Editor’s Note: Due to the sensitive nature of the article and to protect her identity on campus, the source wished to remain anonymous.
How did you hear about OnlyFans and what made you decide to join the app?
I have been involved in selling sexy content since I turned 18. I’ve been taking pictures of myself just as a fun thing to do, and something that has been really an integral part of my healing journey since I was 15-16. But obviously, when you are under age, you can’t monetize these things. I didn’t start thinking of making money from it until I turned 18. At first, I posted in my snapchat story, and then dudes from high school would hit me up. I would have a couple of people who would buy from me every few months. I thought about making a Patreon first. [Patreon is a subscription based service frequently used by podcasters and sex workers, where different levels of membership unlock content.]
I continued taking the pictures anyways, and sending them to friends and having just the few people who would come back for them. Then I found out about OnlyFans from following other people on Instagram who have it. At first I didn’t know what it was, but I just felt I should do this now. I thought that it would be an amazing way to stay connected with people [because of Covid-19]. And it has.
I just see these things in such a different way than most people see it. They see it as Oh, selling your body that’s bad. Do you feel weird that people are masturbating to your photos? But to me, I’m so honored to hold space for people to experience the deep realms of pleasure that we can experience. Most of the time, these are people who have a hard time having in-person sexual interactions, whether it’s because of anxiety or past traumas with sexual experiences. I really enjoy helping people feel good about sex.
It really doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable that people are masturbating to my pictures. Actually, it excites me [and] makes me want to do more because I am like, wow, I’m really helping these people feel good today. I decided I’m going to put on this specific outfit, I’m going to take pictures in this specific way and all those ideas that flow through me-all the creativity, and then they like it that much that it then brings them to this level of pleasure. That’s so affirming to me. Even beyond that, I’ve made connections with people through this for years. It’s so nice that people are giving me their energy. That’s what it really is, at one point this money was someone’s labor, they are then giving that to me because I’m making them feel that good that they want to support me or my mission and the other things that I share on OnlyFans besides just adult content. I love it so much more than just the extra money.
What else do you share on OnlyFans besides photos of yourself?
I share recipes and art. I’ll make art with my nudes. I’ll [collage] my body so I’m coming out of a mountain with cosmic swirls and flowers. I make sensual erotic dance videos [and] meditation videos. I write very extensive spiritual transmissions, just about sensuality and how we can connect to our bodies and others and how we can do things differently than how society has conditioned us to view. We could really be indulging in all of this amazing pleasure without the guilt and the backlash if we just allow ourselves to be. I’ve definitely gotten a lot of messages back like, Thank you so much, this really made me feel so much better.
I’m also a sexuality coach. People will ask me questions about polyamory and advice for their relationships. A lot of people who come to me are very inexperienced with sex and have questions about how to start exploring different realms of sexual encounters and relationship styles. That is also very affirming and helpful because the reason why I majored in psych and Women and Gender Studies was to be a sex therapist. That was my original plan. So it’s helping me use those skills and practice for a potential career.
How do you feel your majors impacted how you use OnlyFans and how you communicate with people on it?
It definitely does profoundly because I just have a very competent understanding of systematic oppression and the ways that white people are just more privileged to have the opportunity to delve into all of these creative projects because my needs are met-I have food and housing… I definitely have been very aware and I’ve donated a lot of money already to mutual aids specifically for Black and Indigenous people of color, LGBTQ+ mutual aids, and GoFundMe for people who are struggling right now. Because, on top of this OnlyFans income, I’m also still getting paid [unemployment for my on-campus job.] There’s only one more paycheck for that. I’m also living at my mom’s so I don’t have to pay rent or bills.
Right now I’m just really trying to be aware of wealth hoarding, and at the same time I do need to function in this capitalist system we’re currently in.
How much money do you make from OnlyFans? How many subscribers do you have?
I started on April 1. It has gone extremely well considering that I’ve barely promoted it. I literally posted on Instagram one time, because I know that it’s not cool to share those things on specific platforms that don’t like that stuff. So I didn’t want to get in trouble or get reported. Somehow, I have 48 fans right now. It says I’m in the top 16% of all creators, and that’s so crazy, because I just didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t do any research…I just kind of had my own idea. At first I was kind of confused about what I should do. What should I offer for a tip or for extra money, like what is worth more?
