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Students are turning to OnlyFans site to make money during pandemic

  • Pandemic has meant traditional student jobs have gone
  • Some students are making money through the OnlyFans site
  • NQ interviews those venturing online to make ends meet and selling explicit content

Hard-up students have been selling explicit pictures of themselves online during the pandemic to help fund their way through university.

Many students who cannot get jobs because of the collapse of the hospitality industry have turned to the sex industry to make money, selling images through OnlyFans.

OnlyFans, escorting and selling explicit content on the internet has become a lifeline for some students and young adults during the pandemic and with stricter lockdown measures in place.

Finding a job during lockdown has proven harder than ever and students have been resorting to the sex industry for income.

OnlyFans is the most common online platform allowing for anyone to make a profile and charge a monthly subscription for other users to access explicit photos and videos they may publish.

One student in Glasgow, studying physical geography, who asked to remain anonymous said that selling explicit photos on OnlyFans “is my only source of income”.

She said: “I don’t get nearly enough student loan, I don’t have much other choice and I feel like a financial burden on my parents as it is.

“At least this way, even if it’s not accepted by society, I’m making a bit of my own money.”

She said she can make up to £3,000 a month depending on how much time she commits to her OnlyFans account.

She added: “University is so expensive, so some students have to resort to this kind of thing.”

A student in Manchester, who also asked to remain anonymous, said she had agreed to meet with a man in exchange for money.

“He was offering me £1000 a month for multiple meets,” she said.

But the 20 year old decided not to go, saying: “I feared what people would think of me if they found out”. But said she would consider it again if it was safe and needed the money.

She added: ”It’s difficult to find employment at the moment, and it can be a struggle trying to balance university and work.

“These kinds of arrangements are flexible so students can focus on their studies rather than worrying about money.”

She had originally met the person she was due to meet on an app called ‘seeking arrangements.’

She said: “I had spoken to a few guys on there but they all seemed a bit risky”, and decided to meet a younger man who provided her with a legitimate social media account.

Another student from Manchester, who did not wish to be named, said the amount of money “you can make from OnlyFans makes it almost irresistible”.

He said: “This kind of thing has to become normal, people need money, our generation is struggling because of Covid”.

The 22-year-old media student said he had considered getting an OnlyFans numerous times, saying that “the real goal would be to improve my standard of living.

“I can’t get a job right now which is why I’ve considered it”.

He added: “In the gay community, it’s starting to feel a bit inevitable. It’s almost as though you should get an OnlyFans.

“My philosophy is in favour of it, I’m very liberal and open about it, everyone has flesh.”

In contrast, one student from London who also did not wish to be named said she does it to ‘fund her lifestyle’.

She said: “During the first lockdown, I was making about £800 a day from selling nudes”.

She also occasionally does ‘intimate meets’ where she will charge for her time and company and said including the money, she’d get from selling explicit photos she could be earning “thousands a day”.

She said: “There are some men who think I’m too expensive, and some girls who think I’m too cheap.”

She said she has had numerous ‘sugar daddies’ and said that as a ‘sugar baby’, it is ‘modernized escorting and prostitution, it’s just a more accepted term’.

When talking about what she does, she said: “The only difference with doing this kind of thing is I have a type of guy I like, but when someone is paying you, you can’t be picky.”

The 21-year-old, studying maths, has been involved in the industry for three years and does not plan to stop after graduation. 

She said that during her second year at university “I didn’t spend any of my own money.” It was entirely funded through people paying to view her content.

When talking about students being forced to do it after having no other source of income, she said: “I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do it if you have to think about it, you have to be sure.

“Most of the time I do it, it’s fun because I earn a lot of money, but there are low moments when I stop and think about what I’m actually doing.”

A spokesperson for the NUS told the Northern Quota: “The pandemic has caused so many issues for students, not least the extreme levels of financial difficulty and hardship.
“Students cannot and should not be expected to pay rent, tuition fees and living expenses with no income, and they should not feel they have to turn to sex work as a last resort.

“What students need right now is rent rebates and maintenance grants to support their time at university.”

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