Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of OnlyFans. Though it’s been around since 2016, the website has risen in prominence since the beginning of this year and landed firmly in the mainstream after Beyoncé name-checked it in Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” remix. But while you’ve heard of it, it’s quite possible you’re not entirely sure what it is, why it’s suddenly so popular, and whether you should try it to see what you’ve been missing out on.
OnlyFans is a subscription-based social media platform where members pay a monthly fee to access content from a specific creator or account. If Patreon and Instagram had a baby, you’d get something like OnlyFans. However, because the site has no restrictions on the type of content that can be posted, it has become a comfortable home for performers and influencers of the adult variety. From amateur cam girls to long-established porn stars, it’s likely they have a presence on OnlyFans.
If you’re at all familiar with the porn landscape in the 21st century, you’re probably aware that cam sites are where it’s at. Consumers of adult content have eschewed the glossy camerawork and cheesy scripts of traditional porn films and now prefer the real-life feel and relatability of cam performers. According to Camadvisers, a leading adult review site, popular cam sites such as Chaturbate or MyFreeCams have upwards of 14 million unique visitors each month and can have up to 5,000 performers going live at any given time. It is a booming industry, but the most-visited sites tend to use a freemium model – meaning users can watch at least some content for free. So why is OnlyFans – a site that requires a subscription to access any content – rising in popularity?
The answer is probably a mix of strategy and luck. OnlyFans was designed to look more like Instagram than Pornhub. This user experience makes visitors, especially millennials who came of age on social media, feel comfortable navigating the site and stay online for longer. Having that built-in advantage, it appears OnlyFans reached critical mass at the start of 2020 – a time when people around the world began to stay home and looking for ways, naughty or otherwise, to pass the time (it also didn’t hurt to get a mention from Queen Bey herself). The rest is history: the site went from 15% monthly growth to a 75% increase in new user signups, and it’s only gone up from there.
So if you’re still curious to see what all the fuss is about, go ahead and check out OnlyFans. Just don’t expect it to reinvent the porn wheel.