In the age of COVID, the online sex work workplace has changed dramatically — and for some people, including many cam models, that has meant more work.
Just like camming, there’s another profession that could very well experience a serious increase in work. Or rather, this profession will eventually experience an influx of clients as we become more accustomed to practicing social distancing for the next who-knows-how-long. People are lonely/lonelier and more isolated, so they’re turning to the internet — likely even more frequently now — to find someone to keep them company.
I’m talking about the profession of the online partner.
What is an Online Partner?
So what is an online partner, you ask? An online partner (sometimes referred to as an online girlfriend or boyfriend) is a model that will engage in a consensual relationship exclusively via the internet with a client for reimbursement, usually online coins or goods.
Online partners will usually exchange videos, photos, sexts, voicemails and other interactions with their clients for a set fee at various times throughout the day. However, some online partners are simply paid to keep clients company and “pretend” to be their actual partner, girlfriend or boyfriend.
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What’s the Difference Between Being an Online Partner, a Cam Model or a Sugar Baby?
When asked if there was an influx of work coming in since the Coronavirus pandemic began, cam model and professional online girlfriend Mitsuko was frank.
“No,” said Mitsuko, “but my current clients need a little extra attention at the moment due to the lockdown which is understandable (they’re also spoiling me back a little more than usual).”
So is being an online partner just like being a sugar baby? Well, not exactly. When asked what some of the major differences between being an online girlfriend and a sugar baby, Mitsuko had a lot to say.
“A big difference, and one of the main differences, would be anything sexual occurs online as opposed to real life,” Mitsuko said.
“I personally love sexting — think erotic novel styled paragraphs, and not ‘hey bby ;)’ — and all my longtime GFE clients love to sext throughout the day too,” she added. “[Being an online girlfriend] for me, sexually, is mainly sexting and from there: private shows, Snap/clip sessions and even phone calls! Long-distance toys such as the Lovense Lush are also wonderful for online girlfriends because they are remote yet intimate at the same time, which is also why they’re popular on camsites.”
Sounds pretty similar to camming, doesn’t it?
“I’m an online girlfriend and a stripper IRL. I used to be a sugar baby, not an online one, and there’s a huge difference with all three,” said Princess Ari. “Being an online girlfriend is kinda like a long-distance relationship where you never see him or her in person, and he or she pays for your attention.”
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— Ari (@sugxrcookies) May 19, 2020
Is Being an Online Partner Fulfilling or Easy?
Whether or not you find sex work to be easy, for many, comes down to your own relationship with sexuality and the exact type of work you do. But for Mitsuko, the lifestyle of being an online girlfriend is quite fulfilling.
“Yes!” she responded when asked if the work was pleasant. “I’m the type of person who really, really enjoys making others feel happy. It’s motivation and fulfillment for me. If I can’t make others happy, I feel unhappy.”
Is Being an Online Partner Safer Than Camming?
Being an online partner is 100 percent an online profession. Just like with being a cam model, online partners do not have to deal with interacting with someone in real life or even outside of one specific outlet. For example, a cam model may choose to only interact with viewers within their paysite and do not speak to followers on social media. Likewise, an online partner could choose to exclusively interact with their clients via text message.
“Online, I have no reason to screen beyond age verification,” Mitsuko said. “Learning a bit about their personality and interests, and finding out whether or not we’re kink-compatible. I will never be in a situation where I may feel unsafe. I will never have to worry about which public place to meet in. I will never have to worry about a boundary being pushed or having my boundaries ignored. I will never have to worry about being hurt or abused in some way.”
All in all, it’s clear that being an online partner is a lot like being a sugar baby, but is also not too different from being a cam model. Cam modeling is definitely in its own class, but perhaps becoming an online partner in the era of COVID could be beneficial for cam models out there that want to diversify their work. All it takes is giving it a shot!
Em Casalena is a queer sex positive writer and professional protective mom friend. Email them at email@example.com.