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Sex - Overview | October 6, 2021, 11:31 CDT

Diary of a Sex Worker: Porn for Geeks

Taking a peek inside the world of 'smut merchant' Harriet Sugarcookie.
Suzannah Weiss

Written by

Suzannah Weiss
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Photography by David Heisler

A self-described "smut merchant" on Twitter, Harriet Sugarcookie cams, runs an OnlyFans, and is the creator of her own paysite, sugar cookie.xxx, which features videos she's produced of herself and other adult actors. Her videos are sensuous, humorous, creative and authentic—she dubs it, "porn for geeks."

Additionally, she helps manage other creators' accounts on sites like OnlyFans, providing marketing assistance and guidance on content, through her company Et Tu Beauty. She's a bona fide hustler who proves sex work absolutely is work.

I recently had an email correspondence with Sugarcookie about her daily life, her experiences with sex work and what she wishes others knew about sex work as a profession.

How did you first get into sex work?

Originally, it was my housemate who posted some photos of me on Reddit (fully clothed), and then I started to post on Reddit myself. From there, the jump to camming and producing my own porn was easy.

I started out with camming when I turned 19. I was on holiday in Asia, in a motel room with really bad internet. I remember trying to do a "shower show," but there was no hot water, so I was pretending to be all sexy in a completely cold shower.

Making porn videos seemed like a normal step up, honestly, but I didn't want to work for other companies and not have control over the creative content.

Camming is fun but very time-intensive. Starting my own paysite was much easier on my schedule. Making porn videos seemed like a normal step up, honestly, but I didn't want to work for other companies and not have control over the creative content. Having my own paysite definitely came with its own problems, but it was worth it. I don't run that paysite anymore—there were a few backend problems with my then business partner with the direction it was going.

OnlyFans—and now Fansly, I suppose—has been almost a mix of the two before: a high level of interaction with users (like in camming), but still being in control of my own content (like the paysite). I'm glad for these types of platforms. It's made sex work much more accessible both for creators and consumers, as well as safer for both.

Where does the name Harriet Sugarcookie come from?

I'm British, and Harriet has always been a really nice British name to me. And I love snacks of all kinds. I wanted something people would remember and that would not sound overly sexual or "porn"-like.

What is a typical day in your life like?

I don't think I have any typical days! If I'm being completely honest, I'm super-disorganized, as well as impulsive. I have loads of reminders on my phone set up so I don't miss meetings. Some days, I'll be making content. Other days, I'll be focused on strategizing for clients. I have a pretty large team working [for me] now, with staff in America as well as Europe. Luckily, they're more organized than I am! I check up with them every day. Some days, I work until 3 or 4 a.m. I don't think I ever really have a full day off.

How do you go about shooting a scene?

My main thing is to make my videos look as realistic as possible. That's why I only make boy-girl right now with my long-term partner. We both get comfy, and we talk about general positions or angles we want to try. Then we just go with the flow and what feels good. My scenes feel pretty candid: a glimpse into the sex life of a real couple. After COVID restrictions lift, I want to collaborate with more women, but the scenes will follow this same principle.

What are your favorite kinds of scenes to shoot? Do you usually get pleasure out of them, or is it mostly acting?

Since all my scenes are with my long-term partner, it's about as real as it can get for me. If I don't enjoy myself, why would I want to film it? I take a lot of pride in knowing my work is genuine. My favorite scenes are those involving oral, on guys or girls. I love giving my partner pleasure, and have tons of fun doing it.

What are your favorite aspects of your job?

Being able to connect directly with my subscribers. I reply to messages every day, and I've gotten really close to some of the regulars. I've made some great friends through my work this way! Some have been following me since I was camming, and have moved with me to whichever platform I decide to go to. This level of support really means the world to me.

What are your least favorite aspects of your job?

I think in any industry, there's going to be dark sides, and that's my least favorite part. I've seen a lot of people out there try to exploit girls. It's actually why I set up my own management agency recently. I help creators make sure they're getting a good deal, so that companies aren't taking advantage of them or low-balling them for work. I also make sure they know they can always say no and that it's okay to have boundaries. Half my clients are non-nude models, but we work with them on platforms like OnlyFans so they can still make money even if they never get nude. There are plenty of predatory companies out there who want to take advantage of or convince new models they need to become more explicit with their content to grow and be successful. I believe you can see success without having to go beyond your own boundaries.

How do you feel about OnlyFans recently announcing (and then taking back) a ban on sexual content?

I think many veterans of the sex industry were expecting it, both them deciding not to do porn and taking back the decision after seeing the mass migration of many of their adult creators in the weekend that followed. Even now, many models are wary. Their wording said they've "suspended" the new policies, but we're very aware that doesn't translate to "canceled."

What misconceptions have you come across regarding the work you do?

I think people think I sleep around a lot. Honestly, I've only had two male partners in my seven-plus years doing sex work. I guess that would be the funny one. But, of course, the "not funny" answer would be the huge amount of stigma that comes from doing sex work at all. People have a lot of presumptions about you, and access to you that you'd be surprised about. It's like, if people see you naked online, they don't always realize you're just a normal person who still wants their privacy.

How would you like to see attitudes toward sex work change?

Sex work is work. It has been for centuries—it's considered "the oldest profession." People have to accept the only reason there's a supply is because there is a huge demand. There were a lot of comments online about "getting a real job" when OnlyFans announced their news, but it all came from people who wouldn't even make a dollar if they took their clothes off. Not just anyone can take their clothes off and instantly make money from it. A lot more goes into selling pictures and videos than most people want to acknowledge.

Suzannah Weiss

Written by

Suzannah Weiss