Phone sex

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Phone sex is a type of virtual sex that refers to sexually explicit conversation between two or more persons via telephone, especially when at least one of the participants masturbates or engages in sexual fantasy. Phone sex conversation may take many forms, including (but not limited to): guided, narrated, and enacted suggestions; sexual anecdotes and confessions; candid expression of sexual feelings or love; discussion of very personal and sensitive sexual topics; or just two people listening to each other masturbate.

Phone sex exists both in the context of intimate relationships, e.g. among distanced lovers, and as a commercial transaction between a paying customer and a paid professional.

Contents

Workers and patrons

A phone sex worker is a type of sex worker and erotic actor, sometimes referred-to as "phone actor", "fantasy artist", "adult phone entertainer", "audio erotic performer", or any one of dozens of other monikers. The most valued attributes of a phone sex professional are his or her voice, acting and/or sexual roleplay skills, along with the experienced ability to discern and respond appropriately to a broad spectrum of customer requests.

Contrary to appearances, most phone sex operators do not masturbate during every client session; rather, they may vocally simulate masturbation, sexual intercourse, and/or engage in sexual roleplaying scenarios catering to the particular sexual fetish or request of the client. Often these requests involve taboo topics that paying customers cannot engage in during real life sexual encounters due to moral and legal ramifications, psychological inhibition, lack of physical ability, unwillingness of a committed partner or the fear of social stigma. Phone sex operators or companies may, by policy or discretion, refuse to entertain certain requests. Many other services accommodate the extreme taboo market by using signifying phrases in their advertising such as "no taboos" or "no restrictions". It is always in the best interest of a caller to inquire regarding a company or operator’s policies on controversial or extreme topics prior to rendering payment or engaging in a fantasy session of that nature. Phone sex and the phone sex worker thus provide a semi-anonymous outlet for such unconventional fantasies without consequence beyond the fee involved in the exchange.

The most obvious purpose of commercial phone sex may seem to be to provide people with a live masturbation aid, but a select clientele relies on phone sex as a vehicle for revealing intimate thoughts and feelings to a neutral stranger. Phone sex patrons are overwhelmingly male, and for many of these men it is important for their confessor to be a woman, especially when their confessions involve BDSM roles, cross-dressing, pegging, infantilism or homosexual fantasies. It is not uncommon for people to resort to phone sex as an alternative to revealing their secret desires to a psychotherapist, significant other, or friend.

In effect, the phone sex worker is a surrogate called upon to serve in various roles or capacities specific to each client. In certain cases, a patron may not need a confidant for sexual stimulation, but may simply wish to hear another person's voice, or want to fulfill some other need, such as a sense of nurturing, sympathy, camaraderie, or other [form of] emotional intimacy.

Phone sex services primarily market to men or women of a particular sexual orientation, and focus on mainstream sexual experiences. Specialized companies also cater to clients who have a certain sexual predilection (e.g., zoophilia, coprophilia, Domination and submission, humiliation) or an erotic interest in a specific group (nurses, firemen, college students, older/younger figures, ethnic minorities, etc.) It is not at all unusual for a phone sex service to employ a staff of phone sex performers to meet both mainstream and exotic customer requests. The panoply of specialized phone sex services available and the vast variety of sexual topics submitted to phone sex workers, reflect the incredibly broad spectrum of human sexual behavior, and are indicative of the general need for a sociosexual outlet which mainstream society often fails to provide.

Depending on the service and the method of calling, phone sex can be very expensive.

As a business

Most of today's phone sex services are a managed network of dispatchers (live or automated) and erotic performers who process payment information, verify the legal age of their clients, and perform calls in their own homes on their own telephone lines. The vast majority of modern services use toll-free numbers whereby clients can dial up to request a call with a particular performer using credit cards, Automated Clearing House systems, and a variety of other billing methods. There are still some services that rely upon premium-rate telephone numbers (e.g. 976 and 900 numbers) for billing purposes, although this practice has been largely abandoned due to the high rate of fraud associated with these lines. As a direct result, most telephone companies allow their customers to block outgoing calls to premium-rate telephone numbers. In 1996, the FCC changed regulations on 900 numbers to address abuse of these services by minors and fraud concerns.

Another type of service is the live callback, where the customer contacts a receptionist who tries to find a suitable woman to call him/her back - hence callback.

Like other sex industries, the phone sex industry has taken on new dimensions in the Internet age. There is an ever-growing community of independent phone sex operators who engage in self-promotion. This self-promotion can involve a personalized website where the phone sex performer lists their specialties and services, various methods of advertising (via the traditional methods listed below, or on organized third-party network sites that provide a basic level of privacy for performer and client alike) and/or surfing of sexually themed chat rooms for interested clients. This increase in independent operators is largely due to the fact that information regarding the business is being filtered to the mainstream public. The once close-lipped industry, traditionally inaccessible to amateurs is experiencing a demystification period and resource sites, community forums, and reference materials are more readily available.

Phone sex service providers typically advertise their services in men's magazines, in pornographic magazines and videos, on late-night cable television, and online. These advertising methods almost invariably target men, the primary consumers of phone sex services.

In the past it was widely believed that phone sex services engaged in shoddy age and billing verification practices due to that fact that people often complained to telephone and credit card companies they didn't recognize the charges for these adult services. This was especially true when premium-rate telephone numbers were widely utilized by the industry. Often such charges were blamed on children illegally accessing the services, or other fraudulent sources.

More often than not, however, these reports were the result of customers who felt embarrassed when the charges appeared in print, who did not wish to reveal their activity to a significant other or who simply did not wish to pay the charges they had incurred. Today, to remain in good standing with their billing processors, most phone sex services are required to take extra care to verify proper billing identities and customer ages. However, the reputation as an outlet for fraudulent activity has remained with the phone sex industry (as with other types of sex industry professions), causing many credit card issuers and billing processors to reject or revoke phone sex businesses for merchant accounts, even where no history of fraud exists. This social stigma is furthered by occurrences on record in which public figures have suffered scandal and career damage when their phone sex activities were disclosed.

Several online companies provide Internet-based phone sex lines. These services enable callers to post profiles of themselves and then engage in VOIP-based and other types of online sex.

As a type of virtual sex

Phone sex does not involve physical contact between parties. Couples may choose to engage in phone sex when the inconvenience of distance makes physical intimacy inopportune.

Technologically, phone sex is the older cousin of cybersex and sexual bluechat (text messaging via Bluetooth); however, unlike phone sex, it is unusual for someone to pay for these experiences.

Due to the potential for emotional intimacy between those who have engaged in phone sex, it is a matter of some debate whether phone sex is to be considered a form of infidelity when involving a person outside of a committed personal relationship. Nevertheless, phone sex should not be confused with prostitution wherein money is exchanged for real-life sexual services or physical interactions.

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This page uses content from SM-201; the original article can be viewed here.

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