Commentary on OnlyFans-Is It Glorifying Sex Work?

OnlyFans currently, is known for being a platform wherein people can subscribe to sexually explicit content that is produced by “content creators”. A large portion of the adult entertainment industry views OnlyFans as a platform that encourages the creation and production of something called “ethical porn”, but is that really the case?


A woman is being shamed for Sex Work. A woman feels trapped. Human Rights violation.
© 2019 Rebecca Hendin for Human Rights Watch

Ethical Porn is one of the newer marketing terms that has recently found its way into the limelight, with the term essentially referring to the production of sexually explicit content that isn’t derogatory to the physical, mental and emotional well being of any and all parties involved in the production of sexually explicit content (in this case, pornography) and is shot in such a manner that all personal boundaries of the performers are paid special emphasis to, and are completely adhered to.


Since sites like PornHub and Youporn have been recently spotlighted due to their involvement in the distribution and streaming of child pornography, these porn aggregators have suffered a major hit in terms of their reputation among the adult fil industry, and therefore have lost a tonne of content on their websites which they had been unable to monitor (unable, or unwilling?). Such content was only removed after immense moral pressure was subjected on the sites, but not from the perspective of ethical business practices.


Since the advent of OnlyFans, the dynamic of the adult entertainment industry has been permanently disrupted, both in terms of the type and revenue received from the content that is being produced. The site’s revenue sharing agreement which stipulates a 80:20 split of the total revenues of content between the content creator and the website has allowed for the elimination of any such kinds of middlemen, thereby enhancing the margins of generating profits.


One of the primary reasons why OnlyFans has been seen as a prospective career path under the adult film entertainment industry is because of its ability to accommodate the performers requirements, since the performers can themselves the type and manner of content that they will be producing for their audience. This allows for shooting any content at whichever location they find themselves the most comfortable at, which for many has been their own home (since the pandemic has struck), and has allowed many performers to allow themselves to earn a source of revenue in uncertain times.


Despite its advocacy for the production of “safe” sexually explicit content, OnlyFans has not been a fan itself of all the criticism and judgement that it has received from the wider market audiences. The glamorous life of an OnlyFans performer essentially functions like a facade as soon as statistics are brought into play.



As per the available statistics, the site has paid a sum of around $2 billion to its content creators by November of last year, with only the top 1% of the accounts responsible for generating 33% of total revenues, with the top 10% of creators being responsible for 70% of the sites total revenues. Furthermore, an OnlyFans creator on average makes only a meager $180 a month, which is in stark contrast to the market perception that OnlyFans performers earn absurd amounts of money for themselves.


Furthermore, the content creators that are able to earn as much are able to do so in the first place, because of their established social media handles on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat. The reality of the situation is simple i.e. many content creators on the site just do not have the ability to generate sufficient amounts of revenue for themselves and possess the ability to successfully market themselves as and into “internet stars”.


OnlyFans is a young man’s game, since the market has already been saturated. By the time creators that produce sexually explicit content turn 30, they will already be replaced by younger creators and people who have a better skillset than them, which will in turn lead to a higher degree of competition faced by sexually explicit content producers, and therefore divide the existing stream of total revenue into even tinier individual revenue streams.


Additionally, the perception surrounding OnlyFans and the career of a OnlyFans content creator is disturbingly unrealistic. A lot of minors are attracted to the career of OnlyFans performers once they turn into adults, without even completely knowing the reality of the entire situation that lies in front of them.


To debunk popular perception, it is a myth that OnlyFans has allowed for sex work to become safer just because of the existence of a lower degree of physical sexual exploitation. For example, an Irish OnlyFans performer was subjected to blackmail by a man, who threatened to send her sexually explicit pictures to her families and friends. And it is sad to state that this is not an isolated circumstance,In public view, because the industry’s reality would discourage any up and coming adult entertainment model, since the majority of the industry depends upon the exploitation of such people.


To take another realistic view, being an OnlyFans content creator is fundamentally, an all time job. A creator has to shoot their content, keep up with new social media trends, cater to the diverse personalized needs of your audience, while simultaneously marketing yourself to newer audiences.



Sex work is still highly stigmatized by society, and the life of sex workers is put more at risk with every new day. Till the times regulations come into place that allow for a solution of sex work in place of prostitution, sex workers will always be unsafe, regardless of the medium on which they perform. And any subsequent attempt to cull the demand of an industry that will always exist will only lead to situations that allow for a higher degree of exploitation of women and sex workers in particular.