True Story: I Was A Phone Sex Worker

This is one of many True Story interviews, in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/amazing/challenging things. This is the story of Amandalee’s experience working as a phone sex operator.
True Story: I Was A Phone Sex Worker // yesandyes.org

Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hey there, I’m Amandalee and I am 28. I grew up in Kentucky and lived in the Midwest until I was 24. Then I moved to New York, and I lived there for three years and loved it.

I’m a writer/editor/designer with a blog, a band and an Etsy shop. Fun times for me typically include writing, dogs, photos, dancing, and making cool things with friends.

How did you find this job? What was the interview process like?
Like most twenty-somethings who spontaneously move to New York without any money management skills or real work experience, I was kind of broke. I was modeling in painting and sculpture classes, and I had just started working as a legal proofreader, for which I was paid great money, but the work was sparse. So I needed something to fill the cracks.

I found the gig one day while I was randomly trolling Craigslist and decided to give it a try. The interview was informal; I went in and talked to them about the job. They had me attend a day of training, and then “audition” by taking a couple of calls with a manager listening and giving me feedback. It wasn’t a difficult job to get, by any means.

Can you tell us about an average day on the job?
My shifts ranged from two to nine hours. My regular schedule was two overnights a week, one weekend day shift, and a couple of two- or three-hour shifts here and there. The center had women working on the phones at all hours of the night, though, so anytime I wanted to pick up some extra cash, I could call and ask to be scheduled at a moment’s notice. I had regular breaks, during which I’d run downstairs and get sandwiches at a deli or take a walk around the block.

The office was laid out like a regular call center. We had cubicles and headsets and lockers. The break room had vending machines and coffee. We were allowed to wear whatever we wanted, so a lot of the women who worked overnight kept pajamas or yoga pants in their lockers.

Almost one hundred percent of the time that I was on the phone or waiting to take a call, I was always working on something else. I brought my computer and wrote, or worked on a knitting project, or read. Being able to do this was part of the appeal of this gig.

What were your co-workers like?
My coworkers spanned all ages, races, and backgrounds. I don’t know how long most of them had been doing it, but most of them had other careers like I did – actresses, designers, students. One of the women brought in her iPod and listened to foreign language lessons; others studied or did work from their day job.

Some of the women who worked with me didn’t feel comfortable telling their friends and family what they were doing. In the same vein, the management had rules that, if anyone in or around the building asked what we did, we could say that we worked in a call center, but we couldn’t say what type of calls we actually took.

How much money did you make?
Not terribly much. When I was hired, I had a choice to be paid at a flat hourly fee or a slightly lower hourly fee plus a per-minute commission. I chose the latter. But even the flat hourly fee was less than I typically made as a figure model [$12-16 an hour]. I definitely wasn’t in it for the money, and as soon as I had enough work as a proofreader, I moved on. If the money were better, I might have been more likely to stay.

What were the callers like?
Some of the callers seemed like they dialed us just to hear a woman’s voice before climaxing. I’d say a good forty percent of the calls I had were thirty-second calls from guys who were on the verge of orgasm. A few called to hear specific story scenarios, like the barely legal teen or the girl with the big boobs. The majority seemed to just want to talk about vanilla-style sex. [Except adding five or six inches to the size of their member.]

There were erotica and magazines around if we wanted to look at them for inspiration or to get info on really distinct fantasies like female wrestling or pantyhose. I think, though, it was easier to let the caller lead in those situations – asking him questions about what he wanted to hear about, things like that.

I had two female callers during my entire time there. The first seemed really uncomfortable and hung up after a minute or so, and the second was a college-age girl who sounded like she was surrounded by other giggling girls and who asked me questions about my job [“Do you really orgasm at every call? Do you even orgasm at all anymore?” “How old are you really?].

In the entire time I worked there, I had about four repeat callers. The one thing that these callers had in common was that they talked with me about everything but sex for about an hour before the naughtiness started. I don’t know if these guys were really lonely, but they liked talking to me, so clearly I was filling some kind of void for them.

Almost all of my calls ended with the caller having an orgasm and hanging up. Hardly any of them said “thank you.” I’m not offended; I just think it’s funny.

Can you tell us about your most memorable calls?
Oh, jeez. I can tell you about all the calls I ended because they wanted to discuss illegal things. There was the guy who insisted that I play an underage character. There was the guy who wanted to talk about incest. [I hung up and told the manager – I don’t know how they typically dealt with that kind of thing, but I really hope they notified the authorities. That call, actually, was what put me over the edge of quitting. I got really skeeved out.]

And then of course, there were the guys who were repeat callers. I never spoke to any caller more than about three or four times, but in each case, they talked to me for at least an hour at a stretch – about school, work, relationships, and hobbies before they got around to talking about sex.

