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OnlyFans is the site where porn is more intimate than ever

This feature is taken from Dazed Digital

It’s no secret that the British government hates wanking. Not only did the ruling party describe porn as a ‘source of harm’ in its manifesto, it also passed legislation (which will come into effect in April this year) enforcing mandatory age verification on any online content deemed pornographic. Gone are the days of simply ticking a ‘yes’ box – now, it’s likely users will need to provide bank details to get their dirty mitts on the good stuff. Things are no better Stateside either, with Trump’s FCC recently voting to kill net neutrality. This is just one of various recent announcements which threaten to make the Internet a shittier, more commercial, more censored space.

However, censorship breeds creativity. Lots of influencers have already been selling private Snapchat usernames dedicated to the kind of raunchy stuff that would get users banned on increasingly buttoned-up platforms like YouTube and Instagram (again, blame commercial sponsors and ‘monetisation’); elsewhere, Patreon had a reputation for being fairly sex worker-friendly which was recently destroyed by the controversial announcement of a crackdown on XXX content.

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Cam sites like Chaturbate and Cam4 are also wildly popular, but they’re always live. An increasingly popular alternative, however, is OnlyFans, which operates a subscription model not unlike Patreon; users can sign up to become ‘fans’ of sex workers and porn creators, paying a regular monthly fee for a slow but steady influx of content. It’s worth noting that it’s a general site – fitness bloggers, wellness gurus and dieticians all share online space with porn stars – and the exact number of users is difficult to track down. Still, despite only launching in 2016, the site has inadvertently become an extremely useful tool for sex workers.

Intimate Photography’, 1971 Courtesy of Natalia LL and Frieze

The app links up to Twitter, which displays numerous notifications for new subscribers, user tips and even subscription renewals. “OnlyFans makes itself known,” explains self-described ‘pro-domme’ Mistress Piper. “(The notifications are) almost like bragging – they will even go so far as to show how much a user is tipped.” Piper uses the platform to share live streams, photo sets – “anything I think people should be paying for,” she explains.

One benefit of OnlyFans is its interactivity. Creators can modify subscription fees as they see fit (although Piper points out that this automatically triggers all subscriptions to auto-expire) and fans can pay to private message the stars. Writer and OnlyFans content creator Kevin Symes describes this proximity to the porn-makers as one of the site’s key strengths: “(Creators) are opening up a different side of themselves to people who want to invest their time and money into them.”

Symes was similarly swayed by the notifications, and knew immediately that there was scope to make a side income from explicit selfies he enjoyed taking anyway. “Let’s face it, people aren’t going to subscribe to see my pasta bake recipe,” he jokes. “I’ve got a bubble butt – if people want to pay to see it, more power to them!”

While some creators simply use the site to share cheeky snaps and make some spare cash, professional sex workers can also use the platform to generate more income; sex workers like Australian Jenna Love, who prefaces her response by outlining that, although sex work is legal in her state, broadcasting porn is effectively illegal. “This is going to sound cliché,” she jokes, “but I honestly didn’t start using OnlyFans for the money! I’d love to be in porn, but the market here is small… I find the idea of people masturbating to my pictures and videos a real turn-on.” For Love, the subscriber model offers both a level of privacy and the ability to give fans a candid glimpse into her sex life. She says she wouldn’t have the time to script, film and direct her own porn scenes for one-off sale, so instead films herself with clients and her husband: “I’m able to quickly grab my phone, film myself or myself and others, and then upload the video. It’s certainly more amateur, and there’s absolutely a market for that.”

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