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The Problem With Only Fans

by Elizabeth Iris 3 days ago in advice

Advice from a former creator

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

People are fascinated by Only Fans. As a historian, I love writing about history. In reality, hardly anyone reads my articles. The most popular posts that I have written have been about Only Fans and social media in general. The popularity of the platform combined with speaking to an aquatint led me to write another post. This particular creator, who wants to remain anonymous wanted to share her experience on the site to help others who may be considering joining, so she agreed to do a Q&A with me.

Q. Why did you start an Only Fans page?

A. I have done work as a model in the past as a side income to my job. When COVID-19 hit, like many others, I was working from home and was looking for other sources of income as a backup. I had heard of Only Fans, but I did not know what it was until I read about the Bella Thorne hype and the countless number of celebs that were signing up. I had a lot of pictures from modelling and came up with the idea to create a page for people that had a certain fetish. Likewise, I had never done any fetish work before, my work had all been commercial, but I thought that it would cost me nothing to give it a try.

Q. How did you get your fans?

A. I was a little embarrassed about having an Only Fans page. I did not want my family and work colleagues to know, and so I had to look online how to get fans. I found a YouTube video that was made by an adult creator. She advised to create an account on Reddit as they allowed adult content. I had no idea what Reddit was, so I had to google how to use it. However, once I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy, and I got my first fans from posting on niche fetish Subreddits. 

Q. Did you market your page elsewhere?

A. I created a new Twitter account which I got a few fans from, but I kept getting messages from people trying to get me to pay them to promote my page, so I stopped posting on there. I looked for other places to market my page and found that there are creators on OnlyFans that will give you shout out's. I used these as long as they were free, and I also connected with other foot pages. This is where I got most of my fans from, connecting with other similar creators. 

Q. How much was your page?

A. I made a free page at first as I had no idea what I was doing really. I did not know what to post, how much to post, how much to charge, and so I just had a free page in the hope people would send a tip if they liked the content. 

Q. Did they tip?

A. Yes, I got some tips, and then I posted some paid videos and some pictures that a professional photographer friend had taken. People seemed to want to pay to see the content. However, when people started to tip and pay to see my content, I started to feel guilty, and I got a sense of imposter syndrome. 

Q. Imposter syndrome, can you elaborate further?

A. I felt that because I was just a regular lady, not in the adult or fetish industry, I was somehow conning people. I know that the majority of people on Only Fans are just regular people. However, many other creators would post nude or would post videos and pictures of performing sex acts. This was something that I was not prepared to do, but I wondered if that was what I should be doing?

Q. I have read posts that claim Only Fans is passive income and easy money, what is your take on this?

A. Absolutely not, the money is not easy nor is it passive. One of the reasons why I deleted my page was because it was so much work for little return. In the end, it became too stressful for me to manage, and it made me feel exhausted. However, it was more the unwanted messages that I was receiving. I was now back working in the office, and I was trying to concentrate at work. However, I was getting bombarded with messages. I kept getting emails saying that I had a message and I felt like I had to reply, especially if people had tipped me. I was constantly trying to reply to comments and messages as I did not want to appear rude. 

Q. How much time did you spend on your page? 

I ended up spending all weekend creating new content as I felt obliged to, even though my page was free. If you have a paid page then it is even more work as people are paying to see content, and you have to deliver. As well as creating the content, you have to log on daily to try and reply to messages and comments. However, I guess it is like anything, the more time you put in, the more you will get out. I really did not enjoy it though, the weird requests made me uncomfortable. 

Q. Do you think that it is a good way to make money?

A. I think that depends on you and what sort of person you are. I remember reading an article about content creators, in which, the author said that if you cannot deal with negativity, weirdos, trolls and unwanted attention then you should not become a content creator. I think this definitely applies to creating an OnlyFans as you are offering some part of you, you will have to have some interaction with people, and it will not all be good. Also, I am one of those people that focuses on the 1% of negative rather than the 99% of positive, it is just who I am as a person. If you can deal with the crap, the negativity, the unwanted attention then I think it can be a very lucrative thing to get into. If you are in the adult industry, whether it is porn or fetish modelling, and you already know what comes with a job of that kind then yes, it is a great way to make money.

Q. What was the main reason for leaving the platform?

A. From the start, I felt a little strange about having an account. I did put a disclaimer on my page stating that I did not do porn or nudity, but I still got messages which I thought were inappropriate. Yes, the site was made for adult material and I guess some fans just expect that you are a sex worker. I had one guy tell me that part of my body reminded him of his mothers, which really grossed me out, so I had to block him right away.

