Hot & Bothered logo

Dial *69: The Summer Of Phone Sex Is Here

Designed by Yazmin Butcher.
We are bored, horny, and ready to re-launch our social lives. Welcome to Hot & Bothered, our guide to safely and stylishly getting out (and getting off) this summer.
The first time I seriously thought about phone sex was day 63 of the pandemic. Only a few months into the first lockdown, deprived of any physical intimacy beyond sporadic stress hugs from my roommate and my own *physical touch,* I was texting with someone I’d been intimate with before and suddenly had the clear and distinct thought: I want to hear him talk dirty to me
The second time I seriously thought about phone sex was also during the pandemic, albeit almost a year later, in the middle of Ontario’s third lockdown, a dark time when listening to The Daily’s Michael Barbaro on my daily walk was the biggest thing I had going on in my life. It happened while I was watching season 3 of Sex and the City. Miranda, trying to keep the fire going in her new, long-distance relationship with a colleague, is interrupted mid-phone coitus when Charlotte calls her other line for advice on her prenup ahead of her marriage to Trey. (In case you’re wondering, Charlotte got her prenup and Miranda ended up getting cheated on by her colleague, who was simultaneously having phone sex with another woman on his second phone line. Unfamiliar with what a second phone line is? Congrats, you're young! Ask your parents.)
Advertisement
If I’m being totally honest, the image of Miranda, beaded with sweat and heavily panting into a cordless phone the size and — one can only presume — weight of a literal brick while she masturbated was not particularly sexy, especially by 2021 standards of DM slides and Snapchat streaks. But, as we head into one-dose summer in Canada — instead of the hot-vax summer we deserve (meaning IRL sex with people outside your immediate household bubble is a hard no) — hopping on the phone to get down and dirty offers the perfect middle ground between sex and staring at yet another screen while you try to get intimate (and get yourself off). 
You heard it here first: The summer of 2021 is going to be all about phone sex. 

Hopping on the phone to get down and dirty offers the perfect middle ground between sex and staring at yet another screen while you try to get intimate (and get yourself off). 

For one thing, we’re in a period of time that’s uniquely primed for voice-activated action. I, for one, am personally over the staleness of sexting (there’s only so many times reading “and then I suck on your earlobe” does anything for me). Plus, after living through a screen for work, dating, get-togethers with friends, and even shopping — I’m tired AF of staring into the void and seeing only myself reflected back.
According to CBC, the pandemic has overall changed the way we communicate with each other, with phone provider Bell reporting a 200% increase in phone calls in the first few months of covid. And there’s been a rise in audio as a medium in general during the last year and a half. The exclusive audio-focused app Clubhouse took off (and then plummeted in popularity) during the course of the pandemic, Twitter added an audio option for tweets, and dating apps like Bumble now allow users to send voice notes to their matches. We’re hopping on the phone more than ever to speak with those closest to us, so why wouldn’t we do the same for sex?
Advertisement
Short answer: We definitely should.
“The brain is our largest sexual organ,” says Kat Kova, a Toronto-based sex and relationships therapist. “When we’re thinking about sex, we're often thinking about images or watching things to turn us on.” Getting sexual over the phone, she adds, can unlock a whole other part of our sexual experience. In the same way that a scary situation can make your body respond with symptoms of anxiety and fear (like sweating and shallow breathing), Kova explains that “when we use our imagination to picture touch or sexual connection, we engage our brain and our body responds to this as though something is really happening to us.” 
Without the monotony and eye strain of staring at a screen, she adds, the experience can actually be a lot more interactive. Unlike sexting, where it’s easy to type “I’m naked” while you’re sitting in your sweats eating a bag of chips with Law and Order SVU on in the background, being on the phone in real time with your sexual partner means you have to actually be present in the moment. “It’s like improv, in that you go in and you’re ‘yes, and-ing’ your way through.”
“I love the notion of making love to my brain and my imagination, and then my body,” agrees Susan Wenzel, a registered sex therapist in Winnipeg, MB and author of A Happy Life In An Open Relationship. “Because that brings anticipation and it becomes creative sex.” 

