Category Archives: Advice and Opinions Of Others

Links For PSOs

Remember when I mentioned that Talk Sugar was using Bitcoin? Well, at least one PSO is talking about her experience with using that payment option. The story begins here; with future details promised at the blog.

The following links are via Gracie’s Sex work Scoop:

How technology is actually changing sex work; primarily focused on escorts, but good info for PSOs to read as well.

A new study says porn stars are not “damaged goods”. It’s about freakin’ time. Can we all just agree now that any sex work is just a choice?

Related to the FemDomme post, this article on being a nude model ends with the line, “Real power means not having to please.” I personally still find being a professional domme a very powerful and liberating experience, despite the fact that the “professional” part means I do need to please customers. “Pleasing” is as relative a term as anything, but, along with the power of being paid, I find leading and even dictating to meet a person’s needs is not being used. But then, as a phone sex operator and consultant, I guess I would find peace with that. *wink*

Should You Become A Phone Sex FemDom?

Recently, I was speaking with Laura, a friend and FemDom who has written and sold erotica, who was thinking of making more money by becoming a phone sex operator.

While Laura enjoys being a Domme, you might think it was an easy, natural, choice. And as there’s a lot of money to be made in FemDom phone sex, financial domination, and other FemDom games, you might think it was a slam-dunk for her to become a FemDom PSO. But Laura decided against phone sex work.
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Since I firmly believe that being a phone sex operator (or any form of sex work) isn’t for everyone, I thought Laura’s story might be helpful to those considering phone sex work. I asked Laura if she’d be willing to share her story and thoughts, and she graciously agreed.

***

Laura, when we spoke about you possibly becoming a PSO, you spoke about how you felt it wouldn’t work with your dominant nature… Will you explain more about that?

For a woman Dom it is too easy to fall into the trap of trying to please him rather than sticking to being the one who is to be obeyed, the one who is to be served and the one who is to be thought of first when it comes to being pleased. Most sex work, being paid for, is all about the client. I don’t see how any woman can really be a Dom in that situation. You serve your client, even if you are reading the script as the Dom, you are still doing it his way, for him. Men who pay for it get such a warped view of what a FemDom is.

I prefer writing adult content, fiction or non-fiction because I can do that on my own terms. I can wear whatever I want. I can have my sick and twisted sense of humour. I can maintain my nice girl next-door personality without feeling I have to justify it to anyone. In short, I can be who I am rather than fit myself into an image of a FemDom. I can be the Domme I really am when I really am the one in charge.

While there are professional Dommes who create the stories the way they wish and do not pander to clients, I can understand your personal feelings about it. And if it doesn’t feel right to you, you shouldn’t do it. Period. Even if there is money to be made in it. But would you clarify about the “men who pay for it get such a warped view” statement?

Men who pay for a FemDom expect to get a service. In reality a Domme is a person, not a service. A paid FemDom (I’m using the words FemDom and Domme to keep it clearer) wears the clothes her clients expect, or order/ ask for. A paid FemDom does the tasks as the client expects. A paid FemDom doesn’t tell him to shut up and get out of her face unless that is something in the script, agreed upon before the scene starts.

In short, men who pay for a FemDom are getting a fantasy, not a real woman. So, they expect a FemDom is a story they can live. The reality is not at all what they want when they are actually faced with it. Too many men who claim they want a real FemDom are surprised (even angry) when the Domme doesn’t follow all their rules and instead is a real person who has expectations of her own.

If you haven’t been a PSO or otherwise paid for such services, what do you base all this on?

Personal experience with men I have met online. Also, years of playing around online, being the FemDom they wanted in IRC channels, online chats, and so on. It wasn’t paying work but I was new and trying to understand what BDSM was, what it meant and who I was in the middle of all of this. It took me years to understand what a Domme is and how that suited me. The real me, not the me I was trying to be to suit the men I was meeting online. I had a lot of fun, gave a lot of performances to please them – and I did it well. But, that wasn’t what I wanted. It was putting on a show.

