Is Phone Sex Work Exploitative?

Each of us is different and has our own unique reactions so I want to include many voices on the subject of phone sex work, including those who claim to have worked in the industry and did not like it.

One such example is this piece called The Tantalizing World of Phone Sex in which Joyce Ventimiglia writes:

Many would agree that phone sex is different [from stripping and appearing in adult videos] because it exploits your psyche as opposed to your body. It’s impossible to close your eyes and block out what you are doing. I don’t think it’s healthy to spend eight hours a day doing something you have to try and block out of your mind.

I agree completely that if you feel so exploited by this — or any other — job, then you certainly shouldn’t be doing it.

Whether feelings of exploitation come from a feminist vein of thinking that “men do this to” or “take from” women, from a firm foundation that sexuality is a personal intimacy reserved for committed and loving relationships only, from a personal belief that sex is a gift and not something for sale, or from any other fixed belief system that makes selling phone sex services repugnant, the bottom line is that no amount of money you make will be worth it for you.

But another former PSO objected to phone sex work for other ethical reasons.

In Making Ends Meet: My Life as a Phone Sex Operator (on page 4), Carolyn Blevins says:

And if I told you I enjoyed it or was proud of my experience it would be a lie. Just when I’d thought there was nothing left to my sense of values and personal standards, my conscience reared its head. Not because of the nasty talk; if I’m an adult and the caller’s an adult and he wants to talk and I’m willing to listen…why not? More power to me ’cause I’m getting paid for it.

But no matter how I sliced it and no matter what sense of desperation motivated my actions, the system I worked for did its fair share of duping men by raising their hopes of meeting a Miss Right or at least a Miss-Right-Now, all for only $3.99 a minute. I bought into and helped perpetrate the dupe. And the stupid cliché was right: I had a hard time dealing with the face in the mirror and it turned out I just wasn’t the hard pragmatist I always thought I was.

I’ve no personal experience with this sort of phone sex work. As I’m more of a direct gal and have no problems selling sex as a form of entertainment or, frankly, a simple basic bodily function I help facilitate, I avoid this sort of duplicitous work. However, my ethics are not your ethics. In any case, I mention this to you for your own consideration.

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