ONLYFANS: THE PATREON OF PORN
Sex sells. It always has. From the establishment of peep shows in the 1800s to the multi million-dollar Playboy empire and the phenomenon that is the PornHub brand today, sex has long been a commodity with a captivated audience. But young people’s relationship with sex as a product, is evolving. No longer is it the taboo subject saved for locker room conversations or drunken late night chats, people are much more open to paying for products or platforms where sex is at the heart of their offerings.
In this digital age of influencers and vying for likes, it was only time before a platform emerged where people could become sex stars and be paid for it. In April of 2018, a new digital platform called OnlyFans was launched to allow online stars to share the X-rated content that other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook were censoring.
Using traditional social platforms like Instagram, social media users drive their followers to their OnlyFans account - where a subscription ranging anywhere from $5 to $30 a month will give you a whole suite of NSFW (Not Suitable For Work) imagery and videos of your Instagram crush. So, instead of logging into Instagram and seeing #ootd or pictures of mates travelling around the world, you log in to OnlyFans and see people - people that you’ve chosen - having sex.
In a similar way to how Patreon has allowed creatives like musicians and writers to get paid directly by fans for the work they do (and give them exclusive access to content as a reward), OnlyFans cuts out the middle-man between creator and consumer. Because of this, OnlyFans been spoken about the site where porn has become more intimate than ever before. It’s also a creative place for consuming adult content, because regulations (and third parties) are removed. It’s on people’s own terms - creators own and can control all their own material.
“I know some people who are making $8,000 a month through OnlyFans. They are capitalising on fandom that has always existed for celebrities and porn and everything that goes with that. To me, its art with your body - no different to exploring another revenue stream. Aesthetics are a tangible asset now, people are relying on this as their career. It’s so entrepreneurial. But on the other hand, I don’t understand how, in the age of screenshotting and screen recording it’s still taking off so much. I’m in WhatsApp groups where people will share OnlyFans content to people who haven’t subscribed.” Fin, 25.
What started as a platform for adult film stars quickly became a form of income for fitness and lifestyle Instagram stars, unapologetically unashamed of getting their bits out - for the right price. With more and more people joining the platform each day (and similar platforms like JustForFans), both as consumers and creators of content, the demand for this all access (in every sense) to online stars, shows no sign of slowing down.