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If late-night television is to be believed, there are tons of beautiful women with nothing better to do on a Friday night than lounge around in their fluffiest negligees waiting for you to spend $4 a minute to have sex with them over the phone. Now, as a savvy consumer, you already have some inkling that phone sex isn't quite the scantily clad slumber party the purring women in those commercials make it out to be, but the truth is weirder than you think.

I've worked as a phone sex operator, and I can tell you that ...

6
The Environment Is About as Unsexy as It Gets

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Getting psyched up to make sexy talk to total strangers is exactly as challenging as you would think, especially if you're doing it out of the same kind of cubicle farm call center you're already familiar with if you've ever worked in telemarketing or tech support. Unless you have a very specific fetish, fluorescent lights and the scent of stale coffee stains on industrial carpeting don't exactly get your motor running.

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"And then I didn't refill the empty pot."
"Oh, yeah ..."

When you walk in, you're greeted with a chorus of moans oozing out from a sea of headset-clad cubicle workers. This can actually become a problem if the guys on the other end of the line overhear it -- sure, deep down they know you're not a 23-year-old Russian runaway carrying on a forbidden romance on her cousin's kitchen phone in the middle of the night, but it gets awkward when a co-worker is enthusiastically screaming out the exact same fantasy story not 3 feet away. There were some noise-canceling headsets available, but most of the time, you just have to make up a cover story on the spot to maintain the illusion, like "Oh, those are my sorority sisters. We're all getting wild up in here."

If you really needed to be alone, you could take your headset upstairs, but our call center was located in a dilapidated old building in a rundown part of town, and I'm pretty sure the upper floor was haunted. The only way to get up there was by climbing a set of rickety old stairs that looked like the entrance to Vincent Price's black magic library, where every step kicked up a cloud of dust containing the dying screams of a thousand missing persons. It was usually better to deal with the noise.

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But if callers knew about upstairs, you know some would pay double for it.

Fortunately, most phone sex operators nowadays work from home, where they can set the mood with lighting, music, What's Happening!! reruns, whatever it takes. But yeah, I wasn't that lucky.

5
It Fulfills a Fantasy for the Operator, Too

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It may not surprise you to learn that most phone sex operators look less like Theresa Randle in Girl 6 and more like a person who purchases mayonnaise in bulk from Walmart. Obviously, the fact that the clients can't see you means that your physical appearance doesn't matter, but why does the break room at a phone sex call center look like a bingo hall?

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Because grandparents really like it when you phone them?

In my experience, it's because being a phone sex operator provides a sexual outlet for these women that they're not getting anywhere else. Sure, for some people it's just a job, no different from taking regular customer service calls, but for many, fulfilling a client's fantasy fulfills a fantasy for them, too. They don't like the way they look, and pretending to be what the client wants them to be allows them to feel desirable. Everybody wants that feeling, even your grandmother (especially your grandmother -- there are more grandmothers than you'd care to know about in this industry).

One co-worker told me that she really enjoys the fact that someone could visualize her as a petite blonde boner distributor, when in reality she's a middle-aged hausfrau with bad skin and bifocals. There was one woman who wrote elaborate scenarios in her off time that she would recite on the phone to clients, and this was preeeetty clearly not just a case of a workaholic overachiever. The scenarios always involved really specific acts, and God bless her, she got so into it. It was obvious that these were personal fantasies that she couldn't realize in her own sex life, and so her job was her outlet for them. Really, it works out for everybody.

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If anything, she should be paying *you*.

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4
Clients Make Odd Requests

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As you might have guessed, some of the guys who call phone sex lines have trouble reconciling the "phone" portion of our profession. My co-workers and I were regularly pestered with requests to meet clients in person, or at least send them some sexy memento of our time together, which for whatever reason usually took the form of used underwear. One guy even asked a co-worker for a pair of underwear soaked in menstrual blood, which, apart from being fantastically illegal, is several serial killer red flags rolled together in a single request.

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In fact, his exact request was "Send me several red flags, rolled together."

Obviously, no one was stupid enough to actually meet up with any of these guys, lest they should become an anonymous mattress stain, but many of my co-workers were totally cool with sending underwear. This presented an unusual problem, because as I previously mentioned, many operators don't look anything like how they describe themselves to clients. If you've been masquerading as a 90-pound Asian woman, you can't send a size 40DD bra and a pair of parachute panties.

To get around this, my co-workers would actually go out shopping for underwear that would fit the character they had created, just so they could send them to their clients and get them off their back. I don't know if any of the clients ever noticed that the underwear was clearly brand new, but there's probably a real market out there for spray-on "sweaty boob" scent.

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It'd probably steal half our business, though.

Dishonest lingerie shopping isn't the only way the work bleeds into your real life, either. Since all the calls to my company were local, I was always left wondering whether some random guy I saw while out on the town was secretly a client.

