(Paper) Selling Sex Online: ‘Technomoral Change’ in the OnlyFans Era

Photo credit: Gabriel Matula

For the final paper of the course ‘Transformations in Digital Cultures’ I conducted an online ethnographic study on the practices of a content creator on OnlyFans. Though just an exercise and small in scale, this study reveals several interesting insights about the nature of work on this site and discusses how this platform’s ‘intermediary’ business model may impact both norms surrounding sex work, and norms surrounding ‘informal’, ‘independent’ employment amongst young people online. This paper therefore seeks to explore this avenue of ‘techomoral change’ by analysing the lived-experiences of a real anonymous sex-worker making her living from OnlyFans.

I found it fascinating to work on this topic and compile the research using ethnographic and interviewing methods. Soon when the grades come back we will find out if my tutors feel the same!

2 Comments

  1. Hi Rhys, I really enjoy reading your paper! The topic you choose is quite thought-provoking. It’s meaningful to see how human perception of sexual norms has changed from a standpoint of the sexual-content creator in the digital age.

    Here I suggested two more topics that may fit with your further research about this topic.
    1) This paper is focused on the content-generators, and how about the audience? Are there any differences between the fan community of sexual-content creators and others’ fan communities?
    2) in this paper, you chose the platform OnlyFans as the object to investigate, and how about other platforms? There may be some differences and similarities between these digital platforms. What makes the OnlyFans unique?

    Still, you did a great job, this paper is easily read, and the way you structure it is really nice. Can’t wait to work with you next period!

  2. Hi Rhys!

    I found your paper very interesting and reflecting on the connection between sexual-content and “technomoral change”. I was not familiar with the OnlyFans platform, so I enjoy discovering what is about. The topic is eye-catching and could be considered, if you wish, for a thesis one!
    Three ideas come into my mind that can fit for further research on your case study. One would be exploring to what extent the practices of sexual-content in this platform are normalized by the content creators. With this I mean if for them there is an association of their job as a taboo practice in their daily life (e.g. if they share it as a common job to anyone, family members, friends, etc.). Another idea would be to look at how they are perceiving their body through these economical arrangements, as a commodity?
    Finally, it would be interesting to have a look at the sexual- content creators their vulnerable position and the uncertainties that they face working through this platform.

    Overall, a good paper! It kept my eye!

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