Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models? Research and Interviews with Two Models

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024

According to statistics for 2024, there are over 190 million active users on OnlyFans who pay within the platform. More and more men are subscribing to models and are willing to pay for photos, videos, or subscriptions. Many people fail to understand why one would choose to pay for something that can be obtained for free. This also applies to pornography, but it hasn’t always been this way.

Just 20 years ago, buying a porn DVD would cost $20-60, and people exchanged them to save money.

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024

Back then, the culture of paying for pornography was commonplace, but with the advent of the internet and platforms like PornHub, everything changed. From 2015 to 2020, the majority of internet users got used to free porn. It seemed impossible to make viewers pay again for something that was available in unlimited quantities for free, but in 2023, the culture of paid pornography revived.

Actually, it’s not just about the pornography itself. OnlyFans reached its peak of popularity during the global pandemic in 2021. People were stuck at home, bored, and lonely, especially for single men locked in their homes without the possibility of going on a date or experiencing emotions from interacting with a real girl. OnlyFans provided this opportunity, which is why over 100 million users joined the platform during the pandemic.

Reddit user stories: why men and women pay for content on OnlyFans

To understand better why men and women pay OnlyFans models for their photos and videos, we went to Reddit to read threads from users who do so. We found many different answers, including some unexpected ones.

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024

A large portion of commenters who pay on OnlyFans mentioned that it’s all about loneliness. Communication with the model creates the illusion of a relationship and mutual interest. These relationships are much simpler and more enjoyable because men don’t have to worry about how they look, whether they will appeal to the girl, or if they will be rejected:

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024

These men liked that they could message any girl they liked and support her with money for creating content.

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024

The most popular answer was to directly support porn creators. Many users noted that they didn’t want to pay greedy producers and preferred to support their favorite models with money. They compared it to donating to their favorite YouTubers, as this format motivates creators to do more and better:

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024

For the first time in the history of porn, users could ask a girl to make a video according to their request and satisfy their fetishes, instead of searching for the right video on the internet for hours.

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024

We also found some very unusual answers. Men and women subscribe to OnlyFans model profiles to help their friends and acquaintances who are in difficult situations.

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024

Here’s the story of a girl who said she subscribed to her friend’s OnlyFans profile after her ex-husband left her with a child and refused to pay child support. She didn’t want anyone to find out about it, so she had to help her friend by buying her content and paying for the monthly subscription. She didn’t watch any of the videos or photos she bought.

To find out how everything works from the inside, we decided to interview successful OnlyFans models about it. Learn about interesting cases from their work and how everything is structured from within.

‘This is like having a Tamagotchi because it’s always in your pocket, like I am on OnlyFans’ — Kate, OnlyFans model

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024's photo

— Hello! Tell us about yourself: what do you do, how long have you been running your OnlyFans page and how many subscribers do you have?

— Hi, my name is Kate, and I’ve been in the adult industry for over 6 years. About 5 years ago, I started streaming and created my first OnlyFans page at that time. It had 50,000 subscribers when it got blocked, and then I deleted it altogether. About 7-8 months later, I registered a new profile on OnlyFans. Currently, my two pages have a total of 80,000 subscribers, and I gain 500 fans every day.

— Why do you think men prefer to buy videos from models despite the abundance of free pornography on the internet?

— There are several factors at play here. They are not buying porn, they are buying emotions and interaction. When a man watches a video on the internet with some unknown woman having sex, it has no connection to the viewer. On OnlyFans, people are not buying videos or photos, they are buying virtual sex through sexting sets. It goes like this: a man shows what he’s doing, and the model responds by sending him a video or photo of what she’s doing right now. It’s like having sex with a real person, but afterwards, you have videos left. Plus, the girl fulfills all your fantasies. People who watch porn on the internet probably won’t subscribe to OnlyFans, and if they accidentally do, they will never buy anything more expensive than $5.

— Can you tell us which category of fans on OnlyFans is more common: those who just want a couple of videos or those who seek interaction?

— People subscribe to OnlyFans to try something new, so it doesn’t depend on the category. Everyone has different goals: some are very lonely and want to chat, some want to masturbate in a special way, and some have interesting and unusual fetishes. There are many options, but one category of fans stands out – virtual boyfriends who are genuinely in love with me. This is one person out of several thousand with whom a very deep emotional connection can develop. They can spend any amount, tens of thousands of dollars a month, and make video calls where I just talk about my life. It’s like having a boyfriend in another country, but the communication happens in OnlyFans, and he sends you money.

