I just did an interview for the “We” channel. This was my first TV appearance since I almost bit the dust at USC Med Center ICU. Actually it was the first time I put on makeup and heels since then. It went fine, I think. I took enough Vicodin so I felt no pain (I could barely feel my feet on the ground). And the subject matter was something I could talk about under anesthesia: Phone Sex.
Yes, “We” want to know about phone sex, since my favorite auditory amore has crept up from the kinky tributaries of human sexual activity into the raging rapids of the Middle American mainstream. Actually, it kind of creeps into your ear through the receiver of your telephone. Then, if it’s any good, wild thoughts start to creep into your mind as delicious feelings creep through your bloodstream. Then, if you’re really getting into it, your own hands begin to creep all over your body, while that voice on the other end of the line is still creeping through the phone into your ear and into your brain, your body’s most active sex organ.
Everybody knows about phone sex. Most adults have probably had it. Even a President of the United States: Remember Bill and Monica? Besides oral sex, they had aural sex. Of course, not everyone has had phone sex (maybe certain current Presidents should). And a lot of people who have never had it (or at least never had really good phone sex), but have seen those sex-appeal-for-the-brain-dead phone sex commercials on late night cable, think they know what it is. Some of these people are talk show hosts.
For instance, when I was a guest on The Leeza Show, the subject was supposed to be phone sex, but we never got to talking about phone sex. Why? Because the thinking-impaired Leeza Gibbons had never had phone sex, or wouldn’t admit it, and couldn’t talk about it in any way except as a disease-of-the-week ~ “phone sex addiction” ~ or as a slimy vehicle for dastardly men to cheat on their innocent victim-wives. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say I was annoyed, as I always am when uninformed people bloviate about phone sex, then deal with it irresponsibly. And I realized that, since phone sex is such an important part of my Telephone Sex Therapy practice, not to mention my life, it’s critical that I commit bloggamy on what I know about this essentially safe, yet thrillingly naughty, lingual-sexual samba that’s been sashaying across the phone wires of the world ever since old Alexander Graham’s Bell started ringing.
This is an Ode to the Telephone,
that ordinary yet revolutionary instrument that one presses intimately against one’s ear and mouth
and cradles closely between one’s cheek and shoulder. The phone is now as common a sexual aid as the vibrator,
a plastic fantastic lover, a smooth operator, a companion, a confidant, a savior, a friend.
O, how I love thee, Telephone, your push-buttons that beckon invitingly, your mellifluous dial tones, your wiry ways, your voluptuously curling chord, your ever so receptive receiver, your amazing ability to communicate! To sing! To shout! To whisper secrets, confessions, fantasies, intimacies we might never reveal in any face-to-face encounter.
The telephone, like so many lovers, can be demanding. It catches you in the midst of anything, the rogue, ringing for your attention, and you give it, don’t you (almost) always give it? How can you refuse your phone? Its devotion is unconditional. It sees you at your worst but presents you at your best. It connects you intimately across untravellable distances with lovers you can’t see, conveys you their words of passion; it transports your love, the telephone, you touch its tones. It is your uncensorable audio-erotic playground.
Phone sex is the NC-17 version of the AT&T dream, allowing you to “reach out and touch someone” as you touch yourself. It’s practiced by men and women, young and old, lovers and strangers, professional phone sex workers and therapists like me (though, come to think of it, there aren’t any other therapists like me), doctors and lawyers, bankers and schoolteachers, artists and housewives, the straight, the gay, the bi, the curious, the adventurous, the desperate, the lonely, the hot and the hip. The only human classification that’s missing out at this point would be the deaf and the dumb (no offense to the hearing impaired).
Why are all these people pursuing and finding love, lust and relief over their phones–sometimes with their neighbors, often with people halfway around the world? They’re certainly not all dastardly addicts as Leeza would have you believe. They have some very compelling reasons for cruising down the telephonic turnpike of love. And here are ten of them:
1) Phone sex is safe. When it comes to safe sex, the Religious Right blusters about abstinence, while the Religious Left bickers over condoms. What about something in between? Something sexier than abstinence and safer than condoms? That something is phone sex. No exchange of body fluids, no matter how hot it gets. No transmission of disease, no possibility of impregnation. No muss, no fuss. Great for “casual” sex, as a prelude or supplement to in-person lovemaking, or as an ongoing, intensely intimate, telephonic love affair in and of itself.
