#FuckAFan Is the Porn Trend That's Exactly What It Sounds Like

Thanks to social media, the distance between porn stars and fans has never been smaller.

|
10 January 2019, 11:48am

Illustration: Esme Blegvad; Photo: Stas Vulkanov / Alamy Stock Photo

In November of last year, Roddy* – a football fan and self-confessed porn enthusiast – arrived at a London flat for a date with a difference: an intimate encounter with one of his favourite porn actresses. This wasn't something Roddy had paid for – at least, not outright – and neither was he a professional arriving for a shoot. He'd been invited along for one reason: he'd won an online raffle.

In the world of online pornography, this experience is called #FuckAFan, and it typically works like this: a porn performer posts on social media that they're running a competition, inviting punters to buy tickets. The lucky winner gets to have sex with them, on film.

The idea of fans appearing in porn isn’t new: put the phrase, or its near variations, into any suitable website and you'll find plenty of videos which purport to show lucky amateurs getting to know their favourite stars. An American director called Jim Powers even made a film called Fuck a Fan back in 2009; it spawned 15 sequels.

Although studios did their best to keep the fantasy alive, a quick glance at the films themselves was enough to blow the whole conceit: judging by their physical attributes, the men in Powers' Fan films looked as likely to be genuine fans as the female lead in his 2007 film The Hitchhiker looked to be a real hapless traveller looking for a ride.

Then, after years of rumours, the concept suddenly sprung to life: in June of 2018, San Diego-based actress Gaby Quinteros announced a #FuckAFan competition on Twitter. Entrants were invited to subscribe to Gaby's website in order to be entered into a monthly prize draw. Since then, other American performers have followed suit.

Now, the trend is starting to gain more traction in the UK. Over the past couple of months, a small number of British adult entertainers have started to run what they insist are genuine competitions.

One performer I spoke to, who asked to remain nameless, explained how she did #FuckAFan in November. As a newcomer to the porn industry looking to build a following, she was curious to see how it would go: she charged £50 per ticket, and limited the competition to ten entrants. Over private messages she told would-be entrants that they needed to be able to demonstrate good standing on Adultwork: an escorting platform which works on an Airbnb-style system of trusted reviews. One of the men who entered the competition was Roddy, who spoke with me on Twitter.

"I was delighted when I won," he told me over private message, explaining that he’d been following the performer on social media for months beforehand.

He directed me to her account on OnlyFans (essentially a pay-for-play Snapchat where followers receive explicit updates from their chosen performers), where I could see a video of him receiving a blowjob – although, at his request, Roddy's face doesn't appear in the video.

When I asked the obvious question – was he nervous about being on camera? – things got slightly more interesting. As it turned out, this wasn't Roddy's first time on film. In fact, he admitted to being an amateur performer himself. Nevertheless, he insisted the competition was genuine: he'd paid his money to enter and been picked randomly.

But even if Roddy doesn't fit the image of the star-struck outsider suddenly projected into porn stardom, perhaps that's to be expected. While online porn stars regularly amass armies of followers, chances are that only a small minority of those fans would ever have the desire to appear on camera themselves.

1547119415386-sashapaige
Sasha Paige

Last week, Sasha Paige – a Manchester-based fetish producer who styles herself as a "shemale escort" – launched her first competition, offering fetishists the chance to star in a video. In the terms of entry, she makes clear that entrants must be prepared to be filmed and sign a release form to that effect – if they want privacy, she says, they can wear a mask.

So has the fiction come true: does #FuckAFan really exist? The more I looked into it, speaking to performers in the UK and US, the more I became convinced it does – albeit with one important caveat. The performers I spoke to all had one thing in common: this wasn't their first time selling sex.

Again, this isn't surprising: one of the big changes in the adult industry has been the gradual blurring between porn itself and the world of escorting, thanks largely to online platforms which allow solo performers to connect with and vet their clients in a way that is much easier and safer than before.

The unwritten deal behind #FuckAFan appears to be this: by entering the competitions, punters get the opportunity to meet their favourite performers at a much cheaper cost. In return, performers film the interaction (or at least some of it) and use it for marketing – a technique that sounds like it works pretty well.

"I think my fans found it pretty hot, the video of me sucking his cock," explained the performer who'd run Roddy's competition. She says she’s had lots of interest, with fans hungry for the next one. Her subscribers, too, have risen to over 5,000 in a few months.

As for those who don't win, the performers I spoke to were keen to point out that they're not left empty-handed: at the very least, they get new material via OnlyFans. Some even received runner-up prizes (one of Roddy's rivals, for example, got a pair of the performer's worn knickers, a prized commodity for people who are into that kind of thing).

Whatever the truth behind it, #FuckAFan is, at the very least, an interesting case study in how the internet has upended the relationship between porn performers and viewers. Whereas, in the past, porn stars were objects of distant fantasy, today's most successful performers use the internet to communicate directly with their fans. Like vloggers or "influencers", the aim is to create a greater sense of trust and intimacy – and then, where possible, to turn that into cash.

And for what it’s worth, it certainly seems to be working: two different performers told me their own competitions had sold out within days. Others had been approached by friends in the industry keen to give it a try. For the Roddys of this world, things could be about to get very exciting.

@RobertJackman88