A key advantage of phone sex, compared with physical intimacy, is that it cannot transmit a sexually transmitted infection.
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.
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If a customer disputed a charge, the telephone company would usually “forgive” the charge but block the caller from calling any other chat lines.
By 2007 only Verizon, Sprint and AT&T remained in the chat line business in the U. By 2007 Verizon and MCI had merged and only a few chat line companies remained active as a result.
Due to the potential for emotional intimacy between those who have engaged in phone sex, it is a matter of some debate whether phone sex is to be considered infidelity when involving a person outside of a committed personal relationship.
Nevertheless, phone sex should not be confused with prostitution wherein money is exchanged for real life sexual services or physical interactions.
Phone sex conversation may take many forms, including: guided fantasy, sexual sounds, narrated and enacted suggestions; sexual anecdotes and confessions; candid expression of sexual fantasies, feelings, or love, and/or discussion of very personal and sensitive sexual topics.
Once means of transmitting payment were developed, phone sex turned into primarily a commercial activity, with customers (overwhelmingly male) and sellers (overwhelmingly female).
Typically the telephone companies would bill callers to chat lines and then remit 45% of the money collected to chat line operators.
The telephone companies placed the chat line charges on a customers local phone bill.
The provider provided (say) 10 minutes of service, but got to keep all of the money (say 20 minutes).