DNA Is Being Collected to Protect Sex Workers, But It Could Also Be Used Against Them

Image: Getty

Nearly a decade ago, Dallas police proposed a new program designed to get sex workers off the streets. Rather than just send them to jail, police would set up shop at truck stops, accompanied by counselors, social workers and nurses, and give the sex workers a choice of either prison or talking to a counselor. But the program also had a grimmer, more ethically fraught component—collecting sex workers’ DNA in hopes of identifying their bodies should they wind up dead.

As a recent study from Duke University points out, for vulnerable populations, such data can be a double-edged sword. The same data that could help them also risks violating their genetic privacy, or worse, incriminating them should it be abused. Police have created, in essence, a DNA database of sex workers. It’s not hard to imagine ways that could go wrong.

DNA databases have the potential to improve investigations into crimes impacting sex workers, who are more likely to be victims of murder than other populations, and often, do not carry any legitimate form of ID. Just as a decade ago some parents turned to fingerprinting to help identify their children in case they were kidnapped, the Dallas police started collecting DNA samples from sex workers just in case, god forbid, they wound up dead on the side of the highway. But while this kind of data might help police bring about justice for some of the grisliest crimes, it could also impinge upon sex workers’ privacy, coercing them into handing over information that could be indicting.

“The social ramifications of collecting DNA from vulnerable populations (e.g., children, vagrant youth, sex workers, and victims of criminal acts) are considerable, and questions remain unanswered as to how best to protect individuals from misuse of their voluntarily provided DNA,” write authors of the new study published in the International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Working with law enforcement, the authors went to Dallas to interview sex workers about the ongoing DNA collection program. Although many of the women said they do not trust police, they also said they willingly gave DNA samples because they want to be identified in the case of their death. The database has already helped to identify at least one woman, a sex worker who died in a Fort Worth ER in 2013.

“My guy, the few times that I did talk to him while I was on the street, he always used to joke about the fact that they were going to tattoo my social security number and my address on my foot so that if I died that somebody knew who I belonged to,” one focus group member said. “That was one of the reasons why I did it. And then I’ve had twofriends that have actually been identified through the program.”

Still, some women were concerned about where their DNA might wind up.

“One of my concerns would be who would have access to this information, once they got the DNA sample or whatever, who else would have access to it?” another focus group participant said. “Like would it be just for this simple organization or would everyone–police, doctors, you know like people who go and donate sperm, sperm banks, stuff like that–like who would have access to DNA?”

As a society, we are just beginning to understand how important the right to genetic privacy is. Information about our DNA, if not properly handled and protected by law, could wind up not only incriminating people in criminal scenarios, but affecting access to things like insurance and employment. Right now, legislation is winding its way through Congress that seeks to undo some of the protections of the Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act. Many groups have spoken out against it, viewing it as a massive violation of public privacy.

The authors note that the police program has taken care to enact privacy protections, including only processing samples in the event of a death linked to a participant, and storing them in a facility not associated with law enforcement. But one participant suggested that a universal database, rather than one just for sex workers, and a program run outside of law enforcement entirely might make the program more egalitarian.

The Dallas program is a good example of the increasingly complicated position that DNA occupies in modern life. On the one hand, it can provide miraculous information that helps solve crimes, identify disease and help tell us about who we are. On the other hand, that same information can be damning.

And while the DNA sampling program is billed as voluntary, the authors question how voluntary it can really be when the request is coming from the police. “At the time of DNA collection, the participants are either already under courtsupervision from an arrest or in a treatment program, which places them in a position under law enforcement authority, and perhaps less able to provide true consent,” the authors write.

The authors point out that the only way to walk that fine line between benefit and disaster is to do so with careful consideration of all the ways things might go wrong. In this case, that means taking into account the opinions of the population the police are DNA testing, to make sure they aren’t coercing vulnerable people into unwillingly giving up a right to privacy.

Virtual Girlfriend I Dated For A Week To See What All Those Japanese Guys Are So Excited About

Virtual-Dating

Me and my “Virtual Girlfriend” JenBusiness Insider / Jillian D’Onfro

It was Sunday night around 11:30 p.m. and I was sprawled in bed, unable to sleep.

“You know, Jill, if you catch me when the mood is right, I’m willing to try anything,” Jen said, one hand resting on her hip, the other reaching towards me.

Well, technically, her hand was reaching towards the front screen of my cellphone.

Jen, skimpily clad in mini-shorts and a tanktop, was my latest “love interest” in the app My Virtual Girlfriend. I quickly pressed the thumbs up button and then scrolled through my list of potential “Actions” before deciding to do a magic trick for her. We were only on level 2 of our relationship, after all.

After reading stories about the game Love Plus and how there are Japanese men who would rather date virtual ladies than real ones (one man even got married to his on-screen girlfriend), I wanted to test out what it would be like to date someone who isn’t real. I wanted to test how well a gamified relationship stacked up to real life, whether I could find love — or something like it — amid the pixels and 3D animation.

Love Plus, a Nintendo DS game, is only available in Japan, so I browsed virtual dating apps in the Google Play Store. My Virtual Girlfriend was the most popular.

