All have some way for a provider to post a picture and some text.
Big platforms as of 2016 are Niteflirt, Talkto Me, and My Phone Site; the latter also includes provision by which a manager, with the consent of the providers, could have a virtual shop with many providers under them. Customers had a variety of payment options, and pages of providers to choose from, sometimes with voice samples available.
This is the world portrayed in Spike Lee's movie about phone sex, Girl 6.
Nevertheless, phone sex should not be confused with prostitution wherein money is exchanged for real life sexual services or physical interaction.
The editor of High Society magazine, Gloria Leonard, is credited with being one of the first people to use "976 numbers", then "900 numbers" for promotional purposes and soon as a revenue stream in the adult industry.
Leonard convinced magazine owner Carl Ruderman to purchase more of these numbers and the business began to be successful using the magazine to promote the service.
Leonard herself was surprised at the success of these numbers.
Originally, per-minute billing was provided by phone companies (in the U. There was, from some services, an attempt to keep the caller aroused but short of orgasm, so he would spend more money.
(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.
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.
The provider provided (say) 10 minutes of service, but got to keep all of the money (say 20 minutes).
When the Internet got relatively mature, sale of any sexual service not involving a minor could be made to anyone not a minor.
Leonard recorded her own voice informing callers of the contents of the next issue of High Society magazine before its publication.