Meet the Local Adult Content Creators Making Money Online—On Their Own Terms

Platforms like OnlyFans and Patreon have seen a steady rise in users in 2020 with content creators starting channels focused on everything from sex work to cooking. Get to know this popular new corner of the internet through some of the locals who have been early on the trend.

In the past year, OnlyFans has exploded in popularity. You might have heard Beyoncé name drop it in the “Savage” remix with Megan Thee Stallion (which prompted a 15 percent uptick in traffic to the site in less than 24 hours) or seen celebs like Bella Thorne and Cardi B starting channels. 

OnlyFans started in 2016 as a platform for content creators to directly monetize from their channel by fans paying a monthly subscription fee to view their content and interact with them, and also receive tips for additional content. 80 percent of the fees go to the content creator and 20 percent goes to OnlyFans. All types of content are welcome, and on the site you’ll find everything from chefs and fitness bloggers to webcam models and sex workers. 

The interactive nature of the website has made it possible for creators to profit amid a global pandemic while still staying safe at home. Not only is the site a way for people to make money during layoffs, furloughs, shut downs, and social distancing, but the increasing popularity of the site brings up an important topic: How do we normalize the conversation about sex and body positivity? How do we shed preconceived notions about the adult entertainment industry?

We talked to five local adult content creators from OnlyFans and Patreon to find out more and get the conversation started.

Breanne Sprague
When did you start your channel and what type of content is it?

I started the last week of June 2020. My content is R-rated, sometimes pushing the line of X-rated in my OnlyFans thread. However, if they want more they will need to pay for it with the pay-per-view messages or a separate Venmo. For example, regarding the latter, I did a private bath session that was 30 minutes for $100 which was nice because I didn’t have to give OF their 20 percent.

Why did you start your channel?

I started it to make money. I was affected by the pandemic and after thinking it over I came up with this conclusion. “Bre, you’ve sent pics of yourself nude for free, why not get paid?” I did thoroughly think through all potential ramifications, especially because I am using my real name. I decided to capitalize off my following I have built over the last 10 years on social media while running a nutrition and fitness business.

What do you like about it?

I love the sexual outlet for fun and creativity. I am a bit of an exhibitionist, so I like being watched…but what I really like is the connection with fans via message. Most really aren’t just paying for the pics and fantasy, they are paying for connection. They want someone to talk to about life in general.

Has OnlyFans been a good source of income for you? Is it your full-time job or a side hustle?

Yes, it pays much more than my corporate job. I have made over $10k in money, gifts (one fan bought my entire Amazon wish list), and I was sent a Tiffany’s bracelet for my birthday valued at $450 (I looked it up—I’ve never owned Tiffany.)

Do you ever get any backlash or judgment about it? 

Judgment, ALL THE TIME…but if you aren’t f*cking me, feeding me, or financing me, your opinion doesn’t matter.

How WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE the conversation around this work NORMALIZED?

We can normalize it by pointing out that sex work is legitimate work. Look at 50 Shades of Grey—mainstream sex work that lots of church-going people went to see. I am providing adult entertainment from the safety of my own home. I choose the content and I set the prices. We de-stigmatize it by talking openly about it, which is part of the reason, as a feminist, that I chose to be public with who I am as a content creator. I am not shamed by this, and I won’t let the world try to [shame me].  

Rachel Schwebach
When did you start your channel and what type of content is it?

I started my Patreon in January 2016. I have been a photographer since I was 16, but I made the leap to a pay site because I wanted to try being an artist. I shoot mostly conceptual erotica, both photo and video. I practice shibari (rope bondage) and do fetish modeling. My site is www.patreon.com/rachelschwebach.

Why did you start your channel?

Without this platform, I never would have been able to support myself as an artist. I love that I have built a community of people who want to see my work and pay me to do it. I love interacting with new people and making smut friends. Having Patreon and the support of so many has played a huge role in how my work and my confidence in it have grown! I get to make the art I want to make and have complete creative control!

Has Patreon been a good source of income for you? Is it your full-time job or a side hustle?

It has been a great source of income for me: Before COVID, I supplemented my work with boudoir and other freelance photography as well as nannying. When the pandemic hit, this became my sole source of income. It’s been nerve-racking to have to depend on a website that any minute could decide to remove my account. While I love Patreon for the opportunities it has afforded me, it was built on the back of sex workers and then kicked them off the site. I’m constantly afraid that I’ll lose my platform (and a lot of my connections) in one fell swoop.

Do you ever get any backlash or judgment about it?

There is definitely a stigma—people are uncomfortable with nudity and sexuality. I find people judge me more for my modeling than my photography. I’ve lost friends, clients, and job opportunities because of how I present myself online. But people are going to judge us no matter what, I might as well do what makes me happy. There is also a platform stigma—censorship on social media based on linking a pay site to your account. Promoting yourself can get you shadow-banned or deleted, which results in losing connections, content and financial opportunities. My biggest concern is that I do this under my government name. It has kept me from applying for government assistance in the pandemic, as I can’t be sure they won’t deem my work “of a prurient sexual nature.”

