What is OnlyFans – Everything You Need to Know (2023)

By Amelia Peck

You’ve probably heard of the popular streaming platform OnlyFans by now. Since its creation in 2016, it has grown from 0 to over 210+ million users, and it’s still growing at double digit rates!

While OnlyFans appears to be just a service that provides adult content, it actually represents a paradigm shift in sex work and relationships. Let’s dig in!

Key Takeaways

  • 💙 OnlyFans is the world’s most popular adult creator platform
  • 🔒 It allows creators charge a fee for users to access exclusive content like photos, articles, videos and recipes.

What is OnlyFans?

According to OnlyFans itself, it is a “subscription site that enables content creators to monetize their influence,”. Content creators upload their content behind a paywall, which can be accessed by their fans for a monthly subscription fee, one-off tip payments and the pay-per-view (PPV) feature.

If you plucked a random person from the street and asked “What is OnlyFans?” their immediate answer would probably be “it’s a pornography site.” As I always say: “OnlyFans is about monetizing your unique traits and skills!”.

If you’re on social media, you probably follow people you like. Maybe they’re funny, entertaining or take great photos. They could be celebrities, comedians, your neighbors or models.  Instead of following them for free, imagine if you could sign up to pay them a monthly fee to view special posts and extra content.

This content could be pictures, videos, blog posts, recipes and the ability to directly message the creator and get a response. This is what OnlyFans makes happen! Personal fitness trainers, models, political commentators, and other content creators use the platform to grow and monetize their fanbase. 

Most often, however, OnlyFans content is sexual. 

The OnlyFans logo

Who Uses OnlyFans?


The Archives of Sexual Behaviour found that the typical OnlyFans user is white (68.9%), married (89.5%), male (63.1%) and heterosexual (59%). Don’t read into that too much though!

OnlyFans has a diverse international user base of 210+ million users.


Creators come in many varieties. Models, musicians, actors, fitness experts, and influencers all use OnlyFans to monetize their audience and generate revenue.

Blac Chyna, for example, charged fans a $10/month subscription to access her page (now deleted) and reportedly made $240 million in total. Rapper Rubi Rose made $100,000 on OnlyFans in 2 days by posting photos from her Instagram.

Popular Celebrities on OnlyFans:

  • Iggy Azalea
  • DJ Khaled
  • Carmen Electra
  • Cardi B
  • Denis Richards
  • Austin Mahone

Creator Statistics:

  • 2.1 million content creators
  • Average creator earns $151/month
  • Average creators has 21 subscribers

Sexual Content

It is estimated that between 70 – 98% of OnlyFans usage and content is sexual in nature.

Many creators were professional sex workers before the platform existed. Porn stars, escorts, and webcam models are among those who have expanded their services and increased their income through OnlyFans.

Other creators had little to no sex work experience prior to starting on OnlyFans and were “forced” into it during the Covid lockdowns as a means to support themselves financially.

“I was worried about money, about paying off my mortgage, bills, and stuff. Before lockdown I was looking after animals—pet dogs, mainly. But because it’s an independent business, my boss can’t pay me until she gets her grant from the government.

At that time I was living off savings. OnlyFans seemed like the easiest option.”

– Miss June (an OnlyFans creator)

How Does OnlyFans Work?

Want to sell your art or content online? OnlyFans is a streamlined platform to connect you with customers and fans.

Here’s How it Works:

Creators upload their content to their OnlyFans page –  articles, blogs, photos, or videos – and their fans can choose to follow them there for a fee. It is the creator who decides how much to charge their fans for a subscription.

Creators keep 80 percent of the money they make. OnlyFans takes a 20% cut of all revenue. That’s a lot! But most are happy to pay this much because this income source wouldn’t exist at all without the platform.

Because most OnlyFans content is of an adult nature (sexually explicit), users have to verify with OnlyFans that they are at least 18 years old by providing evidence of their government-issued ID.

