phone sex
Contrary to popular belief, video didn't kill the phone sex star.
Rinee Shah for InsideHook
By Kayla Kibbe / March 18, 2020 11:06 am

These are deeply unhorny times.

While a slim window of romanticized pre-quarantine panic may have briefly ignited a period of chaotic sexual energy last week, which ultimately just left some of us in quarantine with UTIs, the subsequent dread, isolation and terror that have followed haven’t exactly been a turn on.

Nevertheless, humans have been fucking since the dawn of mankind and have since managed to screw through many a global crisis. Whether out of boredom, desperation for social contact or the ultimately irrepressible powers of human horniness, perhaps the only thing safe to assume in these uncertain times is that people will go on fucking.

In such a crisis where social distancing and self-isolation are the name of the survival game, however, a behavior as physically intimate as sexual intercourse presents some obvious challenges. While many couples who aren’t lucky enough to be quarantined inside together with nothing to do but each other have turned to modern innovations like FaceTime and Skype sex in order to keep their sex lives afloat, might I suggest another alternative?

Folks, if ever there was a time to rediscover the lost art of phone sex, it’s now.

In an era of sexting, video sex and bluetooth-enabled sex toys that allow long distance partners to digitally get each other off from across the globe, phone sex may seem like a dated relic of a bygone era of sexuality. But while phone sex may be an earlier predecessor to today’s forms of technology-enabled long distance sex, it’s not an obsolete model. A longstanding art form that still possesses unique features its more modern successors can’t replicate, phone sex is the vinyl of remote sex, not the cassette tape.

In fact, a large part of the appeal of phone sex can actually be found in its classic, old-school aesthetic. Just as corset lingerie with a garter belt and stockings calls back to old-fashioned styles in women’s clothing, phone sex recalls an older era (albeit a more recent one than that of corsets and garter belts) of technology and sexuality. There is an inherent sexiness in escapism, and even subtle callbacks to an earlier time can function as a kind of roleplay that has a way of imbuing the old-fashioned and obsolete with a suddenly sexy novelty.

Beyond the sexy old-school vibes, however, phone sex actually has some benefits unmatched by its video or text-based successors. As Jess O’Reilly, PhD., host of the @SexWithDrJess Podcast, tells InsideHook, phone sex eliminates the potentially overstimulating effects of video sex, allowing partners to focus solely on auditory arousal.

“Audio-only sex leaves more to the imagination, and many people are primarily aroused by sounds — from the sound of a lover’s voice to the sound of movement and rustling in the sheets,” she explains. “Sometimes talking on the phone will encourage you to open up in new ways, as you won’t be distracted by your partner’s body language or facial expressions.”

While it’s easy for auditory sensation to become eclipsed by other forms of stimulation during in-person or video sex, phone sex highlights the value of auditory pleasure, something O’Reilly and co-author Marla Renee Stewart explore in their forthcoming book, The Ultimate Guide to Seduction & Foreplay.

“Research suggests that the sound of a lover’s voice can be a turn-on resulting in increased electrical activity in the skin,” O’Reilly and Stewart write in the new book. “Our voices may even indicate fertility due to hormonal fluctuations that effect blood flow and water retention in the vocal chords.”


Related: Can You Fall in Love With Someone’s Voice?


In other words, if you’re not already talking in bed, it’s definitely something to consider, and phone sex is a great place to start.

As O’Reilly tells InsideHook, phone sex can be less intimidating for beginners who are shy about being vocal in bed. Meanwhile, the distance of phone sex can also make people more comfortable opening up about their desires and fantasies.

“Some people find that they’re willing to explore fantasies over the phone that they won’t disclose in person, as there is less pressure to act on them due to the limits of a phone call,” she explains. “The distance of phone sex can attenuate feelings of undue pressure.”

And while the phone-shy may be more willing to turn to sexting, it can be difficult to focus on a sexting session, and even more difficult to maintain your partners’ full attention — which I say as someone who has casually replied to sexts at work, on the subway, while watching Netflix, eating cereal out of the box with my bare hands like an animal, etc. etc.


Related: How to Sext Like an Adult


Speaking of hands, sexting doesn’t leave them as readily available to do the kinds of things that typically accompany phone sex — although, as O’Reilly notes, they don’t necessarily have to. “You might decide to touch yourselves while you’re on the call or you might simply get one another riled up and then hang up so that you have two hands to finish yourselves off,” she says, adding that the most important thing is not to “get hung up on one type of sex, as phone sex can take many forms.”

These diverse forms, O’Reilly suggests, may include a spontaneous phone call that turns horny, a scheduled one with specific rules that you change from session to session, bathtime phone sex, phone sex that turns into video sex, phone sex that includes exchanging sexy pictures, etc. etc.

Mix it up! For those of us in self-quarantine without our partners/fuckbuddies/roomates we definitely shouldn’t hook up with but might anyway, we may have many a sexless day ahead. Fortunately, we do have a wide range of remote-sex-enabled technology at our fingertips, and at least phone sex will never give you a UTI.