— From an ethical standpoint, do you think it’s better to watch free pornography or purchase it from content creators? Why?

— I believe you should only watch legal pornography that doesn’t violate anyone’s rights, whether it’s free on PornHub or purchased on OnlyFans. Content creators still earn from views on the platform, as is the case on PornHub, for example. I think that if you have a favorite creator and want to support them, go ahead and donate to them on OnlyFans, Fansly or other platforms. The only thing that might matter in the porn industry is adherence to ethical standards: no underage persons, animals, blood and other trash.

— Can you share a story about a fan and why they came to you? I’ve heard from other models that members often share rather sad stories from their lives as the reason for joining OnlyFans.

— Yes, of course, that happens. In general, many members have a common sad story – dissatisfaction with their sex life. A guy gets married, but his partner doesn’t share his interests. It could be something ordinary or an extremely non-standard fetish. Or someone who has been married for 20 years and wants some variety but doesn’t want to cheat in real life. These members get an OnlyFans girlfriend, tell her about their wife, children and life. In a sense, it becomes a kind of therapy session. There are a couple of stories that stuck with me. In one of them, a man found out that his wife had a lover, and he came to OnlyFans to prove to himself and the world that many women desire him. And that he can sext with a 10/10 girl who was never available to him before. In general, it’s about compensating for trauma and loneliness. Everyone has their little sad stories.

The most bizarre one I encountered was a submissive man who claimed to have a dominatrix. In BDSM practice, a submissive is a man who enjoys humiliation from a dominatrix. He told me that he belonged to a dominatrix who rented him out for gay gang bangs with five men. I don’t know how credible that is, but it sounds doubtful and more like something from anime.

— The work of OnlyFans models sometimes resembles a kind of work psychologists do: they can provide support, listen, boost one’s mood, and simply keep lonely men company. What do you think about this?

— In my childhood I dreamed of becoming an astronaut or a doctor. Now I prefer to think of myself as a psychotherapist in a sexual sense or a kind of sexologist. It’s much more pleasant than thinking of myself as an online prostitute. I try to view my work from the perspective that I bring value to a large number of men: I help them with their erotic problems, sometimes psychological, depending on how open they are with me.

If someone comes to me and requests a fetish, I have no problem with it. I’ll never criticize them. Except for cases that fall into an unethical blacklist. Some people come to feel desired and not alone. It’s important in communication to understand their needs: some want to chat occasionally and talk about their day, some want to hear that they have a normal member or boost their self-confidence. Everyone has different problems and needs, just like in a session with a regular psychologist. Sometimes, I come across both sad and happy stories. Occasionally, I realize that someone has such deep moral traumas that all you can do is listen and encourage.

— One of the reasons why men turn to OnlyFans models is the ability to order custom content. What are the most unusual requests from members that you have received?

— There are countless requests, but here are the top most unusual ones. The creepiest request I ever had was to lie in a specific pose and pretend to stab myself with a folding-blade knife. It was meant to simulate a murder, and it was genuinely disturbing. Clearly, it crossed the line for me, and I refused. This member has been messaging me for 5 years now, but I keep declining. Now he’s asking to replace the knife with a dildo, but the essence remains the same. Second, in terms of popularity, are requests related to excrement and everything that comes out of the body. For some reason, many men are very interested in what comes out of you from all sides, not in a sexual way. I also don’t do any of that. Third, in terms of popularity, are role-playing requests. They ask me to pretend to be a nurse, and they play the role of the patient’s father, or that he’s my stepfather, and I’m the stepdaughter, and so on, depending on the level of perversion. The realm of imagination here is boundless, but mostly, it’s related to incest, as one of the most taboo topics in society. I handle such requests very carefully because I understand that it’s already on the edge.

— In a Reddit thread, one user asked why men are willing to pay $100-500 for custom videos when they could spend the same money on a real escort. What do you think is the reason behind their choice of online relationships? What could it be related to?

— Online relationships are the reality of our time. During pandemics and wars, people are forced to switch to this format. Many simply understand that it’s more hygienic and easier to masturbate to videos. Especially if it’s a custom video that you essentially directed yourself: chose the perfect model, described all the details and actions. In essence, you’re creating ideal porn for yourself that you can masturbate to for years until you get tired of it. There are also collectors who gather videos with their fetish or from various models. Men are willing to pay not just $100-500, but much more for the opportunity to create the perfect video. The highest amount I received for a ten-minute custom was $2,000 net. For some, they consider this equivalent to spending $100 on coffee. I’m confident that many of them could hire any escort girl for any price, but online is simply more comfortable.

