People have sex. People also have phones. Therefore, in longstanding human tradition, people found a way to combine the two.
Generally a comedy trope, this is when characters who aren't close enough to physically touch decide to find a way to make do. It is usually mutual, but occasionally a creepy caller will use this as part of a sexual harassment campaign.
A common variant is the "sex hotline," where customers call a service for this. The provider will be typically be revealed to the audience to be ugly and definitely not wearing the sexy clothing they claim. The common Bathroom Stall Graffiti "For a good time call..." alludes to this, implying that the number is a paid phone sex line.
"Sexting" is the version for just texting; it is often portrayed negatively as part of New Media Are Evil. "Send nudes" is similar, asking for salacious images to be sent through text. There's also "cybersex" when this is done through the internet, usually with a webcam or (later) video phone.
Usually involves Aroused by Their Voice. Nine Hundred Numbers were most notorious for these types of chat lines (that and Phony Psychics), even though those numbers could be providing any type of service, including completely innocuous ones like weather reports and sports statistics.
- Seemingly implied in the "Jake from State Farm" commercial when a woman comes down the stairs and catches her husband apparently having phone sex, only for him to tell her that he's talking to their insurance agent. Subverted when it turns out that he's telling the truth, even though she won't believe it.
Husband: Yeah, I'm married. Does it matter? Would you do that for me? Really? Yeah, I'd like that.Wife: (Comes down and turns on the light) Who're you talking to?Husband: It's Jake from State Farm. (On the phone) It sounds like a really good deal.Wife: Jake from State Farm at 3 in the morning? (Snatches phone) Who is this?!Husband: It's... Jake from State Farm.Wife: Well what are you wearing "Jake from State Farm"?Jake: (At a cubicle) Uhh, khakis?Wife: (To the husband) She sounds hideous.Husband: Well she's a guy, so...
- Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Downplayed. Kaguya and Shirogane spend almost 5 1/2 hours talking on the phone in chapter 170 as they lie in their beds (and the only reason it wasn't longer is because the former isn't used to staying up late and eventually passed out). Nothing sexual actually happens, though it is framed in such a way to make it seem like they're lying next to each other.
- Dilbert: Accidentally invoked when Dilbert leaves voice mail on the Pointy-Haired Boss's phone late at night to create the impression that he's working late. Unfortunately, in his half-asleep state he words the message rather badly... and worse, sends it to the entire office.
Dilbert: Hi. it's two in the morning, I'm sitting here in my underwear, and I thought of you.
- Advice and Trust: Ritsuko and Maya combine this with Mundane Utility by taking advantage of their sysop access to the MAGI to leave flirty messages for each other in the changelog.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic By Royal Command starts with the Princess sending a teleporting scroll to command Trixie to present herself to her for a night of deeply inappropriate fun. Much of the rest of the story is spent figuring out which princess sent it.
- In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfette's Evil Mirror", Smurfette makes a comment on how cute Empath looks without his hat on when they call each other on the pocket mirror phone in the middle of the night.
- Subverted in The Judgement of the World (5Ds). Yusei and Aki ask each other what the other is wearing during a late-night call. Yusei then suggests that Aki hang up and go outside so that they can look at the stars together.
- Spider-Man: Finding Home sees Shuri do her own version of this when she joins the polyamorous relationship of Peter Parker, Kate Bishop, and Yelena Belova; having upgraded Peter's phone with vibranium nanites, she can not only create a projection of herself to at least give the appearance of sharing a meal with the others, but also modify those nanites to form a vibrator to allow her to join a subsequent sexual encounter long-distance.
- White Sheep (RWBY):
- When Salem calls her husband to tell him their son has a harem (he doesn't), the topic quickly turns to something heated. Mannie, a giant Beowolf who happens to be in the throne room at the time, immediately runs away with his tail tucked between his legs.
- When Ozpin asks the Jinn of Knowledge what Salem's current plans are, he gets a mix of important and unimportant information. Her last plan, however (which she apparently came up with as Jinn was speaking) is to have phone sex with her husband. Jinn also mentions that one of Salem's daughters overheard these plans, and was horrified.
- American Pie 2: Oz and Heather are trying to have phone sex since the latter is in another country only to be interrupted by a wrong number and then, Stifler eavesdropping.
- Boy Eats Girl: Class bully Samson brags that his girlfriend Cheryl calls him every night begging for phone sex.
