Author: Jamie J. LeClaire
“Harder, faster, deeper, YES! Just like that.”
While, yes, maybe this phrase has been yelled at you before by an all-too-eager personal trainer or fitness instructor, I’m sure most of you accurately read that as “dirty talk." Although it might not be considered “vanilla," dirty talk is an increasingly mainstream part of people’s sexual practice.
Even if you’ve never participated in any dirty talk before, it’s recognizable. We’ve all been exposed to dirty talk on some level. You’ve probably heard some version of dirty talk in movies, TV or pornography, maybe you’ve read a book, fan fiction, or erotica, maybe you’ve talked about it with friends.
Not only is it a common practice, but according to a study conducted in 2012 on sexual satisfaction and communication, people who reported being more comfortable and confident in their sexual communication skills, which included dirty talk, reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction. That makes a lot of sense! Sex is a sensory experience, and pleasure and arousal are strongly impacted by the titillation of all the senses.
Genitals are great, but they would be nothing without our largest sex organ and erogenous zone, the brain, doing the literal most! Dirty talk gets those neurons firing. It has the ability to arouse, to inspire fantasy, to help you communicate and connect with a partner, and so much more!
Dirty talk can also be empowering for many. It’s often a part of street harassment, catcalls, sexualization, and online harassment, and using it for our own pleasure becomes an opportunity to change the narrative.
“You can take back the words, the shitty treatment from cis men, control it and rewrite the script into a consensual exchange,” Irina (they/them; 27) shares.
But, I get it...dirty talk can be daunting. Maybe you're new to it, maybe you’ve been out of the game for a while, or maybe you just want to add to your dirty talk repertoire—whatever your dirty talk experience, consider these tips before your next raunchy rendezvous.
Always discuss expectations around language
Before engaging in any type of dirty talk with a sexual partner, there needs to be a conversation about boundaries and language.
There are so many words and slang for genitals that range from ridiculous to possibly offensive. There’s a good chance that some of these may make you or your partner uncomfortable for whatever reason. Many trans and/or non-binary folks may feel uncomfortable, or even dysphoric, with the “textbook” word associated with their genitals, which is the last thing you’d want to do during a sexual encounter. Oli (she/they, 34), a self-identified genderqueer butch, echoes this sentiment, “I always like to check in about words they do and don't like, especially with regards to genitalia. Nothing worse than killing the mood by sending someone into a dysphoria spiral.”
Irina also stresses the importance of finding “words and scenarios that make both partners feel empowered and good.”
Dirty talking is subjective. Being called a “naughty slut” may send one person over the edge in a good way, but it could be a potential trigger for another. Prior communication with every new sexual partner is essential.
If it helps, there are tangible resources that can help you and your partner determine what is okay and what is off-limits, like the Scarleteen.org sexual inventory stocklist or Bex Caputo’s Yes/No/Maybe List.
Porn CAN be your muse
Porn (especially ethically made and produced porn) can be a great, low-stress, no-expectations way to discover all the possibilities of dirty talk. It can provide phenomenal insight into so many different styles of dirty talk that incorporate various power dynamics, personas, and role-playing scenarios!
Remember that as with every sexual act, dirty talk is NOT all-or-nothing, so when “learning” from porn take what you like and leave the rest. Use porn to find out what feels right, what turns you on, or what words you’re comfortable saying, just as much as you would use it to discover what you are NOT into and what your boundaries are.
Use dirty talk to communicate and check-in
One of my favorite things about dirty talk is the fact that in addition to being a serious turn-on, it doubles as sexual communication and ongoing consent.
First, dirty talk is an opportunity to tell your partner what you WANT—what you want them to do to you and what you want to do to them. For example:
“I want to feel your fingers inside me”
“I really want to ride you right now”
“I want you to come over here and feel how wet I am”
“I want you to make me cum so hard I can’t walk straight”
“I want you to tease me and make me beg for you”
It’s also an opportunity to both give feedback, get feedback, and check-in!
“Don’t stop, just like that, that feels so good!”
“You're so good with your mouth”
“How does that feel? Do you need more lube?”
“Do you like it when I lick your _____?”
“What do you want me to do to you?”
Don’t stress about it too much! As Emma (she/her, 30) points out, “everything sounds silly the first few times. You're going to occasionally misspeak but it becomes natural pretty easily!”
An oldie, but goodie
Popularized by Dan Savage, this is a great approach for folks who are newer to dirty talk. It’s easy to remember, super straight-forward and works for anybody!
1) Say what you want to do/what you're going to do!
“I can’t wait to get you out of these clothes”
“I can’t wait to fuck you with this dildo”
“I’m going to eat you out until you’re screaming my name”
2) Say what you’re doing!
“Omg I love the way you feel inside me”
“I love pleasing you with your vibrator”
“Do you like it when I tease you like this?”
3) Say what you did!
“Wow that felt so fucking good”
“I loved feeling how wet you were”
“It was so hot to watch you cum”
The case for digital dirty talk
There are multiple benefits to incorporating dirty texting. Dirty talking via texting offers us limitless—you might even say unbounded—possibilities for arousal.
You can also use it to communicate what your fantasies, desires, and boundaries are beforehand. As Irina says, “Nothing like getting excited toward meeting a partner and asking for what you want via some prior dirty texting!” Do you love to be tied up? Spanked with a flogger? Use dirty texting to let your partner know!
In addition to being a way to practice getting comfortable with dirty talk, dirty texting utilizes one of the strongest arousal techniques, anticipation. Sharing a naughty text exchange with a partner prior to meeting up in person can really get your gears going and make for some mind-blowing sex!
Remember that dirty talk takes a bit of practice and communication (and a good sense of humor), but with these tips in mind, it can easily spice up anyone’s sex life!
Jamie J. LeClaire (they/them) is a non-binary freelance writer and sex educator. Their work focuses on sexual health and wellness, queer and trans identity, body politics, chronic illness and cannabis, nonmonogamy and more! You can find out more about them and their one-on-one coaching, speaking, and workshop offerings on their website. Follow them on Instagram at @JamieJLeClaire.