- 27 Aug 18
In this issue of Hot Press, guest columnist Cynthia Catania details the experiences of a sex cam girl.
For nearly 20-years at the turn of the century, prostitution was legal inside the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana. Nicknamed “Storyville”, the 38 block area was a social experiment in the control of vice.
In the early 1900s, a “Blue Book” could be purchased for 25 cents. These “guidebooks to sin” were created for tourists and those unfamiliar with this area of New Orleans and contained, in alphabetical order, the names of all the prostitutes of Storyville. It included the addresses of their brothels and separated them, based on race.
Eventually, the rising class of moralists, conservatives and progressives thought the containment of vice in the red light district was ineffective. The pendulum did swing backwards, and by November 1917 legal prostitution ended in Storyville.
Sex and relationship life coach Ayla Grace lives in Bali, Indonesia, just north of Ubud.A US native, she grew up in the music industry touring business and learned early on how to pepper her earnings with stripper work. “It was purely for survival and paying the bills. I needed cash between tours, and I needed it fast,” she recalls.
In her late teens, she was a victim of rape. Her attacker, a member of the army, was someone she thought she could trust. One unfortunate side-effect of the rape was that she contracted an STD from him. “It felt shameful it felt like the end of the world”. She didn’t want to expose nor explain her condition to prospective clients so it became a factor in her barometer for what she would and wouldn’t sell during her experience in the sex industry.
“As a performer, I loved getting tipped on stage. I felt empowered. I loved getting dressed up, but I didn’t like the lap dances or champagne rooms where the girls sell themselves,” she recounts. The underbelly of the stripper world factored in on her sobriety as well. “I couldn’t stay sober. It was tough. My clients would make assumptions. We’d have these awkward moments,” she recalls.
In the clubs of Philadelphia, Russian girls were brought in by pimps. “The women were in such a predicament. Black-eyed and bruised if they didn’t make enough money. They offered hand jobs and blow jobs and sex. They paid-off bouncers to turn an eye. The high-end clientele spent a lot of money and extra shit went down. The girls got hooked on drugs as a means of coping.”
“If I didn’t have the STD,” she says, “and all the choices surrounding it, I might have become a ‘Sugar Baby’” (popular sex dating sites where men - ie. Sugar Daddies - offer financial and material support to younger companions).
“Instead, I got into webcam modelling, which is an iteration of porn. I did it for a year - then I went out on tour.” During such a job on ‘The Warp Tour’, she became sober with the help of the daily 12-step meetings.
On The Naughty Side
Ayla enumerates the upsides of webcam sex work.
“I really liked the idea of creating a persona. This life and this sexuality - I’m not ashamed of being a woman. Why would I be ashamed of the ability to create life and the act thereof? The complete open, honest pleasure of it”.
The arm’s length nature of webcam modelling allowed her to swing the other way, with a ‘fuck you, I’m gonna do me, enjoy me, and feel free!’ attitude.
She waxes on. “I loved the idea of performing in a way that kept people far away. I could create a personality and a life. Nowadays, people sell their SnapChat handles and make underground porn,” she discloses.
Her clientele would pay to watch her masturbate and perform with sex toys.
“They’d get up to a certain coin value (with pre-paid tokens) for passage to ‘cum shows’. I dressed up in burlesque, I created foreplay, I would dance with the toys on my body - very classy, moving them all over... It’s a voyeuristic experience.”
On those afternoons she made up to $400 US, per show, four days a week. Absolutely ‘no cum shots’ till she hit the monetary mark. Her viewers watched her play around. She acted DJ. When a client would ask for a particular song, she’d comply. Her higher tippers would get rewards: a nipple flash, a butt shot.
“It’s 50% true, 50% made up. My stage name was ‘Gypsy Boom Boom LaMarr’. I dressed up burlesque style. It would take me two hours to prep for the show!” She wore corsets. “Black. Very classic. Very beautiful.”
During another side job, she sold merch for Dita Von Teese, a fetish and glamour model, burlesque dancer and entrepreneur. Dita was married to Marilyn Manson for a time.
“I took on a 1950s pin-up girl look ala Betty Boop. Circle skirts, high heels, the make-up, the glamour. I kept it on the naughty side,” she states whimsically. “I was born in the wrong generation.”
Nowadays, this straight, monogamous, modern day sex and life coach encourages “dirty texting”. “You deserve pleasure,” she teaches her clients. “In Indonesia, there’s so little sex education. Women don’t get to have pleasure out here. It’s all about procreation.” She aims to teach them a new way.
Cynthia Catania is a singer, songwriter, musician and producer. She plays with Saucy Monky and The Secret Things.