‘Delphine’ sent this piece in through our Share Your Story page, which provides a space for women to tell of their experiences of the sex trade in their own words.
Hello! I have worked as a camgirl on many popular webcamming sites for six years. I want to thank you for providing this amazing source of validation and knowledge and I hope that my story can help add to that too.
Camming is probably the most misrepresented form of sex work of all. The media like to present it as “empowering”, “easy”, “safer than meeting clients face to face” and a huge money-making opportunity. All of those are lies.
I come from a very poor and abusive patriarchal family. I was sexually abused by two family members and also subjected to medical sexual abuse and violence. From a young age, I was groomed to think that my worth depended on my looks and my ability to attract a man to marry. I had extremely low self-esteem, but I was very determined to get an education and get out of that destructive family system. I share that because after so many years in the industry, I have yet to meet even ONE woman who chose to do it and did not come from poverty/abuse or a lower socioeconomic background.
My parents made it clear that I would not be able to move out unless I got married. I was becoming desperate and ended up marrying a guy who lied about being a psychologist (he dropped out) and hid his gaming addiction from me. I had to drop out of college and work multiple jobs to support us and the money was not enough. When the electricity was about to be shut off, I found camming.
The men who frequent those platforms are psychotic and manipulative. Their real goal is NOT to chat with the woman or watch her perform sexual acts on camera when they tip. It is to groom her into meeting them in real life and transition to a relationship.
NO ONE tells you that 90% of these men want to use the cam site as a dating site. I would sit on cam for six hours and get solicited to “fly over” to their country, become a mail order bride, meet them in the car for sex, and so on. It started to take a huge toll on me to constantly have to reinforce my boundaries.
The cam sites do not advertise this as a job. For example, phone sex operators are paid by the minute of a call. On a cam site you see an ad saying “sexy exhibitionist girl” or “connect with single women from your area”. A lot of these men actually thought that I do this for fun and that they don’t have to tip me any money. I would sit online for hours and make spare change.
Essentially what I had to do is engage in conversation and flirting for free, for the HOPE that the man would tip me something. That was very humiliating and it made me feel like a cyber beggar and not the empowered artist everyone told me I would be.
I found out that there are a lot of women in the industry who lead those men on with promises to meet and then block them or who provide escort services under the table, since the cam sites officially forbid face to face meetings. Often other women laughed at me for being “too nice” and not “just play with the fools”.
When you cam every day you need a lot of different outfits, make up, heating system in the winter and cooling in the summer, stockings, heels, and sex toys – all those start eating into your earnings.
Eventually I started making less and less money and there was a day when I had a mental breakdown and snapped on camera. There was a very disgusting regular customer who started saying that he would love to pay for my plane ticket so I can go to his town and do drugs with him and have sex with him (for free of course). I told him that he needs to stop buying humans because that is modern slavery and get his shit together. The site sent me a warning for being rude because the customer complained. I have no regrets and I quit soon after that.
I wish I had a more inspirational ending to share, I am still a digital prostitute and now I have become a phone sex operator. The money is better than camming, the men are still abusive and delusional.
I have a new mission now. I am saving up money to buy the equipment and become a VTuber and expose the porn industry. I don’t know if you want to include this in my story, but your efforts have inspired me to do the same. More women need to know what they are getting themselves into and we need to fight misinformation, because that was what trapped me in the first place. I am also saving to go back to college.
Last but not least, I want to add that during my time on those sites I met and became friends with a significant number of young men (usually from third world countries) who were also forced to do this because of poverty or homelessness and of course ended up victimised by the predatory buyers. Trans women were also very vulnerable, since their family usually kicked them out and rejected them. I point this out because after a year I had become very angry and hateful towards men, but then thanks to my new friends I realized that it’s a very specific type of mentally sick man who becomes the buyer and thinks that they can buy consent.
I mention the male cam performers and the trans women because they were even more isolated than me and there were no resources to help them. Every time someone was outed, they were treated as abominations and ostracized from their environment. I especially remember a 25-year-old single father whose wife left him and he used to work in construction to provide for his toddler son. He had an accident at work and turned to camming to pay the bills and the harassment from gay men who had the fantasy to “turn a straight man into gay” was insane! He told me that he can’t tell anyone what he does and he endures it for his son. I felt really sorry for him.
Anyway, I don’t want to make my story too long, my last piece of advice is: don’t get into camming. Avoid it at all costs. It will create sexual trauma that you will carry for years, you will be stalked, harassed and threatened for very little money and the videos of your porn acts will be on the internet forever.
I will be fighting to expose this awful industry with everything I have!
Share your story
If you’ve been in the sex trade, or have been affected by it in other less direct ways, and would like to share your story anonymously, please see our Share Your Story page.