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The history of camming, from early cam girls to modern day live cam sites
Photo via loginovworkshop/Shutterstock (Licensed)
Not all cam sites are created equal.
You might not have been looking for porn, but odds are, you’ve run into a cam site. A stray pop-up probably appeared on your screen advertising “best cam girls who want to chat now.” Or maybe you’re one of the millions of people every day who decides to send digital currency to a stranger in exchange for them taking off their T-shirt.
Camming, like every variety of porn and adult entertainment, features a cornucopia of options. There’s a host of different webcam sites. Some cam girl sites feature a range of amateur models working their way through college, others host porn stars trying to supplement their income or reach their audience on a more personal level. Here’s everything you need to know about cam girls and the best cam girl sites.
Everything you need to know about cam girls
The internet’s first cam girl
In 1996, 19-year-old Jennifer Ringley became the first known cam girl, though that term wouldn’t be coined for many years, with the launch of her website, JenniCam. Part journal, part erotica, and part performance art, JenniCam uploaded a new picture from Ringley’s webcam every three minutes. Ringley left the camera running whether she was sleeping, studying, getting dressed, masturbating, or having sex. At the height of the site’s success, Ringley received over 100 million visitors a week.
While the project was initially free, Ringley later charged $15 for an annual subscription. It’s important to note that while sex certainly happened on JenniCam, it wasn’t the project’s focus. She spent far more time talking about her romantic life than walking around naked, choosing instead to interact with her fans instead of putting on a show. As Ringley started to attract mainstream attention, appearing on TV shows like Late Night with David Letterman, other cam sites like LiveJasmin launched in 2001 while MyFreeCamSite debuted in 2004.
Who are cam girls?
Modern cam sites don’t center around just one model, but hundreds of thousands of “cam girls.” Anyone with a webcam and the courage to take their clothes off can profit. And thanks to the advent of streaming services like Twitch, now you can cam, earn, and keep your clothes on.
Camgirls put on shows, making tips from users for doing anything from smiling to full-on sex shows either solo or with a partner (or partners). The limits of what you can stream are usually left to your imagination—and the rules of the site you steam on.
Cam shows take many forms. Some models interact with their fans on sites like Reddit, holding discussions about games or TV shows they mutually love. Others play games, from spinning a wheel to determine what they’ll do next on camera or tie their viewer’s tips to the strength of the vibrator they’re using. Others just offer pure sex shows.
If you don’t immediately find someone who meets your personal needs, keep looking. Odds are, there’s always someone out there who matches your taste. If you’re into kinks or niche porn, or have always dreamed of a sexy chat with someone who’s into Doctor Who, cam sites are your best bet.
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How much does a cam girl make?
Camming is more profitable now than ever. Models make their income through tips and auxiliary sales of clips, underwear, merch, and access to their Snapchat. Users purchase tokens to use as currency on most sites, and shows won’t start until someone offers up coins. Some models set goals, losing their top when the room has collectively tipped 200 tokens or making new goals for different acts. Payments vary on each site, from flat rates like $0.05 per token or models taking 70 percent of the revenue generated during their shows.
Tipping isn’t required to watch, but models will often take their show offline or start a private show for people who are tipping if their chatroom is full of cheap gawkers. A person is taking off their clothes and performing sex acts for you. Don’t be a jerk. Tip cam models.
The best sites for cam girls
When camming started, shows were mostly heteronormative and predominantly white. But the self-made nature of camming has led to more diversity in porn, an industry that was for so long focused on one body type. Today, many sites have diversified, offering separate sections for women, men, couples, and LGBTQ porn. Here are some of the best cam sites, no matter what you’re into.
Camsoda has built a reputation for gimmicks thanks to projects like Language Lessons, a combination strip show/tutoring session, or LifeStream, a 24/7 cam model experience. Hell, CamSoda even experimented with letting viewers smell the scenes as you watch. Though it has a William Castle-like knack for marketing, CamSoda seems to care about pushing the industry forward. Experiments like the OCast, which lets users simulate oral sex via a smartphone app, are odd but creative attempts to bring something new to the industry. Whatever you’re looking for, CamSoda has cam models across the spectrum. Something has to pay the bills while they figure out how to have a cam girl appear in your room via 3D hologram. Yes, CamSoda is working on that too.
The camming world is full of sites that feature male and female models, but there aren’t a ton of sites that focus solely on men. CamDudes has an easy-to-understand interface with a large selection of models doing everything from sex shows to casual chats. Categories include standard straight, gay, bi, and transgender, while more specific subcategories are available if you want someone hairy or uncircumcised.
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3) My Free Cams
Founded in 2002, MyFreeCams is one of the oldest live cam sites around. They have thousands of models around the world, so no matter what time of day you log on someone will be working. Name recognition has helped the company, leading to a steady stream of new models alongside experienced veterans.
Of all the sites on this list, Chaturbate often features the most amateurs. While some of their models have built a large and loyal following, there are always new people joining to try their hand at camming. Models of all shapes, colors, and identities have a space on Chaturbate, and the number of genuine, average couples that show up to cam is strangely heartwarming.
There are areas traditional cam models don’t tend to explore, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t places to explore them. My Fetish Live is an open playground for your every fantasy and probably a few you haven’t thought of before. How many? Here’s a quick look.
This cam based spinoff of the popular porn site focuses on making it easy to find exactly the kind of model you’re looking for. Models are searchable via categories ranging from sex, age, body type, features, ethnicity, hair color, types of shows offered and more. If you wish cam sites were as easy to search as porn sites, XHamsterLive is your pal.