After awhile I felt I could have been anyone – even a blow up doll and it would not have mattered. They (the men) just needed something vaguely female to play the role they expected. There was nothing personal involved for me. I began to get bored. I’m not someone who gets bored easily, I can always find something interesting in whatever I’m doing. So, I knew something was wrong if I could be in the middle of turning a guy on and I wasn’t having fun, lost interest and wished he would hurry up and finish so I could do something I really wanted to be doing instead.

I wasn’t being paid for services, but I was giving them.

And you wouldn’t want to play the same games even when paid? In your opinion and experience, how is this different from writing and selling stories about dominant females that submissive males read/buy?

I found the games demeaning, like I was selling too much of myself. I understand some people can do this and not feel personally connected but I can’t. When I am with someone even online or over the phone I am giving all of myself. I don’t hold back. I am sincere, I put my heart into it all. So it feels hollow when the other side gives so little back. Being paid for it isn’t enough. Over time I would lose too much of whatever pride and sense of self I have.

The stories are written however I want them. I admit, I have written some for the “market” rather than for myself. I don’t enjoy those stories as much. At times I have even let bitterness and real anger creep into them as I write them. The stories I write, the ones I love and never have second thoughts about sharing, are the stories where I have fun, stories where the Domme really is in charge and doing things her way. I like to write about a man who is involved in the story too, and really is a man, not a wimpy submissive man – the poor beleagered “do me” type. The best stories have a real interaction between a man and a woman where D/s is a part of the relationship, not an obsession or a role playing game.

Laura, ultimately why did you decide against becoming an independent PSO?

That’s such a loaded question for me. In a nutshell, it’s just not for me. I don’t like feeling used, I don’t like feeling I’m performing a service and I don’t like feeling cheap.

Now that’s going to make it sound like I think people who are phone sex operators are cheap. I don’t. It’s something that would make me feel cheap. Like I was selling myself short in some big way.

Thanks, Laura, for sharing.

Laura can be found at her site, Divorce Darling, as well as in her Boudoir at Sex Kitten (archives here).

***

While anyone can argue that their personal and/or professional experiences with BDSM, with being a dominant female, etc. are very different than Laura’s, that’s nearly irrelevant. As is the BDSM subject matter. For what really matters here are Laura’s feelings. She wouldn’t feel good about herself doing this sort of work — as a FemDom or a vanilla female — so she should not do it.

If/when you are considering becoming a phone sex operator, you should really do some soul searching to see what your feelings are about these issues.

If you are a PSO, and you find yourself having these feelings about your work, about yourself, then you should examine and deal with those feelings. We all have bad days, rough days, at work; but in sex work, more than many other careers, burn-out is easy. We give a lot and so it can take a lot out of us. It’s important to know how we are feeling, and how to deal with those feelings, so that we are happy and healthy, not merely worried about being wealthy.

Phone Sex Link Round-Up

If you have a blog or website, (If you don’t, why the hell not?!), you ought to know this legal consideration: Online Businesses Shouldn’t Rely on ‘Browsewraps’.

In particular, relying on a mere “browsewrap” agreement – rather than a clickwrap one – is begging for a court to invalidate those terms. Similarly, terms that provide the unilateral right to amend key portions of the terms of use may be unenforceable.

Velved aka Scarlett Stone‘s Phone Sex For Dummies may be helpful for PSOs and callers alike.

You know how I tell you that as a PSO you may find yourself in the role of counselor or therapist; here’s more on that.

PSO Cameryn Moore turns her personal stories into theater performances.

Income From Erotic Stories & Fetish Literature

One of my friends, phone sex operator Angela St. Lawrence, also excels at the written word. She’s not only the author of erotica (or what she calls “smut”), but, under other names, she’s a successful writer of mainstream works as well. Tonight, however, Angela was discussing her fetish writing on the “Writers of Fetish Literature” episode of In Bed With Dr. Sue.

