The Fantasy Factory: An Insider's View of the Phone Sex Industry

The Fantasy Factory: An Insider's View of the Phone Sex Industry

The Fantasy Factory: An Insider's View of the Phone Sex Industry

The Fantasy Factory: An Insider's View of the Phone Sex Industry

Synopsis

"The Fantasy Factory explores the world of women on the other end of the phone sex lines advertised in magazines like Playboy and Hustler. The author's interviews with these women, as well as her own first-hand experiences as an operator, reveal the complex ways operators and callers negotiate the shifting borders between desire and disgust, fantasy and reality, deception and belief." "Flowers discovers that operators - who assume names like Tiffany and Corvette - create a virtual reality in which callers can act out fantasies that operators may find boring, disgusting, or even frightening. She also discovers that even those women who are skilled at keeping their "true self" and their phone sex persona separate find that they have to struggle to protect that self and to maintain the ability to experience real intimacy." "The Fantasy Factory raises provocative questions about the manufacture of artificial intimacy and the technological mediation of intimacy, as well as about the social construction of sexuality and gender." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This is not a book about phone sex. It is a book about the disem bodiment 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. Phone sex is the data source, and it illustrates a greater point than prurience; it illustrates how it will be possible to be human in the twenty-first century.

Primary relationships are often described by sociology texts as close, enduring, rather primitive social relationships. Relationships become more transitory and fragmented with industrialization and urbanization, moving into a secondary phase. Phone sex illustrates a tertiary phase of human relations, one that is mediated by technology. The facsimile, the telephone answering machine, the computer modem, the walkmans and watchmans are all mechanisms that increase the social as well as physical distance between com municating individuals. While facilitating distant communication, these machines minimize personal contact and mediate interactions between individuals, so that communication is conducted from person to machine, machine to person.

This indirect quality of communication creates a disembodiment, a distance between communication and self. This disembodiment makes all things possible. Disembodiment offers liberation from the constraints of physical disability, stigma, and stereotype, and is potentially good for the human spirit and the depth of intimate com-

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