Considered a social media platform, OnlyFans lets content creators charge a subscription fee for people to view their content. With no rules on what to post, many choose to upload nude snaps and pornographic videos. The social site has gained popularity during the pandemic – some horny at home or out of work and needing income. BuzzFeed reported on the increase of account subscriptions after Beyoncé mentioned OnlyFans on a remix to Megan Thee Stallion’s song “Savage”.
The BBC documentary “Nudes4Sale” followed several women who shared their OnlyFans account experiences. A 23-year-old named Lauren; said she earns more than £20,000 a month without taking off her lingerie. For others on the documentary, their full nudity hadn’t earned as much.
Sexual freedom or exploitation?
I grew up in a society, educated to believe sex work equalled poverty or gold-digging loose morals. It was a joke among friends: If I end up broke, I’ll just work in a strip club. Or I’ll marry a rich guy. Stereotypes have clothed the sex industry for decades. But since online porn, people (specifically my millennial generation) have adapted their assumptions. We’re realising:
- You don’t have to be poor
- You can have self-respect
- It can be a choice
- It’s not always about money
Online porn and nude photos do come with a warning. Your images can be leaked, your potential employers may find you naked online – judgment will always trace some corners. And in theory, it shouldn’t. Why should people fear what some choose to think? Through online, people can work from home away from dangers outside, they can control how they choose to be perceived, and they can make the sex industry part of their side hustle. Or a full-time income stream that feels rewarding. Everyone is entitled to decide how much of their bodies they wish to show.
With that said, I’ve interviewed three kind, beautiful and open people on OnlyFans (from beginner to more experienced), who answer questions on money, engagement and odd requests. I hope their words help to better understand the OnlyFans platform, and also remove any negative assumptions on creators who post sexual imagery. I admire anyone who goes against the grain and does what they want with their lives (without harming), following their wishes over whispering voices.
When did you first hear about OnlyFans and what made you sign up?
Willow Sky: I first heard about OnlyFans about June time in 2019. I made an account but didn’t really use it.
Max Dillon: I had heard and seen about it through friends and social media. I dated a girl briefly who had a page but I didn’t know much about it. I was asked a few times by followers etc. if I had one. In the end, like most I think the idea of some extra income got me involved and a friend with an account helped me set it up.
Angel Spartaness: I first heard of OnlyFans through the internet: Instagram, YouTube, and Meme Lore. I was already doing my own thing like selling photo-sets and premium Snapchat memberships, so the idea of having an app specifically for that caught my attention.
How easy is it to make money? Have you reached money expectations?
Willow: It is NOT easy! People make an OnlyFans account thinking its quick, overnight money but I can tell you IT IS NOT! It might have been this way a few years back when it was a brand-new platform. But since lockdown, there’s been apparently 170,000+ new creator accounts so it’s hard to get noticed; especially in this current time. I don’t think people realise it’s hard work. There’re no days off. You’re promoting on other platforms, engaging with fans, creating, editing and posting content, being your own manager as well as your own boss – the list goes on. Basically, don’t get lazy and don’t get boring.
I didn’t really have a ‘money expectation’. None of my friends were in this line of work so I actually had no clue how much I should have been making a month. The first month (when I was really using OnlyFans) I made $18. I didn’t give up because I was in full-time work and was just testing the waters. 9 months on and I can say I’m living comfortably. I’ve moved out and that’s all I’m going to say. I don’t like talking money, but to answer your question… I’ve achieved money expectations.
Max: It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination; context is probably required to answer that. Depends on what you have to offer. From what I’ve seen, an attractive girl with a half decent social media can fly to within the top 5% in a week, as a rough example. I started all fresh social media from scratch and have had to build everything at the same time. What I’ve found is the less fucks you give, the more successful you can be. (Pardon the French). I have been at it slightly half pace for a few months. This month, I’ve taken it seriously and I am quietly confident I’ll hit what I set out for, but maintaining it is another thing all together.
Angel: Making money on OnlyFans is very easy. For me, it’s been about uploading content fairly often and promoting my account on other platforms, such as IG. I didn’t really go into it with any expectations, just to dip my toes in and see how I’d like it. I make a fair amount of money, but not enough to live off at the moment. I hope to only increase my income as I spend more time on the platform. It’s only been a few months.
How do you keep your fans engaged and coming back each month?
Willow: Getting fans is one thing; keeping them is a whole new level! You can never really tell when you’re going to keep some fans because they’re in the background… by this, I mean they don’t like your posts or engage with you when you send out a conversation starter through a mass DM. They’re just there to play, and that’s it. For me, I send out conversation starters (like I said above) around once or twice a week. This could just be ‘hey babe’ or ‘hey! How are you?’ I always do this at night for some reason and wake up with hundreds of replies in the morning, which is now my morning admin. Other than that, I include competitions such as Spin the Wheel: 8 prizes at [around] $5 a ticket, where they can win 50% off next month (which keeps them subscribed). I also ask what kind of content they would like to see – I either send it out as a PTV [pay to view] or a wall post.
Max: I started out very careful and stubborn about what I would post. I found it was limiting me – some very loyal fans loved anything I did, but some paying customers rightly wanted more for their money. (Sometimes a little too much for $6 a month at the time). I found it harder to engage on the platform, even though it’s the place I should engage the most. I get a great response on Instagram and Facebook by talking in stories and engaging with anecdotes etc. I am trying to transfer that over which isn’t as straight forward, based on the main purpose of networks like OnlyFans. I’ve realised, good-looking guys are ten a penny. I have to up my game and show I have more (which I do).
