by UnHerd
Tuesday, 15
December 2020
Video
15:36

Meet Aella: the intellectual porn star

Freddie Sayers discusses the morality of porn with one of OnlyFans' most successful creators
by UnHerd

OnlyFans, the self-publishing pornography app, has taken off during the course of 2020 with an average of 200,000 new users signing up each day. The platform allows creators to release photos and videos to paying subscribers; while the content published is entirely the choice of the creator, the most common genre is pornography.

Freddie Sayers spoke to Aella, one of OnlyFans most successful and best-known creators, to discuss the morality of pornography and the reality of modern sex work. 

In an extraordinarily candid conversation, Aella explains how she rationalises her lifestyle. She believes that while some people get into sex work because they are already on the outskirts of society and it is the only choice they have to survive, others join the business because they “realise this is the best way to earn money for the least amount of work and are doing it strategically. A surprisingly high number of women in the rationality community have tried sex work.”

Aella puts herself in both categories; on the one hand, she got into porn when she was desperate, but now believes that her highly analytical, high de-coupling mind meant that she was well-suited to this her line of work: “I think that my brain is different. I’ve noticed that since I was a kid, I’m just different in the way I process things”. Perhaps Aella’s success (she is among the top 0.3% of earners) can be at least partially attributed to her data-driven approach. She regularly conducts polls among her viewers and analyses the data to inform her content and grow her audience.

She grew up in a ‘fundamentalist Christian’ household, and says that, rather than a rebellion against her upbringing, she believes it was oddly good training for belonging to a group that is very little understood by wider society.

Does she not feel sex is sacred at all? Does she not worry that an example is being set for hundreds of thousands of girls for whom it would be very harmful? What about the men – what sort of men is a society with unlimited porn producing?

She offers answers to all these difficult questions, and many more. Thanks to Aella for giving her time.

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Freddie Sayers  00:16

Hello and welcome. You’re watching LockdownTV from UnHerd. So here at UnHerd, we like to keep our finger on the pulse of what is going on, and latest trends in technology and society. And one of those things is called OnlyFans. It is a platform which we’re going to hear all about from one of its number one contributors. So joining us to tell us about it is Aella, all the way from sunny California. Hi, Aella.

Aella  00:41

Hi, I actually just moved, I failed to update you. Hi, I’m happy to be here.

Freddie Sayers  00:47

Where are you now?

Aella  00:48

Washington. 0% state income tax, which is important if you’re doing OnlyFans.

Freddie Sayers  00:53

Okay, so presume that we know nothing. And presume that either I’m an alien from another planet, or I’ve been asleep for the past five years, what is OnlyFans?

Aella  01:05

it’s basically like a sexy Patreon. So it’s a website, where you can subscribe to somebody’s profile for a certain amount of money per month. And then once you can unlock their profile, you get to see things that they post to their feed. And you can also direct message them and you can exchange media through the direct messages. This is basically all of it.

Freddie Sayers  01:25

So basically if I’m a customer, I sign up to the Aella feed. And I get sort of it’s a bit like following you on Instagram, except I can only see it if I’m paying for it.

Aella  01:36

Right? Yeah, like a locked Instagram.

Freddie Sayers  01:39

And crucially, what do I see?

Aella  01:43

Well, most people post very naughty photos of themselves. Some people don’t, some people post, you know, like workout exercises or whatever, or they’re celebrities or something. But it’s commonly used for pornography. Like independent self created pornography.

Freddie Sayers  02:01

Is that normally people on their own? Or is that couples? Or do you have you know about what the other kind of contributors post?

Aella  02:09

So I have some stats on it based on a survey that I did, which is about 375 respondents. So it’s not like fully representative, take it with a grain of salt. But yeah, most people do it on their own.

Freddie Sayers  02:22

And what do you do?

Aella  02:24

I do it mostly on my own, I occasionally do it with another person or two. I have like one boy and then like two women who also I work with sometimes.

Freddie Sayers  02:34

And what are we talking here? If you don’t mind me asking, Is this kind of soft porn where you’re just sort of naked and posing for photographs, talking to camera, or is it actual pornography?

Aella  02:46

Yeah, so I personally do actual pornography. On my feed, if you subscribe on the feed, you can see basically nudes. I have like tiers of value shots in some way. So like tier one is clothed. Tier two is nude. Tier three is like you can see some labia. Tier four is spread labia, and tier five involves any sort of like action with that, you know, the spread, whatever. So I do all of it, all the way up. But if you want to see all of it, you typically have to pay more than just the entry fee.

Freddie Sayers  03:16

Give me give me a sense of what I would need to pay. So what I mean, are we talking single dollars, or is it much more expensive than that?

Aella  03:24

So my entry fee is $23 a month. And then if you want to see a boy girl porn, not porno, classic video, then that’s usually the going price is $80. Although sometimes I do discounts occasionally, but they’re quite limited.

Freddie Sayers  03:40

So is that a one off? Or is that $80 a month for kind of regular scenes?

Aella  03:45

That’s per video after the entry fee. So girls price very differently. I like I prefer having fewer people see my stuff, so I price it higher. Even though I could sell it easily for lower, obviously. But there’s a very wide variance. Some girls will have a very high entry fee, and then they post full porn strict to their fee with no further unluck other girls have an extremely low entry fee and have extremely high-priced videos once you get in.

Freddie Sayers  04:12

So I think our viewers should understand that this is a lucrative business. You posted at one point that you made $14,000 in the month of April, is that right?