Then I ended up coming up with, if people want more, I’ll post 20 pictures from a specific set, but not the ones where I’m completely naked. I’ll just post the lingerie ones and then I’ll say, See the rest of the set for $5 tip or $10 tip, see a video of me doing this for this much tip. And people have been doing that as well. I had one person who gave me a large tip and said, What can I get for this? I sent him a few things a few days apart so that it wouldn’t all be at once and you can enjoy that new content a few more times. [The app] takes 20% of your income. So my gross was $918 (between March-April). And my net is like $750. That’s how much I’ve actually gotten. And that’s just like, so amazing.
How do you set boundaries with your customers or like what you will and won’t share.
[When] I’m taking customer requests some people will ask for things that I’m just like, yeah, I’m not really comfortable doing that. Like you’re valid for being into that. I’m just not into that. That’s happened a couple times. Some people are like, Oh, I can’t afford that. I will do deals and specials, especially right now because everyone’s unemployed, I don’t want to be causing more financial strain on people.
How do you feel OnlyFans differs from porn?
OnlyFans is a platform for any type of creator. There is more than just adult content shares. There are artists, photographers, music, people. It’s really just like Twitter, but you pay to see the person’s profile, [and] you can’t see the posts until you pay the subscription. You could really post whatever you think is worth a monthly price. It has a $5 minimum monthly so if you were just someone who likes to make cooking videos and you think that your time and energy is worth [that] then you can do like a $5 a month subscription.
Do you know other people who have an OnlyFans who are in college or are at UMass?
No, I don’t. But I have had people message me and say I’m gonna make one [because] you inspired me.
What’s the average interaction with someone who DMS you over the app like
Like for something extra?
Yeah. Or just to talk to you also.
In my post, I’ll have my caption, I’ll have the pictures, and then I’ll say, Tip $5 to the rest of the set. Then someone will like that post and tip $5 on it, and then it brings up a message that I received a tip on this post. I’ll message the person, I’ll say, Thank you so much, with hearts and flowers, and then I’ll send them the rest of the set. Personally, the reason why I love doing this and why I’ve loved doing this for so long is because I really love words and descriptions and erotica in that way. Naturally, what I get in response to my photos is exactly that. I will be like, If you want to share your experience, I would love to hear what you think or which one’s your favorite. Which poses you like the best? Just whatever comes to mind. I love sexy messaging.
You talked about this a bit, but how is being on OnlyFans, or more generally taking photos your body, impacted your relationship with sex or your body?
Honestly, I think that taking pictures is really what helped me recover from eating disorders in high school. I was very self-conscious of my body. I grew up with a family who just gave me fast food, pizza rolls, bagel bites and mac and cheese every day. That’s all I ate in middle school, and then I started to gain weight and I was a cheerleader. I was really upset about this when I was 11-12, which is a really hard time in your life. I couldn’t be a top in cheer anymore. That was super damaging to my mental health and also my family dynamics. The ways in which my mom has always spoken about bodies, [espcially] her own body and my body was very damaging and self-deprecating.
I was very obsessed with losing weight in eighth grade and then coming into high school I really struggled with anorexia. I was going for runs around my town every single day. I was having my mom drive me to the gym really late at night for three hours, and I lost a lot of weight. I was 75 pounds. I remember that caused a lot of issues in my life too. Going out to eat was such a stress for me, thinking about what I would order and then if I order something people are gonna say something about it. I’ll never forget this one time I went out to eat with my boyfriend at the time his family and I ordered tomatoes and cucumbers as a salad. My entire family found out, and then it was the topic of conversation at the next family dinner. When I went vegan, I started to repair my relationship with food. I really started to work out and know what I was doing. I learned a lot about nutrition. My first major when I went to school was nutrition and kinesiology. My college essay was about struggling with eating disorders and finding fitness and working out and eating healthy and cooking.
But taking the pictures has always been just a very healing, self-attunement, and body-loving experience for me. I wake up in the morning and I spend an hour taking a photoshoot, and I feel fucking amazing for the entire day. It’s a meditative practice. During it I’m just having so much fun, like, dancing around just really looking in the mirror and being like, I love my body the way it is. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong about any body, just that we were taught that a specific body is the right body. It’s been so long that I’ve been unlearning all of these ideas that I grew up [with, both with food and sexuality]. It’s just always been such a huge part of who I am. And that’s really influenced my career path of wanting to be a sex therapist as well. All of these ways [of] taking these pictures and being exhibitionist in this way is very healing for me because for a long time of my life growing up, I was very, like, never even wan[ting] to look at myself in the mirror. And now being able to really enjoy being vulnerable in front of the camera is such a huge milestone for me.
