my spouse and I want to be a cam couple

A reader writes:

My husband and I are 30 years old and last year we made $70,000 together (his wage about $20,000 and my salary about $50,000). We are working class folk who clawed our way to this earning power (he supported me for six years and I obtained my BS and MSW, and finally I’m a licensed clinical social worker).

We are thinking of having cam sex online (chaturbate) for excitement and money. We are not conceited enough to think we’ll make millions but it would really help in paying down my student loans (not all qualify for Planned Student Loan Forgiveness, and I just landed a nonprofit job so I have 10 more years of on-time payments before it’s forgiven with no tax implications), the second car we just bought (we shared a car the first nine years we were married), and saving for a down payment on a house.

So — I’ve checked the archives. I’m sure you’ll tell me there’s no way I should risk it; that the risks for both me and my spouse are too great.

Why we think this could be a good idea (this will sound lame):

We are working class kids. We were both raised with families making less than $20,000 a year. Neither of us want to go back to that. We love and appreciate our parents and are fully aware that we will likely be supporting them (financially and otherwise). We are doing great and are frugal in a low cost of living city, but due to a lack of a safety net, that could easily change anytime (I understand other Americans are in this predicament as well). We don’t have children. And if it got out on PornHub, well, we are married.

I am asking for your advice because you are awesome.

I wrote back to this letter-writer and said: “I’m not automatically going to tell you not to do it! I think it’s an interesting question. I don’t know enough about the risks here. Could someone videotape one of the online sessions you do and post it online? And if that happened, could you have it taken down since it was done without your permission? Also is there a way to disguise your faces or is that not really practical? (I don’t know what I’m thinking here; obviously you can’t wear one of those fake noses and mustaches. Maybe you’re someone who looks dramatically different in a wig?) And do you have a sense of how much money you might be able to make doing it (since that plays into risk vs. reward)?”

The response:

Yes, someone could tape it. We have looked on PornHub and while some of the videos were probably self promotion, some were obviously not. I could ask for them to take it down, but I don’t know if they would comply; their privacy info on the website is vague.

lol, we could probably use bandit disguises but I don’t think that would help with long-term tips/landing fans who will follow us; we are an interracial couple and I have tattoos so that might hurt us; I’m a black woman and I do look different in wigs but probably not THAT different. We are hoping to get $1,000 a month by the start of next year. You can actually kinda calculate how much money the broadcaster is making by calculating how much tips they are getting.

Well, first things first, I would find out for sure what the laws and practices are around getting content taken down if it’s posted without your permission. I had thought there are avenues for doing this and that adult sites were generally pretty responsive to that (at least the more mainstream ones) because that’s just good business practice for them — but I don’t actually know and am going off of vague memories I have of things I may or may not have read somewhere. But I think you need to know for sure in order to make a good decision, and that’s information that should be findable.

Assuming that you can have material removed if it’s posted without your permission, there’s of course still some risk. Someone who knows one of you professionally could see it before you have it taken down (or you might never know it’s posted since you can’t check all possible places it could turn up). And people can be pretty horrid when they learn someone is involved in sex work. We are, as a whole, a puritanical people.

There are some lines of work where I’d say you absolutely shouldn’t risk it unless you were willing to lose your career over it. If one of you were a teacher, for example, I’d tell you not to even consider it. Social work — I’m not sure. If you’re working with kids, that’s in the  “don’t risk it” category; people really, really don’t like that combination. If you’re working with other populations, it might not be as absolute a no-go — although still carries risk, perhaps significantly so. Only you can decide how to weigh that risk.

Regardless of your field, though, I think you’d want to game out how you’d handle it if it ever did come out and led to a worst-case scenario. You don’t want the first time you’re grappling with that aftermath to be when it’s actually happening. You want to have a plan in advance, and you want to have thought it through enough that you’re comfortable with that plan — or at least comfortable with your sense of the risk vs. reward.

Speaking of reward, another thing I’d look at is what your earning potential is in the future. You’re making a combined $70,000 now. What are your combined earnings likely to be five years from now? Ten years from now? If you’re on a path where you can realistically expect your earnings to go up significantly over time, that’s a point in favor of not jeopardizing that just to increase them a little bit now.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Updated to add: Someone made the excellent point in the comments below that it might be much easier/safer for your husband to figure out how to go from $20,000 to $30,000 than to go the cam couple route. I don’t mean to downplay the challenges in the former, but it’s worth some thought.

{ 332 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Bend & Snap

    I’m not anti sex work at all but i would never, ever, ever, EVER do this unless you could remain completely anonymous. Which, unless you use tattoo cover up and a bag over your head, sounds impossible.

    Reply
    1. Purplesaurus

      I agree. Although, lots of people are into masks and costumes, so I do wonder why it wouldn’t be feasible to remain anonymous that way.

      Reply
      1. kbeers0su

        Agreed. If you created characters and performed as them consistently you could build up your audience of followers (which you said was important). Especially if you pick a set of characters that folks relate to- maybe playing off popular TV/movie characters?

        Reply
      2. neverjaunty

        Because you can’t guarantee that someone won’t say “wow, that dude’s voice sounds exactly like Fergus” or otherwise guess who you are. And it assumes that there is no possible way to connect the video back to the OP (say, through a hack of formation about payments by the cam company).

        Reply
        1. Anna

          I’m gonna say that most people won’t think: that sounds like Fergus. Fergus also has a GF who is African American, ergo that is Fergus! They are far more likely to laugh off any similarities as a hilarious coincidence.

          Plus, despite how common porn is becoming, there is still a lot of stigma around it and making that connection and talking to someone about it requires admitting you watch porn.

          Reply
    2. Elizabeth West

      I feel the same way. It’s much harder to get content taken down than people think. You’re assuming that whoever has it up will be nice and just do it when you ask. UM NO.

      Reply
    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Honestly, I don’t think anonymity is realistic, and I also don’t think it’s worth jeopardizing your career in social work unless you want to go full-time sex work/porn (keep in mind that for many people, porn is not lucrative and does not translate into a secure income).

      OP, I’m worried you’re underestimating the cons. First, once something is on the internet, it’s there forever. It’s expensive and often futile to get videos/images taken down (see: revenge “porn”), and it’s impossible to wipe them from the web. Second, there are real risks to your career as a social worker, particularly if you work with children or in an area where everyone knows you. Are you prepared for employers to terminate or decline to hire you? (If I could not use my law license, I would probably have a panic attack given how much student debt I’m still paying). Finally, are you ok with your friends, family, coworkers, and others recognizing you? If you are, more power to you—I have friends who are sex workers and are totally “out” about their jobs. But they also face(d) stigma, judgment, and in some cases, alienation (i.e., have been disowned). If you have children, are you ready to deal with people trying to take them away because of your side gig?

      The risks may be worth it. But I think you have to be very honest with yourself about those risks and about the alternatives before you jump in.

      Reply
      1. Mugsy83

        The Internet is forever– this exactly! You may lose out on future jobs. Your husband may lose out on opportunities; he may only be an hourly earner now, but that’s not forever. Even if he’s working in retail, there are opportunities to move into higher responsibility roles down the road.

        What if your future children find these videos, or worse, their friends find it? How could this impact your other family members? I’m very much a live and let live type of person, but as Alison says, in general, we are an up-tight country and this will negatively impact how many people view you and your spouse once discovered. They will call into question your professional judgement. Eat ramen and Mac and cheese for now. Pack your lunch, prep morning coffee at home, get a part-time weekend job to bulk up savings. It gets better financially over time, but this seems like a temporary problem to which your proposed solution has long-term consequences.

        Reply
      2. Amy

        I agree with all this. And also, frankly, the media and society as a whole tend to be even harder on sex workers who have a non-sex-work job is in a caregiving role (education, working with children in any way, social work, etc.) than on those who work in other fields or don’t have another job. It isn’t fair–it isn’t fair how hard we are on sex workers, period–but it is how it often plays out. Since you are in one of those fields and you bring in most of your household’s income, it seems doubly risky for you to do this.

        If you could find a way to guarantee this would be truly anonymous, maybe it would be worth it. But that’s not really possible for most of us, given how the internet works. I think you’re better off finding non-recorded ways to add excitement (there’s almost definitely a community of some kind where you could have people watch you guys do sexy things if that’s what you’re into), and address the economic angle by finding ways to boost your careers, or via a less controversial side business.

        Reply
    4. Regina Phalange

      OP, I am also not anti sex work at all — in fact, what you’re proposing sounds hot as hell — HOWEVER, because of your profession, I vote for a hard pass unless it can be anonymous (and really actually anonymous). If you had a different profession, one that would cause significantly less of a scandal, perhaps it would be different, but consider the headline “Social Worker Live Sex Cam Found on Porn Site”. It’s juicy, it’s interesting, and it’s the kind of sh*t the media loves. The headline of “Restaurant Manager’s Live Sex Cam Found on Porn Site” is significantly less taboo, whether we like it or not.

      Perhaps instead of the type of videos / streaming you’re considering, find one that would protect anonymity a bit more. There is a niche of masks (… not big glasses / fake noses), and amateur sites that cater to POV that could be more discrete.

      Reply
    5. Thornus67

      It’s my understanding, at least from knowing someone who very briefly dabbled in this type of stuff, that those live sites allow you to “block” areas from even knowing you exist. Like, it just makes your cam completely invisible to certain geographic areas if you don’t want those areas to know about you. (How, I do not know)

      That doesn’t stop the ability of others from recording shows then just uploading them to the various porn sites out there though. And given the way that stuff proliferates on the internet, I imagine OP would have to be extremely diligent in scouring all of those “secondary market” sites to make sure their stuff isn’t on them and reporting DMCA claims if they are.

      Of course, none of that is perfect, and if perfection in anonymity is what is needed, it would probably be best to pass.

      Reply
      1. nonegiven

        Probably blocking by IP address. The way networks try to keep shows from streaming outside of the US. We all know how well that works.

        Reply
      2. Amy

        Even if videos didn’t propagate to secondary sites, people travel. A location block is no guarantee of anonymity.

        Reply
      3. snuck

        And if the OP is planning/hoping to gather a regular audience then there’s a chance that there could be some form of sharing of those files off site… to other sites or elsewhere.

        Live cam does not mean ‘disappears forever’ it just means streamed live, which anyone can then record at home on their own PC with simple recording programs…. and then they have ‘play at any time they like’ files.

        Reply
      4. Geoffrey B

        I use a VPN. It takes a single button click to change my IP so that I appear to be coming from Canada, USA, UK, Germany, or any of a dozen other countries. I use it to avoid geoblocking on more family-friendly services, but I presume it would be equally effective for porn.

        By all means use this feature, it’d probably reduce the risks, but don’t rely on it as bullet-proof protection.

        Reply
    6. S. Johnson

      Completely agree! The risk is high. I would also imagine you really have to edit your videos heavily to remove any trace of you. I am sure there are creative ways of doing this (might want to look up video editing) but would the work/ money you have to put into it add up to no risk/student loan debt money? That is the real question here. I think people believe sex work might be easier than a 9 to 5 or simply more lucrative and less involved but I am sure there is a lot more to that then the sex. Every hustle has its risks.

      Reply
  2. ArchiveGoddess

    “you might never know it’s posted since you can’t check all possible places it could turn up”
    This. This alone is a huge problem, not just with sex videos but any sort of content. I’ve had pictures I’ve taken shown up multiple places without my permission.

    So I wouldn’t risk my career on that. Not that I’m against sex work but there are other avenues that wouldn’t jepordize your career that could make some extra income.

    Reply
    1. Sfigato

      It will end up somewhere. You cannot take it all down, and since the people posting it will likely be a)criminals and or jerks and b)in a country that doesn’t care so much about internet laws, you’ll have a really hard time ever scrubbing it. Not to mention there is a whole subset of internet porn devoted to finding the real names/occupations of cam stars/random sexts and outing them. ie revenge porn. So if you ever do this, assume that at some point there will be a post of you having sex and your headshot from your non-sex work employer’s website. On like a tumblr blog that will show up in a google search.
      in short, take no pictures, leave no evidence. People are horrible, and employers are prudish about this kind of stuff. It’s not worth the money.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth H.

        For what it’s worth, there are SO MANY PEOPLE who cam that I think the odds of being targeted by a criminal or stalker, or reposted, are not inevitable.

        Reply
      2. Geoffrey B

        A thing to consider here is that image recognition and search technology is getting more powerful every year. Five years from now, “find me tagged photos with women who have tattoos like the one in this porno” might be very easy.

        Hell, five years from now it may be feasible to turn that into a fully-automated blackmail operation. Set a script to trawl through porn, match to FB photos etc, send an email demanding payment.

        Reply
    2. alexa, set timer for ten minutes

      I am neutral about sex work in general (as long as everyone involved is able to consent and no one is getting hurt, go for it), but I think the points others raise about your profession in particular are worth considering, OP. You could lose the licensure you worked so hard to get.

      I commend you and your partner for the hard work you have already done, and for your creative thinking. I’m not sure where you’re located, but are there possibilities for your partner to increase that $20k at all in the current field? If not, there may be possibilities for training or work on the side that wouldn’t expose you to the risks inherent in the work you propose.

      Reply
      1. snuck

        Good thinking on the increase the $20k…. a second job, or a move to a new one…

        I imagine having sexy times on camera is great the first time, but having to do it three times a week, every week, week in/out… to create a regular following… would make it a lot like having a second job!

        Reply
  3. caryatis

    I would add: save, save, save. Make sure you have a substantial cash cushion BEFORE making extra student loan or car payments. You have to make your own safety net. Because if Wife loses her job over this and they go down to $20k total income, federal student loans can be deferred, but basic living expenses cannot.

    Reply
  4. K.

    I’m pro sex work but I think it’s too risky for a social worker. Too many ways it could turn up and bite you and rightly or wrongly, I think you’d need to be concerned about your image in that line of work. Perhaps there are more anonymous ways you can explore sex work – we had a phone sex operator on here last week and that seems fairly lucrative and more anonymous.

    Reply
    1. Just Another HR Pro

      Good point – if, as social worker, you end up testifying in court, this could be disastrous. Prior to testifying, the DA has to answer what is known as a “henthorne request”- it is basically to ensure there is nothing untrustwotthy in your background. And while I don’t think being a sexworker makes you untrustworthy, that doesn’t mean that some defense attorney wont exploit it.

      I agree with other posts – while I have no issues with the sex industry at all, there are other avenues for making extra money that wont risk all the hard work you put into becoming a LCSW.

      Reply
      1. Anon today

        Exactly this. I’m an HR pro at a social work/mental health nonprofit. The risks of an LCSW professional being found out doing sex work could be so very bad. The LW could lose their license and are no longer able to work in their field. In my opinion, there’s simply no guaranteed way to make sexcam work anonymous enough to risk losing the LW’s income for their household.

        Reply
        1. Amber T

          Not disagreeing with you at all, just wanted to point out that it’s crappy that mentality exists. As Alison says, we are puritanical people. But why does enjoying sex/enjoying watching others have sex (clients)/recording yourself having sex make you less trustworthy? Why should someone question someone else’s ethics because they willingly filmed themselves and shared it?

          OP, I agree that it’s too risky with your career. It shouldn’t be, but people are just too weird about sex.

          Reply
          1. Anna

            I’m not sure it’s as straight forward as being puritanical. Being a social worker means you’re clients are going to be from a very wide variety of backgrounds, including possibly sex trafficking. It’s not really a puritanical POV to think the person working to better the situation of someone coming out of that trauma isn’t working in the industry that is known to cross over into exploitation.

            I’m not against sex work, but I’m not ignorant of the problems related to it.

            Reply
            1. snuck

              I agree – it’s not just the puritanical… SWs work with vulnerable people, who may have been subjected to sexual abuse/crime, may/probably/high likelihood. Or her clients might be clients on her webcamming by night, and SW clients by day. Either way it’s not a good combination.

              Unless the OP is working in a specific field where this isn’t the case, in which case… what if she needs to change fields later to chase a good job or gain experience to move up etc?