Aella  04:22

Yeah, that was like first month. My highest earning month was $103,000.

Freddie Sayers  04:27

$103,000 – was that was that especially good because people were in lockdown and not leaving the house? Do you think or was it just summer, or what’s the explanation?

Aella  04:37

I had a couple of viral things I posted that did really well. Also I was working extremely hard. I haven’t made as much since then because I moved and I did other projects and I’ve lost a little bit of focus. So I’m not spending as many hours working on it before but that month was the perfect storm. I was just focused on it exclusively and it really paid off but the earnings are pretty divided. Most people and only fans earn like below $1,000 a month.

Freddie Sayers  05:07

So you would be in the top 0.1% or 0.01% of contributors?

Aella  05:13

When I was making $100,000, I was 0.3 percent. Now, I’m 0.8% percent.

Freddie Sayers  05:19

Yeah, she posted a chart recently, which was interesting, which showed the kind of L curve of contributors, and you’re very much in that first high peak.

Aella  05:30

Yeah, definitely.

Freddie Sayers  05:31

How did you get into this? I think it’s also important to mention that you also have a Twitter profile. And I don’t know if you consider that a completely separate universe. But you have I think, 65,000 followers, and what you’re posting on Twitter is nothing like what you’re posting on it on only fans. It’s kind of intellectual, I would say, rationalist content.

Aella  05:59

So I have another Twitter profile, which is for porn, and that has more followers than my normal what despite it being a lot newer. But how I got into this — I was originally a fundamentalist Christian who is home schooled and isolated from the outside world. It was like a pretty strict like, cold like environment. And I was expected to grow up and become a housewife and have kids. Education was like, you go to college to find a man, that was really explicitly told to us that we don’t have a future outside family. And so after I left home, I couldn’t afford college, because my parents made too much money for me to get loans, but they wouldn’t give me any help. So I didn’t go to college. I was working at a factory for like 50 hours a week with no windows, it was horrible. And eventually I was like, well, I don’t have any options really. What do I want to do with my life? I don’t want to work for minimum wage.

So I tried doing some self-employment stuff and then I eventually found camming, which is similar to OnlyFans but live. So, it’s kind of like this, like I’m like ‘Hi guys’. And then you can type in like a little chat. And then you get tipped. So I did that for five years. And that was when I built up my Twitter, which is the Twitter that you’re referring to today. Then after I quit camming, I quit sex work entirely for a couple years to go into crypto. And then I converted that Twitter to my mainstream, work Twitter. So that actually used to be my original porn Twitter way back in the day. And if you scroll back far enough, it gets a little bit embarrassing. When I first started developing an audience for like my initial porn career, I realised that you can ask them questions and they answer you. So I started doing surveys. And then I started getting a whole bunch of data. And then I was like, how do I process this data? And I had to learn some basic statistics to turn it. And now I just kind of do that — like I grow my audience for the purpose of getting better sample sizes. That only really works for men.

Freddie Sayers  07:52

And because you post a lot of polls on Twitter as well, I think a lot of people watching, at least those people don’t know you, will be kind of surprised by the disconnect. Clearly you’re a highly intelligent, eloquent person who is doing statistical analysis of polls in order to extend the audience. Meanwhile, you’re being a successful, can I say, porn star? I mean, you’re your sex worker. Should we be surprised by that? Do you find that a weird combination?

Aella  08:24

Out of the category of people who become sex workers, I’m going to horribly oversimplify, but the impression I’ve gotten — also from asking a lot of people — is that some people go into sex work, because they already are on the outskirts of society in some other way. So they failed to integrate, and they really don’t have a lot to lose socially. They’re already on the bottom tier. Like what how far down is there to fall? Like, they don’t, they don’t have like a college job that they’ve got to lose. And then another part are the people who sort of realise that this is actually the best way to earn money for the least amount of work and are doing it a little bit more strategically. So I think I am a little bit more on the strategic side, although I did get into the ‘survival sex work’ originally. A surprisingly high amount of women in the rationality community have tried sex work. A really surprising amount. I think it just sort of happens. If you have the kind of like overly analytical, high decoupling mind and you’re in a community that isn’t going to judge you. I think it just makes sense. Like, wouldn’t you do it if you had boobs?

Freddie Sayers  09:35

Well, maybe I could do without boobs. I mean, are there any men on OnlyFans?

Aella  09:39

That’s true, you could try. Some people do, I know one guy who does. He gets other girls and films porn with them and puts them on his OnlyFans and gives them a cut. Stuff like that but usually they’re not quite as successful.

Freddie Sayers  09:52

It’s like more than 99% female.

Aella  09:55

Probably. Yeah.

Freddie Sayers  09:56

I have to rewind a little bit and something you just said which is that you grew up in a fundamentalist Christian, or seriously Christian, household. I think for people listening, that would have sort of stood out. Because if I was going to be an armchair psychologist, which might sound annoying, but if I were I might say: well, it’s understandable that she has rebelled against such a kind of conservative upbringing, in some way you are rebelling against that. Is there any truth in that?