Are you worried about the stigma attached to using a platform like OnlyFans or just of selling photos of yourself?
Honestly, I am not because I have all these ideas about connection and sexuality and eroticism. If anyone wants to know, I will literally explain that. The second post I ever made on OnlyFans was an eight paragraph essay about how I’m an anti-capitalist and how that position can coexist with creating on this platform in which I’m making money. So if anyone says anything, which hasn’t happened, I really just don’t receive very much criticism. I receive [it] from my mom or my sister like, Oh, isn’t that weird? But I just have such a different relationship with sex and pleasure and bodies than they do [so] it’s really hard for them to understand how healing and connected it really is. I’ve met so many amazing people through things like this, so I just feel like it’s another facet of connection. And if being sexual and being a source of pleasure for someone is the way that they then reached out to me and I can help them in any other way beyond that [then] they were meant to find me in some way.
How long do you expect to be on OnlyFans?
I’m not sure, as long as the demand is there. I guess [until] all my fans just stopped subscribing or [if they] didn’t subscribe again. The app tells you how many people have their rebill on, so I have 47 subscribers, but only 18 of them have the rebill on. That means in a few days, all but 18 of them will be gone, unless they purchase it again. I know that it’s not something that people check a lot. People probably go on every few days and then they see the plethora of things that I’ve posted the past few days. I post three to four times a day in a photo set, which could have up to 40 pictures.
How much time in a day do you think you spend creating content and being on OnlyFans talking to people?
It really depends on the day. Like today, I didn’t do anything for it. I posted. I have so much content that I don’t even really need to be taking new content, but I still do because I like doing it. When I was thinking of making one I was [concerned] that [it] will take up my time and [especially because] I’m still in school. And then I was like, I literally take nudes anyways.
Has having had an OnlyFans during Coronavirus had any unexpected benefits or downsides?
No downsides honestly. I mean sometimes, I will spend a lot of time on my phone. It’s just another thing that I’m doing on my phone, so I guess that might be a negative thing that it’s just like another website that I go on?
I guess the benefits would be more people to talk to and more people to perhaps help. I’ve been very interested in the sexual world and all the different communities, like [the] kink and fetish community, for my entire life pretty much and we have created this idea that sex is bad [and] that we shouldn’t talk about it, that bodies are bad, that wearing certain things means something [else], that sharing your body with one person then means you can’t do that with someone else. And then there’s friend zoning and just all these things that we constructed that don’t serve us that literally only make us upset and sad and hate ourselves. And I really love helping people realize that’s not the truth. And it’s okay to want that.
That’s all my questions, but is there anything else you’d want to add or tell me? Feel free to let me know.
I mean, I guess, it’s also art. I feel like body art is so beautiful-the different ways that you can pose in forms and, how specific poses or forms resonate with different people for different reasons. This picture might be someone’s favorite because they just really love lower backs. This other picture might resonate with this other person because of this reason. There’s so many infinite ways that you can resonate and connect with people and that’s what art is. I just [want to] connect with that particular element.
I really love this brand, Solstice Intimates. They are a small company, just this woman, her kids, and her husband. They make all of this [lingerie] themselves in Arizona. It’s handmade [and] it’s so beautiful. Wearing that and just feeling, okay, wearing [this] right now was once an idea. They drew it out. And then they physically handled the materials. They sewed it together-all that time, all that energy, then goes into what I put on, and then me putting it on-embodying it, giving it life, then makes someone else feel absolute orgasmic pleasure, the ultimate awareness state, like nothing is more present than an orgasm. Then through this platform now I make income, and then I can then go and support this woman making this beautiful, wearable art, and now I get more of that beautiful art- it’s a cycle of energy. I’ve just been very conscious of consumerism. I think that that’s a totally different perspective than I’m sure if you interviewed many other people who have OnlyFans.
I really don’t see myself making a salary out of this. That’s not my intention. I don’t want to be making so much money that it’s absurd. It’s just like this extra bit that I’m so grateful for. I can’t even believe how much I’ve made so far. I’m just so grateful and I’m so excited that this many people really resonate with me and like, that’s really what I want to do with it, [which] is make it more about ascending collective consciousness and helping people realize that this is all a huge exchange of energy.
Email Talia at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @HeiseyTalia