IN THE second season of the Netflix comedy-drama Sex Education, Colin, the health teacher—the guy literally responsible for sex education—is terrified to talk dirty to his partner, Emily. She wants him to call her a b*tch, but all polite Colin can muster is “lovely female dog.” Shockingly, it kills the mood.
The show is fiction, but the struggle is real. As a sex coach, I’ve met countless men who say they “just don’t do dirty talk.” And I see where they’re coming from: In the era of #MeToo, they want to be extra careful about respect and consent. Calling a woman a b*tch in the throes of lovemaking can seem, well, contrary to those goals.
But that’s not the case, and if you think that way, you’re missing out. Dirty talk lets you safely explore your deepest, darkest desires—and according to research, there’s a good chance your partner is craving it. In a survey of more than 4,000 Americans, Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., a research fellow at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, found that 93 percent of women had fantasized about their partner talking dirty to them, and 56 percent fantasized about it often. So let’s get it on, guys. I’m here to help you find your way with words.
Ease into dirty talk with sexting.
This way, you can gauge your partner’s reactions virtually, instead of face-to-face. (It’s so much easier to have someone say something isn’t their thing over text than midway through sex.) Start by describing a scene. Remember that what you’re sexting about doesn’t need to reflect what you’re really doing in the moment; you can say you’re naked in bed when you’re actually reading a book in your pajamas. Try these prompts:
😎Describe what you're wearing.
“I’m in a suit and tie. I look very put together. For now.”
“I’m taking off my belt and thinking about you.”
“I’m in that shirt you really like. The blue one.”
😈Describe what you’re “doing” right now.
“I’m lying in bed naked.”
“I’m touching myself.”
“I’m so hard right now, thinking about you.”
😛Describe what you want to do later.
“I want to strip you naked as soon as I see you.”
“I want to bend you over my desk when you get here.”
“I want to throw you on the bed and have my way with you.”
Here's what to say during IRL dirty talk.
Now’s the time to ask your partner, “I thought our sexting conversation yesterday was really hot. Did you?” If they agree, ask, “What did you like about it?” Once you have a sense of what they’re into, you’re ready for dirty talk in person. Try these sample scripts to get the ball rolling in the bedroom:
“You’re so sexy. I love it when you’re naked.”
“What do you want me to do to you?”
“I want to feel how wet you are.”
“Be a good little sl*t and spread your legs for me.”
“I can’t wait to slide my c*ck inside you.”
“I can’t wait to see your lips around my d*ck.”
Next, try these dirty talk "Mad Libs."
Fill in the blanks to spin some sexy scripts of your own.
Option 1: I love it when you [VERB] my [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN].
Option 2: You have the most [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN].
Option 3: You're so good at [VERB+ING] my [NOUN].
Option 1: I'm going to [VERB] your [NOUN] with my [NOUN].
Option 2: I'm going to [VERB] all over your/in your [NOUN].
Option 3: If you're not good, I'm going to [VERB] all over your/on your [NOUN].
Option 1: I want to touch your [NOUN] with my [NOUN].
Option 2: Will you [VERB] your/my [NOUN]?
Option 3: I've been naughty/bad. I deserve [FILL IN THE BLANK].
This is your partner's brain on dirty talk.
The psychology of dirty talk “hasn’t received a ton of study,” says Lehmiller. But some studies have reported that erotic stimuli (e.g., dirty talk) fire up the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that influences sexual behavior. That tracks with Lehmiller’s findings. “I [asked] whether people had fantasies about being called a sl*t or b*tch and found that this was quite popular,” he says. He found that 40 percent of women had fantasized about being called a demeaning name during sex.
One possible reason is that degrading language is considered taboo and therefore activates the brain’s fear responses in the amygdala—which also controls excitement and pleasure. “Another part of the explanation is that wanting to be called demeaning names is a form of masochism—the act of deriving pleasure from pain,” Lehmiller explains.
What's off-limits when it comes to dirty talk?
That being said, some words or phrases might be out of bounds for you or your partner, and it’s both of your jobs to know what they are. Tell her, “I love when you talk dirty. Can you call me [insert name here] in bed instead of Daddy? That would really do it for me.” She might reply, “It’s no big deal, but when you call me a b*tch, it’s not really a turn-on for me. I would love it if you called me a sl*t instead.”
Dirty words for body parts (p*ssy, c*ck, d*ck, t*ts, etc.) are also worth discussing; there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of them, but some people have strong reactions to one over another.
Here's where to get some extra dirty talk inspiration.
Reading erotica or listening to audio porn will expand your dirty-talk repertoire. It may also turn you on! “The immersive nature of listening to a real voice talk specifically and directly to you in a highly sexual manner is intensely exciting,” says Anna Richards, founder of Frolicme, an independent, ethical platform publishing films, erotic stories, and audio porn.
The Best Women’s Erotica, Volume 4, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Couples, by John Updike
Aqua Erotica: 18 Erotic Stories for a Steamy Bath, by Mary Anne Mohanraj
The Swimming-Pool Library, by Alan Hollinghurst
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E L James
Want more? Goodreads has an “Erotica for Men” reading list with more than 100 books.
Dipsea: Basically the Headspace of porn. It offers bite-sized erotic stories to get your motor going.
Frolicme: A one-stop shop for original, ethically made videos, erotic stories, and audio porn.
Some suggestions for erotic listening: Play it at the gym for ideas, turn it on while you’re having sex, or send it to a partner as a way to stoke their imagination.
This story originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of Men's Health.
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