In mid-March, we pointed out how sex worker income was on the verge of collapse as states imposed social-distancing rules and enforced lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
About a month later, the world’s oldest profession, that is prostitution, has seen an unprecedented slide in income for workers. Some reports detail how demand has dropped by 80% in a month.
AFP News interviews several sex workers who say demand for their services has slid due to fears of contracting the virus.
“Being a prostitute has always been a good option in times of crisis… until this one,” says Bruno, a sex worker who has seen his business crash under social distancing rules enforced by the government.
Bruno is a sex worker in Los Angeles, now suffering as he is drawing from savings to survive.
Despite 20,646 deaths across the country, infecting 530,830 people, Bruno said he would have to continue his services:
“I’m going to have to take the risk, it’s the only way I can make money,” he said.
He said sex demand has fallen up to 80% as there are only a handful of clients asking him for private sessions.
Bruno said his line of work leaves him at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, nevertheless, now, coronavirus.
“I’m surprised that, with this virus going around, people still want to take the danger,” he said.
Molly Simmons, a New York sex worker, said her profession is not “recognized” by the government and leaves many of her colleagues “pushed into a state of financial desperation.” This is because they cannot tap into government assistance programs to supplement income when times get bad.
We noted last month that an evolving trend in the sex industry was the increase of live stream shows that have allowed sex workers to diversify their income.
Bruno said he has a friend that makes $3,000 per month doing live shows online.
“I’m not criticizing it, but I’m not getting into it,” he said. “I don’t want my financial difficulties to cost me my privacy.”
Toronto dominatrix Lady Pim told Vice last month that quarantines would drive people to pay for online sex:
“If we’re in lockdown—just by ourselves, don’t have a partner, and don’t have any sex or kink outlets—then I can 100 percent see people turning around to do a Skype session or phone session.”
It’s severe up in here. pic.twitter.com/afDZrKb1oS
— Lady Pim (@TheLadyPim1) March 9, 2020
Lady Pim was right last month, as we noted days ago, Americans are flooding porn sites like PornHub during the quarantine.
Lingerie chain Ann Summers reported a run on dildos over the last week of March, sales surged 27% over the same period the previous year.
It remains to be seen if the sex worker income will ever recover to pre-corona levels. That is because the way people interreact with one another will change until a proven vaccine is seen.
So, in the meantime, sex worker income crashes, the ones who survive resort to online shows. And does that mean the rise of the sex doll industry is imminent?