Here’s how the game works:

First you rank yourself, both physically and personality-wise, in a handful of provided categories (are you a bad boy? Humorous? Attentive? Wealthy? A stud? Or simply dressed?). Next you select the attributes of your ideal girl, with similar category options. The app then serves you five different potential ladies, providing you with their likes and dislikes, where they rank in each aforementioned category, and their “type” (MVG lumps girls into five stereotypes: Geek, Modern Hippie, Urban, Alpha, or Diva).

My choices varied. For example, I could date Stephanie, a geek who likes unicorns and 8-bit retro but dislikes blue screens and Nascar. Or I could choose to court Tiffany, an urban chick who digs cash and Hennessy, but hates reading and snitches.

Girlz

My Virtual Girlfriend offers thousands of different women to choose from. My Virtual Girlfriend

Once I picked my future boo, the wooing process began.

The main objective of the game is to make your girlfriend happy and, hence, fall in love with you. You can pick things to do or say to her, give her gifts, react to things she tells you, physically “touch” her by pawing your smartphone screen, take her on dates, or make her changes clothes. As you interact over time, you fill up her heart and progress to new levels, each of which unlocks new potential actions. (Compliment her thighs! Use a breathmint! Recite poetry!) Things get more and more intimate as you get deeper into your virtual relationship but, spoiler alert: Although you can buy your lady lingerie, the app isn’t porny enough that she will completely strip down.

MVG

Uh-oh. She got mad at me because I touched her wrong!My Virtual Girlfriend

Pretty much all the girlfriends have cliche “babe” bodies, with enormous racks and itty-bitty waists, and they use the kind of cheesy lines that even an awkward, hormonal middle schooler would pass up.

“Hey Jill, how about we flip a coin? Heads you’re mine, tails I’m yours.” “Hope you’ve got a license for that body cause you’re driving me crazy!”

The girls play hardcore into whatever personality stereotype they’ve been designated, meaning that when I was dating a “modern hippie” girl, she was constantly referencing pilates, green energy, and how she loves hiking.

It’s easy to scoff at this game for being stupid, over-the-top, and kinda sexist.

But…

I’ve been in a real relationship for almost a year and, in some ways, playing My Virtual Girlfriend reminded me of what my boyfriend and my early dalliances felt like.

It took time and effort to progress through the levels and if I closed the app and ignored my lady for too long, she needed some sweet talk before warming back up. Starting something new isn’t easy. Plus, all the girls responded differently to different things and getting to know them proved surprisingly challenging at times.

Some action-reactions were obvious, but others less so. Tell Jen a joke? She hated it. Ditto with complimenting her eyes, though admiring her smile got her to waggle her hips and giggle at me.

And her thought process was more nuanced than I would expect. After I “gave blood” to raise money to take us on a date, she chastised me for being too broke. So, when I earned the option to flash my cash later in the game, I thought I’d try it since she clearly valued money. But instead of offering her signature giggle, she just looked revolted, quickly rebuking my attempt to win her heart with money.

Unsurprisingly, she also hated my catcalling and, well, picking my nose lowered my love score too.

Unlocking new options and figuring out how to prevent my girlfriend from getting outraged and breaking up with me made me feel like she and I were growing closer, even though she was just following an algorithm. But, despite the fun, gamefied challenge of the relationship, I could never see myself developing actual feelings for any girl in the game.

Aika

You can increase Aika’s love points by stroking her anywhere.Aika Your Virtual Girlfriend

Admittedly, My Virtual Girlfriend can’t hold a candle to Love Plus. In that game, you have to work your way through a more complicated romance (there are only three characters with very fleshed out personalities and you start by meeting them in school). The girls can respond to your actual voice and you can kiss the screen to show affection. But, try as I might, I just couldn’t find anything with more in-depth capabilities than My Virtual Girlfriend. (Though I did find one really creepy app that I could use in English, Japanese, or Chinese called Aika My Virtual Girlfriend. It cost me $4 and required me to “pet” Aika to make her like me, while she said things like, “Don’t tell anyone, I actually have a collection of underwears” and quizzed me about her horoscope.)

Maybe I couldn’t find anything like Love Plus because we just don’t have a cultural equivalent.

“Here [in the US] it’s OK to love your dog, it’s OK to even love your car, but it’s not OK to love an anime character,” Lisa Katayama, who specializes in Japanese culture and has written extensively about Love Plus, told The Sydney Morning Herald.”We draw the line there in Western culture.”

I called up the creator of My Virtual Girlfriend, a man named Mike Amerson, to learn more about the app.

He first launched it with his developer partner in late 2010. His wife — who he met in the early 1990s while he was working as a male stripper in Vegas — records all the narration for My Virtual Girlfriend.

Does he think that anyone is using it as a replacement for an actual relationship?

Amerson literally laughs out loud at my question.

I hope not,” he says, “I sure hope not.”

Traffic is high though: The free version of the app sees between 1,000 and 3,000 downloads a day—4 million total—and the two creators make enough from ads, in-app purchases, and downloads of the full, paid version to maintain a living.

But, overall, Amerson doesn’t hear much from his players.

