Do It Better

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 a 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 come 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 talk has always come easy to me. I’m quite shy in other ways! Really. But I understand why many people are shy about this particular sex thing, and why it can be hard to overcome.

Dirty talk requires vocalizing desire in a way most of us are not used to, perhaps especially if you’re a woman who, just say, has been raised in a patriarchal culture that ignores female 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.

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. Exchanging texts ranging from flirty to sexually explicit can help to establish a shared vocabulary and delineate some boundaries between you and your partner. For example, what words do you want to use to refer to your genitalia? What words are ok for your partner to use? What’s ok to try out in bed and what’s not?

It can be easier to establish these things from behind your phone, where you can interrogate your own desires and take some time to think about how you want to articulate them to your partner. By the time you fall into bed together, you’ll have a few saucy lines ready to deliver with winning confidence.

Go with what you know

As with so many other things, it’s best to stick with what you know 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: Draw on the sexual experiences you’ve already had with your partner for dirty talk inspiration. Tell your partner that thing you love them doing best. Saying “I love when you…” or “It feels so good when you…” is an easy way either 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. 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 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 a great way to keep conversation between you and your partner open and flowing during a sexual encounter, and makes it easy for each partner to ask for and give consent. Now, I’m not one of those “consent is sexy” folks — consent is simply necessarily, 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.

The reason I’m most glad to have opened the door to dirty talk with my sex friend is because telling each other how much we like sleeping together has made it easier to have honest discussions about what we want in bed, and the fantasies that we might have otherwise been hesitant to divulge. So, go 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.

In the long run, being as explicit about the kind of sex you like and want to be having adds up to a healthy, communicative sexual relationship and — I’m still crunching the numbers on this — more orgasms for everyone. I rest my case.

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