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Saturday, August 10, 2013

My New Interview for Raw Attraction Magazine: Cam World, Sex Work, Gender, Sexuality

Hey friends! I recently did an interview for up and coming magazine, Raw Attraction. Here is the link, and I've also posted it here for your reading pleasure :) Please feel free to comment & share if you enjoy!

Raw Attraction Magazine

We speak to Christina Parreira, M.A who is a PhD Sociology student with a primary focus on sex work & prostitution. She is also a 'web cam' girl. We wanted to speak to her about how this affects her life and public perception of her.

At Raw, we believe women (and men) should be able to do what they want with their bodies as long as they are happy.

Christina... Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to step into webcam work

I had been in a relationship for a few years, and my partner and I were looking for ways to spice things up. One of our friends told us about couples who broadcast live on amateur porn sites, and I was intrigued. It proved to be a fun way to add new excitement to our sex life, but it wasn't something we were charging money for. Honestly, I didn't even consider the possibility of profiting from it when we started. At the time, I was working on my Masters in clinical psychology and the majority of my income came from student loans. I was also working as a waitress part-time, but I was really burnt out on restaurant jobs.

As soon as I realized that other performers on the site were profiting from cam work, I refused to do it for free. Why on earth would I do something for free that others were getting paid for? Unfortunately, my partner wasn't thrilled with my new plan. He felt that it became all about work, and that getting paid took the fun out of what was initially something meant to improve our sex life. We eventually parted ways (not because of the cam work) and I continued to work as a cam model on my own. I started my doctorate and continued to work as a cam performer, and fortunately was able to take out fewer student loans thanks to my new source of income.

What do you normally do when you are on web cam? How do you feel when you are working?

Earnings vary depending on how many hours I work, how many clients are online, the time of day. Much like waitressing and stripping, it can be very hit or miss. It took me a while to build up my fan base, my "regulars" as I call them. It also depends on the website's traffic and how well the site promotes itself. Once I established myself as a cam performer, I'd average anywhere from $100-300 per night. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I took a 6 month break between academic programs and during that period, cam work became a full time job. I was consistently earning over a grand a week. I was working 5-6 nights per week on cam.

As far as what I normally do on cam, it really varies based on what the client requests. Some clients want what I refer to as a "standard show:" a strip tease and a toy show. However I also cater to a lot of fetish clients, and that doesn't even involve nudity. I've done hundreds of foot fetish shows, dominatrix shows, role play, cuckold and humiliation, etc. When I am on cam, I feel that I am fulfilling a role, a fantasy. Honestly, it doesn't feel a whole lot different than when I used to work at a bar. I'm paid to perform a service and if I'm comfortable with that service and I agree to the terms, I accept payment and I do the best I can to please the client. I will admit that at first, camming was a novelty. I felt sexy, I felt a thrill from it. As the years went on, it turned into a boring job just like any other. I go through the motions, get paid, and sign off. I've actually been spending less and less time on cam. I'm starting to feel burnt out from it, and I have much less patience for irritating clients. I've been doing this work for almost five years, and with anything else, it gets tiresome.

Are you able to easily tell new boyfriends/lovers about your work? If yes, how do they react?

When I first started cam work, I was much less confident about telling others. It was a source of anxiety for me, and I was concerned over what future partners would think. I think that was part of being young and insecure. At this point in my life, I feel confident in who I am and in what I do. I'm also passionate about advocating for the civil and human rights of sex workers and have met many incredible sex workers/activists over the last couple of years. Being around other individuals who do similar work has helped to empower me. I won't date anyone who is not okay with what I do, and I am always upfront. Given that sex work is such a large part of my life, both in how I make my money and in my academic interests, it would be near impossible for me to hide. I don't think I should have to hide it, and I certainly won't have anyone telling me what I can and cannot do with my body. If somebody cannot accept that I'm a sex worker, they can head towards the door.

