Why is OnlyFans Being Glorified?

OnlyFans has become glorified in mainstream media, and we need to speak against the mass hype around it.

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OnlyFans is an adult platform where users buy and sell content. Created in 2016, the platform began gaining popularity in 2020, with sexually explicit images and videos becoming the majority of the content. Veteran pornstars, webcam and Instagram models, certain celebrities, and people with no prior sex work experience have begun using the platform as a source of income. With the platform gaining 500,000 new users per day, there are currently over 190 million registered OnlyFans users and 2.1 million creators. Sixty-nine percent of OnlyFans users are male, and 70 percent of content creators are female. Women make 78 percent more than males on average, and most of that revenue comes from male users. These gender dynamics on OnlyFans portray the sexual issues facing society today. 

These statistics are shocking, and yet, from what I’ve seen on social media and in real life, there’s hardly anyone calling out the presence of OnlyFans in mainstream media. Instead of collectively agreeing that OnlyFans is harmful to society, it’s become widely accepted and glamorized as a beacon of empowerment. I see TikToks of people promoting  OnlyFans and encouraging women to “get [their] bag.” Sexual content is in every corner: in TV shows, billboards, clothing, business marketing, music videos, and all over social media. Algorithms are designed so that when one searches for a topic such as OnlyFans out of curiosity, the feed adapts to provide more videos relating to the search topic. Furthermore, creators can link their OnlyFans to their other socials, primarily Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, broadening the exposure of pornography across conventional platforms. 

Of course, sex work has always been prevalent. There’s even the saying that prostitution was the first job, but the popularity of OnlyFans has reached a new level. Though there has always been X-rated content in the past, working in the industry was seen as a last resort with a level of shame to it. Porn has been proven to physically deteriorate the brain, and the effects of it are visible through the ways our online generation has come to view sex. By deteriorating our brains and destroying our perception of real sex, porn has become a public health crisis. But now that making money off of sexual content is easier than ever before, it’s not only accepted but encouraged by celebrities and media. For instance, Beyoncé’s remix of “Savage” with Megan Thee Stallion included a shoutout to OnlyFans, which saw a 15 percent spike in activity. Many other celebrities have joined, including Cardi B, DJ Khaled, and Bella Thorne, who have each made millions of dollars. These influencers make extra money by promoting OnlyFans, adding to the overwhelming presence of the platform everywhere. 

What’s worse is how cancel culture has forced people to follow the herd and pretend as if there’s no harm to it or face the consequences of being “anti-woke” and against the free will of the people. Few people understand or openly speak about the profound issues that OnlyFans and similar sites pose to people’s brains and our society. Though it is a person’s right to make their own life decisions and sex working platforms cannot be banned, we can’t just sit around acting like it isn’t one of the biggest issues facing society. Our generation is growing up surrounded by the most sexualized culture in history. The sexual revolution during the 1960s and 80s, combined with the invention of the internet, was a double-edged sword. While sexual liberation movements opened doors in cultural, medical, and political fields, they also spiked many issues and even created new ones, such as unwed births, divorce, porn addiction, pedophilia, sex trafficking, and objectification of women. The internet was a major catalyst because never before in history was sexual material freely accessible worldwide. Now, not only do children have free access to porn sites at the tap of a screen, but they’re also learning that they can indulge in it and make money off of it. 

