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Phone Sex Operators Still Exist, So We Called One Up to Chat About Business

Talking dirty on the phone for money can still be lucrative, but it might also involve lengthy discussions about Game of Thrones.

Sarah, with a very fancy landline. Photo via Twitter.

Anyone who ever stayed up past 1 AM watching late-night TV during the 1990s is likely well-acquainted with the ubiquity of skeezy lo-fi ads for phone sex operators. The commercials were typically just endless b-roll footage of women in bikinis or lounging in lingerie, backed by tinny on-hold versions of soft rock hits and breathy invitations to "calllll nowwwww, because I'm loooooonely." In the isolated days before chatrooms and Tinder, the options for connecting to random strangers was fairly limited, especially if you didn't want to leave the comfort of your underwear/couch. But many companies made great sums of cash by enticing people to use their phones for talking dirty to anonymous women for dollars a minute.

While hardly the industry it once was, a small market for phone sex still exists. From her home office outside of Toledo, OH, 32-year-old Sarah* works as a phone sex operator. She's logged hundreds of thousands of minutes having sex while assuming different characters (herself, teens/barely legal, role plays). She's also had her share of orgasms while providing the ultimate in customer service calls. We chatted about what it's like to have phone sex for money, and who the hell pays for this service in the age of webcams.

VICE: How'd you get into this?

Sarah: In 2006, remember the Second Life craze? I did that for a couple of years. I started off doing very PG stuff in that game and didn't want to spend money in the game, so I turned to virtual escorting. It was right at the time when they went from text-based (typing everything out) to voice-enabling. At the time you could double your price if you could prove you were actually a girl, which, you know, you did with your voice.

I very quickly realized I loved the entrepreneurship of it, I loved running my own business. However, I stepped away to refocus on the real world and a career. I was making close to $40,000 a year in IT/non-profit, and had a premature midlife crisis at 29. I thought, hey, I'm gonna try this thing and see what happens. Three years later, it's been bumpy, but this is my full-time gig, though I also dabble in web design outside of this.

How lucrative is it?
It's definitely a pay cut. Over the past three years in just four accounts I've made about $43,000 (and I could probably factor in a couple other accounts). You can set up your own 1-800 number. I've thought about doing that. The complication is that somebody calls the 1-800 number and you go into payment taking mode; taking their name, credit card number, billing information, and then you switch into the naughty stuff once you're officially on the clock. I don't like that switch. I'd rather something else do that and I just talk, so that fee is helpful. It's a little less administration.

Who are your typical clients?
There's a mix. There's older gentlemen—they probably grew up with phone sex and are very familiar with phone sex. That's the market that has expendable income, they have money to throw at stuff. That's at least 50 percent of it.

Are they mainly one-offs or repeat customers?
It's a mix. Right now I have two teeny/barely legal accounts.Basically what you do is get adult content online—there's a bunch of different services, but mostly it's girls from Russia or wherever. You buy a model picture pack—the weird thing about this is someone could very easily do a reverse image search and figure out, oh these are models they aren't the actual person. But it's all a part of that fantasy, right? Sadly, that's the majority of my income—it's guys wanting to talk to the "pretty" girls. It's phone sex, and you're not seeing anyone, so I don't understand how pictures are still connected to phone sex but it's the case. I also have other accounts and other names. You definitely suffer from multiple personalities when you do this.

The other percentage is to my account. Those are mainly my regulars; looking for more of a connection, a conversation, and they tend to be regular calls. One of my favorites is a guy from LA, he calls—probably weekly, sometimes bi-weekly—but I shit you not, about 45 minutes of our conversation is about Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, whatever we're watching, whatever we're reading. It's literally an OK Cupid date, and then the last 15 minutes is orgasm. That's like $60 to $70. Not a shabby day.

Do women call?
I had one woman call but it was weird and didn't last very long. But couples are awesome. There's a bunch of dynamics that can happen with that, but that's really hot.

Why does phone sex still exist in the era of web cam?
There's so much free porn out there. There's so much erotica, so much video, so much webcam. But I think it's really cold and impersonal. You're not getting personal attention unless you're dropping major tips on that girl. Phone sex is not webcam, it's not some girl sitting in a chat room with 500 guys jacking off to her.