Along with Angela, the guests on Dr. Sue‘s show were authors Irv O. Neil, Ed Cantor, Louis Friend, and, as special guest, Lori Perkins, a literary agent. Whether you’re a fan of erotic fiction, erotic romance, smut, or whatever you call it — or want to learn more about it so you can add to your phone sex income, it’s worth listening to the archived podcast. The show had a slow start; but its worth hanging around because once it gets going there’s some good information there.

I myself called in. The first time, in part to support Angela, I asked the male writers if they’ve ever written custom stories (and if so, for pay), or ever collaborated to weave a story in real time. The second time I called in was to discuss publishing. I hadn’t intended to make a second call, but some of the things Perkins said about the publishing industry had me thinking…

Perkins said that 80% of book buyers are women, that women want “romance” along with their erotica, and that these things are to be credited for the 50 Shades Phenomenon — as well as driving the whole erotic romance genre. While that makes sense (and is similar to what I’ve heard in my years selling erotic stories to publishers), my experiences in the adult industry have me wondering why where there’s not more of a market share driven by men. Or, I should say, by straight men, as gay men are considered a large part of the market.

This isn’t a new line of thinking for me; just another time the subject comes to the forefront of my thoughts. As it does every time I read about the “boom” in ebooks and self-publishing options, areas I continue to dabble in.

My experiences are in larger numbers than average — but still, they are by no means enough to satisfy any statistician. But my empirical evidence leads me to wonder about this seeming discrepancy between the number of men who buy books and the number of men who pay for phone sex, custom stories, sex services, and other forms of adult entertainment… Especially submissive men, sissies, and others who fantasize about, and crave the attention of, dominant women. Those men spend a lot of money. So it doesn’t make dollars and sense to me that these men aren’t impacting the erotic publishing marketplace.

I’m pretty sure it all has something to do with the ability to interact, commission, or otherwise control the work/service. But it also likely has something to do with the length of the stories themselves. While women may be buying erotic novels, men have a proven sales record of buying erotic anthologies; Letters To Penthouse, for example, has been a staple on bookstore shelves for decades. Sometimes, it’s the only erotica you can find. While such anthologies are pretty vanilla, I still believe there’s great money to be made — and off men — in BDSM and fetish stories. I know the money I make off my written and custom erotica; it’s nothing to sneeze at. (Unless sneezing is the fetish!)

It’s not my job to worry about the money the publishing industry may be missing. And it in terms of my own business, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But the bottom line is, those looking to add to their phone sex business income shouldn’t overlook the money to be made in written erotic works — even if publishers are passing on such works. That might just mean even more money for us in the long run. After all, those men have to find and pay for their textual yet contextual kink and fetish fixes somewhere.

Phone Sex Operators On ABC Again

ABC is going to run another phone sex segment on 20/20 tonight. While I’ve no idea if any of my comments (as promised last year for Nightline) or earlier network coverage regarding phone sex jobs will be included, but part of the promo for the show includes an article entitled Five Lessons From a Temporary Phone-Sex Operator.

I’ve written enough tonight, so I’ll save my comments on the article for post-show commentary. But that may be awhile as I have calls scheduled at night and over the weekend; thank hevens for DVRs. *wink*

UPDATE: Apparently it was a false alarm in terms of phone sex being on 20/20 last Friday; it happens, as we know. As for comments on the article…

Overall, while a bit generic, it’s not bad. It’s not clear whether the author worked for a phone sex company (and if so, what kind of phone sex company), or if she was an independent PSO. I’d bet she worked for a company; for even though she mentioned the ability to decline or hang-up on callers (which at some companies can get you fired), she doesn’t seem to have worked in a niche nor done any marketing. Your thoughts?

