Before the pandemic Gia was an independent escort who worked three or four days a week instead of six or seven. She saw customers at her place of work in San Francisco, a 480-square-foot studio apartment done in blush and dark blue tones. She called it the portal because it gives visitors the feeling of being transported “from Anytown, Metropolitan USA” to a “wonderland”. Most days her pre-work ritual was to wake up at 4:30 a.m. so that she had the chance to be out and about at 5 a.m. to drive through the dark wearing glasses and pajamas. Once at the apartment, she listened to Minnie Riperton and Funkadelic, prepared for her first appointment, and posted advertisements. She took her job seriously because it was the best she ever had. “I’ve done so much [expletive] Wage labor, “she said,” taking long hours of small paychecks home with you. When I had the opportunity for the first time, I thought: I have all this free time and do something to do, what? I feel like a natural. I love to chat. “

Business was good enough that she extended the lease for two years in February 2020. The room was $ 4,000 a month, and she remembers the management allowing up to five residents to sign up. (Gia shared the room with a friend, but she was the main tenant.) A month later, on March 9th, she saw the man who would be her last personal customer. She declined subsequent requests, saying she intended to socially distance herself for two weeks.

Seventy-two hours later, that timeframe seemed less plausible. On March 12, the stock market fell to an all-time low and local rumors began to spread of an impending order-in-place order. At home, Gia dressed in Parliament’s “Wizard of Finance” and filmed herself dancing in a dress. Then she posted the video on Twitter and asked people to check out their OnlyFans. She remembers feeling a little distant, almost in a dream state, and thought, here we go. One day she gave herself time to sit with her panic and depression. Then she decided, “I have to sign up and find out.”

From an economic perspective, personal sex workers were among those hit earliest and hardest by the pandemic. Weeks before the state officially closed, with business trips canceled and flight schedules disrupted, customers canceled bookings with escort, kink and massage providers, while visitor numbers at the strip club declined. Road workers lowered their prices and accepted men they would turn away in better times as the apartments they were sometimes given in connection with work – the hotel room paid for by a date or the house offered overnight – became vanishingly rare. Organizations run by sex workers already set up Covid-specific GoFundMe pages on March 11, and there were funding campaigns specifically for Seattle by mid-March. New York; Portland, Ore .; Austin, Texas; Washington, DC; Las Vegas; and Detroit.

OnlyFans was a more visible safety net than the mutual aid collections and offered hope for longer term support. Thanks to pre-pandemic coverage of creators making five to six digit numbers, OnlyFans pretended to provide a generous income to anyone entrepreneurial enough to try. Site veterans found their expertise in great demand with friends and acquaintances, many of whom were newly unemployed escorts or dominants, and some of whom had never sold sex in any form. In comparison to clip sales (videos with adult subjects that are recorded, edited and ready to be uploaded) and camming (processing of sexual requests in real time), OnlyFans requires little upfront engagement. If you’re new to sex work or you’ve decided to put on most of your clothes, you can warm up by posting the enticing selfies many of us share for free on social media, such as bikini pics and 60 second Pictures, barely clothed workouts.

Millions of people, especially single people, found themselves isolated, lonely and horny without the opportunity to meet up with people and hang out with friends. They flooded the construction site with the money available by not eating out and going to bars. (Kane told me that a lot of fans are spending their stimulus money there.) OnlyFans claims to have remitted over $ 3 billion in revenue to its creators since the site was founded, even though that payout isn’t broken down by year or creator type – The site doesn’t even have content categories – it’s likely that a significant portion went to sex workers in the past year.