Ireland is a small country. There’s hardly an Irish person you’d meet to whom you’re not connected by a single degree, either a college connection or a relative in their hometown. Whenever an Irish television programme is produced, it’ll only take a single episode before your mother can point out a member of the cast who went to school with one of your second cousins or used to babysit you when you were younger.
In many senses, Ireland’s insularity makes it feel as though the whole country is a community, but if you know everyone, that means everyone knows you. This may be one of the main reasons for the lack of pornography being produced within the country, as one Reddit commenter suggested earlier this month in response to a “why are there no porn studios in Ireland? Is it illegal?” post under the thread r/Ireland. Many other responses pointed to protests that may occur if anyone tried to establish a porn production company in Ireland, referring to the outcry that saw Stringfellows, a strip club in Dublin, close five months after its opening in 2006.
the mainstream Irish pornography industry remains dormant, if not nonexistent
Sixteen years on from that meagre attempt to establish an adult entertainment industry in Ireland, has there been any successful endeavour? South William Street now boasts the Barclay club, a self-proclaimed five-star strip club — despite holding a 2.8-star rating on Google — but the mainstream pornography industry remains dormant, if not nonexistent.
Regardless of the absence of porn production in Ireland, the demand and consumption of porn are present in the country — something clear from Pornhub’s Insights into Irish porn tastes. Although the data was published in 2017, comedically exposing each county’s genre preferences, fundamentally it shows that Irish people do view porn, and have some quite niche tastes.
Irish people are open to viewing pornography, and their tastes point towards home-grown entertainment
In 2016, Pornhub reported that Ireland ranked sixth worldwide for per-capita page views, with one of the top search terms being Irish. Clearly, Irish people are open to viewing pornography, and their tastes point towards home-grown entertainment. OnlyFans may be the solution to this preference.
Although its primary function is as an online subscription platform, since its launch in 2016, OnlyFans has gained a reputation for pornography, providing a safe and easy way for sex workers to share their content and get paid fairly for the media they create. In return for a monthly subscription fee, OnlyFans users receive content from creators, as well as being able to make specific requests for extra fees through direct messages. The OnlyFans system means that the creator is in control of the content they are producing and sharing, giving independence that mainstream pornography may not offer them.
Speaking to Trinity News, Irish OnlyFans creator Lily (@lilylucia2002 on Instagram and @lucia_xxxx on OnlyFans) discussed her experience on the app. OnlyFans creators can provide almost exactly what viewers would be receiving from mainstream pornography, as Lily describes much of what she posts: “I post nudes every day pretty much. I post the same type of nudes that people would send to their partners,” and she notes that some videos get notably more traction: “the most popular form of content that I have is sex tape content or boy-girl content as it’s called on OnlyFans. Basically, it’s like making my own sex tape.”
To gain subscribers, Lily comments that she advertises mostly through “Instagram and Reddit, as well as Tinder, as my Instagram is linked to my Tinder.” The content she posts can also act as a springboard for more revenue, as she tells Trinity News that she also posts “teasers for pay per view content,” where viewers would pay more to see the full post.
Mainstream media may not be open to having a porn industry in Ireland, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for pornography creators like Lily
She also discussed why they think there is a lack of mainstream porn being produced in Ireland: “I feel like it has a lot to do with the fact that Irish people are quite sexually repressed honestly.” Mainstream media may not be open to having a porn industry in Ireland, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for pornography creators like her. It may even work in her favour, as she explains that “the majority of my fans are Irish.” She continues: “I think it does help [OnlyFans] creators because then there are not a lot of famous Irish porn actresses, so there’s an opening in the market. [The market] in America is filled by pornstars whereas in Ireland it’s filled by OnlyFans creators.”
Aside from its domination of Irish-produced pornography, OnlyFans seems to hold many other benefits for sex workers in Ireland. While Lily admits that she has considered going into making mainstream porn, though not anytime soon, she states that from OnlyFans alone “I make like ten times more than I would working a minimum wage job a month,” and that “I know girls who could make like €10,000 a week doing [OnlyFans].” Additionally, she comments on the more personal aspect of OnlyFans: “you can talk to other creators, whereas mainstream porn is a lot less personal.”
As well as that, OnlyFans creators get to maintain control over the content they produce, and the requests they answer: “I get requests for really weird stuff, mostly for foot fetish things or dick rating.” She states that these are “easy enough to do,” but she still maintains a barrier between her and her fans: “sometimes I get pretty weird ones that I won’t do, like weird race things or meeting up with people in person which I would never do.” As an independent creator, she decides what she’s comfortable with, and what content she is willing to make.
OnlyFans has often been hailed as a more ethical way to consume pornography, and with an absence of mainstream Irish pornography, it provides a platform for Irish sex workers to earn a living under their own terms, while also catering to an appetite for Irish pornography that clearly exists in the country.