The Nude Economy

Ahh, nudes. They’re there for us in the world’s darkest hour. And by darkest hour, I mean that 2 am quarantine-insomnia hour where you’re not sure whether to have a panic attack, a depressive episode, or if you just really need to get off. 

Right about now you’re wishing you had invested some stock in the nude economy. As an older gentleman recently told me in a liquor store, there’s nothing else to do right now than eat, drink, and cum. And if you’re unlucky like me to not be living with a significant other, you may be doing it all by yourself. Fortunately, there’s tons of quarantine porn out there for you right now.

You also might have noticed an upsurge of Onlyfans links on Instagram, and maybe some unsolicited dick pics in your DMs. You may have even sent a nude or two yourself. And I’d put money on it that you’ve jerked off to some kind of nudity (paid for or otherwise) in the past seven weeks.

Because when there is a demand, there is a supply that happily follows it. And while there has always been a demand, right now we are in unprecedented times. People are out of work and looking for ways to make money, and others are stuck at home with just their hands and a couple of bitcoins to spend. You may think I am exaggerating, but Onlyfans has reported a 75% increase in sign-ups during quarantine– that is 170,000 new users per day. Pornography sites like Pornhub have also reported increased site traffic, though this is partially due to them offering free premium subscriptions. 

Despite the United States’ rabid consumption of porn, there is still a stigma around those who create it. From nudes between partners, to “premium Snapchats”, to strippers and professional porn-stars, each creator is doing the exact same thing: sharing their naked human bodies. And yet we judge them, albeit differently. We judge women who obliged to send nudes to a romantic interest. We judge women who create Onlyfans accounts to make a quick buck for themselves in times of economic strife. We judge women who are so good at what they do they can make a living off it. We simultaneously sensationalize and degrade these women’s bodies. 

Remember that woman (dubbed “The Naked Philanthropist”) who raised over a million dollars by selling nudes for the Australian bush-fires earlier this year? She did it for goddamn charity, and yet Instagram shut down her account, her family disowned her, and she’s received online harassment and criticism. 

The Naked Philanthropist was also a victim of the black-market nude economy– the trading of girls’ nudes like baseball cards and posting them (illegally) online to exist forever and ever. They covet these nude photos, and yet they speak so poorly of the human being in them. 

So, why is it that we consume porn so voraciously, and then circle back and slut-shame those who created it for us? Is it some beef with nudity, or with the selling of it? Is it so maddening that women can create such massive profits off horny dudes that men are in a state of self-loathing? Or is there no logic to it at all? Are we doomed to live in a Catch-22 where nudity and sexuality are both our biggest profit-makers and our most taboo profession; where we can consume but not create? 

All this to say: next time you watch some porn, receive fire nudes, go to the strip club, or buy a Playboy magazine, appreciate the woman behind it. I want you to think “Good for her!”goodforher

Also, here’s some more links to learn more:

Tracking Historical Representations of the Female Nude by Richard K. Yu

Britannica’s History of Pornography

Vox: “A new law intended to curb sex trafficking threatens the future of the internet as we know it” An explanation of the intentions and implications of FOSTA/SESTA 

Vox: “Tumblr is banning adult content. It’s about so much more than porn” ‘Female-presenting nipples’ got a bad rap on Tumblr in 2018

DailyEdge: “The business of bodies: Critics of OnlyFans users show the hypocrisy that still surrounds women’s agency” More tea on the slut-shaming epidemic.


Featured Image: The Nude Maja by Francisco Goya 

“The painting is controversial for obvious reasons of exposing a naked woman – it will go down in history as “the first totally profane life-size female nude in Western art“ — thought to be at least one of the first explicit depictions of female pubic hair”- Daily Art Magazine






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