In an update to this story, Variety reports that OnlyFans has opted to reverse its ban on sexually explicit content, citing assurances from banks that they will continue to work with the platform. OnlyFans made the decision to reverse its ban after outcry from its biggest creators...creators like the ones in the story below.

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Let's call her...Alexis. Alexis spent many years of her life feeling insecure and self conscious about herself. She struggled with self image, self worth, and self love. Early on in her life, Alexis was inundated with what is and is not perceived as 'beautiful.' Magazines and media supplied her with a plastic protocol. Maybe Music Television really is the devil, after all. TV shows, movies and more taught her that beauty is determined by a specific size, specific measurements, etc. She didn't fit those standards so, naturally, she just assumed she wasn't beautiful, wasn't sexy, wasn't worthy.

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Then, she discovered OnlyFans- a content sharing network that is used for a variety of reasons; the biggest of which is sending sexually suggestive content to, well, fans. Users could post photos, videos, and more of themselves and people could 'subscribe' for set monthly prices, as well as send tips. OnlyFans wasn't the first web service to offer this but it did, arguably, become a household name because of the sex work involved. It was a way for sex workers to make a lot of money in a safe way, from the comfort of their own homes (or cars, or gyms or backseats or other places in which sex could be had).

Which is why content creators are extremely frustrated that OnlyFans seems to be changing their policies, banning 'sexually explicit content.'

Variety reported on Thursday that the UK-based company is banning sexually explicit content “to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers."

Beginning on October 1, 2021 "OnlyFans will prohibit the posting of any content containing sexually explicit conduct,” the company said in a statement. “In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines.”

The press release from OnlyFans led to much confusion about what or is not allowed on the platform. Creators are angry, confused, and nervous about the changes that are occurring. Many of these workers have made quite the living with their content and the idea that it's being taken away, or changed, is a scary one.

"I think it's a ridiculous way of controlling the money women make in the sex industry," said (let's call her) Brooke, a content creator from Casper who started her page in April of this year. "People are always going to watch porn or find a way to pay for some kind of sexual attention, so it's honestly heart breaking for me, especially for the people who use OnlyFans as their main income."

Top content creators for OnlyFans make up to $200,000 a year. (Let's call her) Cheryl is one of those people. She has built a devout following of subscribers on her various platforms. On Instagram alone, she has 368,000 followers; many of whom follow her on her NSFW pages as well. Fortunately, Cheryl doesn't believe the new policies and guidelines will affect her as much as others. She said that most creators won't be affected and that much is being made out of nothing.

"It's a load of crap," she said. "Basically, the impression we all have as creators is that we will be fine. Obviously, things that are already banned will still be banned (extreme stuff, which is illegal). What they mean is that fans will no longer have the ability to send or upload media (we get a lot of d*** pics) and some of those people could be underage. So, in order for non-creators to be able to send or upload any media, they have to go through the same verification that we creators do; IE submit photo ID's, etc."

She continued, stating that because she only photos and films solo content, the new rules shouldn't alter much of her business.

"It won't affect me; I don't do porn," she said. "They said we can still post nudes, and I only do topless content, so it won't change for me."

But it will change for others. Currently, users are able to upload content similar to that which is uploaded to other porn sites. This includes actual sexual intercourse. However, beginning on October 1st, actual intercourse videos will no longer be allowed.

And creators want to know why.

Tim Stokely, the founder of OnlyFans, told the Financial Times that "The change in policy, we hand no choice -- the short answer is banks."

Stokely said that banks have refused to work with the company due to 'reputational risk.'

According to Stokely, banks often reject and flag transactions that come from the site.

"This decision was made to safeguard [our users'] funds and subscriptions from increasingly unfair actions by banks and media companies — we obviously do not want to lose our most loyal creators," Stokely said.

That is a sentiment that was echoed by the OnlyFans twitter account.

But creators aren't buying it. A simple scroll through the responses to that tweet confirm; creators feel as though they're being abandoned after making OnlyFans a the powerhouse that it is.  

"The initial OF statement was very vague, but it's never surprising when a site de-platforms adult content after profiting off of it," a creator named (let's call her) Thea said. "Whether or not this happens now or later, it's inevitable. It should not be. This is labor. It is work and OF was a way to make everyone more safe. But we'll be fine."

They will be. There are numerous other platforms in which creators can share their content. But OnlyFans was the most well-known.

"They want to control where the money is going," (let's call her) Brooke stated. "OnlyFans does so well, the only thing that makes sense is that they want that money going to the people that have always been making money in the industry."

Variety reports that the company, which was founded in 2016, says it has paid outmore than $5 billion to creators across the world.

"According to its terms, the company keeps 20% of revenue generated by its 2 million-plus creators," the website stated. "Because it has been a home to X-rated content, OnlyFans is available only on the web, not on mobile app platforms including iOS and Android."

OnlyFans has also recently launched OFTV,  a free streaming service that does not showcase any sexually explicit content. Instead, it focuses more on videos that showcase cooking, fitness, comedy, music, and more. Essentially, it's similar to YouTube, minus the reputation that its name beholds.

This is, presumably, where the people behind OF would like to see the website lean towards more -- featuring more lifestyle, less sex life, content.

"This sucks, because it actually is a lot of work to have a successful OnlyFans," (let's call her) Brooke stated. "These people spend all day promoting [their pages] and, when they aren't promoting, they're making content. Luckily, I have a full-time job and I just do [my page] for fun or just some extra money, but there are people who use that for actual income. It's a good way to just make some extra money when you need it, and I also think it's a great way for women and men alike to boost their confidence and learn to feel good in their own skin."

Which brings us to Alexis.

"I originally started the page to create a foundation for myself as a way to express who I am and build self confidence," (let's call her) Alexis said. "Creating content and receiving positive feedback has given me a huge boost as far as self-love goes. It's unfortunate that OnlyFans will be putting a ban on the certain types of nudity/pornography we can post because that will aid in a loss for many of us; whether it be financially, or the loss of self expression through the content posted. I think it will be interesting to see where the fine line is at in regards to what will be allowed and what will not be, because that's going to set a completely different tone for many individuals' pages; possibly a huge loss for many.

"The biggest hope for me is that I'm able to continue posting content that not only gives people what they're paying to see, but that also helps my journey to self-love and acceptance."

And, really, that's the biggest service OnlyFans offers. Yes, people can watch sexually explicit content, but there are a thousand ways to do that. Yes, creators can make money from the content they provide. But there are a hundred ways to make money. OnlyFans, for so many of its creators, was an outlet. It was a path to self love.

Luckily, OnlyFans has announced that they will be reversing their decision to ban sexually explicit content. This must serve as a huge sigh of relief for people like Brooke like Cheryl, like Thea, and like Alexis. Now, they don't have to go elsewhere to upload content. They can stay put, they can stay happy, they can stay safe. Most importantly, they can fall back in love with themselves and realize that it doesn't matter their shape, their size, or their skin tone. They, men and women alike, are beautiful simply for being who they are, unabashedly. And what they are is worthy, empowered, beautiful, and loved.

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