Opinion: The Stigma (and Sensation) of OnlyFans

OnlyFans launched in 2016 as a subscription based service that allowed content creators to directly interact with their fans, which more often than not required their fans to pay a monthly fee. Essentially, it’s an on going crowd funding model that also allows users to subscribe, tip and interact with anyone who creates content on the platform provided they are subscribed to the person’s profile.

While it wasn’t initially created with any particular type of content in mind, it did allow content creators and influencers to use the platform to market content of a more adult nature directly to those who want it most. Anything goes on OnlyFans from amateur photographers, upcoming musicians and even Hollywood starts and much more all the up to hardcore pornography and other content of an adult nature and everything in between but that last part is the side I’m looking to discuss today.

The first thing I’d like to address first is that I don’t think most of us realise the impact that the internet has had on the adult entertainment industry and with a platform like OnlyFans available, it’s only natural that content creators from this field utilise the platform to once again give value to their brand and more importantly, make money from it and in this article I want to concentrate on that adult market and what it truly means to be a content creator on the site as well as address some of the stigma that comes with being associated with it to begin.

OnlyFans empowers content creators to post online in a safe, subscription based space that not only helps protect their content but also lets them allows them to keep full ownership of what they post in exchange for 20% cut of whatever that content creator makes, provided they charge for their subscription to begin with.

When it comes to content creators on the site, not all of them are known entities within the adult entertainment industry like Georgie Lyall or Amber Deen but in fact most of the people making money, and more often than not a living, from creating content on OnlyFans are regular, normal people who are using the platform to their advantage.

However, being a content creator on OnlyFans seems to come with a stigma. A stigma that the site is exploitative, that posting content, no matter how tame or lewd, is to be looked down upon or that it isn’t a real job. Now, personally speaking as someone who worked full time at one point posting reviews and conducting interviews on a music website, I don’t understand why my line of work is more acceptable than what they do. At least people on OnlyFans are creating original content whereas I just talk shit about other people’s work yet, somehow in the eyes of society, it is the more noble of both professions and out of the two, which one are you more likely to tell your parents about and which one do you think will get you the sack if your employer ever found out?

Sex sells, we all know this, yet when someone is honest enough to say that they want to use sex to make money we suddenly look down upon them. The porn industry is worth billions of dollars but when someone wants to create content on OnlyFans to get a piece of the action they are ridiculed and slut shamed and some even have their paid content illegally shared and mocked.

Rarely will we ever know why someone decides to turn to OnlyFans. It could be something as simple as making a little extra, paying towards student loans or credit debit, supporting themselves through education to avoid the need for loans to begin with, or it could be something as honest as following a dream. It could be a coping mechanism for low self-esteem or as a way to boost their mental health. It could also be something as simple as needing money because in the past year they’ve lost their job and can’t afford not to work but at the end of the day, it isn’t any of our business as to why someone does it but we should have the common decency not to judge them for it.

All too often you see the tabloids posting articles on this person or that person making OnlyFans content, rich and famous, poor and obscure alike, and put them on trial in a public forum with the intent to sway public perception that OnlyFans is a dirty little secret to be ashamed of.

But here’s the kicker, for all these content creators on OnlyFans making money, people have to be subscribing in the first place for that happen. So, if the content itself is in such demand that people are making a full-time living wage from the site, why aren’t we then celebrating that? There’s clearly a market for what they’re doing so why is it you’ll never see anyone admit to paying the $5.99 or whatever it may be to see the content they obviously want to see. Truthfully speaking there’s probably a bunch of folk posting on OnlyFans that I’d quite happily pay to see content from, but honestly I’m too cheap for that. Sure, I wouldn’t discuss it with my parents but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.

Now, you’ll probably have noticed that at no point thus far have I referred to the content creators as “OnlyFans Girls” or OnlyFans Boys” or any other term. Why? Well, simply put I think it would be both demeaning and a disservice to what they actually do.

Life for them isn’t as simple as throwing up a few sexy selfies and going about their day and while I’m sure some people may make a few bucks here and there from that approach, the ones making a living from it go through so much more on a day to day basis than you probably realise. They get and get ready for work like the rest of us but their day is nothing like you’d expect.

They don’t just roll out of bed, snap a picture and roll in a pile money like Scrooge McDuck, there’s more a lot more to it. Let’s imagine a scenario… They want to post a few new pictures for their subscribers.

First, they need to select an outfit or theme for the picture or pictures they want to post. Next, they need to get ready, makeup, shower, hair and whatever else they need to do. Now, if they’re doing a shoot elsewhere, they’ll have to travel to that location. After that, they make need to meet with a photographer to go over some ideas, then get ready and set up the shoot which could another hour.

Then, there’s the shoot itself, which from experience of seeing promotional shots for musicians getting taken, is nowhere as fun as it looks. It is hard work to maintain that level of energy throughout a photoshoot. After all that, there’s the photo selection, editing process and then finally posting the image online but the work still isn’t done as you’ll need to take to social media to promote the image, promote your page and content and interact with current fans and potentials fans when all you want to do is go to bed.

While it may not sound like much, doing that day and day out week after week is exhausting and the world thing is you take a break, you run the risk of losing subscribers and thus losing money. Not to mention you need to find a way of keeping your content fresh enough that people keep coming back month and month and keep paying for what you’re posting and that isn’t addressing the issue of competition from other creators as well as mainstream media like Disney Plus, Amazon Prime or Netflix.

These people are not “OnlyFans Girls” and “OnlyFans Boys”, they are people and they are hard working, self-employed, entrepreneurs and content creators that put up with untold amounts of abuse, judgement and ridicule just to make their way in this world. You may not like how they make their money, but for them to make money, somebody has to spend it and you need to respect their dedication and drive to make something of themselves.

by Edward Laing