Whispering into somebody's ear is way more personal—you actually have a one-on-one audience, so I think guys are interested in that part of it. Everything is better with an audience!

Phone sex is one-on-one. There's a very intimate connection with that. My favorite experience is when I have a guy call, we have some chemistry going, it's fun, flirtatious, it's like if you were to sit down at a bar and just be talking to a stranger. You're not really concerned, you're never going to see this person again. You can be a little bit more honest than you could be with someone at work or your church. Or you're not going to tell you wife that you really want to suck a big fat cock. There's things you're more willing to talk about. So those layers, those masks come down. I find that really intriguing and interesting. Even in this hyperconnected age; I'm socially awkward, I'm an introvert, I don't really get out there and talk to a lot of people. But on the phone, when it's anonymous, you can be a little bit more free.

And I would say [a number]] of callers are disabled in some way. One of my favorite callers is this gentleman who calls out of Chicago. He calls and we chat for at least half an hour when he does call. But he has the greatest possible fantasy of passionately fucking a girl in her ass. He's got MS and physical limitations that would not in a million years enable that to happen. But you can do that on the phone. You can do a lot of things that you could not do—for one reason or another—talking out a fantasy. I like that part of it. You're helping someone.

What's your specialty?
My specialty would be GFE or schoolgirl, but there are tons of specialties. You can do the fem-dom thing, that's super popular. There's a bunch of hypnosis ones.

I'm looking on your NiteFlirt page. What is "pay pig" and "wallet rape"
Financial domination is also another niche. Doesn't that sound like fun? I made $900 in one hour. It started out at $1.99/minute. Once I found out he was into that [financial domination] I said "I'm gonna test you and see if you're really into this. I'm gonna hang up and I want you to call me right back." Then you hang up, raise your rate, and they call back. Basically I kept doubling my rate until it maxed out at $50 a minute. We talked for 5 minutes at $50 a minute. If people have that much money to throw away, by all means, stick it in my pocket. I'll happily take it.

What are the most common scenarios you get?
It depends on what you're listed as specializing in. I do well with the barely legal/schoolgirl category. Role-play nerds are my specialty. I did an hour long roleplay about Batman and Catwoman. Maybe I've seen the movies, I watched the cartoon as a kid. Apparently that was enough to do a convincing hour-long roleplay.

Have you ever had an orgasm during a call?
Uh, yeah! Three to four times a day! [laughs] I haven't had sex in two years. The whole dating thing and introducing this--I don't know how to have that conversation so I've just been taking myself off the market for a while. I'm focused on making money.

How has this work affected your self-image?
I'm a bigger girl, I'm 240 lbs and 5'4", so I'm BBW. In talking to guys, it's kind of freeing. I think there's a body type for every guy. I don't think guys are as interested in one particular body type as the media makes it appear. So that's kind of liberating.

What was your most unusual request?
I've only had it once. Apparently he makes the rounds on the circuit. There's a guy who wants to be a turkey and not only that, he wants to be your Thanksgiving dinner.

Did you go with it?
Oh yeah. Totally. You know, you're basting him, putting the butter on. And I don't cook so I'm pulling this shit out of my ass! It's literally—can I get five more minutes out of this? OK, cranberry sauce! You're just totally running with it.

Have any requests ever made you truly feel grossed out?
All the time. There's a lot of guys that are dark, deviants. When you get the guy calling you asking you to be his 12-year-old daughter; no, fuck you. And hang up. But the number of times that happens is really disconcerting. It's like ten percent of the calls. It does skew your perception of humanity. Guys will push it. You have to be firm. At first you think I'll do whatever the customer wants because what if I get a bad review? Eventually, you're like fuck it. What's one bad review for the 50 great ones I've got?

Have you ever had a guy want to turn it into something more?
Yeah, that's a complication. I've had a couple where it's a really good client and you really connect with them, know their birthday, know a lot of information—it's an honest connection. But they're still paying for you. You can't let it go beyond that. Because as soon as it turns into calling you and chatting, they'll never pay to call you again.

Does your family know you do this?
Yeah. They don't want to know details, as long as you're getting by. I'm very much the black sheep.

And lastly, just because I'm curious: Do people call from land lines or cell phones?
It's a mix. But the number of guys who call me on speakerphone from their cars is alarming. Please don't jack off in the car. That's my PSA for today. Pull over before you call.

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