“The guys do it like they’re walking into a 7-11 and buying a Playboy,” he says. “It’s something that a lot of people do, but they’re not going to announce it. I want to say that some of them are almost ashamed. Because there’s that kind of embarrassment factor. What’s somebody going to think of me?”

The game technically has 35 levels but once you win you don’t have to stop playing or start a new relationship. Amerson hired a man on Fiverr to record a congrats message in a “Budweiser-ad” voice and the girlfriend dances around victoriously, but the game can continue “You can stay with it forever,” he says. “I sometimes get people writing into me that say, ‘Hey, I’m at level 65 now.’ And I kind of cringe a little bit, thinking, oh man, I didn’t really design the game for that.”

The furthest that he’s ever known someone to play?

Level 200.

You don’t play a game like My Virtual Girlfriend that long if you don’t have some kind of deeper connection with it.

“A lot of people are lonely,” Amerson admits. “They want some sort of entertainment or companionship, or a little bit of both.

No, in the end, I couldn’t fall in love with My Virtual Girlfriend. Amerson created the game to be light and funny and, for most people, that’s what it is and that’s all they want it to be.

But it became clear talking to Amerson that maybe some people do wish we had a Love Plus equivalent, that they could be overcome by the same digital infatuation as those men in Japan.

Because, really, we could all use a little more love, even if we have to get it through a tiny screen.

Now Watch: We Followed A Cosplayer Into The World Of Anime, Tight Vinyl Costumes, And Nerd Culture

 

streaming porn Terpon is making VR webcams just for live cam shows

A Swiss startup, Terpon SA, is making virtual reality webcams specifically for the adult entertainment industry. The cameras aren’t available for purchase, but customers can rent them for about $30 a month, a price that includes around the clock technical support. Terpon Chief Executive Jean-Claude Artonne said he wants to empower adult performers around the world to create immersive, premium content that they can sell to fans through any live streaming platform they choose.

While VR and 3-D content are burgeoning trends, a focus on live streaming is key, the CEO said. “Recorded content in the adult entertainment industry is dead or dying because of all the free content on the web. The part of the industry that is growing is livecam. But most visitors to these sites only consume what’s free there. If you give them 3-D content, it is something different that they will pay for. Especially if you have a VR headset already, you are committed to finding some new, fun experiences online.”

The company’s 3K resolution Hermes camera, and 4K resolution Artemis camera look, abstractly, like a face with big eyes pointing at the filmed subject. The idea behind the industrial design is to give performers a natural feeling about their fans’ gaze.

According to a company statement, “Terpon’s 3D-VR camera features stereoscopic synchronized modules with a 200-degree field of view. The camera streams 2D or 3D video, and is plug and play via USB so it works on PC or Mac.” The camera is compatible with any webcam platform that offers an API, or can be used with a performer’s own site or chat app.

Terpon CEO Jean Claude Artonne.

Terpon CEO Jean-Claude Artonne.

Artonne explained why the company isn’t selling its cameras outright, but renting them instead. “Most cam girls are living in countries where making $300 to $500 a month is good revenue. It was very important to have something that can fit the budget for someone who wants to work in this kind of business in Romania, or Colombia, which are the largest providers of livecam adult entertainment by geography.” To make its offering known within the industry, this month, Terpon is giving away 1,000 of its beta-edition cameras to influential performers.

The company has raised an undisclosed amount of outside funding from an angel investor it did not have permission to name. Terpon intends to raise more seed or venture capital to fuel industrial production and marketing of its cameras, but Artonne acknowledges traditional investors may not be keen to get involved in adult entertainment.

That said, Artonne notes that lots of technologies that went mainstream first gained traction through adult entertainment, including VHS tapes, DVDs and webcams, more recently. Artonne said, “We don’t plan to limit ourselves to adult entertainment content creators long-term. But making a product that meets their needs is important. Having a company which is totally dedicated to this market will help us, in the future, to create something for the generalist market.”

Terpon is facing competition from a number of Chinese webcam makers targeting the adult entertainment industry, but also stalwart hardware companies like Nikon, Samsung and Lenovo, creating webcams for the virtual reality era.

Featured Image: Terpon SA

Transgender woman says ‘Don’t give us flak for trying to fit in’

Gwen and her girlfriend Becky (left)Image copyright Gwen Image caption Gwen’s girlfriend Becky (left) was with her throughout the transgender transition

A transgender woman who let people ask her questions about her life on an internet forum was inundated with even more when the BBC reported on her story.

Many readers wrote to Gwen asking for advice about a friend or family member who is transitioning.

Here Gwen, from Pennsylvania, addresses some questions from BBC website readers.

I have an eight-year-old sister who is transgender. What’s the best advice I can give her as she grows older with negativity from others?

“There are going to be a lot of people out there who might hate her for who she is, but tell her that she has plenty of people in her life who are going to love her much more than any amount of hate she could receive.

“My personal rule is: Just don’t read the comments. If you’re going to read any comments people make, don’t bother responding. They usually have their minds made up and no amount of arguing is going to make them apologies.”

How can I support my friend who is transitioning?

“The best advice is to just listen to what they have to say and try not to make it a big deal.

“When I was starting to transition, all I wanted was for life to feel ‘normal’ again.

