A new sex-positive creator app called Sunroom has launched for iOS devices. Starting with 100+ creators, the app prides itself on being women-led, sex worker-consulted, and human-moderated.
Co-designed by Bumble’s marketing director, Michelle Battersby, and Hinge’s design director, Lucy Mort, the app aims to specifically help women and non-binary creators to monetize their content in a digital world.
Since OnlyFans reversed its plan to ban adult content from its app last August—due to predictable outrage—many creators lost faith in the app and sought to find alternatives to host and sell their content.
Social media apps like Instagram and TikTok are well-known for shadowbanning and censoring any content related to topics, including but not limited to: body positivity, sexual wellness, sex education, childbirth and breastfeeding, sexuality, gender identity and pleasure. Even Twitter is gradually banning adult content. once again, adult content creators are left looking for scraps to make money due to moralistic stigmatization.
The antidote to censorship?
Described (by the company) as the “antidote” to the industry-wide stigmatization of adult content, Sunroom raised $3.5 million in seed funding and welcomes sex-positive themes, offering a space for creators to connect with their audience in an open and profitable way.
“Our mission is to remove the stigmas women and non-binary creators face when asking for more or showing more in their pursuit of wealth,” the company says. These stigmas are what is holding them back from “directly monetizing their audiences,” it continues.
While Sunroom proposes a new perspective on sex-positive topics that other apps censor, it doesn’t necessarily host pornography, as this is “one of the limitations of having an app as opposed to a website”, though the company promises to “never remove or shadow ban a creator simply because of their X-rated work outside of Sunroom.”
Creator benefits of Sunroom
You can either sign up to be a regular viewer or a content creator.
One of the most exciting features is SunBlock. Inspired by Netflix’s anti-screen recording technology and is designed in-house to stop people from screenshotting, or screen recording and sharing any content from the app. This is a risk many creators face across other platforms, at the cost of devaluing content.
While the app’s creators say they are currently focused on ensuring the app is safe, stable and has the best feature set for creators to succeed, they are aware of the demand and monitoring the waitlist.
When ready, Battersby says the app will prioritize creators who’ve faced censorship when it comes to topics like motherhood, sexual wellbeing, pleasure, disability, identity, body-positivity and fertility, “as we feel those creators have the most immediate need for a platform with a more progressive approach to moderation.”
Poppy Scarlett, pleasure educator, sex worker and founder of Self & More, was invited as part of the first batch of creators on the platform.
Scarlett told SEXTECHGUIDE that she’s been repeatedly banned from Tiktok for talking about pleasure and showing a vibrator, and believes to be in a constant state of shadowban on Instagram—something you can’t ever prove, but her content no longer shows on hashtags or on the explore feed.
“It’s gotten to the point where I’m scared to post pleasure education content on my existing social platforms.”Poppy Scarlett
As a viewer, you’re likely to come across “sensitive content” on the app and to view this you must be over 18 and update your settings on your iPhone.
To engage with creators, viewers are encouraged to become paying members and then further ‘tip’ with micro-payments such as Cheering. The monthly subscription costs $9.99, which gets you 100 ‘Beams’ (the in-app currency) to tip and pay for content.
Similar to “liking” a post, “Cheering” is the user’s way of reacting to posts and accessing paid content: one Cheer costs one Beam.
What excites Scarlett the most is that followers can tip creators in-app when they want to interact, or they can pay for a subscription to access specific content. “In this economy, who isn’t looking for more ways to monetize the work that they enjoy doing?”
Intimacy over follows
While other platforms are typically grinding for growth, Mort told Refinery29 the app’s aim is not to get creators “a million followers” or make sure “we’re showing you to all these people”, instead it’s all “about intimacy.”
The app is designed to help creators find new customers, and support their needs while reframing how they are “viewed, valued, and paid on the internet.”
Scarlett reminds us that a lot of energy goes into creating content and engaging with your online community, “two things that I really enjoy, but I have bills to pay too. It takes time, brainpower and often emotional work to interact with followers and answer questions.” She says that she frequently gets asked about where to buy latex fashion and also about sex education, sex toy and non-monogamy advice, “topics which can be very nuanced and require more than just a simple response.”
Battersby tells us that an Android version of the app will be on the way soon.
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