Harlotry: The Suicidal Man Who Called My Phone Sex Line For Help

Held the phone to his good ear.

I have written before about the way we sex workers are a great deal more than simply outlets for sexual desires, the way we must also be therapists and sin-eaters. …This was never more evident than when I was working as a phone sex operator. At least once every night someone would call hoping for psychological help of some sort.

Sometimes they just wanted advice on a small, actually sex-related issue (their spouse was cheating, what should they do?) but sometimes they wanted me to talk them out of suicide or explain to them that their life really was worthwhile and that they didn’t have to waste it if they didn’t want to. I’m not sure why these people didn’t find actual therapists. Obviously money wasn’t the issue: at $1.00 per minute they were paying as much, if not more, than most qualified professionals would charge. Yet they turned to me, a voice on a telephone, to give them the help they should probably have been getting from a real person.

It wasn’t just men who mistook my advertisement on Niteflirt for an advice service either, there were women too. During my time as a phone sex operator I had exactly one female caller who actually wanted phone sex, but the number of ladies who called to ask me for advice was astounding. While most of the questions were about what to do with the men in their lives, there were enough other questions (“I see you have a tattoo. I’m thinking of getting one, do they hurt really badly?”) that I wouldn’t have been too terribly surprised to field turkey-cooking questions in November.

At first, giving advice made me very uncomfortable. I wasn’t qualified to tell anyone how to deal with a cheating significant other! I couldn’t magically tap into the thoughts of all women and tell a man if a suit would be a good choice for a first date if I had no other information. I wasn’t even really qualified to tell anyone how best to get their significant other out of the rut of vanilla sex; though I’m sure I did a better job than Cosmo.

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    • Guest

      Lovely article.

    • Meggie

      Cathryn, I don’t think you understand how much of an angel you really. A lot of people wouldn’t have been able to even begin talking to these people, and would’ve just hung up. I really appreciate people like you.

      • Cate

        Thank you for your kind words, but seriously, If most people really suck and some people (like me) try to be halfway decent human beings, I think that reflects more poorly on the people who wouldn’t try to talk a suicidal person down than it reflects well on the people who try to do the right thing.

      • ktree

        True, but that doesn’t make you any less decent and kind.

    • Lech Opines Next

      Once, on NiteFlirt, I asked women to tell me to kill myself.

      I’m not sure why. It was a very, very low point in my life, following multiple rejections from work and personal relationships. It was disgustingly selfish, and I knew it at the time. But something in me wanted to externalize the thoughts. Maybe because I thought I was getting it from all sides anyway, and I wanted to hear it for real; maybe I wanted to be able to fight against it; maybe I wanted to shock other people with how bad I was feeling. But, I did it.

      My normal sexual fetishes have nothing to do with abuse, but I used the listings that catered to such men.

      One person was terrified and I could hear her voice get shaky as she declined. But it was rather surprising how many people took me up on this with gusto. It makes me wonder about how common that must be, or how normal it must be in the context of that fetish.

      • Cate

        I would berate you for doing such a thing, but I appreciate your sharing your story and it seems as if you already know how terrible it was. I really hope your life has improved since then.

        I can say that I have never in my life encountered a fetish for being told to commit suicide, and therefore doubt how common it is. That being said, I think I can probably tell you exactly why so many ladies took you up on your request with such gusto.
        This business, really the sex industry in general, is not an easy one. no matter how much you love it there will be legions of creeps you do have to deal with. Every job has its downsides, jobs that involve dealing with other people are prone to having more downsides.
        I am fairly certain that when you asked those women to tell you to kill yourself and they took you up on it, you stopped being YOU, and began to symbolize every asshole who called just to harass her, every asshole who called a domination line looking to play turnabout, essentially every idiot she had ever had to deal with.
        When I get customers in the strip club who want me to walk on them, humiliate them, or otherwise treat them poorly, they become symbols of all the stupid jerks who don’t tip on the stage, who try to shove their hands down my underwear during a lap dance, &c., &c. and I’m assuming this is the same principle.

      • Grant M

        sorry but a serious lack of insight there. guess thats to be expected from someone who has never felt anything but self imposed negativity.

    • princessmandy24

      Cathryn you did the right thing when it comes to that topic. Sometimes male customers do that for the shock value to see what you will say. Either way you did right talking the guy down from his mental state of illness. The job is not easy by any means. Not now days. Cheers!