There has always been stigma attached to sex work. From the prostitute on the corner looking to pick up her next trick, to the webcam model seductively flirting her way into a private show. Society has labeled women who use their body in a sexual way to make money as indecent and immoral, deviant even. The vanilla societal compass is letting everybody know that sex work is not a legitimate way to make money.
We feel we must hide it from our friends and family. We feel ashamed. We feel guilty. We feel less than.
I started camming after being an escort. Camming is a safer choice for many women who have decided to use their body and sexuality to make a living. They are not meeting random men, in random places, for actual sexual contact. Yet, there is still the same sort of stigma attached to being a webcam model. Being one, after all, is still sex work, and people look down on sex workers. We are low class citizens. We are drug addicts looking for our next hit. We come from broken homes. We don’t have the intelligence to do anything else.
I have found that this isn’t the case.
I am from a middle-class nuclear family. I am university educated. I am clean and sober. So why have I chosen to be a sex worker, specifically, a webcam model? I do it because it is fun. I do it because sometimes it is easy money. I do it because I don’t have to leave my house. I especially do it because my boss is an amazing, awesome person: me. Don’t get me wrong, it is still in fact work. But I am a performer. I choose to use my body as a canvas, my sexuality and sensuality as my art, and the webcam as my platform.
The stigma behind sex work changes the way we interact with people in society.
From our friends and family to our health care providers to people we get introduced to. How do you answer the question “So what do you do?”? Well, let me tell you what I do. I am an online adult performer, I am a webcam model. You just answer honestly. I think that we need to be open and honest about the choices we make. Be proud!
I am not saying you need to announce it to the world, but you should tell close friends and family, your doctor, your therapist, etc. You’ll be surprised at the reaction you will get. Your parents may not want to know too much detail, but others will hit you with a barrage of questions. Answer them! Answer them truthfully and honestly. You will see the look change on people’s faces. It’ll turn from disgust or confusion to curiosity and amazement.
I do other things besides cam. I am also a phone sex actress (yes, there is still such a thing as a phone sex line!), I am a dominatrix, and I sell my panties online. When friends ask me where I am working these days, I just straight tell them. My close friends never even bat an eyelash. They say, “Yeah, ok. I can see that.” People who don’t know me as well will get a weird look on their face and then the questions start rolling in.
But my mother, that’s a different story. She was vaguely aware of my past as an escort. At first, I was going to hide it from her. But then I started making myself very visible in the online community. I wanted her to find out from me, not by seeing a Twitter page or YouTube video. Now, my mom is quite liberal so I am lucky in that sense. But I just made a lunch date with her one day (she can’t yell or make a scene in a public place!) and kind of guided the conversation in that direction. The look on her face was priceless! And the rest of lunch was definitely quiet. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. A few days later, I got a lengthy text from her saying that while she doesn’t necessarily agree with my choice, I am a grown adult and should be able to make my own decisions. She said that she loved me and hoped my decision made me happy, that’s all she cared about. So, she knows. But we don’t talk about it. And I prefer it that way.
I think the first step in overcoming the stigma of sex work is communication.
You would be amazed at how much more accepting people are when they fully understand something. Don’t keep it a dirty little secret. When you do that, you make yourself feel like you are all those things that society says you are. You are not! You are a real woman who has made a conscious decision to be in a field considered sex work. It is a legitimate choice, and it is a legitimate career. You are not less than, you are not dirty, you are not a whore. You are a sexy and seductive performer! Be proud and promote yourself!