              Reply
            2. Optimistic Prime

              Ehhhhh I don’t think that’s a good example. Sex work [i]can[/i] be exploitative and involve human trafficking, but the kind the LW is proposing to do does not involve either of those things, and I fail to see how her consensual cam couple sex would affect her own ability to work with people who have a traumatic background that includes sex trafficking. (However, I could see how finding out that your social worker is a sex worker if you have that background could be immensely triggering.)

              Reply
    2. k

      The social work thing is also what makes me think this is too risky. Even if it might fly if it got out in her current workplace, what about the next one? Since it’s a field where you’re often working directly with people, it makes reputation and optics even more important. Our society is still really weird about this kind of stuff.

      Reply
    3. Rachel - HR

      Agreed! I see nothing wrong with sex work in general but social work and sex work do not mix. As OP should know with social work, boundaries with clients are extremely important. The risk of this becoming public and hurting your career is far too great.

      Reply
    4. AMT

      Clinical social worker here. I’m sure it’s different in every area, but it could tip the scales if OP lives in a part of the country where the social work profession is overwhelmingly liberal/radical, or if OP’s workplace is inherently sex-positive (e.g. she works at an LGBT nonprofit or is a sex therapist) or otherwise only employs radical folks (marijuana legalization, prison abolition, certain colleges). I am in a large city and have worked at places where this is the case.

      Otherwise, I wouldn’t do it without some seriously convincing disguises. I don’t think it could cause OP to lose her license, as others have suggested below — it takes a lot to lose your license, and cam sex is not illegal in any state that I’m aware of — but having sex on camera is not a prohibited reason to be fired, and a conservative boss could throw a wrench into her career.

      Reply
      1. TL -

        Even radically liberal places can find they have unexpected blind spots.
        But I would also hazard a guess that most really liberal places aren’t low cost of living cities.

        Reply
        1. many bells down

          I had to give up my live Rocky Horror cast when they moved to a theater not only in the same city, but that was right next to the school I taught at. It was just too risky that a parent might find out. And this was Southern California.

          Reply
      2. N

        Yes, I’m going to second that it depends on the field of social work and the geographic area. I’m in the Portland, Oregon area (i.e. the place that “never met a nonprofit it didn’t like”) and I can almost guarantee that there are social workers in these sex positive organizations who are moonlighting in sex work somewhere around here. OP should consider whether or not she wants to stay in that area and field, though–if the long-term plan is to relocate to be with Mom in Biloxi, Mississippi, and to work with children, that will change things. And I also believe that some degree of anonymity would help.

        OP–if money is the primary motivator here, you definitely can find other ways to earn it. (Investing, second job, further credentials that = pay raises or a new employer, etc.) If it’s more the interest in the camming–protect your identity and be careful.

        Reply
    5. kittymommy

      Yeah, if the op was in a different field, maybe, but even if the current work place wouldn’t have a problem with it, it may be an issue on the future. As others have said, the internet is forever. $12,000 pretaxes may seem like a lot now (and in a lot of situations it is), but is it really worth risking a career in the long term?

      Reply
    6. harp+dash

      As a social worker, I agree that it’s too risky in this field. I don’t know where OP lives, but in my city, many many many of the social work jobs are with contactors that are religious based agencies. For better or worse. I think it would cause too many issues and wouldn’t be worth the risk for me.

      Reply
      1. kj

        Yep. No way she’d be allowed to keep licensure if anyone found out. Find another ways to pay off your loans.

        Reply
  5. Fidget

    One thing I would caution is that you should be careful not to be too optimistic about how much you could earn – or how much time/effort and self-promotion it takes to get there. I hope this doesn’t come across as judgemental – just that I have seen some sex workers express frustration (similar to that from e.g. professional writers/photographers/artists) that people underestimate the labour that it takes to make this kind of work pay off. And also that you are prepared to be your own managers/promoters and accountants, assuming there isn’t someone helping you deal with all that.

    Otherwise the fact that you are in this together means that you at least have mutual support – Good luck whatever you go with

    Reply
    1. Fiennes

      Agreed. A good friend of mine was a sex worker for many years, and during that time I was always amazed at how much time she spent vetting clients, doing marketing, finding good fetish wear, etc. Doing the job well enough to make bank means putting in a lot of extra hours.

      Also, the field is changing rapidly. New technologies and shifting public opinions mean the same thing that’s lucrative now might be old hat in a year.

      Given these facts, plus the social work angle, and I agree you’re better off finding another side gig.

      Reply
    2. MicheleNYC

      I was thinking this myself. I watched Life Aftr Porn part 2 on Netflix a few weeks ago and one of the reasons a few of them left the industry is because they weren’t really making money anymore. People don’t pay for something they can watch for free

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        As far as I understand, porn has never been all that lucrative for the majority of performers, even before it was available for free. It’s a lot like any other part of the entertainment industry – 0.00001% of people make it big, and the rest struggle for some years before they have to move on.

        Reply
        1. Falling Diphthong

          I’m glad people are pointing this out: from what I’ve read, most people get out of porn after a year or two for the straightforward reason that they aren’t making much money.

          Reply
    3. SignalLost

      My bf writes smut as a side hustle and he is *always writing*. Thanks to Patreon and the fact he is working with a publisher for some of his stuff, it’s a little simpler to market/sell it, but he seriously has very, very little down time from it and his main gig. And the sad part is that it’s totally killed his interest in the relatively broad niche he writes in. What started out as total kink fulfillment for him has become the most terrible drudgery, largely because he’s had to become so detached because he takes commissions and a lot of them are just … impossible to enjoy writing on any level. Like “This is a society with total body positivity and everything goes and no one would even think anything bad about anyone’s body, let alone say it. The main character has breasts so large that everyone comments on them and wants her.” That kind of impossible.

      I have to say, seeing what he goes through in terms of unhappiness, I would never, ever pick sex work as a side hustle. It’s exhausting, unhappy-making, and privacy-destroying. OP, have you given real thought to the fact that it might get very difficult to have off-camera sex with your husband because sex is your job? I don’t mean to be rude, it’s just something I’m dealing with and it’s an unhappy point in our lives. Until either of us gets a new job, though, we don’t make enough. (We live in one of the most expensive cities in the country and our combined straight income is between 50-60K. We are also poly, so he is supporting his wife, who works part time minimum wage, and her boyfriend, who is on disability. I would say our group income is optimistically 70-75K; his side gig adds probably another 15K, but he’s been publishing for years and a lot of that is royalties. He and I are both college-educated and looking for professional jobs.)

      Reply
      1. Jadelyn

        Honestly, I write a lot of smut just for my own enjoyment, and I’m a decent enough writer that I’ve considered self-pubbing some of it on Amazon as a side income, but I ran across some forums that really recalibrated my expectations of the possible profit from that, unless I’m willing to dedicate myself to it like a true part-time or full-time job (which I already know I’m not).

        Sex may sell…but it’s not as profitable as most people think.

        Reply
        1. TL -

          yup! this is why I’ve never been motivated to hustle some side income from photography. I lucked into a really great gig that was super flexible, super relaxed, and about paid for my photography habit, but I haven’t looked for more (and won’t do anything more demanding than that.)
          Things you enjoy and things you want to do for money are often two separate categories.

          Reply
        2. Fiennes

          I’ve written some erotica on the side. The cash helps. But I don’t write unless I’ve got a genuine idea that (ahem) really works for me. Keeping it enjoyable means looking at it as an occasional side gig only–at least in my case.

          Reply
          1. Jadelyn

            Fair enough – and I haven’t really ruled out tossing some of my work up on Amazon, I just have to remind myself not to expect a big income boost from it unless I’m willing to put an equally big time and effort commitment into it.

            Reply
            1. SignalLost

              That’s true of all writing, though. I used to work in publishing and I have conversations at least monthly even now that boil down to “I don’t actually write but I want to be an author because they make lots of money and don’t have to wear pants.” You can usually nip that in the bud by telling people how much work they have to do now to be famous later.

              Reply
        3. Lora

          I honestly don’t know how Chuck Tingle does it. I feel like I personally lack imagination when it comes to anthropomorphism somehow. But apparently he and Hunter Fox make $$$.

          OP, one side hustle I used to do when I was in college that really can make $$$ depending on where you live is tutoring and teaching at the Russian School of Mathematics, Kumon, or working as a private tutor for university athletic departments. In the ’90s I got paid $14/hour (the minimum wage was $4.25/hour for reference) to teach university students fourth grade math. Tutors who can teach college prep and help with college applications and SAT prep can more or less work their own hours and make $30-60 /hour in my area; some even offer tutoring online via Skype.

          Have a couple of friends who were sex workers at various points in their lives. It wasn’t as much money as all that, and as others have said, they worked hard and had a lot of expenses for costumes and travel and stuff.

          Oh and I just remembered: if you’re bilingual, translation/interpreter services are pretty high demand and good money even in these days of Google Translate. Medical facilities and pharmacies need translation and you can do it over the phone.

          Reply
          1. anon for this

            And that’s an either/or on the RSM/Kumon and the cam work, right? I would not think those could mix.

            Reply
            1. SignalLost

              Also, the stories are like 4000 words. That’s a day’s writing for someone like my boyfriend. I don’t really imagine there’s a lot of variety in the plot.

              Reply
  6. Muriel Heslop

    I am a teacher who works with social workers, and I think this is a dicey area for you. Of course, a lot of that depends on the type of social work that you do and what type of clients you have. I am interested to hear what you decide but I wish you the best. It sounds like you and your husband have worked hard to get where you are and kudos to both of you for that!

    Reply
  7. Cambridge Comma

    OP mentions that they feel vulnerable because they have no safety net, but starting a side gig that may create the exact situation in which you need a safety net (e.g. unemployment, not finding work because of on-line notoriety) may not end up putting them in any stronger of a position.
    Is there a way to work in this industry and be less visible? Perhaps on the phone?
    They’ve worked so hard, it would be such a shame to lose it.

    Reply
    1. Frozen Ginger

      Phone sex operators are definitely still around, but I don’t think there’s much outside of working for an established company.

      Reply
  8. ZSD

    I think the fact that the OP is in social work puts this in the category of being too big a risk. Even if she doesn’t work with kids, I think there are plenty of people out there who would be reluctant to have someone who’s done sex work (even slightly) work with *any* of the vulnerable populations that social workers tend to help. I’m not saying that I think that’s fair or correct, but I think it’s the way it is.

    Reply
  9. bluephone

    I’m not in the social work field but wouldn’t this jeopardize your license and any possible future prospects in that industry????

    Reply
      1. kj

        Morality clauses. And frankly, no employer I have worked for in a similar field would hire a social worker who had done sex work after they became a social worker. Before, maybe. But after shows poor judgment in my opinion. What if a client saw or knew? It would affect the relationship between SW and client and not in a good way.

        Reply
        1. nofelix

          If a client knows about an employees sex-work side-gig and chooses to treat the employee badly because of this then that’s poor judgement by the client, not the employee. Yes sometimes one has to accommodate other people’s poor judgement i.e. not do sex work. But let’s not lay the blame on the employee for something that doesn’t affect their ability to do their main job.

          Reply
          1. Clinical Social Worker

            Clinical social workers are often expected to provide therapy. Having seen your therapist have sex in a porn vid would affect the therapeutic relationship. It’s not that the client would necessarily treat the therapist *badly* it’s that this kind of knowledge would warp the therapeutic relationship. Most of my patients don’t know ANYTHING about me other than where I went to school, how long I’ve been doing this, and how I physically present to them. And that’s on purpose because it actually helps in a lot of ways to not know a lot about your therapist. I would not be able to work with any of my therapists (me being the patient) If I’d seen them have sex.

            Reply
    1. Lisa

      This was my thought. Please check out your licensure laws in your state and any other state you might consider working in. This may very well risk your license if there is a morality clause or something similar. I’d also lol at the code of ethics for your professional organization because many states require you to follow them even if you don’t belong to your professional organization. (I don’t know who that would be for social workers- just speaking as a heath care worker that could lose my license for something like this).

      Reply
  10. fposte

    Interesting. For me it’s the MSW aspect that makes me worry, especially since you’re in public service and planning on benefiting from loan forgiveness. I would certainly comb the employee handbook and any other indications you can find about behavioral expectations, and if you have direct exposure to clients, not just kids, that considerably raises the chance of objections.

    Reply
    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      My view of social work is skewed because almost all my social worker friends interface regularly with the courts or work for/with government agencies (local and state). Most of them do not have a provision in the employee handbook/policies about sex work. But almost all of them would risk termination if they were found to be engaging in paid sex work where they are identifiable.

      Reply
  11. sunny-dee

    I’d definitely flag social work as an area where you shouldn’t also be doing sex work. There was a police officer recently fired because of her previous porn career; it is incredibly hard to navigate “sex for money” and also the sensitivity (?) required for those kinds of social professions.

    I don’t know what line of business your husband is in or what your home arrangements are like, but, at 30, it would be leaps and bounds better for him to work on changing industries or advancing his career. It would be a lot better and more stable for him to try to get $30k a year rather than have a sideline sex business.

    Reply
    1. Bertha

      I think you are spot-on that it would be better for the husband to try to increase his salary rather than have a sideline business, heck, any sideline business. Without knowing what industry he’s in it’s of course hard to say, but a few years after graduating with a relatively worthless BA, I was able to go from a $20k job to a $30k job (without working more, or a side hustle!).

      Reply
  12. Spreadsheets and Books

    There are much, much easier ways to earn $1,000 a month from internet side hustles than camming.

    You do you, of course, and I’m certainly not anti-sex industry, but I can make that much a week freelance writing nights and weekends if I’m so inclined. Many safer, easier, more reliable side hustles LW and her husband could consider before turning to Chaturbate (which, incidentally, I reviewed once for one of my clients).

    Reply
    1. DataQueen

      This. You mentioned the excitement of participating in something like this, so if there’s a personal reason drawing you to the cam world, that needs to be weighed. But there are less risky ways to make that kind of money as well. If you like to shop for example – flipping thrift store finds on Poshmark is a great way to make about $1,000 a month – tax free if you sell your own clothes! If you love driving, pick up a few Uber shifts! I can’t tell from your letter whether you need the money – and it sounds like it will of course help, but you won’t be out on the streets without it – or if the idea of the camming is more alluring than the money. But either way – if you decide to do this and research the risks (and i would recommend more research into anti-revenge-porn laws, which would probably cover what you would need to go through for removals) – then follow your heart!

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        Just FYI, proceeds from sales of personal items are not tax free. It’s exceedingly unlikely you’ll get caught, but it’s still taxable income.

        Reply
        1. Natalie

          I should clarify before someone worries about their garage sale – for the average person this isn’t an issue because they are generally selling things for less than they originally bought them for. But if you’re flipping items online, you’re presumably making some kind of profit and the profit is taxable.

          Reply
    2. AnotherAlison

      Had the same thought. Now, if you said you could easily make $20,000 per month, I might have different opinions, but $1000/month is $500/spouse. That should be achievable with an extra job or some freelance gigs, even with something basic like dogwalking.

      FWIW, a former neighbor was side-gigging in the sex industry selling toys online. He was planning to quit his fulltime IT job, but this was in the early 2000s when this was newer.

      Reply
    3. OwnedByTheCat

      Several commenters also talked about her husband focusing on increasing his earning potential. I think increasing earning potential + other types of freelancing could help a lot in the long run (and be safer as well).

      I found myself in a similar predicament in my early 20’s. I started freelance writing – really anything I could – and took in a lot of shit jobs. Over the next few years as I advanced slowly in my career, I also honed my freelance writing niche. I went from writing $5/article crap to charging $50/hour as a grant writer and consultant. More money, but it also really helped with my career to have had the opportunity to work with additional nonprofits in fundraising and grant writing.

      OP – I wonder if there might be something either you and your husband are interested in that could support your job growth as well? Check out the podcast Side Hustle School for some really interesting and innovative ideas and see if there is something that can be more sustainable in the long run?

      Reply
      1. Super Anon for This

        I was an English Lit major in college, and I could really use any extra money right now. Just wondering, do you have any links or tips to share about how to start writing freelance?

