By Chaturbate, official sponsor of ASL for the Virtual Sexual Freedom Summit
The pandemic has been difficult on a worldwide basis with record unemployment and people being furloughed and having their hours and/or salaries cut. Those who were deemed “essential workers” were by and large seen as heroes (which they were and are!); however, this rarely meant a boost in pay commensurate with the heightened risk to our essential workers and their families.
Although they did not lose their jobs in the sense that many others did, traditional sex workers (including escorts, erotic massage therapist, and adult film actors) faced the same challenges as a result of the worldwide shutdowns.
On the other side of the spectrum, the pandemic meant that online meetings, working from home, and online retail, which were already growing year over year, went into overdrive. Virtual meetings and working at home were now the only options. Similarly, where online retail was previously a valued convenience, it had become a necessity. Companies that were already based online (like online retailer Amazon, streaming service like Hulu, and online meeting platform Zoom), together with digital content distributors and camming platforms all saw exponential growth, practically overnight, with companies like Zoom and Amazon’s stock prices experiencing historic gains.
The gains to these online based businesses were not restricted to the mainstream world. Online camming and direct-to-consumer content sales platforms like Chaturbate experienced numerous new broadcasters and content creators creating accounts, many of whom had never worked in the adult industry at all. People from all walks of life – from traditional adult models and actors to the curious stay-at-home mom – saw the opportunity for the freedom and control to work how they want, when they want, as long as they want. Not to mention one of the most important factors for these “newbies” – getting to choose their own co-workers, as it were, if any at all, allowing setting your own boundaries not only sexually but also health-wise.
All of these new broadcasters were coming to realize what longtime Chaturbate independent broadcasters and other online content creators had known for years – online work is not only a good source of income, but is also tremendously empowering.
Eventually when the pandemic begins to subside and things get to be a bit more like they were before 2020, many jobs lost during the pandemic will return but many of the “new norms” that were created out of necessity will continue on as post-pandemic voluntary permanent normal. Thus, although it remains to be seen the magnitude of the likely impact on office spaces utilized in big cities, people working from home, and the amount of travel for business will be, there is no question there will be a long-term impact.
Similarly, many of the people who have taken advantage of the opportunity to earn income online when they lost brick & mortar income opportunities will likely decide to continue with the safety and control of working through online platforms like Chaturbate and others even when past opportunities return.