To be clear, the majority of content is NSFW (not safe for work). But OnlyFans is not exclusively meant for pornography. There are still many accounts focused on things like cooking, comedy, physical fitness, or just as a way to connect with a celebrity.


Home is a feed of content from accounts you follow like Instagram, FB or Twitter. You’ll see suggestions for more people to follow on OnlyFans and there is a search bar to help you find other creators to follow. 

Want to post? Click the “New Post” button and add some text, media or start a poll. On mobile, to share, just hit the + in the navigation bar.


All your notifications like past interactions, likes, subscribes, tips, and more.


This is where you chat with your contacts, like someone you subscribe to or a fan of yours.


The More menu slides out, and displays your name, username, and number of fans. Access your profile, bookmarks, lists, settings, cards, bank info, enable a dark mode and log out to.

The History of OnlyFans

OnlyFans was created by an English man called Tim Stokely in 2016.

Before OnlyFans he’d had some smaller successes with a site called Customs4U, where users could connect with pornographic creators, sounds similar to OnlyFans right? 

OnlyFans founder Tim Stokely

Here’s what Tim said is 2021 about the beginning:

“Our thinking was always, ‘OK, what if you could build a platform where it’s exactly [the same] or very similar to existing on social media, but with the key difference being the payment button?’ So all of these creators, making this amazing content for free, had a very simple way of earning from that content.”

– Tim Stokely

Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that work the best!

In 2018, the Stokelys sold part of the business to a Ukrainian-American businessman (owner of MyFreeCams) called Leonid Radvinsky. OnlyFans became much more oriented towards sexual content after that.

The site was doing well, but then the Covid-19 Pandemic hit…

The Covid Lockdowns

When Covid pandemic hit in early 2020, the economy crashed and millions became unemployed very quickly. A lot of people were in a desperate spot…

The number of users on OnlyFans exploded during this period. In just one year, 70+ million accounts were created because no one could leave their homes. A massive dump of fuel on the fire was when Beyonce’s remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s song “Savage” made a reference to OnlyFans.

Ban Sexual Content?

Several BBC reports suggested that OnlyFans allowed the sale of child pornography, or at least did nothing to stop it. In 2021, 100+ members of congress signed a petition to investigate OnlyFans for sex trafficking.

In response, OnlyFans announced in August 2021 that it would start banning explicit material. For those who remember Tumblr, this would have been the death of OnlyFans. It would be like Instagram not allowing images on their platform.

There was a huge backlash from creators (who earn their living on the platform) and from users, and within 6 days OnlyFans reversed their decision. What they did do was massively increase the moderation of content on the platform. 

In those 6 days, a new site called Fansly sprung up which looked exactly like OnlyFans… it just allowed adult content. Thousands (maybe millions) flocked to Fansly during that time and this was enough to get them started as a platform that is still successful to this day.

How Much Do Creators Make on OnlyFans?

The minimum subscription price is $4.99/month and the maximum is $49.99/month. Creators can also charge a minimum of $5 for tips or paid private messages.

So with a $10/month subscription and 3,000 subscribers, a creator would earn $30,000/month. And the top earners make a hell of a lot more than that…

But many creators will emphasize how hard it is to make money on OnlyFans. You’ll need to produce quality content on a consistent basis for months before you even have the possibility of replacing your income. It’s much easier for existing creators to create an account and funnel that following over to their OnlyFans account.

And once you’re up and running? You can’t stop. You’re on a treadmill of content creation and reply to messages constantly. And that’s without all the effort of promoting your account further.

As lucrative as OnlyFans might seem, it is a full-time job!

To Sum It Up

Ultimately, OnlyFans is just another platform like Patreon – allowing creators to share content behind a paywall. The key difference is the allowance of sexual content, which was never available to adult creators before.

Like it or not, OnlyFans allows adult creators to earn their living without the middleman and with less risk of exploitation. However, it will need much more rigorous regulation and moderation to avoid underage creators and users.