2) Phone sex is safe, not only as far as the transmission of disease is concerned, but also as far as the spread of insanity is concerned. The phone is a stage upon which to act out wild fantasies, a telephonic erotic Theatre of the Mind, allowing you to safely explore dangerous, taboo desires, like sadomasochism, incest, orgies, animal sex, exhibitionism, bisexuality, cuckolding, sexual harassment, which, if actualized, could be quite hazardous, or at least, politically incorrect. Playing out your darkest fantasies on the phone can be seriously wicked, with no harm done to yourself or innocent bystanders. It’s a kind of “virtual reality,” a form of future sex that you can enjoy right now.
3) Phone sex is verbal. That is, you have to talk. First and foremost, hot or not, phone sex is a conversation. I know I said I wouldn’t bore you with details from The Sleeza Show, but bear with me a sentence or two while I describe one absurdly dramatic interchange: Shortly after I was introduced, a gray-haired man in a C&R suit (whom I recognized, from a past appearance on Oprah, as a professional TV talk show plant) stood and declared that people who engage in phone sex are “animals.” I tried to be polite as I pointed out that though humans do enjoy many kinds of sex that link us to our animal origins, phone sex is not one of them, as it requires that you talk (something animals don’t do) over a telephone (something animals don’t have). Seriously, an important aspect of good sex is communication. Verbal communication. Phone sex can get that ball rolling a lot easier than the usual groping and grunting. Phone sex can be an amazingly edifying School for Seduction, a lesson in the infinite articulations of human emotion and eroticism.
4) Phone sex is romantic. It’s the quintessential courtship venue for the turn of the twenty-first century. There’s something achingly romantic about being so close and yet so far away, communing ever-so-intimately, yet connected by nothing but wire, plastic and the grace of the fiber optic gods. I fell in love with my H over the phone. Actually, our love affair began with a couple of complications. I had a boyfriend. He had a wife (though they were divorcing). So, during the day, we were friends and co-workers–totally platonic, no smooching, no harassing, hardly any touching even! But at night…we’d call each other up and have the most incredible, meaningful, raunchy, orgasmic phone sex. As our voices massaged our brains by way of our ears, our defenses melted, our bodies exploded and our spirits mingled in the telephonic ethers. Eventually, he got divorced and we got together in the flesh, and now we hardly ever have phone sex, except for those times when we are forced to be in different countries when phone sex is a life saver; at least it’s saved the sex life of our marriage. And we’ll never forget the uncanny romance of falling in love on the phone.
5) Phone sex is intimate. At least, it can be. Many people feel shy and awkward about expressing their deepest fantasies and innermost desires face-to-face. Phone sex can expand your capacity for intimacy, because the phone enables you to talk about things you might be too shy to discuss in person. Fear of intimacy is closely linked to fear of rejection. On the phone, you don’t have to *face* rejection. It’s a great liberator; you don’t feel so vulnerable and exposed since your partner can’t see you. My telephone sex therapy clients often tell me that what they’re saying they’ve never told anyone before. Of course, that’s part of what therapy is all about, but I think being on the telephone helps them feel at ease about opening up. The phone can be a confession booth.
6) Phone sex is a great way for couples to keep long-distance love alive and open up their erotic imaginations, which always helps to keep any kind of love alive. Again, this is simply because you have to talk, something too many couples don’t do during regular sex. You have to come up with interesting, arousing things to say, plumbing the depths of your sexual imagination, enhancing your sexual creativity. The deprivation of your senses of sight, touch, smell and taste heightens your sense of sound, amplifying your ability to listen and articulate desire and attraction. I’d even go so far as to say that modern telephone lovers are creating a new, deeper, more expressive language of sex, a language of mood and sensuality, power and surrender, freedom and restraint, screams and silences, lust and love, that didn’t quite exist before the telephone.
7) Phone sex is mysterious. H says, “Don’t think of it as phone sex. Think of it as doing it in the dark.” The mystery of a soft sexy voice in the dark can be a wondrously blood-boiling thing. Also, since so many uninformed people still think there’s something wrong with phone sex, there continues to be a taboo, underground quality to it which adds to the mystery, making it all the more exciting for those of us who dare to partake.
