New study explores the sexual attitudes and characteristics of OnlyFans users

Do people who use OnlyFans have significantly different sexual attitudes compared to the general population? New research published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviors suggests that is not the case. The new findings indicate that OnlyFans users and nonusers have similar attitudes regarding things like casual sex and the importance of birth control.

OnlyFans allows users to subscribe to different content creators in order to access exclusive content. This content can include everything from photos and videos to personal messages and behind-the-scenes looks. The platform has become increasingly popular in recent years, boasting more than 100 million registered users but little is known about the characteristics of OnlyFans users.

“Although OnlyFans was an incredibly hot topic, the only literature I could find about user demographics and sexual attitudes were limited to anecdotal reports,” explained study author Stacey Diane Aranez Litaman assistant professor at Cleveland State University and owner of SDAL Consultation & Educational Services and the Brave Space Institute. “Quantifying these areas were critical to stay abreast on the ever-changing landscape of sexually explicit material (SEM). As a researcher, I am excited by the prospect of being the first to explore new trends in social and sexual behavior.”

For their study, Litam and her colleagues surveyed 718 US adult participants who ranged in age from 18 to 71 (average age 29). The sample included 348 OnlyFans users (219 male users and 129 female users).

The participants completed a demographic questionnaire along with an assessment of sexual attitudes in which they were asked the extent they agreed with statements related to permissiveness (“Casual sex is acceptable” and “I would like to have sex with many partners”), birth control (“Birth control is part of responsible sexuality”), Communion (“Sex is the closest form of communication between two people” and “Sex is a very important part of life”), and instrumentality (“Sex is primarily a bodily function, like eating” and “Sex is best when you let yourself go and focus on your own pleasure”).

OnlyFans users had tended to have slightly higher scores on the measures of permissiveness, birth control, communion, and instrumentality. The differences between OnlyFans users and nonusers was statistically significant but very small, indicating a very high degree of overlap between the two groups.

“I think the biggest takeaway here is that individuals who create and access SEM content are not significantly different than those who do not,” Litam told PsyPost. “Based on the results of our study, OnlyFans users and nonusers endorsed similar sexual attitudes. I believe this finding is important because it directly challenges stigmatizing attitudes that portray SEM users as deviant, hypersexual, and sexually permissive. Ultimately, when it comes down to sexual attitudes, we are all more alike than different.”

The study also shed some light on the demographic characteristics of OnlyFans users. “Consistent with the existing literature, OnlyFans users in our study were predominantly white, married, men who identified as heterosexual or bisexual/pansexual,” Litam explained.

The new findings provide a jumping off point for future research. “One study I have in mind would be to explore the experiences of OnlyFans creators,” Litam said. “I’m curious about the influencing factors that lead folx to pursue these types of SEM experiences. I’m also interested in hearing more about the types of content that is personally requested by users.”

“If you feel worried about the extent to which you, or someone in your life accesses SEM, it’s a great idea to engage in reflection or to facilitate an open, honest conversation,” the researchers added. “Specifically, an exploration around the question, ‘What is the desired outcome or experience?’ can help to uncover underlying motivations.”

“SEM can be accessed for a variety of reasons including for educational purposes, to enhance masturbation and pleasure, and to reduce boredom. We can never assume why folx access SEM. Speaking with a licensed mental health professional and/or sex therapist can also be helpful!”

The study, “Sexual Attitudes and Characteristics of OnlyFans Users“, was authored by Stacey Diane Arañez Litam, Megan Speciale, and Richard S. Balkin.

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