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If you can’t even support sex workers, what makes you think you can become one?

With Only Fans almost doubling its registered users over six months last year, Arabelle Sweets breaks down what life’s really like as a full-service worker in London.

17 Jan 2021

Last year spoke volumes on how society views online sex work. Between the unprecedented flock to Only Fans and the misguided aspirations of those who thought they could sell 240p quality videos for big money, it was quite a spectacle.

Please, take it from a whore who has been at this for a while – sex work isn’t some sort of get-rich-quick scheme, it isn’t as simple as posting pictures and making men your bitch. This shit has layers to it. And being sex-positive doesn’t automatically mean you can engage in sex work – you’ve probably misconstrued watered down sex worker rhetoric and heard “Fuck him and I get some money” too many times.

According to Mashable, in March 2020 Only Fans had 26 million registered users, by August the site had reached 50 million users. Meggie Gates for Bitch Media wrote about the plight that long term sex workers faced with so many people joining the online tittyforce. “While people outside of the industry are trying to join for quick cash, people inside fear losing work to the influx of new workers,” they said.

 “Tell me how I’m supposed to throw it back from 2m away?”

The over-saturation of the online sex market isn’t just coming from those who are recently unemployed. Celebrities who. already. have. money. (but clearly not enough attention) aren’t helping the matter either. Adri Rose explains in Wear Your Voice how B*lla Th*rne’s infamous Only Fans debacle had real-life fucking consequences. “What would improve my life, and the lives of others like me, is if Thorne and every other ‘demon time, Only Fans’ part-time, alleged ally would close their mouths and open their wallets.” 

We ought to know how fragile and delicate platforms that sex workers use are already, and yet I don’t know if some of you faux feminists do. What I want is for there to be a real reflection of just how scary it can be for sex workers operating in any capacity. It’s easy to think that the online frontier is where this conversation stops, but amazingly, sex work exists in real life too and the situation here hasn’t been good. 

Without a pandemic, the work is tough as it is. Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM) a sex worker-led collective based in the UK, questioned the Canterbury police on their forced raid into a brothel in Kent in October last year which led to the arrest and detention of a migrant woman. This, alongside a string of violence against the community, should tell you enough of what the situation was already like. Surprisingly, it hasn’t gotten any better. 

Full-service sex work in London took a detrimental hit within the face of a global pandemic. Sex workers were faced with a familiar reality – the impossible choice between working and risking your life and health. Many of the clients I work with I screen from platforms such as Seeking Arrangement or Plenty of Fish. This carries its own risks and dangers as it is, but it is heightened immensely with a deadly airborne virus threatening your work and your life.

 Tell me how I’m supposed to throw it back from 2m away? It’s hard enough trying to filter through sketchy unscreened clients, but what is the alternative? Universal Credit? Yeah right. In the UK, under the age of 25, the standard monthly allowance for Universal Credit was £251.77, it increased to £342.74 in April 2020 for the first time in five years. Let that sink in. And that is only what you are entitled to, third party deductions, loan repayments etc. all take huge chunks from a monthly payment leaving very little to live and manage on. 

“Reconsider how you can support us, unpack your whorephobia, pay for your porn”

Difficulty comes with the job and we just go with it. Sex work is something I can do flexibly – it pays cash in hand and with a regular roster of clients it isn’t an awful way of getting by. I don’t mind it either, I quite like sucking dick and I look fantastic bent over. Look, some of us like what we do, some of us have no choice, some of us are in it for the long run and some of us can’t wait to get out. There isn’t a unilateral experience to sex work, but know that it is unilaterally fucking difficult because of the multitude of oppressions that we’re subjected to – and there is no reason anyone should be helping fuel this. 

Sex workers fuck for a fee, so civilians, please don’t try to generate some sort of empowerment from fucking the colossal cesspit that is cishet men by attaching an imaginary price tag to yourself. You are not cut out for it, because you have no respect for the industry you want to be a part of.

Move away from aimlessly chanting “Sex Work is Work” and delve into what that means and understand how you can tangibly help those of us who really need it. Reconsider how you can support us, unpack your whorephobia, pay for your porn  –invest in some quality Only Fans from sex workers who make eating pussy look like an Olympic sport, donate to organisations like SWARM who have been working tirelessly on the ground. Support us in life, and not just in death as statistics, we deserve that at the very least.