The OnlyFans log in screen on a mobile phone
98% of OnlyFans content is X-rated and mostly posted by young people. Photo credit: Autumn Milburn

When OnlyFans emerged in 2016, it quickly became a hugely popular platform, with users drawn to its often X-rated paid content. According to Tech Report, 98% of creator content on the site, almost half of which made by 18-25 year-olds, is ‘adult’.

Among these young content creators is 26-year-old Sinead Hannan, who has made a good living out of posting pictures, videos and custom content on OnlyFans, starting when she was 22 and earning up to £9,000 a month.

She started because it was a safer environment for sex work. Since 18, Sinead had been working as an escort and switched to OnlyFans, feeling the digital-only experience would make her feel more in-control.

“I love it,” she says, “I can still do the work I enjoy, but this time it really is my call, my hours, my time and I don’t have to meet anybody in person. It’s a way to do it without physical risk.”

A photo of Sinead Hannan, 26 in a pink hoodie and fur hat
Sinead Hannan, 26, moved to OnlyFans aged 23 for a safer work environment after working as an escort for 4 years. Photo credit: Sinead Hannan

On OnlyFans, Sinead finds it easier to set her boundaries. Both because of the online nature of the website and because she is much less financially reliable on each of her subscribers.

“I’m more than happy to block you, I don’t mind missing out on your £15”

“In person I would sometimes cooperate with who I was with. Once you see the money and they offer a lot, you think ‘okay maybe I can do this’.

She adds, “Online I can just reply no. It’s easier when it’s a person on a screen. I’m more than happy to block you and I don’t mind missing out on your £15. That’s fine.”

Sinead entered the sex work industry the day she turned 18, on the website Seeking.com, a luxury dating website which she explains is used to facilitate escorting.

She says she was initially very naive, and learnt some lessons the hard way – not undercharging or overperforming, asking for cash in hand up front, taking safety measures.

“When I first started, I would underestimate my worth or feel embarrassed asking for more.” She says, “If a client offered me £200 to meet I’d say yes, that sounded like a lot of money to an 18-year-old.

“As I started meeting seasoned people in the community, they’d say ‘what are you doing?!’ charging so little. They gave me pointers on how to be safe, like having my location tracked by friends when I went on meets.”

“i really enjoy profiting off of the fact that i’m attractive”

At points in Sinead’s 4 years working as an escort, she was earning over £10,000 a month, traveling across the country, being wined and dined by clients and showered with allowances and gifts.

“The main thing for me was definitely the money, I loved the money.” She says, “But, I also learned that I really enjoy profiting off of the fact that I’m attractive. As a woman you may as well, with how society is, why not own it?

“There is always going to be a part of me that wants to profit off of the fact that I’m hot. It’s hard to not want to profit off of it when you have for so long.”

Sinead began to revel in the adrenaline rush of the job, the confidence she got from it and power she felt over her clients.

“There were times when I didn’t see my clients as actual people,” she says, “it sounds bad but you don’t, you literally see them as a job.”

Towards the end of her escorting career, she had some bad encounters, including one where a client had unexpectedly picked her up with another man in the car and drove her to an unagreed location, making her fear for her safety.

“for so many years i’d believed it was my game, my rules”

She says, “it was a really hard pill to swallow because for so many years I had believed it was my game, my rules, I called the shots. I’d felt like I had a sense of power over them. It spoiled the adrenaline rush.”

This pushed her to leave escorting aged 22, and begin working in the beauty industry full-time alongside OnlyFans.

Currently on a hiatus from sex work to focus on her mainstream job, she says, whatever happens in the future, she will likely go back to the industry and will always reflect on her memories and friends made there fondly.

“I’m never ever going to look back and think it was wrong way to do things. I will always support it and find it empowering,” she says.

Patrick Mullins, 24 also champions his sex work as a liberating way to earn a living, celebrate his own queerness and help his clients to too.

A headshot of sex worker Patrick Mullins, 24
Patrick Mullins, 24, has been a sex worker for 4 years and loves the freedom it gives him to pursue his career as an artist.
Photo credit: Patrick Mullins

“some of the people i’ve met have never explored their queer sexuality, its a blesssing to help them”

Patrick, currently living in Berlin, has worked as an escort for 4 years, earning up to £4000 a month. Some clients need sexual experiences whereas some just companionship and understanding.

He says, “My favourite part of my work is helping people who otherwise have felt unattractive or lonely, to feel seen, appreciated and experience the pleasure we all deserve.

“Some of the people I’ve met have never explored their queer sexuality and it feels like a blessing to be able to give them a safe space to enact the desires they’ve been afraid to explore.”

Patrick also works as an artist, and says his sex work has supported him in pursuing his art.

“Trying to start a creative career while also working long hours in a 9-5 job without flexibility would make it so much more difficult.”

“sex work is just another form of manual labour and customer service”

He adds, “I am happy to have a job that allows me so much freedom in life. I think it should be considered more seriously as a career opportunity by young people.”

Sex work has has always been seen as “vastly different” to mainstream employment he says, when, “really, it’s just another form of manual labour and customer service.

“The stigma around it prevents a lot of protections for sex workers in terms of physical safety, health and financial security.”