(NEW YORK) — (NOTE LANGUAGE AND CONTENT) Hulu recently debuted the revealing new documentary OnlyFans: $elling Sexy, an ABC News Original release that looks into the meteoric rise of the titillating titular social media platform.
Name-checked by Beyoncé, and joined by artists the likes of Bella Thorne and Cardi B, the sort-of “Instagram of porn” now has over 100 million users and over one million creators, with a reported 500,000 new users joining daily.
Shan Boodram, an author and certified sex educator, is featured in the doc. She mentions to ABC Audio, “I think what OnlyFans provides is the ‘farmer’s market’ approach to adult entertainment, to pornography or just to erotic images. You get this one-to-one access feel where it’s you feel like, you know the person, you follow them on Instagram, you know what their pets name is. And now you probably know a lot more about them.”
Unlike the porn industry, OnlyFans creators are in total control of what they post and in charge of what they make. “It’s massively fascinating because when you think about erotic entertainment before, the performers are maybe the third person who touches the money: it goes to the club and then it goes to the manager and that person decides how to disburse it,” Boodram explains.
“Or if you’re on a film set, it goes to the actual studio and then it might go to the director and then they disburse it. And so by that time, you don’t know what percentage you’re getting — whereas OnlyFans, a performer is the first one to touch the money.”
One of the creators featured in $elling Sexy is 24-year-old Wynter Mosely, who, like many content creators on the explicit platform, saw a boom in subscriptions to her site in March of last year, after the pandemic lockdowns began. “I started making more money because people were just bored inside the house because they couldn’t do anything,” she explained to ABC News.
Wynter, who first started a OnlyFans to pay for Christmas presents, was shocked when “one little video of my butt” netted her $1,300 in a single day. She explains she’s made more than $170,000 in a single year from her subscribers paying for her twerking footage and more explicit content.
Kirsten Vaughn, 25, another model featured in the documentary, has earned more than $75,000 from her subscribers. “I was working as a mechanic, trying to find a decent side job so that I could pay off some of my debt,” she explained the ABC Audio. “I was only going to do a couple nude images, maybe lewd. And then I realized that after posting some nude photos, it really wasn’t that bad and just slowly kept doing more and more as me and my partner were comfortable.”
Shan says, “I think that it’s a really cool time for us to, one, take the stigma away, not just from the performers, but also from the consumer standpoint, I think only fans made it cool to start investing in adult entertainment in a way that we haven’t seen before in previous generations.”
She explains, “You know, Penthouse, for example, was that magazine that you hid…and you were afraid to admit you had a subscription to. And now people are proudly sharing…who they subscribe to on OnlyFans.”
Kirsten agrees. “Definitely, like with everything that happened with Bella Thorne and Beyoncé and it being more in mainstream media, I think it is [more acceptable], but I feel like…over the past few years, we’ve been progressing anyways to becoming a society that’s capable of accepting it now.”
She adds with a laugh, “And [then] there still are those people out there that are like ‘ugh!"”
By Stephen Iervolino
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