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Typically the telephone companies would bill callers to chat lines and then remit 45% of the money collected to chat line operators.
The telephone companies placed the chat line charges on a customer's local phone bill.
Leonard recorded her own voice informing callers of the contents of the next issue of High Society magazine before its publication.
Later she recorded others such as Annie Sprinkle "talking sexy".
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.
This is the world portrayed in Spike Lee's movie about phone sex, Girl 6.
At that time independent phone sex was more dangerous, as Lee's movie portrays.
(This attitude still survives among some providers.) When public (mostly female) pressure forced the phone companies to stop providing this service to sex workers, a transition was made to a manual method: pre-paid blocks of time, 10, 30, 60 minutes, whatever the customer would pay for.
In concept they have a lot in common with platforms such as Ebay: the seller provides the picture(s), description, and sets the price, a percentage of which is kept by the platform.
In the sex industry, similar platforms emerged facilitating the selling of used panties and other odoriferous garments, and for "cam" video sessions, in which the customer, for a fee, can direct the woman on the video screen, and for a higher fee, have a private connection (no one can see caller or provider except each other).
The incentives for providers were then reversed; rather than earning money from keeping the customer on the line (orgasm delayed), they earned more from bringing the caller to orgasm quickly, so as to move on rapidly to another call.
Unused minutes were rarely usable on a second call.
With the progress of technology it became more practical, convenient, and economical for providers to work out of their homes.