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.
Leonard herself was surprised at the success of these numbers.
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.
Once means of transmitting payment were developed, phone sex turned into primarily a commercial activity, with customers (overwhelmingly male) and sellers (overwhelmingly female).
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.
A key advantage of phone sex, compared with physical intimacy, is that it cannot transmit a sexually transmitted infection.
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 doesn't put the images in the head of the caller and the caller must be open to the pleasure as well.
The sexually explicit conversation takes place between two or more persons via telephone, especially when at least one of the participants masturbates or engages in sexual fantasy.
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.