Last week, I was lying in bed with my boyfriend, Kyle, relaxing and scrolling through Instagram, when something horrible caught my eye. It was a photo of a fully burned kangaroo, one of the billions of animal casualties of the deadly Australian bushfires. I stopped and stared at the photo, letting the shock and sadness wash over me. I’ve always been an animal lover and Australia is very close to my heart, but there was something about that photo that took my concern to a different level. It wasn’t just devastation I felt; it was motivation. I wanted to help.
When I saw that many of my fellow adult performers were auctioning off nude videos and photos to raise money for wildlife relief, I knew I had to follow in their footsteps. I considered it my responsibility to do so — as a privileged person with both the money and the audience to make a difference, I’d be wasting my talents and resources if I didn’t help out in all the ways I could, which, in my case, is by putting my best “assets” forward (wink).
So I posted a call on Instagram asking my lovely fans and beloved #Reigndeer to email me a receipt for any donations they made to Australian bushfire relief. Any amount would do. In exchange, I’d send them a nude photo or a custom video.
Emails started pouring in right away. I was thrilled, but not surprised. Incentivizing fans to make a difference and donate to charities and causes is easy when what you’re offering them in return is exactly what they want: a photo of your big titties or a customized video that makes them feel seen and connected to you. I got around 30 people to donate right off the bat, and raised a couple hundred bucks for Australia in the process.
I’m happy to admit, though, that I’m being eclipsed by other adult performers when it comes to bushfire relief. Riley Reid has asked her 2 million followers to donate, Australian performer Jake Shy started the wildly successful hashtag #cumforcharity and über-sexy Instagram model Kaylen Ward says she’s raised an estimated $1 million for Australia with her goddess body alone. She’s since been kicked off Instagram, but her contribution can’t be overstated. Adult performers donating their time and money to charities, fundraising and crowdsourcing is more common than ever.
Let me be very clear in saying that every dollar counts — even your $5 donation is crucial — but let’s give credit where credit is due: Sex workers, adult performers and people who work their bodies for cash are absolutely killing it at raising money for Australia right now. I’d even go so far as to say that sex workers are the ultimate alchemists for change, not just for bushfire relief, but for all charities and causes.
Why? Well, sex sells. It always has, and it always will. Other than food, it’s the one thing everyday people will reliably throw their money at, and because of that, sex workers are truly some of the most important and impactful initiators of positive social change. Just look at how much money Ward has raised and try to change my mind.
Giving back is something that’s rarely talked about in the mainstream media when it comes to adult performers and sex workers in general, but it’s something we excel at. For one, we tend to be naturally empathetic. Many of us have faced stigma and judgment for what we do, which, for the most part, only makes us more empathetic toward people, communities and, yes, animals who might be struggling. But in a broader sense, sex workers are just like everyone else: When we see injustice or tragedy, we want to help in any way we can, and it just so happens that many of us have the platform and easy access to fundraising tools (see: our bodies) to do just that.
It’s no coincidence that Pornhub has an entire charity arm called Pornhub Cares: Sex and horniness are a fantastic way to raise money. As Ward has shown, by utilizing the desire for connection and personalized, amateur content, performers are able to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars very quickly for the causes that they believe in.
It’s not just Australia that we believe in, either. We’ve been fundraising and helping out for years, gathering money for everything from AIDS awareness and education to organizations that facilitate heart transplants for children. My good friend and role model jessica drake (she prefers her name in lowercase) is among the best examples. All the way back in 2001, she teamed up with the gentlemen’s club Spearmint Rhino to raise money for the families, businesses and first responders affected by 9/11. Together, they incentivized her fans to donate money in exchange for nude photos, personal belongings and even worn panties and shoes.
Since then, jessica has been volunteering and donating her time and money to countless charities and causes worldwide, helping to support sex workers, the homeless, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and those affected by natural disasters. She’s even raised more than $150,000 for charities like AIDS Walk Los Angeles with her nudes and custom videos. I’ve been fortunate enough to gift them over $10,000 the same way.
“Growing up, my parents prioritized volunteering, charity work and taught me to consider people who didn’t have the same privileges that we had,” jessica tells me. “A pivotal moment came for me when Wicked Pictures sent me to South Africa for Sexpo and I saw poverty through a completely different lens than I previously had before. It was such a life-changing experience that I came home with the need to do more on a global scale instead of just a local one.”
And so, she began to learn the intricacies of disaster assistance, micro-financing and providing long-term assistance to communities in need, even going so far as to consider doing nonprofit work full-time. But then she had a realization: The only reason she could donate her time and money on the scale she wanted was because of what she did for a living. In other words, sex work enabled her volunteer work.
I really relate to her story. My personal relationship with charity work began during a Birthright trip to Israel, where I visited Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), an organization that gives infants in the developing world the opportunity to get a heart transplant that will potentially save their life. I was so fortunate to have been able to observe the infants and mothers being helped by this amazing charity, and it made me want to give back myself. That’s when it dawned on me: What if I auctioned off a $1,000 dinner date with me and donated the proceeds to SACH? I knew my fans would pay whatever it takes to meet me, so why not parlay that into changing lives?
Since then, I’ve raised more than $10,000 for SACH and gone on some perfectly lovely dates in the process. I could tell that the gentlemen who donated felt good about what they did and were thrilled to have an hour or so of dinner time with me. It was a really rewarding experience. After all, the ability to connect with other humans in an intimate way and translate those connections into capital is an incredible feeling.
All of which is to say, adult stars are social activists and dare I say true alchemists, so the next time you watch your favorite performer or like their photo on Twitter, just remember who’s really bringing home the dough for the many charities and causes that need help.