Lola Davina is a longtime veteran of the sex industry and author of the upcoming Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, a self-help book for sex workers.
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Hi Sexy —
People say all the time that hard work is the secret to success at camming, but what does that actually mean?
It starts with maintaining good boundaries, because most clients — not all of them, but enough to make the job a constant struggle — are trying to haggle three things: time, money, and what you’re willing to do.
Repeated requests to meet in person, text, and email, all those attempts to move from the cam room to the real world, are emotionally draining and ruin your flow. It’s especially annoying if members know you work for a service and those behaviors put you at risk of getting fired.
It’s not always easy to know where to draw the line — whether it’s better to cut them off right away, or to try to manage them for a while hoping they’ll get distracted and give up.
So, you know how the great thing about camming is you get to be your own boss? Be the best damned boss you can be for yourself.
Figure out your “do’s.”
What are you willing to do, and for how much?
Figure out your “don’ts.”
Don’t agree to anything you’re not comfortable with. Don’t feel like you need to apologize or explain. A simple “That’s not on my menu” is sufficient, and if a member presses you, you can say, “If that’s the only thing that will make you happy, I’m not what you’re looking for. If you stop asking for it, you can stay. If not, I’ll send you right along.”
This next step is important: Write your do’s and don’t’s down, and post them where you can see them while you’re working. Know exactly what your rules are to keep yourself safe and sane.
You can take it a step further. A good friend of mine drew up her list of do’s and don’ts, wills and won’ts, and mounted them in a gorgeous gold frame, which she kept right by her bed. When needed, she’d hold them up and read them out loud.
Do not be afraid to block or ban anybody for any reason.
Don’t feel guilty, and don’t feel like this makes you bad at your job. Three strikes is baseball; this is real life. If someone is treating you in a way you don’t like, you do not have to put up with it. Think of your cam room as a party — if you let drunks and jerks hang around, your other guests will take off, and you’re left entertaining the dregs of humanity.
Be smart about your personal information.
I suggest you sit down and write up your cover story — make it a page or two, like you were explaining yourself to someone who has never met you before. Where you grew up, went to school, your birthday, your early sexual experiences. Lie, tell the honest truth, or craft a blend that would make a great screenplay. But get clear on it — coming up with a new story every day is exhausting.
Turn up the heat, because meeting up is not an option.
There are times when you have a great regular, someone you don’t want to alienate, who pressures you to meet IRL. That person wants more, to elevate, to escalate. If you don’t want to cross that boundary with them, but you still want them coming back, try other ways to turn up the heat, while letting them know that meeting up is not an option. “Oh, Sweetie, it’s never as much fun out there as it is in here. You’d never look at me twice on the street. In here is where I go wild. I love that we can have this sexy time together to say and do anything, and then go back to our real lives with our special secret.”
Write yourself an “In Case of Emergency” letter.
This is the letter you sit down and write to yourself ahead of time for when you have that truly shitty day. Write like you’re writing it for your best friend. Let yourself know you’re not fat, you’re not ugly, you’re not a loser. You are gorgeous and wonderful and a fantastic person, and some days this job is crap, but you just can’t take it personally. Tuck this letter away someplace safe. Read it on those days when some member is jerking your chain, trying to get you to do something you know isn’t right, but you’re tempted because business is slow, or you’re feeling sad.
Maintaining healthy boundaries does so much for you. When your rules are clear and fully enforced, it reduces the risk of burnout, you attract good clients, and jerks stay away. Camming becomes a job that works for you (because you are the boss!) rather than you working for it.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself.
Image of Lola Davina courtesy Pat Mazzera.