Worth reading 😎

A 40-year-old webcam model with a full-time day job tells all in this funny and insightful memoir about the world of professional sex work.

Synopsis

Shock Value is the brutally honest story of one webcam model's sexual escapades with her online clients. In a world of sexual deviants, "Angelina" entices various men to her chat room to fulfill their sexual fantasies that some would consider taboo. This book of short stories encompasses the provocative world of web camming, fetishes, kinks, role plays and sexual desires. Her web cam sessions are often raunchy, hilarious and downright bizarre. Enthralling and surprisingly comical, Angelina leads you down numerous paths of some of the most outlandish, offbeat and peculiar sexual fantasies one can encounter.

We all have litmus tests that we use to assess people, like how they treat animals or their favorite books. I have two: how someone respects and tips service workers--and their opinion on the decriminalization of sex work. Many laws that claim to fight sex trafficking (such as SESTA-FOSTA) actually end up endangering sex workers, and sex worker rights still tend to be absent from even the most liberal political campaign platforms. Even putting all politics aside, sex work is an incredibly vast umbrella term for a misunderstood field. What do sex workers actually do?


One answer to this question comes in Eliza Wilde's hilarious memoir Shock Value. Wilde ("Angelina" professionally) is a webcam model, which means she gets paid to livestream video of herself performing erotic acts. She's also a 40-year-old with a full-time job. Wilde needed additional part-time employment to help pay off her debt; she answered a Craigslist ad from a female-run studio, got a website profile, and started camming. Customers either interact with her in the chat or pay to take her private.


Most of Wilde's work focuses on telling wacky stories and explaining the quirks of the camming profession. For example, she only keeps 20% of her rates (the studio and website get the rest), so it takes a lot of work for the job to be lucrative. There are times when bonuses are available, but scheduling can get dicey...especially if you're on your period. Some customers are easy to please, while others can be demanding. One even requested an elaborate role play involving a contract killer: suffice it to say, Wilde declined that session. She's seen men use everything for lube, from yogurt to toothpaste. And as for unsolicited photos, she's got the perfect response: "Dick pics are the human equivalent of a cat giving you a dead bird as a 'gift.'"


Wilde doesn't shy away from the difficulties of sex work; you have to stand up for yourself and set boundaries (cam models can always end a call). Plus, should you tell your family, friends, or partner--or live a secret life? But sex work can also be empowering. Wilde thinks about men who've hurt her while participating in femdom as a cathartic release, and while the sections about race play are awful to read, it is what her customers asked for. Wilde admits that it's uncomfortable for her to call someone racial slurs, but there is something emancipating about taking something used to hurt you and transforming it into an instrument of pleasure. In other words, don't yuck anyone's (consensual) yums.

Reviewed by

Batavia Public Library Tech/Reference Assistant
Former Literary Agent Assistant at Barbara Braun Associates, Inc.
Former Personal Assistant to Marilyn Stasio at the NYTBR
Former Book Review Editor for KGB Bar Lit Mag
Former Business Manager of the Columbia Journal
MFA in Fiction from Columbia U

Synopsis

Shock Value is the brutally honest story of one webcam model's sexual escapades with her online clients. In a world of sexual deviants, "Angelina" entices various men to her chat room to fulfill their sexual fantasies that some would consider taboo. This book of short stories encompasses the provocative world of web camming, fetishes, kinks, role plays and sexual desires. Her web cam sessions are often raunchy, hilarious and downright bizarre. Enthralling and surprisingly comical, Angelina leads you down numerous paths of some of the most outlandish, offbeat and peculiar sexual fantasies one can encounter.

The Beginning


It all started in 2017, when I was looking for a part-time job to help pay off my debt, but I couldn’t find anything I was interested in doing that paid enough. As I was looking for part-time work, I thought to myself, hmmm … what kind of job can I do that doesn’t require me to deal with a lot of people in person, doesn’t make me work weekends if I choose not to, pays a decent wage, and doesn’t run me ragged? I seriously loathe most of humanity, so the less interaction I have with them, the better. That’s when I saw an ad on Craigslist for a “chat hostess” and replied.

Okay, before you get all Judge Judy on me for responding to a Craigslist ad, I contemplated for months whether or not I should respond to the ad. Thankfully, when I finally did, I realized it wasn’t a hoax or scam. In fact, I discovered that it was a female-run studio. After corresponding with the studio manager via text, we met up at the studio to go over the specifics, and she created a profile for me for the website. I was concerned because I didn’t want anyone in my family or the majority of my friends to know what I was doing. But this company is very discreet—you can block up to five different states or countries.