Aella  10:25

I mean, it’s a really valid question. I can absolutely see how this seems like a natural following. That might be true for some people. I don’t think it’s true for me. Maybe you know, hidden motivations. But for a couple years after I left home, I was in my ‘rebellious phase’ but I was still trying really hard to do like the right thing with regards to having a normal job. So the timeline doesn’t quite add up. I think more likely, I just have the brain that sort of doesn’t take it internally. When I was growing up, my dad was a professional, Christian evangelist and debater. So he would go around, we would travel to churches, and he would have public debates with people like atheists. And he got hate mail and a lot of threats and stuff. So I had this feeling of being me against the world. Like the world will always sort of hate you. That was just the way that it was when I grew up. So I think I’m just extremely used to that. Like, everybody, someone out there, a lot of people out there are going to think that I suck. That’s just inevitable. So I think that was more of a contributor.

Freddie Sayers  11:36

So instead of it being a rebellion against it was weirdly almost a training? Being in a kind of alienated part of society that a lot of people don’t understand.

Aella  11:48

Yeah, I think so. I think it prepared me to do this thing. It’s kind of ironic, after working in sex work I’ve known a lot of other girls who tend to struggle with much more shame than I do. They’re like, ‘how am I gonna find a man?’, ‘oh man, society hates me’. And I think it came from feeling like they had to handle this division and have this distance from society’s collective thought before. So I don’t have a lot of shame about it.

Freddie Sayers  12:15

What about your inner life during that period? You know, were you a believing Christian? Did you pray?

Aella  12:23

Yeah. I was very Christian.

Freddie Sayers  12:26

And when that broke, how does your kind of inner life compare to the person you were back then? Is it that you’ve kind of abandoned that kind of moral framework and think it was, it was just wrongheaded? Or have you developed a new one or? How have you changed?

Aella  12:46

That’s a really complicated question. So I was a devout believer. I wasn’t pretending at any point. And leaving the faith was extremely difficult, because it was everything I had known. It was the way I understood how reality worked and morality and culture and my plan for my life — it was really terrifying. It took me several years to sort my structure, my frame of things. I no longer adhere to morality in the sense that I used to. I don’t think I reject Christianity in that sense, like, I don’t hate it or think it’s bad. Although I do think it has a lot of really damaging aspects. But I can see why people are Christian. I hold some sort of respect for it still, it is fulfilling a very valuable purpose. And I can see how it is, keeps the society structured very well. But today, I find that it’s not very inclusive of minds like mine. And the morality that I hold, I would say I’m more of a moral nihilist in that I still act morally, but I don’t hold any sort of deeper moral framework. From the outside it appears as though I have a moral framework, but I don’t feel it inside, really. And it feels a lot more freeing for me.

Freddie Sayers  13:58

What does that mean? And I guess there’s, there’s maybe two parts to that; one would be the kind of Christian idea that sex is sacred, should be kind of part of a loving union and all of that, which clearly, you don’t feel anymore. Let’s deal with that one.

Aella  14:20

Yeah, it makes sense. If you if you really build something up, it’s going to be more special and like, maybe like the sex that Christians have on their wedding night is just mind blowing. Maybe that’s great. If you like that, go for it. A lot of people don’t view sex like that. And I think that’s also fine.

Freddie Sayers  14:35

Do you view sex like that in a relationship context? As opposed to this is just content you’re producing?

Aella  14:43

Yeah, the sexual interactions I have for workers feel extremely different from the sexual interactions I have for my life, it’s like hard to describe. It’s very strange, but like, the context is so different. I once dated a guy who was — I mean, everybody knows what I do before I get a relationship with them — but this guy was having a little bit of jealousy about it. And at some point like a month or two went by, and then he just wasn’t having issues anymore. I was like, what’s going on? And he said, ‘I can just see how much it’s a different thing for you like, how differently you treat it. Now I realise it’s not actually a threat to me at all, we’re doing a different thing.

Freddie Sayers  15:21

In other words, there’s still a sort of sacred space between you and him and this OnlyFans stuff is outside it? Or that you just fundamentally don’t equate sex with sacredness?

Aella  15:32

But the word sacred? I’m not. I like the word but maybe not for this. It’s more like the person who I am, who has sex on a personal level is different from the person I am who produces sex on a business level, this is like two different people.

Freddie Sayers  15:46

Could you see yourself giving it up for the right person?

Aella  15:49

Now that the right person would not make me have to give it up?

Freddie Sayers  15:55

Well, they might not make make you, but you might want to give it up.

Aella  15:59

Well, I’m polyamorous. Like, very deeply poly. So I wouldn’t want to. I mean, I occasionally behave kind of monogamously naturally in relationships. But this is work. This isn’t like another relationship. I would never give up my work, my job, my income for a man. I mean, maybe if you paid for my whole life, yeah, then sure. But I wouldn’t give up any job for that.

Freddie Sayers  16:23

I’m just gonna play a little bit of devil’s advocate here. And you can tell me if I’m going too far, because I think if older people for example, were listening to this, well, that’s where they might be shocked. But also, if they weren’t, they might think this person seems like a nice person. And I’m sure she’ll get over it. You know, they might think ‘well that sounds great. Now, she’s young and beautiful. And she’s, having all these relationships and doing so well on OnlyFans. Fast forward 10 or 20 years. And, she’ll discover the importance of a kind of committed relationship and companionship and all of that.’ Do people say annoying stuff like that to you? And what would what do you say back to them if they do?

