Sex

Couples Who Started Making Porn in the Pandemic Tell Us How It’s Going

Some of them say they're sincerely enjoying their new jobs.
February 24, 2021, 8:23pm
Couples Who Started Making Porn in the Pandemic Tell Us How It’s Going
Photo by filadendron via Getty Images
A fresh look at how young people are striking out and pursuing their independent ambitions.

Cassie and Alex, a married non-binary lesbian couple who go by their first names professionally, both lost their jobs in retail due to the pandemic. When Alex suggested making porn together, Cassie immediately agreed. “We made our PornHub account that night and had our first video posted the next day,” said Alex. 

Cassie and Alex perform almost exclusively as a couple. They thought porn would most likely be a temporary side gig, and neither expected the video to reach many viewers. They were surprised and happy that it didn’t work out as they thought: “It hit 1,000 views in the first day. That's when we started to wonder if this was something we could do full-time,” said Cassie. “Currently, it is our full-time and only income. Ideally, it will always be.”

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Though people always like porn, its popularity has significantly risen throughout the pandemic—more people are watching it, and more people are making and selling it. OnlyFans reported a significant rise in signups from new adult content creators, some of whom are laid-off workers looking to earn an income through camming, clip sales, or other forms of online sex work. Some of these performers have teamed up to make videos with their live-in partners, to either help boost their incomes or be supportive to the person they love, or both. Many couples are finding that they really like working together on camera.

Making porn requires carefully coordinated teamwork and a significant amount of unsexy logistical planning, but even more so when you’re doing it with a partner. For Cassie and Alex, this means laying out a work schedule and discussing the details of how, when, and where they’ll shoot their content. “We have regular morning meetings with our coffee and calendars in bed. We plan out the scenes we want to film that week and block out time for collaborations,” said Cassie. “We bring up ideas of things we've seen and haven't tried, or that we’ve heard are popular. We have running lists of ideas.” 

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“When we know we’re going to film a specific video, that morning, we’ll discuss details relating to production,” said Alex, “including outfits, angles, and storyline with scripts.” Alex oversees the technical aspects of the job, like setting up camera equipment, lighting, and editing videos, while Cassie manages the couple’s Twitter account, social media channels, and sales on ManyVids and JustForFans. Payouts from their video sales go directly into a joint account they use to pay bills and rent, and they share their earnings equally.  “We love working together,” said Alex. “It's like we're having dates every day.”  

Other partners are stepping in to help the person they love with a porn career that’s had to adapt to life at home. Before the pandemic, adult performer Mary Moody worked primarily as a solo cam model. Her boyfriend, Justin Case, offered help here and there as he pursued a master’s degree and worked full-time as a business development and marketing consultant. “Justin was super supportive of my career from the start and always willing to help with the business, filming, or tech stuff,” said Moody. He also sometimes made guest appearances in Moody’s content, since they make videos together for fun and, Case said, to feel closer sexually.

Case got more involved with Moody’s work on camera and off after they moved into a new house early last year around the start of the pandemic. They turned their home into a live-in film studio complete with professional-quality sound panels, high-speed internet connections, and new furniture. “Almost every room in the house is set up for [shooting] content,” said Moody. “Every time we buy something, we think about whether it will look good on camera, or if it will be difficult to maneuver equipment around.” 

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Now finished with his degree and working remotely, Case splits his time between his day job and helping Moody set up lights and camera equipment for her live cam shows and solo videos. Moody and Case use one room as a home office, another for storage, and the rest have lighting equipment and cameras within reach. “Since Justin doesn’t show his face [when we make content together], we try to make sure he can always get around without appearing on cam, so he can still work or use the kitchen,” said Moody. “We have to move things around a lot. Otherwise, the dogs will knock over lights.”

Having an occasional in-house scene partner helps Moody keep her existing fan base engaged, while drawing in new paying customers who enjoy couples videos. “Since I haven’t been filming with other sex workers during COVID, having Justin here helps me keep my content fresh,” Moody said. 

Mary Moody

Mary Moody at home. Photo courtesy of Mary Moody

Mostly, though, Case lends a hand with the organizational and administrative parts of Moody’s business. “I’m more on the tech side, so I help with that a lot. For instance, I built her a server to handle all the video files,” said Case, who doesn’t take a cut from his guest appearances or his behind-the-scenes work. “Honestly, Mary is the star,” said Case, “so I really don’t feel entitled to any of the payouts from our videos. If anything, she will take me out to dinner—or get Postmates, now that we can’t go out.”

Some couples aren’t making porn as an individual or shared primary form of income, but more as a sort of pandemic side gig. Adult performers Gabe and Michaé, who are both trans, launched their OnlyFans page during a romantic evening together early in the pandemic. They both work full-time in the non-profit sector, and asked to be identified by their first names only in order to protect their employment status. The extra income from their OnlyFans helps supplement their day jobs, but the gig is mostly a fun way to pass the time. “It was more about us really being into other people watching [us], and also offering visibility for trans couples and trans bodies,” said Michaé. They divide their work and earnings equally and use the money to pay for filming equipment and occasional getaways together. 

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“I had been interested in porn doing for a while,” said Gabe. “Michaé had done webcamming in the past, and she would always just be like, ‘Yeah, do it!’ One day, I was just like, ‘Well, let's do it together.’” Gabe and Michaé rented a hotel room where they shot their first few videos and posted them for sale online. 

Gabe and Michaé

Michaé, left, and Gabe, right. Photo courtesy of Gabe and Michaé

They’re learning about how to do business as a couple—and how to manage how this particular kind of work affects their relationship, too. Sometimes, feelings of insecurity or jealousy arise when fans express an interest or desire for one partner separately, or make critical comments about their performance. “Insecurities come up, as they do in all relationships,” said Gabe, “But we try our best to communicate and listen to each other’s needs and respect each other’s boundaries and capacities.”

It helps when they pause to remember that even as a form of supplementary income—or just for fun—working with a romantic partner is still work. Michaé said,We constantly remind each other [of that], and that even though people express desires for us [individually], we feel secure in our relationship.” 

Each couple stressed the importance of seeing each other as romantic partners first, and collaborators second. But Moody and Case think that his support of her work are just another part of being on the same team as people who love and are invested in each other. “I really hadn’t had a relationship before where I felt my goals were important to my partner,” said Moody. “It was honestly a bit of a shock to me how much Justin supported my work, and that’s one of the reasons I love him.”

Making porn together during the pandemic “has been a great way to help us support one another,” Case said. “I am simply happy and proud to see her succeed, and grateful I can be there to support her in reaching that.”

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