I talked to someone who cammed with his partner off and on for about a year, under the name dadandson69, on the site Cam4.
We get a Snapchat a few minutes later from Boggers—it's a photo of middle-aged couple, the woman in a wheelchair, both smiling into the camera and waving, captioned "hi interviewer." "There's another couple I wound up getting really close to," Eevie tells me after I meet Boggers and Sarah.
"They were a younger couple, they had a 2-year-old boy at the time, and they'd been trying to get pregnant again for like a year, and it wasn't working.
She's wearing a little black dress and drinking merlot from a shatterproof wineglass one of her viewers sent her after she'd broken a real one on camera.
She makes almost $400 in the 45 minutes I'm with her, and she doesn't do much besides talk to me (offscreen) about camming.
They watched me, sometimes together and sometimes separate." When the couple finally got pregnant and received the results of the gender test, "They made a video of them opening the envelope together and sent it to me that day, and they named their little girl Eevie Juliet." It's not that crazy to imagine this kind of intimacy and fondness developing between long-distance friends over years—what's surprising is that these connections grew out of a form of sex work.
But this level of emotional investment is exactly where the appeal of webcams resides—it's not like any other kind of porn.
Men, however, make very little, which is why they compose such a tiny sliver of the internet's camming population.
Many sites, including MFC, the largest hosting site with more than 100,000 models and more than one million members, won't even allow male models—they'd rather invest their bandwidth in women.
Eevie—like many of the models I spoke to for this article—broadcasts herself through the site My Free Cams, or MFC.
("Eevie Lain" is her screen name.) Generally speaking, models get tipped via tokens (which translate to real cash) to masturbate on camera, but they can also create "topics" that aren't sexual at all.
"Even when I was camming vigorously almost every day to raise money for my move, I would still only masturbate [on camera] maybe four times a month," said another cam model I met with who goes by the screen name Bambi. Especially if you're a medium-income cam girl, it's a lot more about the community...