Something I've been saying now for weeks and weeks--both here on the blog and out in barrooms full of slightly drunk strangers--is that good phone sex takes skill. I mean, it takes skillS, as in high levels of ability and strong inclination measured along multiple axes. There's the verbal aspect, the knowledge base, the outgoing personality, and there's the mad-fucking-psychic-mind-reader element, also known as empathy.
Here's the thing, though: Normal people use empathy in its original sense (being able to feel what another person is feeling) to help them have pity on or comfort others. PSOs use empathy as a launch point for our carefully twisted psycho-libidinal probes. I guess the end result is still giving comfort, but damn, sometimes I feel like an emotional mad scientist when I'm working at getting at the goods.
I'm not saying every caller needs a lot of work; when they tell you to bend over and spread your ass cheeks, it doesn't take any kind of emotional sensitivity to understand what they're going for. I'm also not talking about the really obvious strategems like, "Is that porn on in the background? Whatcha watching, anything good?" or even my personal invention, "Top Three", inviting a new caller to join me in sharing the top three things we like to do or talk about sexually. (I make it sound like a game to disguise the fact that it's basically an abbreviated intake interview.)
I'm talking things like...
- listening for voice volume to realize that they are not able to be dirty with me, and so I'm going to have to step up with the material.
- catching the first "Yes, Ma'am" as an early warning sign that they are heading to submissive head space.
- catching the first "Yes, Mistress" and snapping it right back in their face as "I'm not your mistress, I am 'Yes, Ma'am', and don't you forget it."
- hearing the uncertain tremor in a caller's voice when he talks about his wife's hot best friend and realizing that he doesn't want to fantasize about doing her, he wants to be talked out of it.
- listening to their response throughout and deciding whether they need a participatory narrator or some nice lady just telling them a bedtime story.
As I think through the twists and turns that my callers take me through, I try to pull out all the ways that I am using my feeling of what they're feeling, and I realize that it's starting to become almost instinctual, as complicated as all the instantaneous calculations that we do when catching a ball. Just like catching that ball, running a good phone sex encounter is obviously not a hardwired skill. But somehow I learned it, learned how to employ my empathy in the service of getting these guys off remotely, and DAMN, it's pretty fucking awesome.