Gloria Leonard: The Inventor of Phone Sex

These people – chances are you know at least one – are around us. I am talking about those who leave something behind that can be considered meaningful; yet never get their due appreciation for it. Not by society, and certainly not by the mainstream media. What’s the reason, you ask? It’s quite simple, really. These people are different. That is often their only fault and Gloria Leonard was one of them. You probably don’t know this, but if you ever had a sexually heated conversation with someone on the phone, you unknowingly paid tribute to Gloria Leonard. She was the one who created the platform as we know it today. She is the reason that expressing our sexual desires to someone over the phone, doesn’t feel weird. Thanks to her, in most societal and social circles this is a totally normal thing to do in 2016. But how did all this happen and what role did she play in it? Would chatlines even exist without her today?

The Wall Street Job and Venturing Into Foreign Territories

Leonard worked on Wall Street, and probably never would have thought that she’d become the pioneer of phone sex and phone chat. She was obviously a sensual person throughout her entire adult life, but nobody fathomed that she would embark on a journey of this magnitude. It all started with her leaving Wall Street to work in the adult film industry. This was at a time where people were much more critical towards open sexuality than they are today. Working in the industry had opened up more opportunities for her, opportunities she took full advantage of throughout her adventurous life. Because if one thing, Gloria Leonard was a soul who never backed down from adventure.

She got into publishing with the High Society magazine, becoming the first woman to achieve this honor. At the magazine, it almost instantly became crystal clear that she had the eye and the talent to achieve big things. She also proved to be great at multi-tasking, taking care of various different aspects of the magazine including copywriting and marketing. She even did some business with the wholesalers while making sure that everybody did their job to the best of their abilities, starting with the retailers through the company principals to the drivers themselves, who delivered the issues to the locations. She was everywhere, and she did a great job while also keeping her eye on the prize.

The Genius Idea

Thanks to her illustrious career as an adult entertainer, Leonard had a fair share of fans. This was partly where her revolutionary idea came from. She thought that recording her voice while talking about the next magazine issue would be a good idea to catch the interest of the readers and her fans, and catching their interest it did. The idea became an instant success and she later managed to convince cover models to do the same thing, informing the fans about the next issue to help boost the sales. It was a genius marketing tactic which is still used to this day with great success. The messages became a bit wilder, of course, and with that the idea of the phone sex services was born.

Free Speech Coalition

In 1977, the idea of having a service like that naturally wasn’t cherished, to put it mildly. As a result, the US Supreme Court banned it, causing outrage in certain circles that promoted the right of free speech. Leonard became an active member of the Free Speech Coalition (and later, in 1998, its president) which held regular meetings in New York. Leonard used the opportunity to educate people about not just their right to speak their mind freely about certain issues, but she also became one of the most fearless leaders of the feminist movement. Despite the naysayers, Leonard cared deeply about women’s rights, and fought for those rights throughout her entire life.

It’s not every day that somebody is considered a pioneer of something, and this is exactly what Gloria Leonard achieved. Without her contributions to the industry, without her fight for our rights to speak our minds freely, including our sexual desires, who knows where the phone sex industry would stand today?

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