My Conversation About America's Sex Recession

Insights from Aella, an OnlyFans star who has been at the forefront of this change.

We are all walking around with a hunk of glass in our pockets that allows us to swipe right and find a hook-up within 100 feet. Or to swipe right and find someone who might pay us for a picture of our feet. Or to swipe right and, maybe, find our spouse. 

Given this technological miracle, you’d think we’d be living in a state of constant bliss with marriages and birth rates through the roof. Not so much.

A recent study from the American Medical Association found that one third of men between the ages of 18 to 24 reported having no sex at all in the previous year -- and that was before the COVID lockdowns. A Pew study from last year showed that half of American singles aren’t even looking for a relationship, or even looking to go on dates. That lack of interest is also reflected in the marriage rate and the birth rate, which are both at historic lows.

What’s at a historic high is online porn.

In 2019, more than five billion hours of porn were watched just on Pornhub alone. That’s more than 500,000 years worth of time.

My guest today has been at the forefront of this change. 

Aella has been doing sex work online and in real life for the past decade. She’s now killing on a platform called OnlyFans, where she and others charge for their explicit content.

I first discovered Aella on Twitter where I was struck by her curiosity and her heterodox politics. If you don’t follow her, I highly recommend it.

Whatever preconceptions you have about porn stars or sex work, I am confident she will challenge them.

Without further ado, here’s an edited version of my conversation with Aella:

BW: For people who aren’t super online, how do you explain to them what you do for work?

Aella: It varies depending on the person, but maybe the basic way of putting it is like: a nude Facebook. It’s like if you had to pay money to be a Facebook friend with somebody, and then they post nudes and porn on their page. 

BW: Can you give us a little bit of a sense of how long you've been in the field that you're in?

Aella: I got into sex work almost ten years ago now. I can't believe it's been that long. I started with camming. I don't know if you watch Twitch, but it's like a nude-y Twitch. It’s like broadcasting from a TV, but then you can chat to them with your keyboard. I did that for about five years, took a break, and then I got into escorting. So, IRL I would meet up with men and then have sex with them.

BW: And why did you go from the world of camming, which seems far more convenient and I would imagine safer, to real life escorting?

Aella: I got burned out from camming. It was really exhausting. It's basically like being a lifestream improv comedian/entertainer/really hot for around two to three hours every day. In one small study I did with camgirls, I found that the hourly amount that you made was very correlated to the total amount of hours that you put in. The more hours you work, the more money you make per hour. It's also very competitive. The ranking -- which is based on how much money you earn per hour averaged over the last 60 days -- is on the front page which affects your income a lot because that is how men find you. If you log on and you do a live stream and nobody tips you for an hour it’s stressful, not just because you're wasting your time, but because this is actively adversely impacting your ranking on the page. It can be a really stressful experience because it's a snowball in both directions. After about five years of having to do these live performances I just couldn't bring myself to do it anymore. And then I quit and went into crypto for a bit. And after working there, I figured I wanted more money. 

BW: laughs

Aella: I had a friend who was an escort and I'd always kind of known that this was a thing I could potentially get into. But at one point I was like, OK, I need to actually start working for myself again, for a world that I own and control because working for somebody else's company was really unpleasant. And so I did a call, and she sort of told me the basics; how to stay safe, and how to advertise. And then I went from there and became a high-end escort pretty quickly. And I did that for about a year and a half. Then after COVID hit, it made it a little bit awkward to be meeting with men who are mostly older and probably very at risk of getting sick. I didn't want to accidentally kill anybody, so I switched to OnlyFans, which was starting to boom at that point. That's what I've been doing since.

BW: I’m wondering if you can walk me through what an average day in your professional life looks like.

Aella: So the day varies a lot, but often when I wake up, I’ll check my OnlyFans to see how I did overnight, and see how many likes I got from my posts on Reddit. Reddit is a content aggregator. You can post things there and if people like them, they upvote them and they go to the top and there's groups that are ‘Not Safe For Work’. A big source of subscribers for people on OnlyFans is posting to the NSFW subreddits, so I automate those posts. I schedule them in advance because certain times are better to post than others because they're more likely to get more views.

BW: Are those posts like essentially marketing for your OnlyFans?

