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Tracing the Origins and Meteoric Rise of OnlyFans

When was OnlyFans created

OnlyFans has become an incredibly popular platform for content creators over the last few years, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But where did it come from, and when did it rise to fame?

Since 2016, OnlyFans has become one of the biggest names in the content creator industry, providing a space for creators to offer paid content for fans. It is mainly occupied by adult content creators but also offers opportunities for creators in music, fitness, cooking, writing, and more.

We’ll look at how OnlyFans gave creators an accessible platform to continue earning an income during the pandemic before exploring where this now hugely successful content subscription service began

Table of Contents

TL/DR: Tracing the Origins and Meteoric Rise of OnlyFans

  • OnlyFans provides a subscription-based platform for all types of creators.
  • The platform’s popularity surged in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Initially intended for adult content, OnlyFans hosts SFW and NSFW creators.
  • The user base ranges from adult entertainers and models to fitness instructors, chefs, and more…
  • Joining OnlyFans involves a simple process of signing up, verifying identity, setting up payment details, and starting content creation.
  • The pandemic significantly elevated OnlyFans’ prominence, highlighting its role as a viable income source and entertainment platform during global lockdowns.


What is OnlyFans?

OnlyFans was created in 2016 by Timothy Stokely, a British entrepreneur who previously founded the custom video site Customs4U as well as working for UK phone sex company LiveJasmin.

It is a subscription-based social platform that allows creators to offer exclusive content to paying “fans.” Videos, photos, live streams, and chatting can sit behind a paywall that fans subscribe to for monthly fees ranging from $4.99 to $49.99. There is also the option for fans to pay tips and order customized content.

When Did OnlyFans Launch?

While OnlyFans launched in November 2016, it only really shot into the mainstream consciousness in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. 

With nightlife industries basically shutting down overnight, sex workers and additional opportunity seekers flocked to OnlyFans as a way to replace lost incomes or generate new (and much bigger) ones. Searches for OnlyFans soared during this time as fans followed their favorite creators and performers across.

What Was OnlyFans Originally Intended For?

OnlyFans founder Timothy Stokely has a background in the adult entertainment and tech industries. He ran adult sites like GlamGirls and Customs4U, focusing on selling photo sets and upon-request video content, respectively, before launching OnlyFans.

So, while OnlyFans itself has no strict content policies and can host all kinds of creators, Stokely’s professional history shows it was likely always intended as a platform for selling “naughty” content.

When Did OnlyFans Get Famous?

While OnlyFans quickly became popular within niches like sex work after launching in 2016, its huge explosion in popularity came in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and global lockdowns.

With in-person industries essentially shut down overnight, sex workers and adult entertainers who relied on things like stripping and webcam modeling found themselves with very limited options. OnlyFans provided a ready-to-go platform to replace lost incomes, and besides adult creators, the boredom of lockdown saw many looking for “fun” and creative outlets to fill time. 

Creating an OnlyFans account became a popular option, further driving interest in the platform from fans and creators alike, causing user numbers to boom, with OnlyFans reporting over 200,000 new users signing up every single day during parts of 2020 – a 75% increase in growth.

Why is OnlyFans Successful?

There are a few key reasons OnlyFans has proven to be such a successful platform, especially after 2020 brought such huge numbers of new creators and users:

  • Accessibility – Becoming an OnlyFans creator is EASY with a pretty slick sign-up process and quick approval times which, if compared to sites like PornHub, where you may need existing contacts, OnlyFans takes the cake by providing a turn-key solution anyone could leverage.
  • Revenue potential – Top creators can earn up to (and over) $1 million a month on OnlyFans, and while that level of success is rare, the site offers plenty of monetization tools. You can charge subscription fees, offer pay-per-view content, receive tips, and more. The interface also provides real-time earnings data and analytics.
  • Parasocial relationships – Many fans love the perceived intimacy and exclusivity of following a creator on OnlyFans versus other social platforms because they can directly pay and interact with creators they have a “parasocial” crush on.
  • Creative freedom – OnlyFans allows creators freedom over their branding and content strategy most social platforms don’t offer. There are no restrictive content moderation policies around nudity or suggestive material, for instance.

Who Uses OnlyFans?

The majority of OnlyFans creators come from adult industries like:

  • Adult entertainment (porn performers, webcam models, dominatrixes, etc)
  • Erotic modeling (Instagram models, Playboy models, etc)
  • Music and entertainment (reality stars, influencers, etc)

However, OnlyFans also houses diverse creators with SFW content, including:

  • Fitness instructors
  • Writers and bloggers
  • Chefs sharing cooking tutorials
  • Comedy skit creators

Notable celebrities with OnlyFans accounts include Cardi B, Tyga, Bella Thorne, and Blac Chyna. However, most run their accounts more as exclusive fan clubs over anything explicit.

How to Join OnlyFans

Becoming an OnlyFans creator involves a few quick steps:

  1. Sign-up – Provide your email, password, and creator name to join
  2. Account verification – Submit ID photos to confirm your age and identity
  3. Bank details – Supply your payout details so you can receive earnings
  4. Create content – Start uploading videos, photos, and posts to your OnlyFans account


More information on how to set up the perfect OnlyFans account:



In many ways, the pandemic was rocket fuel for OnlyFans since let’s face it – people were inside and bored, so what are they gonna do with their time? It arrived at just the right cultural moment to offer creators an income solution while providing entertainment for millions stuck indoors.

Understanding the platform’s origins provides insight into why online sex workers and other opportunity seekers have so eagerly adopted it. We all know knowledge is power, and knowing how successes are made on OnlyFans today can help anyone interested in launching their own account.

There has never been an easier time to develop an audience around your own unique brand and monetize your content.

Tools like Supercreator play help in enhancing the OnlyFans experience for creators and in raking in the cash. Supercreator, with its easy-to-use CRM system and automation tools, is designed to support the growth and efficiency of OnlyFans creators ($$$). Its features like Fan CRM Insights, Super Mass messaging, Auto-Follower, and PriceGuard™ assist in managing fan interactions, optimizing content pricing, and streamlining communication. These tools enable creators to focus on what they do best – creating captivating content – while efficiently managing their business side.

Frequently Asked Questions

OnlyFans was created by UK businessman Timothy Stokely to provide a place for selling explicit adult content like videos and pics. His past business ventures were adult sites like GlamGirls and Customs4U focused on monetizing pornographic content.

While often assumed to be a pandemic-era creation, OnlyFans actually first launched in November 2016. However, it only gained mainstream popularity in 2020 as sex workers and adult entertainers joined in numbers amidst global lockdowns.

OnlyFans was started by British tech founder Timothy Stokely. While adult creators drove much of the early adoption from 2016 onwards, influencers likeTyga and Cardi B have helped boost OnlyFans’ popularity in the mainstream since 2020.

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