Peel away the sex and pixels and money and you're left with the cloudy truth about the internet's relationship status with these on-demand entertainers: it's complicated.
You've seen them sitting at their keyboards, wearing barely anything, winking at you, typing to nobody in particular with thin, lethargic arms: bored and conventionally beautiful.
The ads, with flirty video that might be live or recorded years ago, shout at you with promises of "Live Sex Chat" and "Sex Shows", with both amateurs and "pornstars" alike.
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Let’s play a game of gay strip poker and see who gets naked first.
Come take a sneak peek at their webcam and you will love what you see.
Well that is one way to stay awake but it is pretty sure he can recommend more interesting ways of spending an evening...
They invade your peripheral vision; they pop up behind your window.
The women wait for you to start staring, and, just when you're interested, they hit you up for money.
It's a web red light district, and unlike some gaudy Dutch strip or seedy sidewalk, you're completely anonymous. The basic premise of the cam girl game is a simple one: You pay a girl for her time, and in exchange, she'll take off her clothes, talk to you, play with herself (and others), or any combination thereof.
If you think cam girls — those flirty naked characters that plague porn site pop-up ads — are raking in easy money, you're right.
If you think cam girls are bleakly stripping online out of desperation, you're also right.