Aella: Yes. Probably 20 percent of my actual work is spent inside of OnlyFans producing content for OnlyFans. When I take content, I take a bunch of photos of myself, mostly selfies in various states of undress. I will take a couple of those photos and some short videos, gifs, and I will pull them out and have those be my marketing section. So typically they're not explicit. I save the explicit stuff for my OnlyFans. I have specific angles of labia that I'm willing to show in public versus through the locked paywall. And so I take the ones that fit the correct criteria and then I put them into circulation for my marketing thing, so I post them on Reddit or on Twitter. I have a NSFW group on Telegram, too, so all of these photos will get circulated through that cycle.

BW: Got it. OK, so that's first thing in the morning. You're seeing how that did overnight. And then what comes next?

Aella: I’ll catch up on messages a little bit. So people will have DM-ed me, and sometimes they attach tips when they message you. And then around 3 or 4 I will shoot some videos or photos. I typically try and get like a couple every day. So I’ll take an hour and knock out a little bit of photos, short videos of me, like bouncing or dancing or teasing really heavily. Some days, not always, instead of doing this, I will film a porno. I usually go on PornHub, look at the top ranked videos for this week and I pick one that I can replicate. And I use that as a template to do myself so that I don't have to actually have to think of an original creative porn to do. I pick something I know works and then I do that. I sell that porn through DMS. So I mass message this video into the DMS of people following me, which means that they get a locked box and a description of the video and if they click the box, then they will unlock it. They have to pay, so I select a price, and then I get eighty percent of everything they pay.

BW: In a sense this is the oldest profession in the world, but what makes it feel different to me is the personalization aspect. Let's say I slid into your DMS on Twitter or I found a way to write to you on OnlyFans, and I asked you for a picture of your boobs just for me. Could I get that picture that's just made for me? And is there a difference between the pricing for that and the, let's say, the boob picture that 100 people are getting?

Aella: I mean, this is kind of philosophical. Are the boobs truly the same boobs? Is the digital photo unique? But, yes, you can ask for a unique photo and oftentimes people will ask for some sort of sign with the photo or a video of you saying their name. It's very common for girls to sell unique things that aren't unique because it's in DMs, so nobody else could see what anybody else is getting. If someone asks for a boob photo, you coulf pull any random boob photo that you have saved, so often people ask for some sort of verification.  

BW: What I find interesting is that I think the narrative around porn and sex work is just that people want tits and ass, but actually what they want is the exclusivity to feel like you're giving something that's just made for them.

Aella: Oh, yeah. I think that this is why OnlyFans has skyrocketed so much. A lot of people are very confused about it. I could be rationalizing in hindsight, but it's really interesting the comparison between the way that camming works and OnlyFans. On camming, you're kind of in a community of men who are watching this woman because you can see everything that everybody else is saying, and you are there to witness the girl reacting to the things that other people are saying. The pricing incentives there come from competition. The girls who are most successful know how to make their men compete against each other to become like the highest status, the winner, the victor. You use competitive, masculine language when referring to them, like ‘Who's going to be my hero and like, rescue me from being the horny’ or something. 

BW: laughs

Aella: And so the guys get this feeling when they tip her that it's not just winning her, but winning her to the exclusion of other men and that's very visible and works really well. But with OnlyFans it's really fascinating because they've gotten entirely the opposite direction. They've completely removed the competitive aspect. They've slowly been removing it too, like you can't even see people's comments on videos anymore. Plus, DMs are huge and that feels so one on one. OnlyFans opens it up to men who don't feel like they can win a competition and the girl can make them feel as special as they want to feel with this one on one interaction.

BW: Given how intimate this is, especially from the man's perspective, are they thinking of you as their girlfriend or is there almost new language that needs to be created for whatever this relationship is?

Aella: I think most men aren’t delusional about what the relationship is like. Most men do not actually think that you're their girlfriend, but I think that this ties into a misconception about what men want sexually. A lot of men are fine with a sex doll who is going suck their penis and let him cum in her ass, and they don't really care about her personality. That definitely does make up some men, but a huge amount of men are more aroused by somebody that they feel like they can personally access, and who they can personally influence and who approves of them. Men generally want to feel like a woman is pleased by their sexual presence, desires them, and enjoys them. The way that they get this is not really through watching pornography, which is extremely impersonal, and they can't participate in it, it's by giving a girl a little bit of money and then experiencing the joy of having her smile at you and her genuinely squealing because girls like getting money. Then you know that they're associating you with positive feelings and you're like, ‘Oh, that's awesome.’. Then you get to tip her to masturbate and it looks real, even though sometimes it's not. And then you're like, ‘Wow, I caused that. I gave this girl money. She's happy about it. And now she gets to pleasure herself like she probably really likes me.’ That sort of feeling can be very addictive for a lot of men.