A man can choose a model based on his criteria and be sure that he won’t be criticized. For example, even if you hire an expensive escort and ask her to do a specific fetish, she might just see you as abnormal, insult you and refuse. With an online model, everything is simpler, more enjoyable and safer.

— Many Reddit users have also mentioned that one of the most popular reasons for joining OnlyFans is the illusion that the model is their girlfriend. Can you describe how it looks from your perspective? How do you feel when interacting with such members, and why do they choose this format of relationships?

— Yes, this is very popular. Some people tend to choose porn actresses or strippers as their virtual girlfriends and pretend to be in a relationship. Usually, these are the members who spend the most money because they’re not just engaging in a one-time sexual act, they’re playing out a love story. It’s like having a virtual pet, as I’m always in your pocket, like I am on OnlyFans. I’m always here for you, and sometimes you can feed me, play with me, donate, get a sexting session or a video call.

I’m always immersed in your life and play the role of the perfect girlfriend you’ve been missing. From my perspective, it looks like excellent customer service. If you look at it from a psychological standpoint, I’m simply giving people what they want. These members can sometimes throw wild tantrums. Of course, I get a little upset, but they won’t know about it. I’m sure that 99% of them understand that it’s just a pleasant game. There’s, of course, that 1% who genuinely believe that I’m waiting for them to arrive. They just need to think about the likelihood of me being an actual lonely girl sitting there waiting for Steve from America.

— Do you think correspondence with an OnlyFans model can be considered cheating?

— It should be viewed more casually overall, without comparing real infidelity with masturbating to someone on the internet. If you find out that your partner is pleasuring themselves to someone on OnlyFans, it’s an opportunity to understand what they might be missing in the relationship. Also, be glad that they’re not hiring some prostitute for $50 with the risk of contracting a venereal disease.

— Why did you choose the adult industry?

— It’s all about opportunities. In our field, there are hardly any girls from America or Europe, but there are many from Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, and other poor countries. A typical American girl has a wide range of social lifts and equal opportunities.

Even if she works at McDonald’s, she’ll earn enough for a decent life and housing. In Russia and other countries I listed above, it doesn’t work that way. Many people here don’t have the opportunity to live decently or it’s very difficult. It might surprise some, but the girls who work in escort, stripping and on OnlyFans don’t love sex, they’re just trying to get out of the mess they live in. In the adult industry, I rarely encounter girls from well-off families with a good life history. OnlyFans is not just dancing in a club, this platform offers tremendous reach worldwide and provides recognition. For us, it’s a social lift, a business. Yes, we understand our place, but it’s our choice. I decided to work in porn and it’s my social lift. This is the only way I can accept my life, but I could never do that while working as a cashier at a grocery store.

‘Men come primarily to have a conversation, not just to look at naked genitals’ — Sofia, OnlyFans model and the author of Rule 34 Adult for workers Telegram Channel

Why Do Men Pay OnlyFans Models Research and Interviews 2024

— Hello! Tell me about yourself: what do you do, how long have you been running your OnlyFans page, and how many subscribers do you have?

— Hello! My name is Sofia, and I manage my social media as an adult worker. I’ve been running my OnlyFans profile for 3 years now, and currently, I have around 30,000 subscribers. I’d be happy to share more about my work so that people can learn more about this industry and how things work here.

— Why do you think men prefer to buy videos from models, even though there is plenty of free porn on the internet?

— I often hear this question from people who are not familiar with the adult industry. In my experience, members come to platforms like OnlyFans to interact with their favorite models or actresses and order custom content from them: custom photos, videos, and sometimes even audio. Yes, that happens too.

They can also view some ready-made materials on the page that become accessible after subscribing. Personally, I’ve subscribed to well-known models and actresses multiple times, and I understand the appeal of the intrigue and surprise. What you see when you subscribe to paid platforms is not available to everyone, unlike free porn on PornHub.

— Tell me, which category of fans is more common on OnlyFans: those who just want to get a few videos or those who want interaction?

— More often, people come to me for interaction, and only a small portion are here just to purchase content. Interestingly, the majority of members like to chat not only about sexual topics but also about everyday life, such as work, education, family and future plans. I’ve often encountered interesting people on OnlyFans with whom you can discuss many things, not just erotic topics. I still remember a subscriber who was a plastic surgeon. He enjoyed telling me about his journey to becoming a doctor, what he had to go through, how he passed his university exams and his first surgery.

— From an ethical standpoint, do you think it’s better to watch free porn or buy it from content creators? Why?

