How to Talk Dirty

There’s very little hotter than someone keeping up a steady stream of steamy, throaty descriptions of everything they want to do to you during sex — there’s also very little that’s more vulnerable to actually try doing yourself. For many of us, one of the great things about sex is that it represents the culmination of all that work about expressing desire and risking rejection from the other person and we finally get to just enjoy ourselves; why put yourself out there all over again?

Well, verbally as well as physically expressing desire during sex can really deepen emotional intimacy and your partner’s security; and for both long-term and more casual partners, it can really cement your connection as the best sex of their life. Getting into dirty talk during sex can also actually help you stay more present and engaged with what you’re thinking and feeling, as well as opening up throughlines of communication for both you and your partner. But how do you get started? Here are some steps to getting more comfortable and confident with dirty talk:

Start talking in bed, full stop

Obviously, when we’re in bed with an activity partner, serious or casual, small talk isn’t necessarily what’s on your mind. That’s totally fine! It’s also fine if you’re naturally more on the quiet side, for whatever reason — some people naturally want to feel very present in the moment and connected by talking and communicating during sex, and others want to be able to really focus and lose themselves in the moment, so are a little less chatty.

However, if you’d like to eventually be the sensual smooth-talking lover you dream of, you will have to start somewhere. Instead of trying to perform a complete 180 overnight – always a setup for failure – start small by finding approachable ways to be communicative during sex. Ask your partner questions that will be genuinely helpful — “would you rather I keep doing that, or do this instead?” “Do you need me to move a pillow under your head so it doesn’t hit the wall?”. Start trying to give your partner very basic feedback — say their name, or make a point to moan out loud; tell them “that feels so good, please don’t stop.” Trust me, they’ll appreciate it!

Name what’s happening

Once you feel comfortable being verbally present as a baseline, you can try the most basic tenet of dirty talk: naming what’s happening and talking about what you and your partner are doing. This can sound awkward like you’re having bad phone sex; but in practice, it doesn’t need to be. If you’re someone who usually takes a more active role, you can describe or tease with what you’re about to do — “I can’t wait to flip you over and bend you over the edge of the bed,” or “I wanna see what you taste like.” If you’re someone who tends to have things done to you in bed rather than acting, you can name what your partner is doing and tell them how much you like it: “You know I love it when you do that thing with your fingers.”

You don’t need to necessarily categorize these things in your head as ‘dirty talk;’ they’re a natural extension of expressing your attraction to and desire for your partner, in the same way that you probably don’t think of complimenting their outfit as ‘flirting.’ It feels good to name what you like and how you enjoy spending time with your partner – you can even make a point to extend this to other parts of your life outside the bedroom, explicitly declaring “I want to take you to dinner this weekend because I know you’ve had a hard day and want you to get to wear a pretty dress out in public,” rather than “do you wanna get Italian this weekend?”

Name what you’re thinking and feeling

More advanced than naming and describing actions, a more challenging (and even hotter) approach to try is talking about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking about during sex, most importantly how hot you’re finding it and how turned on you are by your partner. It’s a lot like sexting in this way — the specifics of getting into lush detail or using just the right words aren’t actually important, it’s just about effectively communicating the intensity of how you feel. Most of us have a memory of hearing a truly transported, blissed-out “Oh my God” at some point with a sexual partner, and it likely holds more charge and electricity for us than the most erudite and illustrative paragraph-long sext that’s a little more clinical and cold.

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