Read the full article by Samantha Cole at Vice.com

Camming and customized content has turned our experiences with porn into uniquely personal moments.

Ela Darling’s bedroom isn’t particularly sensuous, or darkly lit, or even what most would call “sexy.” The walls are white and turquoise, and, at the moment, she’s kneeling on a white and gold comforter, showing you—the viewer, your head strapped into a virtual reality headset—a view of her real room at home. If you turn your head to the left, there’s her dresser adorned with stickers and tchotchkes. To the right, you see her bedroom door and various nerdy posters on the walls.

“This is all part of my actual bedroom, where I eat, sleep, and fuck,” she says in the video. It looks like a room you’d come back to after any date, not the filming studio of an industry-pioneering cam model and chief marketing officer of PVR, a virtual reality porn technology company. But the casualness of the setting doesn’t make it accidental. Darling is catering to a market that seeks the fantasy of the real: messy, silly, mundane life.

“When people want content directly from a performer, they want something that’s authentic,” Darling said over the phone. “They don’t want some big staged scene, they want something that feels like getting a glimpse into your life, into your sex life.”

When she did more adult-focused cam work, regular fans would visit her show to talk about their jobs, their dating lives, and to check in on how she was doing. One of those clients had been coming to her for eight years. “There’s this longevity in place—I know his concerns, I know the things he’s embarrassed about, and I don’t make him feel bad about it, because he shouldn’t feel bad about it,” Darling said. “It’s stuff that, if he were talking to a girl in person, the chance of rejection would be very high. There’s a comfort in knowing that I am very open and not going to shame him, and this is a safe place where we can just talk about stuff that makes it feel safe to him.”

What Darling is doing is a huge step away from how modern porn has operated for years. In the last decade, virtual sex—whether it be in a VR headset, a live cam chat room, or a cellphone selfie—has accelerated at breakneck speed away from DVD sales and video downloads, and toward an experience unique to one moment in time.

Looking at the homepage of any camming website today feels very much like gazing into a pornographic, multidimensional void of those moments. Hundreds of little windows into bedrooms and studios are just waiting for you to open them—nothing but thumbnails of anonymous bare butts and bras and screen names. But in one click, your view is reduced to the smallest slice of a life possible: the attention of one person, their bedroom, and you.