After Twitter deleted and suspended a flock of adult business accounts last month, I found myself wracked with worries that I would be next. As an independent adult model, I rely on the platform to advertise my content and services, communicate with fans, and connect with other sex workers. It’s proof to clients that I’m a real person—a digital footprint of my existence. Without my account, how would people get ahold of me? How would anyone see me?
For sex workers, it’s a big deal to have a decent Twitter following. It makes it easier to get the attention of studios and other models. And, since Twitter has such amazing search engine optimization, when someone Googles my name my account is one of the first things that comes up. Over the span of four years I gained nearly 6000 followers, which helped draw in new clients and foster connections with a wide swath of workers.
I was initially drawn to Twitter because it gave me the ability to post snippets of my porn and discuss in-person sex work. I also liked being able to follow other members of my community. It’s satisfying to see everyone you enjoy talking to in one place, revealing their day-to-day activities, what they’re working on, and how they are feeling. I felt closer to the community and I was able to connect directly with tons of content creators, fans, and fellow sex workers I admire. I formed several online friendships that saved me from loneliness, particularly when the pandemic hit, and over time the platform became a safe haven, a place where I could communicate freely about the adult industry.
In late January, my fears proved warranted. My account that I worked so hard to foster, the account that helped me build business contacts, allowed me to check in daily with mutuals, and engage with my fans was gone. All gone. With the push of a button, I was deleted from existence.
Even though other sex workers’ accounts were getting flagged, it was still shocking because I did my best to follow Twitter’s Sensitive Media policy, which bars anything deemed ‘excessively gory.’ Adult content is technically allowed, but big businesses like Fetish Con, Clips4Sale, and ModelCentro were recently suspended without notice—high profile targets in a broad pattern of shadow banning and deleting sex work-related accounts. Knowing this, I tried not to post anything too extreme or revealing, worried that a speck of cleavage could signal me as danger. I also tried not to engage in overly political discourse.
But still, my efforts didn’t seem to matter.
Attempting to get my Twitter account back felt like screaming at a wall. The company didn’t acknowledge my emails or respond to my apologies for unknowingly breaking a rule. My emails bounced back an automated response saying, “We’ll review your account and get back to you,” but so far I haven’t heard anything.
I thrive off of human connection. During the pandemic, I spent most of my time alone. I eat, sleep and exist in my apartment by myself. It isn’t all bad, I love my space and I get a lot of time to work on my clips and virtual session with clients. But it is hard that the majority of my interactions are with clients, where I have to be “on” all the time, where I can’t communicate anything about my personal life or what I’m actually feeling. I’m there to make them forget that the world is burning, to create space for them to explore intimacy and pleasure, if only for a moment.
Sex work is so isolating. I didn’t realize how much I relied on social media to keep me connected to the world, and to myself, until it was gone. I Facetime and attend Zoom meetings with friends and family, but a lot of my industry friends aren’t available at the drop of a hat. That’s why social media is so convenient. You reply when you have time, you post a blurb to let everyone know you’re alive and kicking, and then you get back to the grind.
Without an established social media presence, I feel less legitimate in my business. The porn industry is saturated with models trying to make it big or sell subscriptions. It’s already hard to stand out and get picked for shoots, and now it feels impossible without visibility. Since losing my account, I’ve noticed a few hundred dollars decrease in my clip sales and OnlyFans subscriptions. I’m trying to advertise but nothing feels as successful as Twitter for reaching new clients, as it’s one of the last platforms that purports to allow adult content.
But even more than that, I feel really alone. I had been spending so much time trying to advertise, getting our fans to bookmark our websites, and join my mailing list that I was caught off guard by the emptiness that exists now that I can’t scroll through my friend’s lives. I know that that doesn’t sound like the healthiest way to keep in contact with people, but it’s the reality of the world we live in right now, especially for sex workers who often can’t be open about their day-to-day lives with their friends and family.
I try to remind myself this too shall pass, that people are still subscribing to my mailing list. I luckily also have a few friends and collaborators with bigger accounts that I work with. But nothing can entirely replace that account I lost. Even with my new account, all that SEO is gone, all the past interactions, all the people who followed me. Getting it back feels like a fool’s errand, especially if they delete me again, which is looking more likely as there has been an 82% increase of sex worker accounts getting deleted off Twitter this year, according to the Rolling Stone.
I suppose I’m waiting for a solution to appear, for the entire industry to stop relying on social media sites that censor us and create somewhere new for everyone to go. If we collectively pull ourselves off Twitter and Instagram, then we pull our fans too. It might feel like we are enabling censorship by leaving the platforms that are censoring us, but on the flip side we are taking back our power. If they don’t want us on their websites, we can take our business elsewhere. I have faith in the industry to keep existing as it has for a long time. Sex work is work, and we aren’t going away. The question I have now is: Where are we going next?
Lita is a dreamy Pisces, lifestyle hedonist and kinky queer who loves exploring her sexuality on and off camera. They have 6+ years experience in sex work including femdom, escorting, phone sex, camming and porn.
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