Hi Sexy —
One of the hardest things about camming is harassment: threats, insults, demands, inappropriate questions, requests to meet in real life. It’s not enough to say “block ’em and forget ’em,” because their poisonous behavior can affect us long after the fact. Over time, negativity can build up inside us, making us fearful, wary and resentful, leading to burnout.
Jerks happen. We can’t just ignore them and hope they go away. We have to be proactive. I propose a three-step plan to keep the bastards from getting you down.
1. Know your rules; post your rules.
This is very powerful: State plainly what you like and don’t like. One mistake new cammers often make is being vague about their boundaries. Bad actors are happy to take advantage.
Only you know what your rules are, and it’s your job to communicate them clearly. Here’s a simple way to do this: Find a blank piece of paper and a pen, sit someplace quiet and take a few deep breaths. Bring to mind any recent upsetting cam experiences. Frame what you didn’t like as “don’t” rules, and write them down. Some suggestions:
- DON’T suggest meeting IRL.
- DON’T use the word(s) [fill-in-the-blank].
- DON’T make threats of any kind, even as a joke.
- DON’T ask/talk about/request [fill-in-the-blank].
- DON’T haggle for free shows, free pics, a personal phone number, etc.
Make the list as long as you need it to be. If some items are redundant, combine them. Rank them from most important to least important. This will be your “don’ts” list. Now turn the piece of paper over and take a few moments imagining a terrific regular who does everything right without being told. They:
- DO read and follow all rules.
- DO ask nicely.
- DO pay promptly.
- DO offer compliments.
- DO use respectful language.
This is your “do’s” list, which belongs posted right beside your “don’ts.” Let members know what makes you smile, as well as what you will not tolerate.
2. Execute your blocking policy
Listing “do’s and don’ts” won’t be enough. Plenty of people won’t read them or they’ll forget or they’ll assume they only apply to someone else. You’ll need to enforce your rules.
Your blocking policy — whether you dispatch the harasser right away or offer second chances — is up to you. The important thing is to act immediately. Correct or fire them the minute you feel uncomfortable. Do not wait to get angry. Don’t hope they’ll improve; don’t lecture. If they won’t obey your rules? Bye, Felicia.
3. Take care of yourself afterwards.
This can take some practice. Many of us, when protecting ourselves from harassment, stay riled up for hours and days afterwards. We experience guilt, second-guessing ourselves about whether we were too hasty or too mean. We become afraid that they’ll retaliate somehow. We nurse our anger, ruminating about how we were disrespected, imagining what we should have said in response.
It’s important to stop and realize that dwelling on our harassers is self-harm. If we give people every opportunity to succeed and they still disrespect us, they are abusers, pure and simple. Walking around filled with anger and terror and blame does their work for them. Do not give them that power.
If you find yourself worked up after a bad encounter, stop for a moment and focus on how you feel. Locate where the rage or fear or humiliation rests in your body. Is it in your throat, your jaw, your solar plexus? Put your hand over that hurting place and breathe into it. Say out loud: “That was messed up, but I do not let it mess me up. In this moment, I am safe and whole. I am not giving this episode one more minute of my precious time.” Then, promise yourself next time, you’ll hit the eject button before you get upset. Look at it this way: Every time you ban some fool without batting an eyelash, you win.
Unfortunately, asshats will always be a part of this job. It’s up to us to spot them right away and protect ourselves from their damage. Not only does this teach bad actors they’ll have to learn to behave or no sexy fun for them, but it also frees us up to put on dazzling shows for the clients who deserve us.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself.
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. Contact her at Lola.Davina@ynotcam.com and visit her on Twitter at @Lola_Davina, on Facebook and on Tumblr.
Image of Lola Davina courtesy Pat Mazzera.