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Lonely Sex Cam Screen Shots

Xiu Xiu's frontman Jamie Stewart tells us about his recent obsession with live, for-pay sex cam sites.

For the past several weeks I have been obsessed with live, for-pay sex cam sites. I tried a couple of times to look at them in a sexual way, pulling it while chatting with the person on the screen—but I’m a cheap skate and it gets expensive very quickly. Not surprisingly, it also gets depressing very quickly. It doesn’t help that the people working, while generally very nice, seem either bored, desperate, sad, or pretending. When you’re stripping (and more) anonymously through the Internet, how could you not feel that way?

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Certainly there must be people who have fun in this line of work, but it certainly doesn't seem like it. The sexual element, in a base animal way, is still there, but it's impossible to get into it when the performers’ true emotions are so plain.

The more I looked the more interesting it became in an aesthetic and sociological way. There are people from every continent, and you can even choose which one you prefer. The sex cams presented a chance to look at how people were dressing, or assess if they were just pretending to be happy and enthusiastic. I’d ask myself if they appeared genuinely happy. Most of all, I found myself studying what kind of space they were working in.

Read more about Jamie's exploration into the world of sex cams and see screenshots of the pages he's visited at Motherboard.

Jamie Stewart wastes his life as the singer of Xiu Xiu.

A version of this essay originally appeared on his blog, where you can listen to a song from Xiu Xiu's upcoming album