You have to be trying really hard not to pay attention if you can’t see what chaos the online community of sex workers is in at the moment. FOSTA/SESTA passed in the US, this decimated the ability of full service sex workers to advertise, organise, screen clients directly. It also decimated the protections that internet sites had previously to separate the content their users posted from themselves legally. So what you used to say online was your responsibility, now it’s also the sites. If they can in anyway tenuously link it to “sex trafficking” a site can be sued (sites are businesses and business fear being sued > everything) That means sites are scrambling to remove potentially problematic content…this means, resources and problematic people. (see: sex workers) There’s a million articles floating around about why doing sex work online has made it safer. In a way, I’m pretty lucky. I’m not the person who suffers most from the stigma and the discrimination society levels at people who sell sex. The work I make can sometimes be passed off as “”””artistic”””” enough (see: culturally acceptable) to fly under the radar of some filtering systems. But even then, I’m constantly on edge.
I make porn, I make porn because it’s interesting and it’s fun and it’s complicated and it gives me a life that I love. I also think that sometimes it’s important, that sex shouldn’t just be confined to the shadows. THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY HARMFUL ABOUT SEX AND NUDITY AND MASTURBATION. Sex is essentially about pleasure. Pleasure is good. It’s complicated and messy and it’s tied into so many other intersections of our experience which is exactly why it deserves an honest and open exploitation. IN PUBLIC. And in public means, online. Here. In our online social communities where we learn and discuss and explore every other part of our lives.
I’ve built something I’m proud of the with Four Chambers project. I’ve managed to be able to make the work I love and that I think is hot without much compromise and work with people who I admire and PAY THEM. Pay them well. Pay them as much as big business, established porn companies pay per scene but for my little project. I managed to somehow make it viable as my full time job. That’s thanks to our community. I’m my own boss, it’s amazing. This is way more than most people doing things independently ever get to do.
But fuck, do I hate feeling like it’s always ready to be snatched away. That it’s a house of cards and it’s just one algorithm, one terms and conditions change, one bad law away from collapsing. The last few years have seen sites online clamp down on sex in a big way.
There is no safe space for us.
There is no place in online communities for work about sex to share space with other creative work.
They want it to be tied up neatly and tucked away on PornHub etc. where you only go in private, you watch whatever their algorithm has decided is best business for them, your views make money for a monolithic billionaire business (MindGeek - who don’t care about sex or porn, they care about profit) and then you close your tabs and delete your history.
Sex work, including independent DIY porn content creation is overwhelmingly work done by marginalised people. It is dangerous to the establishment because it can provide the opportunity for independence and financial reward to people that capitalism has a vested interest in keeping down. These are people who the system says should not succeed. Mothers, young women, gay people, trans people, people who haven’t engaged in traditional education or who didn’t come from privileged backgrounds. They don’t want these people owning and creating their own means of production. Under capitalism, sex work transfers power (see: money) primarily from powerful people (see: men) to more marginalised communities.
They don’t want that challenge to the status quo.
Our aim with Four Chambers has always been to expand the idea of what porn can say and do and be for. To make space in new places, for new perspectives and ideas about pornography. We don’t want to exist on the fringes. We believe sex deserves a place alongside work exploring every other facet of human experience.
In the UK, The Digital Economy Act (age verification) is in the process of being enacted. This is going to devastate our ability to show work and will potentially set a precedent that other countries will follow. FOSTA/SESTA is going to potentially erase all conversations about sex visibly from the open internet. Tumblr now exists behind a censor wall. Instagram removes sex workers everyday and blocks their ENTIRE ACCESS TO THE APP ON A DEVICE and it just deleted the remade @afourchamberedheart Instagram with only 3 posts on it and no chance for appeal. This is scary for me personally and also just throughly sad.
If you say that you give a shit, please come out and show up for these communities. Please lobby and donate and make space for and support the inclusion of sex workers and porn makers in your online spaces.
Value your depictions and experiences of sex and the people who make them against the odds.