just had to learn to tolerate.
But in sex work, you’re 100% going to encounter bullshit, and so it’s good to have the resources to walk away. Idk man. Life is hard, I get it. But if you can, have a plan B.
The Low Down
Sex work is tricky and you probably won’t make your millions on OnlyFans. But just like we’re not here trying to talk you out of pursuing a career in butter churning or ice hockey, we’re not gonna try and stop you.
Go forth, cam if you want to. Look after yourself whether you are a camgirl or not, because you’re hot shit, and you’re worth looking after. If you wank to pornography, consider paying a creator, rather than illegally downloading or streaming content. Some sex worker will definitely thank you for it.
And lastly? Brad? These tits are worth way more than that.
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