Sex industry

Online Sex Work is About Way More Than Just Getting Off

Published: MAY 28, 2024
With 26 years of experience as a sex and relationships writer, coupled with my identity as a queer, kinky femme, I found myself uniquely positioned to provide a safe space for exploration and expression.

We live in a society where it's arguably less stigmatized for men to seek the services of a sex worker, whether online or in real life than it is for them to seek therapy. And let's be honest — traditional therapy doesn't always provide what many men yearn for: affection, affirmation, and intimacy. Sex workers do.


As someone deeply involved in this space, I've experienced the intricate network of connections, support, and knowledge that often remains hidden beneath societal stigma and sensationalism. For me, online sex work is about more than just fulfilling immediate desires; it's about discovering dynamic ecosystems where individuals find support, understanding, and personal growth.

How I got into sex work

My journey into online sex work began four years ago in response to a constant demand for information and intimate connection. With 26 years of experience as a sex and relationships writer, coupled with my identity as a queer, kinky femme, I found myself uniquely positioned to provide a safe space for exploration and expression.

Currently, I'm active on two adult platforms: SextPanther and OnlyFans. On SextPanther, I communicate with folks via texting, sexting, and audio/video calls. Meanwhile, OnlyFans serves as a personal NSFW sanctuary where I share intimate glimpses of my life with my dedicated community. It's less raunchy and more real, with plenty of fun, sexy, and flirty interactions. My presence on both platforms keeps me closely connected with my audience, allowing me to be involved in their lives and experiences (and vice versa).


At first glance, the perception of online sex work may appear one-dimensional, centered solely on physical pleasure. I may have been a bit biased until I dug into this world. Sure, plenty of people just want to get off — and that's perfectly OK. But most of my clients aren't reaching out for a quick release. They want more.

One thing I didn’t expect to be doing as a sex worker was serving as a guide for individuals to explore aspects of their sexuality for the first time. I've had numerous individuals come out to me as LGBTQ+. Some were navigating post-divorce life, unsure of their support systems' reactions, while others, particularly in the military, sought a safe space to share their truth. It's an immense honor to provide solace and support to those grappling with the stigma surrounding sexuality.

As a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, I've had parents from conservative areas, particularly in red states, reach out to me as well, looking for support regarding their queer and trans children. This underscores the critical need for reinforcing support systems for young LGBTQ+ individuals, stressing the urgency of safeguarding and empowering them in every community.


These connections serve as paths for individuals to explore their identities and seek support in navigating complex aspects of their lives. From individuals coming out later in life to parents seeking guidance on supporting their LGBTQ+ children, the depth of trust and vulnerability shared within these exchanges is unmistakable.

I also didn’t expect to be guiding individuals through their first experiences with anal toys, such as butt plugs, often through video calls. But it’s a need I fill by providing step-by-step instructions on mental and physical preparation, then assisting them through the insertion process, offering support and encouragement every step of the way.

Many clients who reach out to me grapple with negative body image, and I've had the privilege of coaching numerous individuals through their insecurities, whether concerning weight, penis size, or attractiveness. It's important to note that every body is beautiful, and you don't necessarily need to adore your body to embrace and honor it.


Read More: How Doing Sex Work Helped Me Love Myself

Believe it or not, a fair number of my clients are senior citizens looking to reignite intimacy with their long-time partners. These clients hold a special place in my heart; their sweetness and occasional flirtiness are so endearing. Their genuine desire for intimacy with their spouse leads them to explore various avenues, from experimenting with glass dildos to learning how to set a seductive bedroom ambiance. I treasure the opportunity to support them in trying to improve their intimate connections.

So, a lot of the work I’m doing as an online sex worker isn’t even about sex. It’s about supporting people in living their best lives.


Building ‘Valuable’ and ‘Unique’ Relationships Through Sex Work

Dr. Amanda Gesselman, a social-behavioral scientist at The Kinsey Institute, has conducted extensive research collaborations with LiveJasmin, one of the internet's largest and most well-known camming platforms. Her insights and studies provide a deeper understanding of the intricate dynamics formed within online sex work.

"In the first study in 2019, we found that a pretty substantial proportion of our clients, a little more than one-third, reported having a current close emotional bond with their performer on the website," says Dr. Gesselman. "They reported that that was a reason why they kept coming back to the site. They really value that relationship and that it's something unique and beneficial to them. It's really valuable."

Additionally, online sex work serves as a platform for education and empowerment. Dr. Gesselman's research highlights how clients learn valuable communication skills through their interactions with performers, translating into improved dynamics in their real-life relationships.


"Clients are reporting that interacting with models is helping them be better partners in real life and also giving them more skills in terms of how to market themselves to other partners, like real-life partners, how to approach women in general, and what to say and what not to say," Dr. Gesselman explains.

Despite the positive benefits experienced by clients and performers, stigma persists, particularly in regards to disclosing participation in online sex work to romantic partners. While models often find acceptance and support from their partners, clients often fear judgment and concealment due to societal norms.

As Dr. Gesselman aptly observes, media representations often oversimplify the complexities of online sex work, perpetuating misconceptions and erasing the humanity of those involved. The reality is far more nuanced, with these platforms serving as vibrant communities where individuals find acceptance, support, and genuine connection.

Through my experiences and the insights provided by Dr. Gesselman's research, it's evident that online sex work isn't just about fulfilling carnal desires; it's about offering a thoughtful space for exploration, education, and empowerment. As we journey through the complex landscape of human sexuality in the digital era, let's view online sex work with empathy, recognizing its importance in connecting people and breaking down the stigma around sexuality.

Ryn Pfeuffer

Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. She got her start in the mid-90s at the Philadelphia Weekly, managing a 10-page section of the newspaper and more than 500 lonely hearts.Her professional stock skyrocketed when she started writing a saucy (and pre-Carrie-Bradshaw-era) dating advice column called “Ask Me Anything.” She appeared regularly on local radio stations and late-night TV as an expert on everything from grooming...

Latest Sex Positions