COVID-19 Turned Me Into a Sex Worker
Updated: Feb 25
In April, 2021, it will officially be a year since I became an online sex worker. COVID-19 and state wide shut downs lead to me losing my office job and on the hunt for income in March, 2020. Being asthmatic and vulnerable, going back to retail or doing in person work filled me with anxiety. Would it be worth risking survival each day to pay my bills? I tried applying for unemployment but was denied for receiving severance (which I was supposed to be happy to get). The severance was one paycheck; there were bills to be paid and food I needed to put on the table. The only option I had left in the moment was to cash out my retirement plan from the office. I finally pulled the trigger on doing so after a friend casually asked me,
“Would you ever consider being a webcam model?”
The closest example of being a webcam model I had before doing research was the thriller CAM. My personal socials feed already had a few vocal sex work activists but none showed direct advice on how to start doing the work. Lucky for me, there were a few YouTube videos I found for reference on suggested start up gear and what sites I may want to check out. A close friend also added me to an online group for sex workers during the pandemic. I took a couple pictures and opened a separate Instagram under my new identity where I started following other folks in the industry. My first shows were done on an old Mac with the built in camera and I used a box on top of a portable standing desk to prop everything up bed level. I learned quickly by the reactions of audience members that this wasn’t ideal and that having a better set-up meant higher viewer counts and hopefully bigger tips. Investing in a laptop, HD webcam, and lighting seemed worth it considering the uncertainty in the air over COVID and when it would end. Being a part of the online boom in sex work started to go smoothly but there have been moments where I wonder,
"Does anyone even see my content in this unending space?"
In spite of the freedom and positive experiences I have gone through so far with this work, it’s hard to ignore the negatives and dark realities a person might face being in this industry.
While there is an online boom and cultural shift where platforms like OnlyFans have entered the mainstream, people still receive online harassment and experience violence in real life. Knowing that your personal information can be leaked and used against you is very frightening. In-person workers who have had to continue working during this pandemic are now also risking exposure to COVID-19. Seeing stories in my SWorker feed about porn stars, dancers, and street workers who have been taken from this earth too soon absolutely destroys me every time. Because of these actualities there are many worker-run movements fighting for better working conditions and decriminalization.
It is my biggest hope that we can collectively decriminalize sex work in all its forms and end the social stigma associated with sex work in general.
This can only happen through continued advocacy both in the social and political realms.
When Nova first asked me to be a part of this online space I immediately understood that this is yet another way to connect with the public and humanize sex workers at large. While it has been a bit overwhelming to mentally process everything we face (especially as a newbie), there isn't a single doubt in my mind that there are people like Nova who have my back and inspire me to continue this line of work and to advocate while doing it. It is an honor and privilege to grow as a person in the same space as her and so many others.
COVID-19 can go f*ck itself, but the fact that it gave me what feels like my soul's calling and a community is the silver lining. Sex work IS work and I intend to keep doing it even if the universe had a weird plan to make me part of it.
Written by Breezey Sleeze