I started an OnlyFans account in October of 2021 to have a place to share my uncensored sensual self-portraits. I felt stifled by Instagram’s policies. In some ways, I felt angry because it felt so unfair.
I did and still do think of my OF account as its own act of protest against censorship, control of women’s bodies (and bodies that aren’t white, cis, heteronormative men), and ideas of sexuality and “appropriate behaviour” that I just can’t make sense of in my head.
I feel a sense of duty to be and do things that might be thought of as inappropriate just to normalize them a little bit more.
So, after 9 months of being an OnlyFans creator, here are some thoughts I have about the experience thus far:
Using my real name feels like being the change I want to see in the world
I firmly believe that sex work should be treated the same as any other occupation. People who offer these services shouldn’t face judgement or criticism or discrimination.
I also believe that sexually liberated women (and people in general) should be celebrated.
But how do we get to that world?
It starts with normalizing it all.
Things we hide and tuck away are generally associated with shame and societal disapproval. That’s part of why so many “hide” their OnlyFans and/or sex work activities with different names (also acknowledging that for some, it’s a character they play and that’s fine too), and why sex is still a “what happens behind closed doors” kind of topic.
However, I did debate running it under a different name, especially when I was considering writing this update article and being more open about my account (ironic, I know).
Some of the reasons I’ve heard and considered for using a different name include:
- So OF followers can’t find out who I really am
- So my non-OF following doesn’t “know what I do”
- Basically to keep audiences separate – and keep parts of myself separate in the process (I’m trying to be whole, dammit!)
But I always came back to this question: For what purpose should I hide? WHY?
- It all comes back to fear
- A lot of what I read when it comes to having different names relates back to trying to avoid extortion or leaks…because then people would KNOW what I’ve done
And while no one has to say it, the implication is that if people knew it would mean our reputations are at stake (I mean, just look at this Netflix doc – The Most Hated Man on the Internet). How we’re treated by others could change. We would be cast aside and considered bad, dirty, uncouth, immoral…
I also thought about separating the kinds of OF content I create and having my “real name” associated with my fine art nudes – the reason I started an account in the first place – and using a different name for the spicier stuff. But again, I come back to “Why??” The only reason I would do that is to keep hiding and keep up the appearance of a “good girl” – because people can mostly get on board with fine art nudes. It’s ART after all. But when does it stop being art? And why is the alternative so bad?
It’s a social experiment and participant observation
I didn’t realize this until after, but part of my astrology natal chart suggests that I’m really drawn to understanding life at the edge, thanks to my Scorpio rising and having Mars, the ruler of Scorpio, in the 1st house:
“Mars in Scorpio as ruler of your Ascendant will want to know what life is like at the edge and can therefore need to work with people who are too.” (Chani Nicholas, You Were Born For This).
Part of me was really thinking, “What would it be like?”
“What would it feel like to post sexual photos on the internet?”
“What would it be like if I wasn’t afraid?”
“What is it like to explore and do something that is so widely disapproved of?”
I’ve always felt like a very sexual being, and have always fancied myself as someone who felt truly liberated in all ways – yet I mostly coloured inside the lines for most of my life. I wanted to be good so I could be praised. I wanted titles that impressed people. I wanted approval.
Yet I also wanted to be someone who didn’t care about any of that.
And so, I started trying things out to see how they felt.
I tested my own assumptions about myself and life and consciously challenged my own limits and comfort zones.
And more and more, I tell people I have an OF account.
I mean, heck, I’m writing this blog post about it (beyond the initial two that were very focused on the fine art side of it), and I’ve started talking about it more on IG – although I have to be crafty because of ✨censorship✨.
It’s performance art
“: a nontraditional art form often with political or topical themes that typically features a live presentation to an audience or onlookers (as on a street) and draws on such arts as acting, poetry, music, dance, or painting.” (Merriam-Webster)
My activities on OF are performance by nature because, while not “live” exactly, there is an audience.
More than one audience, actually.
There’s the audience that chooses to subscribe and pay for my work, the “fans” if you will.
And then there’s the audience that observes from the outside. These people are not “fans,” but onlookers. They are people who are aware of what I’m doing and perhaps have thoughts and opinions on it.
This second audience is society as a whole. I am performing a certain kind of role, and yes, part of me anticipates certain reactions.
Part of me wants to provoke thoughts and judgements and questions.
Because that’s what really good art does, right? It’s thought-provoking.
I want to challenge existing standards and structures.
It’s a bit like a dare.
I absolutely would not be able to post anything on OF with any kind of joy or regularity if I wasn’t an exhibitionist at heart.
This is probably why I love sending photos to lovers so much. Interestingly, I never really took ownership of this trait until I started using OF. I didn’t fully realize this was true about me until I went all-in.
And you know, maybe my subconscious guided me to OF because of this exhibitionism of mine?
And while I’m presenting this information in this blog post, seemingly nonchalantly, there is absolutely the sense that I’m not supposed to be talking about this like this.
It’s kind of like sexting?
SPEAKING OF SEXTING.
I feel like we’ve reached a point in society (in many countries, but not all) where sexting is pretty acceptable.
I remember when I was growing up, the thought that people sent sexual images of themselves to other people was scandalous. As a teen, I had conversations with my friends about whether this scandalous, wild activity was something we would ever do.
“If I’m dating someone and I really trust them.”
That was kind of always the answer. That seemed like the right answer.
But even then, it still seemed risky.
Why risky? Why is it so important to trust the person you send them to? Because the person you send them to could use them against you.
Because if people found out you sexted – or if people SAW those sexts – that would reflect badly on your reputation.
Because you’re supposed to be good.