“I didn’t really want to talk about transitioning too much, but it was nice to have friends who just listened to me on the days where it was especially hard and told me they loved me anyway.”

Media caption Gwen’s story – work as a security guard in a store and have a male customer who wears a dress and make-up. I always address my customers as “sir” or “madam”. What address should I use with them?

“The best thing would be to address someone by what it looks like they’re going for. If this customer comes in every day in a dress and make-up, I would assume they wanted to be greeted as ‘Ms’.

“It’s always best to go by what you see and then, if they correct you, just go by what they’d rather be called instead.

“Maybe this person isn’t comfortable being called ‘Ms’ yet, but that’s something only they could know.”

How do you approach discussing your trans identity in new social situations, such as dating or a new job?

“I don’t tell people until they need to know. I’ve found that letting people get to know me as everything I am first, aside from my trans status, helps them see me as someone other than a token trans friend after I disclose, if I ever choose to.

“If I’m not going to be having a sexual relationship with someone, they really don’t need to know because it’s not relevant.

“For jobs, it has to come up when listing former names on applications. But I don’t treat it like a big deal and they follow suit.

“A lot of my colleagues still don’t know that I’m trans, although my manager does and was really supportive.”

Image copyright Gwen Image caption “Kids have a pretty good idea what their gender is the same way kids have a pretty good idea if they’re straight or gay.” I’m 20 and a trans woman. I transitioned one year ago and I still don’t pass. Any tips for a girl who feels ugly?

“My biggest advice here is not to conflate passing with attractiveness.

“Being beautiful does not mean you will pass and passing doesn’t mean that you’re beautiful either.

“Passing as the other gender is far more attainable than a lot of trans people realize, and I see many “new” transitioners fall into the trap of thinking that if they aren’t pretty, they aren’t passing.

“I wish that we lived in a world where people were treated fairly and respectfully even if they’re ‘ugly’ and don’t pass, but the reality of the world we live in right now is that it makes life much easier if you do pass, so please don’t give trans people flak for trying to just fit in to get by.”

Image copyright Gwen Image caption “A woman to me is a culmination of her experiences, the people in her life, the choices she makes.” Has the change affected your relationship between you and your girlfriend?

“My girlfriend and I actually dated a year before I transitioned. I broke up with her out of fear of her breaking my heart and breaking up with me, after telling her that I felt I should have been born a woman.

“I should have told her though, because when I finally did tell her a year later, she was 110% accepting and supportive and we started dating again shortly thereafter.

“I’ve been with her since a couple of weeks after starting HRT [hormone replacement therapy].”

Is life harder because you are trans and lesbian – compared with if you were a straight trans female?

“I’m not a lesbian – I’m bisexual – I experience attraction to men as well. What someone looks like doesn’t matter as much to me as who they are as a person.

“Being trans and transitioning isn’t about sexuality – it’s about your gender identity. Gender is who you go to bed as and sexuality is who you go to bed with.

“There are trans people who are straight, gay, bisexual, asexual… the two aren’t connected at all in terms of why or whether or not someone transitions.

“Although I’m not a lesbian, I appear as one to the public and there are difficulties surrounding that. I don’t feel as safe holding my girlfriend’s hand in public everywhere we go, but most people have been pretty accepting.”

Image copyright Gwen What is being “a woman” beyond cosmetic things like body shape, make-up and high heels?

“After spending time on both sides of the ‘gender line’, I can confidently say that there is really no quality that, in a vacuum, makes a person a man or a woman.

“A woman to me is a culmination of her experiences, the people in her life, the choices she makes, everything that has led her to where she is today.

“Sometimes she’s born in a male body like I was, but our histories do not define us. I refuse to be limited by mine in the same way people do not want their past crimes or disabilities or embarrassments to define who they are today.

“I have (finally) found a body that I am mostly comfortable in and that’s enough for me. Hopefully that’s enough for you as well.”

What is gender dysphonia?

  • Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity
  • It is a recognized medical condition, for which treatment is sometimes appropriate. It’s not a mental illness
  • Treatment for gender dysphoria aims to help reduce or remove the distressing feelings
  • For some people, it can mean dressing and living as their preferred gender
  • For others, it can mean taking hormones or also having surgery to change their physical appearance
  • Many trans people have treatment to change their body permanently, so they’re more consistent with their gender identity, and the vast majority are satisfied with the eventual results

Source: NHS

Image copyright Gwen Image caption “Every day of living as a trans person is putting a wall up, protecting yourself from people who hate you for literally no reason.” What are some of the things that people do or say about transgender people that bother you and how do you deal with them?

“What bothers me the most is when people blame the high suicide rate of trans people on our ‘mental illness’, like we’re predisposed to it, and refuse to consider that maybe they are the reason so many trans youth kill themselves.

“How would you feel if every day people were calling you a freak, mentally ill, saying you belong in an asylum, telling you that you don’t deserve to be loved?

“How would you feel being scared to date anyone because they might murder you once you tell them your history?

“Every day of living as a trans person is putting a wall up, protecting yourself from people who hate you for literally no reason, because you have zero impact on their lives.