Money-Grubbing PSOs (Or Compalints About Phone Sex Payment Options)

Sooner or later nearly every independent phone sex operator starts to chafe at the limits and restrictions platform sites place upon PSOs in terms of the ways the PSO is allowed to make money. NF, for example, won’t let you sell your time in chat or instant messaging; MPS currently is the only one which allows you to sell tangible items (such as panties, physical signed copies of photos, etc.). Often there are also complaints about how much money is “taken” by the platform or affiliate site. And so a phone sex operator will look around, trying to see where and how she might be able to expand her business, offer more services and, therefore, make a little more money. This is natural enough. But here are a few points to consider when shopping around:

#1 The average percentage “taken” for each phone sex call or transaction is about 1/3 of the price the client pays. Considering all this covers (secure, anonymous phone lines; payment processing; credit card charges, including chargebacks; a web presence; etc.), with no upfront investment from you, the PSO (who is allowed to pay as she goes; i.e. pays only when she is paid for using the services), and what those services cost the platform or affiliate company (no matter who is or isn’t using the services at the moment), the fees “taken” or paid are not some big rip-off.

Consider these services a baseline level for comparison. Any company taking less, especially in an adult business where credit card costs are much higher, ought to be considered in terms of what they are actually providing you; any company taking more should be offering you much more.

#2 Is your plan to increase and expand your business, or to replace the platform company entirely? Some companies have restrictions which will force you into a “Them or us?” situation. NF, for example, will only allow you to link to your blog or website (an external site not hosted by NF) if your blog or website is free of links to “you” at other places or competing sites. The only exception is for links to “you” at sites which offer services NF does not offer. As in the site offers no services NF does. Reasonable; but then starting at another platform site means another blog or website, another advertising budget, or at least more marketing to do to find clients at the second(ary) site. Is that what you wanted?

Some phone sex sites, platform companies, or adult service providers will have non-compete clauses, restricting even the use of your professional phone sex name. Think I’m kidding? Read what Miss Maggie Mayhem has to say about MyGirlFund. (While MyGirlFund markets itself as a webcam site, you are not forced to appear on cam and so this applies directly, not merely theoretically, to PSOs who want to offer chatting services.) That means you’ll have a whole other “you” to market and manage.

Lots of PSOs have multiple characters, so that new “you” to mange isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when you are building your business, it can be incredibly complicated, exhausting, and risky. It’s best to have some idea of a business model that you are replicating before you try it. And even then it’s complicated and exhausting juggling all that. (It can be financially rewarding too! But you should know what you are choosing to do before you step into it — and really step in it.)

#3 There is no quick easy money fix. Not in phone sex; not anywhere. Phone sex can be quicker to profit from than most things; at least it has a low barrier of entry (including all those things provided for you via the 30% fee slice!). But being a professional phone sex operator still involves work.

#4 Shopping around is more than fine; it’s wise. But don’t lose focus, or your head. And remember, some of the things you want… Lower rates, an easier way to earn money, a faster way to make money… An easier way to take money from pay piggies… These options don’t readily exist for reasons. See #3. But also know that we’re talking about money here, and such transactions have restrictions for consumer protection. And at the end of the day, you are a consumer too.

My Phone Sex Secrets: UK Phone Sex Documentary

This is not the documentary I’ve been participating in with interviews, but there’s a new documentary on phone sex work in the UK: Channel 4‘s phone sex documentary My Phone Sex Secrets.

Unfortunately, Channel 4‘s rights agreements limits who can watch the film online:

Rights agreements mean that our 4oD service is only available in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, (although C4 does not always have rights for programmes in ROI). Even if you are a citizen of the UK or ROI you cannot access the service from abroad.

So, if you’re outside of those countries, you’ll have to settle for reading the reviews and press coverage; here’s two:

The RadioTime‘s review

A review at TheSun

From the sound of it, it’s pretty much the same work described here. So no surprises there. (And I’ve had plenty of UK callers *wink*) But it seems to be an honest non-biased, if somewhat titillating, piece.

Those of you here looking for help becoming a PSO, I suggest you begin here.

