When Cameryn Moore was laid off from a marketing job, her two degrees – in Russian literature and arts administration – proved useless.

Her silky voice, however, got her out of trouble.

“I was really desperate,” explains the 43-year-old, speaking over Skype from the US.

“People had been telling me for years, ‘You have a great voice, you should do phone sex.’ I had always laughed that off, you know, who does phone sex? Don’t be ridiculous, I’m a feminist, I can’t do that.

“But,” she confesses, “it’s amazing what you’ll do when you’re desperate.”

Moore, who grew up in a Mormon family, took the first job she was offered. On April 22 she celebrated her five-year anniversary of offering sex services over the phone.

What’s kept her at it now the economy has picked up?

“I keep doing it because I’m really good at it.

I’m not making a ton of money but it is a way of stabilising my performing arts income.”

Not only that, she finds it satisfying – and she doesn’t have to dress up for work (it’s pyjamas, apparently).

“This is a performance field. It combines storytelling with improv and acting. And every call is a new gig, so that same boost of adrenalin that many performers get, that performers get addicted to, I get a little bit of that with every successful call.

‘It’s always a challenge’

“Then there is the satisfaction of using my mind and words to create an experience for somebody. And it’s a new experience with every caller. That is a wonderful professional and creative talent. I wouldn’t say it’s always wonderful – sometimes it’s awful – but it’s always a challenge.”

She makes $3 for every five-to-seven-minute call. She might get as little as two or as many as 15 callers in a day. Her longest call was three and a half hours with a man who wanted to be humiliated.

“The biggest misunderstanding is what it looks and sounds like. People think it’s all, ‘Yeah, you’re so strong’ and this and that. OK, I get a couple of calls like that, but people do not understand how infinitely complex and varied sexuality is. So when they find out what fantasies people have, they are really shocked, men are not all about t**s and ass.”

That men want to indulge what society tends to suppress has been the greatest suprise.

“I was surprised how many callers wanted homoerotic content.

“Western society does not leave room for men to explore sexuality in any way – especially in the area of same-sex exploration. Straight men occupy a very narrow space in which to move.”

Moore has an almost academic approach to dissecting the libido. It’s a far cry from what many imagine of phone sex operators.

She has an index card box with notes on 912 men. It’s always men who call, normally aged mid-30s to mid-50s. She judges no one – no matter what their tastes.

“Whatever judgement I have I must suspend all of it. I am being paid to talk and listen to what they want to say.”

But surely it must have turned her off men?

“It has actually renewed my faith in men. I had a low opinion of straight men then I started doing phone sex and I was like whoa, technicolour, surround sound. They can be imaginative too, they want things too, they are restricted in ways I feel sorry for. So getting a chance to do phone work actually made me feel a lot better about half of the human race.”

After three months doing the job, she penned a ten-minute play about her experiences. That developed into an hour-long performance and award-winning play, where the audience sit in on a series of warts-and-all calls for an insight into the world of phone sex. No surprise that the post-show question and answer sessions get very heated.

Feminist ideas

She’s often asked how she feels, as a self-declared feminist, doing the work?

“The first mistake people have is thinking feminism means the same thing to everybody and there is a monolithic feminism we all have to fit into.

“I’m well aware of feminists who are against sex work, against pornography, who find what I do horrific.

“But my feminism makes room for people’s creative imaginations, which is not to say I am not concerned with the practical effects and ramifications of people’s imaginations on their real lives, because that is also true.

“How we sometimes imagine ourselves to be has an effect on the real world. But my feminism says that we all have sexual agency and free emotional agency to find out what turns us on, to find a way to meet those needs that is safe, sane and consensual.”

  • Phone Whore, The Marlborough Theatre, Princes Street, Brighton, Wednesday, May 7 Doors 8.45pm, £9/£10. Call 01273 917272.