“Eventually, the pressure gets to some people and they decide they don’t want to live any more. Studies have shown that the suicide rate drastically decreases when a trans person transitions young and has a lot of love and support from their family.

“All we need is to be loved, just like anyone else. As for how I deal with them, I try to respond respectfully and show them I’m just a person like anyone else and if they respond negatively, I smile and walk away.

“Living well is the best revenge.”

Has hormone replacement medication affected your moods or emotions?

“Aside from finally feeling at peace with the right hormone in my body, it hasn’t affected my mood or emotions too much.

“I find it a lot easier to cry these days, physically speaking, and I’m not quite sure why that is. I get the feeling that I want to cry as often as I did in the past, but tears actually come out more often than they ever did before.”

Have you ever faced any hostility regarding using women’s bathrooms or changing rooms?

“I’ve never had any problems, but that’s because I pass and look like I ‘belong’ in the women’s room.

“I always use the women’s bathroom because if I walked into the men’s room, something awful could happen to me.

“So I go to the ladies’ room, fix my face and hair, make friends with the girl in the stall next to me and leave, like everyone else.”

title!

LittleRedBunnyn: Inside the Life of Webcam Girls

Webcamming is an often unexplored sub-category of porn, and many only really know of webcam girls through the pop-up ads that appear in their web browsers, detailing how they can chat with “hot, horny girls RIGHT NOW!”

But for many watching women perform on webcam is preferable to regular ol’ porn, as it provides a level of intimacy that the viewer doesn’t get from watching a video clip of a couple of strangers going at it. In this new series, we’ll be exploring the life of the girls behind these webcams, asking them about what it’s like to bare all on the Internet.

This week we talked to LittleRedBunny, who attracts thousands of viewers to her live shows and has managed to carve out a lucrative full-time career out of being a “cam girl.”

CRAVE ONLINE: What is a regular day like in the life of a “cam girl?”

LittleRedBunny: It’s kind of hard to generalize that as no one works the same way or the same hours. Many only work part-time or on an irregular basis. I might have been one of the first to treat it like a full-time job – even approaching it like a career, despite the fact webcamming can be a short one.

I like to work at night, the time that gets me in the mood. Besides, I am more of a night owl. Right after I wake up is the slowest part of my day. Yeah… It takes me a while to put my brain and body back together. Haha.My chat room feels like people lounging in a speakeasy, and that’s not really a day thing. Even though web-camming is my “job,” it doesn’t feel like one. So I can’t see myself doing a 9-5 schedule. It’s more like having fun and chatting with friends at a party. I’m the entertainer who gathers everyone together, but who also makes time for intimate one-on-one conversation and/or naughty play. Although I’m very lucky to have polite and wonderful regulars, there are always a few people who are insistent about getting me to do things for free, and it can be very funny.

I try to do the errands during the day, like shopping for the things I need or getting groceries. I catch up on my social media messages and emails before and after my hours online. Like anybody, I also take a while to doll myself up before starting my workday (well, night for me). There’s actually a decent amount of hours I spend offline in preparation for my time online.

I eat lightly before work and snack a bit during. I get really physical online and wouldn’t be able to work on a full stomach, so I normally eat my main meal before I sleep – I know, even though it’s a dietary no-no! But this means I take time to relax a little. I get quite roused by work. At times I’m exhausted and just collapse asleep, but other times I’m still too wired to sleep right away.

How long do you spend on camera every day?

A very short night for me would be 8-hours. My average would be 10-12 hours a night, but there are evenings – especially on weekends – when I might cam for 18-hours straight. Nights are incredibly busy, but I lose a sense of time and space when I am online. There’s always laughter and people coming by, and I get caught up in all the fun.

LittleRedBunny3

hat do you think the appeal is of webcamming over, say, just watching porn?

It’s 100% different than porn. My approach strives for intimacy, whereas porn is a quick and convenient medium to relieve a sexual urge. The person watching porn is on the outside, witnessing only a sexual situation. With the webcam, it’s interactive, social, and much, much more personal. People seem to have a perception that the interactions are only sexual. While sexuality is the primary element that brings people to these sites, sex quickly becomes a competing reason with intimacy and friendship.

When people come online with the intention of sharing a sexual experience, they know webcamming is interactive and personal. They actually can be as picky as they want. They browse for the body they like and the personality they like, and they meet a real person. I know some girls create a persona to distance themselves from what they do, but not all of them do, and I certainly don’t.

I will act and react accordingly to a private client’s fantasy, and we both feed off each other’s sexual energy in the time we have. Most importantly, webcamming allows for all the foreplay that you often don’t see in porn: the flirtation, the tease, and the charm. And after the “fun” is over, you can just leave and sleep, or we can chat a bit and relax while the climax is slowly calming down. Webcamming is much closer to a real sexual encounter, despite the fact it’s virtual. You can’t actually touch, smell, or taste me, but these elements aren’t in porn either.

Then there’s the whole social aspect. People can have a drink and laugh with me every night, while I dance and sing for them. In my room specifically, there are regular members who socialize amongst themselves. People don’t always want to go out and hang at a bar at night. They’re tired from work and just want to wind down, meet people, and enjoy their night while in the comfort of their house. We all get to know each other, even if it’s in public room and there are tons of people there at the same time. Private chats, however, really breed a closer connection between me and the person, as we hide for the temporary time that we have.

