Why we all should start paying for our porn

While most young people see OnlyFans as a way to get rich and earn money for Louis Vuitton luggage, the pay-per-view system is actually what we need in today’s society.

The website which lets its users subscribe to their favourite creators by paying a monthly fee has become a new cultural phenomenon. Included in song lyrics, joked about by bloggers and covered by various amateur and professional documentary-makers, the London-based company is this decade’s Instagram – a platform capable of changing an entire industry – and everyone seems to have an opinion about it. “Would you date a girl who does OnlyFans, bro?”

The internet is filled with videos and articles inviting the audience to get familiar with the creators’ background story. In most cases, a white, straight, cis-woman with gorgeous, long hair is sat in a nice char, facing the camera crew dressed in nothing but her lingerie and an oversized white shirt. The room is filled with golden accessories from H&M Home, candles and fluffy cushions. People only seem to be interested in the financial aspect of the service, forgetting that pornography is one of the industries that needed to be changed or re-assessed years and years ago, so why not give it a chance?

Together with the popularisation of OnlyFans, came the equally powerful backlash. Many say the service is yet another example of Generation-Z trying to take over professional industries. What started as an app for sharing pictures from your day with a group of followers revolutionised marketing and fashion industries. Got a six-pack and a jawline of a Greek God but there’s still no signs of any agency wanting to sign you? Try on there! Instagram killed modelling, YouTube helped to kill TV and Twitter managed to replace the long opinion pieces like this one with short and straight-to-the-point truth-bombs. Those people are right, OnlyFans is another example of GenZ taking control but in a good way.

The traditional ways of accessing porn are outdated and can be damaging. Porn sites are public lavatories of the internet. You click on the category you’re interested in to then find yourself scrolling through hundreds of videos recorded somewhere in PremierInn by Darren and Annie, on a Nokia 500. It’s that or the two-minute trailers of ‘proper’ porn, the one you probably wouldn’t pay for, right?

I decided to give it a go myself. As a person who spent his late teens working in call centres, trying to sell people things they don’t need, I’m used to comparing the price of something to everyday habits – a cup of coffee or a pint. It’s only six pounds, I thought. I’ve been following them on Twitter for ages anyway, I might as well just try it. I told a few of my friends and they called me a fool. “You’re paying for OnlyFans? You don’t have anything to spend your money on? You wanna give those people all your money”. Not exactly.

OnlyFans and similar websites aren’t perfect but during my time on the there I haven’t seen any stolen, replicated or illegal content. I didn’t see private tapes of people who aren’t even aware their files have been uploaded on the internet. One of the best things to come out of the 2010s was fighting for people’s right to be paid, no matter what they do. OnlyFans creators deserve to be paid for their work as creating NSFW-content takes time, just as any other type of content.

The popularisation of the internet that happened in the mid-2000s made people look at it as a life-hack rather than a platform. That’s when piracy was at its peak, “I’m not giving you money for that game, dad will download it from the internet for free for you” type of childhood.

Our generation was brought up thinking we shouldn’t pay for something unless we absolutely have to. That way of thinking is toxic. There’s nothing wrong with exchanging time and services for money. And the same way top-shelf journalism very often requires subscription now, porn will soon, hopefully. And to those who don’t agree with it on different levels – just because it’s not for you, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

This piece was originally published in Mercury Magazine and replaced the Lizzo album review, which was done to diversify the content.

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