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By the end of the 1980s, nearly all of the major local phone companies in the United States, plus the major long distance carriers, were actively involved in the adult chat line business.The telephone companies would provide billing services for chat line companies.Phone sex is a conversation between two or more people on the phone where one or more of the individuals is describing the act of sex.Phone sex takes imagination on both parties' part; virtual sex is difficult if the operator does not put the images in the head of the caller and the caller must be open to the pleasure as well.Once means of transmitting payment were developed, phone sex turned into primarily a commercial activity, with customers (overwhelmingly male) and sellers (overwhelmingly female).
The editor of High Society magazine, Gloria Leonard, is credited with being one of the first people to use "976 numbers", then "900 numbers" for promotional purposes and soon as a revenue stream in the adult industry.Originally phone sex services consisted of a managed network of dispatchers (live or automated) and erotic performers.Performers would come to a studio where they received a cubicle, coaching, and cash incentives to keep callers on the line longer.This is the world portrayed in Spike Lee's movie about phone sex, Girl 6.
At that time independent phone sex was more dangerous, as Lee's movie portrays.
The incentives for providers were then reversed; rather than earning money from keeping the customer on the line (orgasm delayed), they earned more from bringing the caller to orgasm quickly, so as to move on rapidly to another call.