How To Talk Dirty With Your Partner Without Feeling Like An Anti-Feminist Idiot

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 05: A model poses backstage ahead of the Kooey show during Rosemount Australian Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011/12 at Overseas Passenger Terminal on May 5, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images)
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We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a licensed sex psychotherapist based in San Francisco, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto this week's topic: How to talk dirty (without feeling like an idiot). 

Q: My boyfriend and I have pretty good sex, if I do say so myself. Only problem is, when it's comes to talking dirty, I have no clue what to do. I know things might be hotter if we actually talked to each other. How do I talk dirty without feeling like an idiot?

A: Don't worry, you're not the only one — there’s an epidemic of silent sex going on in this country. I hear about it from my clients all the time. “I had no idea what was going on in her head — she was so quiet. I couldn’t tell if he hated it or loved it.”

Most people tend to avoid making much noise because they worry about saying something their partner doesn’t like, feeling like a poor imitation of a pornstar, or just not knowing what to say. So they settle for quiet sex because it seems like the lesser of two evils.

I’m here to teach you how to make some noise in bed — without feeling like a moron. Talking dirty is a great skill to learn because it brings liveliness into the bedroom in so many ways. It keeps you present in the moment. It develops your communication abilities. It taps into your primal nature. It connects you to your sense of pleasure, and can actually help you feel even more turned on. And there are plenty of ways to do it without feeling like a dumbass. Here are my tips.

Above All Else, Be Yourself

I once worked with a woman who was very vocal in the bedroom — but hated herself for it. She only said the things she thought her boyfriend wanted to hear, and she felt like she was putting on an act. I think this is where a lot of people go wrong with sex talk. You don’t need to play a role or pretend to be someone you’re not in order to talk dirty. Give yourself permission to just be you in the bedroom. For example, don’t use words that make your stomach turn, and don’t try to use filthy language if you’re a more modest person. Be authentic.

Expect a Little Discomfort

If you’re completely new to dirty talk, it’s going to feel uncomfortable at first. It’s OK to be a little awkward! Learning something new is always challenging. You don’t want to force yourself to talk dirty if you’re genuinely not interested in it, but I think it’s important to note that you’re never going to improve any aspect of your life unless you push yourself a bit. Embrace your growing pains.

Practice Makes Hotness

You can actually start talking dirty on your own. The idea of practicing sex talk may sound stupid, but it’s actually an easy way to figure out what your comfort levels are, what words you like, and how dirty talk affects you.

If you feel particularly bashful, start with moaning first. Let out a few sighs or groans, or breathe heavily. Try saying a few simple things like "that feels good" or "yes." You can do this while touching your body or masturbating, to get a sense of what it’s like to be verbal when you’re feeling stimulated.

As you’re practicing, try to identify what feels most natural to you. What dirty talk doesn’t immediately make you burst into laughter or cringe in embarrassment? Are you more comfortable saying "dick" or "penis?" Does moaning feel better than talking? Do you like being more playful and teasing, or more serious and erotic? If you find things that feel uncomfortable, practice saying them a few times before declaring them not your style.

Talking Dirty With Your Partner 

Once you’re ready to have an audience for your sexy talk, start with giving your partner feedback about what you liked after you’ve finished having sex. Tell him the things that you really enjoyed about that particular interaction, for example, “I loved when you threw me down onto the bed.” This is a pretty low-intensity way to discuss sex, and will help you feel more comfortable talking openly. You’ll also give yourself some ideas about what to say in the future.

If your partner is already vocal in the sack, try taking some cues from him. See how you can engage with what he’s doing. What types of things does he usually say? How does he tend to talk to you? What aspects of his dirty talk to you like or dislike?

In terms of what to say, focus on what feels good in the moment. What’s catching your attention? What’s bringing you the most pleasure? Share that with your partner in the words that feel comfortable to you. For example, “my thighs are tingling right now” or “I love kissing you like that.” When you verbalize what you like, it serves to heighten your experience of pleasure. Think about eating ice cream that you’re enjoying silently. Now think about eating your ice cream while exclaiming, “this is the best ice cream I have ever eaten." Totally different experience, right?

Additional Benefits of Talking Dirty

Explaining what’s bringing you pleasure benefits your partner too. Most men appreciate hearing your enthusiasm. It’s a turn-on in the moment, and it helps them learn what you like for the future. Knowing that you’re enjoying yourself also helps relieve some of the performance pressure guys feel during sex.

Other potential topics of dirty talk include telling your partner how attracted to him you are, explaining what you want to do to him, or sharing what you’d like him to do to you. You can also of course share status updates like, "I’m close" or "I’m coming." Keep it simple at first. You can convey a lot in just a few words!

If there are certain things you feel uncomfortable saying, you and your partner can create your own code words. You don’t have to be explicit to talk dirty. For example, most women hate the phrase "eat me out," but you could say "I want your tongue down there" or "I want you to do that thing I like."

But Isn't it Anti-feminist to Use Certain Dirty Words?

It's OK to be turned on by words like "slut" and "whore" that would offend you outside the bedroom. That's part of what you're playing with — taking back derogatory, "pornstar" language and turning it into something that turns you on, rather than something that men might use to degrade you.

Once you get more comfortable being verbal, you may want to start getting more graphic. Describe what you want in greater detail. A lot of people enjoy using language they otherwise hate when they’re talking dirty. There’s something thrilling about using a word that’s "bad." If you’re unsure about particular words or phrases, talk to your partner about it beforehand. For example, you could say, “Sometimes when we’re having sex I get so into it and want you to call me dirty names like ‘slut.' How does that sound to you?” 

I know I’ve been keeping the focus on being authentic, but it’s also OK to play up a different aspect of your personality with your sex talk. Maybe you’re rather shy in your everyday life, but you want to experiment with being dominant and bossy in the bedroom. The key is to make sure it’s coming from a place of genuine curiosity and interest within you.

During all of your experiments with talking in the bedroom, keep in mind that no one is judging you. Your partner isn’t waiting around listening for grammatical errors or stutters. It’s fine to try out a few things and see how it goes. Your partner might be able to pick up on some of your discomfort or embarrassment, but odds are he’ll be so excited about your efforts that he won’t care. Have fun with it!

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

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