        Reply
  13. neverjaunty

    OP, sex work is not something you dabble in. I mean that in a practical sense, not a moral one. There are a lot of risks and in an age of free poem, your chance of a comfy nest egg is small.

    Please do some hard research on the real pros and cons – AAM is not going to be helpful on this.

    Reply
      1. neverjaunty

        I would make jokes about a cam channel involving classic poetry, but I am sure the industry is way ahead of me.

        Reply
        1. Jadelyn

          Look up “Hysterical Literature”. Yeah. I don’t remember which “rule of the internet” this is, but if you can think of it, there’s already porn of it somewhere.

          Reply
      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        My phone kept making the same autocorrect mistake! Kind of surprising, tbh (but also subversively awesome).

        Reply
        1. fposte

          I really had a moment where I was confused and also thinking about the awesomeness of free poetry before I realized.

          Reply
    1. Grits McGee

      I think someone wrote in to Dan Savage about camming in the last year or so that had some good information that might be useful tot he OP.

      Reply
      1. Monique

        Really want to call attention to this. Savage Love (podcast and column, but definitely podcast) has had multiple discussions about this that are relevant.

        Reply
  14. fposte

    BTW, how clear are the tax protocols for this? I know it’s big business but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get shady. I would try to be squeaky clean on reporting, especially on stuff like tips, to avoid audits and penalities if there are later crackdowns.

    Reply
    1. Natalie

      It’s unlikely to be any different from any other IC work on the side. All income from all sources has to be reported, and then will be taxed depending on the specifics of the taxpayer’s return. Many sex workers do file taxes with their occupation listed as “entertainer” or similar.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        Are tips provided through the platform or outside of it? I’m wondering if there’s a practice of underdeclaring.

        Reply
        1. Natalie

          I don’t know about sex work in particular, but tipped industries in general are a magnet for underdeclaring and increase one’s risk of being audited, particularly if a significant volume of those tips are in cash. I would imagine cam work doesn’t involve cash tips (because how could it) but that would mean everything is traceable and has to be declared, and you *still* probably have a higher than average chance of getting audited.

          Reply
          1. fposte

            And while that could just be the cost of doing business, if it’s as regular as you suggest (which is what I was surmising) it’s a likelihood the OP will want to be prepared for.

            Reply
    2. Muriel Heslop

      I read a really interesting Money Diary on Refinery29 written by a cam worker and she addressed a lot of the financial aspects of her job, including hidden costs.

      Reply
  15. No Name Yet

    I can completely understand how this could seem like a good idea – something fun that you’re already doing, and making money on top of it. As a clinical psychologist, I’d say the catch is your LCSW. Even if you’re not working with kids, unless you’re working in a clearly pro-sex work area of the field, I think it could well damage your career if someone found out (even if it wasn’t recorded or you were able to get it taken down). When I put anything online, I try to always think about what conversation am I willing to have if one of my therapy patients finds it.

    Reply
    1. Thinking Outside the Boss

      Out here in California, court cases have said that filming pornography is not the same as prostitution, so it’s generally not a crime to shoot a porno. But other states may not have the same rules and if the OP’s state deems the film to be committing a crime, that would absolutely jeopardize the OP’s license.

      Reply
      1. Coffee Ninja

        In my state (I’m a licensed counselor) clients can file complaints with the licensing board alleging either professional misconduct or incompetence, and there are no guidelines for what allegations fall into those categories. I’d be extremely worried about something like that happening if word got out or someone recognized me.

        Reply
  16. CherryKari

    What about focusing on gaining more training or education for your partner? To allow him to gain a better paying position first? Just a thought. I know that many state social work boards have pretty hefty rules/regulations. May need to check into your state’s rules first. What if a client identified you and brought it to the attention of your employer? Opening Pandora’s box here… Just a few thoughts, goodluck!

    Reply
    1. DataQueen

      I would second this. The time in the evenings could be spent doing online courses to gain extra skills , or putting in a bit of extra work to show the boss that you deserve a promotion/raise. The associates in my field start off at a very low pay rate – so low that they need a second job to be truly comfortable. While I wish i could just raise the starting pay, that’s not feasible. So I do give the advice that if you can handle being uncomfortable for a year, and work your butt off, you will get promoted. That extra hour you put in at work rather then leaving at 5 every day for the second job WILL pay off – at least if I’m your manager. It will stink, but I’ll make sure you get promoted.

      Reply
    2. Sibley

      Second this. Plus, assuming that the partner is currently in low skill work, there are fields where a little bit of training can take you pretty far.

      Look at areas with high demand in general. Just based on the help wanted ads I’ve seen: auto mechanics, plumbers, electricians, carpentry (the trades in general probably).

      And whatever you do, build up a good emergency fund and kudos to you for the advancement so far!

      Reply
      1. Jadelyn

        If he’d be interested in trades work, most of those use apprenticeship-based training programs, where you’re working (for pay!) while you’re in training. My fiance is a machinist, he did a 4 year apprenticeship that was full-time work plus a couple nights a week of classroom lessons as well. The evening classes weren’t paid, but the day work was, and even the apprentice rate was well over what he had been getting at his food service job prior to that. And while we both know I’ll out-earn him eventually, trades have a much higher starting wage than most white-collar jobs, so for now he’s still the main income – he makes about 55k to my 35k. This is definitely an avenue the OP’s partner might consider.

        Especially since, at 30, he’s still a younger person entering trades where a lot of workers are aging out these days. Once he gets a few years of experience, he could do very well for himself and have quite a bit of career mobility.

        Reply
    3. AndersonDarling

      If the husband supported the wife to go to school, is it possible for the wife can support the husband for a year while he goes to school. My husband and I traded school/work so we could each have a turn. He just needed a mechanical certificate from the community college and he knocked it out in a few months. Or maybe the husband just needs to take certification exam to up his career?
      If the OP is trying to make a better future for her family, the safest route would be the best route. Look into a side gig and keep the intimate recordings in-house. Heck, is there a fettish/aternative store in the area? Maybe a lingerie store? Working a Saturday shift would bring in the same cash as camming.

      Reply
      1. AndersonDarling

        Oh, not to imply that you need to work somewhere edgy, but it would be cool to go into a shop where a husband and wife were both working and could give some great recommendations.

        Reply
  17. Definitely NOT a T-Rex

    Don’t do it. If the idea of making $1k/month one year from now excites you, I can think of several other things you could do to make that much money either *now* or one year from now that don’t come with nearly as many risks as being a cam couple does. Evaluate search engines. Start a monetized blog. Do some virtual assistant work on the side. That’s just for starters.

    Also: You and your husband seem to be in a loving, supportive place now, but it may not always be that way. Things can go sour, and if you *are* in a field where knowledge of these activities could get you fired, then it’s always possible that he could use the footage against you. Revenge porn is awful. I’m not saying you *will* get divorced and he *will* do this to you, but that’s something you need to be prepared for. (I, too, come from a working class, clawed-my-way-up background, and “be prepared” basically has to be our motto, after all!)

    Reply
    1. Malibu Stacey

      It can be used against you by someone other than your husband, too. Family members, co-workers, clients, neighbors could all be possibilities of relationships that go south.

      Reply
    2. Jesca

      I took come from this background, but parents also worked very hard (without a degree) to move us out of it. I think sometimes we don’t know all of the options available to us outside our immediate sphere of life experiences, social circles, and what we are generally used to. I would definitely broaden your search for part time work. Honestly? Both working part time at minimum wage for a while can likely get you ahead and also has the opportunity to provide additional practical work experiences that could build your value add at current/new employers. That’s what I would aim for in actuality. My moto is always moving forward.

      Reply
  18. I'll say it

    I am in favor, in life, of always asking “what’s the worst that can happen?” and then following through on each worst-case scenario all the way to its final logical conclusion. First, I find that the worst that can happen isn’t always as bad as I think it will be, but that might be different for this scenario. Second, this goes to what Alison said about safety net, and basically having a Plan B for each possibility. For example: if I lose my job, this is the way I’ll try to replace that income. If my family finds out, this is how I expect it will be like and I’m okay with that. Etc, etc, etc.

    The majority of the comments so far seem to be pretty negative, so I won’t pile on there. Just know that there’s people out there who wouldn’t judge you for what you were doing. :)

    Reply
  19. Mananana

    OP, even if (and that may be a big if) the website took it down, once it’s “out there” you’ve effectively lost control of it. You and your husband could make $500 a month each working part-time jobs that wouldn’t jeopardize your (higher-paying) career — have you investigated other, less-risky options?

    Reply
  20. Erin

    Genuinely curious if you got this idea from Shameless.

    The identifying tattoos worry me, otherwise I would tell you to go for it. Maybe you could use makeup to cover them?

    If you’re careful, safe, have a plan for what you’d do if it came out, did the research, know the risks, then I’d say go for it.

    Reply
    1. Erin

      I just realized my wording was a little confusing. (Proofread before posting, Erin.) I do think you should go for it if you can somehow cover up your tattoos and otherwise mask your identity. Good luck!

      Reply
    2. Malibu Stacey

      I immediately thought of Shameless, too, especially because of the interracial couple and the repeated emphasis on being working class.

      Reply
  21. Ellen N.

    I know that it’s an unfair double standard, but as you are a social worker I believe it’s too risky. My husband is a high school teacher. He told me that one of his coworkers told him that another coworker has acted in porns. The coworker who realized that the other coworker acted in porns has launched an all out campaign to get the other coworker fired because of her porn work. I told my husband on no uncertain terms how disgusted I was that someone who is obviously a consumer of porn is trying to get someone else fired for acting in porn, but unfortunately that is the reality you face.

    Reply
    1. Super Anon for This

      If I were your husband I’d be tempted to say, loudly, when awful coworker is talking about this: But if you get all the porn actors (is that the right term?) fired, what will you watch Coworker?

      Reply
  22. Luke

    There’s three challenges I see with this plan.

    One:tattoos. An easily recognizable personal trait,one so reliable law enforcement documents them on processed inmates. It’s not much work to connect a name to a tattoo if it’s already on social media.

    Two: reputation. Being a public employee means any association with the sex industry will lead to unemployment. Do not pass go,do not collect $200.00 . Even if the OP exits the business and it’s discovered 10 years later she could be at risk of that outcome.

    Three: I’m pained to say that interracial coupling is still a controversial subject for some people in 2017 America. It shouldn’t be,but that doesn’t change the fact certain folks will take it personal enough to try to make life difficult for the OP and her partner. This is something I unfortunately know from experience. The OP should consider this move very carefully.

    Reply
    1. Liet-Kynes

      “It shouldn’t be,but that doesn’t change the fact certain folks will take it personal enough to try to make life difficult for the OP and her partner.”

      Yes. There’s a lot of toxic little trolls out there who’d send screenshots to your employer just for the mean, nasty pleasure of it. People have had SWAT teams sent to their house by trolls, or their private information posted online, for much less.

      Reply
  23. CarrieJo

    What about your partner focusing on gaining a better job. Is he underemployed?
    If you are driven to do it, than go ahead.
    Good luck to you!

    Reply
  24. Liet-Kynes

    “We are doing great and are frugal in a low cost of living city, but due to a lack of a safety net, that could easily change anytime (I understand other Americans are in this predicament as well).”

    Honestly? I disagree passionately with the sex-negativity of our culture and the stigma attached to sex work and workers, but those are factors that are part of the terrain here. If you’re worried about the sudden end of a job or changed economic circumstances, it’s arguably likelier that camming will be the cause of those predicaments, rather than the solution to them.

    Consider also that cam sites are not well-paying jobs. You’re not going to make a significant nest egg doing it. I have friends and relatives who’ve done cam work, it’s making them about the same as driving for Lyft on the weekends. Yes, a few very popular, very in demand campersons can make a real living doing it, but my observation is that they’re doing cam work and self-promoting on an essentially full-time basis.

    Reply
    1. Marisol

      “it’s arguably likelier that camming will be the cause of those predicaments, rather than the solution to them.”

      Very incisive observation.

      Reply
      1. irritable vowel

        Right – it seems like a lot of work to promote yourself to get to the point where you’d be making a good amount of money. And I have to say that any situation where you’re working with your spouse adds another dimension to the relationship that’s not always great, and it’s difficult to predict how that will go when it’s in the abstract. I would imagine that working together in sex work would be even more complicated and unpredictable! The excitement factor might not be enough to outweigh that. If performing sex for an audience is something that you want to explore as a couple, perhaps you could think about doing this in a live party atmosphere where you’re not being recorded, rather than online. Doing it even partly because you need the money does not seem like the best way to get started in this area.

        Reply
    2. Elsajeni

      Yeah — obviously this isn’t exactly the same, but I have a good friend who used to run a Youtube channel doing video game tutorials. He was pretty successful, had a substantial number of subscribers, etc., but he was also putting in full-time hours managing the channel (filming, editing, researching new topics, managing social media and other self-promotion, etc.) while simultaneously working a part-time food service job to make ends meet. I get the appeal that, hey, this is something you’d enjoy doing anyway and you can make a little extra cash at it, but I feel like $1000/month is both an optimistic estimate for something you’re doing around full-time work, and not really enough to justify the potential risks. (Especially since, unfortunately, being found to be doing something like camwork is likely to have a bigger impact on the OP’s reputation than on her husband’s, and she’s the main breadwinner.)

      Reply
  25. Havarti

    If doing this caused you to lose your job(s), do you really think you can make $70k getting in front of a camera? $1000 by the start of next year? Is that before or after taxes? (I’m assuming transactions that aren’t actual cash handed to you are easily tracked/verified and would need to be declared unless you want the IRS knocking for a slice of that pie.) Is that guaranteed to remain steady or can it dip/fluctuate? I can understand the temptation to roll two great things into one (making money and sexy funtimes!) but I’d play it safe in your shoes and not do it. As someone suggested above, start saving. Aggressively even, for short periods of time. Explore other money-making options that won’t endanger your $50k job.

    If you’re looking to revitalize your relationship in the bedroom, that’s a separate issue.

    Reply
    1. Liet-Kynes

      “We are hoping to get $1,000 a month by the start of next year”

      Two more observations: while this might sound like a consequential sum, it’s a pretty paltry fraction of your household income given the risks to your livelihood that come with it. If you get fired, you’ll blow through three or four months of cam proceeds a month. Also consider that driving for Uber or Lyft can make you $200 a weekend.

      Reply
      1. Samata (Formerly Whats In A Name)

        Waitressing one or two nights a weekend can get you close to $1,000 a month. And you don’t have to bring that work home – go, deal the people, clean up, head home.

        Reply
  26. Inspector Spacetime

    In order to be helpful to OP, let’s make a thread suggesting other ways to get $1,000 a month, so that they feel like they have options. Somebody said freelance writing– how about bar tending a few nights a week? Free lance copy editing, taking surveys? I unfortunately don’t have any experience with anything other than traditional part time jobs, but hopefully somebody else can help!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Great idea. I don’t have any suggestions other than what is posted. Maybe tutoring, I know many who make a lot doing that.

      Reply
    2. Liet-Kynes

      Hell, driving for Uber on evenings and weekends would get them to $1k a month if they did it with some dedication. I know folks who live in a pretty dense, Millennial-popular city and they make $200-300 a weekend, driving solo.

      Reply
      1. Jadelyn

        I have a friend who does weekends with Uber – but she specifically drives out to a nearby winery-dense area before turning on the app. She gets called up by groups of tipsy wine-tasters hopping from winery to winery, who usually apparently tip really well, and she makes a few hundred a weekend.

        Reply
    3. Ellie

      Professional writers and editors love suggestions that anybody with a pulse can do their jobs with no education. The fact that it drives prices down below living wages is just icing on the cake.

      Reply
      1. Liet-Kynes

        Yes. Freelance copy editing is for trained and experienced editors. If you’re not that, you’re a proofreader at best, and that depresses earning potential for people with the skills to actually do it properly.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Though nobody should feel obliged to stay out of a field just because it’ll make it hard for the others in it.

