OnlyFans Stigma – Sharing Your Success with Loved Ones
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A lot of people find that, when they start an OnlyFans career, it’s something they’re embarrassed about. It may be because of their own personal values, or because they are concerned about judgement from their loved ones. So, they will often keep it a secret.
However, that secret is a hard one to keep, especially if you get to be successful. How do you let those people know about your job? You’re going to have to explain something since you’re now working from home and raking in the big bucks.
It’s a sensitive subject and everyone’s personal situation will be unique, but in this guide, we’ll break down some of the key topics.
Honesty vs. Dishonesty vs. Secret-Keeping
Ultimately you’ve got three options when it comes to explaining your success to your family and friends:
You can be honest with them, and tell them what you’re doing
You can lie and pretend you’re doing something else
You can keep it a secret and hope you aren’t questioned.
Honestly is normally the best policy but that depends on your own dynamic with family and friends. If they’re going to react badly regardless, and it could even put you at risk, then it’s probably not the right thing to do.
So, we’ve broken down this guide into three paths – what to do if you’re going to be honest, how you could be dishonest, and options for keeping your career secret.
The Honest Approach
If you decide you want to be honest and tell your family and friends about your adult work, then there are a lot of things you should consider before you have that conversation.
Preparing is the best way to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible – don’t just wing it. Consider all these factors and options before you speak to them:
Choosing your Audience
The first step is to make sure you decide who you want to know. It might be that you have certain family members that you know will react worse, and you’d rather they didn’t find out – at least until you’ve told some more supportive family members who can have your back. Or, it could be a friend who’s a huge gossip – you might decide that telling them is a bad idea, for now at least.
Carefully think about who you want to talk to, and make sure you set expectations during the conversation as well – ask the people you’re telling to keep it to themselves if that’s a necessary step. That way, you can stay in control of the news.
If you’ve got a modern family who are understanding, then this isn’t a concern. Having an OnlyFans account or similar is your own business, not theirs, and if you’re lucky then they’ll be understanding.
Choosing Your Communication Method
Next up is to decide how you’re going to handle the conversation. In an idealistic world, you’d do it face-to-face, but only you know whether that’s a good idea or not, based on who you’re speaking to. And there’s the location as well – should it be somewhere public, to avoid them making a scene, or is that a risk and private would be better?
Video calls are a good option for letting you do it digitally face-to-face – you have some distance between you and can end the call if anyone gets too angry, but you can still properly emote and judge the reactions of the people you’re telling.
Text messaging is only a good idea if you’re expecting a really bad reaction. Otherwise, you risk misunderstandings or not being able to judge someone’s tone properly. And definitely avoid the conversation taking place over social media platforms. That's a recipe for disaster.
Explaining the Platform
Once you’ve established who you’re going to tell, and how, it’s time to have the conversation. And the best starting point is to explain what the platform is.
This is doubly important if you’re using an OnlyFans alternative because it’s less likely to be well-known. But don’t assume that everyone knows what OnlyFans is either, or what it means.
Start there – ask them if they know what the site is and if not, explain to them how it works. Give as much context as you feel is comfortable, so that there are no misunderstandings for the rest of the conversation.
Explain how you work with social media platforms, how your job is to create engaging content and make it clear how OnlyFans creators are both similar to and different from, other creators online.
Explaining your Reasons
Once you’ve explained what the platform is, and you’ve told them that you have a profile there, you need to detail the reasons why you’ve decided to pursue that career choice.
How much of your reasoning you want to explain is up to you. If you’re a private person, you can just tell them that you’re doing it because you want to.
However, if you’re talking to someone who might not be happy with your choice of work, giving them as many benefits of the career, and why they’re relevant to you, is good ammunition to win them over.
Once you’ve explained the platform, there’s a good chance that your family and friends will know what OnlyFans (or your platform of choice) is, and unless they’re also creators (or users) of the site, they probably have some misconceptions about the site – they might think you’re meeting people from it for sex, or that it’s a dangerous site to use.
