Sex work online

Online sex work, often misunderstood, is a complex phenomenon that encompasses a variety of digital activities where intimacy and erotic content are exchanged for economic compensation. This field includes activities such as sexting, selling nude photos, producing pornographic content, phone sex, and live performances through platforms like Skype. Essentially, online sex work is the commercialization of virtual intimacy and sexual gratification, standing at the intersection of technology, personal intimacy, and commerce.

The Rise of Online Sex Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for a massive shift towards digital interactions, both social and professional, due to lockdown measures and social distancing imposed around the world. This shift has been particularly noticeable in the realm of online sex work. Platforms dedicated to sexting, pornographic websites, and phone sex services have seen a significant increase in the number of users and content creators. Forbes reported substantial increases in traffic and sign-ups on these sites, with some experiencing growth of more than 75% in subscriptions. OnlyFans, for example, saw an increase of 15,000 new users every 24 hours, while Manyvids observed a growth of 22% in models offering live cam sessions.

Diversification of Worker Profiles

With the economic crisis stemming from the pandemic, many people who lost their regular jobs have considered online sex work as a viable alternative for generating income. These new entrants see this activity as a quick and easy solution to their financial problems, although the reality can be quite different. Rolling Stone reported that sites like IsMyGirl experienced a 300% increase in new sign-ups, many of which come from individuals recently laid off.

Risks and Realities

Despite appearances and promotional narratives, online sex work is not without risks nor does it guarantee quick success. Aspiring sex workers must be aware of the challenges and long-term realities of this industry:

Technological and Algorithmic Barriers

Platforms favor established users through algorithms that can significantly hinder the success of new participants. Moreover, success on these platforms often depends on the ability to direct traffic to their profiles, which requires having an already significant social media platform.

Security and Privacy

Content piracy is rampant, and sites hosting pirated content rarely respond to removal requests. Furthermore, facial recognition software is increasing the risk that images uploaded by online sex workers are identified and linked to their personal identities in unrelated contexts.

Stigmatization and Long-Term Consequences

Sex work is deeply stigmatized, and this stigmatization can lead to significant complications in personal and professional life, including employment issues, child custody, and more.


Starting in online sex work, especially during a global pandemic, involves taking significant risks in an already saturated market. The idea that it is an easy and risk-free path to financial stability is a myth that needs to be dismantled to protect those considering this option.

As we continue to navigate this new reality, it is crucial that the narrative surrounding online sex work be honest and complete, recognizing both the opportunities and the challenges inherent. This approach will not only benefit current and potential sex workers but will also educate the general public and promote a more informed and empathetic dialogue on this topic.

The Society Pages. (s/f-b). Online sex work during the pandemic – cyborgology. Recuperado el 9 de noviembre de 2021, de