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Sexual Wellness

The Beginner’s Guide to Dirty Talk

| 05/17/2018

dirty talk

The first time I brought dirty talk into the bedroom with my current sexual partner, it was more or less an accident.

“You feel so good inside me,” I’d murmured, somewhere far off in thoughtless pleasure. “Oh yeah?” my partner replied, with a look of amusement – and to be frank, pure glee – on his face.

It was only later, when we’d both finished and were lying next to each other in bed, grinning like idiots, that he brought up what I’d said. He told me he’d been surprised but extremely pleased that I’d talked dirty to him during sex, and could we do it more, please?

For reasons I can’t explain, dirty talking in bed has always come easy to me. I’m quite shy in other ways! Really. But I understand why this particular sex thing is a big deal to many people, and why it can be hard to overcome.

Pillow talk phrases like “my love” may come naturally in the afterglow of satisfying sexual activity, but coming up with hot and dirty talk during foreplay or in the midst of a steamy bedroom romp can be much more difficult for those who have always been reserved between the sheets.

Dirty talk requires vocalizing desire in a way most of us are not used to, especially if you’re a vulva-haver who, just say, has been raised in a patriarchal culture that ignores the importance of your pleasure, or considers it irrelevant to the discussion of sex. It also requires feeling extremely comfortable with your partner, and being willing to make yourself vulnerable to them in a new way.

There’s the good news is. It’s a virtual guarantee that the people who’ve agreed to roll around with us in bed and put their mouths on our genitals already find us impossibly sexy. There’s very little you could say mid-coitus — barring something completely awful and boundary-breaching — that would change that. Hold that thought in your head and stick with me here, as I help you find the words to tell your partner just how much you want them to [verb] your [noun].

Start with sexting

Sexting can be a great way to begin experimenting with dirty talk, especially if what makes you most nervous is saying the sexy things out loud.

Spend some time away from social media and go one-on-one with your partner; text messages ranging from flirty to sexually explicit can help to establish a shared vocabulary and delineate some boundaries in the verbal part of your relationship. The texts don’t all have to be kinky, either. For example, what words do you want to use to refer to your genitalia and other body parts? What words are OK for your partner to use? What’s OK to try out in bed, and what’s off-limits?

It can be easier to establish these do’s and don’ts while you’re “hiding” behind your phone screen. There, you can think about your own desires and take some time to decide how you want to articulate them to your partner. By the time you fall into bed together, you’ll have learned most of what you need to know – and you’ll have the basis for a few saucy lines you can deliver with winning confidence.

Long-distance dirty talk can be a good “next step”

If you’re still not quite ready to talk dirty while you’re face-to-face (or body part-to-body part), here’s a good intermediate step. Give it a try during phone sex, a different way to have fun which understandably experienced a resurgence of sorts during coronavirus lockdowns.

You don’t have to wait until one of you is away on a business trip or visiting family. It can be strangely erotic to set up in different rooms of the house or apartment, each with a phone (plus vibrators or other sex toys, if desired; if the sex talk is good, masturbation will surely follow). 

Talking dirty during phone sex can allow you to escape your verbal comfort zone without feeling silly or worrying that you’re being judged. There’s a measure of freedom when you don’t have to worry about facial expressions or other non-verbal cues IRL (in real life, that is).

The physical separation allows you to focus fully on the language that you use, how it makes you feel, and how your partner tells you it makes them feel. Incidentally, the phone is also a great tool – for those who are somewhat shy – for discussing ways to add new variety to their sex lives. Taking role-playing for a test drive, or discussing the possibility of trying new sex positions, maybe less embarrassing if they’re done on the phone at first.

Go with what you know

As with so many other things, it’s best to stick with what you know – at least at first. I’m not writing about how to have sex while standing on your head, because I don’t know how to do that. (Sad, I know!) The same logic applies here.

Don’t try and repurpose lines from erotica you may have read, or videos you may have seen. And don’t look for ideas in articles written by sex educators or sexologists. Instead, draw on the sexual experiences you’ve already had with your partner for inspiration when you want to try to talk dirty.

For instance, tell your partner that thing that’s a turn-on when they do it, or what it is that you love them to do to you. Saying “I love when you…” or “It feels so good when you…” is an easy way to reaffirm to your partner that whatever they’re currently doing is very very good, or to playfully suggest what you’d like to do with them next.

Think about the best sex you’ve ever had with your partner, and what made it great. “Remember when…” or “I always think about that time we…” statements are near-surefire ways to recreate some of you and your partner’s greatest hits, and, to be honest, make them even hotter. If something they did or said last night got you particularly hot and bothered, be sure to reinforce it before it’s forgotten.

Having your partner tell you, in words, how much they secretly loved a position you tried once, or how they can’t stop fantasizing about that night you wore a particular pair of lacy black underwear to bed, is perfect. It makes whatever else is going on in the room at the moment ten times more titillating.

Pose a question

When in doubt, turn the tables on your partner. What do they want next? What do they like best? And – breathy voice here – what do they want to do to you?

Asking your partner a bunch of questions about what turns them on during dirty talk isn’t just something to do out of desperation when your creativity runs out. It’s also a great way to keep the conversation between you and your partner open and flowing during a sexual encounter.

Hot talk does one other thing as well. It makes it easier for each partner to ask for and give consent. Now, I’m not one of those “consent is sexy” folks – consent is simply necessary, whether or not it’s “sexy.” It’s not optional. But dirty talk often doubles as a conversation about consent. And yes, in this case, it’s very sexy.

Talk fantasies

Ok—you did it! You graduated from sending a lone peach emoji via text to becoming a quick-witted seductress in bed. If only it were something you could add to the “skills and endorsements” section of your LinkedIn, you’d be golden.

There’s one reason I’m particularly glad to have opened the door to dirty talk with my sex friend. Telling each other how much we like sleeping together has made it easier to have honest discussions about what we want in bed, and to share the fantasies that we might have otherwise been hesitant to divulge. Trust me, the same can be true for you. Follow up on a steamy sexual encounter with a post-coital conversation about what else you’d like to try, and ask your partner the same. You’ll be amazed at what can happen.

One important disclaimer before we wrap up: there are people who will simply never be comfortable with dirty talk in bed. Some may be able to overcome their resistance to more explicit sexual expression. through regular check-ins with a psychologist for in-depth talk therapy. Others may be just fine with their level of sexual wellness; they just don’t want to move past “that feels good” and “I love you.”

But for most people, being explicit about the kind of sex you like and want to be having, is likely to produce a healthy, communicative sexual relationship in the long run. I’m still crunching the numbers on this – but my extensive research makes it appear that a little dirty talk in bed will also mean more orgasms for everyone. I rest my case.

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