Sex & Relationships

11 Sex Workers On Why They No Longer Trust OnlyFans

“It feels like I’m dealing with a toxic ex at this point.”

Sex workers on why they're skeptical about OnlyFans after the porn ban suspension.
Roy JAMES Shakespeare/Photodisc/Getty Images
By Cameron Evans

After an outpouring of criticism from sex workers (and the internet at large), the website OnlyFans said Wednesday that it would suspend its plans to ban creators from posting sexually explicit content on the site.

The company’s reversal came less than a week after it announced the ban, which was set to begin in October. Initially, OnlyFans cited compliance with their banking partners as the reason for the policy switch. On Wednesday, however, the company tweeted that it had “secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community,” but didn’t specify beyond that.

Sex workers who create the pornographic content that helped popularize OnlyFans — a platform with over 150 million registered users that was name-checked by Beyoncé on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage Remix” — said they felt betrayed by the company, and many remain skeptical even after the reversal of the ban.

“While they have reversed their porn ban (for now), there’s really no telling what they will do in the future,” said Candy Glitter, a sex worker in Minnesota. “We still don’t have a clear answer from OnlyFans on why or how this happened in the first place. There has been so much speculation, but no transparency from them,” she said.

Bustle talked to 11 sex workers about the changes. Here’s what they had to say about the proposed ban and its subsequent suspension, the impact on their business, the larger issue of deplatforming, and how people can help provide support for sex workers right now.

On The Pros And Cons Of OnlyFans Suspending The Porn Ban

Violet October, 28, she/her, Nevada: “I no longer trust OnlyFans. This new change is good for now as it means I don’t have to scramble to replace my entire income ASAP. But I believe this event is proof that they are looking to kick off sex workers as soon as they are financially able to.”

Rosie, 24, she/her, Oregon: “On some level, this is a success because the media is starting to pay attention and shift their perspective of sex workers (slightly), but OF is an unreliable platform that has lost whatever bit of credibility they had.”

Candy Glitter, 27, she/her, Minnesota: “Regardless of their stance going forward, I think they have shown that they don’t support the sex workers who make their site what it is today.

Blair Glass, it/its, they/them, Oregon: “While it’s appreciated that they are suspending their new policies, it feels half-hearted at best and an attempt to try and reverse any negative views of their company after what they did. I explicitly do not trust them, especially after all this.”

On How The Proposed Ban Impacted Business

Ebony Domina, 22, she/her, Texas: “I’ve lost hundreds of subscribers and almost over a thousand in regular revenue. OnlyFans isn’t going to refund me.”

Helena, a 20-something, USA: “I’ve lost 70% of my subscribers in five days. I’ve never experienced a drop like this before, ever.”

Rosie: “I have definitely lost paid subscribers, but I’ve also seen some people subscribe to my OnlyFans and a few on my new platform (Pocket Stars). Others haven’t been as lucky."

Violet October: “I have been losing customers for days. They are deleting their accounts. I strongly suspect they will not rejoin the platform and some may never even buy porn again. It is so hard to get customers to trust new sites. And OnlyFans just made that part of our jobs that much harder.”

Johnny Stone, 23, he/him, Nevada: “I think those that panicked lost a lot, but I actually gained sales and continued to post [on OnlyFans] while directing them to new platforms.”

On The Challenges Of Switching Platforms

Jessica Sage, 28, she/her, New York: “I absolutely still plan to switch platforms. I'm very, very wary of OF, of how long this will last, and I feel like the potential to be banned is still there.”

Violet October: “I will be moving to other platforms slowly. I want to be prepared next time. I have to be. I can’t handle this anxiety again. It has been devastating.”

Electra Rayne, 24, she/her, Illinois:The recent news doesn't make me confident that we'll have a place there long-term, but it's also made it much more difficult to get our whole community and traffic over to a new platform. It's a disaster and to be honest, I'm not sure where I personally am going to go from here.”

Blair Glass: “I will be continuing to use OnlyFans but it will never be the same for me. I am setting up on secondary platforms, but I'm trying not to spread myself too thin.”

On What Percent Of Their Income Comes From OnlyFans

Blair Glass: “OnlyFans makes up about two-thirds of my income. I do some camming to supplement that but camming is really rough on my body because I have various disabilities that are severely impacted by a lot of physical exertion.”

Violet October: “I make all of my income on OnlyFans. I have about 30 fans, but I make most of my income as an assistant to a mom on OnlyFans who doesn't have the time to talk to her 55,000 fans.”

Jessica Sage: “It isn't the majority of my income but it definitely is a few extra hundred dollars a month. I'm married and my husband covers the bills, the groceries, things like that. I'm home all the time with the kids so I really can only dedicate part-time to doing [OnlyFans], but the money that I bring in really helps with things like surprise bills, savings, or back-to-school shopping.”

On The Emotional Toll Of Deplatforming

Amberly Rothfield, 34, she/her, Pennsylvania: “I've seen so many sites build up because of sex workers — Tumblr, Patreon — and then dump us the moment that it becomes inconvenient. I’ve done this for 16 years, and had I not foreseen this coming or been on other platforms, I would be devastated.”

Helena: “I feel exhausted and burned out by the “good” news. It feels like I’m dealing with a toxic ex at this point.”

Kaiia Eve, 28, she/her, Nevada: What happened with OnlyFans isn't new and I hope that brings awareness and attention to more people that this has been happening to sex workers for a long time. I have seen sex workers stressed and worried about getting kicked off places and having to move their content, and sites having to change their terms of service so that they don't have to shut down more since SESTA/FOSTA. That has created a trickle effect into what is happening today.”

On What People Can Do To Support Sex Workers Right Now

Ebony Domina: “We need mental health resources right now. People are literally losing their source of income, their livelihood, and that's very stressing, I've seen a couple girls talk about suicide.”

Violet October: “Fans need to not delete their account yet or do chargebacks. That comes out of the model’s money, not OnlyFans’.”

Johnny Stone: “Sex workers have to work together and collectively do our research, list the pros and cons of different sites, and then funnel the traffic onto these platforms. The panic isn’t good.”

*SWOP (Sex Worker Outreach Project) USA, provides a Community Support Line for sex workers in crisis. The number is 877-776-2004 and the line is operated by volunteers who are trained in rape counseling and crisis intervention. Donations can be made to that project here.

This article has been condensed and edited for clarity.