Aella  17:06

Yeah, they do. And I mean, maybe they’re right, maybe in 10 years, I’ll be in a different phase of my life. I could never see myself not being polyamorous. But I could see myself maybe wanting to switch to a different job or like focus more specifically on a relationship. There are so many long-term, married for 20 years, poly people that have kids, you know. So a committed family and settling down is not outside the realm. Yeah, sure that might happen. So I think the thing that bothers me often are when people fail to model how different brains can be, and how different actual visceral preferences can be. I do not judge it all. People who want to be monogamous and are horrified by OnlyFans and think they could never do it. Like, of course, you could never do it, it makes sense. Like your brain is very different from mine. If my brain was structured like yours, I could not do it either. It’s just like the way that I process incentives is different. And so the thing that I want is a little bit more wiggle room and space and acknowledgement that I might not be lying to myself about whether or not I’m like dying inside. Like, it’s possible for a human to be constructed such that they aren’t actually dying inside when they do something like this.

Freddie Sayers  18:17

You talked about the brain and humans being constructed, do you actually think it’s like a physiological difference? Or there’s something about the way you’re built that is different? Or do you think it’s that the way you’ve the combination of the experiences you’ve been through in the way you’ve been brought up has led to you to a place where you feel like this?

Aella  18:34

I mean, that’s the million dollar question, right? I think, most likely it’s a a unique combination of both. I think that my brain is actually different. I’ve noticed this ever since I was a kid, like I was different from other kids. Just like the ways I process things, and like my parents could confirm this. So there’s something going on just in that. And also, the way I was raised was super weird. So who knows?

Freddie Sayers  18:58

I said, there were two bits of that, when you were joking about morals. The other bit of morality, away from all of this stuff about whether sex should be sacred, is other people. And whether this harms other people in any way. You know, you put you posted that amazing chart showing how 99 point something percent of contributors on OnlyFans basically make nothing or make tiny amounts from OnlyFans. Is there an argument to say, it’s worked out for you, you’re a strong person, and you’ve been incredibly successful with it, but it is kind of setting an example or it’s encouraging thousands and thousands of other people to go down this path who may be less well suited to it, and who end up you know, feeling shitty about it and not making any money anyway.

Aella  19:46

Yeah, I think that this is definitely possible. I think that a lot of girls are in that exact boat right now. Like it’s very popular. They’ve never done sex work before. It seems to be kind of normalised and they’re like, we’ll give it a try. They set up an account. They can’t get any you subscribe to them, and then they give out. This is I think most of the the lower range of girls who are working. Yeah, this is very valid. I think that also we have to be careful not to like apply our standards to individuals making it the best decision for them themselves, a lot of people are poorer than you might think. And to them even being on the flat end is still a life changing amount of money. And it could be they don’t have any other options. And so like, while I’m sympathetic as a whole, this might be sort of a encouraging phenomenon for people who aren’t doing what might be in their best interest, — I still tend to try to stay on the side of people know what’s best for them individually. It’s not our right to tell someone that no, they shouldn’t be doing this, this hurts them.

Freddie Sayers  20:48

This is not your problem, because you’re not the owner of OnlyFans, you’re just a participant in it, but does the existence of it make the world a better place? Or less good place, do you think?

Aella  21:03

Better than the world was before? Yes. So I mean, just in regards to people who are doing sex work OnlyFans takes 20% as opposed to 50% or more, which was the industry standard before OnlyFans, which is a massive change. And I think part of the success, one it removes in industry power away, and it’s more individualised and atomized. Which is also super important. Like basically for the performer side, this is immensely better than anything that existed, it’s been a massive improvement.

Freddie Sayers  21:35

That logic is basically that if it’s going to happen anyway, better that it happens in a kind of safe way where the performers or control around environment.

Aella  21:44

Right, absolutely. Porn is going to occur. And the best way to allow porn to occur is to let women do it themselves. Don’t go work for an agency, like don’t get hired by a big company that takes most of the money. Let it be independently controlled. Or at least have that option. If a girl wants to go to an agency she can.

Freddie Sayers  22:01

In your feed or in your performance, do you have boundaries, I mean, other things that you won’t do?

Aella  22:09

Anal. It hurts. I don’t like things that go up my butt. I don’t like having one island video calls with people very much. I mean, some people are fine. But like, as a whole, I don’t want to open it up. I like doing things where I feel like I can go into the mind of the person watching me and it feels like ‘Oh, yes, this this is an arousing or desirable thing’. Sometimes when people request fetish stuff, I have a more difficult time like going into the mind. Like somebody wants me to roll socks off my feet very slowly and put my foot in like a pile of jam. Or it could be like weird stuff like that. And I’m fine doing it, I have no shame, no judgement. But it’s hard for me to like, inhabit the mind of somebody who’s really aroused by that. And so it’s difficult for me to do it in a way that like feels satisfying.

Freddie Sayers  22:58

That is really interesting. So you’re sort of imagining what it feels like from their perspective, because up until now, the way you’ve talked about it has been this quite sort of rational performance that you don’t really care about. Or that it doesn’t emotionally invest with you. But if you’re kind of thinking about what it feels like from the person on the other end of the camera that suggests some elements of a connection or that it is in some way a meaningful activity for you.

Aella  23:24

Yeah, definitely. I mean, it’s compartmentalised for me. So, this is another way my brain is different. Even from a very early age, like I’ve very different, my modes of being depend on the environment. So there’s no bleed over to my personal life. But the part of me that does engage with it feels pretty genuine, like I do actually care for these people. And I can’t really work, it’s not motivating, if I don’t feel like there’s some sort of feedback loop so that I can feel the way that they like it. Also, it’s just good for figuring out what to do like, like, it helps me think about the business and how to make the business better. And how to earn more income is by understanding really deeply what people want to see.

