The Beginner's Guide to Talking Dirty in Bed

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Humans are verbal creatures—in relationships, we use our words to express our deepest emotions, desires, needs, and fantasies. Ever tried watching porn with the sound off? It just doesn’t have the same effect—and that’s because hearing certain words or phrases can be a major turn-on. But while porn stars may have no qualms about uttering filthy phrases during sex, many of us regular folk tend to blush at the mere thought of saying such words out loud. And is it any wonder? Even the phrase “dirty talk” sounds shameful or bad. But it’s time to change that.

According to Lee-ann Cordingley, a clinical sexologist and sex coach, dirty talk can trigger feelings of vulnerability, especially for men who may be used to expressing themselves with physical touch rather than words. Still, she stresses that the benefits outweigh the risks here.

The psychology of dirty talk “hasn’t received a ton of study,” says Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., a researcher at the Kinsey Institute and member of the Men’s Health Advisory Panel. 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 own scientific research. “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% of women had fantasized about being called a demeaning name during sex.

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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.

Not only can these racy narratives upgrade your sex life, but they can also strengthen your relationship. Dr. Jess O’Reilly, resident sexologist for Astroglide, adds that dirty talk is also a great way to build anticipation and cultivate consent—both before and during intimacy. While talking about what you want to do, what you plan on doing, or how you’re feeling in the moment, you and your partner can get a better sense of where the boundaries are and make sure you’re on the same page.

“Learning to seduce with your words is a skill that will enhance your sex life and may also improve overall communication,” O’Reilly explains. “And learning to talk dirty can make sex more compelling and intense, as it engages multiple regions of the brain including those involved in processing sound and emotion for a powerful mind-body experience.”

How do you know if your partner is into dirty talk?

Something to keep in mind: dirty talk isn’t for everyone. So, before you start spewing out explicit phrases, consider asking your partner whether they’re on board—and more specifically, if there are any particular words that make them cringe or feel downright uncomfortable. (We recommend having this conversation when you’re not in the middle of a hookup, so no one feels pressured to answer one way or another.)

The next time you’re eating breakfast together or just laying in bed snuggling, you could ask, “Hey, out of curiosity, how do you feel about dirty talk?” And if they’re into it, you could ask, “What would you like to hear me say? Are there any words you’re not cool with?”

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. They might say, “When partners 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.

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:

ğŸ˜ŽDescribe 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.

Nervous newbies, listen up: there are several ways to ease into dirty talk.

Cordingley suggests just practicing some racy words or phrases out loud when you’re alone so you can get more comfortable hearing yourself say them.

Once you’re ready to try this with your partner, Cordingley recommends keeping the lights off or at a dim level, which may make you feel a little less exposed and inhibited. Start with small tidbits of feedback, says O’Reilly—a simple “don’t stop” or “that feels so fucking good” can go a long way.

Asking questions can encourage your partner to amp up the dirty talk, too, O’Reilly says. For instance, you might ask them:

  • “Do you like that?”
  • “Do you want me to make you come?”
  • “Do you want me to come for you?”
  • “Where do you want me to come?”
  • “Do you want me to taste you?”
  • “What can I do to make you feel good?”

Nicoletta Heidgger, a sexologist and host of the Sluts and Scholars podcast, also suggests reading or listening to erotica to get some inspiration. And when in doubt, you can always just narrate what’s happening in the moment, Cordingley says.

Rachel Wright, MA, LMFT, recommends using your senses to describe what you’re feeling, seeing, smelling, tasting, and hearing. Here are some of Wright’s suggestions for what to say.

  • For how things feel: “Your X feels so incredible against my Y.”
  • For how things look: “Your X looks unbelievably sexy right now.”
  • For how things smell: “Your X smells like heaven. I could stay here all night.”
  • For how things taste: “You taste so damn sweet. I could eat you for every meal.”
  • For how things sound: “I love hearing the sound of your ass slapping against me.”