          Reply
          1. Liet-Kynes

            If they lack the actual qualifications to do it right, I think they should, honestly. That’s not a field where “oh, I write pretty well and I give good feedback” is actually worth anything.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              I agree that my professional skills are worth more than that, but it’s up to the market to judge whether it feels the same way.

              Reply
        2. Liane

          And not even training and experience make some people able to do it properly. I have a lot of experience at editing/proofreading and similar jobs and am very good at it. On the other hand, there’s my boss–managing editor–who is a *published author* of at least 4 books (not self-published) and he just cannot proofread, although he is good at writing and other aspects of editing.

          Reply
        3. Proofin' Amy

          I’m an editor, copywriter, and proofreader. Proofreading requires skill and experience, too; I make good money proofreading because most people can’t spot what I can. Don’t knock proofreading!

          Reply
      2. Optimistic Prime

        To be fair, nobody said that. It takes a considerable amount of skill and expertise to make money doing sex work as well. I think the idea was suggestions that the OP could work towards if she had the skills or was willing to invest the time to do so.

        Reply
    4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      OP could moonlight or use her MSW to pick up counseling (in the therapy sense), assuming that’s not already part of her portfolio or banned by her current workplace. It tends to pay a bit better by hour, especially if you’re sliding scale.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Oh, or should could consult as an expert witness! It’s hard to break into, but once you do, it can be quite lucrative.

        Reply
        1. Delta Delta

          Speaking of witness, if OP is the kind of social worker who works with a child welfare department, she could potentially have to end up testifying as a witness in child dependency cases that she works on. Credibility would be totally gone if she was impeached in court with video of herself as a sex worker. And since that’s sort of nuclear, it would only, have to happen once for OP to have her credibility completely destroyed. It’s just so not worth it.

          All that to say – the expert witness gig is a good idea (it may take a while to get to that point) if OP can come up with a good niche and really make herself an expert in that part of the field.

          Reply
      2. No Name Yet

        If there’s a local social work school, sometimes the students will have to find their own (paid) therapy supervisors. It looks good on a professional resume, though I honestly have no idea how much she could make. I saw ideas elsewhere of adjuncting, both on-line and for in-person classes.

        Reply
    5. Natalie

      There’s quite a few gig-economy options – Rover for dog walking or pet sitting, Lyft or Uber for driving, trolling NextDoor or Craigslist for odd jobs. My husband will probably be driving for Lyft while he’s in school, because we need the flexibility plus some extra cash.

      Reply
      1. Not Allison

        This was my thought as well. OP’s husband has to be employed only part time in order to earn 20K in this day and age (or minimum wage?). Sounds like he has plenty of time to have a nice stable side gig like Lyft or Uber…

        Reply
        1. Natalie

          At full time hours, $20K per year is approximately $10 an hour.

          (Since there are generally 2080 working hours in a year, there’s a handy shortcut to translate hourly wage to annual at full time – double the hourly wage, and then move the decimal place three spots to the right. Or vice versa to convert annual to hourly)

          Reply
      2. Amy Cakes

        When I was unemployed, I found gig work to be set up in a way that really discourages truly frugal people. You need a smart phone for Rover–which I didn’t have, because I was broke. You need a relatively new car for Uber–which I didn’t have, because I was broke. It’s SO frustrating.

        Reply
        1. Natalie

          I completely hear that and it is incredibly frustrating for people who are cutting every expense to the bone. But I don’t think that’s the situation the OP & her husband are in – it sounds like they are covering their bills, but would like extra cash to pay down debt & save more. So it’s likely they have a smart phone and a late enough model car for Uber (anything after 2002 is acceptable).

          Reply
    6. NJ Anon

      Additional retail part time work. When I needed extra money, I took a part time retail job in addition my full time job to make some extra cash. As a social worker, you might be able to pick up a part time gig at a group home.

      Reply
      1. Chinook

        Plus, if you look for retail work in a place where you actually buy their products, you can stretch your dollars farther with the employee discount. I remember one place where one coworker was working there purely so she could buy stuff for her house because earning $1 (take home) would buy her $1.25 in product.

        Reply
        1. Jadelyn

          The retail store I worked at had a few of those – several people who only worked seasonally at the holidays and it was mainly so they could use the discount to stretch their gift-giving money.

          Reply
    7. K.

      Taking surveys won’t get you there, at least not in my experience. It’s not consistent enough. I’ve made a few hundred bucks here and there doing focus groups though, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a stable source of income.
      I had a part-time survival job in a call center for about six months though (I left when I got a much better full-time job in my field), and I made more than $1k a month – they even offered small cash bonuses, which I got pretty often. It was all evening and weekend work. People always complain about call centers but this one wasn’t bad.

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        Although it doesn’t sound like they need another stable source of income – cam work wouldn’t provide that either. It sounds like a few hundred bucks here and there would be perfectly helpful.

        Reply
        1. K.

          Good point. I was focused on the $1K a month, which would be difficult to generate doing surveys and focus groups. Focus groups and surveys are dependent on demographic information, and as a Black woman (I am too), she might find that her quota fills up quickly. Focus groups often don’t have a ton of slots for POCs unless they are focus groups specifically for POCs. (I’ve worked in market research.)

          Reply
    8. Leslie Knope

      My friend often works festivals or concerts serving alcoholic beverages or working a cash register. She will usually bring in > $500 from a few days of work.

      Also, I’d look at what the OP’s spouse could do to increase his salary. In certain fields getting a certification can increase hourly wage significantly.

      Reply
      1. Curiosity Killed The Cat

        Do you know how she finds these weekend jobs and what qualifications she needs for them? That is work that would greatly interest me, as someone who has always thought I’d enjoy bartending and would like to get a small taste of it.

        Reply
    9. the_scientist

      I posted this below as well, but I think there are a few different ways that the letter writer could leverage her professional license in a side hustle. Tutoring and adjuncting are great suggestions. If they live in a town with a university, proctoring exams is apparently pretty lucrative, and you’re literally just sitting there for a couple of hours. Where I live, PSWs don’t make a ton, but I think the letter writer could market herself as providing freelance respite care, either elder care or for families who have children with behavioural needs. Most PSWs don’t have a ton of medical training, so this is obviously different from personal nursing care, and a clinical social work license would definitely lend credibility there.

      Reply
    10. Kat

      I used to work overnights at a hotel on weekends as a night auditor. It was tiring and I only did it for a year but I think if I didn’t have kids it would have been a lot easier. I did it while working full-time 9-5 during the week and I netted $800 a month just for that. If I had picked up other shifts it would have been well over $1000. I had plenty of down time to do other stuff too – this might be great for your husband, to take online classes during the overnight shift. It was really slow after 1AM.

      Reply
      1. Kat

        I want to add that a lot of college kids picked up catering jobs at the hotel for wedding season – that could also be an option.

        My husband works retail as a side gig and makes about $350 a month working just 10 hours a week. (He is a teacher with a Master’s degree). He’d work more but again, kids. I bet OP could bring in the goal of $1000/month if she and her husband just picked up a few shifts of retail a week, and that has one of the lowest level of entry required that I can think of.

        Reply
      2. MyTwoCents

        Kat, What does a night auditor do? I’ve always wondered – is it an accounting type position? Thanks in advance for the info!

        Reply
    11. Giles

      Welllll… if you want to go after something in the sex industry, try selling your used panties. I briefly looked into doing that, because I needed the money in college. It can actually be decently lucrative and there’s online forums/marketplaces for it.

      Reply
      1. The Annoniest One

        Maybe a few people are making bank but I was in it for a while and it wasn’t lucrative at all. I have *ahem* great assets and I do gorgeous photography, thanks to my background in art, but anything that went was going for a pittance.

        Reply
      2. Temporarily nameless

        A college acquaintance did the panty thing and it was far more work-intensive than I would have guessed. Just ordinary used panties made barely any money; she had to develop relationships and take very specific requests to do better than break even. (Sometimes this was just specific types of underwear, but quite often it was requests for things like wearing the same panties and not showering for many days in a row, or wearing them through a period without using a pad/tampon, or other things involving bodily fluids.) And she spent an ENORMOUS amount of time and effort on the emotional labor of maintaining these relationships, because they were where the money came from.

        I suspect that’s true of a huge percentage of sex work, though.

        Reply
    12. OwnedByTheCat

      I posted up-thread about listening to the podcast Side Hustle School. Tons of interesting case studies on people who great a side business, some related to their professional lives and some not. I’d recommend the OP give it a listen and get inspired!

      Reply
    13. AMPG

      A friend hosts bar trivia nights. It requires no experience other than being good with crowds (which I know is not a skill everyone has), and the pay is good.

      Reply
      1. Lindsay J

        Yes! The company that runs the trivia nights I was going to was always looking for new hosts. A few times a year they would offer cash bonuses just for applying. I was and am interested, but my work schedule just hasn’t allowed it so far.

        Reply
    14. HannaS

      Tutoring:
      In a mid-sized suburban city in Canada, I worked as a tutor in several different ways. I was actually doing a combination of all three below as well as volunteering (not recommended) so I added an estimate for what a person who works regular hours would make if they spend 2 hours each weekday plus 4 hours on the weekend. Popular subjects are English, ESL, math, French, and SAT prep.

      1) Working at a tutoring centre (like Kumon) I made $15 an hour, and was usually scheduled for 20 hours a week. Pro: All I had to do was show-up; the lessons were very repetitive and easy to teach. Cons: lowest wage, hours were 4pm-8pm weekdays and 10-2 weekends, which difficult with full-time work. Estimate: $840 a month.

      2) Working as an online tutor for a Chinese company that had me doing English lessons with children in China, I made $20-25 an hour. Pros: All I had to do was show up; the lessons were repetitive and easy to teach. No commuting! I taught from my computer and could work any quiet place with an internet connection. I could easily choose my own hours. Cons: Due to the 12h time difference, the hours available for me were 5am-10am weekdays (though more flexible on weekends). Estimate: 1260 a month

      3) Working as a private tutor, I charged $40 per hour. Pro: Highest wage, I liked my students, I liked being my own boss. I often taught older students for 2h at a time, or sets of siblings for multiple-hour shifts. Cons: I had to find students, which was hard! You have to get to each kid’s house, unless you can get them to come to you. This was not a possibility for me, as I live with my parents. Estimate: 2240 a month

      Tutoring, guys. If you’re good at teaching, it’s a great side gig. I know teachers who do it (both currently employed and retired) and they charge significantly more than I do.

      Reply
      1. HannaS

        I should add, with combining all three, I actually WAS making around or over $1000 some months, but it was a real pain in the butt to combine the various sources of income. It would have been better for me to have focused on one of them–either online teaching, where the convenience could outweigh the lower wage, or private teaching, where the higher wage could outweigh the convenience/allowed me to work less. But I was applying to medical school at the time and needed certain reference letters and trying to get a different job, etc. Still, if I needed a side-gig again, I’d take it up again.
        Also, since you have a specific degree, you can offer to tutor university students in that program. Is there a licensing exam? You can tutor for that, too, if there is.

        Reply
      2. idek

        Yes! I currently charge $55/hour for private tutoring, and while I only do a few hours a week, that’s still $400/month or so. And there’s not the risk as outlined above with camming – while I agree camming is absolutely a skill, and in a perfect world, it wouldn’t be a problem – no one is going to fire you because you helped some kids pass their AP Psych exam.

        I have a part-time, as needed gig doing SAT work, which is $25/hour, and then actually find my own clients for the $55/hour rate.

        Reply
    15. NotoriousMCG

      Is there a theatre or arts center in your community? I’m a house manager part time for a large arts center and it is pretty undemanding, regular, and pays well for a part time job.

      Reply
    16. Nottingham

      Basic-level petsitting could be good, maybe esp for husband, since it can fit in around almost anyone’s schedule: Go to house, feed animal, spend 5-10 mins petting animal (if it’s social), change water and/or litter, go home. Charge extra for walking (since it takes more time) and as long as that’s equal to or less than it costs to kennel in your area, you could do $2000/month in good months (it is a bit seasonal) and you can build up a regular client list quite quickly.

      Also, though you may hate this, typing for students. If you’re fast and/or have speech-to-text, you could type up essays and theses and dissertations for local students (not write them, just type them up). People will pay quite a high rate for someone who knows the proper formatting to do a professional job.

      Reply
    17. Optimistic Prime

      Perhaps Care.com, working as a caregiver? Your social work degree (even if your work is not relevant to kids) may help you fetch extra money in this area.

      If you have high test scores or are good at a specific subject area, maybe tutoring. Depending on what metro you live in you could charge $20-40/hour for tutoring. I think it might be hard to get $1,000 a month, but there is potential there.

      Reply
  27. Sue Wilson

    I’d say no. For whatever reason, people are very judgmental over people doing sex work, even though they may only find out because they’re watching porn themselves. There’s no way to tell who will be watching you, and many many workers in the industry say it’s nearly impossible to get people who record your videos and post them elsewhere to take them down, even with good privacy on the site you’re using, because they may post them on another site that doesn’t care where the vids are from.

    You don’t say what you’re husband does but there’s just no way to control people’s reactions. I wouldn’t risk it unless you could be anonymous.

    Reply
    1. Sue Wilson

      Also, please think about safety. The fact of the matter is that it’s a lot easier to catch the attention of people willing to stalk you or dox you because the profession is filled with vulnerable people (and then willing to ruin your life). Make sure the site has a way of protecting your online presence from predators.

      Reply
      1. Liet-Kynes

        None of them can really protect you from predators. If you’re distinctively identifiable, your information is available enough places that they can triangulate. And there’s nothing that can prevent a screen capture.

        Reply
    2. SignalLost

      I can record a video, upload it to a file sharing or torrent site, and by the time you find it, OP, it’s already been downloaded by 300 other people, all of whom can, and some of whom have, do exactly what I did. You cannot control the spread of this, and I wouldn’t rely on the platform’s stated IP guidelines or protections. If I were really determined, I could film the screen using my phone camera.

      Reply
  28. itsallgood

    there is a great netflix series about the porn industry and working in the porn industry. One of the episodes follows cam workers. It is a very hard job to make a lot of money in. I was shocked at the amount of “behind the scenes” business management it takes to earn those $$. I concur with those who suggest that there are other, more anonymous (and also easier) ways to work in this field if you want to go that route. (and yes that netflix series really is good.)

    Reply
  29. paul

    I don’t know if this is specific to my region–very conservative–but in my area social workers are right up there with educators as far people harping on their non-work lives. It sucks, but it might well have professional repercussions.

    I’ll also say that once an image is online you no longer have real control over it; sure you can file DCMA notices out the wazoo if you hold the rights to the image but that doesn’t scrub it offline. It is *very* likely that, at some point, a client or colleague will see it. Do you serve a demographic where this is likely to cause issues with clients? Say, ex sex offenders or something?

    Reply
    1. Jen

      Well here’s the deal with the pro-am porn industry and why a social worker should steer away: there is a human trafficking and abuse issue in some (not all, but some) pro-am porn. The office I interned for prosecuted a human trafficking ring and forced pornography, including cam work, was among the things they had the women do. Someone in criminal law or social work is likely to have encountered this kind of thing and have a seriously negative view of the industry as a result (I personally do as well, we called it “puppy mill porn” because if how badly it uses up people for short term profits).

      Reply
      1. paul

        I honestly don’t know enough about the industry to judge from that side of it. I’ve attended a few human trafficking trainings from an advocacy group that’s local and honestly found the training incredibly alarmist (they repeated a lot of things that have been debunked as urban legends–like abductors “baiting” mall parking lots with car seats with realistic infant dolls in them) so I know what those training *said* but I don’t know how much of it was good info.

        Reply
        1. Jen

          I mean it depends on where you live. I grew up in a “port of entry” city (big city, shipping, immigration) where that kind of thing is a lot more common than you would believe, but criminal law does make you see the dark side of everything.

          Reply
      2. Anna

        This is precisely what I was thinking about. Because of the nature of the work the OP does, it’s possible she’ll work with people who are victims of sex-trafficking and sexual exploitation. The porn industry is known for having that underbelly and as sex-positive as I try to be, I know I would have a hard time seeing the positive side if I found out a social worker who worked with my clients was doing cam work on the side for just this reason.