- City Slickers 2 has Mitch's wife making a phone sex call right when Mitch and his radio station partners were waiting for an important business call to happen. Mitch dives across the table to intercept the call before it goes any further.
- Crime Spree: A mob boss who is bound and gagged by burglars manages to dial one of his enforcers to rescue him. The man mistakes his muffled exclamations for sex noises that a woman is making and starts to masturbate before making out enough words to figure out who’s really calling him.
- For a Good Time, Call...: Katie works for a phone sex hotline; the plot revolves around her new roommate helping her overhaul her business. And ironically, Katie has never actually had physical sex.
- Foolproof: An office drone the heroes spy on before the robbery calls a woman and tells her to remove her bra, sniff it and start masturbating, while he does the same. They nickname him "Captain Phone Sex."
- Hard Target: The Hunting the Most Dangerous Game victims are selected by a man who distributes phone sex flyers and looks for homeless vets who find the job demeaning.
- Man of the House: One of Sharp's first clashes with his bodyguard charges comes when Teresa wants to accept a phone sex call from her boyfriend.
- Mississippi Masala: Demetrius and Mina seem to be heading this way when they talk on the phone one night early in their relationship, but it gets subverted and becomes a case of Interrupted Intimacy when Mina hears her boss (who runs a motel) yelling at people staying there, and tells Demetrius she has to go.
- In New Kids: Turbo, Rikkert, still a virgin despite having a girlfriend, gets this all wrong. While on a phone sex hotline, he tries to talk the lady on the other end—who is not only quite overweight but munching on a sandwich during the call for extra giggles and not even paying attention to Rikkert—into coming to Maaskantje to meet him.
- The Terminator: Sarah's friend Matt calls the house and Sarah answers, but Matt thinks it's his girlfriend Ginger (who lives with Sarah) and tries to have phone sex with her. Sarah decides to mess with him at first and then seriously asks who this is. Matt, clearly embarrassed politely asks for Ginger, to which Sarah obliges. Then when Ginger is on the phone he repeats the exact same following line in the exact same tone.
Matt: First I'm gonna rip the buttons of your blouse one by one.
- The Truth About Cats & Dogs: Abby and Brian have a long talk over the phone one night, and it leads to phone sex. At the end of the movie, when the two reconcile, Abby brings up that night, and jokes, "I'm pregnant."
- Sharkey's Machine by William Diehl. When a High-Class Call Girl is wiretapped giving a client phone sex, the Vice Squad regard this as something new and dub it an "ear job". The novel was published in 1978, so back then it probably was.
- Carl Hiaasen: The Disposable Love Interest in Native Tongue is an aspiring poetess employed by a $4 per minute "dial-a fantasy" service: 976-COME. At one point, her ex-boyfriend calls her on a bad guy's line and then leaves the phone off the hook to rack up a huge bill for the guy.
- In K C Constantine's detective novel Grievance, the protagonist "Rugs" Carlucci accidentally admits to a woman that he's gradually working himself up to have a relationship with (she wishes he'd get a move on) that he masturbated about her. Her response is to suggest that next time he feels like it, he telephones her so they can do it together.
- Good Omens: Newt answers the phone for his neighbor Madame Tracy and answers the question "what are you wearing?" entirely truthfully. He stops answering the phone for Madame Tracy after that.
- My Dark Vanessa: When Vanessa calls Strane at night from her parents' house, Strane tells her to take off her pajamas and do various things with her body that aren't described. Vanessa pretends to go along with it but doesn't really do anything. At the end, Strane tells Vanessa to say, "I love you, Daddy," while he masturbates.
- One of Us is Lying: Simon started his gossip blog (a few years before the book) to impress his aloof former best friend Jake and expose a sleazy jock who was anonymously sending girls unsolicited sexting messages.
- Secret Santa 2004: When Bigelow breaks into his coworkers' desks, one young man has a Mastercard bill from a phone service called the "Hottie Hook-Up line."
- Angel. Wesley is in a Dating Catwoman relationship with Amoral Attorney Lilah, and in one episode he rings her up at Wolfram & Hart and gets her to surreptitiously remove her panties during a meeting.
- The Blacklist: One Villain of the Week would carry on virtual relationships with rich, powerful men pretending to be one of their female employees. This would result in the men inadvertently sexually harassing their employees offline, and the villain would profit from the ensuing lawsuit.