This thing that absolutely made me leave the platform was the men that would send you tips and then expect you to send them content that you felt uncomfortable with. There are predators on the site that will try and pressure you into sending them things. I had one guy that really freaked me out, and I should have blocked him from the start, but he kept tipping me, so I felt obliged to keep messaging him, even though I did not want to. He started to get really weird and creepy, sending me pictures that I did not want to see, I never opened any of them. If I did not reply to his messages, he would bombard me with more messages and more tips to try and get my attention. I could not handle it, and I thought f*ck this, it is not worth it. Plus, whilst my husband was supportive of me having a page, he did not like men sending me pictures and creepy messages. I did not want it to cause problems in our relationship, which was another reason for leaving the platform.

Q. How did you go about deleting your page.

A. I first contacted support and asked them to refund any tips and paid for content from the last month. I did not want people to pay for things that they could no longer see. I then deleted all my content from the site, yes, Only Fans say that once your account is deleted, so is your content. However, to be on the safe side, I deleted everything myself. You then just go into your account settings and delete your account. Bear in mind that subscriptions are monthly, and your account will not be deleted until the last subscription has run out. This applies even if your page is free.

Q. Did you feel unsafe on the site?

A. Yes, but I am a paranoid person anyway. However, the site claims to be safe. I was worried that the overly possessive men would find out who I was. I became worried that the floor in my home may look familiar or that my garden or blurred face may somehow be legible. It constantly triggered my anxiety and I always thought of worst case scenarios like they could hack the site and find my address. Silly, I know, but stranger things have happened. I also did not want my friends, family and work colleagues to know that I had a page. Whilst Only Fans claim that none of the content can be saved, downloaded or taken off the site, I saw articles online that had screen printed peoples Only Fans pages, I really did not want that to happen.

Q. Do Only Fans need to do more to help creators feel safer?

A. Yes, if the platform is going to be open to anyone then they need to make it safer. They absolutely need to allow creators not to receive messages unless they sent a message first. They need to put in more measures to stop people being able to screenshot pictures, and they also need to allow the creator to accept or reject tips. For example, if you receive a tip that you do not want because it is from someone that was hounding you, then you should be able to reject those tips. At the moment, you can't. I think this gives too much power to the manipulator to bribe creators with money.

I also think that creators should have the option to refuse tips, this will prevent people being able to try and bribe you with money.

Q. What advice would you give to people who are not already in the fetish industry that are looking to start an Only Fans page?

A. I have learnt a lot from being on the platform and I can offer a lot of advice to people. I wanted to share my experience so that people can go into it knowing what to expect and not be so naive as I was.

Even though there are a lot of creators that do not make fetish content or adult material, and you can create whatever you like. You will get people that will send you messages and ask for things that you are not comfortable with. However, this can apply to any social media site, not just Only Fans.

If you are going to be on the site you need to be able to say no. Once people started paying me, I felt that I had to reply to messages and send pictures, even if I was not completely comfortable. I wanted to please everyone, but if you want to remain on the site, you have to be clear with your limitations and do not give in, even if you get guilt-tripped. People will do this to you, there are some nasty and weird people out there who are looking to take advantage. I think you also need to have thick skin. I don't have one. I take things too personally and I let things get to me too much. You need to be able to brush things off.

Use the safety features. You can stop people from commenting on your posts, which I did not realise at first. If I had known, I would have done this from the start. You can also prevent people from sending you messages unless they have tipped you, this will reduce a lot of unwanted communication. However, it will not fully stop it. Don't be afraid of blocking people, the feature is there for a reason, use it.

I think that there are so many people that have created accounts, like me, not knowing what they were getting themselves in for. Whilst at first I thought that I was just posting pictures for people to see, it turned into me feeling like I was being harassed. I did wonder if deleting my page was the right thing to do, there were a lot of people that followed my page who never commented or messaged me, I guess they just liked to see the content, which did not bother me and I was happy to create it for those people. It was just the small number of creeps that ruined it, but as I say, you get them on all social media accounts, not just Only Fans. I guess as Only Fans is less censored, it is easier for creeps to be able to prey on you rather than on sites like Instagram and Facebook, what take safety much more seriously.

It you want a platform that is simliar to Only Fans but is a little more PC then I suggest trying Patreon. You will get far less people looking for adult content and more people that will be looking for your niche.

I am not in any way saying that there is anything wrong with being on the platform, I just could not handle it. But, if anyone is thinking about joining, I wish them good luck and I hope that my experience will help people understand more about what they are getting into, rather than going in straight at the deep end.

Q. So your Only Fans days are over?

A. Absolutely, well and truly.

Elizabeth Iris
Elizabeth Iris
Read next: A Night at the Theatre
Elizabeth Iris

I have an MA in public history and a BA in American studies. I love history and travel and enjoy writing articles on both subjects.

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