The personal and social dimension of webcamming often trumps the initial sexual reason that brings people to the site. People need to be around people. Even though members may never meet their favorite webcam girls in person, they can find a performer who they can form a strong affinity with. And they can see her nude because even though there is conversation and friendship, there’s also a sexual bond and gratification as well. Isn’t that nice?

Have you ever built up a bond or even a friendship with one of your regular viewers?

Yes, I have developed some strong friendships and many casual friendships throughout my five and half years. People who are very close to me have been following me for up to five years now. I have the luxury and privilege of people coming back to see me regularly. Some open up and share deep parts of themselves with me. The trust slowly builds, and I get to share deep parts of myself too.

What kind of people typically watch you over webcam?

This varies SO MUCH! I have people in their early 20s to people over 50. Some still attend college, some are accomplished professionals, and some are retired. And I see people from all over the world with the hours I do; so all over America, Europe, Australia, etc.

Do you get a lot of sexual pleasure out of webcamming, or is it something you do just because it’s a job? If you weren’t getting paid, do you see it as something you’d be doing in your private sexual life?

Yes, I do. If not… I wouldn’t have lasted these past five years! Nothing forces me to do this job, and I could easily go out and find other work. I am lucky and happy to have a job that I enjoy so much, and I DO enjoy myself sexually. In my private sexual life, I would say I always had a curiosity about exhibitionism and voyeurism, so the webcam is a great medium for me to enjoy and share this part of myself. Now if I had another full time job, maybe I would have a harder time finding enough hours in my day to do it along with webcamming for my personal enjoyment… but we’ll never know!

 

LittleRedBunny2

How difficult do you find it to describe what you do to people you know?

This is my little secret bubble. In the same way I don’t talk about my sex life with my friends or family, I don’t share about my private naughty online time with others.

What’s the best part of your job?

I enjoy all the different aspects that I get from webcamming. I entertain, dance, and sing. And this keeps me fit, and I can’t picture myself going to the gym. My creativity and mind are constantly stimulated. I have the privilege to meet people internationally with different cultures and lifestyles. Camming has made me grow a lot as a person and developed my understanding of others, and I will always be grateful for it.

Since people can choose to be as anonymous as they want, and I have the huge privilege to get to know people at a different level, one they often hide in a real life context. There are many things people want to talk about but can’t with friends, family, co-workers, and sometimes even with their life partner. I am so thankful for the trust they have in me for opening up to me this way. People share about their life experiences, sexual fantasies, work, anything. All these conversations contributed to who I am today and how I perceive things in life and regarding other people. I will carry this with me forever, and I’ve grown in a way I wouldn’t have if I did not do this.

I enjoy both the social and sexual pleasure that it brings me, and as I said, it does NOT feel like a job at all. I meet tons of interesting people, and I get to stay in my comfortable apartment. I play the music I like. I do what I want and have the schedule I want as well. I have total autonomy and do not owe anything to anyone anymore, as I don’t have to deal with a boss or co-workers. I can set the limits of what I’m willing to do or not, too. This is a very nice freedom, while it also nourishes me as a person. Can it really get better than that?

And the worst part of your job?

There’s really not much that is bad, since you can set all your limits and decide everything for yourself.  Maybe only one thing that comes to my mind…

As you develop friendships, it’s impossible not to form emotional bonds. These people become a part of your life. You get close to them for months and years. The friendship is growing, when one day, poof! They disappear. I remember one particular person that became a close friend during my first 2-3 years. Eventually I learned he was having health issues. He was seeing me almost every day, then was gone for a few weeks, and he’d come back for a few months. And then, no news at all. Totally disconnected. Thinking about him still feels horrible, since we were so close. Even today, I don’t know if he just decided to cut contact with me, or if he actually passed away. I still get sad thinking about it, even though it’s probably been more than 2 years since I’ve heard from him.

 

LittleRedBunny4

Photo Credit: LARodriguez.com

What kind of requests do you get from your viewers while you’re performing on webcam?

Oh, so many! I get it all! I am quite athletic from my background in ballet and yoga. So, sometimes requests can be for dancing, stripping, showing my muscles, ass shaking, or some old-fashioned foot play. Some like to play dress up and assign me different outfits. On the more sexual level, there’s a whole world of things I get to do with them. The extent of my willingness is written on my profile, but of course there’s always room for naughty ideas that are not written. Some simply request to see me cum or cum with them, and the ways we get there varies tremendously. Eroticism is a vast world, and it spurs a lot of creativity.

Of course, most requests are done in private. In free chat, I talk, dance, and sing all the time; people enjoy watching and request me to do that more. They often ask to see my flexibility, like stretching my body while dancing or doing the splits. I rarely type, but when I do, they love it. They call me their “sex-retary” cause I type super fast without looking at the keyboard, and it’s the only time they ever see me not smiling – apparently I appear very serious when concentrating. I also do a few tricks they seem to never get tired of seeing. One is dancing while my stiletto is hooked under my g-string. Another one is dancing while balancing a full glass on my lower back, my stomach, or on the back of my thigh.

