This story appears in the March 2016 issue of Playboy. Subscribe

I’m a 25-year-old guy in a chill and loving seven-month relationship. However, I can’t stop calling phone-sex lines. Who has phone sex in 2016? Let me explain: I first came across a pop-up ad for a phone-sex site while watching a cam-girl show a few years ago. I signed up and was hooked immediately. Sure, webcams are fine, but they leave nothing to the imagination. When I started dating my girlfriend, we were inseparable. Then things became routine, and now I look for excuses so I can avoid sleeping at her place; I just want to go home and get back on the phone. It irritates my girlfriend that I don’t want to stay over, but I see no reason to quit my habit. What should I do?

First, let me delight in your fetish. Oh, phone sex. That gentle rhythm of whispers and obscenities. Those indecipherable, breathy questions that, only partially comprehended, could be answered with a moan. The easy role-play that comes when you don’t have to look each other in the eye. Oh, how I miss phone sex. When I was a teenager, AOL instant messaging made for awkward “cybersex,” though of course we attempted it. “R u fingering yourself?” some stranger would type. “Ya. Feels good,” I’d type back, sitting on the swivel chair fully clothed, my hands resting on the keyboard. But back then, the phone was my medium. I must have spent half my teen years beneath the duvet, breathing into a cordless phone, asking boys from neighboring high schools to be more specific: What was it about me that was hot? What was it, exactly, that they would do to me if they were there? Right. Now.

Phone sex may not be the most popular masturbation aid, but it’s not so bizarre. One of my dearest and most beautiful friends works at a phone-sex site. I asked her about your question. “In my experience, there are two types of guys who call,” she says. “Those who do it for kicks and those who think it’s ‘going somewhere.’ I’m constantly pressured by the latter to meet in person, provide my address, etc. I have to explain that this is a fantasy and that they have to respect the boundaries of the fictional relationship. Virtual sex can be a blast—if kept virtual. Guys should never feel guilty about it.”

The real problem is when your virtual sex life cuts into your real sex life. What are the chances your girlfriend will break up with you if your intimacy continues to decline, and would you be okay with that? How will nightly phone-sex sessions affect your daily life? Perhaps you’re more interested in exploring extremes—in intensity, in approaching edges, in your limits. It’s clear you’re someone who is searching and asking questions. And I can’t blame you for that. But real sex is pretty spectacular too.

My phone-sex operator friend adds: “If he isn’t having sex with his girlfriend, that’s indicative of a problem. He should talk to her and work on the issue, because obviously he could lose her. Maybe unconsciously that’s what he wants; in that case, tell him to call me.”

Questions? E-mail