        Reply
  30. Jen

    I wouldn’t do it.

    One is that the pro-am porn industry is totally flooded. Try watching “Hot Girls Wanted” for context. None of them ended up making real money and their “careers” dried up in a manner of weeks. Porn sites are not known for being good about IP so getting stuff taken down is tough.

    Ultimately I think the chances at making any real money are so low and the risks so high it seems like a very, very bad idea.

    Reply
    1. Dan

      This is where I’m at. I just don’t see the money being there — sure, when you’re new to the “scene”, you’re going to make a few bucks… and things will dry up quick.

      There is so much free porn out there that the appetite for people actually willing to pay is starting to drop.

      Reply
    2. Katniss

      I would say not to use Hot Girls Wanted as good evidence of anything. It’s clear the filmmakers went in with their own opinion that was unlikely to change, and on top of that they acted incredibly unethically by outing sec workers who did not consent to be outed. There are better sources for information on sex work out there, that are also critical of negative aspects of the industry, without giving viewership to one that has directly harmed sex workers.

      Reply
      1. Jen

        Fair, one documentary isn’t great but the idea of not making actual money and there being an overlap with sex trafficking are 100% true. There is a difference between being sex positive and being closed off to the real problems and exploitation in the industry. I am no prude, but people swing too far the other way.

        Reply
  31. Delta Delta

    I’m all for side hustle. My whole life feels like side hustle (at what point does side work become the actual job? Dunno). Have you thought about picking up a different part time job on the side that stays more in line with your professional goals but still generates a little income? As an example, I teach as an adjunct professor at a couple different places near me. It’s not huge, but it generates about $8000/year extra for me. Is there a community college near you where you could try something similar? (Also, great resume booster!)

    Reply
  32. Monica Boctor

    Other suggestions of ways to make money as a side gig, since you have 2 cars: Amazon Flex, Postmates, Uber, UberEats, Grub Hub, Lyft, Pizza Delivery, Caviar, Instacart, etc

    I personally am an Uber driver on the side (cars are now allowed 2002 and newer) and I can EASILY make a grand extra a month if I drive weekends. And that isn’t $1000 a month by next year. That is a change effective immediately when you decide to put in the time. (Sidebar: Yes, Uber is in turmoil. But they have only lost about 3% of their riders, despite their PR nightmare. I have been busier than ever as a driver.)

    And I don’t risk being discriminated against for how I make money on the side.

    Reply
  33. School Psych

    I would definitely check your work contract and the board that professionally licenses you for a morality clause before doing this. I’m a clinician and both my job and my professional licensing board have information that you sign agreeing to uphold a certain standard of behavior in your professional and personal life. Granted I work with children in a school setting, but morality clauses are really common in the helping professions. This definitely would not be worth the risk, if you could potentially lose your job and your license over it.

    Reply
    1. Quacktastic

      Agreed. In my state, pretty much all professional licenses for professions like medicine or social work have a good moral character clause. It’s nebulous, but if a client or coworker complained, I could definitely see the state board sanctioning a license for this, and posting the reason for the fine and sanction online. Definitely not something I’d risk in your field.

      Reply
  34. ArtK

    The internet is forever. No amount of “takedown” will make things go away* — at best, it’s an unending game of Whack-A-Mole. Unless you are prepared to be outed to your friends, family and employers, don’t do this. The internet *feels* intimate and private, but it’s not. It’s as public a forum as you can find anywhere — I don’t care what your “privacy” settings are. Privacy is an illusion; especially when every click you make can be monetized by someone.

    Art’s Rule of the Internet: Never post *anything* that you wouldn’t want on a billboard on I405 in West Los Angeles at rush hour.

    *It was specifically designed to be durable. It came from a US Defense Department project. It’s supposed to survive nuclear war. That’s extended to the data storage attached.

    Reply
  35. Excel Slayer

    From a purely practical perspective:
    1) It would be very easy (albeit unethical – don’t do this people!) to record your stream without your knowledge.
    2) There are about a billion, er, specialised content sites that allow user uploads. If your stuff was uploaded there’s a very good chance you’ll never see it.
    3) If you do find a video of you and your partner, there will be a subset of sites that will make you jump through hoops and do the bare legal minimum, and there will be some that will make things complicated by being hosted in different countries.

    I’m not saying don’t do it. I’ve got no idea of how likely it is that someone professionally connected to you will stumble across any of this. But if your criteria is ‘it has to be impossible for anyone I know ever to find out about this’, then it’s worth a think over.

    Reply
  36. chickia

    Speaking strictly as a money issue, I just don’t see $1000/mo as worth the risk to your career (if there is a risk, and I agree with many of the other commenters that there probably is a pretty major risk). There’s plenty of other side businesses where you can put in a little effort and make that much. If you were talking about 5K, 10K/month . . . well then I’d think seriously about it. But 1K??? Join a multi-level marketing thing for a product you love (skin care, jewelry, craft supplies, supplements .. . there’s literally dozens). Get a part time job bartending (or something) . . . If you were absolutely sure you could remain anonymous? maybe . . . but tattoos, not being able to adequately disguise yourself . . . I think very bad idea.

    Reply
    1. Liet-Kynes

      “Join a multi-level marketing thing for a product you love (skin care, jewelry, craft supplies, supplements .. . there’s literally dozens)”

      Noooo. MLM schemes are Ponzi schemes, and they don’t deserve support – there’s legitimate side jobs that don’t prey on people that are better alternatives.

      Reply
      1. K.

        Yes – I cringed when I saw MLM. Don’t do it. (I’ve told the story here about how I and an entire group of about a dozen walked out en masse of what was billed as an interview but turned out to be an MLM pitch. One of my prouder moments.)

        Reply
      2. Jadelyn

        The only way to be profitable with an MLM is not through the direct marketing yourself – it’s through conning other people into joining. Check out PinkTruth.com – it’s specifically about Mary Kay, but the overall idea is applicable to all MLMs.

        Reply
        1. Optimistic Prime

          Oh man, I also got into selling Mary Kay (convinced by a college dormmate). I’m glad I did a little Internet research before I made my first purchase of stock. I had even applied for a credit card to put the purchase on, reasoning that I would easily pay it all back once I sold all of this merch!

          Reply
    2. FDCA In Canada

      This is terrible advice. Multi-level marketing for 99% of people is a net cost, not a net gain. It is incredibly difficult to even break even selling it, and your real goal is signing up your friends and acquaintances to sell crap that can be bought more cheaply and easily at any target. There are real side jobs out there to earn money at, but MLMs are not them. The odds are worse than gambling.

      Reply
  37. Us, Too

    $1k/month doesn’t seem like enough return given that you may be risking $70k/year (worst case). Also adding $1k/month in income in ways that don’t risk your current careers seems easier. JMO.

    Reply
  38. Gaia

    I hate that this is my advice, but I suggest you don’t do it. The risk is too high for you especially if you work with children. That is stupid and absolutely ridiculous and hypocritical (considering this is a billion dollar industry, no doubt a lot of the people who clutch their pearls are part of it) but it is real life.

    But that doesn’t mean there are no options to get into this industry. It just means you need to protect yourself. Can you avoid showing your face? Can your husband (who, ridiculously, will face less backlash if discovered) be the primary person on camera?

    Good luck. And, for the record, your reason isn’t lame. Hell, your reason could be “we want to do this because we want to do this.” You are consenting adults doing shows for consenting adults. It shouldn’t matter and it shouldn’t impact you in any way.

    Reply
  39. Anon today...and tomorrow

    Years ago I worked in a little retail shop and my husband (then boyfriend) was a local radio DJ. We lived in a New England area that was highly trafficked by tourists and workers from around the world for 4 months out of the year. One night we were out at a bar with some friends – he was working the bar with another DJ and I was along for the free drinks – and there were a lot of people drinking and having a good time. During the night the radio station gave away tickets to a concert and this one girl, a bit drunk, wanted to win so bad she took off her shirt and showed her naked chest to the room of bar patrons. She won the tickets. Two days later I am at work and in walks the girl with some of her friends. One of my co-workers had been at the bar with us that night and as she was checking out he made a comment to her and asked if she was excited about the concert she’d won tickets too. Her face turned bright red and then his did because they both realized in the same second what she’d done to win those tickets.

    I tell you all this OP, to say: you have to be willing to run this risk. Are you willing to find out about a relatives secret porn hobby when they mention to you that they know what you’ve been doing on the side? Are you willing to risk a client that you see as part of your social work stumbling across your side work? I have no judgment on sex work…if that’s what you want to do and it makes you happy then go for it, but be prepared for the worst. The girl who bared her breasts in a crowded bar did so to about 100 people (before cell phone cameras) and still she ran into someone who saw her do it. What you’re suggesting has a much wider audience. Good Luck! Keep us updated!

    Reply
  40. Natalie

    A few people have mentioned that your risk is higher as a social worker, but I also want to mention that I think your risk is higher as a black professional. It’s not fair, but it is generally true that people of color are given much less slack and fewer opportunities to screw up.

    You’re also the higher earning partner in your family. If someone is going to be potentially losing their income, it should be your spouse.

    Reply
    1. Anon today...and tomorrow

      I hadn’t even thought of this. Sadly, you’re correct. People of color are already going into a situation with an unfair stereotype attached to them and that makes this even that much more risky to your professional reputation.

      Reply
    2. Tiffany In Houston

      AS a black woman, I cannot agree with this comment enough! We have to be twice as good always!

      Reply
      1. K.

        100% agree, as a fellow Black woman. We have to be twice as good to get half the opportunities, every minute of the day.

        Reply
    3. Temperance

      Plus, as a woman, she’s even more under a microscope. Men have indescretions, women have career-ending scandals.

      Reply
      1. Jadelyn

        Hell, for sex- and porn-related stuff, men get high-fived for their “indiscretions”. There’s little to no backlash at all for most of them.

        Reply
  41. Amber Rose

    On the flip side, I was reading an article about how it can be fairly lucrative to sell, well, “used” panties. I mean, you could look into it. Less risk and probably more money, really.

    The type of sex work you’re talking about is fundamentally safe to your person, which is great, but your reputation is the question here, and there are other things you can do for excitement and cash that are less likely to cause problems for you.

    Reply
  42. Sharon

    In addition to all of the comments about how this might hurt your career, be prepared that the fall-out may very well impact your personal lives down the road. I used to belong to a parenting board (similar in spirit to AAM) in which a woman indicated that she and her husband owned a sex toy shop and therefore other parents didn’t want their children playing with her young son and wasn’t that unfair. Commenters pointed out that that’s the risk you run when you run a sex toy shop – that people are going to not want to associate with you (or perhaps your eventual children). I don’t care what people do in their private lives as long as all are consensual, but I know I’d feel weird if my young adult children started dating someone whose parents engaged in the kind of thing you’re talking about.

    Anyway, it’s sort of Common Sense 101 that even in the context of a committed monogamous relationship, you don’t ever “let” your partner take a picture of you unclothed because you never know where that picture will wind up. And now you’re talking about voluntarily putting it out there. Nope. Just not smart. Not worth it. Get your kicks elsewhere.

    Reply
    1. Liet-Kynes

      “Anyway, it’s sort of Common Sense 101 that even in the context of a committed monogamous relationship, you don’t ever “let” your partner take a picture of you unclothed because you never know where that picture will wind up”

      Eh. I think we’re rapidly approaching a world where most adults have a naughty pic or two (or two hundred) of themselves taken by a partner on some device or another, and I think at some point it’s going to be viewed much like having smoked some weed in college or an old public intoxication charge or something – perhaps regrettable, but hardly exceptional or terribly outrageous. I’m certain that parts of my anatomy are squirreled away on various exes hard drives, long forgotten about, and I’m not troubled overmuch by that.

      Online sex work is, of course, a significant step up from that, and would be viewed differently.

      Reply
    2. ByteTheBullet

      That’s quite a view to have, especially given how popular sex toys are in all segments of society. Using sex toys is (presumably) okay in your eyes? I don’t get why the couple should be treated like pariahs, they’re not doing a anything wrong. Their children also aren’t tainted by association, good grief.

      I agree with your point that there could be a fallout for the cam couple, though, and with your ample demonstration of why that would be the case.

      Reply
  43. SS

    Refinery29 has a series called Money Diaries where millennial women track their income, expenses and general activities for a week. They posted one by a cam girl once which might be worth a read – from memory she made good money but she did need to put a lot of effort in.

    I’m suuuuuper pro sex work, but personally I wouldn’t do anything involving photos/video if it were just a supplementary side gig, unless I could make it completely anonymous eg with masks. For me the relatively small amount of money wouldn’t be worth the risk, especially given you could probably get a similar hourly income from other types of work. I actually think in-person sex work would be less risky (at least in this regard), so that might be worth considering, depending what’s legal where you live.

    If you do want to go ahead with it, Dermablend concealer is supposed to be super effective at covering tattoos. I learned this from a stripper.

    For what it’s worth I do think it would be a lot of fun! (Not because I don’t realise that sex work is still work, just because it seems like you and your husband are genuinely into it.) Good luck with whatever you decide!

    Reply
  44. Kitty

    How about contract work with your LCSW, many hospitals hire prn social workers for monthly coverage. Also, the online therapy space is improving so sites such as better help and talkspace hire social workers.

    Reply
  45. TotesMaGoats

    OP-I would strongly consider all the implication before doing this. I think any area of social work could be problematic if this came out. Certainly, with children. But think about with adults who might come across this online. You can’t undo that boundary crossing and it would be without your permission and that of the client. (The boundary crossing, not the actual viewing.)

    With an MSW, look into teaching online. Your start up costs would be nil. One class a semester isn’t much when you get started but down the road, it could really pay off.

    This sounds like people who think they are going to make TONS of money from MLM schemes like Lularoe and such. Not that people don’t make money but it’s never as quick or easy as it seems. (And many never, ever make money.)

    I wouldn’t say I’m anti-sex workers or pro. It falls into, you do you and “an it harm none”. This is just rocky ground given your profession.

    Reply
    1. AMT

      The adjunct teaching is a good point! I’m a social worker and have been an adjunct. It paid something like $65 an hour, albeit at a private school in a big city.

      Other routes to consider: fee-for-service therapy, writing an academic or professional book, starting a therapy group, taking private clients if OP’s license allows.

      Reply
    2. No Name Yet

      You hit on another thing that I couldn’t articulate – if a patient saw this, it would be a boundary crossing that *neither* of them could predict or avoid. It’s different than a patient choosing to Google you and finding something you don’t want them to see.

      Reply
      1. TotesMaGoats

        My master’s in counseling has to be good for something!

        I’m think I’m more concerned that a licensed MSW didn’t identify that as an issue. Boundaries are counseling 101. And not even graduate level. I learned that in undergrad.

        OP, I understand why you are focused on the lucrative-ness of this. But don’t let the possibility (and that’s a key word) of more money blind you to the career implications.

        Reply
  46. Grey

    If you both work 40 hours a week, this would add only the equivalent of $2.89 an hour to you paychecks. And that’s assuming you’re even able to make $1K a month with this deal. Is it really worth it?

    Reply
  47. Hannah

    I think one big question about thinking about the “plan” if someone from your work found out is how YOU would feel if people at work knew. Sometimes, how you feel about it plays some role in how people finding out plays out. If you would feel embarrassed or uncomfortable if people knew about it, don’t do it. I’m not saying that you SHOULD feel that way, and I think there are plenty of people in this world who would be fine with it if the whole world knew they were online porn stars.

    If this is something that you want to do, are prepared to be open and comfortable about if necessary, that’s one thing. If this is just something you want to do because you think it will be easy money, definitely no. There are many other ways to make money–especially such a small amount. $500/ a month per person is pretty much a part time job at Starbucks.

    Reply
  48. kb

    This isn’t right– society should change and we should all be free to live as we please– but historically women are punished more than straight men for being sexual humans. Look at Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. If you’re the one with higher earning potential, the extra income from camming likely doesn’t outweigh the risk, especially since you have invested so much time, hard work, and schooling into your career.

