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Talking Dirty 101: a guide to filthy language in the sack

By Maya Khamala

Dirty talk: it either comes naturally, or it really doesn’t. In my case, it’s a skill I built over many years and with various partners. But, before all that, I was in a 5-year relationship with someone I could never in a gazillion years have imagined talking dirty to. Anything beyond the usual grunts and moans of pleasure were well beyond our purview. But, as time went on, it became abundantly apparent to me that something was missing from our sessions—for me, anyway. While dirty talk may not be a necessary exploration for every pair of lovers, I felt a very strong (yet unfulfilled) urge to tell my man to fuck me deeper; to ask him if he liked the way my pussy felt around his cock, and, hell, I even held back from calling him daddy. My then-boyfriend and I simply did not have the kind of rapport where dirty talk felt easy or natural or comfortable, and I never tried discussing it with him either.

Over time, however, I have learned to let myself lose my inhibitions enough in heated moments to loosen my tongue and paint pictures with my words—and if you want to, you can too.

What is dirty talk?

Dirty talk, AKA erotic chit chat, naughty talk, sexy talk, or sexting (a modern-era version), talking dirty is the act of using explicit and descriptive word images to up that arousal factor, either before or during sex—or just any old time, too.

But some of us hear one mention of ‘dirty talk’ and think, ‘yeah, that’s not for me,’ largely due to the misconception that dirty talk needs to be vulgar in a highly specific way. Helllooo: there are probably just as many facets to talking dirty as there are stars in the sky, people. Remember—this is a highly creative act, and you’re the artist.

Sexologist Shan Boodram says it well: “Dirty talking isn't about it being gross or crude or vulgar. It’s just more about, does it make you feel hot?” What makes a phrase ‘dirty,’ then, is how much it turns you and/or your partner on. Simple, right?

How to talk dirty

While defining dirty talk as any talk that turns you on seems straightforward enough, it doesn’t always feel that way when we want to start talking dirty for the first time (or we want our partner to—or both). Here, I offer you several foundational tips for the taking or leaving.

DON’T force it…move at your own pace

Avoid measuring yourself by the standards of others. There’s no need to rush into something that’s new to you, or force yourself to emulate mainstream porn actors, or anything/anyone else that may seem like an authority on the subject. Give yourself permission to go at your own pace. You might even consider sharing your fantasies via text first (sexting, baby) and working your way up to in-person play. Think along the lines of, “you should probably have your pants off when I get home… I’m feeling frisky,” or “can’t wait to get my hands on you again. [Insert eggplant emoji, peach emoji, raindrop emoji]” If/when your partner shows they like it, you’ll feel much safer voicing things face-to-face.

DO say what you want before sex

There are no hard and fast rules here, but for the sake of providing a rough guideline that you can use to boost confidence and then bend to your will as you become more comfortable, a good rule of thumb is to tell your partner what you want to do (or what you want them to do) before you’re actually in the thick of it. If you’re both still at work but you’re anticipating jumping them later, for instance, you might say, “I can’t stop thinking about last week when we came at the same time while you were sliding your fingers into my mouth.” Any statement reflecting a flashback to something you've genuinely enjoyed with them is an xxxcellent way to ease into dirty talk.

…and what you like during sex

While saying what you want to do or have done to you is a great way to anticipate sex with your partner, in the heat of the actual moment, you might try getting extra descriptive about what is actively turning you on. While you may ease into the idea of talking dirty with statements like “yeah, I like that,” getting more explicit might transform it into “don’t stop. I love when you squeeze my ass.” Similarly, “you look so hot,” might become “you’re so fucking sexy. I can’t get enough of your perfect cock/pussy.” Feel free to update them on your arousal too: “I'm so wet right now, or, “you’re gonna make me cum!” These play-by-play updates can also help you stay in touch with your own arousal and keep you extra turned on—the holy grail, as it were.

DON’T overthink it

It’s easy to get caught up in the specifics when nervous. If you suddenly find yourself rambling, grasping at straws, or getting hopelessly entangled in the words tumbling out of your mouth, take a deep breath, take a step back toward your comfort zone, and never forget to see the humor. Humor is sexy AF. Ultimately, you want to bring your focus back to your partner, and to the present moment, and the real, live sensations that you’re experiencing together. One way to keep it simple which works for some is to feel what it’s like to be in your body, rather than in your head—and use that as inspiration for your dirty talk. Don’t say something that you don’t actually feel, because it won’t resonate as well to either of you. For many, a simple word or phrase can be enough to light a fire. “Hold onto my hips,” or “you like when I go slow like that?” may be just the ticket.

DO define what’s off-limits

Let’s face it: sexual fantasies aren't always politically correct, and that can be part of what’s so hot about them. While you probably don’t want to be called a cunt or a slut in real life, being told how wet your cunt is or what a good little slut you are in the heat of the moment can be an insane turn-on. Of course, it all depends on your preferences. Once you know that you are both into exploring dirty talk, sit down and have a conversation about which words and phrases are particularly arousing versus total turn-offs. Think of it as dirty talk foreplay! Your sex life will be that much better for having had this conversation.

DON’T hesitate to experiment

At the end of the day, dirty talk, much like any other sexual act, is all about experimenting to find what feels good. You might get in the mindset or seek inspiration by reading erotica to one another, getting down with a little role play, watching some quality porn together, choosing some new sex toys, and, of course, talking about sex and pleasure openly and honestly (strong communication is a real turn-on). If at some point, you say something that misses the mark, or upsets your partner, don’t beat yourself up, but don’t brush it off either. A simple apology can make or break your ongoing experimentation: “Oh shit, was that too much? I’m sorry. I won’t say that again.” Similarly, try not to judge your partner if their efforts fall flat. With practice and a deepening understanding of each other’s inner workings, it will flow more organically over time.

DO discuss your fantasies

Speaking of learning one another’s inner workings, one of the best ways to start exploring dirty talk is to share your fantasies with one another. A greater sense of intimacy can blossom through dirty talk, especially when it’s based on what you like as the unique individuals that you are. For a foot fetishist, a specific shade of nail polish might make or break a sexual experience. Rather than following some pre-ordained formula, get a sense of the details and dynamics that get your partner going (and share yours with them). Do they do best with explicit affection, or is intense domination more their thing? Do they like feeling degraded or worshipped? Chances are, their preferences change with the weather—which is why communication is forever queen. Remember to keep an open mind, since their sexy maid fantasy might not arouse you as much as your domineering headmaster one. There’s time for all of it, and exploring is 100% of the fun. If you’re genuinely turned off or made uncomfortable by something your partner wants to hear you say, it’s better to let them know rather than force yourself into something. It’s a gigantic universe with so many words to choose from: find the common ground you share and go to town, baby.

Bottom line: Dirty talk can be your shared home, a kinky galaxy of possibility for which only you two have the secret password. Need more inspiration, for what, exactly, to say? Check out these 100+ examples and get talkin’. <3

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