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May 18, City Life Community. Lady Sophia Chase's Chicago Dungeon Rentals started emptying out in March and have stayed that way for the last two months. The local sex worker and professional dominatrix has been clientless for more than two months and is hungry to get her hands on someone again. With two locations, business was booming regularly until March, when her clientele decreased to a trickle amid fears of the coronavirus. Then the state's stay-at-home order went into effect, closing both dungeons; they are not considered essential businesses. Since then, Chase has lost all income and is asking clients to donatebuy gift cardsor shop online to keep the Dungeon afloat.
Sex workers like Chase have been hit hard by the pandemic, which has cut finances drastically for many who rely on in-person work. Some have turned to online sex work to stay afloat, which can be challenging for those who don't have an online presence, tech access, or digital marketing experience. Chase went years without advertising herself because she chicago dungeon rentals established in the industry, but in April, she started doing sex phone calls, webcamming, and selling fetish items online, though it's not as lucrative as in-person work.
On March 30, she started using the content subscription site OnlyFans and is now in the top 6. So that means [94 percent] of creators are making less than me," she says. For other dominatrices who have built up an online brand, the transition to full-on virtual work wasn't as stark.
Leila, a local domme and erotic photographer who asked that we not use their real name, says they started taking phone calls and heavily driving people to their subscription site in March when the shutdown began. Their earnings doubled compared to March; April was the best month on their site. While struggling amid the uncertainty and anxiety from the new normal, the sex worker community has a reputation of being incredibly supportive, resilient, and fit to weather bad storms. It was one of the first communities to rally around mutual aid benefits as the pandemic's threats became real—local groups all over the country created relief funds for sex workers that collected thousands of dollars.
These aid initiatives highlight the deep roots of organizing that run in the community, which has a history of leaning on one another financially and otherwise because sex workers are often left out of social and government safety nets. While there isn't an official relief fund for Chicago sex workers, the community is supporting each other financially, emotionally, and mentally during the pandemic.
SWOP Chicagothe local chapter of the nationwide grassroots organization Sex Workers Outreach Project which is behind many country-wide mutual aid effortsbegan a virtual Sex Worker Support Group and is helping sex workers from all over the U. To raise funds, Feist created two quarantine-themed erotic fantasy videos that sold well and focused on fat fetish content, her industry niche.
She also hosted free Camming video conferencing webinars for sex workers looking to get into online content.
Feist has been in the industry for about five years and says she is happy to offer her knowledge and experience on lighting, video editing, what toys to use, and how to get customers to buy content. But while she has supported the community, she also saw a 20 percent drop in online sales for March and a 50 percent dip for April. Although chicago dungeon rentals is able to still create content, the shutdown has disrupted her in-person work.
And with no federal aid, sex workers know they have to hustle to make money on their own terms. What you are telling me is I don't matter; what I am doing is not worthwhile or my economic impact does not matter. The lack of government support not only makes sex workers like Feist feel personally discriminated against, but it highlights the longstanding marginalization of sex workers in the U.
Feist wants the public to see that sex work is not just a side hustle or something "fun"—it's a business that involves digital communication, marketing, and financial skills, just like any other career. Emma Alamo, who makes leather bondage gear for kink pleasures and fashion, has lost about 70 percent of her income as events and expos were canceled. She is selling items online but is still losing money. She applied for every federal grant to help keep her afloat and was surprised to recently receive money from the U.
Despite the small boost, Alamo isn't sure if she will survive the pandemic.
She says the sex industry needs help. Sex workers say the demand for their services is there and always will be.
But what that will look like after the pandemic is over, and whether businesses like the Chicago Dungeon Rentals will survive, remains a mystery. More Community ». Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Are you in? Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!
The Chicago Reader. Bonded together in crisis The local sex worker community, hit hard amid the pandemic and ignored by social safety nets, is no stranger to mutual uplifting during tough times. Rhodes Jul 15, Popular Stories Read. By Jeff Nichols Public Service Announcement. As the name implies, this party-hearty pocket of Lake Michigan is notorious for juvenile behavior. By Jake Malooley Nicole LaneChicago dungeon rentals
email: [email protected] - phone:(623) 947-4834 x 1040
Bonded together in crisis