José had a very smooth voice and a heavy Mexican accent. It was so thick, I frequently had to ask him to speak slower. He was very intelligent and articulate but English was his second language and that was sometimes a barrier in our frequent discussions. He was one of those clients that I would eventually consider a friend.

The first time I talked to José, he had called for the same reason any of my other clients call a phone sex line. He was horny and didn’t have a convenient sexual outlet. The introductory routine for that call went very much like any other. I told him my name was “Jamie” (my very first phone sex character, ever, one who I would both love and hate at the same time). Since José had called the ‘Busty Babes’ extension, my description of myself ended up being like the body of Pamela Anderson at the height of ‘Baywatch’ popularity, but black hair and the face of Drew Barrymore. My description was very detailed and included as many adjectives as I could possibly fit into it without losing the attention of my audience. After also describing my clothes and my interests, it was his turn to tell me about himself. The lead to that part of the conversation was automatic, I asked people the same question at least 32 times a day, “what do you look like?”

“Do you know, my sweet Jamie, what an Aztecan looks like?” His accent was amazing and I was a little startled by his question. Very few people know much about the Aztecs other than what media and pop culture has highlighted, even people who are descendants of the Aztecs who have only a few generations’ separation from the culture have a difficult time defining what it means to be Aztec. “I studied the Aztecs as a part of my minor in Mexican History,” I answered. I assumed that in this case, honesty was the best policy. I was, and still am, an anthropology and archeology geek and even if this guy had some odd fantasy about being Aztec, I felt my knowledge may benefit me in the long term. It did.

José would ultimately be caught off-guard by my knowledge of the Aztecs as much as I was by his. My conversations with him were always saturated with information and we became fast friends. If he ever masturbated to my voice, I will never know. After my description of my character’s body, nothing sexual was ever again mentioned unless it was in regard to Ancient Aztec rituals. We talked about Mexican History, Mexican politics, culture, socio-political issues and his beloved ancestry. Our conversations swung between anecdotes and academics in a comfortable, intelligent pattern that was always very pleasant.

José would come to love me as a friend and even though I worked for a company that had no set extensions and disliked girls accumulating regulars, Josè learned how to wade through the women on the line until they finally connected him to me. Even when other girls tried to pretend to be me, he would catch on to their antics quickly and continue his search. When men were picky about girls and bounced between lines to find the right one, we usually considered it a type of trolling. In this case, I didn’t care. I talked to him every other week for nearly a year.

José was my first client who loved me for my brain and my real personality. I mention him because I recently got an email from someone asking me about how my intelligence or nerdy behavior has affected my work in the industry. He wanted to know how my knowledge, which was clearly different than that of most of my peers, affected the work that I do. Alongside those requests for information, he asked how my work affected how I interacted with my friends in academia. I’m not sure I can give a clear image that would answer all of what he wants to know, but it inspired me to at least highlight things that have come up that could only happen to myself and my intelligent peers (I have several friends in this industry who have similar stories).

When it comes to sexual entertainment, very few men seek out something that is both erotic and intellectual. While I know of many nerds who mourn over the lack of nerdy porn, nerds are still not a dominant part of culture, much less a dominant part of the population of people seeking erotic entertainment. As a result, getting paid to be a sexy nerd is a tough business and there are a lot of performers who are able to fake being a nerd for just long enough to snag what clientele there is out there. While I have spent hours upon hours of my paid time as an erotic performer talking about linux, astrophysics, buckyballs, philosophy and socio-political issues, those conversations remain only a minor part of my work week. This is especially interesting when my networking as a performer leads to people getting a very good idea of what my personality is like and so my online peers constitute a majority of people who enjoy me for being a nerd and a minority who care about me for my work (and some people who appreciate me for all of it). I am the only person I know who has impressed scientists to the point of them probing to learn more about me and then promptly stopped talking to me the instant they found out about my work. I am also the only person I know who has been stopped in the middle of a lapdance because when they asked what I was into, I answered, “supernovas.” I guess that wasn’t what he was hoping for.

