Author, Kim Lee

CORONA, THE ONLINE SEX WORK ECONOMY AND GIVING BACK

Giving support and education in the times of Corona in a sector of an “underground” economy.

“Stable might not be the right word. My income has increased every year since I began my work online. I am fortunate, during these strange times. My business is booming.”

It is quiet. The streets are quiet. The park. The neighborhood in which I live lined with lovely homes. Even my favourite grocery store, which on any given day, is filled with a sort of bustle and buzz that makes me happy. The Corona Virus, AKA COVID19, and subsequent stay at home orders have been the reason for the worldwide shutdown. The economy is stumbling downhill and the US is just holding its uncomfortable breath hoping, waiting.

The shutdown has affected every person with a workplace to go to. And the new normal of face masks, bandannas, avoided eye contact, lack of the usual social gatherings have changed us forever.

There is a sector of the economy, though, that isn’t very much effected, or even well known. The online sex work economy is the one in which I am involved. It is vast, it is varied, and it has been stable for me for the last 15 years. Stable might not be the right word. My income has increased 10–30% every year since I began my work online. I am fortunate, during these strange times. My business is booming.

My daily routing of work has changed little. I am an online dominatrix and fetish content producer. I have worked from home, been my own boss, run my own business, paid my taxes, and produced my own fetish content for so long, this shelter-in-place routine has me busier than ever because of reasons one wouldn’t suspect. I have my hands in no less than 9 different online income sources, but what really has my attention is a 10th source — teaching. I would never have expected my shelter-in-place time to be spent animating PowerPoint slides and figuring out how to give a decent online webinar.

Nearby, sister businesses that hosted in-person providers, community BDSM events, and community classes like mine have closed down. Like so many venues, they are struggling to pay their rent.

Talking to some of my colleagues, I realized the kind of struggles that they are going through. Travel plans, including tours, have been canceled. They cannot see clients, they cannot rent out their space for workshops. And some of them have come to me asking for help.

When I was teaching workshops in person, the questions were always similar to the ones I receive now. Do you really make all of your money online? How do you manage so many platforms and so many profiles? How do you keep contact with your clients? Now, the questions have intensified because their own situations have intensified. Those who have worked online before are trying to manage, albeit under duress, because all of a sudden, online work is the only work they have.

What quarantines and lockdowns have shown us is that varied sources of income is necessary. By “us”, I mean sex workers. This umbrella term is truly vast. I am an online sex worker with a legal registered business. Many are in-person sex workers, or a mixture of the two.

When I saw 2 of my favourite BDSM spaces struggling, I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. So, I decided to do two things and hopefully hit both with a single stone. I decided to make these months in quarantine a time of education and support.

Cover of “The Sextpanther Best Practices

One of those ways is through the writing and online publication of a best practices guide for a particular platform called Sext Panther. It monetizes texting and online content like photos, videos and phone calls. I had reached #1 on the site several times, and started writing down what was working for me. 1 page turned into 10, and then I decided to self publish.

An Online Webinar Being Provided For The SW Community

Another way to give support was to teach online classes about how to work online as a sex worker. There are so many skills involved in this work. Content production, marketing, the art of conversation, modeling, acting, human psychology, sexuality. The list goes on. But we all have to start somewhere, and as the old adage goes, and I wish that someone had shown me all of this information when I started.

All of the proceeds from “The Sextpanther Best Practices” document that I wrote are going to SubRosa a BDSM education space in Oregon. All of the proceeds from my “So You Want To Make Money Online Through SW” online class are going to Nightshade Sanctuary, a community space in San Francisco. So, not only can people find new ways of making money online, these spaces will receive the funds.

I am a writer as well as a dominatrix. Please find my writings and information on my website: MzKim.com.

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