What does ‘online sex’ mean to you?
Do you follow your fave workers on OnlyFans? Do you log into Chaturbate every now and again? Do you swap pics with a hottie or receive commanding emails from your remote dominatrix? No matter your preferences, there’s something for everyone on the interwebs…especially if you’re willing to pay.
Online sex work services have skyrocketed in popularity lately, thanks to pandemic-induced social and physical distancing. Even though meeting in person is difficult, we still need to get off, right? Interacting digitally can be an appealing option for the lonely, horny, or isolated.
Although I’ve never taken my work online, my conversation with Jenna Love is about to teach me that there’s a lot more to the experience than I ever imagined.
Jenna is an Australian escort, porn performer, vlogger and online services provider. We’re chatting together as part of a recording for my podcast The Art of the Hook Up. Of course, when I say ‘together,’ I mean online – she’s located in the mountain region of NSW, while I’m sitting in my apartment in chilly Melbourne. From the moment the call connects, she’s cheerful and chatty. It’s clear she loves talking about her job. Jenna has worked in the sex industry in Australia for about eight years now (doing brothel work and independent escorting) and has been creating sexy online content for the last three years. “Adult content creator is the fancy way of saying it,” she says.
Her first online video wasn’t about sex…it was about helping potential clients get to know her. “It occurred to me how important the voice is in attraction…it’s the first thing I notice about somebody.” She recorded a short clip for Twitter so that her customers could hear her speaking – and the response was enthusiastic.
There’s much more to her business than video chat. She offers sexy text messages and shoots porn (both solo, with partners, and with other sex workers). She even does dick ratings – a new experience for her, with a surprising level of demand. “I’ve got a text rating, where I just send back a paragraph and a rating out of ten…I’ve said to [clients], ‘Now, I can be completely honest, or I can do this as kind of a cock worship thing where I’m overly complimentary.’ But every single one has asked for honesty. I think I come across as some sort of authority on dicks.”
Jenna’s texting sessions might not involve orgasms at all. “I’ve been offering virtual girlfriend packages. It’s not very sexual, maybe a little bit of flirting and stuff. You get a text in the morning saying, ‘good morning, what are you up to?’ We check in throughout the day, saying ‘Oh I’m doing this now’ or ‘what have you been watching on Netflix?’ Maybe send some photos of me with my cat or doing the laundry. It’s very much the companionship factor.”
It seems that, similarly to in-person sex work, the online stuff is often about social satisfaction, not just sexual. Jenna agrees. “It’s all about human connection,” she says.
Plenty of online clients value the companionship a paid ‘virtual girlfriend’ session. It’s a trend Jenna has noticed recently. “I don’t know whether that would have the same value in a pre-pandemic world, but certainly at the moment, people who are living on their own and can’t go out to see friends, yeah that’s been quite good. And I enjoy it too.” And for her regular escort clients, online interaction has been a great way to keep the connection going.
Near the end of our conversation, I ask if she has any recommendations for people who are new to seeing sex workers online. I know how confusing and nerve-wracking booking an escort in person can be; surely approaching workers online can be scary too?
Her advice is straightforward: find someone that you’re interested in, then do your research on what they offer, so that you’re well-prepared. “I think social media is a great way to get started…Twitter is where a lot of the sex industry is at.” She also recommends using advertising sites that have a search feature for online work. Not every worker does stuff online – so you’ll need to search specifically for those who do!
Once you’ve found someone that ticks your boxes, it’s important to find out what’s on the table, as not everyone provides the same services. Although many workers appear on third-party platforms such as OnlyFans, ManyVids, JustFor.Fans, AVN Stars and IWantFanClub, these services aren’t right for everyone. “I think a lot of people don’t realise that these sites take anywhere from ten percent to forty percent of a cut. If someone is asking you to go to a particular site, it might be that this site is only taking twenty percent whereas a different site might take forty percent. If you want what you’re paying to go to the content creator rather than the site, look towards where they’re directing you.”
Many of her online clients have used their time together to get to know her before making an escort booking. “It’s a brilliant way of doing foreplay. When I do see those clients in person in the future, we’ll already have an idea of what makes each other tick. If you want to take the leap into seeing a sex worker face to face…which can be quite intimidating…I think it’s a great way to work out if you have a rapport.”
Our chat comes to an end all too soon. After a promise to visit her ‘quaint mountain town’ one day, we’re done. I log off and take off my headset. I’m alone in my apartment again…but I’m left knowing so much more about the benefits of going digital.
I’ve learned that taking your sex life online is about more than just surviving the pandemic. Whether you’re getting to know someone before an in-person date, enjoying much-needed company or simply getting off, online sex work services can be an excellent choice.