Calmly debunk anything that they believe that’s wrong. Don’t get into a heated argument, but just explain the truth of the site, and that will help your cause. Remind them that you aren't like traditional sex workers, and you're technically not in the porn industry, even if there are similarities. Point out the differences so that they understand what exactly you're doing.
Empowerment and Autonomy
Remember that choosing to start a profile on a site like OnlyFans is an empowering option, and you deserve to treasure that feeling. You don’t want to feel like the rug is pulled out from under you when you start telling people, and they make you feel less of a person for the choices you’ve made.
It’s the same with the feeling of autonomy that these sites give you. You have control over your career, your choices and the way you work. If anyone tries to challenge that, remind yourself that you are happy with your work and that you will continue in the same way.
Don’t let overbearing family members try to tell you what you can’t do. If you’re an adult (and you’d better be, if you have a profile) then you can make your own decisions.
Explaining Privacy and Security Measures
One of the big concerns that your loved ones will have is the privacy and security of your content – and whether or not you’re sharing your content with the wider world.
Make sure you’re prepared to field these questions. Talk about how sites like OnlyFans only let people see your content if they’re a paying customer, and how there are measures in place (such as watermarking) to help prevent content theft.
Talk about the support services offered to make sure you aren’t subject to any abuse or harassment too. In short – calm their fears and let them know you’re being careful.
One good point to make is to hammer home that you’ve decided to be honest about this with your loved ones. It’s a risky move – especially if you’ve kept your content creator profile secret for a long time – but if you make it clear that this is a choice you’ve made, to tell them and to not hide it, it can help them to react in a more positive way.
Keeping secrets can make people react worse when the truth comes out, so use your honesty as a tool for breaking the stigma.
Take an Educational Approach
At this point, you’ve typically been having a regular ‘breaking news’ conversation with your family. However it’s time to step things up a little bit here, and start using the time to educate your loved ones on why OnlyFans is not something they should be reacting badly to.
Yes, there is still a stigma attached to a lot of this type of work, but there shouldn’t be. It’s a respectable career choice that, when approached in the right way, can be both lucrative and great for your self-worth.
Use the conversation to be educational, without being lecturing. Help them to understand why sites like OnlyFans don’t deserve a bad rep, and why you think it’s a good choice for you based on your personal situation.
Listen to Concerns
Like we say, you don’t want to come across as lecturing or as argumentative, so listening is really important here. If they accept your work and aren’t fussed, then great. If they’re not happy, ask them why, let them state their reasons, and make sure you’re clear that you understand their concerns and where they’re coming from.
Don’t just push back – work with them to explain your solutions and how your work is a good move, and you’re more likely to have a much easier time. Don't let them stick with their views that these sites should ban explicit content – show them why you, along with many creators, are helping to break the sex work stigma and being successful in your work.
Share your Successes
Next you’ll want to explain how successful you’ve been. You’re likely having this conversation because you’re earning money and your profile is taking off, so you probably have some success stories to go through.
This doesn’t mean explaining in any uncomfortable detail the pieces of content that have worked well for you! It simply means talking about your financial growth, your following and how your social media channels are performing.
If you can prove that you’re making it work really well, your career choice will be taken in a much more positive light.
Build a Support System
Once you’ve had the conversation with your circle and they understand your work and what you’re doing, keep them involved as a support circle. This doesn’t mean you’re suddenly asking them to start offering critical feedback or anything! But it means that, to a limit you’re comfortable with, you can seek advice or just vent about your job in exactly the same way you would with any other line of work.
And you never know – if you’re confiding in friends, and telling them about your success stories, then one of them might want to lean on your support to also take their first steps into content creation! Be sure to use an affiliate link if that’s the case, so you can also earn from their revenue without impacting them.
As you build on this revelation conversation, you can use the opportunity to talk about progressive social movements and to help normalize the conversations around sex and sex work of this kind. It can be uncomfortable at first, but you’re helping to contribute to the destigmatization of OnlyFans careers, and in the long term it will make these kinds of conversations much easier.
Prepare for Criticism
No matter how well you handle the conversation with friends and family, you should always prepare for a backlash. Unfortunately, despite society becoming more comfortable with work of this kind, there are still plenty of people with old fashioned attitudes, and they see platforms like OnlyFans in quite an extreme way.