BW: What I find so fascinating is that it’s a total misconception that men just want sex. In fact, what they want is to feel a connection.

Aella: Right, and I think that this is sort of inevitable because one, men are more sexually driven than women are more likely to engage in casual sex and all that stuff. And two there wasn't really a scalable way for men to consume sexual content from strangers with intimacy. So far, we had the porno magazines or porn sites online so there just hasn't been a method for men to express their desire even financially. When I first started doing sex work, I had no idea that men wanted intimacy because I had been fed this story by everybody around me that men just want tits and ass. I was genuinely surprised to find guys who seem to really care about me, and I developed genuine friendships with some of them.

BW: I think that there's a stereotype in the world about who pays for sex work. And I would love it if you could tell us a little bit about the friendships that you've developed with some of your clients.

Aella: I think the deepest friendships I formed were through in-person escorting, which is my personal favorite form of sex work if you take the money out of it because you get a one on one interaction as opposed to one of many. A lot of guys expressed finding me because they wanted sex before they died.

BW: Wow

Aella: Some felt inadequate. Some were virgins and were really terrified that women wouldn't like them and they had no idea what to do. They figured, ‘OK, if I get an escort, I can learn how to please a woman.’ These men desperately want to be valued by women. I had one guy who had the most profound impact on me. I met up with him in a hotel and we were talking and he said something and looked sad about it. He was talking about his life. That made me feel sad so I started crying and then he started crying. And then we just held each other and sobbed for a while. Then we took off our clothes and just had skin to skin contact. So we lay, intertwined, hugging and that was the entire session. It was just him needing to hold somebody who is accepting of his full body and just to sob. He said that he didn't have any other outlet like that. From then on he would hire me about once a month and I would come see him and he would just hold me and cry. Sometimes we would have sex and that was really part of it for him. It felt really good and fulfilling for me, like I felt like I was really helping him and I had quite a bit of empathy for him. I still think about him and I hope he's doing well to this day. Sex serves as this outlet that can be an access to a lot of deeper stuff that men very often have no other way of expressing or communicating to people.

BW: God, that's really touching. I want to go back to what you were saying about how he wasn't hungry for sex, he was hungry for touch, which is a really different thing. Was he single or was he in a sexless marriage, or a relationship?

Aella: He was single. I got the impression that he was too depressed to maintain a relationship. 

BW: Are you feeling more like a therapist at that moment? What’s the role that you're playing for him?

Aella: The closest would be a therapist because you're being paid for intimacy, but it can also be very genuine. I do feel actual love. I wouldn't say it's romantic, butterfly love, but I feel a great deal of compassion. I feel really cheesy saying this, but it’s like a sacred love. I felt like I was accessing a sacred love for them, even if it was constrained by our rules of life.

BW: I'd love it if we could kind of go back in time to talk a bit about your upbringing.

Aella: I was born into an evangelical household. My dad is a professional apologist who goes around debating people and writing books and telling people how Christianity is correct. We were homeschooled and I didn't know anybody else who wasn't homeschooled or wasn't raised in the same kind of program that we were. It was a program called Growing Kids God's Way, which is a pretty strict set of rules for how to treat your kids. I was very religious because I didn't know anything else, and my dad also had very good arguments for Christianity that were very convincing. I was personally pretty fanatical about it. I was an evangelical myself for a while. I was super repressed, super isolated from the world and our media was heavily filtered. I went to public school very briefly once when I was 14, until my parents figured out that I had Internet access and then they removed me from school so I couldn't access the computers. But I remember being totally unintegrated with the people at the public school. I had no idea what was going on. 

BW: Did you have a TV in your house or radio? What kind of pop culture did you get in your house, if anything, at all?

Aella: We had computers with restricted internet access. We also had this thing called a TV guardian that automatically detects any sort of swearing or nudity and it deletes those scenes from the movie you're watching. So I would watch movies, and then I would grow up and watch the movie again and be like, ‘What the fuck?’ Like I watched ‘Titanic’ with zero awareness that the two main characters were ever sexually involved. I didn't really know what sex was. So we did have media, it was just really strictly regulated.

BW: There was something that I read where you talked about working at a factory at one point, at what point did that happen in your life? Was that right after you left home?

