Webcam Modeling: What Is It?

Webcam Modeling: What Is It?

People wanting to watch something to fulfill their sexual desires can come to three places. These are porn sites, OnlyFans and similar platforms, and webcam sites. Let us talk about the last one.

What Is Webcamming?

Webcam models are often viewed as porn stars, though they have distinct differences. One, porn stars must almost always have to have sex on camera for their work. Their earnings come from the payment of studios that included them in their scenes.

On the other hand, webcam models are mostly independent. They do not rely on studios. They can even work in the comfort of their own homes. 

Webcam Modeling: What Is It?

So, what do they do? Webcam models stream on webcam sites. There, they often perform erotic acts – playing with sex dolls, masturbating, dirty dancing, etc. – while interacting with their viewers. These models have the freedom to choose the amount of sexual content for their broadcasts. They get their earnings from the tips their fans send them and the payments they receive for private sessions with a client. 


Compared to porn, which has existed for a long time now – the earliest reportedly released in 1908 – webcamming is relatively new. The idea was born from a college student / conceptual artist’s website in 1996.

The said person, Jenny Ringley, created a website called “JenniCam.” She set a web camera in her dorm room and had it photographing her automatically every few minutes. It captures the things she does – eating, dancing, and strip teasing. The taken pictures are then broadcasted live over the internet, allowing her fans to view them. The website was warmly received, and so she kept it going. Then in 1998, she divided her website’s access into free and paid. It is perhaps webcam sites’ earliest predecessor – a prototype or a beta if you will. 

In the same year launched another webcast website called AmandaCam. Similar to JenniCam, Amanda set up cameras around her house to take and upload photos of her for her fans to enjoy. But, she added a small tweak which later inspired the webcam site we see today. Amanda added a “members section,” in which her fans can chat and interact with her. She chatted with her followers for at least three hours a day. That significantly increased her website’s popularity. 

These were the early days of webcamming. Since then, it has evolved into a multibillion-dollar industry. On average, these days, at least 12,500 webcam models and more than 240,000 viewers are online at any given time. 

How Models Make A Living

If not nonexistent, cases of webcam models running their own websites like Amanda and Ringley are rare today. They mostly stream on camming websites. These websites act as middlemen and talent aggregators. Not only do they host hundreds of webcam models, but they also check if they are of legal age. Furthermore, the websites provide a transactional platform that collects and distributes the tips to their models.

Now, there are two types of chat rooms: public and private. On the latter, viewers of the live show pay by the minute. And, only the payers can watch the stream. 

On the other hand, in public chat rooms, anyone can watch the stream. Furthermore, no one is forced to pay. Still, they are encouraged to send tips in the form of tokens. These tokens can be bought from the camming website. Besides giving these tokens to performers freely for sheer appreciation, viewers can also use them for other things. They can use them as tickets to private shows or buy videos or merchandise from the model. Thanks to the advancement in technology, viewers can also use these tokens for something more interactive. We now have teledildonics. These are smart sex toys that can be operated using a remote or a mobile app. If a webcam model wears one, they commonly let their viewers gain control of it in exchange for tokens. Now, depending on the website, the model can earn 30% to 70% of the total tips accumulated throughout the stream. 

Webcam Modeling: What Is It?

On average, how much do they earn exactly? According to a survey done in 2020, United States-based models who work 18 hours per week earn $4,470 every month. Then, those who consider webcamming their full-time jobs – working at least 40 hours a week – earn at least $11,250 monthly. 

The top earners have self-reported that they take home at least $312,000 yearly. One webcam model, Ainslee Divine, even reported that within her best month, she made almost $80,000. 

Side note: sex models in the US are required to pay tax. They are classified as self-employed workers. Once their income surpasses the $600 threshold, they are sent a 1099 form which will be reported to the IRS.

How The Law Views Webcam Models

Webcamming is interesting. It is legal in some countries where producing pornography is not. Also, it bypasses some of the restrictions imposed on porn.

For instance, in British law, certain acts are banned from being performed in porn. However, if such acts are performed in a live stream, the model cannot be fined. 

In Kyrgyzstan, where brothels are prohibited, the webcam modeling business is legal and is booming. As long as the cam shows do not spread hate and promote violence, there’s nothing wrong with it. However, if studios hire underage girls as models, law enforcers can arrest the studio operators.

Likewise, webcamming is legal in the US. But, it also has rules that people should follow. No minor or people below 18 can work as a webcam model. Furthermore, cam shows must be performed at model’s homes or at studios. Never should they be performed in public places. 

Webcam Modeling: What Is It?

So, the general consensus is that there’s nothing inherently wrong with webcam modeling. As long as the models do not break any other law, they will not be arrested. Though, that does not mean everyone is fine with it. Some people still think all kinds of sex work should be banned. But that’s another topic. 

To summarize all that is said here, webcam modeling is sex work where models can chat with viewers while doing erotic things. It is legal and is a lucrative career option. 

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