The Ethics of Phone Sex

The question of ethics in business practices has become a much-debated issue in light of disclosures concerning mismanagement. Society’s confidence in the corporate code of conduct was shaken to the core with the fall of Enron and WorldCom in recent years. Businesses were forced to make their ethics plain in order to maintain integrity in the face of consumer suspicion. In the less public adult entertainment industry, one must operate under a different set of rules. Phone sex providers, especially, must exercise a level of conduct that may seem loose on the surface, yet undercurrents show a concrete code of acceptable behaviors that hold true across the board.

You Do What?
Whether called a Phone Sex Operator, Phone Fantasy Artist, Adult Entertainer, or Phone Actress, the basic perceptions run an extreme range. One can be labeled a “freak” or a “prostitute”, even though her contact with customers is purely in the realm of her profession. Other misconceptions include viewing a PSO as an immoral or promiscuous person, when the complete opposite is more likely true. One is seen as a below-the-radar persona, rather than a tax-paying, upstanding individual. Both companies and individuals in the industry fight a constant battle to obtain the respect the field rarely affords them.

The Onus
Reactions upon learning a phone sex operator’s job title can vary by enormous degrees. They run from disbelief to curiosity; from sharp criticism to amused acceptance, and everything in between. The adult industry has long been considered outside the norm and those who work within it shaded by society’s prejudice concerning the “type” of person who would hold such a position as phone sex operator. Although it does take a certain mindset to enter and succeed in the adult industry, the broad, often negative view can be skewed to the point of the ludicrous.

One such example is illustrated in Insight Into A Phone Sex Operators Personal Ethics (2003, Lindsay Moore, Improving Sex! Advice and Information). Miss Moore shares a conversation held with a casual online acquaintance who inquired into what sort of work she did. ” I explained that I was a software applications analystâÂ?¦oh by the wayâÂ?¦a part-time phone sex operator.” The friend seemed to accept her further explanations for why she held the job as phone sex operator, yet future contact was ceased after he learned of it. “Although I can’t say for sure, my gut instinct told me that this person jumped to wild conclusions about my moral character based on his stereotypical, narrow-minded view of who would take such a job.”

Moore’s experience is not unique, as she recognizes. PSOs can suffer a darkening of their perception of themselves, “inappropriately and adversely affect[ing] their self-esteem.” She finds herself unable to hang the phone up, not only in a literal sense, but an emotional and mental one. The other end of this, of course, is the PSO who begins to believe herself the “Goddess” she portrays to her callers.

“In a role-playing fantasy a caller may say anything. Those words carry no more weight or sincerity than an actor’s linesâÂ?¦” Moore recommends PSOs approach their jobs as nothing more than employment, treating each caller as individuals and letting go of the persona once the call is over. As a PSO for nearly a year, the writer must concur this advice.

The Reality
Like Moore, many PSOs hold “day jobs” and only accept a the role of phone sex operator to make ends meet. Some are college students, seeking degrees. Working from home, as most do, affords them the flexibility to dedicate time and energy to living. PSOs are women who possess the confidence and creativity to carry off role-play and still attend their lives as every day people. The soccer mom that carpools the entire neighborhood could very well be a sultry-voiced vixen in the privacy of her home. She carries herself through her day no differently than a schoolteacher or a secretary. While it is true, she must engage in conversation that would not be considered proper for mixed company, she can still be the loving wife, mother, friend, sister, or daughter she was before she became a PSO.

Rules of Engagement
Despite the perception of furtive, under-the-table dealing that may be attributed to phone sex, there are rules that each PSO must agree and adhere to, whether independent or employee. TeleCoitus.com states

If you have ever wondered what makes a phone sex service truly stand out from another- you might want to look into the service’s ethics. The services committed to this site may operate differently, they may use different billing methods, even charge different rates – but they all have their Business Ethics in common.

The phone sex industry is vast, especially with the advent of the Internet, yet the ethics involved, as stated above, remain very nearly the same throughout. While it may not be obvious to an outsider, those within the phone sex industry recognize the need to police themselves and their peers.

Company Policies
Individuals employed as a PSO are expected to live up to the company’s code of conduct. Each PSO is required to sign and abide by company policy in every aspect of their employment. Personal contact with customers outside the company is prohibited. TeleCoitus.com lists the Ethics In the Phone Sex Industry as

� We will operate within the laws of our city, state and country.

� We will not intentionally misrepresent facts or our services to customers.

� We will service our callers with respect, professionalism, competence, and most importantly as an individual who deserves a very specific type of attention.

� We will make a public display of all billing information that each caller needs to know as well as a way to contact our Customer Service Department who can handle any issues that arise.

� We will keep caller information and records of caller conversations/entertainment confidential.

� We will treat our website visitors, our callers, and fellow service owners with honesty and respect.

� We will not take advantage of private caller information for our service, or for profit.

