Porn Star Siri Dahl on Why OnlyFans Is (Virtually) the Only Platform That Matters for Sex Workers

And how new monetization changes made in the wake of Bella Thorne’s record-setting $2 million windfall could screw all that up

Last Updated: September 1, 2020 @ 1:50 PM

“The DUFF” star Bella Thorne inadvertently drew the ire of sex workers after racking up $2 million in just one week on website OnlyFans, a popular destination for porn stars and their fans.

Immediately following the mainstream actress’s financial windfall, the website, which allows users to monetize direct connections with subscribers, lowered monetization maximums for content creators and delayed payouts to 21 days (from 7 days) for those in certain countries (Belize, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela).

Those terms of use alterations are big deals to sex workers, especially those overseas, because there is big money at play here. Siri Dahl, one of the top-earning adult film actresses on OnlyFans, told TheWrap that “75-80%” of her income comes from her work on the website.

Dahl, who is based in the U.S., also told us that OnlyFans regularly — and quietly — changes its terms and conditions. That’s scary for those in her industry.

“There’s anxiety that comes along with anyone who relies on OnlyFans,” Dahl said.

Double that stress for top earners, she said.

Dahl knows of what she speaks: the porn star previously known simply as “Siri” ranks in the Top 0.36% of OnlyFans earners, she told us. (Dahl guessed that Thorne would be in the Top 0.1% or even the Top 0.01%.)

“I will have actual nightmares that they have stopped allowing sex workers to use the platform, for example,” Dahl said. “Like just gone straight into censorship.”

As important as OnlyFans is to sex workers, the relationship works both ways.

“We’re it,” Dahl said when we asked how vital the work of her and her peers is to the platform. “OnlyFans would not exist (without sex workers).”

Still, Dahl says the platform does not publicly embrace that reality and reliance.

“The platform was pretty much built by sex workers, popularized by sex workers, yet OnlyFans has never truly openly acknowledged that this platform is serving mostly sex workers and their fans,” Dahl said. “If you look at their corporate materials, they all continue to present this image of safe-for-work-ness — that’s not even what it’s known for. It’s this weird disconnect.”

When we asked OnlyFans how much of its business comes from sex workers, a spokeswoman declined to share such information, stating, “OnlyFans is a private company and declines to share any information on revenue.”

OnlyFans keeps 20% of a content creator’s earnings, the spokeswoman said. That would mean the website made $400,000 off of Thorne’s windfall.

While that dollar amount is nowhere near typical, Dahl says “plenty of other people” make “in the tens of thousands of dollars per week, and up.”

The 21-day delayed payment does not affect Dahl — or others in the U.S.

“This is an ongoing and active risk based assessment which is done on a country by country basis,” the OnlyFans rep told TheWrap. “We are constantly monitoring our transaction data and risk modeling. Any changes to our limits is carefully considered taking into account many different factors. The vast majority of payments made on OnlyFans are unaffected by these recent changes.”

Revised payouts are a slightly different story for those in the states (and beyond).

Under the new rules the new max on Pay-Per-View posts is $50, down from $200, on accounts with no subscription fee.

“This change affects free accounts only,” OnlyFans told TheWrap. “As the max subscription price is $50/month, this brings it in line with the rest of creators on OnlyFans. Note that free accounts make up a very small percentage of accounts on OnlyFans.”

Dahl’s subscription fee is $6.99 per month, and she estimates that about 50% of her OnlyFans income comes from fan subscriptions. Content creators can either set their subscriptions to be free, or to be between $4.99 per month and $50 per month.

The new maximum on paid private message/media is $100, halved from the previous $200. Dahl says she makes about 40% of her OnlyFans income this way.

In terms of tipping, which is the third way a content creator can make money on OnlyFans, the new max tip a creator can receive is $100 until they’ve been active on the site for four months. After four months, the max goes up to $200, which was the previous limit for all content creators.

“We are creating a more dynamic system that analyzes both the creator and fan to determine certain limits,” the OnlyFans rep told us. “This is an evolving process that impacts a small percentage of accounts meant to ensure payment protection for both content creators and users and is something we will continue to review and assess.”