Freddie Sayers  24:06

Do you think of them as your fans? As the title would suggest? Are they customers? Are they friends in any way? I mean, have you struck up any relationships with people who follow you? How close have you got to them?

Aella  24:20

It really varies. I have a lot of subscribers and most of them are sort of…

Freddie Sayers  24:24

How many do you have?

Aella  24:25

I don’t really know. I have I think 2,900 right now. There are people who are very regular and some of whom have followed me for years. And I feel like I know them. I might not always be like the best at connecting with them. But I do feel a lot of empathy for them. I really like seeing them.

Freddie Sayers  24:46

Would you meet up with them in real life?

Aella  24:48

Yeah, definitely. In the right circumstances. I have before like when I go to conventions, and then I’ll be in like an open space and you can come say hi to me or something.

Freddie Sayers  24:58

What if one of them wanted an IRL, in real life, experience, would you say yes to it?

Aella  25:05

If they paid for it? Yeah. This isn’t a thing where it’s like you crossing the bed like I wouldn’t. That’s a thing where you have to keep it the compartmental thing.

Freddie Sayers  25:14

So that would be a boundary. Has that happened?

Aella  25:17

Yeah, years ago, my friend and I did a raffle and somebody won, it wasn’t sexual, though. I have escorted in the past. So I’m not like against that. But in regards to the online stuff, I don’t really it’s like complicated. But yes, I have met up met up with a cam fan. Oh, no. A couple times, actually. It’s been years. Sorry. Yeah, and we didn’t do anything sexual, but it was really nice.

Freddie Sayers  25:41

But so now if the customer says I would like to have sex, you would have a price for that?

Aella  25:47

Yeah. It’s very high.

Freddie Sayers  25:53

So is there a dangerous aspects of that? Are you worried for your personal safety? Do any of these fans become stalkers? You know, are you putting yourself in a vulnerable position by doing this?

Aella  26:06

Since I’ve started OnlyFans, I have not met up with anybody from the get go. Because OnlyFans is very strict about talking about meeting up so I just don’t, I don’t really try. Plus, I make so much from it anyway that it’s not really a good business idea. I have had some people turn it stalkers. I have one crazy person who sends me I think almost 1000 emails in 2020. He sends me multiple a day like very long. And it’s a pretty upsetting. But most people don’t turn into stalkers.

Freddie Sayers  26:37

At one point, you said that you don’t like OnlyFans culture? What did you mean by that?

Aella  26:44

So I’ve had run into trouble with other OnlyFans girls, a lot of trouble. Because I tweet controversial things. And that has gotten me kicked out of some OnlyFans support groups, which makes me mad.So I made my own better support group. But yeah, they’re very, very, like social justice, very leftist overall.

Freddie Sayers  27:10

Another thing you said is that it can be anxious making or can be stressful to produce all this content.

Aella  27:18

Yeah, absolutely. Especially if you’re trying to maintain a certain income.

Freddie Sayers  27:24

So I guess that’s, you know, is this a way to liberate? Or is there any sense in which you’re now kind of just going to a different kind of Master, which is this audience and they need to be fed and serving the whole time?

Aella  27:41

Yeah, sometimes I wonder,

Freddie Sayers  27:43

Do you find it liberating, or do you any more liberating or anxious making on that spectrum?

Aella  27:48

It’s more liberating, because like, before, someone else was the one in control. It’s so decentralised, you know. I have a decentralised master. And if I don’t like the thing that they’re asking me to do, I can just change my brand and who I’m marketing to, and then I get a different set. So yeah, it is stressful, and it’s definitely not perfect, but the sense of control that I feel — it sort of makes it all a lot more tolerable.

Freddie Sayers  28:15

I know that OkCupid has kicked you out. And you put that on Twitter recently that this is an agency or website that you’ve used to meet real life people and have real life relationships, and they’ve kicked you off. Why have they kicked you off? And how does that make you feel?

Aella  28:33

It’s not uncommon, like, maybe not because I’m a sex worker, maybe it’s cuz it’s something else random. But maybe it is because I’m a sex worker. And that does tend to happen to us. So yeah, it’s kind of sex. I’ve gotten kicked off of Tinder and PayPal as well.

Freddie Sayers  28:49

So do you feel like is that a discrimination situation? You feel like that shouldn’t be allowed? Or do you understand where they’ve kicked you off?

Aella  28:57

I mean, they’re private businesses. So I’m very hesitant to say they shouldn’t be allowed to remove anybody they want for any reason. I am okay socially shaming them publicly for doing so. But I would be very careful to actually enact force against this company. I think that like they’re trying to satisfy a user base who are very anti sex work, which is probably why they do it. I’m just like, deeply disappointed because it didn’t used to be like that, that website.

Freddie Sayers  29:24

And do you feel that same sort of discrimination or sense of like disapproval in your regular life? I mean, do you do you ever find that people who’re serving you coffee know that this is what you do, and they make comments about it? Or do you feel entirely protected and embraced by your real life society?

Aella  29:47

Ironically, the least protected and embraced I feel are on YouTube comments. So I’m like a little ready for it? No, my society is pretty good. I’m in a bubble of people similar to me who are, I would say, I want to say like leftist, socially, maybe not tend to be a little bit more of like libertarian grey tribe rationalist tribe. And they tend to be extremely accepting of sex work. Like I mentioned, a lot of girls in this tribe have done sex work. So I feel like totally fine with it. I’m like, super open. And if somebody is really upset by it, they usually end up not getting close to me in the first place. And not people don’t really recognise me when I go out for coffee. Not that I have recently.

