“Sex workers and performers have been unfairly targeted in the form of bans, shadow bans, suspensions, loss of Live privileges and content removal, despite taking extra care not to violate Instagram’s Community Guidelines,” wrote PornHub on Twitter in an open letter to the Meta Group and Instagram. Instagram deleted the porn giant’s account a few weeks ago and confirmed that this was a permanent ban and not, as expected by PornHub, a “routine” temporary ban.

This isn't surprising. Instagram has been continuously deleting, banning, and removing content by sex workers and people involved in the adult entertainment industry. This recent and permanent PornHub ban is simply a reminder of what adult content creators have known all along about navigating cyberspace: mainstream social media networks are inherently unwelcoming of adult content and sex workers - even when fully dressed.

When entrepreneur and human campaigner Maria Allgaier  launched Freyja in March of this year, she wasn’t as aware of the intense scrutiny sex workers experience on social media. Freyja, named after the Norse goddess of fertility, was meant as a sex education platform, an alternative to learning about sex through porn. “Pornography is not the problem,” she said. “[but] it's not meant for education and we're looking at it for education.”

Talking to sex workers about the bans and removals and hostility they experienced on other platforms, she recognized the real need for an inclusive social media platform. Freyja as it exists now was born; a new social media platform spearheading a digital sexual revolution by acknowledging that sexuality and intimacy are intrinsic to human social expression.

Despite now expanding to attract a more "PG" audience, Allgaier isn’t forgetting the sex workers and adult film studios that helped her navigate the initial hurdles and taboos that come with anything sex work. “At the core of our company is still that safety process for [sex workers],” Allgaier said, referencing the inclusive and accepting nature of the website’s moderation. “We don’t look at sex work as something that needs to be banned or hidden from social media,” she said. Instead of hiding sex work, Freyja is starting conversations around explicit content and user-curated social media experiences.

This inclusion doesn’t mean that when you log into Freyja, your feed is filled with thirst traps and porn. That can be the case, but only if you yourself choose that experience. Freyja gives users the tools to determine how much explicit content they want to see. By going to settings in your profile, you can choose the content on your feed. Where other platforms label all sex as taboo and prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist on the platform at all, Freyja is allowing for more nuance and more user and creator autonomy to curate their own social experience.

Freyja is not only making social media easier for its users but also for the platform’s creators. Allgaier believes Freyja has some of the most lenient moderation guidelines. “I was quite surprised that a lot of adult sites ban period sex and lactations and all these different things.” More lenient does not mean that it’s allowing illegal and abusive content. In the current lists of guidelines, you can find the red and amber lists detailing content that would result either in immediate bans or warnings and strikes.

Even those with little interest in sex education or adult content will find Freyja interesting. “It’s quite appealing to parents,” Allgaier said about user responses. The minimum age to sign up is 18. “[Parents] like that there is a proper process [to handle] nudity and it’s a bit safer for kids to be using this platform [as] they’re less likely to run into things like revenge porn.” Plus, Freyja doesn't sell your data.

The platform is still developing and regularly introduces new features. “As it evolves, I do see it becoming more like a mainstream social media platform that takes out the taboo around sex work,” Allgaier said. Ultimately, she hopes Freyja will make the internet a bit safer, more educational, and more entertaining - with a personalized-to-user amount of sex.