If you’re turning to webcam models for entertainment and interaction in this age of pandemic-driven isolation, you’re not alone—but there’s a right way and wrong way to go about it. Read on for essential tips to maximize your webcam experience.
Originally published in Hustler Magazine.
Cam sites offer a lot of things—the most obvious is sexual release, but there are a multitude of other experiences to be had on this increasingly popular frontier of adult entertainment.
“I think some men are really just looking to jerk off, and that’s valid and cool,” webcam model Allie Awesome says, adding that clients’ sex drives aren’t the only thing that lead them to her: “I am working under the hypothesis that we are all looking for connection. I think that is a universal thing.”
And there is a lot of connecting going on in the cam world, especially these days. While webcamming—live, do-it-yourself porn that plays out across a broad array of sites such as Chaturbate, MyFreeCams and CamSoda—has been gaining popularity in the last few years, it has absolutely exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s easy to understand why. For performers, camming has provided a vital source of income while most of the adult industry has been under lockdown. And for consumers who suddenly saw their lives shrink to the confines of their homes, webcamming offers a cornucopia of one-on-one interaction, virtually any time of the day or night—or, as master fetish trainer, webcam model and psychotherapist Jet Setting Jasmine describes it, “24/7 accessible entertainment and socialization.”
Of course, like anything else, there are right ways and wrong ways to engage in the webcamming world. Using sites like Chaturbate, CAM4 or MyFreeCams can be intimidating if you don’t know how to navigate them. And even experienced webcam clients might not be taking steps to maximize their experience. To help you get the most out of your time in the webcam world, we sought concrete tips from the experts.
Tip #1: Research models who offer the things you are looking for
There are a lot of different kinds of cam experiences you can have. Some models do big group shows, some offer private one-on-one experiences, some perform with partners, etc. Moreover, the diversity isn’t only in the type of show you can watch, but also in the performers themselves. “Cammers are a very diverse group of people,” Jasmine says. “You can find our entire sex- industry population on cam at once.”
Finding the best fit for you will require research—but don’t worry, this research is fun and pretty straightforward. If you want to see a live-couple porn performance, for example, look for couples. If you are turned on by dominant women, seek them out. If you like curvy women, search Twitter for models that have the body type that arouses you. If you like the social camaraderie of being able to explore certain fetishes with a group of adoring fans, look for the rooms with high follower count.
And if you aren’t yet sure what you’re looking for, try a bunch of options out until something feels right.
Across the numerous cam platforms, thousands of performers are streaming at any given moment. If you spend a little time thinking about what you’re interested in and look for that particular thing, you’ll have a better experience. However, this sort of research should be done in advance. “Don’t wait until you have a horny dick in your hand; that is not the time. You need to do the footwork in advance,” veteran cam model Ramona Flour suggests.
Twitter is a good place to conduct this sort of research. One of the things to look for is how models discuss their interactions with customers. “A lot of cam models will share how they hold emotional space for their clients,” says Jasmine. “If you are looking for more of a girlfriend/boyfriend experience, or a mommy/daddy, these are the things that you might want to search out.”
The flip side of all this diversity is that you will encounter a lot of things that simply aren’t for you. That, however, is easily remedied. In Ramona’s words, “If you don’t like this chat room, literally just go to the next one.”
Tip #2: Prep for the show
It is important to set aside some time and prepare for the sort of experience you want. Jasmine says that this includes getting your physical space ready, as you would for other types of sexual and social interactions: “If you are going in with the intention of engaging with a model and relaxing—and maybe having an orgasm—make sure you have the things you need: have your lube, your headphones, your computer charger and your cum towel.”
There is nothing worse than getting really into something and having your computer or phone die right as things get hot and heavy, or being caught off-guard and not having the things you need to be relaxed and comfortable.
Preparation also includes having money set aside for the interaction. Talk to models about their rates for one-on-one shows if that is what you desire, and have tokens ready to tip for the things you want at group shows. “We budget for everything else; it is also important to have a sex entertainment budget,” Jasmine counsels.
Part of financial preparation is letting go of the stigma of “paying for it.” The interaction and sexual enjoyment cam models provide is a valuable service, and they can’t do it without your support. “My most generous customers get an intimate look into my life,” Allie says. “If someone is substantially supporting my ass, I will talk to them every day.”
Tipping models during their shows also leads to a better dynamic. “It is like a theater production—the more support we have, the better show you are going to get,” Allie notes.
Tip #3: Communicate your desires
While cam rooms are a great place to see and explore desires that you may not have known you had, this doesn’t relieve you of all responsibility for the interaction. Cam models are not mind readers; they need something to work with.
“A good cam experience requires mutual exchange and respect,” Ramona says. “You have to lift your finger a little bit.”
Lifting a finger, in this context, means being vocal about what you are looking for and what you have to offer. “I would encourage a customer to think about their boundaries,” Allie says. “Don’t come to me saying you want findom [financial domination] and then have a very minuscule budget. A lot of domming is about pushing boundaries. I can’t respect your boundaries if I don’t know your boundaries.”
In terms of dynamics in group rooms, Jasmine says that it is important to speak up. “I think a lot of people miss out on the experience as a client when they just let the loudest person in the room direct,” she says. “You deserve to have your needs met, too.”
To have your needs met, though, you have to be brave enough to share them. “You have an opportunity to co-create this experience,” Ramona says. “I can’t carry the weight of your whole fetish and fantasy and all of the interaction.”
Allie agrees: “I like to offer a bespoke custom experience; I can’t do that if someone doesn’t tell me what they want.”
So be brave, speak up—and enjoy!
Jessie Sage is a sex worker and writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. She’s also the co-founder of Peepshow Magazine and the co-host of the Peepshow Podcast. Her words can be found in the Washington Post, VICE’s Motherboard, Hustler Magazine, Men’s Health, BuzzFeed, and more. She’s currently writing a book on sex work, motherhood, and illness called An Unexpected Place (forthcoming on West Virginia University Press).