“Life in Lockdown” is a series of interviews focusing on individuals, organizations or student societies who are coping with isolation in interesting and innovative ways. If you would like to talk about your lockdown experiences or share how your student group has adjusted during the pandemic, send an email to [email protected]; We would love to hear from you.
While the past few months of self-isolation have proven to be difficult for some, the online sex work market is at an all time high. Curious to see how the pandemic had impacted her life and work, I reached out to my industry contact, “Bella,” whom I interviewed for MUSE several months ago. “Bella” isn’t her real name, it’s just the pseudonym she chose to use during our last interview. She wanted to remain anonymous and as a teenager loved dusk, hence “Bella”. Our previous conversation was about her experiences in the industry as well as the ever-growing shift from sex work to online content, and I was interested to see how that had changed during the lockdown. She seemed to want to talk so a few weeks ago we caught up with her, this time via the ubiquitous and erratic Zoom video conferencing software.
I start this interview by asking him how his lockdown was.
“It’s been a weird time,” she tells me, “and out of all this chaos, camming seems to be one of the industries benefiting from it”. I ask him why this could be and Bella offers him her take on the situation. “In a time when everything is so confusing and no one knows what’s going on, I think people are turning to adult cam sites and porn because it’s like an escape, it won’t remind you of what point the world looks crappy right now and it’s a safe space. You can just log in and take a bit off the real world. ”
“Isn’t it also because people are stuck at home, have more time to engage in this stuff?” I ask, not knowing if that’s a naive or obvious thing to say. Bella agrees but suggests another element that she believes has played a role in the current boom in the online sex industry. “It’s more than that, to be honest,” she explains. “I have a lot of single clients on my streams who have never used a webcam site before, but they’ve been so deprived of sex over the past few months that they turn to people like me. It’s not exactly a substitute but I really think it’s a much more authentic experience than just watching porn ”. Bella explains that this is due to the live nature of her content, as well as the interaction she can have with her customers through the site’s chat items. People aren’t just bored right now, they’re lonely.
I ask her what she thinks about it.
“If I can help someone feel a little less lonely, then I have no problem with that,” Bella tells me. “I have a lot of customers who pay for private sessions via Zoom or Skype and they don’t. not only want me to play, they also want to talk afterwards. It’s something I don’t hear a lot of people talk about, it’s heartwarming to have that intimacy and interaction.
I move the topic of conversation to how this boom affected her locked out life. “It’s kind of crazy,” Bella told me. “I’d say my camming gains have probably doubled since the lockdown started, and that doesn’t even count the OnlyFans.” Bella is one of many sex workers who have entered OnlyFans’ pay-per-view market, where clients can pay a monthly fee to have access to a steady stream of her content. It’s another site that has seen its membership skyrocket in recent months as people jump on the trend of monetizing often nude or explicit content. There is a lot of money in it. “I would say I make about £ 2,000 a month just from OnlyFans,” Bella told me.
I ask her why she thinks these sites work so well in the current climate. “I think it’s all about the feeling of inclusion.” She suggests “that people feel privileged accessing such exclusive content in a world of free porn.
“I think a lot of that is down to the lineup as well,” she continues, “there’s probably an OnlyFans for everyone – if you like guys, girls, nudes, foot pics, whatever. – there will necessarily be an OnlyFans for that ”.
I ask him if his ever-growing fan base has had an impact on his college life and his locked-out job. “Not really,” she explains, “I don’t know what it’s like with everyone’s degrees right now, but as an art student I find myself with a lot of free time to work. . I think I’ll probably reduce the amount of my posts or videos after the lockdown, but at the moment I find it pretty easy to balance my degree and my job. ”
The last time I spoke to her, Bella’s business was booming and she had amassed a small fortune through camming, escorting, and porn, which she used to pay off her student loans and debts to her. friends. As a working class student, this money started to support her studies. Now she has more money than she knows what to do with. “I started off by buying things with my roommates,” she explains, “but I quickly realized that I could do more with this money than just buy good wine and sex toys”. She laughs.
Bella is one of many content creators who donate a portion of their earnings from online sex work to charity, with her page proudly displaying that half of her donations will go to Kingdom-based mental health charities. United, including Mind and CALM. “I know mental health has been something I’ve struggled with a lot, and I think it’s even more important during lockdown because more people can feel isolated, lonely or struggling. If I win more I can afford to give more and hopefully it will make a difference for someone who might be in a tough spot right now.
I ask Bella if she has a final word. “Support your local cam girl,” she jokes.
Names have been changed at the discretion of the interviewee.
A link to my first interview with ‘Bella’ can be foundHERE