The more I talk to folks about sex the more I see folks struggling with some of the same stuff over and over. High up on this list is sexual communication. Whether it is navigating consent, getting what they need, or being a better partner folks often come up short because they treat sex like a combination between mind reading and charades. I’d like to offer you a better way. My suggestion? Dirty talk.
This isn’t news. I know a lot of you know this, but it seems you’re still shying away from making regular use of this knowledge. Let’s talk a bit about why and how dirty talk can work for you.
First up, it’s such an excellent tool when it comes to consent! So many folks struggle with the concept of “enthusiastic consent” because they think talking “ruins the moment” but dirty talk gives you the tools to get clear on consent while building your arousal. How so? By building it directly into sexual play. Rather than having there be the touching, kissing and sucking and then also the consent you get to have them hand in hand building anticipation. You know what’s hotter than a partner touching you in a new way? A partner telling you how much they want to touch you in that way and giving you the chance to say no or “Oh, hell yes!”. Suddenly consent is stops being a stumbling block on the way to the good stuff and becomes a stepping stone to making the stuff we do good.
Speaking of making the stuff we do good, the best thing about dirty talk, in my opinion, is that it gets people talking about their sex which is always good. Partners aren’t mind readers and yet so often folks hesitate to openly communicate about what they need for fear of being critical or demanding or somehow taking away from their partner’s pleasure. I can see why “No, not that!” or even “Do this” is hard for people, a lot of us aren’t taught to be open about our needs. But when we, again, build that communication into our play making it part of the excitement the benefits are three-fold. We get communicating, we get all hot and bothered and we way up the chances that we get what we want.
So, are we in agreement? Dirty talk is good, right? So how do we take you from sexual mime to aural sex master? I know the term “dirty talk” can be loaded for folks. It can feel like you’re being asked to jump into performative porn star sex- of course that’s a huge leap to make! Let’s make that a bit more manageable. To you novice dirty talkers out there, I say keep it simple and keep it real. What does that mean? Well, a mistake that so many folks make when trying out dirty talk is parroting bad stereotypes, things they’ve heard in porn or what they think dirty talk is “supposed to” be and it just doesn’t work because well, not all penises are “so big” not all vaginas are “so tight” and there are circumstances where announcing that your partner has been “very, very bad” just comes off weird so stick to what’s actually happening with the person you are actually with. Does it feel good when they touch you? Awesome, share that news. Do they have a great ass? They’d probably enjoy hearing about that. Are you excited to have sex with them? Tell them all about it. Maybe the best piece of dirty talk advice I have ever heard was uttered by the amazing Nina Hartley: “Don’t tell them what they want to hear, tell them what they need to know”.
Okay so what if you’re totally good to go on the talking front but your partner is basically a ninja? This happens. Sometimes you’re raring to go and you’re spouting off all sorts of lascivious stuff and your partner is totally silent. In this scenario whispering “talk dirty to me” often yields results that are awkward for everyone.(“Uh, I like… your, um… areola?” Not good) For goodness sake, help the poor ninja out! My advice here is not that different than my advice for any new talkers. Keep it real. I go with questions – “what do you want?” is especially successful in this scenario- or something more structured can also be helpful to get them comfortable verbalizing. I love the exercise described by Chris Gore in this Sex Nerd Sandra podcast. Whatever you do, just make sure you give them some guidance with it and understand that, as with any sexual activity, they may deem dirty talk not for them and that’s something you’ll have to negotiate.
So, that’s the story folks. If it works for you, dirty talk can be a sexual game-changer so get out there and get dirty!
A version of this piece appeared on Kinkly.com on February 15th 2013