When I was younger, I had partners who were insecure about the whole cam thing. Those relationships didn't last long. My last serious partner was involved in the adult film industry, and so he was supportive of my work. It was one of the few things in our relationship that wasn't problematic! Currently, I'm single and taking a break from dating. I've had a string of unhealthy relationships and am at a point in which I need to take time to work on myself and to focus on my academic work. I can't be bothered to worry how future partners will react.

How has it changed you in terms of your attitudes to sex and in the bedroom when you are having sex?

This is an interesting question, and one that I'm still exploring. I don't know if I have a clear answer to this yet. It's not black and white. Our attitudes and behaviors change as we progress, and as a result of exposure to many influences. How can I know exactly what has been a direct result of being a sex worker and what has been a result of exposure to past relationships, sexual partners, etc? There's overlap there. It's not cut and dry.

I've always been pretty open when it comes to sex, but I can definitely say that cam work has broadened my awareness. I am more  accepting of different fetishes and fantasies. For example, when I was new to cam work, I did not understand how or why somebody could be turned on by feet. I was shocked by some of the requests that I got from clients! To be honest, I thought some of it was really weird! I'm more open minded now, and I have more appreciation for the broad spectrum of human sexuality. Actually, I feel really privileged in a way. I've been allowed into the deepest darkest corners of people's minds. Men have shared their secret desires with me, and it's been fascinating.

Has sex work changed my behavior in the bedroom? Maybe we should call up some of my exs? Just kidding. Well, anything that a person does for five years will have an impact, but I'm still trying to figure out what that impact is. Occasionally when I'm having sex with a partner, I notice that I may "amp it up" a bit, as I would when I'm in front of the camera. It's one thing for me to keep an eye on. I've noticed this more when I'm with casual partners rather than when I'm in a relationship. I'm very comfortable with my sexuality, and perhaps that's a result of being a sex worker. However, as I've already said, I'm not comfortable with making a statement such as "I'm comfortable in bed because I'm a sex worker." That's assuming direct causation without taking other variables into account.  I'm much more than just my job, and I've been exposed to many other things that may have affected who I am sexually. Sex work is only one facet.

What are some of the craziest fantasies that guys come up with?

I hate to say that any fantasy is "crazy," as that has a judgmental tone to it. However, there were some that surprised me, mostly due to a lack of exposure. I've seen clients use clothes pins on themselves, rope, nipple clamps, etc. I don't think that this is by any means "crazy," but I suppose by many people's standards it may be thought of as unusual. We should be careful to not shame anyone for their preferences though. Actually, I will say this- the bestiality people freak me out. I can be judgmental about that because it is abusive and unethical. I have a dog and I've had clients request "dog shows," and I tell those people to go to hell.

What is your opinion on the male species after working in the industry?

My answer to the "male species" question is the same as my answer to the sexuality question. It's hard to say how much sex work has played a role, and how much my previous experiences & relationships have played a role. Also important to note that I have had a few female clients. They're rare, but they exist! I know plenty of females who enjoy porn, but it seems that fewer are willing to pay for it. So, I don't want to make any sweeping generalizations about a gender based on my work. Perhaps more women would be willing to pay for cam girl services if it were more socially acceptable for women to express their urges and desires. Women often get shamed for their sexual urges, so they're not given equal opportunity to explore them. But, back to the question of men, I have been guilty of statements such as "Ugh men are such pigs!" and so forth. I really don't want to turn into that though. Also, I have to admit that I'm probably not in the best position to articulate my views on men at the moment. In my personal life I've had negative experiences with men over the past year, and as I mentioned earlier, I'm taking a long break from dating. So, how much of this is a result of my cam work and how much is a result of my previous relationships? Ask me again in a couple of years!

What is your ultimate fantasy?

My ultimate fantasy? Having sex with porn star James Deen in a Hello Kitty-themed Love Hotel in Tokyo. Yes, that exists. Seriously, can you think of anything better? I can't!
What are the positives from the work and what would you recommend to anyone wanting to get into it?