Cam4 would already be a first-class cam site in its own right just from the men and women who work there. Everyone is foxy, and there’s a wild variety of people to interact with. However, they’re not content to just rest on their laurels, also adding 3D VR camming to their bag of tricks. Using your smartphone and a VR rig, you can watch 3D live cam shows in the 360-degree video. If you have a headset consider Cam4.
Tumblr sites for cam girls
Getting your start in the industry isn’t easy for a cam model. You have to learn how to build your clientele, social media following, put on a good show, and deal with your cam site. Thankfully there’s a host of resources out there for aspiring models. One of the best places to look is Tumblr, home of adorable cat gifs and camming tips alike. Here are the best Tumblr blogs if you’re looking for deeper insight into the world of camming.
This site might not give you tips, but it will keep you up to date on the newest models to hit the scene. Updated regularly, Dollar Cam Girls is a great site for discovering fresh talent without having to skip between multiple sites and streams. Spanning a wide range of different sites, Dollar Cam Girls is a useful tool for finding new cam sites you might not have tried before. The only downside is the lack of ethnic and gender variety. This tends to be a very white, very heteronormative space, so if you’re looking for performers outside those demographics you’ll often be let down.
From advice to an FAQ for aspiring cam girls, Cam Girl Life has a little bit of everything for people thinking about joining the industry or just looking to learn a little bit more. This site isn’t designed to get you off, instead focusing on humorous memes for working models, useful articles, and the odd pep talk. It’s a useful resource for models and an important humanizing look beyond the idealize curtain of the industry. Men, please, if you’re going to visit this site, be polite.
Behave yourself in chat or else you might end up a question on Camgirl Survival Guide. This advice column takes user-submitted questions from “How do I get started?” to “How do I talk to my boyfriend about this job?” Mixing philosophical thoughts on sex work with day to day industry advice, Camgirl Survival Guide is a fascinating read even if you don’t work in the industry. Keep in mind that spaces like these aren’t meant for dudes looking for smut. Be respectful.
Katie Kays is a talented model who’s found success by opening her life up to fans via her Tumblr blog. Most of the time it’s just NSFW pornographic material. But like any millennial’s Tumblr this site also features a healthy amount of memes, short essays, and Q&A segments. Kays is a submissive so expect a fair amount of lite BDSM material, but by and large, her Tumblr is sexy but tame, leaving the hardest stuff for her shows. Still, folks who blush at the word “ball-gag” probably should look elsewhere.
This blog addresses more than just camgirls and provides up-to-date advice and resources for anyone starting out in sex work, from porn actors and professional doms and subs to strippers and phone sex operators. This isn’t a space to mess around if you’re just looking to get off—it’s full of helpful information about payment, protection, and how to navigate sex work and adult industries.
Cam models to follow on Snapchat
It’s hard to recommend cam models due to the state of flux in the industry. There are hundreds of thousands of people camming on thousands of sites. For every one person who builds a following a thousand more just quit one day. Some models may only log on once a month. Some, like the infamous Kendra Sunderland, have gone on to mainstream porn success. Consider this list just a starting place.
When possible we’ve included the model’s Twitter, cam link, and Snapchat, but in most cases you’re going to discover cam model’s Snapchat accounts are closely guarded. Most models have public “safe for work” accounts, but you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to access to their XXX account. If you want to see you cam model naked, whether on Snapchat or their show, your best bet is to pay up.
1) Charley Hart
We’ve spoken to Charley Hart in the past about her work with CamSoda, and no matter what kind of camgirl experience you’re looking for Hart probably provides it. Hart is already active in live shows, private clips, and on social media, but she’s also looking to expand in the porn industry this year. Personable, sexy, and social media savvy, Charley Hart is a quintessential camgirl to follow.
2) Lana Rain
Part of the joy of cam sites is seeing your fantasies acted out in real life, even if they take place in another universe. Lana Rain is one of best cosplay-focused cam models in the world, billing herself as living hentai. Her anime-themed scenes and shoots might be out there for some, but you don’t have to collect DVD boxsets to enjoy her shows’ creative sexuality.
3) Eva Foxy
Cam sites are flooded with young models, but if you’re looking for someone a bit more mature, Eva Foxy deserves your consideration. This 34-year-old self-described MILF works on both MFC and Camsoda, so if you have a favorite site you don’t need to choose.
4) Harley Rose
Harley Rose has built a rabidly loyal following of tens of thousands of fans thanks to her kinky shows and fiery red hair. Existing both on cam sites and through her own store selling adult clips, Rose has a sensual darkness to some of her scenes that will appeal to horror fans. From spooky lighting to facepaint to on strangely hot “maneater” scene, Rose isn’t afraid to experiment with traditional solo scene templates.
5) Aspen Foxxx
If you’ve ever had a specific fantasy about a hippie witch with a fetish for oral sex, Aspen Foxxx is the sage your libido has been looking for. Her social media jumps between sexy photos, adorable cat pictures, and nature facts. Her shows blend her two sides—sometimes light and playful, sometimes hardcore deep throat fetish affairs when the room is tipping. It’s a dichotomy that serves her well and has earned a loyal fanbase.
Kati3Kat was named AVN’s fan fav camgirl in 2017 and 2018, and it’s easy to see why. She’s a “bluenette” with an affinity for gaming, cats, pizza, and impressions, and fills her social media with proclamations of true anime, Rick and Morty, and Spongebob fandom. Previously at Chaturbate, Katie has sinced moved to MyFreeCams and is a three-year camming veteran.
Still want to learn more? Here’s your guide to the best porn GIFs and where to find them, high-quality VR porn, the best porn search engines, everything you need to know about BDSM, and the hottest porn stars you should follow on Instagram. Plus, everything you need to know about watching porn safely in your browser.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adapter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.