    Reply
  49. Sierra

    I am a social worker, and honestly I wouldn’t risk it. Thinking of worst possible scenarios- if you ever have to testify in court and lawyers are looking through your background (not that they SHOULD use this against you, but it happens), I was called to court and had to turn over my phone and email passwords…, if one of your clients finds you and it completely changes your relationship, clients possibly becoming fixated on you in inappropriate ways, so many other ethical dilemmas.

    Although it may depend on what kind of social work you do- I had a colleague who was a stripper while in school, however she ended up doing more admin/leadership roles. However if you’re going for your LCSW I assume you are doing clinical client focused work.

    I would try to find some other ways to make extra money- maybe taking on an oncall job, or consulting, or maybe looking into a few hours of private practice.

    Reply
    1. strawberries and raspberries

      As a newly-graduated, license-pending social worker, I would also add that if you work in an agency setting and you have particularly conservative board members, donors, etc. any news of alleged “sexual misconduct” could paint the agency in a bad light, which could seriously affect their ability to provide services to underserved communities. (Which on its face is really unfair, but it’s unfortunately one of those potentially reputation-killing things that just doesn’t seem worth it for all the time, money, and effort involved in completing an LCSW.)

      Reply
  50. Donnie Diamond

    What type of work is your husband involved in? Perhaps more concentration on him gaining a better paying position? Even construction in my city pays 18.00 /hr. Just a thought that maybe he needs to look at his own employment and how to add to then financial situation. If this is just a personal interest to try than it’s a whole new conversation.

    Reply
  51. Kristine

    This couple could find ways to remain anonymous OR do so in the meantime with the idea of eventually coming out, writing a book, making TV appearances, and speaking out against society’s childish fear of sexuality and its hypocrisy about being willing to secretly pay for sexual entertainment while condemning those who consume/produce it. That would involve, of course, a business plan, an attorney, an accountant, and nerves of steel for the long haul. (And the experience of being alone until they aren’t, for they won’t be alone for long.) Frankly, I think their idea is very intriguing, and I don’t understand what one’s adult sexual choices for adult audiences has anything to do with being a social worker, a teacher, or otherwise “working with children.” (Wasn’t it “celibate priests” who committed such widespread sexual abuse of children in the Church?) I wish our society was as liberated as it claims to be.

    Reply
  52. Creag an Tuire

    From what I’ve heard from the victims of “revenge porn”, while there are laws about removing unwanted content, by the time you find out about it, the content is on 30 different websites and half of them are in the Ukraine. I wouldn’t advise it.

    Reply
  53. the_scientist

    I really appreciate the overall thoughtfulness of the discussion here- seriously, it’s amazing. That said, I’m going with the majority opinion of “don’t do it”, not because I’m anti-sex work, but specifically because you’re a social worker. The risk is simply too high for a profession like that, you’re the breadwinner, and the rewards don’t really seem to outweigh the benefits. Like it might be fun and exciting, but $1000/month within a year isn’t that much money, and you could be outed before you start earning any meaningful income. I just feel like there’s a way that you could make $500 to $100 a month doing stuff that won’t jeopardize your professional license. Uber, petsitting, dog-walking, house-sitting, tutoring, food delivery? Seriously, one of my roommates was a delivery driver in undergrad and he made a LOT of money in tips (mostly because people were too high/drunk to bother counting change).

    I know you’re not a PSW, but surely there’s a niche market for elder care- for people who don’t need the support of a PSW but could benefit from companionship/mental stimulation/someone to take them to appointments? Could you offer more specialized childcare or respite services? Families who have children with special needs often desperately need respite care, and a licensed clinical social worker could very well be an ideal care provider.

    Reply
    1. Liet-Kynes

      “Seriously, one of my roommates was a delivery driver in undergrad and he made a LOT of money in tips (mostly because people were too high/drunk to bother counting change).”

      I delivered pizza in grad school, and one time I had a slobbering-drunk frat guy who’d interviewed as a tech in my lab (and didn’t get the job!) stare at his wallet for a full 30 seconds, peer at me, and then hand me $100 “because I really support the work you do, brother. I mean it.”

      Reply
      1. the_scientist

        Ha! my roommate’s favourites were the people who completely forgot they’d even ordered food, because then he was basically a food-delivering angel and they would just hand him large bills and tell him to keep the change. We also lived directly across from the delivery joint, so he could sit at home and watch TV while waiting for a call. it was a really sweet gig for a student with a car who didn’t mind working late nights.

        Reply
  54. Super Anon

    I haven’t made enough to live on, but I have definitely made $50-$100 here and there by selling photos of my feet via different social media websites. No nudity, no face showing, no tattoos showing, very little effort on my part. This is something you may want to explore for a little extra pocket money.

    Regardless, definitely weigh the pros and cons of this. I work in a conservative office but am a semi-professional burlesque dancer and producer in my free time. I have been recognized on the street more than once, luckily never near my office. I am 99.9% sure I would get fired if my bosses found out, but that is the risk I take.

    Reply
  55. Roker Moose

    I’m certainly pro-sex work, but it is terribly risky for a social worker, as I assume you’re working with vulnerable populations (children, elderly, etc). I’d think very carefully about it.

    Reply
  56. Laura Ingalls

    What about nude modeling at an art school? Perhaps participating in a paid sex study at a university? It sounds like the excitement of the work is what is driving you to it? Or seconadary to monetary gain. Good luck!

    Reply
    1. Kate the Little Teapot

      Agree with all this.

      Also, phone sex might be a good privacy protection option, although I do know that phone sex operators tend to make less.

      Alternatively, writing erotica.

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth H.

      Nude modeling for art classes is a skill. It’s not just something “anyone” can do. In my last role I scheduled models for art classes – It requires being able to stand still and hold a pose (harder than you think), thinking of interestting poses, etc. However it can be good if you have an unusual look or body type (nonwhite females and middle to older aged women are less oversaturated in the field)

      Reply
      1. Super Anon for This

        Of course if you live in a small city or rural area where there are no models, your local college/high school would be overjoyed to have you.

        Reply
    3. Marisol

      I did art modeling in college and can recommend it. I remember hearing some students discussing a husband/wife team who modeled foe a class and how they appreciated having two people posed together to draw.

      My only caveat is that body parts do fall asleep and get stiff and you have to be able to tolerate that. While in college, I tolerated it well. I tried it again in my late twenties while a struggling artist, and no longer had the motivation to put up with it.

      Reply
  57. Observer

    I haven’t read the responses yet so it’s quite possible that what I’m saying has already been said.

    Without knowing what your husband does, I can’t speak to the risk he may be taking. However, you should realize that you could kill your career if this gets out. In some respects this is a very conservative field, and there would be some legitimate concerns. And, keep in mind that the people who might see would not necessarily know that your are married, and are unlikely to give you a chance to explain that fact. Which means that even if that were an ameliorating factor (which is not a given in many situations) you wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to make that known.

    Aside from looking at what it would take to get a bump in salary for your husband, there are probably side gigs that would have a lower risk factor for your career.

    Reply
  58. A Little Too Honest

    I’ve done it, as a single person. Not because I enjoyed it, but because it was a measure of last resort. I was on disability for a psychiatric issue (depression/eating disorder and I’m better now but had no income, no family – cliche but I do think regular folks can willingly enter the sex industry), I sold almost everything I owned, and many days I didn’t eat. It was legal, I paid and reported on my taxes and received a 1099 from the company. I don’t work in an industry where it would matter. I could still claim young and stupid, and I had been in the industry (in phonesex) when I was exploited underage.

    This said – I worry because of the social work, but do not think it would blacklist you from private practice. I’d personally love to know someone who “got it” in a way. I did notice one word in your message – “excitement”. If it’s sexually arousing for you… I think that’s okay and a positive.

    There are message boards and support groups for cam folks out there that verify your identity/membership on a site and are closed. They offer advice, ideas, and stories and it is talked about as part of life, like any other job board you just unfortunately know what everyone’s privates look like. Seek those out if you do this. They also have great resources for getting your material off sites if it is posted.

    I wish you luck in making your decision. I did it for a couple of months – I now have a great job making more than enough. I think many people do not understand that scrimping and saving can only go so far. If it’s in your value system, you are willingly and competently going in to it, you are educated on safety and consequences, and think you can get past any regrets or shame should it come up… and especially if it gets YOU off… it’s okay.

    Reply
  59. Anon Social Worker

    LICSW here, and about as sex positive as they come…and I think it’s a bad idea unless you are trying to leave social work for full time sex work. In the Code of Ethics (section 4.03) it reads, “Social workers should not permit their private conduct to interfere with their ability to fulfill their professional responsibilities.” Now, I know that sex work on the side will likely not affect your ability to perform your job duties, but that would change as soon as a client recognizes you. Not worth the risk, in my opinion.

    Reply
  60. Sigma6

    Bad idea…one of those “once the door is open you can never shut it” deals.

    You would be surprised what people find when searching.

    Reply
  61. Lady Phoenix

    Just cause we are all sex posititve and anti slut shaming does not mean we can’t see the downsides to all of this:
    1. You have to make a character. A character that looks different than you, acts dofferent from you, etc. That is gonna take a lot of work and possibly a lot of money, defeating the entire point of this venture.

    2. Rule of thumb states that once a work is online, it never comes off. I can go to a hundred sites to watch animated/illustrated naughtiness for FREE. Chances are you will find just as many pirates who will take your vids and post them for free.

    3. You are a social worker, nuff said.

    4. Continuing on from #2, there is a high chance your vids can be used as revenge porn. Dealing with the legal stuff from that is gonna be a pain in the rear.

    5. Taxes. Also a big pain in the rear.

    If you want to go into the sex industry, consider Audio Eroitica. It’s anon and just as sexy (listens to one tumblr who does it, it get so many chills).

    Otherwise, there are better ways to spice the lovelife. I highly recommend Doctor Nerdlove’s blog.

    Otherwise, there are easier, unskeevy ways to make the extra dough.

    Reply
  62. nnn

    Just to give you an idea of how you might not have control over your image:

    Once upon a time, I was googling some internet slang to learn its origin, and among the results I got a bunch of memes made with the phrase.

    One of the memes was a nude photo of a friend of my boyfriend’s, in the process of enjoying a sex toy. She did some cam work, and someone had screencapped one of her shows and made a meme out of the image, and it turned up in my completely innocent search for internet slang.

    And they’d included her screen name in the meme, so now not only did I know what my boyfriend’s friend looked like naked, I knew exactly what to google to find more. And I knew her real name and where she lived and worked from our knowing each other socially.

    I didn’t do anything with the photo or mention it to anyone, but can you imagine if I were creepy? Or malicious?

    Reply
  63. focusfriday

    Nope! As a LCSW, this is too risky–will counseling patients find you and recognize you? How will that affect the boundaries and dynamic you need to maintain? Will a practice hesitate to hire you because they think you can’t set those same boundaries? This risk is not worth the reward.

    Reply
  64. LizB

    LW, you’ve put six years of effort and a ton of $$ into getting your MSW and licensure. Unfortunately, there’s a real risk that this kind of sex work could jeopardize your license and ability to work in your field. Is $12,000 a year (if you’re quite successful) a big enough payout for it to be worth maybe losing your license and the career progress you’ve made? Is the excitement of performing + maybe $12,000 a big enough payout? Only you can answer these questions for yourself, but for me, it definitely wouldn’t be worth it. There is certainly an amount of money out there that I would risk my regular career for — but an uncertain $12k ain’t it. I like the suggestions above about figuring out how your husband can find higher-paying work, working as a phone sex operator rather than a cam couple, or finding a side gig unrelated to sex work.

    Reply
  65. Yet Even Another Alison

    You have not only two degrees, but a wonderful credential – a professional license. Given the state of our mental health care and coverage in the United States, the only place to go is up with this license. This credential will likely keep you gainfully employed for quite some time – people will not get insurance reimbursements for Psychologists or MD’s in mental health and therapy will fall to the LSW. There will be one or two Psychiatrists on the payroll to dispense meds, the rest LSW – you are seeing it now. You have taken out loans to get it, worked hard – you don’t want to jeopardize it by doing something for a (likely) short term gain. As others have pointed out, there are increased opportunities with the LSW once you get some time under your belt. Life is long and the Internet is forever. (I have no moral issues with what she is proposing, I simply believe that most folks in a position to hire her or better her career will not be open minded with her idea, as well as what could happen if a patient found out. )

    Reply
  66. Hey Anonny Nonny

    Honestly, I just think this is too risky for you as a social worker. Why risk something you worked so hard to get and is the main source of your earnings? I agree with other commenters that suggest you should look at how to increase your husband’s earning potential or find some other type of side gig that will increase your earnings without a potential to go catastrophically wrong.

    Reply
  67. PizzaDog

    Camgirls routinely have their videos pirated and uploaded to other websites – you know those ads that say ‘Annie is in your area!” and she’s already disrobing? Well, she was, but not for the website “she’s” advertising for.

    If you’re looking for a side hustle, lots of call centres offer remote work. Amazon and Pizza Hut are ones that I’ve dealt with before – as long as you can offer them one evening and one weekend, the pay is decent.

    Reply
  68. Hidden

    “for excitement and money”

    I suspect that the excitement part may be at least as motivating if not more. I would make sure you aren’t trying to convince yourselves that this is a good idea for the money when really you are in it more for the exhibitionism. I wonder if there are other avenues that would allow you that without the photographic evidence component. Unfortunately though we are still working our way toward being OK with anything not strictly vanilla (or not even that.) So even if its not paid sex work there is still just as much stigma if you are “caught” doing anything sexual, even with your husband. Since you mentioned being in a low cost of living area the chances are good that the area is also fairly conservative/traditional/homogeneous.
    Working for a non-profit also makes me think you would be skating on thin ice and consider that if you can’t keep working in that field for the required ten years then you won’t qualify for the loan forgiveness anyway.
    You don’t have kids yet, but as long as that is still in the running you also have the issue of your kids (or more likely your kids’ friends) finding something compromising. I know a few people who have some pretty sexy lingerie shots that are pretty easy to find (i.e. promoted on their blog/Facebook) who have kids and I can only imagine the awkward situation of your friends using your mom’s shots.

    Reply
  69. Temperance

    LW, you’re a professional woman of color from an underprivileged background. This is a bad idea. You had to fight to get where you are, and unfortunately, women who are outed as sex workers very often lose everything at the slightest whiff of impropriety.

    My personal opinion of camming aside, I think your husband could probably look for a more lucrative position if you’re looking for more funds. Maybe he can go to school at night if he needs a degree?

    Reply
    1. Not Allison

      This x1000. Why jeopardize all that you have worked so hard for? Your salary is not bad for your industry. I am bothered that OP makes more than 2x her husband’s salary yet she is the one who will be taking the risk by engaging in this cam work. 20K is very low for a working adult who is able-bodied. OP should look into ways she can support husband’s career growth. A server or bartender would make more.

      Reply
      1. Quadnon.

        This. A man will be able to get away not showing his face in camwork/porn (he may even be encouraged to). A woman cannot. OP you will be taking 90% of the risk and you have the most to lose.

        Reply
      2. ShearLuck

        I’ve seen this sentiment in several comments but your particular phrasing has struck a nerve with me apparently. I’m an able bodied adult, working full time hours (usually more) and busting my hump to earn 20,000$ a year. My profession is a trade, I regularly attend continuing education and am overall extremely talented at what I do, and I can’t help but feel stung by this comment. It’s not so simple to just make 10,000 grand more a year.

        Reply
  70. Clairels

    Wasn’t there just a letter just the other day from a woman who was making bank as a phone sex worker? I don’t know if there’s a market for male phone sex workers so this may not help the husband, but if the OP really wants to try sex work, I’d suggest she try that route before going on camera.

    Reply
  71. CareerSuicideGirl

    Yeah as a social worker myself who has considered doing porn, it’s a bad idea. I thank god that I didn’t do it and ruin my career.

    Reply
  72. Xarcady

    I know teachers and social workers aren’t exactly the same, but I think the professions are similar enough to draw some comparisons.