And I aaaaalways had this opinion that if it was going to happen – if someone was going to use these consensually shared images against me – then do it, “I dare you.” That would say more about them than it did about me.
I never really felt afraid that “I would ruin my life” because it didn’t make sense to me that sexting should ruin a life. What does sexting really mean? It means you’re a sexual being engaging in an agreed upon activity with another sexual being, or beings. (But when humans are faced with this fact – that every single one of us exists on the spectrum of sexuality – it’s too much to handle?)
So, because I sext and quite enjoy it, my perspective was one of accepting the possibility that at some point, I may be faced with the need to challenge outdated norms head-on (i.e. someone might attempt extortion, or doxxing, or share images online without my consent).
(Also FYI, I didn’t even have a cell phone until university, so I wasn’t engaging in any underage activities.)
It’s a safe way to explore my sexuality in new ways
Sex and dating are probably more dangerous than having an OF account, especially as a woman in a patriarchal society.
OF won’t lead to an unwanted pregnancy, STIs, or physical sexual assault or abuse.
Yes, some people will try to push your boundaries and be disrespectful. But it’s much easier to deal with those people online than it is in person. I can simply block them. Bye!
I can also protect my time and energy even more, because I don’t need to spend it meeting people.
And for the most part, everyone that’s become a “fan” on my OF page has been completely unproblematic (except one, who didn’t understand boundaries…or “no” for that matter).
I’ve had more challenges from people (men) during in-person contact than I have on OF.
Let me now expand on OF being a safe way to explore my sexuality.
There’s the exhibitionism as I mentioned above, which would be more challenging to explore offline legally (though there are clubs and other spaces where this is fine).
I’m also able to approach consent and boundaries in new ways, and really ask myself what I want and am okay with.
What and how do I want to explore on my own, and then from there, what do I want to show others?
It’s ethical and allows me to declare my bodily autonomy
The porn industry has a history. And a present.
And a future, for that matter.
But anyway, I’m not anti-porn. Some things about porn are problematic though, for example, how mainstream porn (often created by and for men) depicts sexuality, pleasure, women, etc.
It’s not very woman-centred.
Outside of porn, women are often objectified and sexualized (without consent).
Enter: OnlyFans (and this poignant TikTok video).
I’m not here to argue there is no objectification on OnlyFans.
People subscribe to creators for very specific reasons.
In the case of my page, those reasons are sexual.
I don’t know how people perceive me. It’s quite possible I am a “sexual object” in their minds.
I don’t really care, to be honest.
Because I have set the criteria for how people can engage with me on my page, and they act accordingly.
I’ve laid out my standards and expectations and people aren’t questioning them.
Out in the offline world, I am sexualized and objectified without consent. On OF, I am fully consenting and benefiting from it.
If people want to pay to adore me, HAVE AT IT.
In a world that continually challenges women’s bodily autonomy, claiming and declaring it to the world feels like taking a stand against the toxic patriarchy.
This is my body. And I will do with it as I please.
Breaking past the barrier in my mind of “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t do that” unleashed a whole new level of confidence and self-trust
Confidence is based in self-trust. You are confident when you trust yourself to be able to handle whatever it is you’re facing.
Sitting in the fear of “what if” or “I shouldn’t” reflects a lack of trust in both your human self and your higher or guiding self.
I felt inspired by these women. I mean, looking back, it seems so obvious that this would be something I’d want to do 😅.
Another layer of confidence comes from having faced the scary thing head on.
I did it, and…the world kept turning.
My biggest fears were around what other people would think.
Honestly, I’m still kind of like, “At what point will I be ostracized by my friends and family…?”
But doing the thing, knowing that people are thinking whatever thoughts they’re thinking, and realizing I don’t actually care…is POWERFUL.
I’ve learned more about my energetic boundaries and feel zero guilt enforcing them
Nobody is entitled to your energy.
Someone wanting something from you does not mean you need to figure out how to deliver on it.
I feel empowered
I really just feel like some TikTok videos will fit here.
Also, have you heard of Andrew Tate? He’s literally known as the “king of toxic masculinity” and I just know he’d have a lot to say about a sexually liberated woman enjoying the shit out of making OF content.
And, that’s part of the reason why I do it. Because as long as there are people like the ones I just mentioned, as long as there are people who want to control women and their bodies and use them for their own means, there is a reason to challenge their ideas.
And I think the best way to challenge these ideas is to be the thing they’d suggest is the worst possible thing to be.
A big ‘ole ho.
By which I mean a liberated, sexual, conscious woman who doesn’t fall for their tricks.
When it comes down to it, I just straight up enjoy it
SUE ME. (Actually don’t. I don’t really want to go through a whole litigation process or whatever.)
All of these things are reasons I came up with in my logical brain to justify why “it’s okay” and to explain what’s really the foundational element – I just like it.
And that’s enough. That should be enough.
That should be an acceptable thing.
It should be fine for people to like this work.
When people ask me what I do, I should be able to proudly say, among all the other things I enjoy doing, “I’m an OnlyFans creator,” or, “I create adult content.”
We try to sanitize things and justify them in ways that make them seem more palatable.
Like Chapter’s selling sex toys but labeling it “wellness.”
Yeah, of course it’s part of wellness. But why can’t we call it what it is?
Because in our collective psyche, sex is still taboo. We are still (collectively) uncomfortable with our sexual nature.
We are still trying to separate ourselves from our “base instincts” in an effort to elevate ourselves above all else.
Sex for pleasure is “sinful” and belongs to the “under” world because it is “beneath” all that is good and aspirational.
Why are we (collectively) so afraid of our own pleasure?
Why do we try to deny this major experience of human existence?