What’s the weirdest request you’ve got?

After camming for some time, it doesn’t take long to realize that what some people think is weird isn’t weird at all. All fetishes fall along the spectrum of sexuality, and I am VERY open-minded. I actually became more open-minded than I already was before working. Some members think they’re the only ones to have a specific fetish, but I know tons of others who share the same kink. I got to discover a variety of things people enjoy sexually, and take huge pleasure from exploring and understanding everyone’s turn-ons. I always get to have as much as pleasure as they do, so life is great!

Webcamming is an often unexplored sub-category of porn, and many only really know of webcam girls through the pop-up ads that appear in their web browsers, detailing how they can chat with “hot, horny girls RIGHT NOW!”

But for many watching women perform on webcam is preferable to regular ol’ porn, as it provides a level of intimacy that the viewer doesn’t get from watching a video clip of a couple of strangers going at it. In this new series, we’ll be exploring the life of the girls behind these webcams, asking them about what it’s like to bare all on the Internet.

This week we talked to LittleRedBunny, who attracts thousands of viewers to her live shows and has managed to carve out a lucrative full-time career out of being a “cam girl.”

CRAVE ONLINE: What is a regular day like in the life of a “cam girl?”

LittleRedBunny: It’s kind of hard to generalize that as no one works the same way or the same hours. Many only work part-time or on an irregular basis. I might have been one of the first to treat it like a full-time job – even approaching it like a career, despite the fact webcamming can be a short one.

I like to work at night, the time that gets me in the mood. Besides, I am more of a night owl. Right after I wake up is the slowest part of my day. Yeah… It takes me a while to put my brain and body back together. Haha.My chat room feels like people lounging in a speakeasy, and that’s not really a day thing. Even though web-camming is my “job,” it doesn’t feel like one. So I can’t see myself doing a 9-5 schedule. It’s more like having fun and chatting with friends at a party. I’m the entertainer who gathers everyone together, but who also makes time for intimate one-on-one conversation and/or naughty play. Although I’m very lucky to have polite and wonderful regulars, there are always a few people who are insistent about getting me to do things for free, and it can be very funny.

I try to do the errands during the day, like shopping for the things I need or getting groceries. I catch up on my social media messages and emails before and after my hours online. Like anybody, I also take a while to doll myself up before starting my workday (well, night for me). There’s actually a decent amount of hours I spend offline in preparation for my time online.

I eat lightly before work and snack a bit during. I get really physical online and wouldn’t be able to work on a full stomach, so I normally eat my main meal before I sleep – I know, even though it’s a dietary no-no! But this means I take time to relax a little. I get quite roused by work. At times I’m exhausted and just collapse asleep, but other times I’m still too wired to sleep right away.

How long do you spend on camera every day?

A very short night for me would be 8-hours. My average would be 10-12 hours a night, but there are evenings – especially on weekends – when I might cam for 18-hours straight. Nights are incredibly busy, but I lose a sense of time and space when I am online. There’s always laughter and people coming by, and I get caught up in all the fun.

 

LittleRedBunny3

What do you think the appeal is of webcamming over, say, just watching porn?

It’s 100% different than porn. My approach strives for intimacy, whereas porn is a quick and convenient medium to relieve a sexual urge. The person watching porn is on the outside, witnessing only a sexual situation. With the webcam, it’s interactive, social, and much, much more personal. People seem to have a perception that the interactions are only sexual. While sexuality is the primary element that brings people to these sites, sex quickly becomes a competing reason with intimacy and friendship.

When people come online with the intention of sharing a sexual experience, they know webcamming is interactive and personal. They actually can be as picky as they want. They browse for the body they like and the personality they like, and they meet a real person. I know some girls create a persona to distance themselves from what they do, but not all of them do, and I certainly don’t.

I will act and react accordingly to a private client’s fantasy, and we both feed off each other’s sexual energy in the time we have. Most importantly, webcamming allows for all the foreplay that you often don’t see in porn: the flirtation, the tease, and the charm. And after the “fun” is over, you can just leave and sleep, or we can chat a bit and relax while the climax is slowly calming down. Webcamming is much closer to a real sexual encounter, despite the fact it’s virtual. You can’t actually touch, smell, or taste me, but these elements aren’t in porn either.

Then there’s the whole social aspect. People can have a drink and laugh with me every night, while I dance and sing for them. In my room specifically, there are regular members who socialize amongst themselves. People don’t always want to go out and hang at a bar at night. They’re tired from work and just want to wind down, meet people, and enjoy their night while in the comfort of their house. We all get to know each other, even if it’s in public room and there are tons of people there at the same time. Private chats, however, really breed a closer connection between me and the person, as we hide for the temporary time that we have.

The personal and social dimension of webcamming often trumps the initial sexual reason that brings people to the site. People need to be around people. Even though members may never meet their favorite webcam girls in person, they can find a performer who they can form a strong affinity with. And they can see her nude because even though there is conversation and friendship, there’s also a sexual bond and gratification as well. Isn’t that nice?

Have you ever built up a bond or even a friendship with one of your regular viewers?

