Nearshore Americas

The Steamy (and Sex-Driven) Side of Philippine Call Centers


SO-CALLED F’K buddies (Fubu) mark sexual and romantic relations of call-center workers polled by the University of the Philippines (UP) Population Institute.

The soon-to-be-published results of a poll of 675 employees of 22 call centers in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu revealed that the Fubu phenomenon is one of eight risky sexual behaviors these workers have higher exposure to than their counterparts in other industries.

In contrast to casual sex, which may or may not involve strangers, such as in trains, the Fubu phenomenon involves regular nonromantic sexual intercourse. The survey results presented on Saturday bared that more men (18 percent) than women (4 percent) engage in this behavior.

While 6 percent (or 15) of a total 254 noncall-center workers polled said this also occurs in their workplace, the phenomenon is higher among call-center workers (11 percent).

The survey, titled “A comparison of lifestyle and reproductive-health issues among call-center and noncall-center workers in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu,” polled a total of 929 respondents between 18 to 34 years old and have been working on shifts.

The survey, done between September and November last year, revealed that three of four call-center workers and two of three noncall-center workers have had “penetrative premarital sex.”

The study also revealed that 4.3 percent of call-center workers have engaged in sex within their office premises.

“Some told us they do it at the fire-exit area or in the lounge, unmindful of other co-workers,” UP Pop-I director Grace Cruz said.

She added, “Some said they are too drowsy to mind.”

The survey also revealed the never-married contact-center workers had sexual experience compared with those married: 70 percent of both sexes.

A fifth of male call-center workers surveyed also said they had sex with another male, while only 6 percent of female workers polled said they did with the same sex.

Among those who had sex in the past 12 months, 18 percent of the male call-center workers said they had another male as sexual partner and nearly half of all male respondents said they had more than one partner.

The mean number of sexual partners is 3.3 for call-center males as against 2.1 for noncall-center males.

At least a fifth of all workers surveyed said they have had more than one sexual partner, while one of 10 female call-center workers said they had multiple partners.

In terms of casual sex, 31 percent or 209 of those polled said they have had experienced so. One of nine female call-center workers surveyed said they had casual sex experience.

Cruz expressed concern that while many of the respondents said they use condoms while engaging in sex, three of 10 males said they had unprotected sex while more women call-center workers said they are not protected during intercourse.

Notably, too, the survey revealed that more contact-center male workers than females had sex that happened against their will.

A substantial proportion of all workers, whether they are in the contact-center industry or not, had experienced nonconsensual sex, the survey revealed.

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Industry group Contact Center Association of the Philippines executive director Joselito Uligan said the survey results shouldn’t be misconstrued as intrinsic to the industry “since the young people today are of a different character unlike our days.”

These are also more reflective of a mom-and-pop store type of operation, Uligan said at the same forum as a reactor.

The survey aims to describe the profile of young workers employed in call-center establishments, which were selected randomly by the National Statistics Office among more than 200 companies in the agency’s database.

The survey also sought to compare the lifestyle, health and reproductive-health status of young workers in these establishments and in noncall-center firms.

Kirk Laughlin

Kirk Laughlin is an award-winning editor and subject expert in information technology and offshore BPO/ contact center strategies.

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