The internet has extended sex work from finding Sugar Daddy to selling used panties


More and more people are getting involved in more types of sex work, especially with the help of the internet, despite the criminalization of their occupations and opposition from activists, some of whom threaten people’s lives. My research by interviewing a wide range of female sex workers reveals that more people are involved in the industry, including marginalized people who find it a lifeline in tough economic times.

The internet has diversified forms of sex work, contributed to the growth of the industry, and interconnected previously unconnected types of sex work. The demand for out-of-studio amateur porn has increased, developing online porn industries like camming, in which performers interact with viewers. Online sex workers post content on specialized hosting sites. Other websites connect sex workers over the phone with new clients.

Some sites facilitate sugar relationships, in which one person gives money to another over time in return for a relationship that lasts beyond a single encounter. On other sites, people can even sell used panties.

Especially during a global pandemic with more and more people out of work and looking for employment opportunities, the modern sex industry is incorporating many new suppliers, customers and employment opportunities.

Who works in the modern sex industry?

Sex work has become more attractive to more workers in all social classes. In particular, online sex work has become more popular because it provides physical security for those who work entirely online and minimizes the risks for those who work offline, has minimum requirements for the job and offers potential for decent wages and autonomy.

These conditions create better work experiences. Sex worker Trip Richards said, “As a transgender man,… sharing my work on online platforms has given me financial freedom and personal happiness that I never thought possible and allowed me to stay safe while pursuing my own goals as an artist, educator and activist. . “

Online sex work is a better option than the low paid work available to some people. Many sex workers, especially those from marginalized groups, have told me that they find it difficult or impossible to get or keep jobs in other industries, making sex work their only option to earn their money. life. People with disabilities and chronically ill who participated in my research on the cam industry pointed out that online sex work is flexible work.

In my field, researchers assign first name aliases to those we interview. A woman I call Kim commented that cam is “easier to work with with bipolar disorder.” Amelia explained, “I have Crohn’s disease and was unable to do a regular job. … My parents had no money and I felt guilty for asking them for help.

The economics of sex concerts can be a refuge from the discrimination some people face in the non-sexual labor market. Natalie told me, “It’s hard to find a full-time job, even in a fast food restaurant, as a full-time trans woman who is preoperative and not on hormone replacement therapy.

Not all sex workers come from marginalized social positions. As more people struggle before and during the pandemic to make ends meet, more people are opening up to work in the sex industries.

What do sex workers earn?

In my study of the global camming industry, by interviewing and interviewing workers from all over the world, full-time artists could earn US $ 10,000 per month. But those unusually high salaries went almost exclusively to young, cisgender, white and thin women.

“Cisgender” is an adjective derived from the Latin prefix meaning “on the same side as” and refers to people who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. Generally, trans men are men who have been assigned a woman at birth; trans women are women who were assigned male at birth.

Most of the highest paid people come from the United States and have spent years building a brand. But most models work part-time, and the median earnings were $ 1,000 per month overall, with trans women at this average, but cis women $ 1,250 and cis men $ 350.

Online phone sex workers can charge $ 2 per minute, earning them $ 120 per hour, before the platform takes 30%. A model posting content on a subscription site can charge up to $ 15 per month, although these sites typically take between 20% and 30%.

Escorts, who offer companionship offline, often charge the highest rates from online sex workers. But their rates don’t necessarily reflect their income. The amount an escort can earn depends on consumer demand and the number of clients they see each month.

Their hours vary and they often do several types of sex work simultaneously. For example, Lenny told me, “I created an online character, a profile for the purpose of offering escort services, selling homemade porn video clips and an additional feature is the webcam, which I use in creating live sex shows to replicate what clients might experience in face to face escort meetings.

What are the benefits of online sex work?

Like other gig workers, sex workers do not receive benefits such as employer-provided health care, vacations, or retirement packages in many countries. And they have to do a lot of administrative work: marketing, communicating with clients, planning shoots or shows, preparing legal forms, and handling ever-changing legal requirements and strict website terms of use. However, sex workers describe other benefits.

Of the workers in my cam study, 56.2% said they were not motivated to cam just by money. Carl told me, “The benefits of camera work are about the same as most freelance jobs. You work from home on your own schedule and skip the daily 9-5 grind. Workers like Halona said being an independent contractor offers autonomy and enables creativity, describing online sex work. like “the job that I feel the least exploited for my job”.

For some artists, this work has allowed them to explore their sexuality, and as many have said, they “have orgasms for a living”. Others have told me that the work has helped to build their self-esteem, that it asserts them and brings them pleasure. As Whitney explained,

“I have a physical disability [spinal muscular atrophy] … And I had recently moved… I wasn’t working and honestly spent a lot of time at home feeling bored and lonely. I started posting nudes on a social site and fell in love. I remember being younger watching porn and thinking that no one would want to see me do that. With the support of my husband, I started filming. People wanted to see me and I absolutely loved it.

How has the Internet changed working conditions?

The Internet has helped improve the lives of sex workers, including ensuring their safety. For those with internet access, escorts can screen clients online, requiring clients to verify their identity and provide references. Escorts develop and rely on online customer rating systems and community web forums, making them less dependent on third-party exploiters.

However, sex workers who work offline and on the streets remain at high risk. The continued criminalization of in-person sex work in the United States and other countries and government attempts to regulate the online sex trade limit the opportunities for consensual sex workers.

In 2018, a federal law made internet platforms legally responsible if they hosted user-generated content related to sex work, which led to free advertising platforms like Craigslist to close their personal sections. Other online review forums have closed. These changes have reduced the ability of internet services to keep sex workers safe, even in countries where consensual sex work is decriminalized.

Angela Jones is Associate Professor of Sociology at Farmingdale State College

This article originally appeared in The Conversation. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/sex-work-part-of-the-online-gig-economy-is-a-lifeline-for-marginalized-workers-160238


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