Freddie Sayers  30:31

Are other friends of yours doing similar thing is there a little OnlyFans bubble going around Washington?

Aella  30:37

Well, there is an OnlyFans bubble. Some of the people, the women in my communities are also doing OnlyFans. But you know, a lot of them aren’t. A lot of them are just like the rationalist community, or some are like meditation or circling or a lot of people maybe are against sex work in theory. But if you’re actually talking to a sex worker who seems like a human, like suddenly, you become a lot more tolerant, because that’s just what we do. Like when we meet someone in front of you, who is something that you dislike, you feel compelled to treat them socially well.

Freddie Sayers  31:09

So you mentioned politics, I’ve got a follow up on that we often have political conversations on this channel. So you would consider yourself kind of socially, extremely progressive, whilst, in other respects, extremely libertarian?

Aella  31:23

Is that conservative, which I think is libertarian means… Yeah, I’m pretty libertarian. Yeah.

Freddie Sayers  31:28

So who would you vote for?

Aella  31:31

I actually didn’t didn’t vote.

Freddie Sayers  31:33

But generally have you voted Republican or Democrat in your life?

Aella  31:42

This is gonna be like, a little embarrassed to tell the story. But I wanted to, I was seriously considering renouncing my citizenship of the US for quite some time. And I read somewhere that if you are not registered to vote, then this makes it less likely that they’re going to come after you. So I never registered to vote because I was thinking of renouncing by citizenship.

Freddie Sayers  32:02

So why would you renounce your citizenship? Where would you want to be a citizen of?

Aella  32:06

Yeah, it’s a question. I don’t know. Portugal, maybe?

Freddie Sayers  32:09

Why Portugal?

Aella  32:09

You know, legal drugs. And I don’t know, I never actually moved forward with the plan. But I was just holding off on it just in case because it seems like something you couldn’t undo.

Freddie Sayers  32:24

So you want to be in a place that is as kind of progressive as possible? When no one is judging anyone for anything? Is that right? I mean, is this the dream society? If we have, you know, Aella’s dream society, is that what it looks like? Would you say it’s an individualistic society? Or is it just a kind of free place where anything goes?

Aella  32:47

That’s such a big question. It’s a massive question. I want to say sure, like freedom, you know, no judgement, I understand that. There’s problems you could easily think of scenarios like, ‘oh, what about this scenario? Would you like want freedom then?’ Right. And so I know, it’s a grey area. I’m not saying that there’s a clear like, yes, no, I think that my society would have the grey area moved over a bit like I don’t want the grey where it is. Now. I want the grey area more in the direction of freedom, you know.

Freddie Sayers  33:16

But is it not true that this is the freest we’ve ever been? I mean, in history, it’s way more Aella-ish than we’ve ever been as a species. I mean judgement, at least in America, if compared to the 80s, or the 70s, or the 50s or before, people aren’t judged like they used to be. Everyone seems to be able to decide their own morals.

Aella  33:47

Oh, are you talking about like socially free or like, are governmentally free? Because it seems like we’ve had greater government freedoms in the past, like, cut centuries ago, maybe millennia.

Freddie Sayers  33:59

Socially, I would certainly say that’s true. Tell me about being governmentally free, what does that really mean?

Aella  34:08

Well, I’m just imagining, there’s been lots of times in the past where it seems like people sort of lived in very rural areas where the government oversight was kind of minimal, you can kind of do whatever you want, wild west type deal. This is all of history, obviously. But it seemed like there were more people living farther away from other people. And that seems to sort of directly tied to being a little bit more independent from the government. I think we are probably more socially free today, in the sense that there’s more, like the Internet has done a lot for that ideological criminal. Before, things tended to be much more conservative in the sense of like, sexuality was much more regulated because we didn’t have birth control. So that makes sense.

Freddie Sayers  34:50

All of that movement that you’ve talked about. A lot of people are really worried about it. A lot of people think this has gone too far, and they want to society to go in the other direction. For example, they’re worried that people have become so kind of isolated on their own, they don’t have structures and communities and families that are embracing them. And nowadays, it feels like you’re just sort of turned out and given the huge internet and told you can make your own mind up about what matters and a lot of people that’s it’s hard. It’s too much. They end up lost and isolated and alienated and sad.

Aella  35:29

Yeah, that seems absolutely true. It’s impossible to go back. You can’t undo the internet. I think that we definitely need to figure out a way to include what we already have and to like, sort of modify it and do a new thing. But I don’t think going back is the answer. I do agree that there are significant problems with where we are now. And I understand. I sympathise with the desire to have the old thing again. I just think we need to have the old thing, but like, we have to figure out a new way to have the old thing. A lot of people in my circles are talking about ‘how do we build communes?’ You know, ‘how do we form a community?’, ‘How do we solve the same exact problem?’

Freddie Sayers  36:06

So what about the porn industry? For example, that’s been in the news, and there was this New York Times thing, about Pornhub having all sorts of horrible scenes on it with young underage people and violent scenes and the rest of it. Would you be in favour of kind of policing that better?

