The Reason Behind OnlyFans’ Reversal on Adult Content Prohibition


Since its inception in 2016, OnlyFans has made a name for itself as a hub for adult entertainment, although it has also attracted mainstream celebrities like Bella Thorne, Tyga, Blac Chyna, and Cardi B as content providers. Some TikTok personalities even direct their audience to OnlyFans, promising exclusive adults-only material in return for financial support. This “subscription social network” has rapidly grown to over 85 million users, with more than a million creators, distributing over $2 billion globally in payouts last year alone.

During the pandemic, OnlyFans experienced a surge in popularity, ballooning from 7.5 million users the previous November to its current 85 million user base.

Pre-pandemic, 27-year old Bloom juggled waitressing and performing as a stripper in Massachusetts, saving her earnings with ambitions to apply for law school.

OnlyFans reverses adult content ban

More than 100 creators have reported earning upwards of $1 million on the platform, demonstrating its profitability for content providers. (Image: charnsitr /

As the pandemic led to the shutdown of the strip clubs she performed at and the furlough of her cafe job, Bloom found herself grappling with financial uncertainty. Taking her cues from fellow strippers, she turned to OnlyFans, finding solace and a livelihood on the platform.

“The income I’ve earned on OnlyFans far surpasses what I was making pouring coffee,” she remarked.

Many adult entertainers praise OnlyFans as a groundbreaking financial remedy and a platform that empowers them, playing a significant role in normalizing sex work.

OnlyFans, however, has clashed with its identity as a hub for adult content.

The platform became synonymous with amateur-produced adult content after its founder, British entrepreneur Tim Stokely, intended for it to enable creators to offer subscription content while fostering genuine connections with their followers. The decision to ban explicit material from OFTV, the OnlyFans app, was met with ridicule for attempting to distance itself from the adult content that bolstered its success.

Various forces challenge the company, from investment firms to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in the US. Challenges include lapses in age verification systems and issues with illegal content. OnlyFans denies that it offers leniency for illegal content posting, emphasizing its zero-tolerance policy and use of both technology and human monitoring to maintain platform integrity.

The precise motives for OnlyFans’s initial ban on adult material remain obscure. Yet, astonishment followed when they rescinded the prohibition in under a week from the announcement.

Initially, OnlyFans cited compliance with banking partners and payout providers as the reason for the ban, with CEO Tim Stokely pointing to financial institutions hampering monetary transactions to creators and targeting sex workers’ bank accounts.

“To ensure our platform’s longevity and to maintain a community that embraces all creators, we must modify our content policies,” stated the company.

But after intense criticism, OnlyFans put the ban on hold, stating they had acquired the necessary assurances to support their broad creator community, not without gratefully acknowledging the fundamental role of sex workers on their platform.

As venture capitalists steer clear of investing in platforms that host adult content, OnlyFans has had difficulties attracting outside investment, despite its popularity and revenue spike during the pandemic. Its ban on explicit material seemed part of a broader campaign, driven by influential payment processors demanding more stringent compliance.

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