Sex work is arguably one of the oldest professions out there. Like everything in society, this industry has evolved greatly over time and continues to do so more and more.
One of the biggest influences on the sex industry in recent years is thanks to technology and the rise of the internet. Online platforms have given sex workers the opportunity to do their work without the risks of in-person work like prostitution and exotic dancing. Taking their business online means a much lower risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection, and of experiencing workplace violence or harassment.
They also have a much greater chance of raking in some big bucks. The top earners on online camming sites make well into the six or 7 figures each year. This income gives people in the industry the ability to make their own schedules, support their families, have a lucrative side gig while they go to school or work another job, or just be able to live their life on their terms.
The Downside of Corporate Platforms
Although they allow many creators to host their own content, these platforms aren’t perfect. Sex work is historically full of exploitation and censorship, which is reflected in the most popular camming and corporate platforms.
One of the biggest downsides to corporate platforms is the financial strain from high fees – Only Fans keeps a staggering 20% of each performer’s revenue from the site. If a creator isn’t making much, to begin with, the high fees can be an even bigger hurdle on the road to financial freedom.
It may come as a surprise, but like any social media platform, those that host sex workers are also largely censored. Content creators run the risk of getting kicked off their corporate platforms without warning at any time. This is a daunting thought for people whose sole or main income comes from said platforms.
Besides censorship and hefty fees, sex workers using these platforms also face the risk of their accounts getting hacked, routine outages on the sites, and the inconvenience of trying to operate customer service through a huge corporate platform.
Just look at 2021’s Only Fans fiasco where the platform announced they were banning sex-related content thanks to pressure from big banks, and then reversing that ban only a week later. This shows just how precarious corporate platforms can be.
It’s not just the content hosting platforms themselves that discriminate against sex workers. Many payment-processing services also make it difficult for sex workers to collect their income.
So what’s a content creation-based sex worker to do?
The World of Coding
In the face of corporate hurdles and regulations, more and more sex workers are turning to the world of coding to quite literally – take things into their own hands. Tech-savvy creators are beginning to build their own platforms to host their content on, without the restrictions that come with working through corporations.
Knowing how to code is imperative for hosting sexual content versus just using a standard website hosting site. Many of the normal hosting sites people use to build websites for their businesses censor or don’t allow sexual content – making it necessary to have the coding skills to create new platforms.
Sex workers who build their own platforms are able to offer more niche and kinky content without the risk of being censored or kicked off popular platforms. This is especially helpful in the push for sex positivity and knocking down kink-shaming.
Some creators turn to the world of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to collect their revenue, which helps them to bypass restrictions from payment processing platforms – many of whom won’t allow sex workers to use their tools.
Part of having an online-based business is utilizing multiple tools in order to promote yourself. This is what many programming sex workers are doing when they use platforms like Only Fans, Twitter, and Instagram. These content creators use popular sites as a marketing tool to funnel traffic onto their platforms. This means if they get censored by or kicked off a large platform, they don’t lose their income with it.
The internet isn’t perfect. There will most likely always be loopholes to navigate, hackers to ward off, and the need to protect your personal and intellectual property. But by creating their own platforms, sex workers are able to have a bit more autonomy and job security.
Sex Workers Are Multidimensional
A key point that comes up when talking about sex workers creating their own platforms is that they are multidimensional. They’re not just a person creating content behind a screen.
Whether or not they go into coding, sex workers are hardworking individuals with a wide skill set, goals, ambitions, and desires. Taking things into their own hands gives them the power to flex these skills, tap into their entrepreneurial spirit, and take charge of their own business and life – without the confines and restrictions of large platforms.
Creating new platforms also allows sex workers to offer programming services for other sex workers creating even more work opportunities. They may also get into business mentorship to provide guidance for other content creators as they branch out on their own.
A Revolution Takes Resources
If you want something within society to change, then you need a certain amount of resources to do so. The same is true for sex work and content creation.
For sex workers to fight back against or bypass restrictions and regulations imposed by corporate content platforms, they need to have their own resources. That means financial resources whether it be through cryptocurrency or standard currency, but it also means alternative tools, novel ideas, and a community to lean on.
Sex workers may always face some sort of backlash from various groups in society, but they can help get ahead in the game by utilizing their wide set of skills and creating their own platforms.
There probably isn’t a perfect solution, especially considering the large amounts of bills and laws that are constantly being proposed to discriminate against sex workers in many places – but it’s a start.