On the one hand, young girls are seeing it and being told that this is an easy and fast way to earn money, status, and popularity. I’ve seen posts on social media about girls opening an OnlyFans account the day they turn 18. The marketing around OnlyFans is directed at women because the content made by them brings in more revenue. It’s a ruthless cycle of men sexualizing women, which leads to women profiting off that sexualization, furthering the objectification of women. This has gone on throughout history, with women facing violence and financial handcuffs in both physical prostitution and the porn industry. But now, OnlyFans provides a safer environment for women to still make that money while having control over their content and being able to keep most of the revenue as opposed to working for an adult film-making company. This has led to women encouraging each other to join OnlyFans because they can make profits thanks to the hyper-sexualization of their gender without the negatives of the traditional porn industry. These huge sums of money provide feelings of sexual and financial power. However, this leads to other problems. The ongoing objectification of women continues because fans constantly demand content worth the money they’re paying. Oftentimes, this includes responding to disturbing fetishes and fantasy requests. Privacy and safety are other concerns because this content is an exclusive product, meaning people who pay for it can screenshot and redistribute it without the creator being able to do anything about it since the material belongs to the purchasers. Also, because the content is only accessible by purchase, child protective services and sex-trafficking agencies can’t monitor the material being circulated

On the other hand, boys are seeing sexual content everywhere and are subconsciously taught that it’s okay to constantly consume it and that women are sexual objects who should all look like Instagram models. Especially since content is bought as a product, this concept of purchased ownership reinforces objectification. This mindset carries over to their school, workplaces, and even their own children as they get older. Overconsumption of content not only leads to unrealistic perceptions of women but also sex and masculinity. It causes dissatisfaction and takes away from the intimate connection sex can provide. While extensive research hasn’t emerged yet, a Huffington Post survey found that 28 percent of men who are subscribed to OnlyFans spend more than $50 monthly. People are willing to pay for pixels on a screen rather than attempting to make real connections and healthy sex. This much consumption causes addiction and large amounts of money being blown on buying content. In addition, influencers such as Andrew Tate exploit the unrealistic portrayal of masculinity in porn and promote the ideas of having multiple women or cheating as optimal masculinity. It targets young people and further disarrays men’s views on women. 

There’s the stigma that men who consume sexual content are lowly, unsuccessful, and aimless. However, it seems OnlyFans has managed to weave itself through everyone. In fact, some creators report that up to 80 percent of men who message or pay for their exclusive content are married, have children, and are relatively “successful.” Many men seek sexual outlets, whether it be through a strip club or a prostitute. OnlyFans has made it far easier to distract themselves from their issues, both in terms of access and moral justification. Altogether, it’s chipping away at the value of love and family, leaving men who no longer know how to treat women properly. 

We continuously blame each other, but I can’t stress how important it is that instead of pointing fingers, we should look up. We must start being critical of those in power and begin questioning why society has become so sexualized. Why are pop stars expected to perform half-naked in front of millions, including children? Why are websites meant for adults so easily accessible by anyone and everyone? Now, I’m not saying sex is the eighth deadly sin or that our natural bodily urges are wrong and immoral. Teenagers will indulge in sexual activity regardless of online content. However, sex is one of the biggest doses of dopamine, and when your dopamine relies on viewing completely unrealistic views of women or on monetizing a “perfect” body, the psychological impacts are scarily profound. Gaining subscribers boosts confidence and provides validation, leading to addiction. It’s come to the point where pornography provides more dopamine than actual sexual intercourse. It’s important to understand that young generations are highly impressionable. Adult content is a choice, and nothing can be done about that. But when it’s being glorified to the point where anyone who doesn’t accept it is overly conservative and unprogressive, it’s bound to be mainstream and influence everybody, including little kids.

This isn’t empowerment. This isn’t progressive. I think we all need to wake up and stop being afraid to see the monetization of a body for what it really is. We need to open our eyes and acknowledge that consuming and wasting money on sexual content is tragic. Never before have we veered so far off the trajectory of bettering society that girls and boys would rather commodify their bodies instead of growing and applying their intelligence to provide for themselves, their families, and society. We’re all capable of doing so much more with our lives than just making some quick income or chipping away at what remains of dignity and self-respect. I believe that our bodies are integral to our identities and that we are meant to be intimate and vulnerable. While I do understand it’s one’s prerogative to do what they want with their body, I don’t think it’s right to glorify and promote removing the intimacy that comes with our sexual self. This brainless mass hype around OnlyFans needs to stop, and it starts with having the courage to speak up about it and resisting its influence.