Side note: Something I’ve noticed is that photographers are given more slack than models/content creators. In the artist hierarchy, we’re seen as “more legitimate” and people (and platforms) treat us better. It’s ridiculous; so much of the work I make is dependent on the amazing people who pose for me. Along those lines I feel like Patreon is given more respect than OnlyFans, even though they’re the same platform. People want to support artists and demonize sex workers and it’s a huge problem with our industry. 

How WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE the conversation around this work NORMALIZED?

Talk about paying for nude art, content and porn. Share the content creators’ work that you like: liking our work and commenting on it drives people our way and shows people there isn’t shame in what we do. When people talk shit about us, stand up for us. Research FOSTA-SESTA and the EARN IT Act.

Max Maneater 
When did you start your channel and what type of content is it?

I opened my OnlyFans account in February 2020. I’m a burlesque and drag entertainer, so my page acts as an extension to my stage persona, Max Maneater. I post content from naughty lewds and short solo videos to “first looks” at my new costumes and acts before they hit the stage. I think my fans come to my page because they can tell I’m having fun playing dress-up and they sort of get to watch!

Why did you start your channel?

I started my OF to have a place to post photos that weren’t Facebook or Instagram-approved. It took me this whole life to enjoy my body, and I want to share it with everyone! It was coincidence that it took off right before COVID-19, and I was lucky that it eased the grief of being offstage and helped put some tip money back in my pocket.

What do you like about it?

I’m non-binary, and it feels rad to have a space to play with my masc and femme sides. [Max uses they/them pronouns.] My fans love a bearded face and bulge just as much as they do a lacy crotchless number. I get to choose the content I post, even when public space doesn’t make self-expression so easy. My wife helps me stage scenes and brainstorm ideas and it’s been deep and meaningful to express myself in front of them.

Has OnlyFans been a good source of income for you? Is it your full-time job or a side hustle?

I work a full-time job and make separate time to create OF content. I think I get out of it financially what I put into it in effort. It definitely doesn’t hurt when fans gift me lingerie that I can show off!

Do you ever get any backlash or judgment about it?

I’m surrounded by other sex-positive queers! Sex work, entertainment, night life, etc. are part of our world. My mom surely isn’t happy though (I haven’t told her, but moms know everything.)

How WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE the conversation around this work NORMALIZED?

I think people get a bit caught up in what they can’t rationalize for themselves. I just try to be happy that we’re all doing the best with what we’ve got. I’d emphatically support anyone who wanted to start an OF page…that means the full-time sex worker, the hobbyists, the mamas with stretch marks, the trans women, your grandma, and the non-binary babes who like to play dress-up.

Cierra Chen
When did you start your channel and what type of content is it?

I started my profile there in the beginning of 2018, but didn’t really get the hang of it until a few months later. My content is adult-based with some personal blogging and things here and there.

Why did you start your channel?

I was already in the adult industry when OnlyFans was created. I saw it as a new, hopefully better, platform for what I wanted to do. Little skeptical about its longevity, but I liked the features enough to give it a try.

What do you like about it?

The freedom it gives me to tailor my profile how I want. Subscriptions, pay-per-view, goals, private messages, profile feeds, stories, etc. I choose how I want my content shared and can change it up often. 

Has OnlyFans been a good source of income for you? Is it your full-time job or a side hustle?

Online adult work is, and has been, my full time for 6+ years. When I got serious about using it, OF quickly became one of my best platforms income-wise.

Do you ever get any backlash or judgment about it?

Adult work is heavily stigmatized in our society, so of course there’s been judgmental looks, awkward conversations, and those who simply don’t agree with my decisions. 

How WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE the conversation around this work NORMALIZED?

I’ve shied away from being open about it in the past, but realized that doesn’t help others understand. Being exposed to different viewpoints and stories can open someone’s eyes to more than the stereotype they have set in their mind. We can all joke about it, but having real conversations is key in normalizing a healthy sex culture in today’s society. 

HOLY Gail
When did you start your channel and what type of content is it?

I started my channel maybe a year ago, and before that I ran a sex-style Instagram where I had different rates for different pictures and videos. 

Why did you start your channel?

I started an OnlyFans account because I was having a hard time keeping up between my personal Instagram, my performer Instagram, and my opera Instagram. I felt like this would help me manage my account better and find more followers looking for my specific look and style.

What do you like about it?

I like just that it has helped me manage my content and also gave me the liberty to branch out while feeling safe that my personal life wasn’t connected. 

Has OnlyFans been a good source of income for you? Is it your full-time job or a side hustle?

It has been great, it’s what’s paid my bills when I was furloughed from my job.

Do you ever get any backlash or judgment about it?

ABSOLUTELY. Well, I used to until everyone realized I’m not the one to judge. I am a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, coworker, and friend. People have always been overtly sexual towards me and I have no shame in my sexuality. Why not get paid for it?

How WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE the conversation around this work NORMALIZED?

Vote perverts like Trump out of the office.

Rachel Hickey is Indy Maven’s social media guru.