    Teachers have been fired or threatened with being fired for Facebook posts showing them holding a beer or a glass of wine. One teacher got into a big mess for posting a picture of herself in the classroom in a dress that some people felt was “too tight,” even though it covered everything that needed to be covered and was a modest length.

    I can’t help but feel that a similar view would be taken of a social worker doing sex work.

    There are a lot of other ways to make more money. Maybe not as quickly, but without the risk of losing the career the OP took out all those loans for.

    One or both of them could get an evening/weekend part-time job. Her husband could work on getting a better paying job. They could spend a year saving everything they possibly can–check out “Your Money or Your Life” or Mr. Money Mustache, to name just two resources for frugal tips and workable methods for paying down debt and amassing savings.

    It just doesn’t seem as if the potential gain outweighs the potential risk.

    Reply
  73. Maya Elena

    To echo what other commenters said, there are so many easier ways to make side money – e.g., driving for Lyft or Uber (be sure to get approriate endorsements on your auto insurance policy first – available in most states!). These types of gigs might not be viable long-term, but they are a nice flexible source of cushion money for many people.

    Reply
  74. New Bee

    I didn’t get to read all of the comments yet, but as a Black woman also in an interracial relationship, I’d recommend considering your comfort level with racist requests, to be frank. That’s a lot of the draw of mainstream BW/WM pr0n, it seems.

    Reply
    1. LCL

      I was trying to figure out how to say this, from my perspective as a white woman, without seeming condescending. There are some evil people out there, if you do this be ready for some awful racist crap.

      Reply
  75. bohtie

    Hey OP, I’m a semi-retired sex worker and I just wanted to throw my two cents in because as far as I can tell, all the comments above are coming from civilians. (I may have missed some SW comments, in which case, please forgive me!) Which doesn’t mean they’re wrong! And I think the identity risks have been well-addressed in the previous comments.

    If you know any successful cam folks, you may want to talk to them, but please respect their time – people asking sex workers for advice on how to get into sex work is INCREDIBLY common, and what it boils down to is “you should, for free, tell me how to make the market in which you work even more saturated.” So bear in mind that people may not want to help you with this, and if they do, you should be ready to compensate them in some fashion for it, whether it’s money or barter.

    But the main thing is that people overestimate how lucrative and simple sex work can be. Like, badly. ESPECIALLY online/cam work. Those of us who do IRL sex work – I’m a part-time dominatrix and fetish model, which is totally legal where I am – make a lot more money and it’s a lot more steady, because the market isn’t necessarily oversaturated and people are willing to pay for it and form repeat relationships.

    Cam sites are, clientwise, full of people who are looking to get your content for as little as possible – I’ve seen people complain about paying twenty bucks for wholly custom material that’s made to their exact specifications. I’ve seen people complain about paying five dollars for fifteen or twenty minutes of beautifully made material that probably took at least a couple hours to shoot and edit. Cam sites are also, provider-wise, chock full of beautiful people doing hot things, many of whom thought it would be an easy way to make some extra cash. I am at my civilian job so I can’t look it up, but if chaturbate is one of those sites that relies on tips, you’re in even bigger trouble as far as earnings go.

    The other, most important thing that people will neglect to think of sometimes is that any form of sex work is an absolutely exhausting hustle. It’s essentially freelancing, right? The way you make money as a sex worker is by building a brand, advertising the daylights out of it, and building up a reliable, repeat customer base, often by offering something unique. You don’t have to do as much legwork as an IRL sex worker (I have to do background checks, for example, and I would say about 60% of my serious potential clients end up either dropping out or being rejected as a result of being unable or unwilling to follow my safety policies – and I’m privileged to be able to say no to people because I do this mostly at this point because I enjoy it, some of my working-class friends don’t have that option nearly as much as I do), but you have a HUGE mountain ahead of you in terms of how much you have to hustle in order to make that client base happen. When I first started, I would say I spent at least 5-10 hours hustling (advertising, doing backgrounds, safety stuff, dealing with people who were obvious time-wasters who either weren’t going to pay for things or were going to try and undercut me) for every hour I spent with a client.

    Sorry for the super-long comment; I’ve just been through a lot of this “I need extra money so I’m gonna do cam work/become a sugar baby/do sex work because it’s super easy, right?” stuff lately and hoo boy, it is not!

    Reply
    1. Lady Phoenix

      I figure that too.

      Didn’t do sex work, but have done youtube videos. Nowadays, the only way to make the big bucks on videos is too be absolutely dedicated to them, resulting in the videos being a full time job (see Linkara, Markiplier, Nostalgia Critic).

      I see newbies nowadays think they will be the next Pewdiepie only to quit 2 weeks later because they aren’t making any money — not realizing they are recording their TV’s, only have maybe one video posted with the second nowhere near done, and playing a game that everyone and their mom has done (5 Nights at Freddies).

      Generally the video world is already pretty hard to break into now, so I can why the sex video industry would be just as hard if not more so. You are also competing against pirates who can easily provide FREE porn. That means you have to put in even more effort to keep your videos from being stolen AND to get viewers to pay gou. That alone is WAY too much to do for a “part time job”.

      You might as well be delivering pizzas at that point.

      There is also working part time at a sex shop, but I doubt they will higher a cohple and keep them on the same shift.

      Reply
    2. kb

      I went to a school that made the list for highest number of student listings on Seeking Arrangement (people were actually using their university email to sign up!). I think joking about wanting a sugar daddy/mama is common because it seems like lucking into a wealthy bf/gf, but the power dynamic is totally different. The people I met who were doing it professionally had to invest a lot of time and money into it. Catering to the whims of someone else and keeping the illusion of perfection alive takes a lot of time and effort.

      Reply
  76. RPL

    Tossing in my two cents as someone who switched from “traditional” work to sex work. There are three things you need to know.

    1. You don’t “dabble” in sex work and expect to make the kind of money you’re talking about. A couple hundred a month? Maybe. And in the beginning, honestly, even that’s a stretch. Thousands? No. Not at first. Despite what people say, sex work is NOT quick, easy money. I learned that the hard way. The industry is not kind to newcomers, and you HAVE to establish yourself as a consistent, high-quality performer to succeed, which requires putting in the time (and often money too, just like any other business).

    2. I’m not going to touch on the risks everyone else is talking about, but I will say this: You WILL be recorded and put up on a tube site. There’s no question about it. And getting those recordings taken down isn’t as easy as it should be. You have to send a takedown request with your LEGAL name attached. That name usually gets passed on to the person who uploaded the recording (in a sort of “as a result of a request by NAME” thing). Is it idiotic and pointless and unfair and (most importantly) dangerous as heck to the sex worker whose work has been stolen? Yes. But that’s what often happens. So be aware of that.

    3. Related to the above, if you get enough fans, someone WILL find out your real name. To be honest, I have no idea how, but I’ve seen even girls who don’t show their faces, who use the best VPN money can buy, and who are smart about what they (don’t) share get exposed by a stranger mid-cam session. Guys like to post your name in the chat room basically to see what you’ll do. So that’s another risk you’ll be taking.

    There are literally dozens of other things that popped into mind as I wrote this (from “You’ll be dealing with more manipulative, abusive people than you ever knew existed” to “Hiding your face, etc. will automatically cut your earnings in half because clients are looking for a connection, not just the sex thing”), but it all boils down to: You need to understand that this is an extraordinarily high-risk and difficult “hustle.” If you want to take it up, you and your husband need to do your research and think about what you’re willing to do and risk. In your situation, I would not recommend it.

    Reply
    1. RPL

      Sorry, that got a little ranty. I just had a very rude awakening when I was a new sex worker, and I don’t want to anyone else to go through that.

      If you’re not dissuaded, I’d recommend amateur videos instead of camming. I can’t emphasize enough how clients who frequent cam shows crave a personal connection with the performers. For that reason, performers who try to maintain anonymity just aren’t successful.

      Reply
  77. Amy Cakes

    What about doing audio only? Similar concept, but much less recognition, and you can use inexpensive software to alter your pitch and tone enough to sound unlike your daily voice.

    Reply
  78. Winger

    I am a little concerned about the writer’s thought process. “We don’t want to go back to poverty….I look very different in wigs….” This is the kind of thing that a lot of people get backed into doing without really wanting to, or without thinking it through, because of their circumstances. I would tend to recommend that with any activity like this – risky but potentially rewarding – you should do it because you REALLY want to, not because you think it’s one of your only viable options. You will end up regretting it if you don’t go into it really excited and super super into it.

    If you ARE really excited and super super into it, go for it.

    Reply
  79. Sabine the Very Mean

    OP really seems to be playing up the aspect of being young with a couple references to being Kids or Millenials. And while 30 is wicked young in most circumstances, porn is not one. Not many people will see it and go, “eh, they were just kids!”. 30 is old enough to get the, “at 30 years old? Hmmm”.

    Reply
  80. Nephron

    Small bit of side advice, OP should look over the Loan Forgiveness Program if she is in the United States. Please read up on the current news as there have been people losing credit for years worked after completing 10 years and there have been rule changes that are making it harder to get jobs to qualify.

    I and many are hoping the program survives and works, but to be honest it is starting to look like it could become a scam.
    Good luck!

    Reply
    1. Natalie

      I think this is quite premature – no one has reached the point where they can apply for forgiveness, so no one’s “lost credit”. There haven’t been any rule changes that I’ve been aware of, just budget proposals that end the program for new borrowers.

      Reply
      1. Nephron

        There is a New York Times Article from Dec. 10, 2016 concerning people in the program that were told that jobs they had held for years and been told qualified as public service was no longer counting. Title: They Thought They Qualified for Student Loan Forgiveness. Years Later, the Government Changes Its Mind.
        Washington Post Article discusses mishandling of paperwork by loan servicers mishandled paperwork. Watchdog agency blasts government contractor for mishandling student loan forgiveness program.

        I also have a friend that has resubmitted paperwork 4 times to get her job to qualify, she is working for the Peace Corps.

        I am not telling the OP to not do it, I am telling her to double check everything to make sure she wants to commit to this path.

        Reply
  81. Kelly

    Hi folks! So, I think you might underestimate the amount of work involved in cam work! I’ve done it before, and it’s a lot of work. Like, a lot of work. Most people I know who are making any kind of income are doing it nearly fulltime.

    It’s NOT an easy way to make an extra 1000 bucks, even if it looks like it might be!

    Reply
  82. Courtney W

    While I agree that this isn’t a good idea considering OP’s field, I think many comments are underestimating the difficulty of finding a side gig that will make you an extra thousand a month. I’m also in a predicament where my husband and I really need a bit of extra money every month, and trying to find ways to go about it feels like a full-time job of it’s own much of the time! I have an Etsy shop, but Etsy shops that make that much are incredibly rare. Things like Uber and Lyft are really dependent on where you live – I’m in a more rural area where basically everyone has their own car and Uber drivers very rarely get any work (really, many of the suggestions I’m seeing wouldn’t work for someone in or near a major city.) Yes, there are things you can do online, but much of it pays next to nothing (surveys, for examples), and while I have found one okay-ish source of income captioning videos online, I would have to do it full-time to bring home the kind of money OP is looking for. MLM do not make that kind of money either, and let’s be real, for the most part they’re pretty shady all around. I’m not begging my friends to buy things from me so I can make extra money.

    I’m not trying to make it sound impossible, but I’m just encouraging that we maybe slow down and put some more thought into the many comments about how there are so many easy ways to make an extra thousand a month. I get putting it out there in case it is an option for OP, but it’s getting pretty repetitive.

    Reply
    1. Natalie

      For what it’s worth, I commented on this topic above and I’m not assuming the LW will make a thousand dollars a month doing odd jobs. But I also doubt they will actually make a thousand dollars a month doing cam work.

      Reply
    2. Observer

      I don’t think that anyone thinks that making lots of money as a side hustle is easy. What they are saying is that this work isn’t easy, has some real risks and is probably nowhere near as lucrative as the OP thinks especially at first. Given that reality looking for other ways to make some money makes sense, even if it’s not $1,000 a month. She’s not going to make that with cam work anyway.

      Reply
    3. kb

      I concur with Natalie’s comment. Also, making a modest amount by using the time they would invest in camming to take a weekly shift at a side job in retail (or one of the more entrepreneurial suggestions by other commenters) could be invested in education or training for the husband. Assuming he’s currently working 40 hour weeks, getting him from $10/hr to $15/hr would be a pretty big pay bump. Not a very exciting plan, but it has low risks and good long-term potential.

      Reply
  83. Rationalhuman

    One information for the OP. You need to realize, anything online will stay there for eternity. So at a later date if you wanted to break free from all this, you will find it next to impossible. So go forth at your own risk.

    Reply
  84. Noah

    Forget privacy laws. Presumably you own the copyright to your own sex videos. A DMCA notice should get it taken down.

    Reply
    1. Natalie

      You have to find your stolen content in the first place to send a DMCA takedown. And overseas hosts are not going to care one whit.

      Reply
  85. Private investigator

    I don’t know if this is helpful, but I think this would almost definitely be found out by future employers and seen negatively. Part of my job is running background checks on future employees.

    Typically, we’d get a credit report. We’d also get information on any legal records. So, for instance, if you took formal legal action to get something taken down– we would know.

    If you’re going to make money, you’ll either get a W2 or form 1099 (as an independent contractor). That can show up in generated reports. So if an employer sees you got your money from X source, we’re going to ask about it.

    Even if, in 10 years, you’re making $200k and take down absolutely everything, if we found a reference to a rumor of impropriety, we’d go to one of the servers that trawls the entire internet and archives webpages and see if we could find something archived from 10 years ago.

    So, if you were to go ahead with this, you would need to assume that every single future employer you see will know about this.

    Reply
    1. Former CG

      I don’t think that’s necessarily true. The money on your tax form comes from a shell company with a pretty generic name. I used to cash my cheques at the bank and they never batted an eye. (Also if she’s outside the US this will not be an issue.)

      You would not take formal legal action to get something taken down (or, you shouldn’t, it’s not worth it and you’ll end up chasing some shady company in the Caribbean that basically exists on the back of a napkin somewhere at best.) Like, at most you’re going to send a cease and desist, which is not registered with a court. Good cam sites (e.g. not Chaturbate) will pursue that for you.

      As for searches, since most people work under a pseudonym, it’d be pretty difficult to find unless you had more than a rumour.

      Reply
  86. Chickie Manages It All

    Totally agree with not putting your faces (or other easily identifiable bits) out there for the world to see. I do think it’s worth exploring how each of you can earn another $6k in a year – my guess is that it wouldn’t be killer to do that and you will also have peace of mind (priceless).

    Reply
    1. Electric Hedgehog

      Heck, depending on your weight, health, etc., you could maybe make that donating plasma. Where I’m at, you can make up to $60 a week each, so if you both did it faithfully you’d come up with over $6000 in a year.

      Reply
      1. paul

        I’m actually looking at doing that here, the biggest hurdle is the center’s hours line up pretty close to my standard work hour sso making it there to sell my plasma’s going to be tricky.

        But I figure it’d fund a really badass vacation and some minor home repairs over the course of a year.

        Reply
  87. Umvue

    On the topic of LCSW-related blowback – in addition to kids, I think this could be risky if OP works with the geriatric population. That group is both conservative (on the whole) and vulnerable, so you could get marked twice as a risky hire.

    Good luck, OP.

    Reply
  88. Thlayli

    None else seems to have mentioned this. In my country social workers deal with a lot of unsavoury people. Clients who are in and out of jail, drug addicts, abusive parents of children they are working with, abusive ex-husbands, the list goes on.

    You may not be in an area of social work where you deal with dangerous/unscrupulous people now, but you may well be in an area like that in future. As others have said you will possibly never even know if there are videos of you online and where they are if you do this. Imagine 5 or 10 years down the line you are you have to interact as part of your job with a man who has committed acts of sexual violence. Tough job on its own. Now imagine every time you see him he tells you how last night he watched you being [insert creepy euphemism for sex here]. job just became a whole lot harder.

    I suppose it is possible that in America social workers can have jobs where they never in their career have to interact with creepy men. If you have such a career then this comment doesn’t apply.

    Otherwise, as others have said, this side job isn’t really compatible with your main job.

