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OnlyFans has become an increasingly popular source of income for students in need of a little extra cash.

Launched in 2016, OnlyFans is a nuanced way to deliver sexual content online, putting the power in the hands of content creators. The platform works by facilitating interactions between users, or fans, who can subscribe to their chosen creators for a monthly subscription, which typically ranges from $ 5 to $ 20. Because a mind-boggling amount of students find themselves in severe financial crises, many Aggies have turned to OnlyFans for extra income. The platform allows people to embrace their own sexuality, fulfill the fantasies of others, and connect on a level that goes far beyond pornography.

Even before COVID-19 closures led her to become homeless, communications junior Ashlee Hawkins said she needed the money.

“I was desperately looking for ways to make ends meet, and my friends encouraged me to turn to sex work, especially OnlyFans,” Hawkins said. “I had done suggestive work with photographers on campus and enjoyed the experience very much, so I knew I was comfortable and confident to be seen that way. As I have posted this content publicly before, I thought there would be no harm in making money from it.

This convenience led Hawkins to set up her account in June 2019. Although she said she had no shame, Hawkins said she tended to keep the existence of her account private, unless she has no reason to share.

“Due to the conservative nature of many Texans and the way we’ve been brought up, I know more reactions are likely to be negative,” Hawkins said. “It has proven to be beneficial for people to get to know my character and abilities beyond how I pay my bills before talking about OnlyFans or anything in that area. All the positive reactions tend to be genuine, mixed with intrigue for OnlyFans or other sex workers.

Since there is an exclusive nature around OnlyFans, Hawkins said misconceptions about the platform and the content creators are common.

“I didn’t expect to find the inspiring community of women and gay individuals like me,” Hawkins said. “People often say they wish they could do it because it would be such an easy way to make some extra money. They are usually surprised when I tell them that it is much more difficult and [more] more time than my hourly paid work. It really is a business.

Like Hawkins, Sarah Cavazos, a junior in horticultural science, said she became a content creator on OnlyFans because she needed the extra income.

“I have two jobs; I have like six classes; and because of my classes, I don’t have time to work the hours I need to earn enough money, ”Cavazos said. “I had to resort to other resources. I’ve been doing similar stuff since before college, and it got me through it, but I think [OnlyFans] is a better platform because it’s an all-in-one type of thing.

So far, Cavazos has said their experience on the platform has been positive, in large part thanks to good interactions with creators and subscribers. Cavazos said being online, especially in such a vulnerable way, can be both stimulating and nerve-racking.

“Being online in general can be a lot because I’m seen by people I don’t know,” Cavazos said. “It can be scary because you never know who is on the other side of the computer. With OnlyFans, they’re not really people that I’ll ever meet, so in a way it’s good that they enjoy what they see.

For Dana Ramirez, senior in psychology, getting comfortable performing on camera was a gradual process.

“[At first], I would get nervous about what people would think or say about me, but once I’m in front of the camera I start to gain more confidence, ”said Ramirez. “What I tell myself is that they’re paying me and they’re already seeing me, so there’s no real reason to be afraid. Even if they say something, I know my worth and my worth lie outside of what people think of me, so that’s okay.

The reactions she receives when people find out about her OnlyFans account vary, Ramirez said.

“People are always shocked,” Ramirez said. “They’re going to say, ‘Go ahead, girl. Do your own thing. ‘ If they’re dudes, they’re usually pretty cool and somewhat supportive when appropriate. They could even subscribe. I lost a friend because of it, however. She just wasn’t comfortable with me, and we stopped talking and hanging out.

Ramirez said his take is that if she is to be objectified and sexualized as a woman in society anyway, she might as well make money out of it. To tackle the stigma surrounding sex work, Ramirez said education and openness are essential.

“Honestly, having open conversations about sexual experiences with friends really helps put things on the non-judgmental table,” Ramirez said. “Creating a safe space with your loved ones where no one is ridiculed or ashamed when discussing sex helps normalize talking about sex, as well as sex work. I also think it’s important to remember that someone’s worth is not determined by what they do and what people may think of as “bad”.


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