There are tons of live cam sites that stream a huge variety of content. Some choose to stream dirty talk, while others stream themselves masturbating or engaging in foreplay. Other performers will stream themselves engaging in sex acts. The content that a cam model performs depends on their personal preferences and the site’s own content restrictions.
For example, one cam model might stream themselves chatting with participants in the chat room, showing viewers their breasts, while other cam models might host private solo live sex streams or co-host “games” with other models.
How do cam sites work?
Cam sites are relationship-based. A performer’s goal is to connect with their audience make money, typically through user-generated tips.
Cam models often host their own individual chat rooms on sites like female esscort and Chaturbate. You don’t have to pay to host your own cam page on most sites. However, cam models are more likely to lose a huge cut of their earnings if they choose to host a free room. For payment, cam sites use a “tipping” system to pay cam models—if viewers enjoy the models’ content, or if they spend any amount of time with the model, they should tip with tokens or credits during these streams. This translate into real money for the model, who is usually working off tips only.
Models can also participate in private chat sessions with participants, where they are paid by-the-minute.
However, not all cam models earn the same. Much of this comes down to how performers market themselves, the sites they host on, and how big of a following they’re able to amass. Many models spend a majority of their time bonding with and marketing to their fanbase. They need to be able to stand out in a crowd of performers offering similar content.
Even cam models that make moderate earnings can sustain themselves by letting their personality shine through and connecting with fans. Not every act being performed is sexual.
Are cam sites illegal?
Cam sites are legal for anyone 18 years and older, both as performers and as viewers. However, in the wake of SESTA/FOSTA, there are shifts to the ways that sex workers can connect with their viewers on these platforms.
The passing of SESTA/FOSTA in April 2018 greatly impacted the livelihood of many cam models. Intended to stop “sex trafficking,” the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) now hold internet platforms responsible for their users’ content. After SESTA/FOSTA, many sites tightened their restrictions or banned sexually explicit content indirectly. The law’s broad definitions make it hard to understand exactly what can be determined as liable, and so many platforms are erasing anything that could be interpreted as against the regulations.
The result? Sex workers are finding that platforms that they relied on to safely engage in work are being erased.
Craigslist shut down its personal ads section, dating sites that focus on offbeat or niche interests and identities (like Pounced) closed. Sites like Google and Patreon are tightening their restrictions on accounts that mention anything sexually explicit. Even Backpage, one of the only sites that users could post advertisements directly, went dark.
Though cam sites themselves are fine, this impacts payment methods and communications (this includes PayPal, Skype, Google Drive, etc.) that models may use in conjunction with cam sites for work. In addition, SESTA/FOSTA has also criminalized the platforms where sex workers discussed and kept bad client lists, even though the objective of these lists was for sex workers to protect themselves from previous clients who are abusive, violent, or otherwise a threat to them and their work.
The effects of SESTA/FOSTA’s passing has translated offline as well. There’s been an increase in sex workers returning to the streets, where their likelihood of experiencing violence, rape, or death increases tenfold. Sex workers and activists were vocal that SESTA/FOSTA’s passing would be life-or-death for sex workers, and their words are ringing true.