Readjusting To Porn

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As you probably know, I grew up in an isolated, homeschooled environment. I’d moved up to northern Idaho in an attempt to go to college, but my parents were very “use your bootstraps” people and wouldn’t help me financially or cosign on any loans. They also made too much money for me to qualify for financial aid, so I was screwed; a few months into college I got an ominous letter and had to drop out shortly afterwards.

I’d been brought up with the expectation of being a submissive housewife – but here I was, 19 years old, no support system, education, or future, and with an unsettling cultural disconnect from everyone around me. Everyone used words I didn’t know, references to movies I hadn’t seen, attitudes drawn from music I hadn’t heard.

So I worked whatever I could. I occasionally went hungry, unable to afford food. I slept on a mattress on the floor in a large group house. I ended up working very long hours at a factory with no windows where I wore a uniform and stood on my feet all day and saw the sun only on weekends.

So when someone told me about this thing called camming, that I could be a camgirl and maybe make money, I of course tried it.

I started camming when I was 20, and I did well. I was really really weird, produced out of some bizarre cultural dark alleyway and yet walking around in a lithe young body. I worked very hard and made a lot of money, eventually averaging $200/hr.

I did this for five years. Of course I would do this! I had no other real path in life. My adult identity grew around this. Internet sex work was my freedom. I learned performance, I learned how to flirt and be sexy – a huge task, given my previous isolation from any celebrations of harlotry. I made some of my deepest, longest lasting friendships with other camgirls; I used the funds from camming to travel the world. I cammed from Cape Town over an ocean view, from Australia, from Istanbul behind carefully drawn curtains.

I didn’t feel ashamed at all. Why would I feel ashamed of something that gave me so much freedom, that let me be something more than a housewife or a factory worker?

I’d been using my large horny following to gather data from, and over the years clumsily taught myself statistics as I tried to figure out how to analyze the data. A friend helped tutor me. So when a crypto ico told me they’d hire me as a data analyst if I quit camming…. I agreed.

The way people treated me online, changed. Normal, upstanding people started following me on twitter. Respectable authors would meet me for coffee and let me publicly share photos of us together. People invited me on podcasts. Eventually the majority of my internet following were people who didn’t know I’d ever done porn.

This went on for about three years. It was great.

And, as you know, I got back into porn. The allure of Onlyfans drew me in, as it has most women with two working breasts. I’d quit the crypto company to cofound Askhole years ago, but Askhole wasn’t exactly going to give me a retirement fund.

So, over the past twoish months (or since April 2020, if you’re in the future), I’ve been pornographic online again. This time is different – I’ve had a few years of SFW as a proper, established adult – something that doesn’t really have a parallel when I was 18 and confused. So here’s some weird mental things I’ve noticed.

I feel gendered. It’s increased since starting up Onlyfans recently, and I also noticed it decrease sharply after I quit camming years ago. The ‘gender’ sensation feels like it’s located in my lower pelvis and vagina, and it feels attached to me. I don’t typically have any internal sense of ‘woman,’ but I have a distinct sense of ‘womanness’ being lodged inside me.

I feel a disconnect with my identity. Over the past few years, “Aella” – which was originally my porn name – became something very close to me. I’ve written on this blog about deeply personal things, like my childhood abuse. I did a documentary where I tripped acid live on camera, where I sobbed freely. I enjoy a deep vulnerability here – and suddenly introducing sex work back into this is bizarre.

Because with sex work, I can’t be totally honest. I can’t even talk about this too much at a meta level for fear of losing income.

And so for the first time in a long time, I feel this ‘body suit’ sensation slipping over me. My body and my character feels like clothing, something heavy and thick that I’m wrapped in. I have the sensation of suddenly thousands upon thousands of eyes looking at me – I’m posting heavily on reddit so this is literally true – and them seeing my body suit laying like meat on top of me.

It doesn’t feel… bad, really? It feels a little surreal. My body meat feels like a tool I’m precisely wielding. It doesn’t feel like mine though, not really. The naked, bouncing photos of me on screen feel like an avatar I’m presenting in my stead.

I’ve got my twitter and my blog as nonsexual, as me. It’s bizarre that my name here shares the name under which I fuck myself on screen.

I’m noticing an irrational hatred at men (mostly the ones that comment on my posts outside of Onlyfans). I’m thinking loud, dramatic thoughts that are completely unfair, because I’m simultaneously making lots of money. There’s something about this exchange that makes me feel really sad. I feel sad for the men, compulsed to give me money. I feel sad for me, because I hate all men right now. It’s really hard for me to connect with the compassion I usually feel for the male sex. Maybe it’s because I feel like they’re not really looking at me? Evolution is so cruel.

I also notice some confused semi-shame at my return to porn. I didn’t feel this the first time – I entered camming so early, and it was so liberating for me, that I was simply thrilled. Now I have a reputation, or something. Now fancy people who have opinions that matter, have opinions that matter about me. I feel a little like I’m letting everyone down. I feel afraid that people will pull away from me. These fears feel fuzzy and unclear. The threat is unknown. I think I’m confused at how to handle my dual identity now. Do they think both Aellas are one and the same? Do they know that my porn Aella is simply a heavy floating suit of meat clothes?

The income from this is worth it. I have no education or serious job history or even mental discipline to work a normal 9-5 job. I know if I want to retire, standard career paths aren’t an option for me. Onlyfans income right now is giving me a serious shot at early retirement, and the freedom from that is so valuable. When I remember this, everything else becomes easier. My meat suit becomes a little lighter, and the confusion around reputation is a little less scary.

“So shun me,” I think. “At least I will have financial security. At least I’m not a stay-at-home housewife or working at a factory where don’t see the sun.”