Buying and selling adult content on social media: A study of OnlyFans users


Project ID: 39851
Project title: Buying and selling adult content on social media: A study of OnlyFans users

Dr Emily van der Nagel  
School of Media, Film and Journalism, Faculty of Arts
Phone: +61 3 9903 4398
Email: emily.vandernagel@monash.edu

You are invited to take part in this study.  Please read this Explanatory Statement in full before deciding whether or not to participate in this research. If you would like further information regarding any aspect of this project, you are encouraged to contact the researcher via the phone number or email address listed above.

What does the research involve?

My name is Emily van der Nagel, and I am a Lecturer in Social Media at Monash University. I research social media cultures, identities, and intimacies. I am currently researching Australian OnlyFans creators and subscribers to better understand experiences of OnlyFans in a social media environment in which much adult content is banned.

This research project on OnlyFans in Australia aims to:

  • Investigate how Australian OnlyFans users appropriate general social media platforms for buying and selling adult content on OnlyFans;
  • Investigate how Australian OnlyFans users manage their personal information (names, usernames, social media accounts, locations, occupations, faces, etc) while creating or consuming adult content on OnlyFans;
  • Report on the strategies Australian OnlyFans users employ when negotiating a national context of sex work decriminalisation or legalisation, international contexts of sex work illegalities, and platform contexts that ban adult content.

Conducting this survey and interviews with people who have direct experience of OnlyFans, both creators and subscribers, means including important voices in this research.

You are eligible to participate in this research if you are over 18 years old, are currently based in Australia, and have either created content (text, images, and/or videos) that you have made available to subscribers through OnlyFans, or subscribed to content through OnlyFans.

Your participation will involve completing the survey that follows this Explanatory Statement. The survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete. It will include some demographic questions, including your age, state or territory, education, gender, and sexuality. The survey will then invite you to write short responses to open-ended questions, including, “Can you describe the kind of content you create/subscribe to on OnlyFans?”; “Do you have any strategies to get around adult content bans on platforms like Instagram and Twitter?”; “What do you wish more people knew about OnlyFans?”

The researcher will invite a small number of survey respondents to participate in an additional interview about their experiences of OnlyFans. Only survey respondents who have indicated their willingness to be interviewed as part of the survey will be considered for the interview. If you are invited to be interviewed, this interview will take place over Zoom, and will last 45-60 minutes. Interviews will be audio recorded through Zoom. If you complete both the survey and an interview, your total participation time in the research project is expected to take no longer than 90 minutes.

Interviews will be conducted in an open-ended way that means each interview will be slightly different, depending on responses given. Along with asking you to expand or clarify survey responses, potential interview questions include, “How did you discover OnlyFans?”; “How do you manage money through the OnlyFans platform?”; “Have you ever had issues with social media platforms not allowing adult content?”; “How do you think OnlyFans differs from other platforms?” In addition, interviewees will be provided with quotes from news articles about OnlyFans and asked to respond to them. An example quote is: “It’s disappointing that we earn literal billions of dollars for this company as adult creators, and we receive zero support. OnlyFans treats its adult creators like cash cows” – Lucy Banks, ex-OnlyFans creator.

Consenting to participate in the project and withdrawing from the research

Clicking the link at the end of this page indicates your consent to participate in the project.

No question in the survey or interview is compulsory, and you have the right to withdraw from the research project. Survey participants can withdraw by not completing the survey. Withdrawing survey data will not be possible after submission if the responses are anonymous. Interview participants can withdraw from the research project by letting the researcher know they would like to withdraw their interview responses during the interview, at which point recording will cease and the recorded interview data will be deleted. Interview participants who withdraw their participation during the interview will not be provided with compensation for the interview. Interview participants may contact the researcher by email at emily.vandernagel@monash.edu to withdraw their interview responses from the research project up to a month after the interview was conducted. After this time has passed, it will no longer be possible to withdraw interview data.

Possible benefits and risks to participants

There may be no direct benefits to you as a participant, other than the opportunity to reflect on your experiences with OnlyFans. This research will benefit the community by providing insights into the current state of buying and selling adult content on OnlyFans in Australia. Informed by the researcher’s sex-positive, feminist perspective, the results of this study will contribute to ongoing efforts to destigmatise and recognise the value of porn production and sex work as legitimate work.

The only risks involved in participation in this project is potential discomfort resulting from discussing topics such as adult content, amateur pornography, or sex work, as these can be stigmatised forms of content production and work.

Services on offer if adversely affected

  • beyondblue: Organisation with information and resources associated with depression and anxiety, available online or on 1300 22 4636.
  • Lifeline Australia: Free, confidential, 24-hour telephone counselling service available on 13 11 14.


Survey participants will not be offered any compensation for completing the survey.

Upon completion of a 45-60 minute interview, interviewees will be offered an AUD$40 Prezzee digital gift card, which allows you to choose a voucher from a range of stores (such as Myer, Target, and Officeworks).

For auditing purposes, Monash University’s finance team requires a list of participant names when they are offered gift cards as compensation for research participation. This means interview participants will not be able to remain anonymous to the interviewer, but responses to the survey and interview can still be quoted under a pseudonym, or participant number, in publications.


Survey data will be collected through Google Forms, and only made available to the researcher on her Monash Google account. Interviews will be conducted over Zoom by the researcher, and audio only (no video) will be recorded through Zoom’s internal recording system.

You will be assigned a participant number within the research project to distinguish participant responses from one another, and to be used if you wish to remain anonymous. If you nominate a pseudonym or your real name to be used when attributing quotes in publications, this is what the researcher will use.

Responses from the survey or interviews may be used in academic publications including conference presentations; peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books; journalistic publications such as news articles; or journalistic interviews with the researcher.

Automated transcription service Otter.ai will be used to transcribe interview recordings. To maintain confidentiality, no identifying information will be made available to the transcription service, including any names or pseudonyms. You can still opt to be quoted under a pseudonym, or participant number, in publications.

Storage of data

Data, including survey results, interview recordings, and interview transcripts, will be stored on the researcher’s password protected computer at Monash University in her locked office. It will only be accessed by the researcher. This data will be stored in a folder on the researcher’s computer for five years after collection, after which it will be deleted.


Results of this research project, including publications, will be made available to participants who provide an email address as a contact method in the survey.


Should you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of the project, you are welcome to contact the Executive Officer, Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC):

Executive Officer
Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC)
Office of Research Ethics and Integrity
Room 116, Administration Building B (3D)
26 Sports Walk, Clayton Campus
Monash University VIC 3800
Tel: +61 3 9905 2052         Email: muhrec@monash.edu       

Thank you for considering participating in this research project,

Dr Emily van der Nagel
Lecturer in Social Media
Communications and Media Studies
School of Media, Film and Journalism
Monash University

Clicking on ‘Next’ indicates that you consent to participate in this research project.