Yes, I have developed some strong friendships and many casual friendships throughout my five and half years. People who are very close to me have been following me for up to five years now. I have the luxury and privilege of people coming back to see me regularly. Some open up and share deep parts of themselves with me. The trust slowly builds, and I get to share deep parts of myself too.

What kind of people typically watch you over webcam?

This varies SO MUCH! I have people in their early 20s to people over 50. Some still attend college, some are accomplished professionals, and some are retired. And I see people from all over the world with the hours I do; so all over America, Europe, Australia, etc.

Do you get a lot of sexual pleasure out of webcamming, or is it something you do just because it’s a job? If you weren’t getting paid, do you see it as something you’d be doing in your private sexual life?

Yes, I do. If not… I wouldn’t have lasted these past five years! Nothing forces me to do this job, and I could easily go out and find other work. I am lucky and happy to have a job that I enjoy so much, and I DO enjoy myself sexually. In my private sexual life, I would say I always had a curiosity about exhibitionism and voyeurism, so the webcam is a great medium for me to enjoy and share this part of myself. Now if I had another full time job, maybe I would have a harder time finding enough hours in my day to do it along with webcamming for my personal enjoyment… but we’ll never know!

 

LittleRedBunny2

How difficult do you find it to describe what you do to people you know?

This is my little secret bubble. In the same way I don’t talk about my sex life with my friends or family, I don’t share about my private naughty online time with others.

What’s the best part of your job?

I enjoy all the different aspects that I get from webcamming. I entertain, dance, and sing. And this keeps me fit, and I can’t picture myself going to the gym. My creativity and mind are constantly stimulated. I have the privilege to meet people internationally with different cultures and lifestyles. Camming has made me grow a lot as a person and developed my understanding of others, and I will always be grateful for it.

Since people can choose to be as anonymous as they want, and I have the huge privilege to get to know people at a different level, one they often hide in a real life context. There are many things people want to talk about but can’t with friends, family, co-workers, and sometimes even with their life partner. I am so thankful for the trust they have in me for opening up to me this way. People share about their life experiences, sexual fantasies, work, anything. All these conversations contributed to who I am today and how I perceive things in life and regarding other people. I will carry this with me forever, and I’ve grown in a way I wouldn’t have if I did not do this.

I enjoy both the social and sexual pleasure that it brings me, and as I said, it does NOT feel like a job at all. I meet tons of interesting people, and I get to stay in my comfortable apartment. I play the music I like. I do what I want and have the schedule I want as well. I have total autonomy and do not owe anything to anyone anymore, as I don’t have to deal with a boss or co-workers. I can set the limits of what I’m willing to do or not, too. This is a very nice freedom, while it also nourishes me as a person. Can it really get better than that?

And the worst part of your job?

There’s really not much that is bad, since you can set all your limits and decide everything for yourself.  Maybe only one thing that comes to my mind…

As you develop friendships, it’s impossible not to form emotional bonds. These people become a part of your life. You get close to them for months and years. The friendship is growing, when one day, poof! They disappear. I remember one particular person that became a close friend during my first 2-3 years. Eventually I learned he was having health issues. He was seeing me almost every day, then was gone for a few weeks, and he’d come back for a few months. And then, no news at all. Totally disconnected. Thinking about him still feels horrible, since we were so close. Even today, I don’t know if he just decided to cut contact with me, or if he actually passed away. I still get sad thinking about it, even though it’s probably been more than 2 years since I’ve heard from him.

 

LittleRedBunny4

Photo Credit: LARodriguez.com

What kind of requests do you get from your viewers while you’re performing on webcam?

Oh, so many! I get it all! I am quite athletic from my background in ballet and yoga. So, sometimes requests can be for dancing, stripping, showing my muscles, ass shaking, or some old-fashioned foot play. Some like to play dress up and assign me different outfits. On the more sexual level, there’s a whole world of things I get to do with them. The extent of my willingness is written on my profile, but of course there’s always room for naughty ideas that are not written. Some simply request to see me cum or cum with them, and the ways we get there varies tremendously. Eroticism is a vast world, and it spurs a lot of creativity.

Of course, most requests are done in private. In free chat, I talk, dance, and sing all the time; people enjoy watching and request me to do that more. They often ask to see my flexibility, like stretching my body while dancing or doing the splits. I rarely type, but when I do, they love it. They call me their “sex-retary” cause I type super fast without looking at the keyboard, and it’s the only time they ever see me not smiling – apparently I appear very serious when concentrating. I also do a few tricks they seem to never get tired of seeing. One is dancing while my stiletto is hooked under my g-string. Another one is dancing while balancing a full glass on my lower back, my stomach, or on the back of my thigh.

What’s the weirdest request you’ve got?

After camming for some time, it doesn’t take long to realize that what some people think is weird isn’t weird at all. All fetishes fall along the spectrum of sexuality, and I am VERY open-minded. I actually became more open-minded than I already was before working. Some members think they’re the only ones to have a specific fetish, but I know tons of others who share the same kink. I got to discover a variety of things people enjoy sexually, and take huge pleasure from exploring and understanding everyone’s turn-ons. I always get to have as much as pleasure as they do, so life is great!

Follow LittleRedBunny on Twitter (NSFW): @LittleRedBunny