Aella:So I left home when I was 17 and I was still very religious. At that point I had ended up in a context where I was not surrounded by religious people. I was surrounded by atheists and they were surprisingly very nice. They were accepting and I think this sort of unlocked some part of my brain. I attempted to go to college and failed because I couldn't afford it and my parents would not help me financially. Because I couldn't afford it and my parents would not help me financially I had to work whatever job was available to me. The thing that was available was a factory job so I did that. I was on an assembly floor working six days a week, very long hours. There were no windows - it really sucked. I mean, this is really what drove me to become a sex worker is because I worked there for a year and then I had an opportunity for aphotography job that I went for, but it didn't work out. At that point I was kind of cut loose and thought  ‘What do I want to do?’ I could’ve gone back to the factory, but I  just couldn't bring myself to do it. So I tried to do some various startups, which I was really inept at because I had no experience or and I was isolated from the world. I didn't understand culture. I was a really weird person. And then eventually somebody suggested camming to me. I was like, ‘OK, I guess I'll try that because it's not a factory.’ I tried it and it did really well. And then that was the beginning of everything.

BW: When did you adopt the name Aella?

Aella: I don't think I've actually been asked that question before. I selected the name when I was becoming a camgirl. Pretty early on in my camming, I moved into a cam house with other girls and we didn’t want to accidently refer to each other with our real names when we were on cam.

BW: Given that you had so little cultural context, like you thought ‘Titanic’ was a movie about a boat sinking and not about Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, I'm curious about how you had any idea of what sexiness was? What did you think was sexy and how did you figure out how to make yourself into something that was sexy?

Aella: It's a fantastic question. You are absolutely on point with the intuition that I had no idea. When I was a teenager, flirting was not allowed. I didn't know a single other kid who had had sex with or kissed anybody else. The concept of flirting was just not something in my wheelhouse. So when I started camming, I was probably the most awkward camgirl you've ever seen. I was very goofy. But goofy does not sell as well as genuine sex sells. So as I was working very hard to be creative and original, a lot of people were earning more money than me doing half the amount of work. And so over time I slowly figured out how to very consciously and manually change my body language to be the kind of woman that men wanted to see, which involves stuff like talking slower, using little words, having greater variance tone, smiling, and being really warm. I would figure out how to put on the girl persona in my shows, and then I started earning a lot more money.

BW:  There's a lot of topics that your work touches that I feel personally torn about. There's so many topics in the world where I have such strident opinions, but when it comes to something like, let's say like plastic surgery, I feel genuinely torn. On the one hand I feel people should be natural, that aging is a normal part of life, and the idea that we should constantly be chasing youth and perkiness is unrealistic. On the other hand, I'm 37, and you talk about wanting to avoid the sag, and I'm living the sag. I can very much imagine myself wanting to get something done, even Botox, let's say, which I've avoided until now.

Aella: I might have a bit of an abnormal view on it. I sort of feel like my body is a tool and I'm not super attached to it, so I am open to taking whatever changes are beneficial to me, especially if they're reversible, like fillers. I really liked my face after I got a nose job. It wasn't a severe change. My nose was crooked. But I look in the mirror, and I feel more like myself, which is strange. But also the world is really not fair. The things that are sexually appealing are like 22 year olds who are very perky and we're never going to be able to match that again no matter how hard we try. It sucks and it's okay to want that and fail.  

BW: I want to pick up on what you just said about how sometimes things aren’t fair, but they can still be true. One of the things I just appreciate so much about you is that I think a lot of people, especially on places like Twitter, want to avoid saying what’s true because the truth is so fundamentally unfair. And one one of those things, I think, is the topic of gender and of gender difference and the idea differences between men and women are simply a social construct. And to my ears, what you're saying is that that's just not true, whether it's because of evolution, or whatever it is, that there are ways, in general, that men and women are just wired differently.

Aella: I mean, if the differences between men and women are a social construct, then I really need to reconsider what my concept of a social construct is, because they're way more powerful than I had previously thought. But I think it's unlikely that social constructs are more powerful than I previously thought. And I think it's more likely that gender is not fully a social construct. We need to define what we mean by gender. There are a lot of things that change throughout cultures and throughout time. So there are a lot of things that don't. And some things are kind of stable, like the fact that men are willing to give a lot more resources and effort in order to procure sex with women than vice versa. That seems to be sort of a universal truth.

BW: I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the recent tragic shooting in March in Atlanta. You wrote this on Twitter, “It's infuriating. Sex workers are marginalized by society, prohibited from financial services, put in literal jail, often don't have another choice of employment. And when they get slaughtered, what happens? People focus on another common factor and pretend it was due to that. I am really enraged. Absolutely furious.”

