If Twitter Dies, I'll Really Miss My NSFW Account
“I kind of realized I was hot because of my alt.”
For years on Twitter, gay men have found an outlet for sexual expression by posting on their “alts,” typically anonymous NSFW accounts that range from thirst traps and amateur hookup videos to semi-professional pornography and OnlyFans promotion. (Twitter’s policies on adult content have allowed for porn-driven accounts to grow exponentially in both LGBTQ+ and straight communities.) The account known as @AltieEilish began sharing horny photos and videos in 2021. To date, he has more than 33,000 followers and a burgeoning OnlyFans account that supplements his income as a (recently unemployed) 32-year-old theater director and professor in New York City.
But since Elon Musk stepped in as Twitter’s CEO in late October — a period in which he’s incited a mass employee exodus that has affected the site’s ability to function, suspended journalists from their accounts, and reinstated Donald Trump’s, among other changes — many users have reconsidered their presence on the app. As Twitter’s future grows bleaker, and as many users flock to alternatives like Mastodon, Hive, and even Tumblr, what’s at stake for Twitter’s gay alt subculture? Below, @AltieEilish reflects on the origins of his account, the community he’s built there, and whether he’ll ever give his Twitter account up.
I created @AltieEilish because I didn’t want to be seen liking or retweeting sexy accounts from my personal account, especially by straight people I know would be confused or unsettled by the whole thing — like my mom’s friends or my parents. I didn’t want any judgment or shame. Then I posted two or three times myself and was shocked by how many people started following me. One video I posted with my husband was retweeted like crazy. In it, we’re doing something called frotting — I didn’t know it was called that until I posted it and someone explained it to me. It all happened accidentally. I started it just for my own enjoyment, but it’s taken off since. Being actively in conversation with other accounts and being funny and not taking it too seriously — I think that’s part of my success.
Two years into it, a lot of my gay friends in New York know about it and follow me freely. Some have their own alts too. I’m not so concerned about anonymity between queer people because so many are sex positive, but just to be safe, I don’t show my face on Twitter. I had my account for about a year before joining OnlyFans, where I do sometimes show my face, but I only made an OnlyFans because I hooked up with someone who required me to have an account legally in order to post what we did together on his OnlyFans. It’s not really a career focus for me. If some of my gay friends end up watching me have sex and they want to pay $9, that’s fine. On Twitter, I’ll sometimes share a link to my OnlyFans with a shorter clip if I’ve hooked up with a bigger-name person, but I don’t promote it often.
My husband and I have been together almost eight years, married for three. We started out monogamous, and started having threesomes a year in, and then eventually opened our relationship. One of the things we’re most turned on by is cucking, so he’s excited when I have fun with someone else and he gets to see a video or a clip. He likes to share it with his friends and show off his husband. Our boundaries are no sleepovers, no dates, and we’re not looking for polyamorous relationships or a crush behind the scenes — just pure fun. He doesn’t have an alt. He’s not as much of an exhibitionist as I am.
The best thing that has come out of this is sex positivity. There’s less shame around sex, which is so huge because a lot of us grew up with so much shame surrounding it. The biggest surprise is how kind everybody is — the bigger accounts are just sweet people living their lives. I didn’t really think sex workers or porn stars were as accessible as they were until Twitter. Now I’ve developed a great social community with alt accounts or porn accounts all over the world. With the New York-based accounts, I’ve definitely met or hung out with them or seen them at a bar and given them a big hug or recognized them on Fire Island. The gay community in New York gets smaller and smaller because of Twitter.
This is gonna sound sort of arrogant, but I kind of realized I was hot because of my alt. I didn’t really think of myself that way or love my body so much. I definitely still have some inner battles, but at the end of the day, there are enough people who enjoy the way I look as is, without having a ton of muscle or feeling like I have the best ass or whatever. It’s also widened my love for other bodies and people of all ages and sizes. There’s something kind of cool about alts because you get to know people’s personalities. You meet people in DMs like “I’m actually really attracted to you, and I don’t think I would have noticed you at a bar otherwise” or “Now because of my interaction with you naked, I would notice you at a bar.” That kind of stuff is hopefully making gay people a little bit kinder and less sh*tty or shaming.
I’d miss a lot of these interactions and the sense of community if Twitter implodes. I’m not working right now, so OnlyFans is actually my only source of income aside from a CashApp page that does nothing for me. With tens of thousands of followers on Twitter, it’s the best platform to promote my OnlyFans and engage new followers. I earn probably about $1,000 a month, which doesn’t meet my necessities as far as expenses. My husband’s job makes enough money for us both to live on that income for as long as we need. I don’t love the idea of me not having my own money; eventually, I’ll go back to working in the theater or teaching.
At a certain point, Twitter might just fizzle away. But I wouldn’t want to start another account from scratch. It’s just not worth it to me. I’m actually not really into social media, but I’ve just been delighted by how many people enjoy what I post. For anyone considering creating an alt, do it, as long as it makes you happy. If it’s not bringing you joy or making you feel good about yourself, I don’t think you should do it anymore. When it becomes work, maybe it’s time to look for something else — it’s supposed to be fun.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.