I’ve been camming for more than three years now and mostly I love it. I have great fans, and the job is perfect for my schedule. But in the past year, my body has changed. I used to be *******, but now I’m ******* because of *******, now more than ever before. I’ve tried *******, but nothing seems to work.
My fans don’t seem to mind, but it’s made it harder and harder for me to get on cam. All I can think about is how I look, and I’m afraid the day will come when I can’t cam any more at all. Help!
– Ashamed in Ashville
Lola’s note: I purposefully starred out some details here because I didn’t want this piece to be about any particular flavor of body shame. It’s the feelings that matter, not the specifics.
I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this. You certainly aren’t alone. One of the worst curses of our body-conscious culture is we’re always thinking about our bodies either in terms of what they once were — or, what they’re “supposed to be” in the future. That creates a restlessness, an insecurity that advertisers want to fill with billions of dollars of diet and exercise products. The fact is, this body you have right now is the only body you have.
I know that none of this is easy, but making peace with yourself and loving who you are is some of the most important work any of us will do in this lifetime. So, let me offer some body-embracing advice.
You Can Decide You Are Hot… and You Should!
Now, I can sense your skepticism. I mean, can it really be that easy to just decide that you’re hot? Actually, it can.
We all know that our society’s beauty standards are ridonculous, rare and unattainable for most of us. Mere millimeters can make or break us, with no bearing on who we are as people. What purpose do high cheekbones or six-pack abs actually serve, anyway? But we’re conditioned to judge ourselves and others by incredibly narrow and punishing standards just the same.
But hotness, on the other hand — well, that’s a different animal. The quality of being alive and joyous and willing in your body has nothing to do with how symmetrical your facial features are, your age or your BMI. Plenty of people with looks ranging from across a vast spectrum are attractive, radiating vitality and sensuality and animal magnetism.
There may be days when you look in the mirror and you see something you don’t like, something you wish were different. It’s 1,000 percent fine to say to yourself: I may not be [fill-in-the-blank], but I am hot AF. As the comedian Margaret Cho says, “For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution, and our revolution is long overdue.”
New Fans Don’t Care What You Used To Look Like…
They really don’t! Regardless of how you used to look yesterday — [fill-in-the-blank] — there will always be an ocean of new fans who are excited by how you look now. Go ahead and embrace their love. There’s no need to look back!
…and Old Fans Love You For Who You Are
They really do! The vast majority of your long-term fans aren’t going to notice any gradual changes in your appearance, and if they do, they’re enjoying watching you evolve. Go ahead and trust that you offer something unique and dazzling that captivates your fans over time.
Of course there will always be that tiny handful of trolls who enjoy putting people down who might say something mean. These douche-canoes who have nothing better to do with their lives than harass sex workers. Worrying about what somebody somewhere might comment on is a waste of your precious time. If a fan starts grousing about whatever changes you’ve undergone, tell them they’re free to find what they’re looking for elsewhere, block them and move on.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Finally, if you find yourself increasingly overwhelmed by invasive thoughts or insecurities, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help by using simple techniques to change your thought patterns. Please don’t harm yourself with negativity, putting yourself down day and night. Talk to your doctor or medical health professional about getting the help you deserve.
Having a body is hard. Whatever you think your body should be and whatever your body currently is, it will change over time, whether you like it or not. Confidence helps, as do daily doses of self-acceptance, along with a healthy sense of humor. After all, you’re only human, perfect in all your flaws.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself.
Lola Davina is a longtime veteran of the sex industry and author of Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, a self-help book for sex workers available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and wherever else ebooks are sold. Get the audiobook version here. Contact Davina at Lola.Davina@ynotcam.com and visit her on Twitter at @Lola_Davina, as well as on Facebook.
Image of Lola Davina courtesy Pat Mazzera.