Cover

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pp. i-v

Contents

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p. vii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-11

This is not a book about phone sex. It is a book about the disembodiment of intimacy, the unfolding of a personal relationship in the absence of face-to-face interaction. The growth of intimacy in an atmosphere of disembodiment is fertile ground for those who seek to understand the role of self in pretense and role-playing, the abstraction of sexuality from physicality, and the role of fantasy in constructing a useful reality.

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1 Researching the Fantasy Factory

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pp. 12-33

Contemporary ethnography, in an effort accurately to map an independent and external reality, views its subject from many angles. This study is the result of a combination of observation, participation, interviews, and analysis of some pornographic "literature." Each method illuminates the phone sex industry from a different angle, thus exposing shadows of bias and inconsistency cast by each individual method.

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2 Fantasy Girls Are Felt But Never Seen

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pp. 34-61

The essence of desire is curiosity and mystery. The allure of a phone sex fantasy does not lie in the hope that the girl will come to life: in fact, it relies on the serenity of the caller's knowledge that she will not. If she were to come to life, with her would come the ambiguity, danger, and difficulties of a real relationship. She is desirable only as long as she remains abstract. With reality she achieves imperfection.

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3 Phone Sex Consumers: Husbands and Friends?

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pp. 62-83

During my four-month tenure, I would estimate that I spoke to some 3,200 callers, but my knowledge of them was limited, and factual information — income, height, penis length —was as subject to exaggeration as it was exempt from confirmation. I spoke at length to other operators about who they thought the callers were; this chapter offers the interview informants', my coworkers', and my own perceptions of the callers. During my shifts in the phone room I took notes on the interactions I had with callers.

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4 The Manufacture of Fantasy

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pp. 84-105

The script of a phone sex conversation exists like predawn Disneyland — awaiting the noise and animation that only live consumers can supply. The consumers of phone sex enjoy an illusion of great freedom and adventure, but their actions are considerably constrained. The customers choose the ride — the Mad Hatter or Alice in Wonderland — but once their choice is made, they can anticipate a predictable sequence of events.

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5 The Real Product of Fantasy

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pp. 106-124

Phone sex is a service industry, the service being the operator's reciprocity of desire. Phone sex also produces by-products, including a particular fantasy constructed according to the rules of pornographic precedent. The individual scenarios are ritualized through repetition and so phone sex also produces something like a social fact (Durkheim 1893a), an essence of the pornographic fantasy. These social facts take on lives of their own and go on to influence the development of new pornographic desires and fulfillments.

Bibliography

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pp. 125-139

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Acknowledgments

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p. 141

Many thanks to Cyril Feldstein, who showed me the adventurous side of intellectual pursuits, to Ann and Jill, who showed me the darker side, and to Jane Feldstein, who demonstrated the benefits of tenacity

Index

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pp. 143-144