High-end sex party host reveals how OnlyFans saved her during Covid-19 lockdown
High-end sex party host Sarah Jane Banahan says that OnlyFans "saved her" during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two years ago, she launched her After Dark parties, which charged guests around £250 a ticket. It was lucrative, sure, but above all, it was her passion. The 35-year-old tells me that she's always found her work in the adult industry to be liberating. "It's not always about sex," she says. "It's just people in a safe space that allows them to be who they want to be. That to me, is liberation. I can't get enough of it."
This all changed, however, when the UK's first national lockdown hit back in March. Banahan was forced to scrap her plans to take her sex parties abroad...
Pivoting to OnlyFans
"It's just sad," Banahan, who is a new representative for mytabu, continues. "I miss getting people together. It's the worst industry to be in because it's all about contact."
Luckily, the model had her OnlyFans to fall back on, which she said was a much-needed lifetime. She started building her presence on the popular content subscription service two years ago. At the time, she used it as her "bread and butter money", but when the Stay at Home order hit, it quickly became her main income - as it did for many people in the adult entertainment industry, which was greatly affected by Covid-19.
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"When my parties went, I was like 'Where am I going to get my income from? I didn't want to touch too much of my savings, so I had to put more work into my OnlyFans. I have a lot of regular fans, and it has been a life-saver."
Hosting sex parties
Banahan has also been working on a book, about her near 10-years in the adult entertainment industry, and as a sex party host, which she says saw her go from "this shy girl" to a confident, sex-positive woman.
"I was a quiet girl, a really skinny teenager, and a late developer," she tells me. "I used to cry because my friends were on their period, and I hadn't got mine yet, and I used to wear socks in my bra because I was so flat-chested. Getting into the world of sex parties, then, was a way for Banahan to explore her fantasies, and this, in turn, led her to become more confident in herself.
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"You just see people who are so liberated, and it's fantastic to watch. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but it's taught me to really love myself, and my body. It doesn't matter what shape I am. You see people from all different sizes, and sexy to me isn't about looking perfect, it's about confidence. I've learnt that it doesn't come from your look, it comes from how you feel. It's cool."
Boundaries and safe experiences
Still, Banahan's involvement in her sex parties has changed. While she used to participate, she tells me how a previous relationship, which was toxic, led her to strike out on her own.
"When I used to [run parties] with my ex, it wasn't nice because he wasn't trustworthy. At the same time as trying to host, I would be thinking 'Is he going to be loyal while I'm making a drink for a guest? It made me paranoid, and really messed up my mental health. You have to be able to trust your partner in things like these. Now, I don't play. It's business, not pleasure for me. I want everyone else to have a good time."
"I'm the most successful I've been since I went off on my own," she continues. "And that's me working without a man, and any other distractions."
Now, Banahan carefully vets the people she lets into her sex parties. She plans way ahead of time, looks up the individuals on social media, conducts several phone calls, and ensures she has a relationship with them so she knows what to expect. "I don't tend to just take on strangers if I don't know who they are, there's a process," she explains. "I have to make sure everybody's going to get on and that the crowd vibes."
Much of this is also up to the attendees. "It's all about trust," she stresses. For those who want to get involved in the sex party scene, Banahan says clear rules need to be set in place: "You've really got to be secure in yourselves. This isn't for insecure people at all. You have to be confident in your body, and your partner."
Now happily in a relationship with someone new, Banahan makes sure the boundaries are clear between her work and personal life too. "My partner doesn't attend my parties because it's work, and I keep that separate."
OnlyFans saved me
While OnlyFans has been such a support to Banahan during the pandemic, her work within the adult entertainment industry is undergoing a shift. She tells me, that nearing 40, she's "over the sharing of [her] body".
"Hopefully, when the lockdown ends, I can start doing parties again. OnlyFans is a saviour, but at my age, I wanted to start putting my clothes back on. I feel like it's time for the next generation to come in and do what they want to do."
She will, however, always be an advocate. "If you don't have a banking job or a nine to five, you're not classed at normal. Who the hell wants to be normal? If you can make money off [sex work], and you're beautiful, smart with your money, and you enjoy it, why not? Sex work is work for me."
In fact, she sees herself becoming more of an educator in the upcoming years. "I want to share my experiences. I've done so much. Now, I want to start helping girls, or people who feel like they can't get out of the industry if they want to."