Don’t lash out in response. If you are criticized in a harsh way, end the conversation and return to it once everyone has calmed down. Seek support from others, if your feelings are hurt. The mental health consequences of a negative conversation can be problematic, so you need to make sure you are cared for. Just be sure you’re braced for it to not go well – but hopefully, with all these tips, it goes smoothly.
The Dishonest Approach
Again, let us stress that honesty is normally the best policy where possible – but if you know that this is going to cause you issues, you need to think of a good cover for your new-found wealth.
And the best one is to only tell a half-lie and to let people know you’re a content creator who is earning money from fans online. That is technically completely true – you’re just omitting the nature of the content you’re creating.
There’s a good chance that you’re going to be pressed on it – especially by those who aren’t familiar with how content creators work. So you may still need to lie or be vague about the kind of content you’re making.
But, making sure that you minimize the lie in this way will help you to keep your story consistent in future, and then maybe when relationships have developed you’ll be in a position to be more upfront about what you’re creating.
It’s up to you – you might prefer to invent some crazy story as to why you’re now working from home and earning large sums every month. Whatever suits you is the best option.
The Secret Approach
The third option is to keep everything a secret, which may be possible if you aren’t too close with your family and friends and they aren’t going to notice that you’re staying at home to work.
But with keeping your work secret, you also need to consider whether your family or friends could accidentally find out about your career by stumbling across your profile.
Then, you’re outed without control, and you may well be on the back foot when you’re asked about it.
So, how can you keep your profile safe from being found accidentally by people close to you?
There are two options:
Geoblocking is a feature available on OnlyFans and several other alternatives.
It’s a tool that lets you choose to block people from certain parts of the world from finding your account. If you set it up, then anyone from your chosen location will never find you (unless they use a VPN). You just won’t appear in search results for them.
The problem with geoblocking is the sophistication. Some websites only let you do it at a country level – and if you live somewhere like the US, that’s a huge population to lose from your potential subscriber base just to prevent your family and friends from maybe stumbling across your work.
Some other sites are more sophisticated and can let you set up geoblocking at a state or even a city level, which is much more reasonable.
But even then, you’re always losing potential subscribers by blocking out a large group of people.
The other option is to keep your profile anonymous. This means never showing your face, and making sure any identifiable information in the background of your shoots is hidden.
You need to be really careful with this, especially for videos. If you accidentally show your face once, your cover is blown. And if you miss a photograph in the background of your set, or even a bill with your name on it, then people can work out who you are.
Plus, it’s another solution that sacrifices some of your potential earnings. The audience engagement for people who actually want to see anonymous models is very small, and most people prefer to see the faces of the models and creators they’re subscribing to.
If you decide to go anonymous then a lot of people are going to avoid signing up to your content. OnlyFans and similar sites aren’t just for seeing sex in action – they let users build a connection with creators, and they do that much easier when they can see faces, and enjoy their emotions too.
Neither geoblocking nor remaining anonymous is an ideal solution. You’re always going to be sacrificing some potential income. However, needs must if you are worried about your profile being found – so you’ll have to decide which is the better option for you.
Breaking the Stigma
We’re still some time away from OnlyFans careers, and indeed anything around sexually explicit content, is universally accepted, so there is still a good chance that your family or friends may be judgmental when they find out about your career.
With family, it’s often because they feel like they should have led you down a better path. So your role is to tell them that your work is nothing to be ashamed of – show them how proud you are of the effort and time you spend on your content, and how that has translated into your success.
Bear in mind as well that, with friends, there could be an element of jealousy. Some of your friends may resent the fact that you’re now enjoying flexible working with big paychecks, and so they may subconsciously react in a negative way to protect their own ego.
This will only be made worse if they have low self-esteem and don’t believe that it’s a viable option for them, or if they're battling their own mental health issues.
Consider these potential feelings, because you might be able to help your friends realize their own worth and then you can use your affiliate link to get them all signed up too, massively boosting your income without any extra work on your part.
Eventually, the stigma around OnlyFans will end – for now, tread carefully when revealing your career to your loved ones.