I love the notion of making love to my brain and my imagination, and then my body. Because that brings anticipation and it becomes creative sex.

SEX THERAPIST Susan WenzeL
According to Wenzel, there are two main types of sexual arousal, mental and physical. “A lot of people know how to arouse each other physically and not mentally,” she says. Our society in general, Wenzel adds, is more orgasm than pleasure-focused, meaning we want “quick pleasure, a quick drive-thru,” she says. While quickies can be fun, in the long-term this outlook could be making us lazier lovers overall — and not stimulating us sexually. “Some people will have sex, and they touch the same way, they start in one place and they have so much routine that your brain just adapts to that and is bored,” Wenzel says. “We’ve lost the mental piece of sexual arousal.”
Advertisement
When it comes to phone sex, it’s really all about upping that mental anticipation — whether that’s for a later time when you can meet up in person, or just to heighten sexual pleasure in the moment. “If somebody gives you a yummy chocolate bar, I can just tell you to eat it and it’s over,” Wenzel says. “Or I can delay and create anticipation for you and tell you about how it tastes and how good it is; and now your whole body's anticipating and tasting it even before you have it.” Now, tell me you didn’t get all-over body tingles (or at least a stomach growl) just thinking about that. Plus, voicing your fantasies and desires aloud is a great way to find out what you actually like. (And let’s be honest, no one can get you off as well as you can yourself.) 
For Amy*, a 25-year-old in Toronto, phone sex has offered benefits beyond just physical stimulation. She first tried phone sex with her long-distance high school boyfriend when she was 18, but she’s dialed in with romantic partners under several circumstances since. Moving offline — and off video — has given her newfound confidence and taken the pressure off to look a certain way. “People get dressed up for video dates, people get dressed up for FaceTime videos at work, the biggest positive [to talking on the phone] is it doesn’t matter how you look; I can be my perfect, confident self," she says. “[It’s a more] intimate experience than just texting.”
Advertisement
Not to mention that it’s safe — in pretty much every sense of the word. Putting aside the risks of contracting COVID-19 or STIs that come with in-person intimacy, as Kova notes, saying what you want your partner to do to you aloud ensures there are no risky texts or images preserved in your partner’s iCloud. Like with anything, open communication is key when it comes to best practices around phone sex. In addition to conversations outlining each person’s personal boundaries, Kova recommends reassuring your partner that you’re not recording them (and vice versa), and to be direct with them. "You may say: ‘I've been wanting to deepen our sexual relationship, would you want to try phone sex?’ If that person says no, then leave it and try something different or ask them about their feelings. It’s not really the sexiest thing, but it's respectful and it really doesn't leave any blurred lines or questions around consent.”
If hopping on the phone with a new Tinder date still seems daunting (we get it, talking sucks sometimes), Amy advises a great — and easy — first step: Practise on yourself. “Put on a good song and get in the mood, just to feel confident with yourself.”
The lovely idea that phone sex could be a solo activity is how I ended up alone in my apartment, with a freshly lit candle and Giveon’s Favorite Mistake playing on my speaker, attempting to talk dirty to myself…. out loud. As might be expected, voicing your innermost sexual desires, even when there’s no one in the room (okay, especially when there’s no one else in the room), was initially kind of awkward.
I felt like I was coaching myself, not to mention, that whole “If a tree falls in a forest” adage suddenly felt extremely relevant. As in, “If a single woman talks dirty, but there’s no one around to reciprocate, does it actually do anything?” Well, yes. Yes, it does. It took a while, and I had to close my eyes in order to visualize what was being said, but ultimately, my NSFW whisperings had the desired effect: I was super turned on, and super feeling myself. Yes, it cost me an hour of Law & Order, but that’s the one upside of screens: Benson and Stabler will be right there waiting for you when you’re done.

More from Relationships