Phone Sex Is Sex Work – It’s In The News, & You Can Learn From It

If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ve likely seen my tweets about Margaret Cho’s recent championing of sex workers & their rights. Cho knows what she’s talking about. Before her comedy career took off, she, like Whoopi Goldberg, paid the bills working first as a phone sex operator. After her PSO work, Cho worked as a dominatrix. While Cho doesn’t elaborate on why she left phone sex, she does say why she gave up being a femdom:

“I was lazy,” she said. “I lacked empathy, and,” referencing the job’s requirement for administering floggings and other forms of corporal punishment that a client might request, “I had a bad arm.”

Well, the self-described laziness may be why she left phone sex… Or the bad arm? (Phones back then were heavier!) Whatever the case, I’m thrilled that Cho is putting a positive spotlight on the needs of sex workers.

But still, Cho’s story illustrates that even when you are open to sex work, you may not be well-suited for it. And even when you are good at one form of sex work, you may not be happy with another.

Which brings me to another news story…

Before Lea Grover became a “mommy blogger” (or even a mom), she helped put herself through college by working as a phone sex operator. While she seemed to enjoy the work, found it within her skill set, was challenged and even amused by it, loved the casual way she could work from home, felt shameless enough about it to confess her work to her parents, and even felt it was a safer alternative to other jobs, Grover eventually left the work because she found it depressing.

In the original article at Cosmo, Grover confesses:

But after a few months, I started to feel depressed each time I logged my phone onto the call network. I dreaded the phone ringing, and I went from eating healthy as I worked to binging on ice cream and cookies, pretending to find strangers’ masturbation fascinating.

It took a long time to figure out what was bothering me about my job, but after listening to some restaurant industry friends complain about their patrons, it struck me. Nobody, not a single caller, had ever said, “Thank you.”

And none of them had ever said, “Goodbye.”

They were so thoroughly wrapped up in their exhibitionism, in themselves, that I might as well have been a pre-recorded moaning device. And while I didn’t exactly expect callers to care about me as a human being, night after night filled with dozens of people hanging up on me mid-sentence as though I didn’t exist started to really hurt my self esteem and self confidence.

So I stopped doing phone sex and got a job working retail, like a “normal” college student.

In case you skimmed that — or missed the irony — let me point something out: Grover finally put a finger on just what was bothering her about her work as a PSO after hearing the complaints of others working in another service occupation, the restaurant industry. (And then she left for yet another service industry, retail, which I can tell you, isn’t any better.)

On any give day, any given shift, any person working in a restaurant (front of the house or the back) goes without the expressed thankful recognition of the work that they do for the people they serve. And if there’s no appreciation for those working in the noble profession of feeding someone — arguably some of the most nurturing work a person can do — how can you expect it to be any different in sex work where the “work” aspect is largely denied?

It is a sad fact that few people bother to acknowledge, let alone thank, those who serve them. If this pervasive cultural attitude offends or hurts you, you should not be working in any sector of the service industry, period. And this definitely includes phone sex and other forms of sex work, as sex workers are , sadly (stupidly!), largely disrespected the world over.

Since sex work is such a personal, intimate service, I can fully understand Grover’s depression over the lack of recognition of her as a person. Good for her for leaving! As my consultant clients can tell you, I’m aware of how taxing the specialized nurturing work of sex work can be and that I take great pains to address the potential personal and emotional impacts of this work upfront.

But even as I do not in any way blame or condemn Grover (or others) who feel this way about being a phone sex operator (or any form of sex work), I feel it’s important to point out a few things…

Honestly, in all my years of being a sex worker (from escorting to phone sex work), I can count the number of times I’ve endured a departure without a “Thank you,” on one hand. …OK, as it has been decades now, perhaps two hands. Even if it at times it sounds more obligatory than heart-felt, I’m used to being thanked for my services.

And the only times I’ve been hung up on while speaking on the phone was when a caller was shockingly interrupted by a coworker, family member, etc.. He may have hung up in a frightened hurry; but generally he’ll contact with apologies later, often with a tribute. (And if there’s no apology, I do not hesitate to block.)

Why do I believe my experiences have been better than Grover’s or others with similar stories?

It’s all about how you handle your business.

Grover’s use of “call network” indicates to me that Grover was not an independent phone sex operator, but rather was at the mercy of a phone sex company; she just took the calls sent to her. Whether or not this was true for Grover, there are things indie PSOs can do to avoid such terrible callers and clients.

Primarily, it’s all about how you position yourself in the market. Present yourself (via photos, descriptions, blog posts, tweets, rate, etc.) as an easy, quick, and cheap thrill — in cheap publications and at classless sites — and “easy, quick, and cheap” is all you’ll be to prospective callers and clients. They’ll treat you as such, with all the rudeness it implies.

However, if you present yourself as a quality service provider, placing your ads and performing your marketing in more pedigreed places, you’ll attract a higher quality clientele. Live up to those high standards and not only will clients thank you for it, but you’ll keep those classier clients. Phone sex is, after all, a luxury purchase; express how true that is for your individual services and you’ll avoid the many of the rude, bargain-basement, one-minute wankers. The few asshats you do run into won’t burn you out or upset you because you’ll be treated well overall.

(Oh, and avoid working traditional “after bar” hours, when cheap drunks call for quickies too.)

Of course, there are plenty of PSOs who happily bank on short, cheap calls. Rude or not, they take the money and run.

I’m not one of them. I’d rather spend two hours with one caller than try to corral and accommodate dozens of others in the same time-frame. But, hey, that’s me.

Fundamentally, it’s up to you to decide. First, whether or not this line of work is a good fit for you. And then, if you think it is, decide what you can tolerate, what you enjoy, and how to get the callers and business you want. If you need my help with that, I’m available for consultations; rates & info here.

Is this your first time here? You may wish to read this post and my Statement Of Purpose.

One thought on “Phone Sex Is Sex Work – It’s In The News, & You Can Learn From It

  1. Pingback: Hold The Phone! It’s Time For A Sex News Round-Up! | Sex~Kitten.net

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