- Burke's Law: In "Who Killed the Movie Mogul?," one suspect is an aspiring actress who gets Stage Fright but has no problem putting on a dominatrix persona for clients over the phone.
- One episode has Cliff showing the bar his version of this. Making it more creepy is he genuinely thinks it's funny. Making it creepier still is that he does it to his mother.
- One cold open has Woody cleaning up the bar when he catches an ad on the TV for the "Party Line". Interested (and knowing Woody, probably not knowing what it actually is), he calls up the number, and gets Cliff on the other end of the line.
- In Community, Jeff idly mentions calling phone sex lines while pretending to be very fat in order to deal with his insecurities about his appearance.
- Coupling: A bizarre example in the episode "Split" with one more slice of Jeff's hilariously terrible backstory, when he describes being on the phone to a girl he fancied while she was having sex with someone else, and "Actually, I think the phone was involved". Shortly after telling the story, he runs into the girl again for the first time since then, and she clearly regards him as having been a part of this.
Jenny: It was the only time a guy's ever phoned me.
Jeff: I'm sure that's not true.
Jenny: No, Jeff, the only time a guy's ever phoned me.
- Farscape: While visiting Earth, Rygel (a two foot tall, green alien) discovers sex hotlines and apparently makes frequent use of them.
Rygel: (lasciviously) You can call females too. 1-900-SLUT GIRL.
- Frasier: During a period of unemployment Roz takes a job with a sex hotline to make some money. She points out the benefit of a job that she can do from anywhere with cell service, but Frasier still insists she not take calls in his apartment.
- Friends: Rachel discovers that Monica and Chandler have secretly started dating when she picks up the apartment's landline to make a call and catches them making plans to hook up that night. After Phoebe finds out Rachel reveals that apparently Monica and Chandler were doing this a lot.
Phoebe: All that time Monica spent on the phone with "sad Linda from camp"?
Rachel: Doing it, doing it, phone doing it!
- In another episode Phoebe implies she once worked at a phone service where she had to say "spank" a lot.
- The Good Fight: The team uses a voice-imitation program tomake a fake conversation of Maia's father having phone sex with Donald Trump. They all dissolve into uncontrollable laughter in short order... and then Mike Pence gets involved.
Lucca: [overjoyed] Oh, I love fake Mike Pence!
- iZombie: Liv and Major can't have sex because zombieism is sexually transmitted, so they set up a sexy video chat instead.
- Lost: During his first flashback episode John Locke is seen talking on the phone to a woman and asking her to come to Australia with him. At first it looks like he's talking to a girlfriend but then the woman reveals she's a phone sex worker who isn't allowed to meet clients. Subsequent episodes imply that he latched on to her because she has the same name as his actual ex-girlfriend Helen.
- Lucifer (2016): During a Girls' Night Out bonding session Dr. Linda shares that she put herself through medical school by working as 1-800-ProfessorFeelGood. After demonstrating her breathy phone voice, Ella announces she would call that number.
- Night Court: In one episode, the cast is incredulous when several old ladies are accused of running an unlicensed phone sex operation.
Old Lady: Oh, they don't know how old we are. I always use a phone persona to heighten the fantasy. She switches voices. Hi, I'm Bent Barbara.
- Stargirl: This forms Yolanda's backstory. She was the school's popular girl and was dating the star of the football team. Then her boyfriend asks her for a nude pic. While she's initially reluctant, she relents and sends one. A few days later, her political opponent gets her hands on the photo and sends it to everyone at the school. Yolanda becomes a pariah and breaks up with the guy, mistakenly blaming him for sharing the photo (he didn't). Strangely enough, the other girl doesn't get in trouble for sending the pic, even though Yolanda is a minor and this counts as distribution of child pornography (though not that strange since the town is run by a group of supervillains, one of which is her father).
- Star Trek: Voyager:
- In the episode "The Disease", Harry Kim and the girl on the alien ship he's involved with (against regulations) flirt over the comm signal. Unfortunately their signal is in danger of being detected—fortunately Harry's best friend Tom is working on the bridge and cuts off the signal first.
- In "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy", the Doctor in one of his daydreams has secret intimate communications with Seven of Nine through the PADD while during a meeting of the staff.
- The Wire: In season 1, the group of detectives who have wiretaps on the Barksdale drug empire listen in on one member of the gang having phone sex with one of his girlfriends. The detectives are all amused by the cheesy descriptions the two are using and such, but after the phone sex ends the two have a discussion that's actually relevant to the case.
