In an age where texting is the latest, greatest form of communication (just slightly more personal than a DM, right?), I never would have guessed that phone sex operation could possibly be a viable form of additional income. Even though getting my own World Of Warcraft-lovin’, iPhone-ownin’, sixty-ish-years-old mother to have a phone conversation with me is tougher than getting semen stains out of suede, I can still charge a cool $2.50 a minute to chat with lonely men who want a little verbal encouragement.

Sex work is like any other freelancing gig; the money is feast or famine. When I first started out, every slow period left me in a panic, wondering what I was going to do if something didn’t change soon. As a working class shmuck who has been homeless twice as an adult, maintaining multiple forms of income has always been a priority of mine. Whether it was working a combination of day and night jobs or taking on odd gigs that offered a little extra financial boost, my life has been one that always includes many streams of income. There is a certain insecurity that comes with having been poor, and maintaining a level of hypervigilance is necessary for my overall sanity. When I was working exclusively as a pro-domme, without other options, it felt like the walls were closing in on me.

After watching many comrades advertise their fetish phone sex services on Twitter, I decided to take the plunge and get a Niteflirt account of my own. I had entertained camming, but I was still struggling with the idea of having moving images of myself that border on pornographic (if not outright pornographic) out there. Despite being unabashedly out about my job, I was struggling to reconcile with the knowledge that those images would officially be forever if I put them out there.

For example, this doesn’t feel that serious.

Doing in-person sex work meant that the vast majority of my imprint on the elephant memory of the world wide web was a few sexy photos and descriptive text, but stepping up to camming would have meant real time interaction, and actual video felt overwhelmingly serious. As an alternative, phone sex seemed like a good way to dip my toe into long-distance sex work without feeling as though I had signed my life away to the sex industry and was forever trapped by my secret, sexy second existence.

Although I was skeptical about how successful this endeavor would be since telephone conversations seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs (or Donald Trump), I figured that there was little to lose. Up went the sexy photos, the enticing copy selling my skills in domination and general kinky fuckery, and away I went.

Fortunately, work helped with getting some of those photos…

Most of the calls I receive are different than what most people imagine phone sex to be like. While some calls are dudes who want to spend less than ten minutes with a verbal assist for their masturbatory needs, the vast majority seek extended conversations on kink and fetishes. My callers tend to dig deep to share intimate memories of their first exploration into kink or to talk about the first glorious woman who dominated them. The conversation often meanders into dating, into my work as a pro-domme, into mutual interests and how we discovered the joys that can only come with making someone beg for a good ball-kicking.

The conversation tends to turn actively sexual when we begin sharing our favorite memories from Folsom, or the best cuckolding experience they have ever had, or as they detail their yet-to-be-fulfilled fantasy…if it turns sexual at all.

In an age where advertisements featuring a woman on cam waving hello while starting to flash the edge of her panties are ubiquitous, phone sex should be considered a dying medium. Admittedly, it seems that the business has taken an overall downturn: PSOs who have been in the business a long time will share about the good ol’ days before the phone sex sites were flooded with women looking for extra cash and camming was a high-quality possibility. There is something, though, about talking on the phone that still appeals to people. For most people, today’s technology has little nostalgic value.

My first calls on the fetish phone lines reminded me of being in junior high and calling acquaintances from school who I barely had the courage to speak to in person. Tension is immediately present based on the potential outcomes, and as each party finds their rhythm in the conversation, each pause is heavy with anticipation. Phone conversations offer a real time exchange that forces the person to think on their feet; unlike texting, there is no opportunity to carefully craft each flirtation. Each question may lead them to inquiring about your school dance date…or may guarantee that they’ll pay your rate for longer.

When talking to someone unfamiliar, the stakes feel high, and there is something intimate about talking to someone as they make dinner, or lay in their own bed, or have a smoke. Hearing the sounds of their life happen as they speak to you is personal. Phone sex offers a freedom that camming doesn’t; it creates a space where the exchange is not always created merely for the sake of the viewer/voyeur.

Despite its limitations and competition, phone sex is still a viable second (or third, or fourth) job as long as the operator knows how to advertise strategically. Even with my half-assed effort, putting in five to six hours a week on one shift was more than enough to be pulling in twice the amount of money I would be making at a crappy ten-bucks-an-hour job. The art of phone sex may be in decline as the population who truly appreciates the novelty of phone conversations dies off and the rise of the kick ass cam girl filches the clientele, but it isn’t dead yet.