© Sunroom via Refinery29
There’s a new sex-positive content creation app in town - and it's putting women first.
Women create the most sought-after content on the internet, but the platforms allowing them to do so aren’t safe or supportive enough. That’s where Sunroom, a new Australian-founded app comes in. The sex-positive app aims to create a space for women to explore their creativity and take autonomy over their own bodies and their businesses.
Female content creators are amongst the most followed and subscribed to on social media, but most apps don’t sufficiently support them in creating a business out of this. The likes of Instagram and TikTok are renowned for their censorship of women, removing posts that discuss (perfectly normal) topics such as pregnancy, breastfeeding and sexual wellness. Even when creators aren’t silenced, making money from these apps requires promoting external brands or posting affiliate links. This means that in situations where women can make money, it is not autonomous. Female creators have to battle with their desire to express themselves and build a business, versus the lack of authenticity these apps allow them.
Blocked from these apps, one of the few remaining options is often to turn to OnlyFans. This platform welcomes any and all types of content and is particularly popular for its access to paywalled adult images and videos. Putting control in the hands of the creators, primarily women, makes OnlyFans a safer environment for many sex workers and creators of this kind of content. However, while it has been credited for its lack of censorship, OnlyFans has also been criticised for its transactional nature that doesn’t facilitate creators in building a brand or a relationship with their audience.
This lack of support for women is resulting in them facing stigma after stigma: first, women are objectified for expressing their sexuality, then they are vilified for making money from it. And the same question always appears - why is this the case if women are providing the content that is desired? If it’s what people want, surely the creators should get paid for it. Women are, yet again, being put in a situation where they can’t win. By silencing and judging female creators, these platforms are indeed encouraging the narrative that women owning their own sexuality is bad, and that monetising their bodies is taboo. This is where Sunroom comes in, with its aim to overwrite this portrayal.
Established by Lucy Mort, ex-product designer for Hinge, and Michelle Battersby, ex-Bumble marketing director, Sunroom is “welcoming in a new era of zero-fucks woman power, and creating a community around shameless, unfiltered self-expression.” They have developed a sex-positive app that celebrates cis and transgender women, and non-binary people in their creation of the content they are unable to share elsewhere.
Sunroom’s name represents its values: to be safe, warm and fully seen. Clearly, there is a desire for female-created content, but existing apps don’t provide the visibility, protection or support for it’s producers. Sunroom’s values are clear in every action it takes, from talking to non-binary creators about their experiences on other platforms so to improve their own, to their imposed ban on pornographic content. Sunroom is not a platform for amassing a large following, but for creators to provide more content for their fans, or to simply express what they are stopped from sharing elsewhere.
© Sunroom via The Latch
Similarly to OnlyFans, Sunroom works on a subscription basis with additional income coming from tips in the form of “cheers” (instead of “likes”) which are used to access additional content. This use of positive, friendly language also frames fan engagement as supportive rather than passive, and incentivises subscribers to engage - and to pay.
The platform’s soft launch features 100 application-approved female and non-binary creators such as sex worker and writer Tilly Lawless, actor Paige Elkington, and sexologist Chantelle Otten. These three examples alone speak volumes for Sunroom acting on its values. Where else would you be able to watch a sexologist’s video without them having to censor the word “sex”? Working closely with anti-racism advocate Alyssa Ho also flags Sunroom as an emblem of inclusivity: they have created an algorithm that favours Black, Hispanic and Indigenous creators. Ho, who is also a founding content creator on the platform, says she chose to share her content on Sunroom because she doesn’t “need to fear being shadowbanned for speaking on things that I feel need to be spoken about…I won’t be gaslit, tone policed, threatened for speaking about racism.” I doubt many creators who don’t fit the cis, white “norm” would say they feel comfortable, let alone prioritised, on any other social media platform.
Isn’t it about time we had an app that not only allows but encourages, women to freely share body positive and sex-related content? Sunroom is a big step in a revolutionary direction. This opportunity to disrupt conservative societal norms and empower women to take autonomy over their bodies and businesses in a safe space will, hopefully, change the content-creation world for the better.
Wait a second while I go and download it!