Thoughts On The Anderson Cooper Show On Working From Home, Being A PSO

Despite a promise from a show producer, I wasn’t notified in advance of the Anderson Cooper piece air date; apparently it aired yesterday. Overall, the specific discussion on phone sex work was handled tactfully and rather respectfully. Though I still have to giggle when phone sex work is considered so “unconventional” when sex work is “the oldest profession.” *wink*

What was most upsetting, actually, was that the PSO discussion was part of a larger conversion on Anderson Cooper, with the specific show’s focus on the issue of a controversial new study that says moms with jobs outside the home are healthier and happier than stay-at-home moms — and a claim from one working mom who says that moms who stay at home are “lazy.” Really? It’s 2012. Why are we still bothering with this “who are better moms” discussions? Distinctions with judgements made in blanket statements are just so useless. Unless, of course, your goal is like that of a school bully or “mean girl” — moves by the insecure to drag someone else down. My philosophy has always been to focus on how I can move myself up and out of situations I have defined as not ideal for me.

Judging a mom for working or not is as bad as judging a mom or any work working in the adult subject matter: It just shouldn’t be done.

But back to the study.

I didn’t see any mention of mothers who work from home, i.e. moms who do their paid work from the same place they carry out their non-paid work. I’ve a few ideas where they’d sit… But at this point, my numbers are smaller and my focus hasn’t been the systematical study of “happiness.” So I’ll keep that under my hat for another time. However, I will say that personal happiness is achieved when a person has their needs met; and we all have needs, many of which vary widely.

Today’s Phone Sex Tips: On Crossdressing & Lingerie Fetishes

Lingerie blogger A Slip Of A Girl has recently become a phone sex operator, specializing, of course, in lingerie fetish calls and crossdressing. She’s written a great introductory primer on crossdressing which even moderately experienced PSOs will likely find useful.

Phone Sex Secrets Not Heard On GMA

It’s been very busy here since Monday’s Good Morning America segment on phone sex aired. Overall, the response has been as expected: a filled email inbox, a few new clients, some backlash from fearful-of-competition annoyed PSOs, a plethora of unintelligent and unkind comments at other sites, and sprinklings of supportive comments and posts too. I’m not the only one feeling the aftereffects of the media attention either.

As I mentioned, the phone sex operator willing to be seen on the television segment was Starr. She and I have been performing a post-mortem of sorts, talking about what did and did not happen — both on the show and after it aired.

The first thing we discussed was how fair we felt the piece was. Here’s Starr’s response:

The piece had the traditional “adult entertainment is sleazy” and “desperate times call for desperate measures” point of view. Aubrey helped with that. This work isn’t for everyone. She’s young and has a lot to learn. The interviews on the street showed some people with closed minds. It reminds me how glad I am that I am not one of them but it also made the piece more palatable and easier to hear for those who are. If we want mainstream to hear us we have to meet them halfway.

I was also disappointed at what they left out. During the interview I emphasized the importance of building relationships with clients, just as any businessperson would. I mentioned the importance of advertising, marketing and blogging. I talked about how a lot of callers are looking for simple companionship. I said that I feel a sense of personal satisfaction when I hear happiness in someone’s voice because they feel like they have made a connection. I talked about how much fun it is to be creative everyday. Building new skills (marketing) personal satisfaction (making connections) and creativity are important to me but there was no mention of those things.

(You can easily see why I love Starr so much!)

In my comments about what was left out (which will be more detailed in an upcoming post at Starr’s blog), I mentioned how both my husband and I were asked, several times in several ways, if phone sex was like prostitution. Here’s what Starr had to say about that:

When I was asked about comparing phone sex to prostitution, I said that when you are on the phone in the safety of your home it is a whole different thing from laying naked in bed having intercourse. I actually thought that might make it in because there was a loud vehicle passing by and they asked me to repeat my answer. I also talked about having years of experience in social work and how both occupations require active listening skills.

There’s more to come!