Phone Sex: The future of the British economy?

Phone sex has always been a bit of a taboo in the UK. Perhaps it’s the British stiff upper lip that stops us talking about our stiff lower portions, or the fact that ‘dirty calls’ gives connotations of helpless office workers answering the phone to heavy breathing and a low voice asking “oi, what yer wearin’?” Channel 4′s excellent new lite-documentary ‘My Phone Sex Secrets‘ aims to bust open this stereotype and follows women who are embracing the industry and a couple who have set up their own phone sex business, employing tens of people. The show was excellent, light hearted and I can’t recommend it enough. Once again, Channel 4 provides top notch TV about sex, funny without childish and presenting a frank look at the highs and lows of being a phone sex worker.

This documentary got ChairmanDavey thinking – is phone sex the future for the UK economy? After much thought, I really couldn’t find a significant downside to the promotion of the industry. Now, I’m not suggesting that adverts for ‘FoneSex+’ be shown during Loose Women (although it would fit very well with the title), but there is certainly scope for it to be picked up by a variety of people in a variety of different situations. The main reasons are outlined below.

  1. Redistributive – Phone sex is a legitimate turn on for many people (indeed, most of the time who are we to say what is legitimate or not) in the same way as uniforms, not putting out on the first date or seeing Jake Gyllenhaal or Angelina Jolie sprawled out semi-naked  on the cover of a magazine is for other people. I mean, if ever Mill’s harm principle should be invoked, phone sex is the best example I’ve ever come across. Typically those who can afford to pay for regular phone sex are well off individuals, and the opportunity cost of this activity is either saving the money or spending it on other luxury goods. The money these people pay for phone sex is transferred to people who are in a worse economic position (such as in the documentary a cash-strapped student, a graduate who couldn’t find work and a recently single woman who wasn’t able to keep up with her mortgage payments) and as such goes into the pockets of people who have to spend that money – saving isn’t a luxury they can afford (until they get very good at it, that is…). The main point of this argument is that phone sex ensures that money stays in the economy rather than being hidden away in savings. This is vital when demand is floundering.
  2. Small businesses – Phone sex lends itself to quick expansion for groups of people who want to club together and start their own business. The documentary gave one example of a couple who started by offering personal phone sex services and have expanded this into their own company. If you’re just a one or two person set up, the overhead costs are very low – all you need is an old Nokia and a quiet room. Small businesses form the backbone(r) of the economy and greater diversity must be welcomed, no?
  3. Flexible hours – The very nature of phone sex is flexibility – you let your clients know when you’re available, and they call you then. Any calls outside that time can be ignored. This is a perfect job for single mothers, those with complex lives or just those looking to supplement another income. Work can be done in the evening (when the baby is asleep) or during the school day (for older children). If you want to take a week off, you can! Although, you may lose clients if you’re too unreliable, the basic idea of flexibility is still there.
  4. Sexual liberation – Whilst not an economic argument, those with better sex lives tend to be happier in their day to day lives and happier people tend to be more productive. Yes, that link is tenuous but it still stands. Phone sex is a prime method of exploring one’s own sexuality, discovering new areas that work and areas that don’t. Sexual confidence follows this. That can only be a good thing.

“Hold up there Chairman!” I hear you shout. “Surely there are numerous downsides?”  Yes, as there are with anything in this crazy world. But the main issue I see is vulnerable people who have no alternative than phone sex and is rather minor. I mean, quite frankly, there are worse things than talking dirty down a phone. Phone sex should happen in a safe, secure area where a person does not feel threatened. Every phone sex-er in the documentary had a separate number for their phone sex phone, and never gave personal details out (except for the woman who met a man from there – but they ended up happy together so I guess that’s ok). The point is, you take precautions as you would in any other job. You wouldn’t have a cheeky bottle of wine before driving a petrol tanker, or fight crime without a cool superhero name and costume, would you? No.

In terms of ‘distance sex’ (copyright ChairmanDavey), phone sex is significantly better than ‘cam sex’, where video can be recorded and stored, and then used to blackmail the performer – this can cause huge amounts of stress, destroying families and careers. Phone sex in that aspect is much safer – a grainy recording of a phone call can sound like loads of people. You just deny it and move on.

Overall, I hope more people see this documentary. The phone sex industry in the UK needs to be brought into the mainstream and embraced by ‘normal’ people. The potential is there for those who are suited to it to make good money, have flexible hours and work from home – whilst discovering whole new sides to their sexual personality. ChairmanDavey longs for the day when phone sex workers are not looked down on as crap porn actors, and when someone on the Weakest Link can look Anne Robinson in the eye and proudly state “My name is Dorris, I’m 52 from Yorkshire, and I’m a phone sex worker.”*

*I have just found out that the Weakest Link has been cancelled. My dream will never be realised, unless someone says it to Anne in the street.

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