The biggest positive from my work is without a doubt the money. That's why we all work, isn't it? I also have a lot of freedom in terms of when I work and how much I work. I am my own boss, and I love that. I'm able to go to school and support myself. I've also met some interesting people that also work in this industry. As far as advice for other women (and men because men can be cam performers too!) I would say don't ever do anything that you're not comfortable with. This work is not for everyone. I cannot stress that enough: sex work is not for everyone and that's okay. Observe your limits and boundaries. Check in with yourself. If something feels right, then explore it. Perhaps even more importantly, if something feels wrong, don't keep doing it! Be kind to yourself and to your body.

You can find Christina at and on

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Slut Riot: A Sex Worker Shares Her Perspective

Hello friends! I am so pleased to announced that The Sin City Siren is doing a week long campaign about slut-shaming, including articles on the topic from different perspectives. Today's article comes from a sex worker- me! I have shared the link here as well as the article. Thank you so much to The Sin City Siren for this opportunity. Enjoy! XO

The Sin City Siren's Slut Riot!

Slut Riot: A sex worker shares her perspective

In today’s installment of Slut Riot we hear from a sex worker who also happens to be a graduate student. I encourage you to read her words and consider any assumptions that float into your head. Do you pre-judge her before you even start because you hold sex workers to a different standard? Can sex workers be slut-shamed when their vocation requires the real or imagined acts of promiscuity? Keep in mind that the social caste system that marginalizes and even dehumanizes sex workers is just an extension of the pervasive patriarchy all around us.

By Christina Parreira, M.A.

Women who transgress traditional gender roles are often targets of ridicule, shaming, and even violence. What does it mean to violate these mores, and what type of women are most at risk? Women who exhibit promiscuous behavior are shamed for being sluts, but what about those who charge for it? Sex workers are arguably one of the most targeted groups when it comes to the phenomenon of slut-shaming.
American culture has a love/hate relationship with promiscuous women. I am reminded of the Madonna/Whore complex, a psychoanalytic theory which states that men view women as either virtuous saints or tarnished whores. According to the theory, it would be nearly impossible for a man to simultaneously respect a woman and explore his sexual fantasies with her. Granted, this theory is outdated, but I think it has some merit in the discussion of slut-shaming and sex work.

A sex worker is any individual who trades a sexual service for compensation. This includes porn performers, strippers, phone sex operators, escorts, prostitutes, webcam models, and so forth. Some sex workers work legally, while others work illegally. Unfortunately, the criminalization of prostitution in most of the US contributes to the shaming of sex workers, but even those who work legally experience slut-shaming. Porn and stripping are both legal jobs, but both come with high levels of stigma. Porn stars are the stuff that dirty wet dreams are made of, but you wouldn’t dare bring one home to mother … would you? Men shower strippers with dollar bills at bachelor parties, but many wouldn’t be caught dead dating one. The sex industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and yet the performers who make up this industry are regarded as pariahs. The hypocrisy is stunning — to masturbate to these individuals in private but to damn them in the public sphere.

I have worked as a webcam performer for almost five years, and recently started stripping. I identify as a sex worker and receive the majority of my income from this work. I am also a graduate student. The reactions that I get from people when they learn that I’m a sex worker are astonishing. Even more confusion results when people learn that I am also a graduate student. Why is this? Are people stunned that sex workers also have brains? Why aren’t we allowed to be simultaneously intellectual AND sexual? How does the exchange of money affect people’s perceptions of individuals and the level of slut-shaming that takes place? Women who exhibit “slutty” behavior are already damned, but what about those who profit financially from this behavior? The shaming is even more amplified. Not only are we sluts, but we have the nerve to charge for it! It is important to note that this does not only apply to female sex workers, but also to male and transgendered workers.

Society targets sex workers the way it used to target the so-called witches of Salem. Individuals who engage in sex work shatter the widely held beliefs of what constitutes socially appropriate behavior, making sex workers a prime target for slut-shaming. I hope to one day live in a world where I can do as I please with my genitals without being shamed. A world in which a rape victim isn’t blamed for what she was wearing. Unfortunately, I think we have a long way to go.