Did this job affect your feelings about men or sex or relationships?
Weirdly, no. I don’t consider myself a sex worker, because I just answered the phone, but the one thing that sex workers say that they do is that they provide a service for a customer. Period. Whatever the legality or morality around it, that’s all they do.

I think because I was anonymous [we all worked under fake names], I knew that there was no way any of these people on the phone could hurt me, or ever even really know me. I was no different than an interactive adult site, or an adult toy. It sounds a little dehumanizing, but it wasn’t, really. I was doing something I could tolerate to make extra cash, and the environment was positive and safe – that’s all I could really ask for.

I also knew that if I wanted to keep this completely secret, I could – I could have just done what some of the other women there did, and said I worked at a call center, keeping it completely nondescript. Most of the time that I was taking calls, I wasn’t actually talking about sex – the callers generally took the lead, so I just had to fill in the blanks and be the pleasant faceless chick at the other end of the line. If I’d been in the physical presence of a guy, I imagine it would have been completely different.

Overall, would you call this a positive experience? Would you do it again?
I’m definitely glad I had the experience. Everyone who worked in the office was very kind, and working there helped me through what otherwise might have been a rough time.

Would I do it again? I’m not sure. The wage was really low, and even in a pinch, I could definitely make more per hour doing something else. But I might if I really needed to.

Have any of you ever worked in the phone sex? Would you? Any (respectful!) questions for Amandalee?

P.S. True Story: I worked on Alaskan fishing boats (starting at age 9) and True Story: I’m a Shaman

12 Comments

Angie.

Cool interview! I always laugh at people who love phone sex… Because truthfully, I don't think I could take myself seriously. I would probably say something like, "Ohh baby baby, ___________ [insert sexy words here]" and then burst out laughing.

I think I would really suck at it.

But it's very interesting to me that those people called more for conversation about their lives than for talking about sex. Very interesting indeed.

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Sam

I've always wondered what it was like to work for a sex hotline and who would actually call them. But I have to agree with Angie. I would say something very over the top if I was on the receiving end of the phone.

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The-Dame.com

I do fetish phone sex calls, I tal to guys who are into weird kinky things like feet or being ordered about, etc. I mostly find it hilarious and I really enjoy figuring out what turns them on and then taking them on a journey with it – this gets me repeat callers.

Fetish has never bothered me, even stuff that most people find really weird, it doesnt really bother me.

I enjoy it, but I also need to take a break every now and then, there is only so much perversity you can stand or scenarios you can come up with before you need to refresh your brain.

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Claudia

I didn't work as a phone sex operator, but I did work at the call center for "dancers". I would get the clients call and they would ask me what I looked like and how long I could stay. I usually just made stuff up to their needs. Then the actual girl would show up and do her thing. I was paid an hourly rate plus commission for every girl that I booked. I made decent money for a 21 yr old and the girls were really fun!

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Anonymous

I work as a phone sex operator and a lot of the callers are from men who is in a hurry to get off. Before I get to speak to a caller I get a whisper tag and it tells me what type of call I am getting whether it be Betty, older women, TSTV transsexual Transvestite and etc. After you hear the whisper tag it's showtime. I do very well with the TSTV calls to my surprise. I like these calls because these men actually take their time enjoying talking to you and not aiming so hard and pushing you to make them climax. I get a kick out of it because I'm trying not to laugh when I tell them that I have a big you know what for them. I'm going to leave this company soon because I'm not making what I know I can make. I am going to set up my own account on niteflirt. This site keeps a 30 percent commission but the rest is yours versus working for a dispatch company where you take less than 10 percent of what the call was really worth. Other dispatch company maybe more maybe 13 percent but you get the picture. Luckily this isn't my full time job.

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AussieSexTherapy

I work as a phone sex operator, and I'd never settle for a flat fee like that. I work from home as a contractor to a company where I set my own rates (NiteFlirt) so when I am working I get around a buck a minute. I am open about what I do for work, to the point where my mother signs me in every morning so I can sleep in until I get my first call of the day, lol. Since I often am available for 11 hours of the day the returns are maybe not so great for $/timework on my other small business between calls, so it is very profitable for me. I make more than in either of my last day jobs. The hardest thing is going from being really focused on something not related to sex to being either a therapist or a sex goddess in about ten seconds!!

I'm a sex therapist by education, and I set myself up with that as my schtick, so I do a lot of sex therapy, or naughty therapist roleplays. I think I probably get a LOT of kink coming my way because guys think I am probably very accepting of it (and they'd be right).

All the sites I know of have restrictions about illegalities such as incest or underage and I report callers as I am required to do. I don't have to take those calls, and they are not frequent.

My calls generally have a positive effect on my relationships and sex life. I thought I had a pretty broad and accepting view of things sexual, but it's even greater now. 🙂

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