WOMEN
12/21/2012 11:12 am ET

Longform's Best Sex Stories Of 2012

Demystifying a ubiquitous Internet presence.

“If you think cam girls—those flirty naked characters that plague porn site pop-up ads—are raking in easy money, you're right. If you think cam girls are bleakly stripping online out of desperation, you're also right. Peel away the sex and pixels and money and you're left with the cloudy truth about the Internet's relationship status with these on-demand entertainers: it's complicated.

“You've looked at porn online, which means you've likely been propositioned by advertisements for cam girl networks. They invade your peripheral vision; they pop up behind your window. The women wait for you to start staring, and, just when you're interested, they hit you up for money. You've seen them sitting at their keyboards, wearing barely anything, winking at you, typing to nobody in particular with thin, lethargic arms: bored and conventionally beautiful. The ads, with flirty video that might be live or recorded years ago, shout at you with promises of ‘Live Sex Chat’ and ‘Sex Shows,’ with both amateurs and ‘pornstars’ alike. It's a web red light district, and unlike some gaudy Dutch strip or seedy sidewalk, you're completely anonymous. The sex comes to you.”

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