8) Phone sex is great for women. A lot of people who never had phone sex think it’s mainly for men. It’s true that more guys are willing to pay for phone sex, but men tend to be more willing to pay for any kind of sex. In any case, the telephone is an ideal vehicle for women’s sexual expression. It’s safe; you can be as wild as you want without worrying about catching a disease, getting pregnant or being attacked. And if you’re bored or just hate it, you can simply hang up.
Essentially, phone sex equals conversation plus masturbation, which is vital to the positive development of female sexuality. Many women have their first orgasms through masturbation. But it’s not as simple for many women as it is for most men. Men rarely need to learn to masturbate; they do so pretty instinctively. But for reasons having to do with both nature and nurture, many women do need to learn, basically through trial and error, how and where to touch themselves to unlock the pleasure gates. Yet, for millennia, religious doctrine and other institutions have declared masturbation to be “wrong,” condemning billions of women to leading sex-phobic, anorgasmic lives. Now, just about all health professionals agree that masturbation is normal and healthy for women (and men). But few have the courage to come out and advocate masturbation as a positive, salutary activity. So, for many women, self-pleasuring is still a shameful little secret.
I’ve talked to many women who defensively insist that they never masturbate. Some have pretty irrational excuses for not touching themselves “down there.” Others just feel strange about doing it alone. Yet they’re not about to just do it with someone in the room either. Masturbation during phone sex lets a woman explore her body at her own pace accompanied by a lover’s sexual presence (via phone), without the sexual pressure that can go along with an in-person encounter.
Which brings me to another obvious but important plus for women tired of putting on makeup and heels for every potential erotic escapade. With phone sex, you don’t have to worry about what you look like. You can be a phone sex goddess while you’re in your mudpack and mucklucks. Phone sex favors a woman’s intelligence, imagination and creativity, rather than her physical attributes.
And it’s auditory. Studies have shown that, in terms of sex, men tend to be more visual and women more auditory. We just love to have those sweet nothings whispered in our ears. Speaking for myself, sweet nothings go through my ear, straight to my heart and then down, down, down between my hot wet lips.
9) Phone sex is discreet. Phone sex is a relatively prudent expression of what Nathaniel Hawthorne called “lawless passion.” Yes, here’s where we must acknowledge Sleeza’s dastardly husbands (and wives). Well, if you’re going to have an affair, better on the phone than in the flesh. At least, you won’t get AIDS. At best, you’ll get inspiration and ideas to improve your love life with your spouse without entangling your body, not to mention your body fluids, with somebody else’s. In any case, you won’t get lipstick on your zipper, or semen on her dress, or whatever.
Some consider phone sex to be “cheating,” some don’t (some consider having lunch with a colleague of the opposite sex to be cheating, some don’t). In the course of my sex therapy practice, I’ve had phone sex with thousands of people, and I never feel I’m cheating on my husband. After all, he not only knows what I do, he understands it, supports it and even gets aroused by it.
Chances are that if you keep it a secret from your partner, you feel like you’re cheating, and if you feel like you’re cheating, you probably are. Well, cheating isn’t usually a good idea, but it isn’t always a bad one. And if you feel compelled to embark upon an affair, and you’re not sure whether or not it’s a good or bad idea, better to share your lawless passion chaperoned by your telephone.
10) Phone sex is a valuable complement to sex therapy, at least the way I practice sex therapy. I incorporate some form of phone sex into about 50% of my telephone sex therapy practice, according to my applied philosophy of Ethical Hedonism. Many of my fellow sex therapists are dismayed that I do this. Some are downright erotophobic, constantly worried someone will accuse them of being “inappropriate.” All I can say is that if the APA can essentially approve of therapists engaging in torture, they should get off their high horses about phone sex. So, how do I use phone sex in therapy? Let me count the ways…Here are ten:
1) I use phone sex to help clients surmount sexual problems, such as women who are pre-orgasmic or men who have premature ejaculation problems, talking them through a masturbation session to help them overcome deep sexual blocks and fears.
