I walked the glittering red carpet at the XBIZ Awards to find out what the future holds for a post OnlyFans industry.
“I’m here to celebrate and show off my cleavage,” one woman confides to me as she raises her voice to cover the noise from the audience. The location is full of eyes – the unexpected rain in LA has also brought the red carpet indoors – and everywhere people shine in rain and sweat, bright makeup and tight clothes.
Sometimes compared to the “Golden Globes of Porn“, the XBIZ Awards are the adult entertainment industry’s awards. Filmmakers, directors, actors, production companies and hosting sites have been attending XBIZ since 2003 for networking, to collect their golden trophies and – more than anything – to have fun and exposure. I was invited to this year’s ceremony by Erika Lust , adult indie filmmaker and founder of Lust Cinema, Else Cinema, XConfessions and The Store.
As a sex writer , it’s part of my job to keep abreast of the world of sex and how we talk about it. Lust is more vocal than most. I watched his TED Talk on Big Porn (Which Lust compared to Big Pharma, for all the problems it causes), I listened to his treatise on “female gas” (a ubiquitous and often defining response to bad gas for the industry) and saw the Netflix documentary Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On , which went behind the scenes of Lust’s studio in Barcelona.
Although I already knew about Lust, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a star-studded night in Hollywood. However, I knew what I wanted to know. With the COVID crisis, the Trump-era passage of FOSTA-SESTA , the success of OnlyFans , and a growing demand for ethical, queer-centric erotic content, I had to ask: What is the future of pornography?
“I can see how the industry is transforming, to be honest, because of OnlyFans,” says Tomie Tang , an independent queer creator who started her career in the industry during the pandemic. Tang came to XBIZ with her real-life best friend and on-screen co-star, Ivy , and the two make up what they call “farm-to-table porn” with real queer people and their organic connections.
Sites like OnlyFans have given creators the freedom to make the porn they want and connect directly with fans – instead of going through an agency or production company. For most people I spoke to at XBIZ, power over content means more power over your own life, more behind-the-scenes rights, and more money. As one performer said: Why spend 13 hours on set when I can make just as much money at home with half the effort?
Tang hopes creators will continue to move toward creating indie content. “It’s better for us, especially as women, to be able to own and produce our own content. We are less likely to be exploited and make more money that way.”
Both claim that their success has to do with connecting … read moreRead more