9 Lessons I Learned While Working As A Cam Girl

Confession: when I was younger and hard up for cash, I spent a few months taking off my clothes for money on the internet. Online stripping seemed way less scary than most of the other ways a girl can make ends meet in a pinch. Plus, it’s not really stripping if I get to do it in my own bedroom, right? Anyway, here are some of the big lessons I learned about camming, humanity, and myself.

  1. Guys REALLY want to show you their junk. I legitimately do not understand the need that most men have to show off their genitals. We’ve all been bombarded with unsolicited peen in our inboxes, so you can only imagine how bad it gets when dudes assume we’re on their screens because we’re just so gosh-darned horny. I’ve gotten hate mail calling me an entitled b*tch because I had a policy of only allowing incoming webcam feeds during private sessions. Guess what, jerks? Only I get to decide what penises I see. If I want to see yours, you’ll know.
  2. People will take whatever they can get for free. If I had a nickel for every time someone in my chat room tried to pull one over on me, I’d still be living off of my earnings. It’s no secret that people want whatever they can get for free, but I’d never experienced such an in-your-face example of it every single day. For guys (I never had a woman do it) who were looking to get a show for free, new cam girls were easy targets. I definitely gave away my share of freebies before I got wise to what was really going on.
  3. A lot of really nice guys pay for cam girls. When I think about my brief foray into the camming industry, I don’t think of the losers or scumbags. I remember the shy, slightly nerdy college student who just wanted to chat while he lit up a joint after class. I remember the polite older gentleman who was lonely and spent most of the hour talking about his recently deceased wife. I remember the young soldier deployed overseas with the southern drawl and coffee-with-cream skin, who talked about his mama and missed the company of the girls back home.
  4. It’s really emotionally draining. Camming isn’t always a walk in the park, and the physical stuff is the easy part. When your job calls for you to be perky and “on” all of the time you’re on screen, the pressure can be real. You’re not allowed to just be having a bad day. Cam girls have to stay alluring and sexy because their financial security literally depends on it.
  5. Personality was more important than looks. As someone whose idea of a personal hell would be forced small talk with strangers, I should have taken into consideration how uncomfortable schmoozing with customers would make me. I spent the first few weeks with my laptop microphone turned off, only switching it on for private shows. That was a mistake, and one of the slew of factors that set the top-earning girls way above me. It turns out that most guys want more than a hot body or a pretty face. Personality is everything.
  6. It turns out, I didn’t need attention to feel sexy–I just needed to take care of myself. I was hoping that my flirtation with online stripping would help me to feel more sexy and self-confident. It did, but not for the reasons I expected. As it turned out, it wasn’t the attention from hundreds (maybe thousands or dozens, IDK) of warm-blooded internet users that did it for me. It was taking an extra few moments after my shower to mindfully combat my super dry skin with yummy-smelling lotion. Spending the time to keep my undercarriage shiny and rust-free. Buying cute panties and feeling like the hottest thing since ghost peppers. I didn’t pay attention to self-care before it became part of my job, and it made a huge difference.
  7. Cam girls are ballsy. Look, I’m not saying you should stick your cell phone up your skirt at work or take your clothes off in the back of the school library. I’m just saying that cam girls seem to give less of a f*ck than most of us, based on so many of the feeds on any given cam site. Decorum doesn’t pay the bills in the world of camming, and there can be some pretty rough (and well-publicized) consequences for those who get busted. I wish I had the wherewithal to approach any situation the way I’ve seen some of those girls approach getting off in public.
  8. I learned some HTML – no, seriously. This is silly but it’s true. I decided that if I was going to bring in the big bucks (spoiler: I didn’t), I’d better beef up my profile on the website I primarily used. The base profile structure didn’t allow for extra pics, incentives, and sparkle, and I quickly identified that as yet another difference between me and the top players in the game. I had to learn enough HTML to create a functioning webpage, and it was honestly the proudest moment of my entire camming mini-career.
  9. I’m not made for entertainment. I’m a huge theater nerd, and I’d hoped the time I’d spent onstage in community productions might have chipped away at the discomfort of being stared at by a group of anonymous eyes. Sadly, it was not so. I was more than happy when life finally stabilized and I got to log off for the last time. Now, the only reminders I have of my months spent camming are a drawer full of lacy underthings and the comfy couch I bought with my earnings. Not a bad payoff.
Whitney is a freelance writer from New England. She's a professional content creator, lifestyle blogger, and news junkie. Follow her on Twitter if you're not turned off by snark and political takes.