- Parodied in an episode of the game show Win Ben Stein's Money that was, in particular, lampooning Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?: in one round, host Jimmy Kimmel offers a series of "lifelines" — one of which being that you can phone 1-900-ASS-PARTY ("...they may not have the answers, but it is a lot of fun")
- The video for Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" is about two people having phone sex with each other. The guy on one end thinks that the girl on the other end is a hot young woman, but at the end of the video it turns out that it's a homely middle aged woman who is a housewife.
- Billy Joel's "Sometimes A Fantasy", which is about a guy looking to have a good time through phone sex.
- E-Rotic's "Sex on the Phone" off of the Sex Affairs album and "Tempt Me on the Line" off of the Sexual Healing album.
- "Digital Get Down" by *NSYNC on their No Strings Attached album is about a young man in a Long-Distance Relationship with some girl (possibly one he's never actually met in person), and part of that includes cybersex.
- R. Kelly's "Text Me", which is about sexting.
- Implied with "Kiss Me thru the Phone" by Soulja Boy (ft. Sammie), which is about a guy missing his girlfriend, telling her to do as the song title.
- Suzanne Fellini's "Love on the Phone" is about a woman who longs for the touch of her lover, but because of the distance, has to settle for phone sex.
- Tommy Tutone's "867-5309/Jenny" is about a person calling the titular person on the phone with the titular phone number to have a good time with her.
- The Village People's "Sex Over The Phone", which is exactly that. It even opens with one of them calling a sex line.
- "Here Comes That Man Again" by Kirsty McColl is a distinctly cheerful paean to cybersex.
- Hitman: Blood Money: Rival assassins Angelina Mason and Raymond Kulinsky are fond of exchanging such communications in their talkie-walkies.
- Max Payne: A sad example combined with Platonic Prostitution in the second game. After the death of his girlfriend Mona in the first game, Max has taken to calling a phone sex hotline because there's a girl named Mona working there. He just wants to talk to her.
- No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: Sylvia is reduced to doing this in a strip club, having what amounts to in-person phone sex with her customers. Her current customer isn't interested in such (she can tell who he is because he never talks), so she instead acts as the Framing Device for the plot. The customer turns out to be Travis, who takes her out of the club once the story's complete.
- Daughter for Dessert:
- At one point early in the story, the protagonist is particularly horny, and has the option of asking Kathy for nudes. Kathy will only indulge him if he asks nicely.
- When the protagonist gets out of prison on bail, he finds a naughty picture from a girl (Kathy, Heidi, or Lily depending on the choices he made) to give him strength for what lies ahead.
- Exploited in Double Homework by Dennis, who uses voice recordings of the protagonist and Henry to get nudes from Lauren and Rachel... and even Ms. Walsh.
- On Amy’s path, the protagonist and Amy have cybersex over video chat.
- Also happens unintentionally between the protagonist and Melody. Melody is unaware that her panties are showing during a video call with the protagonist, and he can score points by bringing this to her attention.
- MegaTokyo: In the backstory, Piro had a cybersex relationship with Miho Tohya. It fell apart when she claimed she was actually a man, and had been screwing with him the whole time. He tried to forget about it, but years later he met her in real life and all the wounds got ripped open again.
- Sandra and Woo: One storyline revolved around Larisa trying to send a nude pic to her boyfriend for his birthday but accidentally hitting "Send to All'' instead. A glitch involving a third party add-on she had installed caused the pic to be sent to all 60 million users of the app in North America. Not that she cared.
- While the audience only gets a brief sample, the Smif library in Questionable Content apparently contains a collection of erotic telegrams.
- S.S.D.D.: Anne has cyber-sex with male characters from other furry webcomics, even testing a webcam from work by streaming her nude body to Sam from Newshounds.
- Justice League Unlimited: Huntress attempts to do this to her boyfriend, the Question.
Huntress: So, what are you wearing?
The Question: Blue overcoat, fedora.
Huntress: You really stink at this.
The Question: Orange socks.
- Rocko's Modern Life: In "Canned", one of the jobs Rocko tries after getting fired from the comics mega-store is a "specialty phone operator". It's clearly supposed to be a phone sex hotline, but Rocko's idea of talking dirty is to say "Oh baby, oh baby, oh baby," in a half-hearted monotone. Awkwardness ensues when his customer recognizes his voice, and he recognizes her as Mrs. Bighead, and the two hastily hang up.