Following a lot of hyper-sexualized content on social media may be turning off potential dates in the real world.
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OnlyFans’ profits are booming and fans are following their favorite models on other social sites.But in the real-life dating world, a following list full of Instagram baddies can be a red flag. Relationship experts explained how a thirsty online presence can cost you dating opportunities.
The first time Roxanne Segposyan thought to compare herself to other women was when she caught her high school boyfriend following random girls on Instagram.
There weren’t just girls close to their circle, but influencers, models, and pornstars, she told Business Insider. She even learned that he and his friend were spending all day sending posts of random women to each other in their DMs.
“It started a lot of deep-rooted, self-esteem issues because, before that, I had never even really thought about comparing myself to other women,” Segposyan, now 23, said. “It was just: Other women are attractive, but I can be attractive in my own way.”
None of the women in her now ex-boyfriend’s chat looked anything like her, she noticed: Blonde, white, “All-American,” compared to Segposyan, who is Latina.
Segposyan said she confronted him about the issue “many, many, many times,” and he responded with “classic” excuses:
“It must’ve been an accident”
“I just scroll and don’t even pay attention to what I’m liking.”
And, “I didn’t even realize I followed them.”
But, as he realized those excuses wouldn’t work, he became defensive, Segposyan said, turning the issue back on her: “Why should it even matter? I’m with you and not them, so why do you even care about that? You sound so insecure.”
I judge men by looking at their following list on Instagram
— Vanshika Bhat (@Vanshika_46) July 13, 2022
Your “Following” list could show red flags
It’s an issue that’s older than Instagram itself. But, as OnlyFans models proliferate on the platform, advertising customizable, girl-next-door erotic content on social media, a peculiar phenomenon appears to be getting worse.
Someone, often a straight man (but not always), has an Instagram following list flooded with random, beautiful, scantily-clad women they don’t even know.
Concerned partners or potential partners — usually, but not always women — take to online forums to ask netizens if this is okay or if their insecurities and frustrations are valid.
Some men defend themselves: It’s just the laws of attraction. It’s just a random girl on Instagram. It’s not cheating, god forbid. “We’re just normal men. We’re just innocent men.“
But dating experts told Business Insider that digging your heels in will naturally strike up questions and even red flags to potential partners.
“I think if I was trying to date someone and I was looking at what he was really into and it was so different from me or if it was all overtly sexy … I’d definitely wonder why is he doing that?” Rochelle Peachey, owner of the international dating site ILoveYourAccent, said. “Why does he need to do that? Are you hoping to meet one of them? Do you pay for their services? It would bother me.”
idk how the girlies are okay with men whose entire following list is just e-girls and instagram models but id rather die
— isabel (@isabelfulla) December 20, 2022
Peachey told Business Insider that following a lot of random hot-girl accounts could set off early warning signs for women, making men lose out on a potential partner.
Similarly, Michelle Galarza, a relationship coach and matchmaker, told Business Insider that having a digital binder full of women may make a potential partner question what a man’s intentions are and whether he is truly looking for a serious relationship.
“For me, there’s a disconnect there because I am seeing your feed that is only about women, which leads me to think you’re just wanting to hook up and also you’re objectifying women,” Galarza said.
Where to draw the line
To be clear, dating experts say there’s nothing wrong with men being physically attracted to other women and that they may, at times, seek that out on social media, especially single men. The problem, they say, lies in the extent of the man’s habits.
“There are absolutely guys who go overboard here,” Blaine Anderson, a dating coach for men, told Business Insider. “If you’re a single guy, and you’re spending more time drooling over women you’ll never meet than actual dating, something is wrong.”
Seposyan told Business Insider that she understands that women may algorithmically pop up on a man’s social media feed and that he’ll want to peek at their accounts — the same way a man might turn his eyes to look at a woman passing him on the street.
The issue for her is when a man actively chooses to follow multiple women on his account — so that women appear every time he opens Instagram — and he willfully disregards his partner’s feelings even after she expresses concerns about it.
“I’m very aware of how human attraction works. I do not expect whoever I’m with to not be attracted to other people — of course,” Seposyan told Business Insider. “But I think making it so public so that, not only your partner but literally whoever wants to can clearly see who you’re following? I think it’s a clear sign of disrespect to your partner to publicize it in that way.”
Unfollow OnlyFans models
Despite her experiences, Seposyan, who is now in a relationship, said that she wouldn’t necessarily make checking a potential partner’s Instagram followers an immediate priority while dating.
“I’ve never actively thought of doing that unless I saw some kind of red flag on the date,” she said. “So if I was on a date with someone and they said something that kind of set off a red flag, whether it was something weirdly misogynistic or making light of porn addiction — that might be a clue for me.”
Similarly, Anderson, the men’s dating coach, said that most women she knows don’t “proactively examine” who guys are following on Instagram.
“That strikes me as a little neurotic,” she said.
But men should be more mindful about how they present themselves on social media just as they would in person, especially if they’re trying to secure dates, the experts said.
“I’d absolutely recommend single guys unfollow the OnlyFans models or other thirsty content they’re following on Instagram,” Anderson said.
She clarified that spending money and time, for example, on OnlyFans subscriptions can be counterproductive for dating: “Put your phone down, get outside, and talk to a woman who’s actually interested in you.”
But the onus isn’t entirely on men. Women, too, may want to consider their expectations when talking to single men, Anderson said.
“If you’re a woman and you refuse to date guys who follow anyone with an OnlyFans on Instagram, there probably won’t be a lot of guys out there for you to date,” Anderson said.