Watching a girl performing a show the other day I suspected she was on some kind of upper. She had a darling face and engaging personality, sort of a cross between Brigitte Bardot and Charo, but she was all over the place. The video stream couldn’t keep up with her rapid jerky movements. She was trying to be sexy but had no attention span so it was just one bump, grind, and pose to another with no smooth or sultry transition. She was frenetic, not seductive.

I happened to remark on this in another chatroom and one of the viewers knew exactly who I was talking about, saying that yeah — she seemed to be on speed and he avoided her shows.

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On another day I related how impressed I am with a particular camgirl with her own site who does a *buttload* of free shows for her members, some of them going on longer than five hours. When I read about how much camming she was doing, I was bowled over (as were many people) since it’s hard to do that much camming without getting burned out. At least part of the secret of her success was revealed to me by another viewer who mentioned that he observes her drinking . . . a lot . . . throughout her shows.

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I know a number of my closest friends (my boyfriend being one of them) never cam without using some kind of mind-altering substance. Wine, weed, speed . . . whatever. They have their own preferences.

You have to wonder if they do this simply because they can, because they work at home and can freely combine work with their drug(s) of choice (and would use them if performing a straight job if drug-use were permitted), or if it’s because they *need* them in order to do their jobs. Does the job simply attract addicts or does it MAKE them?

Drugs (like alcohol) are often social lubricants, so it makes sense for sex workers to use them; we have to be social and we have to be . . . lubricated, if you will. Of course they also reduce our inhibitions, allowing us to do things we might be uncomfortable doing sober. If society were less sexually inhibited would fewer of us rely upon drugs to do our sex work? Would we need sex workers at all if society were less sexually inhibited?

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Tons of people have written about how stripping and substance abuse go hand in hand, and have explored the pair’s causes, effects, and vicious circles. While I think sex workers probably do have more issues with substance abuse and addictions, and that some of those issues are related to the way sex work is done and how it’s perceived, I doubt that our problems with drugs and alcohol are much more serious than the straight-world’s problems with drugs and alcohol. The problems with drugs/alcohol are serious across the board.

Still, the lifestyle we have combines a lot of freedom with fringe-dwelling; we’re independent (or at least independent contractors) and we’re often removed from polite company to the point of being socially isolated or operating on the fringes where more people self-medicate than do those in the world of white picket fences.

Of course, there are plenty of camgirls who work at home and LIVE in white-picket-fenced neighborhoods, but in their bedrooms and basements (wherever they do their shows or phone sex) they are ALONE in a place their neighbors don’t see or realize exists right next door to them. These webwhores don’t exchange conversation over the fence or tea with the cul de sac’s other housewives regarding the hours they spend fucking themselves with spatulas, shampoo bottles, and cucumbers on cam for strangers. That kind of social isolation, the kind where you’re surrounded by people who don’t know anything about your daily life (but would probably judge you harshly if they did), is almost more lonely than not talking to anyone at all.