Those who think adult erotica isn’t art, had better think again. As non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrency units on the blockchain designed to permanently “hold” assets like images or videos, reconfigure the art industry, many professionals in adult entertainment are taking to the new medium with fervor. In a climate where pandemic conditions make strip clubs impractical, and camming sites like OnlyFans are saturated, adult performers find producing NFTs to be a liberating experience creatively and financially.
Onyx Muse, an acclaimed adult performer and sex educator, is about to be the first entertainer in the category to release NFTs through an art gallery. Starting in late July 2021, she will be releasing exclusive NFTs through Trigonal Gallery, an innovative digital gallery dedicated to supporting working artists in the wake of the pandemic. This collaboration will result in an initial launch of an exclusive erotic image paired with an additional explicit image (meaning it contains full nudity), both with motion graphics. There will only be 25 copies available for purchase at $50 each (0.0285005ETH).
Trigonal founder Jonathan Edward Goodman says, “I have always seen erotica as another art form, and I’m excited to help break barriers in the world of NFTs.”
“Sex work allows for independence and feeling good about yourself,” Onyx, an AVN Award nominee, states. She explains that through a multifaceted career which has included dancing in strip clubs, filming adult videos, and educating women on “the art of the hustle,” she’s continuously thankful for the freedom she’s discovered on her chosen path. “In the corporate world, the dress code dictates how women should look and behave. Sex work lets you express yourself naturally and that is empowerment. It’s teaching women how to be successful entrepreneurs using their bodies.”
Creating your own content helps tremendously in sex work entrepreneurship. As Onyx relates, many women who want to get into the industry turn to strip clubs first. These venues provide no training and force employees to pay for nearly everything. OnlyFans, an online subscription service where creators can post requested content for subscribers on a pay-per-view basis, has been much more profitable – for example, a wider audience base of men and women are likely to log into OnlyFans than visit a strip club – but as the platform has gained popularity, it’s becoming harder for performers to stand out. To that end, Onyx curates a YouTube channel where she discusses effective methods of building a fanbase and advises women seeking to enter the space.
Onyx recently spoke to a nurse who was burnt out from working extreme hours on the frontlines of the pandemic and saw sex work as a potential avenue to make additional income. The veteran performer agreed wholeheartedly, commenting, “If women want another option to be in control of their days and when they want to take a vacation, sex work can really open so many doors.”
The art of erotica can also be easily adaptable to a performer’s personal boundaries. Onyx particularly offers training in a unique service called FINDOM, or Financial Dominatrix, which involves no nudity or sex acts and instead forms what she refers to as “a psychology hustle.” In FINDOM, the dominatrix uses specific articulation of words, costuming, and toys to trigger her submissive customer. Some scenarios may feature the dominatrix calling the submissive a “cash register,” “Pay Pig,” or “Loser,” and setting up dynamics where he has to buy whatever she wants or he will be punished. “In return,” Onyx says, “they feed the dominatrix’s fetish, which is money, shopping, lavish gifts and the high-end lifestyle.”
“All knowledge is transferable,” Onyx asserts. “What you learn in this industry, you can transfer to other entrepreneurial ventures.” She is especially excited about the as-yet untapped potential of NFTs: “They’re a new frontier. No expectation, but total inspiration.” Within the medium, there is significant room for experimentation and customized request fulfillment, as well as a feature for unlockable content which offers an added bonus for creators like Onyx who may provide buyers with various levels of erotica from “R” to “XXX” rated. “NFTs can really be an outlet where girls can differentiate themselves,” she declares.
And in an economy where most traditional sectors are being upended, but sex still sells, Onyx’s special brand of entrepreneurship could prove to have lasting dividends. The rise of more prolific and niche erotica, as well as empowerment and business training for newcomers to adult entertainment, is beginning to shed light on many of the same issues being discussed in other industries, particularly in regard to inclusivity, representation, personal agency and pay gaps. The Onyx Muse series from Trigonal may prove that, while you can make NFTs NSFW (Not Safe For Work), the very creation of such pieces will make sex work safer than ever, and art ever more limitless.
The Onyx Muse series is now available from Trigonal Gallery on OpenSea (click here to check it out). To learn more about Trigonal Gallery, visit artsy.net/partner/trigonal or follow @TrigonalGallery on Instagram.
Featured photo courtesy of Onyx Muse