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Death Of The Cam Girl Next Door

Updated: Jan 23, 2017 15:10
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Web Camming

To the bourgeois, the phrase conjures images of Skyping with grandma. Not competitively masturbating with a married man in what is obviously a coat closet.

That is the reality that I found myself engulfed in for the better part of four years. Why? Because I’d  been fired from a strip club in Idaho for “being too fat” and I deplore food service.

But this was way back in 2011 when any girl could masturbate for strangers online and collect mad cash in anonymity. But times have changed. The days of “The Cam Girl Next Door” are dead.

Most women ask about camming in the same way they ask about an outdated sexual practice they’ve only heard Mormon cults practice. Or what your Mom used to call a vibrator or a sexual taboo like rimming that you’ve always been too scared to try. And the main question arises, why would anyone in their right mind pay for porn in this day and age?

That’s where the answer gets a little more psychological and complex.

The men who frequent cam sites have specific kinks. Most that revolve around personal attention. They want you to say THEIR name, and they want you to look at THEM when you do it. It’s about control and or feeling special. The percentage of psychopaths you encounter is probably higher than usual, (but most CEO’s are psychopaths so that’s a positive from a financial perspective.)

Of course, the idea that you just spread your legs, and dildo yourself into ecstasy and collect a handsome paycheck is a little bit too good to be true.

There are plenty of polite cam customers who play by the rules, never ask for free shows, and tip appropriately. Some who I ended up having great conversations with about everything from politics to comic books. But for every one of them, there are 15 guys sending you fake PayPal notifications, lying about having tokens to spend, begging for “just a tit”, begging for your personal information, calling you fat, threatening to dox you, and so on. I found myself weeding through ten to twenty of these kinds of messages just to find the one or two guys who were actually willing to buy an actual show. Rinse and repeat. I would do that for 6 hours at a time. And I did it with a smile on my face, playing the part of the perpetual perfect ingénue.

It was exhausting, and sometimes soul-sucking. But, I was making the same amount of money I had been making at the strip club and I wasn’t waiting tables, so I kept at it.

I assume that most of these lonely souls are in relationships that haven’t mastered the communication skills to ask their partner to do the things in bed that they actually desire. The Cam Girl becomes the proverbial “whipping boy” for all the things “respectable” vanilla girls won’t do. Deep throat a dildo until I gag? (Only for $50) but sure. Throw up into a bowl (only for $100.) but sure. Cover myself in cum for $150? Sure. (This particular customer thought it was real cum.) It was egg whites and greek yogurt microwaved for one minute (for texture). And the best part? Once he saw that I had turned this experience into a  joke on my comedy website long after I’d quit camming, he was enraged. What did he think? That I kept dudes tied up in my basement like Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs? And when he ordered a “cum show” I  fished them out of a sink hole, lined them up and milked them? I suppose there’s much to be said for the power of suspension of disbelief.

Me – Camming Circa 2012

Then there’s the garden variety guy with absolutely no social skills, no actual relationship, and the cam girl BECOMES his relationship. I found these customers even more exhausting than the fat shamers and Germans who constantly demanded I poop for them. Not only did they want me to DP myself and say specific phrases for them while I contoured my body into uncomfortable positions that only looked good on camera, they wanted me to pretend to care about their day, their current success on their favorite gaming platform, etc. Offers to “come and visit me, I’ll fly you out” happened every night: 

Dude: “I’m a prince in Saudi Arabia. For real. Promise. I want your marriage.”

Me: “Then send me a measly $20”

Dude: “Not until I see you’re a real woman”

Never travel to meet anyone from camming in real life. Ever. That’s how you end up in tiny pieces as part of an ongoing serial killer investigation.

There were a few times I’d be in the middle of a “show” with a guy and suddenly a look of abject horror would wash over his face, I would hear an angry woman’s voice, and the camera would close with a thud. #Caught. Not a sign of a healthy relationship, but it was always a win for me because it gave me time to kill and I got to keep the money.

When I was camming, my boyfriend supported me, even going as far as pretending to be a customer in the chat room and helping me sell shows. Best wingman ever.

To make the kind of money I was making, I was spending 7 to 10 hours a night camming. I treated it like a sex boot camp. I was in it to win it. I even taught myself to squirt so I could outcompete girls of a lesser skill set.

You know the phrase “smarter not harder”? Yeah, that wasn’t me. As I’ve found out, there were girls who figured out ways around the system to pull in cash and not pay the house.

Just like strip clubs, the websites that host your video feed charge you a fee to be there and take a cut off the top.  

I spoke to one cam girl who had been working around the same time period I had.  She asked to remain anonymous. We’ll call her “Jane X”.  She told me that back in the day, to actually make money she would register with a few of the big sites, chat with customers and then carefully get them onto Skype without ever typing the actual word Skype into the chat bar (because they have systems set in place to ban you if you do).

“I was fucking the websites out of their profit. I used the chat rooms like a bar to meet the customers in, and then I used Skype like it was the hotel room. I’d get the guy on Skype and negotiate a price. $10 for ten minutes, $20 for 20 minutes, $50 for 30 minutes etc. Always have him pay me first through PayPal, and then do the show.”