    Reply
    1. The Expendable Redshirt

      My employment is in the social work field, and your comment about service populations is totally accurate. When I worked in the homeless sector, it was highly recommended that I not reveal my last name, or even quadrant of the city where I lived. It was a bad idea to talk about family, or give personal details. Clients had followed staff home before, and tried to make intimate contact with them. The same could be said if the OP works in a hospital or prison environment. The OP could work with people who should not have any knowledge about their personal life.

      Reply
  89. Landshark

    Here’s my two cents, as the wife of a very small-time amateur fetish photo model (though my husband doesn’t get any money out of it)…

    There’s an inherent risk, especially if you show faces or identifying marks like tattoos (for example, sometimes I will show a hand in the pictures or something, but never my class ring or my very distinctive surgery scar on one arm), with anything NSFW. There are absolutely ways to mitigate it (and sometimes it’d be awkward enough on principle for someone to admit they found you because they were watching your porn), but there’s always risk. There’s also the factor of building a following to consider. Unless you get really lucky or do paid promotion off the bat, you’re not going to make much initially. If you have a plan to deal with it and can handle the risks, give it a shot and make sure everything other than your antics on camera are squeaky clean (that way you won’t get eaten alive by taxes, etc.). If you’re not sure or don’t want the risk, then I’d advise checking other avenues first.

    Either way, good luck!

    Reply
    1. Landshark

      To clarify about the identifying marks thing: my husband usually posts pictures from the shoulders down, though he’s done a face reveal once or twice for a special occasion, though that’s hard to track. So there’s also the option of setting up cameras that way, though you risk turning away people who want to see faces.

      Reply
  90. LaLaLand

    OP, I just don’t think this line of work is worth the risk and/or potential ruination of your first career in social work. I’m just seeing too many potentials for unwanted exposure, which might be the case for a lot of professional people, but probably even more so for a social worker. Plus, you have to consider your future career. What if you one day decided to seek out a government job or other job that required a background check or other vetting process?

    There must be other avenues to earn extra income in your area? If you are familiar with the sex industry, maybe there is something less front-facing you could do? Are there other creative skills you can parley into extra gigs (such as video editing, design, photography, writing, website coding, etc.)? Years ago I did some extra freelance work doing the graphic design for X-rated video boxes and DVD sleeves! LOL! (Made me so not want to look at P/V body parts for awhile, but heck the company paid well.)
    Or even consider you and your spouse taking a weekend job (catering, waitress, bartender type stuff)? I know that sucks, but wouldn’t the peace of mind be better considering the risk of your future career advancement?

    Reply
  91. Megan Johnson

    Nothing much to add that hasn’t been said, but I do want to chime in with the “dang it, people care about other people’s business too danged much”.

    Reply
  92. Quadnon.

    Do not do this. Seriously. Do not. There are quite a few documentaries on Netflix than can show you the aftereffects of entering the porn industry from people who enjoyed their work and who didn’t. Try “Mostly Sunny,” “After Porn Ends 1 and 2.” Be prepared for people to find out. That unfortunately will be a given if people finding out would adversely affect your livelihood and your life, think twice about this. The internet is forever. Websites are full of stolen videos from cam girls who thought it would not be around forever.

    Doing it for money is the absolute worst reason to do it because the effects this could have on your life go behind that of an average job. No one is scarred for life or unable to get gainful employment because they were a butcher/baker/candlestick maker but they can be from working in porn.

    Reply
  93. Buu

    Once something is on the internet assume you have 0 control of it, people can easily screen record your stream and once it does it could make it’s way merrily across Bittorrent without you knowing. If you put something online be prepared for anyone in your life to find it.

    I do some stuff online some of it fandom related and whilst I am super strict about not doing anything risque people have found the stuff I’ve put online. Some are really nice about it, some can be bullies and one guy I worked with got weirdly obsessive about watching my stuff ( though I think he’s a generic office creeper anyway).

    Not going to tell you what to do, but don’t assume anonymity.

    Reply
  94. Mb13

    Something I haven’t seen fully addressed here is the emotional toll of doing cam work. This might seem like a we all ready have sex let’s just make a profit form it. But caming especially on the site you mentioned is interactive. So you will get a lot of comments. And critics. And request. And asked to escalate things for more money. All by people on the internet. Fun fact about the internet is people tend to act awful to one another.

    I know personally for me if I was being intimate with my partner and then someone said something incredibly misogynistic, encouraged violence, and spewed racial slurs at me I would immediately want to stop go crawl in the bathroom and hide for the rest of the day.

    Reply
    1. Former CG

      Yes, the racism thing is going to happen a lot for an interracial couple in particular. In the room, you do control who gets to be there, so blocking is an option. On CB you can disallow “greys” (the moneyless people) and it helps cut down on the nonsense but you’re never totally safe from that.

      Also, race play is a thing and OP should have a plan on whether she wants to cater to that market or refuse it. But it’s going to be a frequent request, so have an approach ready.

      Reply
  95. Former CG

    Hey there OP! I’m a former cam girl and also a totally legit professional in a “normal” field. I can offer a few things to think about:

    – Your stuff will get out there. Every recording, every time. Especially on Chaturbate. It’s super duper easy for bots to record that, and it ends up on websites that are way less legit than PornHub. It’s very difficult to get rid of it completely. I used to work on MFC, and they are very good about pursuing links you give them where your stuff is on your behalf. Chaturbate won’t do that, and 90% of the “report stolen content” fields on the websites themselves are phishing traps. So before you dip a toe into Chaturbate, you have to be completely comfortable with having no control over your content.

    That said, there is A LOT of porn in the world, and my attitude was always, the likelihood of someone who knows me well enough to say FOR SURE that is me (and has the balls to confront me about it) is pretty low. You can also block your state on CB to lower the chances but it isn’t foolproof by any means.

    – How frequently do you want to cam to make that $1,000? Do you have games/incentives for tips planned? What happens if you and your husband are worn the eff out and don’t feel like doin’ it on camera for hours at a time? Because that’s how CB is, if there’s no action there’s no tipping unless you have a hell of a following.

    – Couples make way less than single women, and Chaturbate in particular is a very difficult medium to build an audience on. Many, many freeloaders. I think my best day ever on CB I made about $60. (I used to run it side-by-side with MFC where I frequently had $200+ nights despite never cracking the top 1000 performers.) Have you considered Streamate? It takes couples and is a private show-based site with a per-minute rate, so you don’t have to perform unless people are paying. I always made my best money there and never got recorded as far as I know, unlike MFC/CB. Plus, down time!

    – My main plan of action if I was found out was and is deny, deny, deny. Like I said above, the Venn diagram of people who will a) recognize you beyond a doubt, b) work with you somehow and c) have the bold-faced courage to confront you about it, is probably quite small. If that did happen, a shocked look and “Oh my god, are you serious? No! Why the hell would you ask that?” will get you further than you think. In this scenario it’s fair to gaslight the hell out of someone.

    Anyway if you have more questions feel free to reply to this comment and I’ll do my best.

    Reply
  96. KC

    What about finding ways to save $10,000? You mentioned you just bought a car, and in Canada the average car owner has $10,000/yr in car-related expenses (google your own country! I know it seems high, but the costs creep up on you). If for nine years you shared one car is it possible to sell your second car and use CarSharing, renting, cycling, transit, and other modes of mobility to get around? When you think about the amount of work and promotion that goes into camming, as well as the impact it may have on your marriage/sex life, it may be easier to just cut expenses! And this is an easy one to cut for a big impact, especially since you have already done it for nine years.

    Reply
  97. The Expendable Redshirt

    I operate in the social work field. In my professional opinion, this part time job idea is too risky. If you don’t work with a vulnerable population now , then you could at some point in the future. The sex worker job could limit your upcoming job possibilities, or expose you to risk. For some populations that Social Workers support, its just not safe for clients to know anything personal about you. Also, the role of sex worker vs the role of Social Worker are pretty darn different. One is entertainment related, while the other is support related. If a client does recognize you from a video, there is the possibility of your social work support becoming less effective.

    Reply
  98. LCSWwife

    You’ve worked 8 years to establish yourself as a Clinical Social Worker. For goodness sake it’s not worth the risk in losing your license over exposure. I agree you should look at other options in expanding your income. Private practice could do that for you. Don’t mess up your career looking at this cheap fix. Please look at the studies on how porn affects the brain. Are you sure you want to contribute to this path considering your chosen profession?

    Reply
  99. Anon for this

    I have starred in some porn videos that one can buy on the internet. In my day job I am a software engineer for a tech company. Tech is a unique industry though. Because there’s a talent shortage, employers don’t care as much about what we might be doing outside of work. Social work is a different cup of tea, obviously.

    If anyone I work with has seen my porn, nobody has said anything. I have thought through how to have this conversation if it ever comes up, but that seems unlikely at this point since it’s been a few years.

    At this point I’m more worried about becoming a target of internet harassment and having the porn cause reprecussions there, than I am about it affecting my employment.

    I agree with other commenters that camming might not be as lucrative as you think. My friends who cam have to hustle pretty hard to make money at it. Good luck, whatever you decide!

    Reply
  100. Anon for This

    Anon for this, but I’ve been on this site for awhile and mentioned that I worked as a travel coordinator for a gay porn company during college. Loved the job!

    I have never mentioned this part before though. At one point I appeared in a solo video, immediately regretted it, and it was taken off the site 3 days after being posted. That video still floats around the internet and appears on sites like Pornhub. You can get it taken down, but you have to find it first and that is difficult and time consuming. Once the content is out there, you have zero control over it.

    It also a ton of work. Chaturbate tokens are worth about a nickel each. So you would have to get 20k per month to reach your goal. That is a lot of sitting around time, and to build a following you need to be on there frequently. This is not a once a week thing where you jump on cam and make a ton of money.

    The risk is there. I still have to explain what exactly ____ Media is on a background check. I’m not embarrassed but it is awkward sometimes.

    Reply
  101. I Like Pie

    I see that SW’s have replied, which is awesome. I’m in the adult business – the business side – and work with a lot of cam sites anyone who knows adult movies have heard of. The couples on these sites do not make as much money as people think. Some sites are set up to pay per click/how long they watch. Some just pay you for one scene of x-amount of time. The real income starts when you’re consistent and gain followings, for sure. Look at the other videos on any site you’re interested in posting to; running it yourself would be better income wise, but you’d have to spend a lot to get that setup and running before you see a profit. But that requires work and focus – you have to consider that your private sex life *will* be affected by this. And, as mentioned, followers in the adult world are not like you tube followers – they tend, imo, to be more invested and feel ownership over your body and yes, they do try to find out who you really are. There are sites dedicated solely to this. I’ve seen it in person and it’s distressing. I don’t even like strangers knowing what I do, simply because this means they know I have access to a performers private information.

    I second what many say, re: this isn’t a good plan considering your profession. There have been teachers who were on cam sites/DVDs that, once “discovered” were forced out of their jobs. Something to think about it: if someone you see every day in your office recognized you, would you be comfortable with them sitting across from you in meetings? At functions? In your work space?

    Finally, I 100% support those who choose sex work – I think it’s much safer now, but you have to be savvy to all the ways your image will be used. Read every document you’re given – some sites will pay you $500 for your scene, then turn around and sell it to DVD/another site, making more money off your footage while spreading your image across the reaches. Once the images are up, you no longer have control.

    If you go for it, do everything you can to protect yourself. Film at hotels instead of at home. Do not have any identifying objects if you can avoid it. Yes, wigs and different makeup will definitely help; there are many more options now for makeup that covers tattoos and are affordable (Sephora will even teach you how to apply it.) Good luck!

    Reply
  102. Linda

    Definitely against the code of ethics. Not a good idea. I worked too hard
    For my LCSW. If I were a director, and this came to me, I would not hire you. This is a big breech of ethics and boundaries. Not a good idea.

    Reply
  103. EricaAnon

    Not to take away from Alison, whose advice is always incredible and spot on, but I think you’re looking for the answer to this in the wrong place. When I was considering going into sex work, I started by reading blogs and websites written by sex workers, for sex workers. Keep in mind that most sex workers are here to get paid and are vastly uninterested in answering the questions of curious newbies and those thinking about dipping their toes into the water. We’re also a communal lot who looks out for each other, and there’s still huge amounts of info out there. Cam work wasn’t a branch of sex work I ever went into so I don’t really have any specific advice but if you’re doing research, consider starting with the Sex Worker Outreach Project and maybe TitsandSass. I bet you’ll find info on how to deal with the possibility of being recognised, steps to mitigate it and advice on how much you reasonably CAN expect to mitigate it (it might not be much, it might be more than you think).

    The one piece of advice I will give is that context and expectations play a huge part in recognising someone. When someone’s visiting a cam site, they’re not thinking about their ordinary neighbour, real estate agent, shop clerk or babysitter. They’re thinking about the fantasy. Wigs can actually do wonders, as can strategic lingerie or concealer (to cover tattoos, depending on what and where they are), makeup, and dim lighting. The point isn’t to make yourself impossible to recognise, the point is to minimise identifying marks and provide a memorable feature that is NOT typically associated with yourself, such as a hairstyle.

    When I was working in a parlour, I got a blind phone booking from a client I’d never met before, based on my website profile. I used to have really short hair, and since a lot of guys weren’t so into that, I’d wear a long wig to help me get bookings. I walked into the introduction room to greet this client and froze, because I knew him. It’s pretty much every sex worker’s nightmare, but I really thought I was safe because I grew up in another city and didn’t know anyone within a two hour radius. Luck’s an asshole though, because I didn’t just know this guy, he was a lecturer at the tiny university I had previously attended, and had taken me in about six different classes. I panicked, did my best to act normal, prayed the wig was distracting enough, and bolted out of the intro room as quickly as I could. I knew I couldn’t do the booking, but the manager was unsympathetic and just suggested I break the ice by telling him the truth. Some ice breaker! Not sure how to handle it, I took him up to the room (carrying on the most awkward and terrifying conversation of my life for four flights of stairs) until we closed the door and he said to me, “Are you ok? You seem kind of nervous.” And I gave up.

    “Uh, well, actually, we’ve met before,” I said.

    He gave me a blank look.

    “You used to teach me,” I said, and named the institute he worked at.

    He knew I was telling the truth, but I could see him frowning at me, trying to figure out who I was. I told him the course I’d taken, still nothing. I took my wig off. He squinted harder. Finally, and only because I knew him very well, trusted him to be a decent guy about it, and figured I had just as much dirt on him as he had on me, I told him my name. Immediately, his eyes went huge. He remembered me very clearly, but there was no way on earth he would have figured out who I was.

    “So, um, we can continue the booking if you like but-”

    “I don’t know, I feel a little weird about it now,” he said, solidifying my respect for him.

    “Yeah, me too,” I said, laughing. “You want to see a different girl? I’ll go get a different girl.”

    He ended up seeing a good friend of mine who said he was a great client and they had a great time together. My point, though, is obviously that you’d be surprised at what it can take to get someone to recognise you when they’re not expecting to see you.

    All of that said, video (even if it’s not supposed to be recorded) is a different ball game and there’s a reason I went into full service work rather than porn – the risk of having my image recorded in that context was way too high for me. Your mileage may vary. Regardless, I’m very grateful I made that choice, since now I’m looking to go into one of those niches that Alison mentioned as Absolute No Goes.

    Reply
  104. Anon for this one

    Very, very, very, very few can sex workers ever make any significant amount at all, much less $1000/month. If you choose to do it, the chance you will hit that goal within 6 months or even 6 years. Calming also requires A LOT of upfront costs to produce the quality of show that gets substantial tips and a following (good lighting and cameras, props, lingerie, etc.) In the cam world it is not an if but a when and a who of being recorded and reposted elsewhere online and being recognized by a viewer – it is unfortunately inevitable in this world, and if you aren’t willing to have that happens and have any and all repercussions of that come your way, you shouldn’t cam.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Before you comment: Please be kind, stay on-topic, and follow the site's commenting rules.
You can report an ad, tech, or typo issue here.

Subscribe to all comments on this post by RSS