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Not just a job: how doing phone sex has fucked with my sex life

Working with other people's sex lives makes mine feel a little weirder sometimes...

Working with other people's sex lives makes mine feel a little weirder sometimes...

I sometimes get asked if working in phone sex has affected my own sex life in any way, and usually I say "no". Or if I think about it, I'll say, "well, my husband stopped wanting to do phone sex with me, but that's it." As if that's insignificant, in a relationship that has been long-distance since 2006, as if that's only about him and his boundaries and not about me.

Looking back on my responses when people ask me that question, I think I was protecting myself, or the profession, without acknowledging that YEAH, it is an intense job, and like all intense jobs, it can have an impact. "Impact" is a great metaphor, actually, because it lands, and all the shock waves spread out from there, and a vase can fall off a bookshelf 40 miles away, and you don't really put it together unless you are ready to sit down and analyze it.

Like now. I'm ready, apparently, because I'm starting to recognize things that have changed about my love life since taking on phone sex nearly four years ago.

For example, I now have a strong preference for seeing my lovers' faces when I talk with them; so, skype or iChat over phone calls. Part of that is that all my relationships are long-distance and I don't get to see any of them for that long, so of course I miss their faces. Partly it's the vagaries of international phone calls; I still remember that summer when I accidentally racked up an extra $300 on the July cell phone bill. But mostly, it's deeply, deeply personal: when all of my days are full of other people's voices, trying to be sexy with me, sexy voice sans face loses some of its punch.

Oh, and I have developed ZERO patience for submissive men approaching me submissively or fawningly, maybe laying out the hardcore flattery or a half-joking "yes, ma'am" or "yes, mommy", right away. A good fraction of my clients are "submissive" men. Faux-submissive, in the way that things get where money is involved. These pseudo-subs hold the money, they get to say what I do. That's fine, I get it; that's the nature of the business. But I have no interest in fulfilling someone's fantasies in real life—FOR FREE—if they're not present enough to ask me what I want, or listen when I tell them.

Oh, and then this last one. It's small, as things go, but I wasn't expecting it. For the past few weeks I have been corresponding sporadically with someone on OKCupid, and they really wanted me to call, while I tend to prefer just meeting up for coffee. That turned out to be a deal-breaker for them: they wanted the call first.

And I just ... No.

There are legitimate logistical reasons why I don't like meeting someone over the phone. Again, the roaming charges are outrageous. Plus I work on-call over the phone for 14 to 18 hours a day, so I typically need to reserve landline use for that work. I told all this to the guy, but his response was brusque enough that I suddenly felt like I was asking for something weird, to go from online correspondence to a face-to-face without a phone call. He walked away, and I was, like, yeah, probably not a good match.

I mean, yes, I understand that voice can tell you a lot about a person; that's the only connection that I have with my clients, and it's definitely a skill. But I get enough of "meeting" people over the phone and trying to make a good impression that way, in the first 20 seconds, without doing it in my personal life. My distaste for calls is further exacerbated by a fine but very sensitive nerve that pings when non-business guys try to move into sexy time over the phone, or indeed, chat, without checking to see that that's where I want to go as well. That has happened to me a few times, and yuck-o. In person, I am able to read reciprocity of spark--or lack thereof, or trying to push it--and therefore I can manage it more easily.

So...

These are strong preferences of mine for how I conduct personal interactions, and they exist almost entirely because of phone sex. That's okay. They're not debilitating, and they feel like more of a personal style that fits in well with the rest of how I operate, rather than reflexive phobias or neuroses. But phone sex did that.

 

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