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ABSTRACT: Being a webcam performer raises many interesting contradictions: between the culture of the mainstream sex industry, the fetish market, and the production of online identities; of performance and my own agency in presenting as not only Queer, but promoting a gender queer culture within these environs.

I’m a cam girl. My access to economic survival is via the online world of web-camming, one of the fastest growing and changing areas of the sex industry. My working persona is that of a Dyke Dominatrix. I train “Sissies” who want to be “forced” to be women and men who want to be told how I will fuck them with my strap-on. It’s a world of homo sluts who want to be converted to being gay, submissives who want female supremacy and small penis humiliation, and guys who just want to be told what to do.

Being a webcam performer raises many interesting contradictions: between the culture of the mainstream sex industry, the fetish market, and the production of online identities; of performance and my own agency in presenting as not only Queer, but promoting a gender queer culture within these environs.

The sex industry has many facets. Often reduced to a single ideological entity by abolitionists, in reality it is a complex array of needs, markets, and conditions. The “straight” online fetish market in which I have most experience is often informed by highly produced stereotypes, genres into which people fit themselves rather than carve out new niches. This stands in curious juxtaposition with our online ability to present anonymously, and as other than we appear in real life (RL). I am a constant witness to others trying out new roles and identities in their sexual and gendered lives. Starting out in the sex industry, I chose to create a Lesbian persona, which has stuck as a brand, but has often operated differently from how I first imagined.

There are definitely peculiarities to being a queer femme sex worker, not least of these is my ability to pass, the dubious privilege of being recognised as a sexual object by men, and being treated as a woman.

Historically, I see myself aligned with familiar roles. The writing of Leslie Feinberg (1993) and Joan Nestle (1987), among others, give glimpses of a history of femme lesbians as sex workers, of the interplay between straight economies and queer survival. But to observe my life from only one viewpoint would be completely insufficient: class, gender, and sexuality, among other factors, all play a part in what is a complex picture.

Getting ready to cam, I try to motivate myself, hunting through the drawer where I keep my collection of black/lacy/transparent clothes. I choose see-through underwear, a garter belt, stockings, a push-up bra, super high stripper shoes, and a corset. Once upon a time, I used to wear this stuff to play parties as a parody of sexualised femininity; these days, I try to keep my work clothes and my play clothes separate. I’m not so sure about the irony anymore.

I sit in front of my cam using my image on screen as a mirror to apply my make-up. Lots of it, big eyes and a bright red lipsticked mouth. I adjust the camera angle and lighting until I’m happy and then press “login.” The program chimes and beeps as the encoder displays my bandwidth and frame rate. Finally, a message appears telling me I am logged in and warning me to watch out for viewers attempting to scam me in free view.

Online, there’s a flood of visitors to my room: godoffuck, hunglikeahamster, clandestine antics, lickurbrains, pussylickinggood, Colonel Gadafi, leadballoon, gilfhunter, repoman, battybear, pindickwimp, monsieurcamembert, Stalion69, Stuntcock11, SingleWolf, bored_big_boy, Pitbull54-uk, Yer-Old-Da, loserdan, divinemortal, fat_cunt_in_thong, loves2fukdykes, donniedarko666, godseffingift, sticky conversation, humour me, nedzepplin. Guys who spend all day in free view, the cheapskates and nuisance types, asking their uninspired and repetitive questions: “hi bb, how r u?,” “hi bb where are you from,” “hi bb can you stand up and give us a twirl?” The same questions over and over again, hour after hour.

I can do it: acting straight, when I need to make the rent, working extra shifts to make my weekly target and cash out. Putting on my innocent girly voice, smiling, stripping, showing pussy—not that there’s anything wrong with that, my tits often pay the rent! At work I always feel like I am occupying some weird alter ego, plus the whole time I’m online I’m watching myself on cam—it’s pure narcissism.

I spend a lot of time in between camming cruising other girls’ profiles, checking out their pictures, and seeing what sort of stuff they do. Call it market research. Apart from professional admiration, I also have my favourites: “Mistress Golden Bullet,” “Abusive Pin-Up,” “Eternal Flame,” and “Cash Princess.” I can understand how guys get hooked on this stuff; if I had a few spare hundred dollars a week, I wouldn’t mind hanging out and chatting with these girls for a while. Oh the money I might spend if I had it. The amount of porn I look at sometimes, I think I’m going to go blind.

Today I watched a man shove a cucumber up his own arse. Sex work is giving me a whole new perspective on heterosexuality. Basically all heterosexual men want is to be cross-dressed and fucked up the arse. I get plenty of “I’m straight but…” A lot of what I do is gender re-education 101, giving a bit of guidance to those poor myopically socialised fuckers.

I’ve often wondered if I lose business by not pretending to be straight, but the “Lesbian” title is a buffer I chose to put between myself and the sex industry. Experience has told me that most clients will go into paid private chat if they like your pictures; they are reading me at face value.

My shy long-distance boyfriend—we’ve been chatting to each other for about three years now—sometimes I don’t see him for weeks at a time, but then he will pop up and I will exclaim, “Hey, where have you been? I missed you!” The first few times we chatted, he was very hesitant about exactly what he was into—it had to be something kinky. His tag line, “I adore older women,” is a clue; at least I know I have the MILF factor down.

