Why Dating Is Hell for So Many Porn Stars Thanks To Dating Apps

Once upon a time, pornstars’ biggest dating problem was potential partners overreacting to our profession. Now, we’re lucky if we can even get a date.

In the 21st century, most people meet their partners on dating apps. When I contact porn stars and other sex workers about their dating stories, I expect to hear about people sending inappropriate messages to sex workers on Tinder. Instead, I received an onslaught of stories about Tinder and other platforms banning sex workers outright just because of their job. Tinder and other apps ban sex work. The policy would make sense if it were a ban on sex workers using apps to sell sexual services, but nearly every sex worker has a story about dating apps changing their platform for their job. Tech companies make it difficult for sex workers to chat, let alone find a romantic life partner.

Tinder receives the most complaints. “Tinder banned me for stating ‘I have OF,’ and nothing you do or say will change that,” says sex worker Shiza Panda. Adding adult players Christopher Koffin, “Tinder outright banned me a few years ago for being a sex worker.” But the problem extends beyond Tinder. My friend (and adult actress) April Kelly describes dealing with censorship in various apps. “People thought it was funny I was banned from Tinder (twice) and Bumble also deleted my account,” he said. The problem bothers him because often times the app takes his platform down even though he doesn’t do sex work on the platform. (A Tinder representative said that the app’s terms of service state “if a member violates any of these policies, including promoting or advocating commercial sexual services, they may be removed from Tinder.)

“I mentioned in a conversation on Tinder that I was involved in sex work. When I opened it again, my account was warned,” Kelly said. “Since then, attempts to own Tinder have caused the account to be deleted. I moved to Bumble, and it happened much faster. In short, various breadcrumbs make it clear being a sex worker isn’t ‘OK’ with Tinder.”

Since then, attempts to own Tinder have led to the account being deleted. I moved to Bumble, and it happened much faster. In short, various breadcrumbs make it clear being a sex worker isn’t ‘OK’ with Tinder.

Maybe the creator of OnlyFans Shoaks summed up the problem well: “Ban everything lol.” The issue has escalated in recent years. For more than three years, Kelly dated the app without any problems. Now, his account was deleted repeatedly.

Deplatforming dating apps is the latest in sex worker censorship, following a wave of far-right attacks on sex workers. Exodus Cry and other fringe conservative religious organizations have pushed for conspiracy theories that tube sites are involved in widespread child trafficking. Following a New York Time an article presenting a series of gruesome allegations about users posting child pornography on Pornhub, the site prohibits unverified posts. But conservatives have still managed to lobbied Visa and Mastercard to stop processing payments on Pornhub in the name of protecting children. The narrative around Pornhub has led to increased censorship of legal adult porn stars on tech platforms, even though we’re not breaking any laws.

Other types of sex workers face even more discrimination. Prostitutes report platforms banning them from just chatting, even though they don’t sell sex on dating apps. (Last time I checked, the dating app didn’t have a payment processing function.)

Sex workers have faced the most censorship since the 1980s. At the same time, Americans are more obsessed with sex work than ever before. I’ve dealt with several scam artists who disguised themselves as me on dating apps and other social media sites, tricking men into getting no money. Dating apps have tackled this problem by—you guessed it!—quitting porn star platforms. Several girls reported dating apps booted them off the platform because algorithms believed they were catfish. But catfish continue to breed. Everyone is allowed to be us except ourselves.

The only place sex workers seem to find dating breaks is on upscale dating sites like Raya. It only allows people with a high social media following, such as celebrities, so a porn star’s verified Instagram account can allow us to date. Other safe spaces are gay sex apps, like Grindr, and fetish sites like Fetlife. “Fetlife would be my top recommendation for anyone kinky,” Kelly said. “That’s what they’re all about!”

This platform does not discriminate against having a sex life. Sex workers can make love. We often open apps to find romance and long-term partners, but tech companies bar us from all dating apps except the most sexual ones. We were hated for being sexual, but then we were forbidden to pursue love.

In the end, the main problem with porn star life is that we are both famous and despised, admired and hated. None of these contradictions are more present than when we date.

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