“The limiting the tip amount to $100 is obviously problematic for a lot of people,” Dahl said.

Dahl does not expect the slashing of tip maximums to affect her “greatly,” however.

“I have not structured the way I sell my content on OnlyFans that I really rely on large tips from individuals,” Dahl said. “It’s rare that I get those in the first place. But I know that there are girls who do rely on that, and that would greatly affect them.”

Dahl, who also makes money from custom work (a minimum of $300 that can easily climb into the thousands of dollars, she said, “depending on what the person wants”) she sells elsewhere, estimates that only 10% of her OnlyFans income comes from tips.

OnlyFans denied last week that the payout changes and new maximums were directly tied to Thorne’s participation on the platform.

“Transaction limits are set to help prevent overspending and to allow our users to continue to use the site safely,” the company said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “We value all of the feedback received since this change was implemented and we will continue to review these limits. Our objective remains to provide the best platform possible for the OnlyFans community. We can confirm that any changes to transaction limits are not based on any one user.”

Not everyone is buying those last few words.

“I do think it’s very interesting that these changes coincide with Bella Thorne making millions of dollars on the platform,” Dahl said.

We do too, if we’re being honest.

Thorne made headlines last week when she became the first creator to pull in $1 million in 24 hours by charging her fans a subscription fee of $20 a month.

The former Disney Channel star allegedly offered a $200 photo to subscribers of her otherwise PG-13 account with the promise of nudity. That has not been proven, however, and Thorne told The Los Angeles Times last week she has never offered nude content on her OnlyFans page and the screenshot of the exchange in which she promised the “no clothes naked” photo was falsified.

Neither OnlyFans nor Thorne responded to TheWrap’s request for comment on the existence of the alleged photoset.

Thorne has since publicly apologized for her use of the platform.

“Remove the stigma behind sex, sex work, and the negativity that surrounds the word SEX itself by bringing a mainstream face to it,” the actress wrote on Twitter. “That’s what I was trying to do, to help bring more faces to the site to create more revenue for content creators on the site.”

She went on, “I wanted to bring attention to the site, the more people on the site the more likely of a chance to normalize the stigmas, And in trying to do this I hurt you. I have risked my career a few times to remove the stigma behind sex work, porn, and the natural hatred people spew behind anything sex related. I wrote and directed a porn against the high brows of my peers and managers because I WANTED to help with the stigma behind sex.”

Thorne has previously ventured into the adult entertainment space, collaborating with Pornhub to direct the adult film “Her & Him” as part of the site’s Visionaries Directors Club series. The short debuted at Germany’s Oldenburg Film Festival last year.

Thorne is just the latest high-profile creator to launch an OnlyFans page that does not contain nudity. Cardi B announced the creation of her own page earlier this month, promising a behind-the-scenes look at the making of her chart-topping single “WAP.”

With millions of dollars on the line, if OnlyFans is so flawed (Dahl also told us it’s “glitchy,” among other criticisms), the million-dollar question is: Why continue to use the platform?

Well, it’s kind of the only option — at least, it’s the only widely adopted one — even though superior alternates exist.

Competitor AVN Stars is “in every way better than OnlyFans,” according to Dahl, but it has not been adopted by users.

That site has an awareness issue among the public, and Dahl believes her current clients are just more comfortable with OnlyFans. In the adult industry, it’s not easy to convince users to entrust their credit card information with a lesser-known website. Privacy is paramount when paying to see private parts.

Plus, moving from one platform to the next is just a “hassle,” Dahl said.

And who needs more of that these days?

Dahl originally just went by “Siri” before taking a hiatus from the porn industry in 2015. Her June 2011 debut was mere months before the iPhone with Siri came out.

Last month, Dahl added the last name for two main reasons: “To make my work more easily searchable without turning up results for a robot voice, and to differentiate my new work from my pre-2015 work.”

Between her 2015 exit and 2019 return, Dahl took up powerlifting. She’s been competing now for two years.