Seska: From the ’90s til Now (Interview)

Seska’s Twitter bio reads “Me: 50 You: 18+” — and this short simple statement says so very much!

“I got my start in the adult industry when I was 27. On November 17th, 1998, I did my first live cam show with Carol Cox at her brand new studio location in Montreal,” she shared with YNOT Cam. “I launched my personal adult website a couple of months later, and I did a live cam show for members of my paysite every single Tuesday without fail for 10 years.”

This “classic amateur” and “new hot mature” creator has a scope of perspective on the industry and community that’s invaluable.

“In 2010, I retired from porn and supported myself with in-person sex work, webmastering and public speaking on the impacts of stigma and criminalization of sex work,” Seska continued. “In 2020, right before the pandemic, I decided to return to online work and make a go at it in my 50s. I tried out fansites but found my footing when I relaunched my paysite combined with camming with Treasure Cams, [which is via] Streamate.”

Seska has a Bachelor’s degrees in Education and Psychology and worked as an educational consultant specializing in learning disabilities prior to starting her career in sex work.

“In the mid-1990s, my then-partner and I were exploring swinging when we discovered burgeoning fetish and swinger communities on the internet. This led to the discovery of personal adult websites created and run by swinging couples,” she told us. “As an educator, I was making my way to burnout and I became intrigued and inspired by the idea of doing something totally different— not just from education but also from mainstream porn. I wanted to make porn as a true girl-next-door.”

It’s great to reflect on the different roads we come across in life, including the ones that open up as possibilities over time, as well as where they have taken us. Change comes in endless forms, at different times throughout the life course.

Here’s what may be thought of as a small change that actually says so much from Seska: “Fun fact — I had the same look for most of my career, long brown hair with Bettie Page bangs, because I feared changing it would make me lose fans and customers. In my mid-40s I said fuck it and I buzzed off all my hair and stopped covering my silver. I also grew out my bush. I didn’t want my decisions about my body to be influenced by others anymore.”

Enjoy the following amazing insights from Seska — a creator who has done it all… and continues to do more!

YNOT Cam: What are some of the best things about working in online sex work? What about challenges?

Seska: I find sex work, in particular documenting and sharing my sexuality, to be empowering. It’s been a cornerstone of my life’s journey. Working online has given me the flexibility and independence to pursue my personal growth and wellbeing. It’s been more than my livelihood. I’ve met my dearest friends among other content creators and sex workers, and I’ve become a sex worker rights activist. It’s been rewarding on so many levels.

The main challenge of this work for me is keeping up with customer interests while also nurturing myself as a performer and staying on top of the ever-changing platforms, technology, billing and legislation. These are three very different aspects of our business, and you cannot neglect any of them. To be successful and satisfied long-term you need to do it all, and that’s not easy.

Can you tell us more about being a “classic amateur pioneer”?

The late 1990s and early 2000s were fun and wild times to be making independent adult content. Thanks to affordable digital cameras, we were creating content based on what was previously our secret and private lifestyles. We were rebellious and ambitious, so it was very satisfying to be leading the way in this new chapter of the adult industry.

At our keyboards we were professionals, but in front of the camera, we focused on being ourselves and not what the mainstream said we should be. It was refreshing for fans who wanted to engage with more attainable sexual experiences.

There was also a deep sense of community among performers and webmasters, as well as the fans. On our message boards and in our chatrooms, the fans would connect and share with us, as well as each other. We had our own bar meets, parties and conventions where we’d make such amazing content. We created our own collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem.

That all sounds wonderful, but we also experienced the rug being pulled out from under us when 2257 regulations were imposed — including putting our home addresses on our websites. Billing companies disappeared with our money overnight, and nearly everything we had built was destroyed by the explosion of pirated porn and tube sites.

Your long-term perspective on the industry is incredible, so I must ask: How has the community and the state of sex work online changed for the better? What challenges or sticking points have emerged?

There is a greater sense of immediacy now than there was then. For the first few years, fans were on dial-up and would have to wait for photos to load inch by inch. Live shows were 2-minute, then 30-second, and then 10-second refresh. Videos took all night to download. The anticipation and the tease made for a very sexy experience for everyone.

Now customers want our content and access to us immediately with little regard to our own schedules and personal limitations. It takes more effort to set and maintain boundaries because they are pushed against more and more.

In my classic amateur porn days, I presented my sex life and fans were voyeurs. Now they want to be the director of my sex life. It’s a different mentality that I’m still wrapping my head around. But I find private show camming on Treasure Cams lets me set those boundaries and match with those clients who enjoy what I have to offer.

If you could give new and upcoming models one key piece of advice, what would it be?

Know your “why.” Being really solid on why you want to work in adult, and camming specifically, will help you set goals and attain them. I have a side gig as a life coach for sex workers. I work with The Desire Map, which has you get specific on how you want to feel and working step-by-step and day-by-day on turning your inner clarity into outer action. It’s helped me adapt as the business has changed and develop a plan on how to do this work until my 60s.

Practically speaking, be consistent with your efforts and time. It’s better to start with a few shifts a week and add to them over time. Read all the support materials your cam sites and/or your studio have to offer so you understand the platform and can be a good ambassador for your shows and the platform.

There is a weekend contest. The top 500 earners yesterday & today will get a bonus. I’m on the cusp of being in the 500. Let’s come together and get me there. https://t.co/PMWVXVtmKV pic.twitter.com/BvLe1cNZ8g

— Seska (@Seska) September 6, 2021

Outside of work, what are you most passionate about?

My relationship with my family is paramount. In 2017 moved to Ottawa to be closer to my sister and her children, and then we moved my mother here as well. She had a bad fall and afterwards, I moved in with her as her full-time caregiver. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, she has had surgery for an abdominal aneurysm and was diagnosed with breast, lung and bone cancer. I’m grateful that my work has allowed me the flexibility to be there for her.

If you could change one thing about today’s world, what would it be and why?

My father died of colon cancer when he was 54, and I was recently diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Our family seems to have hit all the squares on the cancer bingo card, so if I could change one thing it would be to eliminate cancer. FUCK CANCER.

Find Seska on Twitter at @Seska.

Erika is a sex positive people watcher (and writer). Email her at erika@ynotcam.com.