Hulu is streaming an hourlong report about the online platform that’s home to porn stars and mainstream stars like Bella Thorne and Cardi B — and a Utah bodybuilder.
Tyson Dayley features prominently in “OnlyFans: Selling Sexy,” and not just because he’s one of four “adult content creators” interviewed by ABC News. The remarkably fit 30-year-old is seen nearly naked, displaying his body for profit.
Dayley is not, however, one of the porn stars on OnlyFans. And he readily admits that the site is “weird,” because there’s a “desire for ... the very, extremely pornographic type stuff ... but then there’s also this large interest in ... people doing everyday activities but in their underwear or, like, naked.”
He remembers getting a big reaction to “a batch of videos I did getting ready in the morning, brushing my teeth.”
Of course, he wasn’t wearing much in the videos. He wasn’t wearing anything in some of them, which were shot from behind him.
OnlyFans boomed in 2020. Content creators produce and post their own videos, and customers pay a monthly fee between $5 and $25 to subscribe. Content creators keep 80% and OnlyFans gets 20%. The site has a million content creators, 100 million registered users and has paid out more than $2 billion to the content creators.
That includes tens of thousands of dollars to Dayley.
He tells viewers he was working as a model in New York in early 2020 when the pandemic struck and jobs dried up. He returned home to Salt Lake City, planning to stay two to four weeks, but, almost a year later, he’s still here. And he’s making $10,000 a month on OnlyFans.
Dayley calls his videos “erotic art” and, no, he doesn’t do full frontal nudity. But he comes pretty close, wearing the skimpiest of underwear and sometimes showing his backside to the camera
He says what people are paying to see is “a caricatured version of a character based on me,” and he “purposely postured it in a way where it’s very sexually ambiguous. I’m straight, by the way, but I wear things that are really, really flamboyant. I have no problem posting in my underwear, obviously.”
In addition to Dayley, the hour features interviews with two women who, like him, are amateurs and two professional porn stars. But “OnlyFans: Selling Sexy” is not just about the people who sell subscriptions on the site, it’s about the phenomenon itself. There are interviews with a sex educator, a sex therapist and journalists, among others.
The ABC News Originals producers spend plenty of screen time on Thorne, the former Disney Channel star who made headlines by joining OnlyFans, albeit without nudity. (ABC and Hulu are both Disney-owned companies.) And this hour could not air on ABC itself, what with occasional partial nudity and R-rated language. But “Selling Sexy” does explain what’s happening without sliding too far into exploitation.
Which is not to say that some of the content isn’t sort of shocking. Amateur porn star Wyner Mosely tells viewers how she got into the OnlyFans business, and we see her discuss her plans for upcoming sex videos with her mother.
There are drawbacks to being an OnlyFans star, Dayley tells viewers. Even before he started posting videos on the site, he ran into women who “kind of had an issue” with his nude (or nearly nude) modeling. He also gets direct messages “telling me how much they hate me.”
“For every few compliments or something, there will be at least one where some person’s, like, ‘You suck. Your face looks dumb.’ Or … ‘That hairstyle looks like crap.’”
And Mosely says she’s “so tired of the self-respect, the morals conversation because that is all subjective. We do have morals and self-respect.”
The producers of “Selling Sexy” do ask the Utahn the Big Question: Why doesn’t he bare all in his videos?
“I want to have a life after modeling,” he replies. “There are certain doors that would be hard shut with [full frontal nudity].” And, he says, he never intended for “OnlyFans” to be more than “a background thing.”
“I’m really thankful to have it, but I definitely don’t consider myself, like, a full-time OnlyFans person.”