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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, sexual sounds, 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

A phone sex worker is a type of sex worker and pornographic actor, sometimes referred to as "phone actor", "fantasy artist", "adult phone entertainer", "audio erotic performer", or any one 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.” 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 therapist, 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/submission, humiliation) or an erotic interest in a specific group (nurses, doctors, 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.

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. Many phone sex operators use service bureaus such as PhoneSex.com. 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 and the inability to dial 900 and 976 lines from cellular phones. 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 because 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. Some phone sex services use state-of-the-art customer acquisition techniques such as active database marketing to reach potential clients. 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.

By the end of the 1980s, nearly all of the major local phone companies, plus the major long distance carriers were actively involved in the adult chat line business. The telephone companies would provide billing services for chat line companies. Typically the telephone companies would bill callers to chat lines and then remit 45% of the money collected to chat line operators.

The telephone companies placed the chat line charges on a customers local phone bill. If a customer disputed a charge, the telephone company would usually “forgive” the charge but block the caller from calling any other chat lines.

By 2007 only Verizon, Sprint and AT&T remained in the chat line business. By 2007 Verizon and MCI had merged Verizon MCI Merger. Verizon provided billing services to calls made in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine. AT&T and MCI offered nationwide collection services, with a cap of $50 per call.

By 2007, only a few chat line companies remained active. Two of the largest were Sweet Sensations which operates PhoneSex.com and The Providence Telephone Company. The Providence Telephone Company consolidated its operations and began to let customers call their chat lines for free. The company generated revenue by selling advertisements on its chat lines, which callers would have to listen to, before being connected to other callers. The other competing Free Chat line service provider is the Free and Fun Chat Line which additionally offers numbers across the United States. In addition to the standard Free Chat lines there are also many popular services that tailor to the Gay Community, the oldest such service is The Gay Connection which started in 1985 in Los Angeles California, and now operates numbers nationwide.

The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington estimates that phone sex earns telephone companies close to $500 million per year.[1]

According to the Providence Telephone Company, the average length of a call to a chat line varied by sexual orientation. Gay callers would talk for about 20-minutes per call, while straight callers would talk for about 10-minutes per call.

About 30% of all callers were physically challenged (e.g. blind) or unable to leave their homes.

With many customers moving to the internet, there is yet another outlet for phone sex.There are now online catalogues of independent phone sex operators, with personal profiles and audio samples. The abundance of free pornographic content on the web and an enriched user interface has raised the bar when it comes to satisfying customers. Callers are now able to search and find an operator who specializes in fulfilling their specific fetish or fantasy. The first company to combine the internet and phone sex was Sweet Sensations in 1996."Phone Sex History". http://phonesex.com/history/. 

As a type of virtual sex

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

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 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.

In popular culture

Music

  • Sex Over the Phone by Village People has phone sex as a main theme.
  • Another song named Sex on the Phone, by the eurodance group E-Rotic, has phone sex as its primary topic.
  • The song Phonography, a bonus track on the Britney Spears album Circus uses phone sex as the main theme.
  • Singer/comedienne Sandra Bernhard has a song called Phone Sex on her album Excuses for Bad Behavior.
  • The music video for Sweet Emotion involves a 26-year-old man having phone sex with a woman. At the end of the video, it turns out he was actually having phone sex with an elderly, fat woman that had a baby in her arms.
  • The song Wow, I can Get Sexual Too by Say Anything mentions phone sex.
  • The song Sometimes a Fantasy by Billy Joel is written about phone sex.
  • The song On the Hotline by Pretty Ricky, as the title suggests, is about an explicit telephone conversation.
  • The song 'Telephone X' by Texas from their 2003 album 'Careful What You Wish For' has phone sex as it's main theme.
  • At the end of What's Ya Phone # by 2Pac the rapper receives a call that leads to phone sex.

Film

  • In the film American Pie 2 there is a scene of phone sex, interrupted by the voice of Stifler, who was listening.
  • In the film Valentine's Day Liz is seen having phone sex with people with different voices.

Television

  • On The Graham Norton Show, a chat show shown in the United Kingdom, comedian Russell Brand was given the task of phoning a sex service in front of a studio audience.
  • Aired on SexTV: The Channel, the documentary Sweet Talk features three North American phone sex workers.

See also

References

  1. ^ Red Lights, Big Names, CIO, June 15, 2007

External links








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