Aella  36:25

That’s also a pretty vague question. Yes. And no. I do not understand the exact failure that Pornhub actually did. It might have been bad. It’s possible, but there’s a little bit of moralistic hype around it. I don’t know the facts. So policing, like it very much depends. I think, overall, things tend to be a little bit over policed.

Freddie Sayers  36:52

Do you think that even the porn industry is over policed?

Aella  36:55

Isn’t there a law now in California that you have to wear condoms in porn scenes? You know, it’s like porn performers are the most STD-free group of people because they get tested like twice a week. It’s still like a moralistic thing, right? Like they’re not introducing condoms because they’re actually concerned about the performer. So it’s like, just that’s oversight is too much.

Freddie Sayers  37:16

What about violent scenes?

Aella  37:19

What about them?

Freddie Sayers  37:20

Should they be allowed?

Aella  37:23

If the performers are consenting, why wouldn’t they?

Freddie Sayers  37:29

I think there’s a question about that consent isn’t there. You talked about the long tail of performers who are actually there out of desperation — if they’re performing a violent scene, at some point maybe we need to say that’s not something we should just accept.

Aella  37:48

So you’re worried then that if somebody wants money, and there’s somebody who’s like, ‘Hey, you can make money if you go let yourself get beat up by this person’ And so we consider them like not able to make a full choice, and then we say that’s bad. Is that your argument?

Freddie Sayers  38:03

I think the argument would be that if we reach the point where the only way a person can make money is to go and get beaten up in a porn scene, we have failed as a society. And that’s not good enough. And that we shouldn’t just sort of shrug our shoulders and say, ‘Hey, that was their choice’. I think that would be people’s objection.

Aella  38:24

Yeah. I mean, it’s like it’s a reasonable objection. I think that it’s kind of unlikely. Like, most people who get into porn for the first time aren’t doing porn beat up scenes. I think I there’s still some flexibility and choice in it. Like if you’re like, ‘hey, I don’t have any money, I want to get into porn’ there’s a pretty wide variety of ways I could do it. OnlyFans reduces the need for you to go to a place where they’re gonna tell you to do a get beat up.

Freddie Sayers  38:53

Do you worry about the long term impact on the performers? Like they might have thought it was okay when they were 17 or 18 and they started doing it, but it’s there to haunt them for the rest of their life. Are you worried about that?

Aella  39:08

I have a suspicion that people are more educated about their own risk than we are. So like, for example, I worked with this one cam girl for a while. And she was really worried about doing it because she’s like, Am I going to lose like, Are people not going to marry me later. And she came from a society where she already picked up that messaging so she knew that was a risk, whereas I hadn’t in my culture, people were marrying sex workers all the time. So I think that like even at 17 18, because we were pretty young at the time, maybe not that young, but pretty close. Like she had already known that this is going to be a risk to some degree. And it’s possible that she didn’t like fully estimate that risk and that like, but I also think that more people are willing to marry sex workers than a lot of people think like a third of the sex workers in my survey were married. It’s not that hard to find.

Freddie Sayers  40:01

So what about the guys? I mean, what effect does all of this have on guys? Do you think? Every 12 year old, 13 year olds now probably finds a way to see hardcore pornography. Do you think through all of this liberation we’re kind of giving birth to a fucked up generation of men who only think sex should be in this kind of corny way? And, you know, don’t respect women properly? And all of those things? Are you worried about what kind of men we’re going to end up with?

Aella  40:39

So my intuition on this, I could be wrong, is that independent girl stuff is better than the industry stuff. Because a lot of what you see from OnlyFans or cam girls, it’s not the same kind of like, odd position like dick, pounding, crazy moaning, like that sort of stereotype, right? This much, you see that much less with the girl stuff, it’s amateur stuff. And I think that this sort of reflects what men want to some degree. I’m not speaking for all men and I don’t fully know the impact that it’s having on them, so it this is a valid concern. I would be interested in maybe studies to see because it could go either way. But I do want to say that one of the things that surprised me the most in my sex work career is how much men don’t seem to want the pound pound fake moan, but other intimacy, like, they’re not here really looking for sex alone, they’re here looking for a woman who loves them. And, and that feels like built in to the way that I’ve experienced men in sex work. So like, when people are like, well, is it just gonna give men like a false idea of sex? Like, to some extent, maybe, but also I don’t think it’s going to change that core drive. It’s always going to be there.

Freddie Sayers  41:51

So why will these porn companies producing as you call it the ‘pound pound’ porn, if it’s not what people want? Have they just made a kind of massive market research error and actually, they should be producing kind of sensitive, loving porn is, is that what’s going on?

Aella  42:09

Well, I don’t know about sensitive, loving porn. So one thing is, when it’s produced by a giant market company, it’s extremely difficult to introduce any sort of intimacy with it. Because like, the woman is not in control of it, it’s very obvious to the person who’s watching that the woman is not the one who made the porn. So already there, you’ve cut off the men who might want to see something like that. You’re right that this is like a a point of evidence against my theory. It could be if I were going to keep arguing my theory here, it would be something like that it might be actually a marketing error.