So, how do you know what to say to somebody with an oddball fetish? How do you know exactly what sort of thing they go for? Well ...

3
You Have to Watch a Lot of Porn for Research

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I know I said earlier that call centers are the sworn enemies of sexiness, but lurking within our otherwise nondescript call center was a vast, majestic library of king-making porn. You might think we used this stash for inspiration during particularly boring calls, but oh no. This was a research library.

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It's also where we took calls as sexy research librarians.

You see, porn is made to imitate fantasy, which in turn starts to imitate porn. The best way to learn about a particular fetish is to dive right into a giant pile of unspooled film emblazoned with the images of nylon boots, leather whips, and people humping plastic fruit or whatever. We're talking old school magazines and VHS cassettes -- no neat little rows of DVDs here in the chaotic Library of Sexual Congress.

We had everything ranging from the tamest "watching Cinemax at your parents' house when you were 13 years old" porn, all the way to the outrageous and even illegal stuff you'd expect to find in the Zodiac killer's trailer. If nothing else, checking out the material and taking it home was a really good way to learn your limits before you found yourself on the phone with someone who's into fucking cheetahs.

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Pre-research, I didn't even know a "fudgy katana" was a thing.

It may sound hilarious (and it is), but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Every job requires a specialized knowledge base, whether you're designing bridges, operating the deep fryer at McDonald's, or convincing a desperate man on the other end of the phone that you're a Swedish trapeze artist with nipple tassels made of chocolate. You have to know what you're talking about, or else you'll find yourself talking to a dial tone with no paycheck pretty quickly.

But it can't prepare you for everything ...

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2
It Can Be Traumatizing

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"So," you ask, "What's the most disturbing client you've ever had?"

You'll be sorry you asked.

That particular honor goes to a man who called one day and asked me to adopt the role of a preteen child. I won't go into specifics, because this is a comedy website, and I assume you didn't come here to weepily vomit a jet of black despair all over your keyboard, but trust me -- whatever horrors you're imagining aren't far off from what I heard come out of this guy's mouth.

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I could make some joke here about "come" and "mouth," but c'mon. Jesus Christ.

Surprisingly, we don't really have a protocol for this type of situation, so I didn't know what to do. If a call comes in that crosses our personal boundaries, we're allowed to pawn it off to a co-worker, but I can't imagine "Hey, anyone want to talk to this pedophile while he masturbates?" would have netted too many raised hands. We're also allowed to hang up if we want to, but by the time I pulled myself together enough to think it through, I actually tried to play along, reasoning that it was better that he was on the phone talking to me instead of looking for some other way to satisfy his urges.

Eventually, though, it was too much, and I had to end the call. It haunts me to this day -- I have children myself, and as I said, these were all local calls, so this guy is somewhere in my city. I'm not saying I spent the next week dressed up in crazy street armor like The Warriors, challenging anyone who looked at my kids too long to an ax fight, but I'm not saying I didn't, either.

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That fetish pays even better than the haunted attic calls.

1
You Get a Confusing Look Inside Men's Heads

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When your job is to listen to men's fantasies and re-enact them as best you can without laughing and/or recoiling in horror, you start to notice some trends. Considering there are people who have sexual fantasies about being shrunken to miniature size and flushed down a toilet, a lot of what I experienced was relatively mundane, but also hilariously contradictory. It's no wonder some guys turn to phone sex, because there are a lot of men out there weaving intricate fantasy worlds that sound completely impossible to satisfy.

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"Dude, the kingdom of Margoth can't be just lava. It needs crops. Also, boobs don't do that."

The most popular type, hands down, are domination fantasies. Where this gets weird is that it's followed closely by the desire to hear the operator describe being ejaculated on and thoroughly drenched in man yogurt. That's not surprising on its own, but it seems entirely at odds with the previous 10 minutes you just spent ordering the client to lick your thigh-high leather boots (or Crocs, if we ever decided to be honest). Guys want to experiment switching sex roles right up until it's time to climax, and then they want to be dominant again. And yet guys insist women are confusing.

That's not to say I never heard any unusual fantasies. I had one client whom I nicknamed Diltoe, for reasons that will soon become apparent. Diltoe was fixated on a particular famous actress; specifically, he was obsessed with her toe.

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Actress' name withheld out of respect.

Every time he called, he wanted to hear me describe, in graphic detail, inserting this woman's toe into various orifices of my body. He never really made clear whether the toe was still attached, or whether this actress was just kind of lying there while I shoved her toe into my unmentionables. There are a lot of questions about that scenario that I was always afraid to ask. I'll go to my deathbed wondering exactly what the hell Diltoe was picturing while I recited his crazy radio play.


Related Reading: Did you know that breeding animals requires a lot of masturbation (and not on yourself)? Or that everyone at Epcot is drunk? We've got plenty of insight into the oddjobs that millions of people work every day. Have a story to share with Cracked? Email us here.

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