4 Ways to Make Money Writing About Sex
You can’t make money writing about sex…can you? That’s we ask ourselves when we realize we want to write about sex (I know I did). Plenty of people believe that because so many people want free porn, cheap erotica, and easy thrills, no one’s going to pay for sex writing – smutty or informational. Writing and other artistic endeavors are often treated like free labor, regardless of industry. It’s the writing that’s taken for granted, not necessarily the sex.
Let’s clear up a myth about sex writing and money – the money is there. The sex toy industry alone is a $15 billion (with a B) global machine. And yes, people scour the internet for free porn (okay, they don’t scour, more like they blink and it’s there) but it’s a $97 billion industry. Don’t let cheapskate companies and shmoozy salespeople tell you different.
The first time I realized I could make money through my sex blog, I wondered if I was being scammed. Could this be real? I’m over here minding my own business, and you want to pay me to what? Write a blog post and include a link to your website? I was paranoid enough that I researched the company to make sure they were real, looked for reviews, and checked with people I trusted. Of course, I believed they’d change their mind at any point, so I made quick work of my research, praying the money would be real.
Since then, I’ve discovered multiple ways to make money writing about sex. This isn’t every method, but it may be enough to get you started.
Let’s be clear about a few things about sponsored posts. First you need a blog or website. It doesn’t have to focus on your personal sex life, but it needs to have a clear point of view, a story to tell, and a purpose. You also need to show up and write on a consistent basis. My personal recommendation is at least three times a week. The content has to be good enough that you’ve built up a solid audience. For some companies, the number of views you get matter. For others, engagement (how people interact with you and your blog) is most important.
Plenty of companies pay for sponsored posts because they want the link back to their website. Rule number one of taking money for links in content: the link must be a “nofollow” link according to Google. When you link to another site like you usually do (shout-outs, links to articles you’ve read, etc.), you’re giving that URL credibility. You’re telling Google that this website and its content are good and should be trusted. Google says paid content shouldn’t get that much love so you have to change your link.
Ever read sites like Ravishly or Scary Mommy (full disclosure: I’ve written under my real name for both)? The vast majority of the content you read there are personal essays about specific experiences. The point is to connect, and maybe offer a life lesson or two. Personal essays help share multiple points of view and voices on a topic. You can do that in the sex writing world, too. Not every website will accept personal essays about your sex life. When you come across a site that publishes one personal sex essay, you know you can pitch an idea.
Personal essays are, in my experience, both easy and difficult. Easy because you’re writing about yourself and your experiences – no research involved. Hard because it’s a bit soul-baring and not everyone is comfortable with that level of disclosure – even in the world of sex. What you’ll be paid depends on the rate offered by the website but expect anywhere from $50 up to $125. And yes, you should expect to be paid.
Know a kinky person with a “wild” (a rather subjective term) fetish? A website devoted to BDSM might love it. Met a person with a massive sex toy collection? Plenty of websites would eat that up. Interviews of people who are famous, interesting, or unusual are often appealing to websites that have a sex, love, or relationship section or that focus on a specific audience. I’ve had a few interviews published for Fetish.com that ranged from sex bloggers to kinksters.
Ask a trained journalist, and they’ll likely tell you that live, in-person interviews are often best. That’s probably true. I am not a trained journalist, and nearly all of my interviews are done by email. A few things to keep in mind: Make sure the person you’re interviewing is credible. If you discover they’re a big ole liar later, you may never again work with the publication who accepted your piece. Be prepared to follow up if you need clarification or if their answers raise more questions.
Blogging for Sex Businesses
Personal blogging, even if it’s not your personal story, comes to mind for most people when you say “blog” but companies jumped on the idea years ago. Not every adult company believes in the need for good written content on their site, but more and more are figuring it out every day. Know of a sex toy company with great products but awful content? Pitch them and see if they’re willing to pay. They might say yes. They might have questions for you – content ideas, what you think they should do about their website, you never know.
I’ve worked for a couple of sex toy companies as a ghostwriter, and I’ve written under my own name for others. One wanted erotic fiction, and they provided the storylines. Another wanted content that touched on every part of their business from vibrators to masturbation sleeves, as well as kink and bondage. I pitched ideas each month, and they said yes or no. Why work for an adult business like this? This content provides steadier income and the chance to help put better content about sex out in the world.
These options only skim the surface of all the ways to make money in the world of sex writing. They all give you the potential freedom to focus on nearly any aspect of sex and sexuality. I’ve written sponsored posts that were erotic and others that were informational pieces. Interviews can focus on the sex or on the politics of sex. Your personal essay is whatever you make of it – and some websites love sexy, intimate details. My work for sex toy companies and adult toy stores runs from fictional and sexy to in-depth guides on sex toys and STDs. What you write about changes from client to client and website to website, but the need for written content is definitely there, as is the money.