Back in the early 1900s, long before the internet, the first vibrator was invented. It was a crude yet effective machine, but one that was absolutely not designed with the female body (or pleasure) in mind. Thankfully, the long overdue acknowledgment of female sexuality, alongside epic advancements in technology, has helped shape the future of sex toys. In 1975, Ted Nelson coined the term teledildonics, which refers to “remote sex with real feelings of touch, that are transmitted through computers connected to telephone lines.” And, well, we're getting there. Since then, a variety of interactive sex toys have been invented, each a bit more evolved than the last.

But while modern interactive sex toys have received all kinds of publicity when it comes to their ability to connect long distance partners - or interface with interactive VR porn, they've quickly gained a following in another arena: web camming. In fact, modern interactive sex toys have quickly become a cam girl’s dream “tool,” one that allows viewers to interact with their favorite performers in real time. While sex toys filter into consumers' consciousness, cam girls - or cam stars, as some of them prefer - have already enthusiastically embraced the use of interactive sex toys for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the magnetic draw it creates for the pleasure seekers on the other side of the screen. Here are a few ways these interactive toys are changing this type of sex work.

Come Control My Vibrator

At any given moment, you can find tens of thousands of cam girls online. Anyone who understands basic economics knows that this ever-increasing supply means that successful cam girls can't just show up on screen and wait for the tips and private chats to roll in. They have to create a personal brand for themselves and market it in a way that attracts viewers and turns them into loyal, doting customers with an affinity for the tip button.

“People have no idea how smart these cam girls are - it’s genius what some of these women do to market themselves,” says Scarlet Raven, a 42-year-old cam model. Cam girls who use interactive sex toys can set themselves apart by offering a virtual - yet very real - exchange of pleasure between viewer and model. When you’re vying for attention in a crowded industry, this kind of appeal goes a long way. “It really gives viewers a different flavor than porn stars,” says Raven says. “These interactive sex toys are the new world. They set you apart and make people want to stay in your room.”

An Intimate Experience

Cam girls don’t just deliver a performance; they offer up a chance for viewers to interact on a level that falls somewhere between watching porn and having sex in real life. This differentiating factor is what cam girls bank on and, according to cam star Lindsey Banks, “interactive toys take the experience to a more personal and intimate level.” Banks recalls one client who was very isolated in his day-to day-life. Using interactive sex toys allowed them to reach across the digital divide and share an intimate moment. "Using the Kiiroo Pearl 2 I have to interact with his Onyx 2 was a big experience for him. It gave us such a personal connection and created a really special moment for us,” she said. Of course, not all those who enjoy watching cam girls are isolated. Even so, interactive toys offer something more for those who are seeking more than a cursory connection.

Customer Love

If it’s the promise of an interactive sexual experience that makes viewers join a cam girl’s room, it’s the special moments like Banks described above that turn them into repeat customers. Not only do viewers get to feel good at the hands of a cam girl, they also get to make her feel good. This kind of two-way, virtual interaction is a fantasy for a lot of people. And, in terms of providing a thrill, it's a a huge step up from just watching the action.

More Fun (for Everyone)

Raven and Banks both got started in camming for the money. But both women have kept camming because they enjoy it - the marketing, the on-cam performance, the feeling they get from fulfilling someone’s fantasy. “One of the things I love most about interactive sex toys,” says Scarlet, “is that you can use them to make your live chat room a fun place to be. Because of the luxurious design of the Kiiroo products, they can create a really upscale, erotic party.” Plus, when the cam girl has fun, everyone has fun. Interactive sex toys make it easy to have fun in a room. Lindsey agrees, saying “being able to connect and let viewers make you feel good is special. And these guys can feel the vibrations I’m causing for them all the way across the country. Even the world. That’s so cool.”

More Money, Honey

Whether the money earned is the main attraction or cash is just a sweet perk, interactive sex toys are really changing the game for online sex workers. Cammers say the revenue potential from using teledildonics is relatively untapped, but viewers are increasingly seeking out this sort of experience. “Viewers often scan the chat rooms to see which girls have interactive toys,” Raven says. “If you have one, you’re automatically more appealing.” Plus, in a world where sex workers' marketing often gets shut down, interactive toys represent a marketing tool that doesn’t rely on the ever shifting rules used by social media and other internet sites. It’s pretty simple, actually. It's about giving and receiving pleasure. And, cam girl or not, isn't that what sharing an intimate moment is all about?