OnlyFans Won’t Revolutionize Sex Work, And Using It Has Ruined Things I Once Did For Personal Pleasure | australian pounds


I recently joked with another sex worker that five years ago every reporter asked us, maddeningly and repeatedly, about sex robots. Now the obsession is OnlyFans.

As a full-service sex worker (“full-service” is the industry term for penile-vagina-penetrating sex), the importance of OnlyFans in media discourse is frustrating, but I also understand it. way that I understood this last concern. Combine moral panic (prostitution) with the feeling of an older generation being left behind by technology (AI, the gig economy) and you have an intoxicating topic. Like the Sugar-baby SeekingArrangement website before it, OnlyFans is giving more visibility to a certain type of sex work and, thanks to the pandemic, it is also on the rise – as newcomers flock and sex workers in. no one had to go online.

I was one of them. When the brothels closed in March 2020 – along with a lot of other stuff – I switched to OnlyFans. I was fortunate enough to be able to do it. The website demands that workers attach their legal identification to sex work, which many cannot risk – especially since the platform has seen their privacy violated in the past, with lists of legal names released. in line. Not everyone has the technology for this either.

Tilly Lawless: “OnlyFans didn’t just bring my work every moment … it brought my work to my bedroom as well.” Photograph: Sam Whiteside / Supplied

But for those who could use it, OnlyFans has vowed to disrupt the porn supply chain the same way non-fungible tokens claim to do for art: by removing the man in the middle and handing over the cast. to creators. For some sex workers – those who only engage in online sex work, perhaps – this may have been successful. But OnlyFans doesn’t like in-person sex workers because they don’t want to be held accountable for people soliciting prostitution – so if you’re doing full-service sex work outside of OnlyFans, regardless of the legality, your account can be closed down and your earnings seized.

A message from a follower (“do you want to meet?”) May be enough for them to do so – or an escort ad attached to your Twitter account of the same name. This means that it is not a safe and welcoming platform for many sex workers; during the four months that I actively used it, I was stressed about being kicked out anytime. This stress was compounded by the fact that posting to OnlyFans on Instagram can cause your Instagram to shut down (Instagram’s community standards are fiercely anti-sex). Instagram is where most of my followers are that I needed to create my OnlyFans profile. So I existed for many months in this weird and precarious online space in which the promotion or even the mere existence of one of my work threatened the rest.

OnlyFans is best if you already have a platform. Established influencers and celebrities can make incredible money – but for the average person, it takes months to build enough followers to make a living, let alone to make it lucrative. The percentage ranking system makes it competitive and hierarchical, and the customer base is increasingly dispersed among a growing number of providers, which has grown from 7.5 million in November 2019 to 85 million in November 2020. Certainly, the top 2% are doing well. money (including people like Bella Thorne, who posted a not-so-topless photo that led OnlyFans to cap their pay-per-view rates, which has impacted the work and incomes of thousands of working women across the country. legitimate sex). But that means that there are 98% of them who don’t earn near that. This is the get-rich-quick myth of the modern age: While success stories continue to proliferate, success itself does not. OnlyFans has a lot more promises and less security than a quarterback brothel.

Cover image for the novel Nothing But My Body by Tilly Lawless, currently available through Allen and Unwin.
Photography: Allen and Unwin

Of course, there are workers who can make money out of it and who wouldn’t otherwise: fetish or niche workers who can’t be hired in a brothel, or workers whose best option is to work. at their home. I’m not denying the platform and the livelihoods it provides for many; questioning only the current cult of it and the agitation that surrounds it.

Personally, I hated OnlyFans. One of the reasons I have always preferred the brothel job to the escort is that it allows me to have clear (one shift) working hours; the rest of the time is mine, to turn off. OnlyFans not only brought my work every moment the same way the escort does (with your work phone buzzing with a text ‘you are available’ every hour), but it also brought my work to my room. and in things I had previously only done for personal pleasure – masturbation and selfies.

I didn’t masturbate for five months after leaving OnlyFans; it was ruined for me by months of recording myself doing it. I monetized something else that I had always done for fun during the lockdown too, by writing a novel – but that didn’t stop me from writing.

I was cheerful and relieved when the brothels reopened in July 2020 and now that they are sadly closed again, I live off Centrelink and try to write – but I will never go back to OnlyFans again, and have looking forward to stop getting asked about it.

Tilly Lawless’ debut novel, Nothing But My Body, releases August 3 via Allen & Unwin

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