Sex work has long been a controversial area of discussion. But thanks to sites like OnlyFans, sex work is becoming more and more normalized. Not that online sex work didn’t exist before the founding of OnlyFans in 2016, but the dawn of this social media platform really gave sex workers a central hub to work from online.
And when the pandemic hit in 2020, OnlyFans experienced a major boost in users and sales, the latter of which rose seven-fold to $2.36 billion. With an increase in users, there was also an increase in creators. A lot of sex workers who would normally meet clients in person suddenly couldn’t do that and realized that they needed another source of income. Enter: OnlyFans.
Read on to find out how OnlyFans has changed sex work for the better … and a little for the worse. And draw your own conclusions.
It’s Another Income Stream
Sex work comes in many different formats, and for many sex workers with existing businesses and client bases, OnlyFans simply provides another income stream to add to their purse. At the same time, people who have other jobs use OnlyFans as another source of income too. It’s the same as when someone works full-time in a completely ‘normal’ job and does YouTube on the side. This version might just be a bit sexier.
It has Literally Given People Legit Careers
What seems like a bit of fun actually has turned into a fully-fledged career for many people on the site, people who would never have considered sex work before. Similar to YouTubers who start making videos for a joke, the success story is the same on OnlyFans. Suddenly you’re being offered $500 for simple foot fetish pictures, and the temptation to take OnlyFans seriously is there.
Because of the financial gains, some people have even managed to buy a house within a year—a house! Just think about that for a second. With full-time jobs getting more and more poorly paid, it’s no wonder that people are being lured into OnlyFans for the money.
It Gives Total Creative Freedom
Whereas even nowadays, a lot of mainstream porn is focused on white cisgender sex, OnlyFans has given creators of other types of sexual content space to thrive. And we’re not just talking about race and ethnicity here. We’re talking about specific sexual niches that not even Pornhub gives any time in the limelight.
On top of that, OnlyFans doesn’t have many rules when it comes to explicit content, so it’s a sex worker’s paradise when it comes to content creation. You can do whatever the frick you want! Of course, OnlyFans did have a funny five minutes where they considered banning sexual content but let’s not talk about that.
Before OnlyFans, there seemed to be a void between everyday life and sex work. It was one of those things that we knew was happening, but we didn’t think Jane in the queue ahead of us in Starbucks was doing it. Nowadays, literally, anyone could be doing OnlyFans, and it doesn’t shock people.
Okay, there might be some shocked grandmas out there, but if we’re talking about people aged between 20-40? Everyone’s pretty chill about it. OnlyFans has brought sex work closer to everyday life to the point that it is becoming more and more normal. In fact, one of my old school friends (I won’t name names) is on OnlyFans now, and she makes dominatrix content. And. It’s. Not. A. Big. Deal.
Money, Money, Money… And Security, Security, Security
The issue with the sex work industry is that it’s unregulated, meaning there are often not many rules and regulations for workers in the industry. This can lead to talented people not getting paid what they deserve and also having to work in poor or unsafe conditions. Of course, there are two sides to every story, and there are sex workers who do get paid a LOT of money under very good conditions—Riley Reid, looking at you girl!
But this is a small proportion. With OnlyFans, creators have the potential to earn a decent wage every month with no upper limit. It’s also non-contact work, so they can do everything from the comfort of their own home without physically going into an unsafe situation.
Traditional sex work involves an individual physically doing something to make money, i.e. a person having sex with a client. This is a service-based form of work. OnlyFans has paved the way for sex workers to make money while they sleep by giving them the space to create what is essentially a digital product for users to purchase. And isn’t this the dream, to make money while you’re dreaming about what you’re going to do with the money you’re earning? Just me? Okay.
Awareness about Ethical Porn
Although there is the option to offer your content for free, the focus on a paid subscription on OnlyFans really builds awareness on paying sex workers for what they do. And because of this, it’s slowly making people realize that this is a legitimate job and not just for the sh*ts and giggles, highlighting the importance of ethical porn.
Giving sex workers a place to offer their content for the prices they want gives the power to the content creator, not the audience, which is where it was before. And if you’re the one creating the content, you should be the one with the power!
It has to be said that OnlyFans does have some drawbacks for the sex work industry. First of all, normalizing sex work–although fantastic–has a con, and that con is making this type of content creation open to anyone.
Like Pornhub, anyone can start an account with OnlyFans, so it conveys the message that anyone can be a sex worker. The reality is that it takes a certain type of person and skill set to be a sex worker, so just opening up the industry to anyone is almost a slap in the face to legitimate sex workers that are really talented at what they do. It’s like wanting to get a job as a lawyer with no law degree. You simply would not succeed in this field without some kind of skills and knowledge.
The second drawback to OnlyFans is that a lot of celebrities are now on it and claiming that they’re not ‘doing nudes or anything’. By saying such statements, it’s casting an unconscious shame onto sex workers who do offer nude content. And because of the prestige of celebrities, some very successful OnlyFans creators have actually seen their ratings and earnings go down. It’s a monopoly, and the celebrities, yet again, are winning.
OnlyFans is now a key site where people go for all kinds of content, both sexual and non-sexual. And while it does have its benefits, perhaps more has to be done to regulate who can actually use the platform for what purpose. With the rise of celebrities using the site, some would argue that a grey area of influencers is being created: influencers who make content not safe for YouTube or Instagram but go all red-cheeked from admitting they’re making adult content. Which they are. Be honest, guys.
The negatives aside, OnlyFans, at its core, is a sex-worker positive site that has given room to many niches that would not perhaps get the same attention on other sites. And if people can earn enough money to BUY A HOUSE? Then I, for one, am a fan. But I guess I’m not the only one.