Adult content creator Rhi Clare, author of Why Women Suck – a damning exposé of online sex work – says that women who choose to enter the industry are being exploited not by men but their female peers.
By Rhi Clare
There is no doubt about it: the online sex industry is booming and more popular than ever.
Young girls are eager to turn 18 and begin a side-line to their educations and/or careers by subsidising their income on adult platforms, all the while expressing themselves and feeling more body confident than ever as hordes of waiting men compliment and pay them for their sexual prowess.
And these platforms are not exclusive to the younger generations, with a vast number of older women working under ‘milf’ fetishes, as well as mid-range age ladies having the incredible opportunities to earn enough to buy their first homes and provide for their budding families in ways they never could prior to this revolution of accessible, virtual interactive solicitation.
It’s fair to say that there has never been such a lucrative sexual revolution as in recent years and women around the world are reaping bottomless benefits from this seemingly fast, easy money-maker, with some earning hundreds of thousands from their bedrooms simply for being desirable. All it takes is a semi-decent phone, a ring light and a female form of any description, right?
Well, not exactly. Working in this online sex industry is as ‘real’ a job as any other. Amateur footage and images can, and do, sell incredibly well but more popular than this is quality, professional work.
Adult content creators will find that increasing their skills as a photographer/videographer soon becomes necessary as ‘fans’ demand to see more. They will need to learn to light and edit their work as they want longer videos and crisp, clear imagery. They will also have to become well acquainted with social media marketing and algorithms of popular platforms to ensure they’re adhering to the terms of service of each site.
To keep up with fan demands as they grow in popularity, they will need to be accessible at all hours of the day. These platforms are worldwide and when one audience goes to sleep, another wakes. Scheduling posts and sharing content, all the while creating new ideas and being constantly available for online chat, very quickly becomes a full-time job.
Even with this reality of constant hard work, it would be dishonest of me to say it’s not well worth it if you can establish a solid fan-base. This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who has ever had to create a solid online presence for any brand or company, though the type of industry you work in may pose far less of a risk of being shut down in an instant compared to the one adult content creators have to accept.
What will come as a shock is the underlying ruthless nature of the community these platforms have created.
They say that business is a dog-eat-dog world and this seems such a given that it is the root of much mockery of the stereotypical alpha male. However, in my time as an adult worker I have seen far more unscrupulous activity from female adult content creators. To be blunt, they have established an online world for the sex worker community that largely involves women preying on other women for financial gain.
As I reveal in my new book, Why Women Suck, they leech off newcomers and seasoned workers alike, attempting (and in many cases succeeding) to drum up new ways in which naïve or new content creators are duped into believing they must pay other creators for services, advice or promotion if they wish to succeed.
This is done all the while upholding a guise of sisterhood and support so that those vulnerable enough to be looking for friendship fall deeply into the trap set out for them.
For instance, some charge for assistant matching, where they ‘train’ and source an assistant to do the work for another content creator. While outsourcing menial work is common in the business world, it does pose a moral dilemma particular to the online sex industry of whether it’s right to charge men to speak to and ‘sext’ with a model knowing full well that you are paying another woman (or even man) to do this for you. This in itself breeches the terms of service on the majority of sites and yet this dishonesty is encouraged and exploited as another way to make money off fellow creators.
Women also charge for access to support and advice groups where they divulge no more information than can be found freely elsewhere. However, due to their status on popular sites (a paid-for online presence), they have created such a pedestal for themselves that other ladies are eager for their ‘secrets’ as well as the sense of belonging and achievement attached to an exclusive money-gated community.
Adult content creators already have it difficult enough, having to put all their creative energy and business sense into their art while being ready for the inevitable social media prejudice and hate campaigns from those against sex work in any capacity, as well as the ever-looming inevitability that their content will be shared and seen by friends and family—the very people you don’t wish to know that side of you.
The fact that other women—those who know full well the challenges content creators must deal with—are preying on their peers for additional income is the final straw.
EDUCATION IS KEY
So how do we improve the situation for women? It is unlikely that the owners of adult sites will start policing them to protect content creators from scams, and equally improbable that they will provide guidance and support to workers who are, effectively, all freelancers.
Instead, we must work together as a society to provide this support, and this begins with an open, healthy discussion about the online sexual industry. Content creators are giving their all to make a profitable business for themselves and their dependents. Whatever our personal views on sexual morality, we must recognise this and consider how to better protect those who wish to succeed in a sector that is both entirely legal and flourishing.
The best way forward is to support those choosing to enter the industry as we would with entrants to any other business sector—through education. It is imperative that any woman considering this as a career path understands the gravity of their decision.
Most importantly, they need to appreciate that the illusion of a supporting community is just that. They must be aware that there are vultures that see their peers as nothing more than cash cows for the top earners, and that legitimate, effective marketing strategies can be freely accessed online rather than bought.
I wish to see the industry evolve into a safer environment for women, where the potential for exploitation is minimised, and this all begins with the surprising recognition that it is other female professionals, rather than male customers, who pose the real danger.
