A new BBC documentary looks at the growing number of young men who are stripping off for strangers online to make money.
BBC Three documentary Webcam Boys, which airs tomorrow night, follows the growing number of boys who cam online.
One popular webcam site claims that 100,000 British men have broadcast over 3.5 million shows – lasting 7.1 million hours.
The true number is likely to be far higher, however – as another site boasts three times the web traffic in the UK.
22-year-old Martyn has been performing cam shows with his straight male friends since he was 16.
Although he’s got a large male audience, he doesn’t engage with his male friends, adding: “We never touch each other. We’re just in the same room.”
Meanwhile, Joseph hosts a cam show five nights a week from a shed – which his parents helped refurbish just for his shows.
His mum said: “Webcamming has been very good for Joey’s social life.”
A release explains: “Meet the webcam boys: the men who put their bodies online for money. Despite it being rarely seen, the world of male sex workers may be on a bigger scale than many would imagine.
“A recent study showed that five percent of male students had worked in some capacity in the sex industry, compared to less than 3.5 percent of women. This post-watershed programme explores this little-understood part of the sex industry, explores what drives these men to go online and uncovers the impact of what they do.
“These men are from a wide range of different backgrounds, from a heterosexual man with a family to a single homosexual man who believes ‘camming’ saved him from a dark future, after he became involved in drugs and chemsex.
“They all have their own reasons for getting involved: for some it is a short-term way to make extra money to pay the bills, some see webcams as a means to longer-term work opportunities with good profits, whilst for others it is simply a world to explore their sexuality and flaunt their body.
“Has the internet made male objectification an online reality? The programme follows a number of men, and the people around them, to find out more about what motivates them to get in front of the webcam; what it actually involves and how it impacts on those involved.”
The show is timely – as sex education YouTuber Calum McSwiggan recently opened up about his own webcam porn past to raise awareness of the risks.
In a video, he revealed he turned to webcam shows to pay the bills after losing his job, but the shows were recorded and illegally re-uploaded to other porn sites.
He told PinkNews: “For some people doing pornographic web cam shows is a legitimate career, they can pour a lot of time and dedication into what they do, and just because it’s outside of the accepted norm it doesn’t mean we should judge them for it.
“There’s nothing shameful about doing sex work – we all consume it, so it’s somewhat hypocritical to attack the people who make it.
“If doing pornographic cam shows is the career path you choose, then good for you, own it, and be proud of it. Just make sure you’re 100% sure about the decision. I made the mistake of doing porn for money when I wasn’t 100% sure about it and now that’s there forever.
“If you’re going to do porn then just make sure you’re comfortable with the whole world finding out about it. Your friends, your family, your colleagues, and everyone you know. That happened to me, and that could happen to you too.”