I try a few of the standard scenarios that most guys respond to: is it “enforced-bi?” He says: “Please Mistress can I ask you not to make me do anything involving other men? It’s because of my religion.” He knows I’m a lesbian; somehow, that doesn’t make any difference. Our relationship is the flirtatiously sweet interaction of teenagers discovering the depth of their crushes on each other—that and the added violent canings, sexual humiliations, and cock milking.

One of my online clip-buying regulars is an African American guy in the States. He sends me custom clip requests for videos in which I act the part of his white female boss humiliating him for his obsession with my “beautiful big white ass.” He especially loves for me to talk about how he is stroking his “huge black cock” and sends entire scripts for me to act out, to talk about how the other small dick white guys have been fired for not measuring up. It’s a minefield of racial, class, and sexual stereotypes, but where do I stand in this as the sex worker? What is work? What is sexual fetish? How does this play out in terms of real world relationships? What meaning does it have beyond a $35 custom clip and a lot of graphic cock shot emails in my inbox? The answers are not easily found—by me anyway—and I’ve decided that a lot of this shit is not worth thinking about too much. I’m not sitting in a theory class; I need to pay the rent.

Maddie is my long term lesbian cam client. She loves to hear about how I will use her, introduce her to my world of sexual dominance, and take her beyond her physical and emotional limits. She wants to be my little girl plaything, a fuck dolly used and abused for my pleasure. I have no idea what gender or sexuality she claims off-cam. In my own queer world, I accept people’s gender identities without question. It’s a cultural imperative. One of the things we try to give each other is the chance to have a fostered and celebrated transition in a world that is far from friendly to those who are not gender conforming.

As a femme in the queer scene, I’ve seldom been afforded the same courtesy of having my gender identity accepted without question. Strangely, femme is often still seen as a default to femininity. As a gender queer femme, I am doubly invisible.

The queer world has its own complicated relationship with sex. As much as we reject the “all gay people ever think about is sex” label, much of contemporary queerness has been defined by its “sex-positive” attitude. The queer community is a place of sex clubs, sex parties, and heavily promoted polyamory. There can be a drive toward defining successful queerness in terms of the amount of sex and the number of partners and sexual adventures one has, to measure social standing via sexual prowess.

Being a sex worker in the queer scene can be weird. On the good side, once you are working, you realise just how many other queer sex workers there are. Then there’s the other stuff, the whorephobia—casual remarks and assumptions that give away the thinly buried prejudice. And the fetishists—the whore fuckers who can’t quite decide if they love or hate you, whether they want to live the fantasy or rescue you. As a projection of their desire you are “so fascinating,” hot hot hot, like a new tattoo, even better because you are so edgy. Fucking you is like a badge of honour so everyone can see how cool they are.

Gender and sexuality are constantly shifting in the world of camming. The things I have most difficulty with are the same issues that baffle me in RL: When I am supposed to perform as the straight, cis gendered, stereotypically submissive, or at least sexually receptive, partner of a cis gendered man? I know how to do this, I’ve been well tutored in these roles growing up, but it’s not who I am. I’m thrilled when my clients confess their homosexuality, their desire to be fucked, their secret longings to cross dress and be rented out as my whore.

I balked at first over the culture of “Sissification” in the sex industry: What did the expression of such desires mean in this context? I’ve met people who say they don’t do “enforced-bi” or “enforced cross-dressing;” they only encourage their clients; the reasoning being that to do otherwise would be reinforcing ideas of homophobia or transphobia. Pathologising the desires of those who pay for sexual services is a common practice. There are a number of ideas missing from this analysis, the most important being the role that fantasy plays in many people’s sexual and gender explorations, in our abilities to find self-expression, to try out identities in a safe space whether queer, straight, paid, or unpaid.

A client enters my private chat room and types, “Hello Sir.” I reply, “Hello faggot slut.” We run through our standard topics of conversation: the confession of their homosexuality, their love of cock, that they want to serve by sucking cock whenever master pleases, that they will be transformed into a female character, that their desire to please will be an integral part of being owned. Our gender roles slip and slide easily, unquestioned. There is no need to make sense of our fantasy world in terms of how we are seen by outside society; we understand each other. This is probably the closest that my roles in RL and online come to each other. It’s a place where I often feel close to being seen as myself.

On the screen, on the internet, typing in chat rooms, in precarious work, in queer bars or out on the street, my identity changes not only according to how I present myself, but also according to how I am perceived by others.

At home, my princess (a transgender boy) calls me Daddy. We understand each other’s gender queerness. There is no need for roles to be solid; we believe in each other’s bodies as they are, as we might wish them to be. Sometimes, our wishes change according to desire. My boy believes that Daddy has a big fat cock and a devil smile, and I believe that a princess lives beneath that burgeoning moustache, the new chest hair, and the forever butch strut. Our gender queer femme to gender queer transman relationship exceeds the confines of our passing roles. Understanding requires a step behind the scenes of the games people play, games that are very real. It’s a task far more complex than what can be read at face value.

Works Cited

Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues: A Novel. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books, 1993.

Nestle, Joan. A Restricted Country. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand books, 1987.



Jax Sparxx is a sex working high Femme cam/porn performer; they wrote this piece in the breaks between shows. They are active in queer, crip, and sex education movements, writing and teaching. They live and work in London, UK.

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