“America’s Sex Recession” 



First I listened to the Daily.  Turns out that when you’re vaccinated few antibodies populate your nose, and it’s from your proboscis that most Covid droplets emanate. Therefore, if you get a breakthrough infection, you’re just as contagious as the unvaccinated. So you may not have a bad case of Covid, but those susceptible around you, the unvaccinated and the immune-challenged, are at full risk.

Having finished that, I listened to Ken Burns on Sway. And ended up confused as to whether I liked him or not. On one hand he’s apologizing for the perception of his success, on another he’s a Luddite, yet he wants to get the history right. But he is smart, and was interesting to listen to.

Then it was past ten and I was halfway down the trail and I was wondering what to listen to next. The truth is there are many podcasts, but few worth listening to. And I’m scrolling through my list and I think of Bari Weiss, who I don’t always agree with, but is uber intelligent (as well as uber self-confident!) So I scroll through Bari’s offerings and really none of them are ringing my bell, but then I see one entitled “America’s Sex Recession.” I’m up for a discussion of sex in the pandemic era, interested to hear Bari’s spin on it, especially since she’s been married to a man and is now engaged to a woman, her perspective would be unique.

And Bari’s going on about men having less sex and the reasons therefor. And she gets to blaming it on the internet. And then she plays a segment from the movie “Her” where the protagonist falls in love with an operating system. The crazy thing is when you listen to the clip you get it, the tone of voice the woman behind the OS employs. Most men are rejected by women, or experience a flat affect in return, but this OS woman’s voice is engaging, I caught the tone immediately, the one you get when the woman you’re speaking to likes you.

Which doesn’t happen that often.

So I’m rounding a curve thinking about something else, that happens, especially when hiking, and then I start to realize that it’s no longer the computer speaking, but a real person. Bari is talking to Aella.

Hmm… Never heard of her. But as her story unfolded I was riveted.

Turns out Aella is a sex worker. She started on MyFreeCams and then became an escort IRL and now is on OnlyFans. And she’s at the tippity-top of OnlyFans, and that’s where all the money is, just like on Spotify.

And then as I step onto the rocky shortcut, Aella says she spends 80% of her time marketing and 20% actually creating.

And that’s when I thought of writing this, telling you to listen to this podcast. Which is ultimately just an interview with Aella. The first half being the facts, the second half being her perspective.

So it turns out she got burned out on MyFreeCams, playing the ratings game. To get on the home page… It comes down to how much you’re making per hour. So, you’ve got to get customers to pay from the very start. And you’ve got to be on the service constantly to build an audience to begin with. It’s a job, with pressure! You think you just set up a cam and you’re off to the races, making dough, but that is patently untrue.

But on OnlyFans, you’re ultimately in business for yourself. There are multiple ways to play. You can charge a high monthly fee and provide all content. A low monthly fee and upsell some content. Aella employs a hybrid model. A lot for free, but she upsells too.

All the marketing is done on Reddit. She’s posting multiple times a day. The posts are automated/timed, to when the best reception/most views occur.

So Bari starts talking to Aella about her relationship with her members. And Aella says the great thing about OnlyFans is the men are not in competition with one another, you can’t see what someone else is doing so you believe you’ve got a one on one relationship with the provider, in this case Aella. On MyFreeCams you can see the whales dropping bucks and you get discouraged, believing you’ll never have a chance. As for the reality of the relationship on OnlyFans? The truth is some women have content farms responding to subscribers, it’s all false, but not Aella.

And then the discussion centers on what men want. It turns out their primary interest is in connecting. They don’t want to talk about sex so much as who Aella is, and who they are. Almost like a real date. Conventional wisdom is men are wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am but this is totally false, that’s just a sliver of the population.

And Aella is so intelligent, and neither smug nor off-putting in any way.

So Bari asks which form of monetization Aella prefers. And she says escorting.

This makes no sense to me. Putting yourself at risk with men?

But Aella said she’s high-priced, and her customers…

Are usually men who can’t make it with women. They just don’t know how to play the game. Forget having sex with a woman, they don’t know how to talk to a woman at all, and they’re hiring Aella to learn how to do it. So one customer just wants to be held. Another is so weird he can’t connect with anybody. But Aella says she’s weird enough that they could relate. She says she continues to think about these customers. And yes Bari, she is somewhat like a therapist. God, if men listened to this podcast Aella would be overbooked! But right now, during the pandemic, she’s only on OnlyFans.

So what we’ve got here is a woman with her own business making bank with very few customers, relatively speaking. She’s not reaching everybody, she’s not Ariana Grande, but she’s in control of her own life and is more than making a living.

So I thought of musical groups. And all that marketing. Then I thought how that’s what acts are good at these days, online marketing, it’s only the music that is unappealing. Conversely, you can have great music and without the marketing you can’t make it. And the truth is Reddit and other social media platforms are more powerful than traditional media for almost all acts. And all we hear about is Facebook, almost no one talks about Reddit.

So who is Aella? Where did she come from?

I’m driving home now, steaming via Bluetooth to my sound system. And it turns out Aella was raised in a strict evangelical Christian household. With even a censoring device on the television. She saw “Titanic,” but she didn’t know that Leonardo and Kate had a love relationship. She was living in darkness. She went to public school for a bit at fourteen, but her parents immediately extricated her when they found out they had internet in the classroom. Sure, they had internet at home, but only a few sites were approved.

So Aella goes off to college, her eyes start opening and then she runs out of cash and her parents refuse to foot the bill. So she works in a factory. Sixty hours a week at ten bucks an hour. And then a friend tells her about camming.

Now ultimately Aella says that looks do matter. That once you’re even slightly overweight, your revenue goes down, way down. And when I looked her up later I could see that Aella was almost painfully thin. Oh, she’s 29, she’s been doing this for ten years.

And she’s talking about her body, she had plastic surgery because her nose was crooked. And she experimented with injectables, but no one seemed to notice the difference. And Bari starts wondering about plastic surgery and Aella says she sees he body as a tool, nothing more.

And then Bari starts bringing up hot points. About the killing of… And Aella went crazy. Sure, Asians were killed, but that wasn’t the point, Asians should not be discriminated against, but the truth is those women were SEX WORKERS, that was what it was all about! And now she doesn’t trust the press.

You can try listening to sex podcasts. They’re unlistenable. You’ve got hosts who are constantly laughing, it’s R-rated discourse that doesn’t satisfy and certainly doesn’t titillate. As for the ones interviewing those involved in the game… The truth is too often they’re outcasts, you can’t relate to them, never mind they can’t even tell a good story. But Aella? It’s like sitting down with your next door neighbor’s adult child and being impressed as this smart woman tells you her tale and wrestles with the concepts. This wasn’t lowest common denominator sexual innuendoes, this was intelligent conversation, this was impressive!

So at first I was fascinated by the business issues. How much selling it took to make a living. That marketing seemed abhorrent to me, but is it necessary to make bread?

Then I was wowed by the truth about men. We just read about these blowhard “winners,” who manipulate women and then discard them, it being all about sex, when the truth is this is not representative of men at large whatsoever.

Then there was the insane Christian upbringing.

And finally, the viewpoint. There’s an expert in every field online, but instead we get journalists telling the story and too often getting it wrong.

You want to listen to this.

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