Like I see this done a lot with girls themselves. So like, a girl will start doing camming or doing OnlyFans, and then she’ll just be doing pure sex because the narrative around men is that they that they just want sex. And so if you’re producing sex, you’re like ‘why would I produce any sort of intimacy?’ or ‘why would I actually develop a relationship with these people?’ Because the stereotype is men want sex, which I think existed well before pornography. And so they just do that. And it sells well, obviously. And beforehand, we didn’t really have a way of pulling in the intimacy to it, because you’re doing it with studios. Now, we do have the way pulling intimacy with OnlyFans, and camming. And we are seeing a very strong success of girls who have built intimate relationships with their audience And if you look at any of the top performers, besides celebrity, they’re sort of a different breed. If you’re famous, you can just make money for being famous. But if you like, go to a campsite, and you look at the top rated girl, and watch her interact, like there’s more than just sex going on.

Freddie Sayers  43:49

So would you even argue that you’re trying to make that situation better? By producing content that is less emotionless and empty, right? Maybe we’ll end up as more rounded men.

Aella  44:08

That’s the goal. If I’m a devil’s advocate against my position now, it could be that we’re just hurting worse, right? Like, if the porn is fake and the intimacy is unconditional, like one aspect of the intimacy is that you’re not honest about the negative things that you feel. If they do something you don’t like, you don’t tell them you’re like, ‘wow, that’s great’. And I think that might be actually also damaging for the men, because they’re experiencing relationships where there’s no difficult feedback. And that is something I’m a little bit worried about. I don’t have enough information to know if it is going to be long term harmful. Or maybe this is the boost they need. Like maybe men need to have an accepting relationship with the sex worker first to give them the confidence to actually move on.

Freddie Sayers  44:53

If you’re the girlfriend or wife of one of your fans it might be one thing if they just watching empty pornography, but if they’ve got this kind of semi intimate relationship with you, that’s kind of moving into that space in some way. I mean, if you were going out with someone who was obsessed with you, as it were, would you feel jealous of it?

Aella  45:16

I don’t think so. But I’m poly. So I’m not the right person to ask. Like, I’m used to dating men who have relationships with other women. And then I hang out with the other woman. It’s just the way that it is. It’s fine for me. But a lot of men, as I’m talking about smaller demographic here, there’s a lot of men who are older who’ve been married for like 20,30 years, who have a relationship with their wife and their wife does not have sex with them anymore. And they want to, like, have a sexual experience with another person.

Because like, I knew one person who got diagnosed with cancer and he’s like, shit, I’m going to die. I don’t want to die without ever having sex again. So I’m going to go see a sex worker like this is you know, an extreme and, and they don’t just want to have like crazy, faceless sex, like porn sex, like it just does not arouse them, like they want to have like some knowledge of the person. And so they’ll develop a little bit of a relationship and get to know them, and then have sex and it’s more satisfying for them that way or like, you know, bisexual services, watch porn, and they like it. But I don’t think I think that is still compartmentalised for them. Not all Obviously, I’m talking in generalities. But I think even for them it is compartmentalise they just they do it enough to hurt to be part of like the sex bag, right? Yeah, to be a person, they want to have sex with a person, not like a figure.

Freddie Sayers  46:30

I want to zoom back to young Aella. What would that 14 year old girl think of you now?

Aella  46:43

She would be horrified. She’d be like she, you’re going to hell? Oh my god, you stopped believing in Jesus and other people see your body? I would have been absolutely mortified. Because I was so sexually conservative. Nobody else had ever seen me naked since I was like two years old. I didn’t even know I had a clit until I was 11. Like my parents weren’t planning on telling you that sex was until I was 16. So like, I hadn’t watched any any mainstream movies where there had been any sex scene at all. We had like a thing on the TV that removed sex scenes. I would have like a mental breakdown.

Freddie Sayers  47:17

And what about your parents? Are you in touch with them?

Aella  47:21

A little bit. Yeah. But they know what I do. Because some kind folks decided to leak my porn to my parents. My mom like, handles it. She just pretends I don’t.

Freddie Sayers  47:31

Well, I think if they watch this video, at least, this is something you could send them because you have just come across as very eloquent. And I think you’ve made some really interesting points. I think our audience will be at the very least fascinated by what you’ve had to say.

Aella  47:52

I’m a little scared of your audience. Not gonna lie.

Freddie Sayers  47:54

Yeah. Well, please, audience be nice. And don’t attack her in the comments, because we’re just going to delete them if they get too mean anyway, which I’m sure they wouldn’t. Thank you so much for your time.

Aella  48:06

Thank you very much for the questions. I felt like you asked harder questions, like sort of like pushier questions, and I don’t usually get that, so that’s cool.

Freddie Sayers  48:20

That was Aella, joining from the west coast of America, a number one or top I think it was 0.3% OnlyFans contributor who made $103,000 in the month of July from doing this. So that was absolutely fascinating. Thanks to her hope you found it interesting. This was LockdownTV.

Join the discussion


  • That was extremely interesting. Thankyou for doing this interview (and thankyou to Aella for interviewing).

    I hope she is successful in life. I don’t agree with the legal drugs bit, but I can’t think of many people who would be as respectful towards alternate opinions as she has been.

  • I would love for Dalrymple and Peterson to comment about this.
    At one point she says “no judgment”.

    I love the sanitized “sex worker” term. Oddly I’ve never heard a parent proudly say “My daughter is a sex worker!”
    Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason that society has proscribed against prostitution for thousands of years?

  • Once again, Freddie Sayers shows what a wonderful interviewer he is. I was surprised when Freddie dropped an f-bomb past the 40-minute mark. Even he had trouble keeping his composure interviewing Aella. It’s a pity that her minister father didn’t choose to finance his lovely and statistically minded daughter’s university education. That was the road not taken and who knows where it might not have led her?

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