In the beginning of my walk into the world of phone sex (during the first week or two), my knowledge about human anatomy served as both a benefit and a curse. I didn’t know how to talk dirty and I had a natural tendency to be skeptical and as honest as possible. This was especially a problem when I encounterd people with SPFs. SPF, in the fetish world, stands for Small Penis Fetish. These are men who are aroused by the idea that their penis is small and (usually) undesireable. The introduction of these calls would often include a man saying that their penis was small and then telling me an approximate size. Wanting to give my clients consolation, and understanding that penis size is an average of 5.1-5.9 inches (rather than the commonly believed 6 inches), I was over-eager in giving them the right information. “Aw, don’t worry, your penis sounds pretty normal to me, and I like it,” was a sentence that got me hung up on several times before I understood the fetish. Alongside my troublesome honesty, I also had a tendency to want to fix people who appeared to have real problems. A cross-dresser afraid of being beaten up was often met with my peer-counseling training instead of with their desired fantasy of forced sex and more than one closet bisexual missed the opportunity to talk about sucking my boyfriend’s cock because I had the wrong impression and thought they just needed encouragement after they expressed that they felt alone. The phone sex world was not really the world that I thought it would be and I had to adjust quickly (which I did).

On the phone, you can often get a feel for when it is good to mention something non sexual or intelligent. Through just conversation with a client, one on one, you can learn very quickly about their interests and what level of communication you can get away with. Sure, mistakes are made, but not very frequently. I eventually would find that the same is not true of a camming job, where the conversations include multiple people in a (sometimes crowded) chat room. My very first camming job was extremely short-lived. I worked for that contract for less than a week, part time. I won’t name the company here, but it was a fairly large camming site and when I investigated how busy each chat room looked, it seemed like a good choice for a contract. I applied and was quickly accepted. I talked to my clients in my chat room using a combination of the skills I had learned from doing phone sex and the way I usually talk to people. I was more comfortable on cam than I was on the phone so I assumed this would never be a problem. Within two days, my clients and visitors caught on to the idea that I wasn’t just a pretty girl looking for a quick buck. I was different. I was so different, they wanted more than what they could get in a chat room. They wanted to read my blogs and my articles. The site I worked on only had two ways of communicating with clients, chat rooms and an on-site messaging system. Linking to anything outside the site was forbidden in the rules and would get you instantly banned. Thus, I had to take the request to the site owner. I explained what my clients wanted and asked him if there was any chance that the performers could have blogs or if I could link my clients to a blog that would also redirect people to my webcam. My requests were turned down, the owner told me, “This is a business and you are not paid to be smart.” I requested my paycheck and began looking for a new contract. The story didn’t end there, that particular website also had a policy of not sending out paychecks to anyone until they had earned at least $100 (many internet-based work contracts do that). I had earned $104 in only about 9 hours of logged-in time (for the starting of a contract, that’s actually very good). The next day, a deduction showed up on my transactions page for a refund of $5, the admins claimed that one of my clients wanted a refund, in exactly the amount it took to prevent me from getting a paycheck. Just like they said, I wasn’t paid to be smart.

My current work attracts far more intelligent and articulate clients than I have ever had before. I think this is because it is easier for guys seeking intelligence in their fantasies to find me and so I continue to simply wear my brain on my sleeve in order to make my job more pleasant (and educational). But how does my work affect how I interact with those I know in academia? Well, it varies. I have lots of very well educated friends with whom I share mutual admiration, but I also have encountered a fair number of intelligent and educated people who run from anything sexual at all. It is not uncommon for a peer to learn about my work and instantly mention (regardless of the context) that they have a wife or girlfriend and I recently had someone I really admire who is of scientific importance right now write to me and ask what I was about and who immediately shied away from me, apparently because of my association with the sex industry. Thus, the way my work affects my peers in academia varies and it is my guess (which I have only a little evidence for, admittedly) that this is more due to social and cultural reasons than anything else (thus, I hold no grudges against those who show bias as long as the bias is harmless).

