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How To Talk Dirty

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Updated May 22, 2014

a black and white close up photograph of someone whispering in someone's ear.
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Talking dirty to the one you love (or even just the one you’re with) is one of those sexual activities most people need to ease in to. Like any sexual activity, it isn't going to be to everyone's liking, but even those who are turned on by the idea of talking or hearing sexy or smutty words during sex are often shy about it at first. This makes a lot of sense when you think about all the social messages about sex being shameful.

Even the idea that sex talk is "dirty" links to that sense of shame (although I'm using it here in an effort to make it more playful than shameful. Whatever you call it, letting loose and speaking your desire means exposing yourself and your desires, and that usually feels scary the first time. If you're curious about exploring a different kind of oral and aural sex, here are some ideas on where to start.


Here's How:
  1. Be Authentic
    Dirty talk can feel silly if you expect it to be what you’ve seen in the movies. Good dirty talk doesn't follow a specific script, it's what you make it, and to do it well, you have to be yourself. While you may take on some elements of a fantasy role (e.g. the ravished submissive, the dominant boor) you need to find something of yourself in the role. Make a list of different aspects of your personality you can draw on for inspiration.
  2. Find Your Voice
    Your dirty talk might be low rhythmic grunts, high pitched squeals, or precise whispers. It might reflect the way you talk in your daily life, or it might express a different aspect of your personality that you rarely get to explore. You don’t need to pick only one voice, the element of surprise can add an extra sense of anticipation, when your partner doesn’t know what they’re going to get an earful of next!
  3. Build Your Vocabulary.
    Most of us are raised not to swear. But here's your opportunity to pull out all the stops on the foul mouth express. Unless your role playing calls for it, you probably want to avoid clinical terms. If you’re at a loss, do some research. Both of the books recommended below have lists of words. But you can do research online, by reading some raunchy erotica, or in some cases watching porn (although the dirty talk in porn tends to be unimaginative). You may even want to turn to something like the Urban Dictionary although the slang there may be more funny than hot.
  4. Practice On Your Own
    Carol Queen, author of the highly recommended Exhibitionism for the Shy, suggests starting on your own, talking dirty while you masturbate. Fantasize about having sex with your partner and talking to them. You can start by doing it in your head, but eventually do it out loud.
  5. Establish Ground Rules
    One of the reasons many of us don’t talk dirty is fear of sounding ridiculous, or being put down or rejected by a partner. It’s important to set some ground rules when you’re willing to take risks like this. Rules like no laughing at one another (laughing together is fine), and no judgment are important. In the heat of the moment anything can come out of your mouth, and you need to know that your partner is respectful of the ways that can be exposing.

  6. Start Slow
    Don’t feel you have to rush right into elaborate verbal gymnastics. A great way to start with dirty talk is to describe out loud what is happening during sex. Things like "I love the way your hand feels in my..." or "your...feels so good on/in my..." Describe what’s happening and how it feels in your body. You can also experiment by telling your partner something you’re going to do to them, or something you want them to do to you.
  7. Experiment with Your Voice
    Most of us take for granted all the different things we can do with our voice, and the impact these changes have. Experiment with speed, how fast you talk. Some things call for a staccato barrage, while some things are best said slowly. Change the volume of your voice, try whispering, try screaming, try everything in the middle. Also play with the tenor of your voice. You can sound commanding and harsh, trembling and uncertain, and everywhere in between.
  8. Make Dirty Talk a Two Way Conversation
    Once you’ve taken the risk and initiated talking dirty with your partner, ask them to do the same. It isn’t for everyone, and you might find that you like doing it more than hearing it (or vice versa). But being on the receiving and the giving end of dirty talk can give you a different perspective on it, plus you may learn a few things from your partner you didn’t already know.
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