I am not what you think of when you think ‘OnlyFans model.’ My body is thicc, with large thighs, strong arms, and a doughy midsection. My hair is far from full and much of my wardrobe is Old Navy chic. I have a dick — and it’s not huge. No one sees me on the street and fantasizes about me when they get home. Or so I thought.
One of my first followers on OnlyFans — who I had affectionately labeled Foot Bitch — told me that we’d gone to college together. “I thought you were incredibly sexy and jerked off to your Facebook pictures so many times!” he shared in our first exchange. This was news to me; I spent my college years surprised at any sexual interest. My body image had been warped by countless bullies calling me a “fat fuck” every day for a decade. ‘Foot Bitch’ proceeded to tip me for feet pictures and apologized for not having more money to send. “I’m drowning in NYU debt,” he wrote. I hoped I was worth it. Many creators on ‘that platform’ are having a body image reawakening in the face of intergenerational fatphobia, filtered social media models, and gendered expectations.
“It’s funny. You start an OnlyFans page and everyone who’s wanted to have sex with you follows,” says writer Ryn Pfeuffer, 49. “Someone I went on a date with in the mid-’90s crawled out of the woodwork. I wish I had known [he liked me then]!”
The rise of OnlyFans (and other independent, adult-friendly monetization platforms like Fansly, FanCentro, and LoyalFans) has seen an insurgence of everyday people trying their hand at home-made porn. In 2019, there were reportedly 120,000 creator accounts on the site. In 2022, that number is well over 1.5 million with more than 150 million registered users. OnlyFans is now fully part of the zeitgeist with many celebrities willing to show a nipple or some bushy root to their horniest fans. (Except Bella Thorne.)
I launched an OnlyFans in August 2020 after cultivating a very horny audience with The Manwhore Podcast (for example: we watch retro porn together in my Discord server each month). Like plenty of newbies, I wanted an ego boost. Other creators wanted to anonymously explore their sexuality. Many found themselves unemployed as the world ground to a halt during pandemic lockdowns and they turned to being hot as a way to pay the bills.
“It’s nice to have those moments where I’m like, ‘Whoa. I’m kind of hot!'”
Haley, 26, launched her page @GetHumiliated in January 2021 to make ends meet while waiting to start a new job. In college, she used to “scam dudes on Twitter” for beer money by offering nude photos, accepting their payments, then ghosting them. But now, she was ready to actually follow through.
Haley found a niche as an internet Goddess specializing in Small Penis Humiliation (a fetish where a man requests degrading comments about the size of his wang). The savvy humiliatrix rakes in a comfortable $4,000 to $7,000 a month being praised by betas. Mrs. Humiliation, as she calls herself, has since quit her day job because she “was literally losing money by not being available for interactive stuff.”
But money was not the only benefit. “My mom was always trying to lose weight,” Haley says. She feels it was ingrained in her at a young age to always be smaller. “I’ve always had a little bit of extra belly fat.” Like me, that soft squishy midsection was her least favorite part of her body. But on OnlyFans, Haley is flooded with men worshiping her stomach.
Another woman, a German creator who posts under @aafricanqueeeen, said she was also insecure about her belly for years. Through posting on OnlyFans, she found out “a lot of people love fupas!” (FUPA is an acronym for Fat Upper Pubic Area.) Each photoshoot presented an opportunity to discover new parts about her body that can be sexy — even if they don’t fit into conventional beauty standards. For example, the 24-year-old — who loves memes and dick ratings — never liked shaving but did it because of men’s expectations. After seeing the positive reactions to some unshaven content, she put the razor down altogether. “Sexuality was always linked to a boy, not for myself. [Now I realize that] my body — how it is — is beautiful. I don’t have to change it.”
The body positivity movement often pushes people to ‘feel beautiful’ and to not rely on external validation. But when representation of your body type is lacking in pop culture and desire for someone like you is either fetishized or admitted in hushed tones, it can feel delusional to look in the mirror and see sexy. All the representation and affirmations feel empty if people are clapping for your bravery instead of openly drooling in your comments like they do for Megan Fox or Michael B. Jordan.
In college, one of my sisters told me, “If you just got a six pack, so many of my friends would want to date you.” Woof. No wonder roughly 10 million men and boys in this country are affected by disordered eating. As a man whose definition of ‘abs’ will always be more relevant to ‘anti-lock braking system,’ I deduced I was going to have to get rich or get funny. When I was younger, I never saw women unabashedly desire chubby male actors on social media without also mentioning how hilarious he was in that one movie.
Flash forward to this week, one of my regulars — a 30-something married woman in the Midwest — tips me, saying how much she loves my arms, my chest hair, my thighs, my butt. And yes, my boyfriend-sized six inches too.
Body image isn’t only about weight, muscles, and the shape of your tits. For many trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming folks, there’s just something ‘not right’ about what they see in the mirror. “It didn’t feel good having that reminder that that’s what people saw when they looked at me,” shares Eliza Casey, who started shooting adult content with her wife in 2016 “long before OnlyFans” blew up.
After transitioning, Casey, 30, drove out to the desert to shoot for a friend’s magazine. “[My friend] saw me more through the lens of the camera in that photoshoot than I see myself in the mirror some days.” When she saw the photos, she was blown away by her own beauty — a shot of her long legs followed by her exposed body stepping out of the car in the Nevada sunlight. “It’s nice to have those moments where I’m like, ‘Whoa. I’m kind of hot!'”
“Those dollars mean just one thing: You are fucking hot. Now go pay your rent with your hotness.”
There’s less ambiguity in porn metrics than Instagram engagement. You don’t need to debate why people liked your thirst trap on OnlyFans. It’s not because you’re funny or brave or kind or people feel bad for you. Tips spent and view counts give a creator an idea of the number of orgasms they’ve caused. Those dollars mean just one thing: You are fucking hot. Now go pay your rent with your hotness.
For trans creators whose sexualities unfortunately attract both shame and violence, selling nudes can be affirming. “It’s definitely helpful to show people like me being desired and taking ownership of their pleasure,” Casey admits. Meanwhile, older creators like Pfeuffer—who rakes in $1,000 a week on OnlyFans—hope to challenge the notion that there’s a “societal expiration on your body.”
My first month on OnlyFans, I made $1,020 — that’s $30 shy of rent! The next month, I made even more. As an unknown comedian with a mildly successful dating podcast, I’ve made tens of thousands of dollars posting thirst traps and selling videos of my body in a variety of sexual scenarios. It was clear to me right away that I can hate my body if I want to — but I have to respect it. Because this body was paying some bills. Making between $500 and $2,000 per month forced me to accept: I’ve got a hot body.
“OnlyFans has helped me realize that people love different things,” Haley reflects. “Something about myself that I hate, somebody else could think is the most beautiful thing in the world.”