I was 39 when I started and didn’t really have any mentors, just a little training. I sat with a woman who was a seasoned cam model and worked as the manager’s assistant when she wasn’t doing her own camming. She would teach me how to interact with the men, how to keep them interested, and shared some things not to do, such as being on my phone all the time. When you are constantly on your phone, you appear uninterested, and guys will pick up on that. Your social media can wait—you are here to make money. She also showed me how to block customers, how to report them, and how to add little notes about them such as their names, where there are from, etc. She also suggested that every time a guy takes you exclusive or even private (two features I’ll explain in more detail later), try to remember some details about the session, such as whether it involved a specific roleplay or fetish. When you click on a customer’s profile name, it allows you to mark them as a favorite or add notes about them. It makes the customer feel special when you remember them by their real name if they gave it to you. If you remember their little kink or fetish or remind them about the last roleplay you did together, it really makes them feel special, like you were really listening to them. Anything you can do to impress the customer will score you big points! It’s a lot of improv, since men are into all kinds of crazy and wild things. I worked out of a studio for a few months, then told them I needed more flexibility and had decided to cam from home. I saved up money for a new laptop and webcam, but I still work for the company.

When camming, I am interacting with the customer, but I can also walk away from him and it won’t cost me my job. I can stop my show at any time. I can block customers who are rude, mean, or make inappropriate comments to me. It is all at my discretion, and I don’t put up with shit.

Men try to demand that I show them my breasts for free. Who do these guys think they’re kidding? I always think, this is not YouPorn, honey—this shit is not free! It’s five bucks for a tit flash, and I don’t flash them quick and then put the girls away—I keep them out for a good minute or so. You come to this site knowing you have to pay, so quit being a douchebag.

My friends who know about my alter ego have asked me how I can be so brazen online. How can I expose myself to thousands of people over the internet? Aren’t I nervous or scared? I really don’t put too much thought into it, is what I tell them. You don’t see all the people who are in your chat room—you merely see their screen names. It makes it less intimidating, and it’s easier to act like yourself without actually seeing all eyes on you. Do I worry I might know someone coming into my chat room? Sure I do, but I don’t obsess over it. Considering the many thousands of models on the site I am on, and the thousands of men online looking, the likelihood of me actually knowing someone who enters my chat room is slim to none.

Now, to be fair, I must disclose that I used to be a phone sex operator back in the day. It was around 2011, and my best friend was living with me at the time. Somehow the topic of making extra money came up, and I have no idea how this idea came into my head, but I asked her, “What do you think about doing the whole ‘phone sex operator’ thing?” Surprisingly, she was totally for it! I researched companies, and we submitted our online applications. I will tell you, though, it is not very lucrative. I only did that job for a few months before I got bored with it. But it did make me less inhibited when I started camming, and it helped me become more vocal and creative. I did my very first humiliation roleplay while working as a phone sex operator!

The thing to remember is, this is a game. A game in which I can use my master skills of manipulation to keep them coming back for more. I like to get inside the heads of these men. I want to know what pushes their buttons. Sometimes I think I should have studied psychology instead of law. I have worked in the legal field for about 15 years, working at various law firms as a paralegal and in prosecution, defense, and disability law. After working as a paralegal for a number of years, I changed careers. Now I am an investigator, but I still work in the legal field.

In the line of webcam work, however, having a degree in psychology would be beneficial and make camming that much more interesting. Hell, cam models need to be shrinks, girlfriends, whores, dominatrixes, the girl next door, or simply someone to watch. Being versatile, spontaneous, open-minded, and able to think on your feet are attributes that successful webcam models should have, or at least strive to have.

So many people assume that to be successful in the sex industry, you have to look a certain way physically. Let me tell you, people love variety, and screw your beauty standards! There is a body for everybody! Everyone who cams will find their own audience. You could be a 60-year-old cougar cam model and be a kinky minx and make money. You could be a pleasantly plump goddess, and because you have a kick-ass personality and are sexually adventurous, the guys will come back for more.

You see, it’s not just a woman’s physical assets that keep men coming back for more. I use my intellect as my weapon of choice. If I can intrigue a man based on my personality, witty banter, intellect, and charm, then I know I have him hooked. One of the greatest compliments I have received from a customer was, “Your intelligence is so sexy, I have never been this turned on before”—and I still had all my clothes on.

At 40, never did I think I would have such a big fan base by camming only part-time. I currently have over 3,500 people who have listed me as a “favorite.” I also never thought a woman my age would actually be successful at it, because like a lot of people out there, I assumed that most of the successful webcam models were in their early twenties with flawless skin and perfect bodies. The younger guys like me because I am their fantasy cougar. Blonde, 40, big boobs and a big booty—and of course, a lot of experience and very low inhibitions. The older men in their fifties and sixties enjoy me because I’m more on their maturity level. Of course, I’m still fun and playful, but I can hold conversations with them on various topics. The older men tend to chat more, are less demanding, and are more about eroticism.

So now that I’ve told you the basics, let me tell you about some of the wild adventures I’ve had in the business!


 

About the author

Eliza Wilde is a new author, investigator, veteran and an artist. She is fascinated by psychology, sexology and human sexuality. She is known for her love of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, true-crime shows and documentaries, quality vodka, and sarcasm. view profile

Published on July 23, 2019

20000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Biographies & memoirs

Reviewed by

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