Aella: Yeah.

BW: The common narrative about what happened in Atlanta was that because six of the eight people who were murdered by the shooter were Asian, that it was actually motivated by anti-American sentiment. But when you look at the actual story and the motivations of the killer, that doesn't really seem to be exactly the case.

Aella: Even in recounting it, I could feel my body tensing up with righteous anger as you're going over it. It is really infuriating and  it really changed the way that I view media reporting. It was extremely clear that this man was motivated by killing sex workers. He had struggled with sex addiction in the past, he made posts about how he didn't like being a sexual person. He was struggling with it. He went and he shot up places that he had frequented with an explicit motivation to help other people with sexual addiction, and he also explicitly said ‘This isn't racist. There isn’t a racial motivation. This is like like specifically sex.’ So like you feel like, OK, if this guy has this specific motivation and the people that he's shooting like match exactly the motivation that he's talking about, you would think that we would hear about that in the media. Some sources did talk about it but a lot of people that I talked to about it had no idea that the people he shot up were sex worked. They thought it was a hate crime, and I'm not saying that there aren't hate crimes against Asians or that it's not increasing. It’s a valid thing to talk about. But the facts of the situation were so misrepresented, so blatantly, and I felt like my brain shut down. I can't even comprehend the lack of motivation to discover and report the truth that everybody who's having a conversation around this must have. People just must not care.

BW: It kind of reminds me, going back to the parental guidelines that your parents had on your television to filter out the inconvenient scenes in the movies that you wanted to watch. The press in a way, did the same thing in this story. They filtered out the inconvenient truth. 

Aella: Well, I think it's because the convenient one sells better. Like right now, racism, while it is real and has problems that I'm not trying to say that this is not serious, it’s also a selling point. It's marketable. If you can pin something on racism, this is something that people are going to want to engage with much more because everybody can relate to it. All of the white people want to feel like they're being good and useful and helpful to Asians, and all of the Asians can be like, wow, this relates to me personally. With sex workers, they're like a tiny minority and a lot of people actively dislike them or would think that maybe they had it coming to them. It’s not something that you can connect with personally, the sex worker thing so we went with the convenient, sellable one. 

BW: The tendency to push people into good or bad or pure impure that I think Critical Race Theory is pushing people into and often the legacy media narrative is pushing people into, does that remind you in any way to how you grew up? 

Aella: Yeah, it does. It absolutely does. It's eerie. It's very unsettling. I thought that I was leaving religion and I wasn’t going to have to have to deal with this anymore. This was sort of the defining thing between being religious and not being religious. It felt like I went from a position of knowing what's going on to I don't know what's going on. Christianity gave me a very clear, concrete thing I could hold on to as an answer to all of my questions. Moving to atheism was terrifying because it was like, ‘Well, I don't know.’ I noticed I was no longer necessarily attached to what I had to believe. As a Christian, I had to be attached. Things were there to be defended. There was a war against people who were not Christian and if somebody presented a criticism of the Bible, like a contradiction or something that didn’t line up historically, or ‘Why does this happen?’ I came at those questions not as, ‘Oh, that is interesting. Let's find out.’ I came to the question with the attitude of ‘I know what the answer must be, and I'm going to figure out a way to answer your question such that it leads to my answer.’ Obviously this was not conscious. I was not having these literal thoughts as I was answering questions. This was just sort of built very quietly into the background to how I processed information and addressed criticism and concerns. The difference between Christianity and atheism for me was not one of the concrete beliefs, but rather the defensiveness that we used. There was very little defensiveness with atheism and with Christianity there was a lot. When it comes to the CRT thing, I am seeing the exact same sort of defensiveness that I saw among Christians. Questions or criticisms or curiosities are not neutral; they're not sort of thrown out in the room that people can circle at and kind of figure out together what the answer is. If you ask somebody who believes in these questions, like they come at it from the background, that, ‘Oh, this is an attack that must be defended against. And there is only one possible answer. And if it deviates from the answer, then it must necessarily be incorrect in some way.’ That really makes me feel terrified and gross and very averse to all of it. I do not want any more of that in my life.

BW: The other thing that seems very, very connected beyond the defensiveness and beyond wanting to put people in boxes is the use of shame as a tool to make people kind of fall in line and shaming others just seems to be such a dominant mode in so much of our culture right now. 

Aella: Hmmm.