Angel: Just making sure to keep uploading unique and interesting content. Luckily, I love creating it, so getting material isn’t that difficult. If I have a particularly loyal fan, I slide them discounts to convince them to stay for a few more months. That usually does the trick if they were thinking of leaving.
Where do you draw the line at what you wouldn’t post?
Willow: I post literally whatever. I love trying new things etc. but for me, I don’t want to post menstrual cycle shit (ha-ha). It’s my worst time of the month, I’m tired, grouchy and all I want is chocolate. The last thing I wanna be doing is playing around with that. Also, the obvious stuff where the OnlyFans rules come in.
Max: Ha-ha so, being as my fan base is 80/90% gay/bi men, I’m encouraged to do borderline stuff with guys. It’s pretty normal and I’ve often said if I was bi or willing to do more, I’d have an Aston Martin. Unfortunately, despite my very open-minded nature and being a massive advocate of LGBTQ communities, I just love women. It took me a while to even post nudes and it’s escalated since to more explicit solo content. I definitely have limits but I think my content will continue to be more explicit if my page grows.
Angel: Personally, I’m a very sexually open person, especially behind this pay wall. I’ve posted/plan to post anything and everything. So, if I have a limit, I haven’t reached it yet.
What’s the oddest request you’ve had?
Willow: This ties in with question 4. Soo, I had this guy that told me he had a fetish for girls on their period. Like fine, everyone has their fetishes, but he would ask to see how heavy my period was and for pictures, videos. I never contributed because, I mean my whole body and all my holes are plastered online – at least let me keep one thing to myself! [laughs].
Max: On OnlyFans, I’ve not had many crazy requests. But within the industry as a whole, there’s been a quite a few. Some outsiders would consider all of them quite odd as the nature of the business is foreign to some, which is understandable. Feet are a common one; friends of mine are baffled by it. I’ve learned just because it’s not something I’m into, doesn’t make it any less acceptable as long as it’s harmless. Off the top of my head, I had a guy on Twitter who wanted to pay me fart tax. Every time I farted; he would want me to film it on video. It was a short-lived relationship. Having my farts critiqued for not being loud enough was too much to take seriously and just plain odd [laughs].
Angel: Not on OnlyFans, but before I started one, I had someone reach out on IG, asking to pay for videos of me farting. I did not take them up on this [laughs]. I haven’t had any odd requests on OnlyFans YET.
Do you have concerns about your images being shared? Do you worry about judgment?
Willow: No, I don’t really have concern. I mean, I wanted to do this job, I knew about the consequences and that there was going to be judgement – like any job! I want to do professional porn so it’s going to be shared anyway. In terms of worrying about judgment, I thought I’d be more worried than I actually am, as I have self-confidence issues. I remind myself we’re all human – everyone has their good and bad sides. Its’s normal to look ugly in certain positions – sometimes this sells more because it’s raw and more natural. The only judgement I’ve had is from people in my area, which didn’t last long – mainly from girls putting me in their group chats and stuff. But it’s all free promo at the end of the day!
Max: I think this is always going to be a concern. I think more should be in place to prevent it [images shared] being able to happen. It definitively happens a lot. If it happened to me, I think I would freak out. But in the long run, I actually don’t care. People will be judged regardless of what they do. I think I’d be annoyed that it’s out in the free market more than anything else, but maybe it’ll be great marketing. As long as my mum doesn’t see it, I think I’m okay. That’s not to say for copyright reasons, I wouldn’t be seeking legal advice and looking to prosecute. I’m happy enough I look good naked, so….
Angel: I’m not really worried about it because of the pay wall and the watermark. If it does get out, I feel at that point, perhaps I could possibly sue the culprit. I don’t worry about judgment and haven’t for years. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. Besides, nudes and OnlyFans are the wave of the future.
What advice would you share to anyone considering an OnlyFans?
Willow: Think about what kind of image you want to show the public. This is your brand; you want people to remember your name. Don’t let anyone pressure you into showing more of yourself if this is not what you’re comfortable with. Don’t be afraid of saying no. Make a Twitter account – Instagram hate us sex workers. Twitter is your best form of social media to promote your platform. It’s not a quick fix for money.
When promoting your OnlyFans, think about what pictures – don’t show full nude if that is all you post on your OnlyFans account. People love freebies and they’ll do anything to get your content for free. Prepare yourself for judgment. Believe it or not, some ‘best’ friends won’t support everything you do and may cut all contact. If they can’t support you for having a job, they’re not your real friends.
Do this for yourself and no one else! You’re your own boss, if you don’t like something, change it! You’re in control of everything.
Max: The first thing I’d say: if you do have anxiety or other issues with mental health, really think if you want to add to it. Because it can; I see it a lot. It’s not so much to do with the fact it’s the sex industry. In general, you will be in demand and people don’t understand they’re not the only ones messaging you. I have to juggle Insta, FB, Snapchat, Twitter, film and promoting my page. On top of which, I have a full-time job and I am an online fitness coach (16 years’ experience – always a good time to plug.) So be prepared – it’s very full on. I won’t give practical advice on how to be successful (if you want practical help, message me – I have a referral link and will happily coach) but as it’s different for everyone, my blanket advice is to be prepared. Having a schedule for each aspect is vital, including complete breaks as it can get too much for some.
Angel: Be yourself, don’t be shy; just jump in and do it. But only with what you’re comfortable with.