In these troubling and uncertain times, I want to talk about how COVID-19 is affecting the sex industry and individuals working in and using it.
But first of all, I cannot stress enough the gratitude and appreciation I have for all of our healthcare staff on the front line risking their own health, our Great British government for their vigilant acts of protection and those working behind the scenes to put an end to this hellish pandemic.
This article, in no way, aims to undermine the heroic efforts of these individuals and organisations by comparing to those of us who get to safely stay behind closed doors.
However here, I want to focus on what this means for my community and I. Having a well-rounded appreciation for the catastrophic effects on every group, we can begin to plan how to rebuild.
.: What effect is COVID-19 having on sex workers in the UK? :.
With the British economy heading for the shitter, the story here is pretty much the same in every industry: job uncertainty is at an all-time high. Across the board.
This means people are not spending on luxuries like the services I provide. But instead, on toilet roll, apparently.
The UK’s recent enforceable lockdown also means money-making opportunities are restricted to remote working – as in every sector.
More specifically though: this means that thousands of independent escorts, exotic dancers and dominatrixes across the nation are out of work right now. Furthermore, as the majority of us are self-employed, we are amongst the thousands of traders looking into an uncertain financial period.
.: What effect will COVID-19 have on the adult industry in the long run? :.
As providers of fantasy experiences, our services will be last on most people’s shopping list, once the economy normalizes and begins to build back up.
In the coming months, the already precarious livelihoods of sex workers have some tough storms to weather.
Continue reading to see how we can best deal with the coronavirus, as one strong, remote, feminist army.
.: What can we do? :.
First of all, let’s just take a moment to shake our heads at those still making unnecessary trips. At the expense of everybody else.
Now that my disappointment is evident, let’s also take a moment to celebrate society’s most unselfish: those self-isolating and practising social distancing.
In these trying times, we are all grieving our freedom and accepting our new, but temporary, realities’. In true British style, I feel obliged to panic-watch Sky News and count my tins of beans. However, providing all of your immediate needs are met and that you are safe and stable, we suggest you use this time to learn a new skill, care for yourself, reflect and ensure that when this all blows over, you are as ready as possible to rebuild your brand! Whatever that may be!
From a less specific point of view, continue to practice good hand washing and following the NHS guidelines regarding prevention.
Stay home and stay safe.
.: What money-making options do we have that are immune to COVID-19? :.
As mentioned above, the UK is on lockdown meaning all income is restricted to remote work for anybody not positioned on the front line.
In practical terms, phone, text and camming bookings (e.g. Adultwork.com); content sales and subscriptions (e.g. ManyVids and OnlyFans.com); and personal online arrangements (e.g. sugar daddies) are the only mainstream ways to earn from the adult sector, right now.
In addition, you can also sell used underwear via SofiaGray. This platform is used widely and will, most likely, remain unaffected by COVID-19.
With many of our hard-working community looking elsewhere to keep the lights on, it is important (now more than ever) that we fight this pandemic in solidarity. We would urge anyone currently earning from this line of work to continue at the lowest risk possible.
If you’re considering entering the sex industry, you must be aware of guidelines and advisories when it comes to sex work, such as not using your real identity and being able to prove you are 18 years or above.
With sex work very much still a taboo subject, much of our career learning and cautionary tales get aired mostly inside our own communities. So, we would encourage you to consider holding your entrance to the industry until you have the appropriate support network.
If you’re feeling the pressure of the coronavirus on YOUR sex work practice, here are some online communities you may find useful:
- SAAFE – widely used forum for sex workers. Read, post, share, learn.
- 7CupsOfTea – a 1-1 volunteer-based support chatroom (amongst much more)
- Gov.uk/Coronavirus – for self-employed individuals looking to claim a government grant
We would also suggest that you keep in touch with friends and family to decrease the negative mental effects that being on lockdown can have.
.: What help are sex workers entitled to? :.
Any limited companies are set to receive government grants that will be enough to sustain basic necessities.
But what about the self-employed, or the majority, in the case of the adult industry? All sole traders are now set to receive Government grants to cover 80% of their income, providing they have submitted previous tax returns to HMRC and intend to continue trading in the future.
You can also utilise mortgage and debt holidays and eviction protection schemes.
Don’t forget, the self-assessment deadline has been delayed, so don’t worry about this!
.: How will this affect customers of the sex industry? :.
Let’s take a moment to consider what this means for our clientele so that we can know how to retain and satisfy them for the most prosperous business relationships.
It is presumed that escorts provide just sexual gratification, but speak to any regular and respectful client, and you’ll hear that for many, hiring an escort is an emotional safety net and a necessary outlet.
With the situation out of our control, the temptation may be to chase customers for future securable bookings. I will not be using this technique to retain clientele, as I think it appears transparent and ingenuine. Instead, I will be offering an online service to my regular customers and something to look forward to when we see light at the end of this darkness.
For those of you considering offering deals to counteract the increased market saturation (particularly on camming platforms): I would urge you to hold your brand’s value stubbornly in order to remain as profitable as you deserve!
In conclusion, we urge you to stay as safe as possible, use the help and resources available and give yourself the emotional self-care to process the difficulty and extremity of the situation.
Furthermore, we’d like to challenge you to reach out to an individual you wouldn’t normally have spoken with! Along with being a gesture of remote-connection, we believe that this will combat lockdown-loneliness and convert this nightmare into an opportunity for growth as a community.
Once again, stay safe. Stay sexy.
Please remember this is the opinions of one sex worker and the above can only be implied as advice, not fact. Please see here for accurate and regulated information on the Coronavirus.