As a final note: I would like my peers in the sex industry to use the comments section to share their stories that may be similar.

I’ve had two instances of people directing me to debates over porn (and the erotic industry). I will link to the two debates at the end of this article. Because it would take so much effort just to respond to all the issues people have brought up in just those two debates, I have created a new section for Sex and Science just for this topic. I will add more as I go.

Myth A: Porn actresses don’t consent.
Myth B: Amateur porn is better because of less faking, more likely consent and/or fewer chances for abuse.

Facts:

For paid porn, there are usually things called tax forms, contracts, consent forms and Age Verification forms that performers have to have filled out and available to the producer before they can perform. Without the Age Verification form, it is illegal for the producer to sell the porn. Without the tax forms, the IRS will burn them all in hell before Satan does. The contracts are the basis of whatever is being done with that performer in their role in porn. The value of these contracts varies from company to company. Since performers are able to communicate to each other better now about what companies are less noble, the industry has begun to evolve and form better policies than they’ve ever had before.

Few people who aren’t consenting to being filmed while having sex would go through all that paperwork that says they’re consenting to have sex on film. I understand that many think that since there is a monetary motivator then a person can’t give resonable consent. But that’s like saying that you can’t consent to working as a garbage man because of monetary motivations. If you can’t apply the same argument to every other job, then it doesn’t apply to this one either. If porn actresses can’t consent to their jobs because money is a motivating factor then nobody on this planet can consent to their jobs because money is a motivating factor. If there is disagreement with the idea that nobody can consent to their own jobs, then perhaps there is a damned good reason to reconsider the claim about porn actors/actresses.

The debate over if one should prefer ‘amateur porn’ over mass production porn is fascinating for many reasons, but the ones that are of particular interest here are that people often claim to prefer amateur porn due to the supposed increased chance that the participants have consented. This idea appears to pretty much have been pulled out from being wedged firmly between someone’s pelvic floor muscles on the rectal side of their business. There does not appear to be evidence that this is true. In fact, evidence seems to suggest that the opposite is true. Amateur performers without contracts seem to be abused more frequently than those with full contracts and paperwork. I suspect that this is due to the amount of protection one gets from having the aforementioned paperwork. while there is a stigma attached to the industry that occasionally prevents people in the industry from seeking help when someone has violated them, when a contract is involved there is a new layer of law to consider that can be used as protection instead. when a performer goes on camera just stating, informally, that they don’t want anal, but then they are forced on camera to have anal, there is little evidence to be presented in court to prove that something went wrong, especially if they are playing along for the camera. However, if there is a contract in which it is specified that a performer will not do anal they have evidence to show a courtroom regardless of what went on for the camera. This evidence is not just evidence for anal rape, it is also evidence that there was a breach of contract, giving the performer, in some states, at least two courses of action. Producers know this. Furthermore, true amateur porn means there is less likely to be age verification, increasing the chances that people may end up watching underaged porn and no IRS forms means that performers who wanted to be paid may more easily be used and chucked out without pay.

It is important, at this point, to mention that there is more than one type of “amateur porn.” There is staged amateur porn and there is real amateur porn. Basically, producers caught on to the popularity of amateur porn and started professionally producing amateur porn. Professionally produced amateur porn usually falls into the same categories as regular porn does. The same contracts and consent forms are signed, the same Age Verification forms are involved and the company still gives each performer a 1099 and notifies the IRS. All that means is that many people are duped into watching ‘amateur porn’ that isn’t really amateur.

The two debates that inspired this section: from the forums of the James Randi Educational Foundation & from Heidi Anderson. These debates have become so extensive that there are many, many things that need addressing, so I do intend to return to the topic again. (I just don’t have enough superhuman skills to address everything in one day.)

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