Kink Market – India O’Hanlon

        The dragging pandemic and traffic lighting lockdowns have led to an increase of young people trying to find the next cash creating side hustle within their local safety regulations, myself becoming one of them. My unofficial diagnosis of covid cabin fever compelled me to sign up for a website dedicated to one of the world’s most taboo marketplaces— panty selling. The time I have spent on this site is more than I’d like to admit, something addicting about being a fly on the wall for a digital judge-free zone of a collective group of voyeurs. 
        I didn’t land on this site through a whim, and I didn’t self-initiate the motive to type the words “panty selling website” in my search bar. After moving to England a year and a half ago, I had isolated myself from everything that made one’s early twenties the best years of your life. My life of furlough, loneliness, and chronic moments of mania had me feeling antsy and sporadic— in other words, I was poor and bored. 
        When the lockdown lifted for a quick momentary breath right before Christmas, I was going about my robotic daily routine. One day at the gym, my rotating cogwheels came to a sudden halt by a girl I previously worked with. We shared the typical common pleasantries like the classic white-people thin-lipped smile, or the awkward lift of the hand that never made itself a wave. This day was different though; she walked up to me with a grin that hid the world’s biggest secret. She had a natural air of mischievousness that lingered. Me, being socially inept, waited for her to say the first word. I was prepared for some small talk here and there, but nothing braced me for what was to come next. 
        “I have made one grand in a week on a panty selling website.” 
        She said it loud and proud for the whole male-dominated gym to hear. I was shocked, and not at the fact of her selling fetish items on the internet but more so that she had the balls to say something so strident in the land of the prude. 
        “What?” was all I could manage, but then all these questions started to pass out of my mouth;
        “In a week?,” “What are you selling?,” “For how much?”— to name a few. After stringing together my most pressing inquiries, said-girl managed to get a few words in. She continues to tell me about what she offers and what’s on-demand. Her original intent was to sell her used underwear and socks but she soon realized that anything and everything goes: personalized videos, online femdom sessions, feet content, voice messages in her strong Southern English accent, hair, trash, spit, scented face masks, and if you can stomach it, pee or scat. There was a fetish in anything lying around your flat.
        She told me unworldly stories that I thought were too good to be true. Someone had paid her for ten photos of her trashcan. Another buyer requested 100ml of her womanly juices— l will be the first to admit that it is impossible. In the art form of being innovative and business savvy, she managed to think outside the box. She told me about the sexual laboratory she created in her bedroom. She mixed extravagant concoctions in many forms to mimic our natural secretions and smells. She said no one has ever suspected that they were anything other than her “juices.”
        If anything, she got raving reviews. My favorite being,
        “I have never tasted pee this sweet before.” 
        By this point, I thought it was a joke. I was laughing and playing along, but I couldn’t help but notice her phone in her hand constantly pinging and lighting up. I focused my glance, and to my disbelief, it was all notifications for received money transfers. I interrupted her, asking her if that is money from her business. She held up her phone and laughed, 
        “Yes”, she says. She had made 100 pounds in 15 minutes. I was sold. 
        A couple of months passed by, and my wallet was shrinking, my curiosity growing. I erratically snapped out of my depressive state and realized I had to do something. I wrote this girl on Instagram, asking for the site and how to get started. She gave me the name of her account to have a “little perv,” so I did. I had a massive perv. It was a full-on production, a fetish Facebook marketplace. Ring lighted photos, 40 thousand profile views, high-heel instruction videos. I didn’t know who this was. My once mutual contact at the gym was now an alter-ego, internet mistress. She laughed and said, 
        “I’m a troll. But you have to play the game to make money”— The first unintended but most valuable advice she gave me. 
        I scouted out things I could list: old underwear, socks, gym leggings, trash, etc. I needed to make my profile look legit if I wanted to blend within the community. An hour later of creating listings, writing the best bio of my life, and getting to know the dated features of the 2008-like website. At the same time, tip number two swiftly arrived by my fellow panty seller friend:
        “See those buyers online? Get messaging”. I spent hours copying and pasting, “Hey, how are you?” to multiple different buyers, hoping to build my repertoire as a reliable ‘seller.’ I attentively listened to unknown men (and women) about their fears, dreams and desires, while cautiously treading closer to a possible sale. The balance of building a relationship with a said buyer, and making a sale was a fragile game of tug of war. I engaged upon the dashboard with sellers and buyers alike, rigging the algorithm in my favor. Who was I? I couldn’t stop laughing at myself; I couldn’t believe this was a thing. I was asked for vomit, toilet paper, shoes, photos of my feet but ironically, no one wanted my underwear.
        I decided I had to make my first sale, so my cover wasn’t blown. I received a request that I was comfortable enough doing. Two vials of my spit for 30 pounds. Easy, right? Put it lightly, try to fill two 100ml travel bottles of your spit and get back to me. It was torture. So I filled the rest with water and gave it a good shake. I discreetly placed them in unsuspecting packaging and went to the post office. My heart was racing. I was questioning whether what I was doing was illegal or not. My near-death experience came when the lady at the post office asked me what my parcel contained. Without thinking, I blurted out “cosmetic samples.” She nodded at me with a confused smirk, felt around my parcel, and continued to process it. She knew something was suspicious, but that was all a part of the rush. I had just sold my spit to a stranger. 
        I saw the word safe space and authentic experience mentioned a lot. Weirdly, I understood what they were talking about. As an outsider looking in, I saw a consensual social platform used to express, awaken and celebrate kinks from all corners. No kink was left unturned. It was a website of unsuspecting people; cashiers, lawyers, nurses, delivery drivers that all had their why. Some sought confidence, while others craved humiliation. It was also an uplifting environment for the women selling. Women are supporting women and men using the language of praises. Women were treated as superior. It was something you don’t experience in ‘real life.’ 
        My participation on this site was eye-opening. I might not have the 5-star setup like my friend does or the real goal to make a living off it, but my curiosity was sated. The underground industry of ‘panty selling’ is an imaginative way to earn passive income. It embodies the phrase “make money while you sleep.” The ability to consensually choose not to bare all, such as with OnlyFans or even Instagram, in hopes to create a sale, is fascinating. Scents, girlfriend experiences, and even personalized fully-clothed soaking videos in hindsight seem more sociably acceptable— Even when categorized under the same umbrella term of ‘sex work.’
        My personal advice (and borderline disclaimer) would be to prepare yourself for never looking at someone without the thought,
        “what’s your thing.”