2) I use phone sex as a “mental massage,” to help clients to relax, breathe deep, release stress and frustration, ease the pain of loneliness, get away from the wars, the violence and the madness of the world, and get in touch with their deeper, sexual nature.
3) I use phone sex to help clients explore taboo fantasies or dreams. It’s sexual psychodrama with the phone as the stage. For instance, a female client might be having fantasies of having sex with another woman, something she’s never done before. I might roleplay that fantasy with her over the phone, sharing the experience with her through phone sex. Afterwards, we’ll talk about what the fantasy means in her life, whether she should act on it, just leave it in Theater of the Mind, or integrate it into her life in some other way. Some of my clients have vivid sadomasochistic or incest fantasies they would never act out in real life, and I don’t encourage them to. But the phone provides a safe laboratory for their release and investigation.
Unlike many therapists who earn a living by making people feel bad about their fantasies, dreams and desires, labeling them as “addictions” or “perversions,” or just not letting the client talk much about them during therapy, I encourage clients to verbalize them, to allow their fantasies and desires to educate them, stimulate them, titillate them, celebrate them, and yes, even masturbate them. Their bodies relax, their minds explode, their imagination is released, their sexual sides are honored, their souls are healed…all via the humble telephone.
4) I use phone sex to help clients explore sexual memories. These may be pleasant, as in remembrances of delicious sexual awakenings, or painful, as in evocations of abuse and humiliation, or a combination of pain and pleasure. The telephone can be a time machine.
5) I use phone sex to teach people to use their imaginations to give themselves and their lovers pleasure. For instance, a client might have a fantasy of being dominated that he’d like to act out with his wife, but he doesn’t know how to explain it to her, much less explore it with her. We investigate his fantasy through both phone sex and non-erotic discussion, then tailor an approach for his situation. I may also suggest he take a look at certain books, magazines articles, websites or videos.
6) I use phone sex to help couples deal with sexual problems. For instance, one client I’ll call John, 27 years old, had been impotent for a year. He’d gone to a urologist, so he knew it wasn’t physical. He and his 25-year-old wife Sara had “tried everything,” but he just couldn’t get it up. I could hear his anguish, and my heart went out to this young man who only wanted to make love to his wife. But I could also hear how narrow he was in his approach to sex. Basically, he felt he couldn’t have any sex without an erection. He did say he got excited occasionally. “In fact,” he said, “I’m getting kind of excited right now just talking about this.”
“Why don’t you make love to Sara now?” I suggested. He said something to the effect of “Huh?” Since Sara was there and eager to help, I asked her to lie back and masturbate as I whispered erotic encouragement. I heard some movement and moaning, and John described how she was touching herself. “God, she’s sexy,” he sighed, “I wish I could get hard so I could make love to her.”
“John,” I said, “Stop thinking about your erection. Think about Sara. Make love to her. Use your mouth, your hands, your chest, your arms, your legs, your voice, use a vibrator, use your head, use whatever you’ve got.” After a bit of the old hem-and-haw, John did just that, Sara proceeded to have a highly audible orgasm, and lo and behold, John had himself a hammer-hard erection, and they were still going at it when we said good-bye.
Now, I figure that would have taken weeks of discussion through regular sit-down-in-my-office therapy, if it would have *taken* at all. Over the phone, it took about an hour and a half, and according to follow-up reports from John and Sara, they’re having great sex again; sometimes John has an erection, sometimes he doesn’t. Either way is okay, which takes the pressure off and keeps the pleasure going.
Telephone sex therapy doesn’t always work as quickly and downright miraculously as it did with John and Sara, but it does work…sometimes. And we always have a good time trying.
Phone sex won’t solve all the world’s problems.
It won’t even solve all of your problems.
It just might make you feel a little better, it might make you think a little harder, it might teach you a little something, and as long as you don’t get “addicted,” it won’t hurt you. So, if you’ve never tried it…reach out and touch someone while you touch yourself. Take a drive down the Information Highway to the Pleasure Capitals of your mind and body. Go on, ride with your top down.
And if you need a little guidance, you know you can call the Dr. Susan Block Institute anytime, and speak to me or one of my other telephone sex therapists, each excellent in her or his specialty, at 213.670.0066. We’ll take you where you need to go.