Being a parent is hard enough at the best of times. Add into the mix being a parent with a sex-work occupation – including webcam — and things can become even trickier.
In addition to worrying about discrimination from the wider outside world, many parents who work within adult entertainment industries live with the fear their children will find out their occupation, particularly if the children are school age. And with schoolchildren often more net-savvy than their parents, it’s easy to see why camming mothers might worry.
According to CTIA, the United States’ wireless communication industry’s trade organization, children on average are 12.1 years of age when they receive their first mobile device, and 56 percent of children ages 8 to 12 have a cellphone. This says nothing of access to wireless devices.
With this level of access, it’s not just our own children stumbling across our profiles we must worry about. There is always the fear of another young person (or a parent or a teacher) coming across your profile. Though this issue of access has nothing to do with webcam work itself, it still puts models who are parents in a potentially precarious position. Juxtaposing this with the opinion camming is a great job for parents of young children – it provides ultimate flexibility, allows you to choose how and when you work, etc. – makes things even more complex.
Balancing “model” and “mum”
British webcammer Raegan James discussed how she manages the balance between being a model and a mum. Was being a parent a consideration when starting her cam career?
“I’ve been camming nearly six months now, and it was most definitely not a career I jumped into,” James said. “I had to weigh up the pros and cons with regards to the children, especially as our eldest is in high school, and how it would affect them should it ever come out.”
About finding the balance between motherhood and her camming, James said, “I don’t actually find the balance difficult. When the children are here, I’m Mum. When they’re in school or in bed at night, I’m Raegan.”
This is the beauty of camming as a parent: It allows you to work around your family in a way few other jobs do. You have more control of your hours and can choose the content you’re comfortable with. This allows mums to be in charge of their own working lives. This is great when your child gets sick or has school plays or sports events. Webcamming mums don’t need permission to play this important supportive role in their child’s life, which is not something every occupation can offer.
“I get to be my own boss. I make my own hours and work as little or as much as I want to,” James said.
— Raegan James (@Hot_Raegan) November 19, 2017
What challenges do camming parents face?
With the often precarious balance between model and mum in mind, what are the biggest challenges facing webcamming parents?
In many instances, the potential for outing is the primary stressor. Playgrounds are not kind places, and schoolyard cliques can make life hard for parents and children without the added perceived stigma of webcamming. James has been fortunate and has yet to encounter these difficulties.
“[My work] is not something I actually share with people, apart from those close to me. I’d hope if someone I knew did find out, they would talk to me about it before completely judging me,” James said. “With social media, I do worry that the children will come across my profile before I have the chance to tell them.”
Though James has been fortunate to keep her private life private, it’s sadly true that people often jump to judge women working in the sex industry.
Dealing with this around children can add an additional layer of complexity, especially if schools or organizations are themselves caught up in the stigma of sex work.
In the case of outing and potentially negative reactions, if you are close enough to the person who complains, invite them to sit down and talk to you. Often their fears can be addressed through clearing the air. If this fails to address the problem and your young people are caught in the crossfire, you may need to speak to the school to intervene.
— Raegan James (@Hot_Raegan) November 16, 2017
So, what do you tell – and when?
Possibly one of the hardest decisions a webcamming parent must make is whether to disclose their career. James said, “My children don’t know at the moment, but I will tell them when I think they’re ready to understand… Sex and sex working shouldn’t be made out to be wrong.”
Educating the younger generations that sex is nothing to be ashamed of is a great way to make sure this isn’t a big deal when the time comes to have “the discussion.”
Children today are blessed to be growing up in a time of great sex positivity – yes, relatively speaking and more so in some areas than others – and their horizons will be much broader than our own. It could be that working in cam is an effective way to underline how OK it is to be a sexual being. This smashes the belief that sex stops where parenthood begins. It should, however, be the parent that has this discussion with their child when they feel the time is right – an intensely personal decision that is different for everyone.
— Raegan James (@Hot_Raegan) November 18, 2017
Find Reagan James on Twitter at @Hot_Raegan.
Katy Seymour is a super-sex-positive writer in the U.K. who believes kink is life. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.