If you stay up late and watch commercial television, you already know that "Call us now for a hot time" ads are still alive and well. After-midnight TV would have you believe that there are scores of gorgeous young ladies sitting around in lingerie just waiting for your call. While we can't attest to what real phone sex operators might be wearing, we do know that employment as an adult conversation specialist is still, well, a thing, even though there's all kinds of sexual interaction available online.

I've been out of the phone sex game for a few years now. So, to find out more about the industry today, I spoke with three women currently making a living on the phones. Knowing full well the kind of bigotry that sex workers have to deal with, we'll call them Goddess, Empress and Queen. Knowing these women, I can promise that these names are apt.

Goddess, who has a master's degree in public health, does phone sex work off and on to supplement her income. In addition to talk, she offers relay chat (text messaging), audio clips, and photo sets.

Queen does talk only, and has been at it for the last five years. As a solo operator not managed by a company, Queen wishes to network with other phone sex gals, but finds them elusive. There's still a lot of stigma in sex work!

Empress likes to focus on chat/text messaging so she doesn't have to leave her living room (where she and her wife hang out) to interact with clients. According to her, chat is a welcome addition to the phone sex op's toolbox. Those with writing backgrounds (like Empress, who also published BDSM fiction) may find it preferable to all that talking, and being phone-shackled to a client until they finish.

Adult conversation work is especially good for people in rural areas where traditional work is scarce. It's great for those who don't drive or have disabilities that prevent them from holding a 9-5 job outside the home. Women with young children love having jobs they can do without having to pay for childcare. In fact, the stigma attached to phone sex probably has more to do with how liberating it is for women - both personally and financially.

The Times Are Changing ...

Although there is a still a business in phone sex, those currently working in the trade tell me that finding clients takes more work than in times past. Instead of taking out ads and waiting for calls to roll in, more operators are spending time in adult chat rooms in an effort to hook new clients. Others use dating services or rely on hub-type sites like Niteflirt. Unless you're ready to build and manage your own website, open a private and protected phone line, and engage in a solid ad campaign, signing up to work for another site can make the most sense.

These ladies agree that chat and text messaging are great innovations to the audio sex industry. The ability to sell audio clips by uploading them to a site is also a great way for operators to profit with minimal effort. After all, who doesn't love a short, sexy story?

Over the years, phone sex has been devalued in the market. When I started doing phone sex in the 1990s, operators charged as much as $4.99 for a minute of talk, and 20 minute minimums were common. These days, you'd better be offering something spectacular if you expect to make even $3.00 a minute; $1.99 a minute is far more common, and minimum call limits are less prevalent than they used to be.

What about the Stigma?

Phone sex work isn't for everyone, but it can be a great opportunity for many women (and yes, it's still mostly women). One thing that hasn't changed much, though, is the potential to be judged by family or even friends once they find out the kind of work you do.

Empress mentioned that while her friends have no issues with her work, she hasn't told her mother, even though they have a very open relationship. Her fear isn't that her mom would judge or berate her, but that she might believe the worst stereotypes of what phone sex is and what it involves.

Queen revealed that while those she told about her phone sex work understand that it's just work, it made dating more difficult for her. In her work, she finds that many clients are more lonely than horny (though there's plenty of that too) and thinks people could stand to have more empathy for each other all the way around.

Goddess also experienced relationship issues with this kind of work. Partners can get jealous, even those who initially encouraged their partners to pursue phone sex work.

What Phone Sex Operators Want You to Know

There are plenty of things the average person doesn't know about phone work of this type. Goddess has used this type of work to practice setting boundaries, and used this experience to better manage her real life relationships.

Empress tells us that she encounters people who think phone sex work is sleazy, and done by young women with low self-esteem. They'd likely be surprised to know that phone sex operators are often highly educated, well read women from all walks of life. Other things phone sex ops wish people knew about their work include:

  • It's real work. All customer service work is difficult, but phone sex requires next-level people skills.
  • Taking this kind of work is not an act of desperation, self-loathing, or "sluttiness." (Not that we think there's anything wrong with being slutty.)
  • The erotic fantasies of strangers can be fascinating, unexpected and quite funny.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about phones sex work is not that it's still happening today, but that it's empowering more and more women all the time. Making good money at work that you have control over is one thing, but even just having the freedom to refuse service or to set clear boundaries is more than most customer service workers get to do. Despite society telling women they should be ashamed to be part of the sex industry, technology is helping women find secure work in a lucrative field. That's a win for everyone!