— Everyone should decide for themselves what they want to watch, and whether it’s worth buying content on OnlyFans or similar platforms. There’s nothing wrong with someone watching free porn from a verified author on PornHub.

For example, you need to verify your identity before adding videos there. But if someone is deliberately looking for leaked content from private pages, that’s not right. First, it’s a violation of copyright, and those who watch it support illegal earnings from the model. Second, it could support the shadowy porn industry, where the model may not understand what’s happening, what she’s involved in and where the content with her is going. I strongly condemn that.

— Can you share a story about a fan and why they came to you? I’ve heard from some models that members often share quite sad stories from their lives as a reason for joining OnlyFans.

— It’s hard to recall a specific story, but typically, all my subscribers have mentioned that they found me through social media, and I attracted them because I showed glimpses of my real life on Instagram. I often share my activities like sports, creativity, English and my love for drawing. They were particularly interested in how I contemplate various topics, my desire to travel and my dance classes.

In short, they were curious to get to know me better and have a conversation with me. Honestly, I can’t remember any sad stories from my experience. Many of my conversation partners were quite happy individuals: they had life goals, stable jobs and lived comfortably. Occasionally, there were students or just curious folks who wanted to see what I do and how it looks. Everyone is different and each manages their page in their own way. There wasn’t a case where a member came and shared some trashy story.

— The work of OnlyFans models sometimes resembles a form of psychology: they can provide support, listen, uplift spirits and simply keep lonely men company. What do you think about this?

— Yes, that’s true. Men come primarily to engage in conversations rather than just to view explicit content or sexual activities. Otherwise, why pay for a subscription when there are free websites, as mentioned earlier? Guys, and sometimes girls, come for interaction with a real person and the feeling of emotional connection, which the model can provide. People turn to us for more than just free entertainment, they go to PornHub for that. They come to us for deeper emotions.

— One of the reasons why men come to OnlyFans models is the opportunity to order custom content. What are the most unusual requests you’ve received from members?

— This is my friends and acquaintances favorite question, but I can’t really share any outrageous stories. Firstly, the concept of “outrageous” varies from person to person. What might be considered unusual, like custom videos related to feet or foot fetish, is perfectly normal for me. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I do remember one unique custom request: a month ago, a guy ordered a 10-minute video from me where I had to stage a real runway walk in high heels. I had to imagine that I was being judged by a real jury, with spectators and photographers, and start posing on camera. After I sent him the video, he sent me a certain number of points that I had earned. It was unusual but fun.

— In a Reddit thread, one user asked why men are willing to pay $100-500 for custom videos when they could spend the same amount on meeting a real escort. Why do you think they choose online relationships? What could be the reason behind this?

— People come to OnlyFans for the experience, safety and anonymity. I perceive it as a role-playing game with flirting through messaging. You don’t see your conversation partner, it’s like a mystery – you wonder what they are doing, what they are thinking. Hiring an escort is a completely different experience and it shouldn’t be compared. These are different activities and people come with different requests and needs. Not everyone wants to meet someone in person, for example, introverts. Some just want to pay for a subscription and flirt with someone without any physical meetings.

— Many Reddit users also mentioned that one of the most common reasons for joining OnlyFans is the illusion that the model is their girlfriend. How does this look from your perspective? How do you feel when interacting with such members, and why do you think they choose this format of relationships, even though they understand it’s not real?

— Yes, that’s correct. In this format, OnlyFans models become a virtual girlfriend. It’s quite common because many lonely adults choose this option. They get to communicate with a cheerful, young and attractive girl. The question of why fans come to OnlyFans, knowing it’s an illusion of a relationship, can be explained. Fans want to experience those feelings of infatuation through messaging once again. Think about it – the emotions, the excitement, and playfulness when you were chatting with someone you really liked or flirted with on Tinder or social media. Even if you knew that this chat would lead to nothing and you’d never meet in person, it still evoked strong, pleasant emotions, such as sexual arousal, excitement, and playfulness. This is exactly why they come to us on OnlyFans.


From the stories of the girls, it becomes clear that OnlyFans is not about quick satisfaction of desires, it’s about emotions. Most users who come to OnlyFans want to feel desired and enjoy conversations with beautiful girls who won’t laugh at their specific desires.

Indeed, OnlyFans and other adult platforms are unique because they allow people to fall in love and experience this intense, memorable feeling that can last a lifetime. It’s essential to note that virtual infatuation is the strongest because we don’t see the person in real life, so we don’t see their flaws and can idealize them. This experience cannot be compared to real sex or masturbation to porn, it’s simply a different kind of experience, and it has its place.

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