Jaime Eisen, writer, communications strategist and cam performer

"Camming allowed me to see my body from a new perspective and reclaim control over part of my identity in a safe environment."


I started camming about six years ago. I’ve always been interested in the labour of sex work and the moralistic legal debate around it, and I had friends who were sex workers. 

I actually got into it because during a group counselling session, someone suggested I try it after I was raped. I was diagnosed with PTSD and unable to look at myself naked because I’d see bugs crawling out of my vagina. I threw myself into a lot of unsafe sexual situations. I was trying to understand what my attacker saw in me, and the only way I could was to recreate the situation in which he found value in my body. 

The first time I cammed, I saw my body as this separate thing that wasn’t connected to trauma, and I had the ability to experience pleasure. It felt really groundbreaking. I don’t like talking about “female empowerment” because I don’t think that’s the right word, but camming allowed me to see my body from a new perspective and reclaim control over  part of my identity in a safe environment. 

I like to say camming is a mix between phone sex and porn. But often you’re not live-streaming anything sexual. Yes, that’s what people come for, but you get close to your regulars. I’ve had cam shows where I’m just reading, doing karaoke or making macaroni and cheese. It’s really interesting to watch a community form around you and your body. It can be a really special place, but it can also be a really violent place. 

So much of the violence comes from stigma. A lot of people conflate sex work and trafficking, which is why we’re seeing anti-sex-trafficking laws that push sex workers further into the margins, forcing them to find work in more dangerous ways. 

I don’t shy away from talking about sex work advocacy or sexual violence. Camming is a part of my life that I would never want to hide. My mom follows me on Instagram. I’ll post a nude with some political messaging behind it and she’ll send me a message: “I love you, but also oy.” Camming has opened a lot of conversations between me and family and friends, and I hope that it’s helped people in my life address their biases.

Some days camming has made me feel horrible – there are trolls and you can get a lot of hate. I don’t want to be like, “Hey everyone who’s been sexually assaulted – go cam!” It’s a job and it should be taken seriously. 

I often don’t love my body. Sometimes I hate my body. Sometimes I’m terrified of it. Sometimes I feel like it’s not there at all. But, somehow, no matter how disconnected I feel to my body, it’s kept going. And I’m thankful for that. 

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Samuel Engelking

More Love Your Body 2020:

@nowtoronto

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