BW:  It's like you can leave religion behind and yet there is something maybe deep within us that feels shame about ourselves or maybe that wants to shame others. It connects also to me, to the shooter in Atlanta, you know, that that kind of violence is driven by that same shame. Unless you find a way to harness shame, which maybe is a natural part of who we are, it can go in really dark directions.

Aella: It's also really sad. I absolutely agree with you that this is something that we sort of have and maybe it's being harnessed or weaponized by these sorts of ideas. It's also just really sad because in order to feel shame, you have to reject some part of yourself. You have to have this sort of mental movement where you have a belief about yourself and this belief is unacceptable in some way. It is an indication of some fundamental flaw, something being seared from reality. The Christians talk about it with sin, like you have fallen from grace. It's this metaphysical, magical belief that something in you is not as it ought to be with the ought being word that's doing a lot of work. It just tears people apart. I'm so distraught, by the way, that a lot of culture seems to be deliberately creating shame in people. It works by weaponizing that shame because shame is an avenue of control. Not only is that like controlling people, it's sort of doing it by causing people to be less self accepting. And I think this is probably exacerbating a lot of mental health issues. I feel such compassion and grief for the people who are victims of this.

BW: So just tying it a little bit back to where we began, which is your work and speaking of shame. Is what is happening on platforms like OnlyFans, is it helping us fight maybe shame or loneliness or repressed sexuality? Or are platforms that allow us to be even more alone in our rooms, in front of our screens, hurting us and driving us deeper into those maladies? That is sort of my ultimate question for you as someone who is so focused on helping people get over shame and come to accept themselves. Is this very platform or platforms like it hurting or helping? 

Aella: I mean,like most things, the answer is probably both. I think it is hurting some people and helping others. But I feel like this is a symptom, or a Band-Aid on a deeper problem. And the answer is not like, ‘Well is this the Band-Aid that we're using for it good or bad.’ The question should be about the wound underneath it. That's the real thing. I think the idea of banning OnlyFans would be really harmful to the world, even if OnlyFans itself might be creating harm. I think that banning it would be creating even greater harm. So we have to really evaluate what the trade offs are. The underlying thing is that men don't have a clear path in their personal lives to find sexual acceptance from women. That is a really hard problem to solve and it's a very ancient problem. I'm not necessarily saying there's obviously something we should do, but that is the core issue here. Men are finding the outlet that they can. They're finding the relief and the peace that is available to them, and I think it would be incredibly cruel to deny that to them. Again, that relief does not necessarily mean that it's the most healthy thing to do.

BW: I would love to hear a little bit more from you about what you think is perpetuating this wound.

Aella: I might need to be vague and say that I think men don't have a role. The role for men has been becoming increasingly unclear. Men are now earning fewer college degrees than women and yet are still expected to be the strong provider in some ways. When it comes to gender roles, the thing that men provide is typically protection, and the thing that women provide is typically reproduction. We no longer need protection, but we still need reproduction, so it's like, ‘What do men do? Why are they valuable? Why are they even here?’ It’s kind of the ambient question in the background. Women still have to do all this stuff, but what the fuck are men good for? Impregnating and running? I'm not saying there's an answer. I'm not giving a simple quick fix. I feel like this is the thing that we're going to have to figure out how to grapple with as a culture, because with any sort of advancement in a culture, we’re going to run into this problem where the role of one gender becomes unnecessary faster than the role of the other. This creates an imbalance in value.I think the imbalance in value ultimately is the thing that's contributing to this sort of thing where women are able to rake in huge amounts of cash online while men are like sitting alone in their basements watching.  

BW: When I look at my own life progressive politics and feminism and gay rights gave me my life and gave me unbelievable freedom. I'm able to work and live and make money like men historically were only able to do. Feminism let me win, but by letting women win, has it sort of made men lose?

Aella: I think that might be the case. Often when people say, ‘Oh, this movement has bad effects,’ we have an urge to be like, well, we should not have that movement. But I think the question is, again, a harm tradeoff. Feminism had a lot of really awful side effects. I still think it is better than not having feminism. We have moved our problems over into a different sphere and I think overall they're less bad. I think we need to figure out more ways of solving the problems that we have created with feminism. I don't think that we should go back to the way things were before. 

BW: Aella, it has been an absolute pleasure. I've loved following you on Twitter for so long and I love the chance to go deep with you. And next time you're in L.A., I'd love to have you over for dinner.

Aella: Absolutely. Thank you.