Q&A INTERVIEW WITH ADULT CONTENT CREATOR RHI CLARE
British adult content creator Rhi Clare quickly became a top 0.2% earner on adult content sites within months of launching her career in 2020, but soon found that exploitation is widespread, as is out-and-out content theft. Her new book, Why Women Suck, presents a detailed and intelligent examination of what draws women into the adult sex industry and the horrors they may face in the hope it will enable them to better protect themselves. In this exclusive interview, we find out more about her professional journey and experiences.
Q. How did you come to be an adult content creator?
A. I was working as a property manager and was not lucky enough to be unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. My partner is a former adult creator and it made good sense to utilise his skills and artistry to subsidise us during that time as well as further explore personal sexual interests.
Q. You say that your initial experiences of the industry were positive. Can you explain more?
A. After I figured out what I wanted to explore, my experience was very positive! Success came fast and I got to further explore my own fetish. It took away all the pressure that the pandemic had dropped on me and, more so, I could provide more support for myself and my children.
Q. What shattered this illusion for you?
A. It was a slow realisation. I watched what women were doing to each other and how persistently they fought to earn off fellow creators, instead of exploring and creating pages that were exciting for them. I saw creators plagiarise the work of others, including me, and these were people I’d trusted to help me share my work. I also experienced threats to expose me as a sex worker to my family, even though I am honest with them. I then realised that playground bullying tactics are rife in this particular female world.
Q. You claim that the online adult content industry is rife with the exploitation of female content creators by their peers. How harmful can this be?
A. Incredibly so. It’s natural to want to belong to a community or have a sense of prestige. When people pay to make themselves appear successful in a field they’re trying to establish a business in then many will flock to them for approval and advice, but those seeking that will be eaten alive by these women. I’ve seen girls pay thousands to creators for sharing them, advice and assistants only to have zero return on their investment. I myself have bought from people claiming to be in the top 0.0% of content creators and yet not have a single follower transition while people who are in the top 2% have shared me with no charge and I’ve seen an influx of fresh traffic to my page.
These girls think those charging them are friends and are there for them. They’re often vulnerable and naïve and when someone speaks out about a non-return or observes that something seems off about a new scheme being conjured up, these women will group together and shun them from the group and encourage others not to work with them. The damage being done is both emotional and financial, and with no apology or guilt.
Q. In your view is the sex industry in itself exploitative of women?
A. It can be and I’d be naïve to not recognise that. However, all industries can exploit their workers. What often happens is that someone raises awareness of this and change follows. With the sex industry it seems to me that this exploitation is, like the industry itself, taboo and gets swept away or, worse, results in attempts to shut down things completely.
Sex isn’t going anywhere and will always be an occupation. Trying to exclude it from discussion and change poses more risks as people search for ways around censorship.
Q. You say the adult content creators are left high and dry by the teams that operate adult sites, and which are making significant profits off their content. Is there anything that can be done to give content creators more rights and protection?
A. Awareness is key here. When sites turn their back on creators, some members of the public rejoice simply because it’s not a career path they support. But these women have made sacrifices to succeed and being dropped or closed down means no more income. It’s as severe and devastating as losing any job, except that in this industry it can be done without warning or explanation. Your page is there one day and gone the next.
Q. The sex industry carries a social stigma, with content creators equally stigmatised. However, Why Women Suck highlights that content creators are savvy businesspeople. Just how much work have you put in to becoming a top earner and do you think society needs to re-evaluate its dim view of adult content creators?
A. I work 24/7 aside from when I am in the presence of my children. Whether it be day or night, if I have committed to providing a service then I provide it within the terms I set out on my page. In some capacity I am always working.
As for society and its views, I feel workers themselves have contributed to the stigma by posting provocative and even explicit materials straight to free social media platforms. If we could have a safe space and way of advertising without posting such materials then I feel society would naturally be more accepting. We all know sex happens and in many forms, even the extreme, but sharing this on social media can and does make many so uncomfortable that they instantaneously have a negative view.
Q. How would you sum up your new book, Why Women Suck, and what made you decide to write it?
A. I would describe it as a surprising insight in to the true dark side of the sex industry and how the predators are not who people first think of when it comes to sexual exploitation. I decided to write it as I saw more and more women falling victim to scams and had the unfortunate experience of supporting a lady who had reached breaking point due to other women and lack of support.
Q. What do you hope to achieve with your book?
A. To shed light on the situation for women who are working or thinking of working in the adult content creation industry, as well as to open for discussion how best to support women while protecting the nature of online platforms.
Q. Why Women Suck is the first in a planned trilogy of exposés of the adult content creation industry. What will the following books deal with?
A. The following books will involve cases studies and further highlight the truth of the industry, creators and clients. I hope to remove some stigma from all aspects of sex work whether you’re a participant or spectator.
Why Women Suck by Rhi Clare is available now on Amazon in paperback, Hardcover and eBook formats, priced £12.99, £15.99 and £2.99 respectively.