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illustration Marianne Wilson

Inside the world of selling nudes online

The custom nude business is on the rise, a job that lets you work from home, set your own hours, and choose your clients

For just $1 a minute, you can sext Cece. For $10 you can get access to Leah’s private Snapchat, or $15 for her used underwear. For $20, you can get a full face, total body nude from Lil Mami. A new wave of women are putting on (and taking off) their best lingerie to make extra cash in the most 2019 way: taking and selling nudes right from their smartphones and sending them directly to individual customers.

A quick search on Reddit or Twitter for “nudes for sale” presents a slew of women offering nudes du jour. You’ll find girls’ bios that read “Just tryna put myself through grad school” and guys tweeting “No matter what you look like, if you're female I'll buy your nudes, PayPal, no questions asked #sellingnudes #buyingnudes”.

Horny clients are turning to buying nudes the same way they turned to watching cam girls as opposed to watching porn. Those in the market for custom nudes want a more personal form of “porn”, and you better believe they’re willing to pay up for it. Spend more to see more skin. Spend even more and the model might even moan your name in a video made just for you. Selling and buying nudes allows for a unique “relationship” between seller and buyer – one that requires neither party to leave their home and zero in-person face-to-face time.

Levels of involvement range from photos being sold with limited personal interaction or a more involved correspondence with dirty talk sexting, or even just straight up chatting. Many sellers are adamant about not having meet-ups with clients. Still, fans feel like they have their own intimate relationship with the girl they’re buying nudes from, plus, of course, custom spank bank material.

“I love sex work for the reason all small business owners love their business. I make my own hours, I find my work enjoyable, and I don't answer to anyone!” – Cece

25-year-old Cece, AKA Braless Wonder on Reddit, got her start in the industry selling panties when she was 20, in her second year of university. After realising other sellers were offering sexting sessions with customers, she decided to give it a go. The money she made helped her pay for school.

“I'd entertained the idea of camming before, but didn't like the streaming aspect, or having to entertain a room of ‘patrons’ until someone bought a show,” she tells Dazed. “It felt impersonal and I knew I would feel awkward, not sexy – but these sellers weren't camming, it was more like sexting, which I always enjoyed in my personal sex life.”

Over time, Cece has moved on from neck-down photos, revealing her face, tattoos, and personality to clients, which has helped in brand building. Now, she’s open about her kinks with clients, and sometimes works them into photos. Her clients enjoy “getting a real person” and she says she’s been happier with work since embracing her kinks and her sex worker identity.

Plus, this unique work-from-home job ended up being a perfect gig for Cece, who suffers from anxiety and sometimes has trouble leaving the house. “I've had anxiety my whole life, but it started manifesting big time as an adult,” she admits. “While I consider myself a bright and educated woman, for various reasons to do with my anxiety and mental health, I’ve had a difficult time working traditional desk jobs. I love sex work for the reason all small business owners love their business. I make my own hours, I find my work enjoyable, and I don't answer to anyone! I make enough money to live very comfortably, at a fraction of the hours I would work a traditional job.”

While Reddit is a very sex worker-friendly environment, subscription-based website Patreon also lacks policy against nude photos (as long as they are marked NSFW), so the site has become a popular home for sellers. Kennedy Dawn, 24, is a model and writer who started selling nudes via private messages before she moved on to Patreon. She offers various subscription tiers ranging from “PG”, featuring four lingerie or implied nudes ($5 a month), to “X-Plus”, which boasts at least 20 lingerie, implied nude, and full nude photos along with a unique polaroid ($75+ a month).

Kennedy has multiple artistic passions, and making money through Patreon allows her to pursue them. While she’s only been selling nudes for less than a year (and just three months on Patreon) she cites numerous benefits to the gig. “My rent gets paid and my time is all mine. I also enjoy taking new photos and creating work that I’m actually proud of. It’s a great way to get comfortable with yourself. I just choose to also make money from it.” Paid rent and higher self esteem? Sounds good to me.

The job doesn’t come without struggles, of course. Kennedy says the hardest part is interacting with customers. “It can get overwhelming and sometimes uncomfortable. Some guys aren’t happy with what’s provided and think they deserve more, or think that they can ask me for help when they want it,” she confesses. “No. That’s not what I do.”

“I enjoy taking new photos and creating work that I’m actually proud of. It’s a great way to get comfortable with yourself. I just choose to also make money from it” – Kennedy

Then, of course, there’s Twitter, which is surprisingly loaded with nudes and pornographic GIFs. Twitter is the platform of choice for 23-year-old Kasie, who has amassed a loyal following of over 50,000 since joining in July 2018. One topless photo from early February received a massive 11,000 retweets. She posts teaser photos and videos advertising her “premium” Snapchat account or soliciting DMs from potential clients.

For Kasie, it’s a side job while she concentrates on being a full time university student. “I really just wanted a simpler way to earn money in college,” she reveals. “I had already been modeling for a while so I wanted to take it to the next step, modelling nude, while also modelling nude privately for people who would want to pay for that.”

The flexibility of work hours is the best part of the job for Kacie, who says: “I literally focus on school from the time I wake up ‘till night. After finishing school work I have to update my premium Snapchat, reply to emails, and reply to DMs, which seem to get re-stacked with messages everyday. But in the end it's worth it.”

The custom nude business is on the rise, and despite critics and payment platforms discriminating against sex workers, show no signs of slowing down. Like many things done in 2019, all you really need to get started is your phone and an audience. If you can grow a self made business, pay your rent, cover tuition, and gain self confidence, more power to you. At the end of the day, a job is a job. Many people take racy photos – some people just get paid for it.