Sponsored
×
Phone Sex: Clean cash for dirty talk - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Phone Sex: Clean cash for dirty talk

By Elizabeth Lepro / Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Online and over the phone, Dominique was a long- and raven-haired white woman, slightly older than college-aged, with heavy makeup. Although she wasn’t a dominatrix, she told men that she was interested in learning to become one. 

In reality, Tanisha is a young, black student who was, truthfully, not very good at maintaining the dominatrix personality. She was a sophomore at Pitt when she began to portray Dominique as a phone sex operator, talking to men over the phone from her single dorm room in Lothrop Hall.

Today, Tanisha is off the line, working as a bartender after taking a two-and-a-half year hiatus from classes. She will return to Pitt in the summer as a junior pre-law student studying English writing. 

She is casual about her experience, and she described it as a phase she passed through and has since been able to laugh about. Tanisha said although she didn’t get much out of it, being a PSO isn’t something of which she’s ashamed. 

She compared it to going out with your friends, saying, “You don’t feel this great sense of shame the next day. You’re like, ‘I partied hard and I had fun.’” 

A 2013 survey based on interviews by Students and Phone Sex, a website dedicated to providing information on phone sex as a job for college students, revealed that 71 percent of 100 students interviewed saw nothing wrong with being a phone sex operator. Approximately 10 percent of those interviewed knew someone in the business. 

Tanisha’s introduction to the world of phone sex came when she discovered her friend had been making money as a phone sex operator, or a PSO, for a couple of months, randomly disappearing at parties to answer calls. 

“I thought she was getting high or something,” she said. 

It turned out her friend had found a hiring phone sex company while scrolling through a website called Sexyjobs.com. Tanisha decided to become a PSO with the mentality, “my friend was doing it, and we thought it would be funny.” 

But the job of turning strangers on with just her voice and imagination was more challenging than she originally anticipated.

“You want to create a story that’s so interesting they don’t want to get off the phone, but not too interesting that they finish so quickly they have to get off the phone,” Tanisha said. 

The money-making strategy, Tanisha explained, is to keep the caller on the line for as long as possible.

One company for which she worked required that callers buy at least 10 minutes of call time for $20 — operators received half of the profit. Every minute after 10 cost $1.99, and Tanisha’s pay was bumped up to 60 percent. Callers could also leave tips at the end of their calls through the dispatch operator, which PSOs received in full. A typical weekly income could be anywhere between $50 for inexperienced operators and $400 for a decently successful week of calls.

In doing so, Tanisha crafted intricate back stories and personalities for her characters. It was vital to keep a written account of characters’ stories because returning customers would catch any factual slip-ups. 

Online, phone sex companies such as NiteFlirt allow their operators to buy photos of women they would then pretend to be from a catalog of pictures. It is the responsibility of the operator to create a profile and backstory for her character, a form of self-marketing that’s vital in getting people to choose you as a partner. 

Callers can list specific preferences or fetishes, and PSOs would be notified of the preferences either by a dispatch operator, as was the case with Tanisha’s first employer, or by some other method, online or otherwise.

In the movie “Valentine’s Day,” Anne Hathaway plays a character who moonlights as a PSO. To satisfy her caller’s fetishes, she takes on a Russian persona in the film when she is seen at work making the whip sound effect with a rubber band ball and talking dirty to a client in a fake accent. 

Even though Tanisha didn’t get turned on by her conversations, she rejects the idea that a PSO can take a call while juggling multiple different tasks like doing homework or working in an office. 

“It takes a fair amount of concentration, it’s just like learning a story,” Tanisha said, adding that callers are also “paying for your full attention.” 

She describes the world of being a PSO as one in which catering to the fantasy of the (mostly male) callers requires an attention to detail and the need to be imaginative. 

Her most profitable call included a two-hour phone conversation with a man who wanted to be ordered around. The call included Tanisha advising him to go the refrigerator and put an ice cube down his pants as punishment. In the end, Tanisha’s ability to keep up the act for two hours resulted in a $500 tip. 

In these situations, Tanisha was never as into the conversation as she made her customers think. 

In fact, Tanisha said at first it was hard to hide her sarcastic tendencies when ridiculous requests made by men, such as requesting she pretend to be a dog at a ski resort, would otherwise have made her burst into laughter. Her ability to stifle the laughter came with experience, but some callers, she said, were more perturbing than funny. 

Tanisha described an experience in which the customer claimed he was a principal from Texas who employed corporal punishment and wanted her to be a school girl receiving it. She hung up on the caller because she was uncomfortable with the situation.

Because every dropped call has to be explained or else it could be grounds for an immediate firing, according to Tanisha, she had to tell the dispatch operator that she lost service. 

“It’s not about being noble, I mean, you would have to act that fantasy out to the end,” she said.

Despite her experience, she wasn’t, by any means, the trained professional the website claims their operators to be. 

“It’s a joke,” she said.

Her employer gave her some quick tips on the phone, but nothing descriptive or of value. 

Because callers were often very graphic, including a man who asked her to “milk his penis” on the first call, Tanisha explained that she had lost a lot of her shock value as a result. 

“At this point, I’ve done so much in my life that I just feel like I’ve heard it all,” she said, adding that the job is not for anyone who startles easily. 

The job is attractive to college students who are looking for a way to deal with extra tuition fees and usually have a private place to take the calls. 

Tanisha is unabashed in relaying stories of her experience over the phone, but she said it wasn’t like she ever “ran around telling people [she was] a phone sex operator.” 

As for how the experience has affected her everyday life, Tanisha, who has been “on again, off again” with the same boyfriend for eight years, doesn’t, for the most part, have a tainted image of the opposite sex. 

She claimed the anonymity of the caller allowed her to form a certain image in her mind.

“When you think of the people doing that [calling a phone sex line], you don’t think of the average Joe,” she said. “You don’t look at people in the street and think ‘I bet he called me last night.’”

Leave a comment.

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper
Phone Sex: Clean cash for dirty talk