Now, that’s illegal by PayPal rules. PayPal will shut down your account and seize funds for any perceived sexual activity. What I’m saying is, don’t try this at home.

“At first I thought I was a genius. I was raking in up to $300 – $500 a night doing this. But the gold rush didn’t last.”

Back in 2009-2011 “Jane X” was able to maintain her anonymity. She never had to be her cam persona on any social media platform. Her kids never found out. Her neighbors never found out. And she was able to help pay off her house with the extra income. Obviously, she doesn’t cam anymore, simply because she can’t make enough money to justify doing it anonymously in 2016.

Times have changed. 

Today, if you want to make money from home masturbating online, there is no more hiding who you are. Now, some girls wear masks for a certain amount of time, but are eventually lured by the right amount of cash to reveal their faces.

There are also select few who have skillfully crafted social media “personas” on each social media platform. No one knows their real name, but everyone can see their face.And you have to promote that face on every social media platform, like clockwork, every day, with Olympic-like dedication, and competitiveness.

Hardly a safe way in our current society for a PTA member to make extra cash for their child’s college fund.

I spoke to one current cam girl happy to share her cam persona with me.


She’s on Twitter at @squeakersqueaks

These days she cams semi-regularly, but she can’t make a living solely off camming simply because of the amount of social media promotion it takes.

@squeakersqueaks explained to me how SnapChat is now an intricate part of camming. Customers actually use “tokens” on the sites to buy SnapChat subscriptions.

Me: “Would you agree, that for the girls (and guys) who cam full time, it’s a full-time job, they have to be doing social media promoting CONSTANTLY?”

@squeakersqueaks: “Yeah, it’s a full-time job, hence the promotion. I’ve been selling other stuff online for a long time, and I make more doing that, so it keeps me pretty busy. And I don’t think anonymity is gone, I think the smart ones build personas, characters. I don’t stress about what I make on cam anymore. This is my “night out” money. If I don’t make money in the first hour, I call it a day, I have other stuff to do.”

Me: “How did you start camming?”

@squeakersqueaks: “I started camming when I got out of college around 2005. There just wasn’t the social media around then like there is now, so promotion wasn’t really a thing for me. I usually cammed with two sites open at once, (now a thing of the past) and at that point, PayPal was literally the only payment option. I never made a ton, but it was enough for groceries, and a night out here and there, but then, I never really stuck to a schedule.

So fast forward 11 years. Lost my job. Looking for extra scratch. I tried a few of the bigger sites because that’s what I was familiar with, but their policies had changed and they had bots that prevented double website camming, and I just was getting zero traffic. I had a Tumblr to promote my “alter ego”, but it was shut down, repeatedly, which is incredible to me, only because I personally follow a TON of porn blogs. I didn’t want to lose ALL anonymity, so I ruled out facebook, and spent my promo time on Twitter, which worked out really well.

Then I did a little research, checked out a couple sites, got a good HD cam, which is vital now. I found some new sites where people go there expecting to pay. It was great but required constant self-promotion and constant content creation. I did pretty well on there for a few months before I felt burnt out. I made the majority of my money online selling used panties.”

Me: “What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened to you on cam?”

@squeakersqueaks “This lady wanted me to crossdress on cam, and then just talk to her, “in my best male voice” pretending I’m one of her co-workers. She paid all up front, extra for me to paint on a goatee, and I was only on for about an hour… I wish they were all that interesting/easy!”

Me: “What keeps you coming back?”

@squeakersqueaks: “I actually prefer camming now than I did back in the day. Maybe it’s my confidence level, or maybe I’ve just gotten better at it, or maybe I just found a site that works well for me.”

But like most, @squeakersqueaks doesn’t rely on camming for her sole income. In fact, very few girls (or guys) can anymore.

There’s a myriad of reasons. Mostly, the accessibility of technology is to blame. Anyone can pick up a smartphone or tablet and put on a show. People in third world countries who previously had no access to wifi are getting in on the game, and charging competitively lower prices than their European and American counterparts. Also, actual “pay to play” CamGirl studios have popped up offering top of the line lighting equipment and HD digital feeds.  Yet, another big reason is that well-known porn stars have started their own cam channels and SnapChat subscription services.

Porn Stars are ruining it for everyone else

These days, to make enough money camming to support yourself you’d have to hire a PR professional, and a secretary just to make sure you constantly had enough high-quality HD content to compete with famous porn stars, and thousands of others who have flooded the cam market.

The good old days of the average Starbucks barista being able to quit and squirt for her rent are dead and gone.

And that’s a sad, sad world.

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Lauryn Petrie - NYC Editor

Lauryn Petrie - NYC Editor

Lauryn Petrie is a reformed drug addict, ex-stripper, college drop out, and stand-up comedian. She currently resides in the NYC area taking odd jobs, writing, and telling jokes to drunks. You can follow her on Twitter @TheLaurynPetrie and follow her live shows here: