Something Alternative: Life as a webcam model

By Editor

Alongside escorting and making my own porn, I dabble in the world of webcamming.

I first tried it out years ago through one of those “free” cam sites. I remember feeling anxious about the prospect of limitless strangers observing me nude online. When I first tried it, I remember adjusting my settings that no one from the UK would be able to access my webcam. At that point I was very nervous about being “found out” as as a sex worker and I wanted to keep it all as secret as possible. I bought a load of sex toys and kinky outfits and gave it a whirl.

I remember sitting on the webcam for hours. It was a site which operated a system by which you would sit and chat to potential clients essentially for free until they chose to “tip” you to do something specific. It was very slow going, and I could sit around for an hour before someone offered their first tip. People entering my webcam “room” would often demand that I do xyz without offering any money and it got tiring repeating myself that I would not entertain them for free. The webcam was full of people who acted as though they were entitled to freebies and it got old very fast. This on top of how exhausting it is to sit on the webcam all day and stay cheerful even when not getting paid meant that I gave up on the webcam after only a few weeks.

Luckily, some time afterwards, a friend introduced me to another webcam site where it was possible to only provide paid for shows without the “free preview” nonsense. I set up a profile, chose a price I wanted people to pay per minute and away I went. This is a much more appealing way of working; I log onto the webcam software so that I appear as “available” and the potential clients can see how much I charge per minute before choosing to talk to me. I offer a “group” rate where several people enter the room at once. In this room I don’t take individual requests, and I decide what to wear and what to do and it’s like a pre prepared show. In the “private” mode, as it’s one on one between me and the client, I am happy to take requests for role plays, outfits and sex toys. I also offer the possibility in this mode of the client sharing their webcam with me, so that we can see each other. A lot of my clients who book private shows come to me for my kinky services. As in my escorting, I offer both domination and submission. The majority of my webcam clients want to be dominated. They will often share their camera with me as they want me to watch them dressing up in latex or women’s underwear and they often want me to instruct them to use various implements on themselves, such as whips and anal toys while I simply sit fully clothed and order them around. I find these to be very enjoyable bookings, and they are often the longest ones. I have regular escorting clients who also sometimes log on to view my cam, and sometimes we will talk about what we will do during our next escorting booking.

I find the webcam is a very useful tool for marketing my escorting services. Often people want to simply meet and chat with me through the webcam before meeting in person, as it’s obviously much easier to get a sense of a person’s personality through a video call rather than an email. An overnight booking at a bed and breakfast dungeon in London was arranged through the webcam. I am often hesitant about meeting clients for such a long booking as the first meet, but the webcam was a good way to break the ice and we chatted for several hours on the webcam prior to meeting. 

I think the reason that so many people choose to pay so much money on webcams (most models charge in the region of £3 per minute for private show) versus using porn, is because webcamming allows the possibility of human interaction, albeit through a computer screen. As in escorting, many clients who use the webcam aren’t simply after sexual services. A lot of people want to chat about their day-to-day lives, and we will have a full conversation between any sexual activity. I have one webcam client who likes me to wear several pairs of tights at once as he has a nylon fetish but once the tights are on we just talk about his life; his job, his family, his relationship problems, his cats (while I become increasingly overheated). I find that for a lot of them they really want to feel as though they are talking to a “real” person and I often have dynamics with webcam clients were we will have a joke around and talk about TV series we have watched recently and even heavier stuff like political and philosophical opinions. Many of these clients are socially anxious, and the webcam provides a safe space to test out their fantasies without fear of judgment or ridicule. Some use this space as a stepping stone to meeting in person, others will always just play on their webcam.

I think it’s a very positive thing that the webcam has opened up a very unique avenue for exploring sexuality. As with the sex industry as a whole, webcamming is not of course immune for problems. There are indeed unfortunately those clients out there who use the webcam to hide behind and be abusive and, because the performer is not there in front of them, they will dehumanise them and treat them solely as a toy for their own sexual gratification. I have had webcam clients who are rude and log off immediately after the conclusion of a session without so much as a goodbye. There are clients who will attempt to talk about illegal fetishes, again because they are anonymous and invisible behind the webcam. In these cases of course it is very easy for me to simply terminate the conversation. In this sense webcamming is naturally much safer than meeting clients in person. The problems with clients that I encounter through webcamming are fortunately few and far between, but they nonetheless illustrate how important it is for people like myself, and for allies to fight against the stigma and dehumanisation of sex workers.

Through my experiences I have realised that there is nothing inherently damaging or exploitative about sex work, just as there is nothing inherently wrong with sexuality in general, and that it is only the way in which sex workers are treated by their clients that needs to be improved, whether that be through a webcam or in person. I think a huge obstacle is that, for many people, sex workers are still not seen as “real people”.

Many people download or stream porn without paying and treat it almost like a thing they are entitled to, without considering that real people have worked to produce those scenes and provide that service. Sexual services are a luxury, not a human right. I like my webcam clients because they are comfortable with paying for their sexual entertainment and, for the most part, they want to interact with me as a human being. In this way I think the webcam is actually a very progressive area of the sex industry in which the workers are in charge of their service and income. I have found it far more appealing than shooting scenes for larger porn companies , who pay a flat rate and then profit off subscriptions to their site whilst the performers don’t see a fraction of the income. I would certainly advise anyone thinking about getting into sex work to choose webcamming and producing their own content over working for anyone else. Also, it’s just pretty cool being able to get paid for sitting in your underwear and covering yourself in baked beans.

Rosie K.

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