OnlyFans: Finding empathy and losing joy in pleasure

The platform has deeply affected lives of the creators

Digital platform OnlyFans has recently announced it would ban its adult content starting in October. According to the statement from its CEO, the ban followed a pressure from banking partners and payment providers. This move would negatively affect creators who have contributed to the success of the platform only to end up being turned away. However, the media announced the overturn of the ban on Wednesday 25 Aug. How has OnlyFans affected the lives of their content creators?

An Australian queer sex worker Tilly Lawless shared her experience of being a content creator on the OnlyFans in the recent Guardian article. Being active on the platform after shifting from in-person sex work in a brothel introduced couple of challenges to her life. From being constantly reachable online, feeling threatened by a possible ban from the platform, to her bedroom becoming her workplace, the worst part was losing the joy in doing things for her own sexual pleasure. 

A former cabin crew member Amanda Sommer, who claims to be making a whopping €17560.23 as the OnlyFans creator, dumped her boyfriend after he claimed that engaging with her audience equals cheating. Since then, she has had no luck finding a new relationship. The three men she has recently dated broke up with her upon finding out she worked on OnlyFans. Would she date someone whom she met on the platform? She wants to “meet someone the old fashioned way”, she answered.

Aella, a 28-year-old woman, daughter of evangelical Christians, is among the savviest and most successful creators on OnlyFans. Working as a sex worker, not only did she gain financial independence, making as much as €85498.90 in two separate months, she also became more empathetic toward men. The experience made her realize that ”sexual intimacy is sort of a requirement in order to have emotional intimacy” for them. 

How do technologies influence the way we meet, date and love online? Are our carefully curated personalities often so artificial that they can get in the way of a real connection?

The upcoming IMPAKT Festival 2021 Modern Love (3-7 November) is all about these themes. During the festival, you can experience a 5-day programme of lectures, panels, film screenings and an exhibition — both in Utrecht and online. How can artists help us understand the way in which new technologies are affecting the most human of emotions —love?

Read more about the festival here and don’t miss your chance to get hold of an early bird ticket.

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