� We will accept only phone calls that we are qualified for, by either our experience or competence to indulge in the fantasy.

� We will only assign phone sex operators to a caller that has experience, knowledge, professionalism, and expertise.

� We will immediately acknowledge our ability to provide the service to our callers, and will offer to withdraw from a conversation when we cannot.

� We will notify callers of additional billing done to their credit cards, and to any rate increases with a clear-cut explanation of the reasons.

� We will ensure that our business databases are not directly connected to the Web.

� We will honestly disclose any commissions that we will receive for websites or services we recommend to our customers.
âÂ?¢ We will not use “scam” tactics or bait and switch “tricks” to lure customers into our websites.

� We will create a pleasant Website that will not annoy surfers with pop up windows, devious redirects, or with a cookie cutter theme.

� We will contact law enforcement in any situation where crime is suspected.

âÂ?¢ We will not attempt to “litter” the search engines with banner or link farms, or create pages that lack content.

� We will not make financial demands upon our callers beyond the charges for the service itself.

� There will be NO requests for tips, gifts, extra money, or favors.

� We will not string our callers along simply to make more money from them.

� We promote honesty among our entire staff.

� We do not allow conflicts of interest to take place within our business, with our competitors, or with our customers.

� We will not barter for services with our customers.

� We work well with our competition as Business Professionals and do not involve callers in outstanding issues we may be involved in. We obey the law and we put considerable efforts into running our individual businesses that makes this apparent to our customers.

� We will respect the Intellectual Property, Trademarks, and Copyrights of our callers, and other phone sex services. We will not use content, photos, stories, domain names, and the like without permission. We also will report violations of this Code of Ethics to all affected parties.

� If and when an issue arises with another company/owner we will work hard to resolve it in a calm, competent, responsible, ethical, and professional manner like mature business people.

� We will never speak on the behalf of another company, service, or owner. We have respect for our competitors and believe they can handle their own issues.

This Code of Ethics is reiterated within the majority of services. In the writer’s experience, it is embedded in the contracts of PSOs. An operator who does not adhere to these rules is quickly blackballed by her peers and by any callers she had while employed.

Personal Policies
Some PSOs operate independently, and therefore write their own ethics code as it pertains to their personal views. Even these hold to the core of the code, and comport themselves as if they indeed were employees of a larger company. With independence, however, comes the need to decide what manner of calls to accept and which to reject.
Moore states “Another integral part of succeeding as a fantasy operator lies in the call-call ability of a woman to perform in role-play that exceeds her personal ethics.”

Many times, the fantasy requested has darker overtones that are considered unacceptable in general society. In accepting these calls, the PSO must either revise or expand her ethics to perform or she must decline such calls. Moor admits to refusing certain fantasies that went beyond her ethical boundaries and the writer admits the same.

The PSOs that do accept these calls are much admired by the writer, for their fortitude and mental toughness. It must be pointed out, however, that over the course of nearly a year, certain boundaries have stretched to include subjects previously unexplored. They are expected to continue to expand incrementally, although there are some subjects that will never be acceptable for purposes of customer titillation.

Sometimes, no matter how professional the PSO, the caller can form an attachment, be it emotional or mental. On one side, this is excellent – for the PSO; she now has a steady repeat customer. However, the responsible PSO will not only discourage an unhealthy attachment, but also make it clear that raising the level of involvement is of no interest to her. Although there are exceptions to the rule, most make it clear that deepening contact is not an option. In some cases, this will alienate the caller; he will simply transfer his loyalties to another he perceives as more open to his overtures. Others accept this boundary gracefully and continue as before. The PSO that steps outside the code of conduct as an independent runs the risk of losing not only business, but also her status among her peers. She can also endanger herself and those around her, should a caller’s interest become uncontrollable.

Moore says it well when she writes,

Phone sex operators are real women with real feelings and opinions. Acting skill
is a necessity for her success. Nonetheless, I have to think that receiving an
Academy Award for Best Actress in a Phone Sex Category is little reward for
self-betrayal. Personal morals and ethics do not need to be abandoned. Instead
they can go along way toward providing a healthy balance between the
fantasies she sells and the life she lives.

No matter the method of approach, PSOs serve a purpose not seen by those who would judge and dismiss them on the basis of job title alone. Any PSO that can arrange her life so her work does not interfere negatively is to be commended. Without them, some callers would seek less savory outlets for their fantasies, causing rifts and conflict within their lives that can be avoided by making a phone call. The anonymity of phone sex is such that callers often share deeper secrets with PSOs than with their own friends. The PSO’s discretion and acceptance of their desires opens an avenue that might otherwise remain closed. Despite being subject to ridicule and censure, PSOs remain true to themselves and their industry, allowing a freedom of release that can enrich and empower their callers beyond that which may be found with therapists, for a fraction of the cost

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