Here are some sample dirty talk scripts to keep the creative juices flowing:

  • “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.”
  • “Want to feel how hard you make me?”
  • “I want you to tell me exactly what to do to get you off.”
  • “Tell me where you want me to touch you.”
  • “Do you like when I stroke you fast or slow?”
  • “Show me how bad you want me.”
  • “Spread your legs wide. Your body is mine tonight.”
  • “How about you get over here and show me who’s boss?”
  • “I’ve been bad today… how are you going to punish me?”
  • “I want to taste you.”
  • “I love the way you smell.”
  • “Show me exactly what you want me to do to you.”
  • “I want you to bend over for me.”
  • “Push your ass back towards me. I want to feel all of you.”
  • “I want to fill you up.”
  • “How deep do you want me to go?”
  • “I want you to look me in the eyes while I’m inside you.”
  • “I love to hear you moan while I’m going down on you.”
  • “I need you so bad right now.”
  • “Get on top of me and don’t get off until you come.”
  • “I want to kiss every inch of your body.”
  • “Your tongue feels so good right there.”
  • “Tease me until I’m begging for it.”
  • “You like it when I do that, don’t you?”
  • “I love when you’re in control.”
  • “Tonight I want to make you come again and again.”
  • “I love watching us in the mirror.”
  • “Just lie back and relax while I make you feel good.”
  • “Tease me until I’m begging for it.”
  • “How horny are you right now?”
  • “I’m going to make you scream with pleasure.”
  • “How fast do you think I can make you come?”
  • “I want to tear you clothes off right now.”
  • “I could spend all day inside you.”
  • “How hard do you want it tonight?”
  • “I love when we come at the same time.”

Next, try these dirty talk “Mad Libs.”

Fill in the blanks to spin some sexy scripts of your own.

The compliment:

  • “I love it when you [VERB] my [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN].”
  • “You have the most [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN].”
  • “You’re so good at [VERB+ING] my [NOUN].”
  • “It feels so amazing when you [VERB] my [NOUN].”
  • Your [NOUN] gets me so hard every time.”
  • “Your [NOUN] feels so [ADJECTIVE] on my [NOUN].”
  • “What a hot [NOUN] you have. It makes me want to [VERB].”

The anticipation:

  • “I’m going to [VERB] your [NOUN] with my [NOUN].”
  • “I’m going to [VERB] all over your/in your [NOUN].”
  • “If you’re naughty, I’m going to [VERB] all over your/on your [NOUN].”
  • “I can’t wait to [VERB] inside your [NOUN].”
  • “If you’re good, I’ll reward you by [VERB] your [NOUN].”
  • “When I’m done with you, you’re going to feel [ADJECTIVE].”
  • “All day I’ve just been fantasizing about [VERB] your [NOUN].”
  • “If you keep [VERB], I’m going to [VERB].”

The request:

  • “I want to touch your [NOUN] with my [NOUN].”
  • “Will you [VERB] your/my [NOUN]?”
  • “I’ve been naughty/bad. I deserve [FILL IN THE BLANK].”
  • “Keep doing [VERB] to my [NOUN].”
  • “I’ve been waiting all day for you to show me your [NOUN]. It makes me want to [VERB].”
  • “How about I try [VERB] to your [NOUN]? Would that turn you on?”
  • “Can I watch you [VERB] while I [VERB]?”

Follow your dirty talk with aftercare.

Dirty talk can get really kinky, really fast! That’s why it’s a good idea to practice aftercare: essentially, any routine that helps everyone feel safe and cared for after a sexual interaction. “Be sure to check in with your partner after sex to see how they are processing and feeling about your dirty talk session,” says sex and relationship educator, Jen Hinds, M.Ed.

“If things got really hot and heavy verbally, you’ll want to make sure your partner is feeling heard because big emotions can arise!”

Especially for those that enjoy consensually degrading verbal play, aftercare is an essential piece of sex to keep the consent, communication, and boundaries in line for all.

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.

For reading:

The Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, 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

Online News Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4

Cleis Press Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4
Credit: Cleis Press

Online News Couples: A Novel

Random House Trade Couples: A Novel
Credit: Random House Trade

Online News Aqua Erotica: 18 Stories for a Steamy Bath

Broadway Books Aqua Erotica: 18 Stories for a Steamy Bath
Credit: Broadway Books

Online News The Swimming-Pool Library - (Vintage International) by Alan Hollinghurst (Paperback)

The Swimming-Pool Library – (Vintage International) by Alan Hollinghurst (Paperback)
Credit: Vintage International

Online News Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

Random House Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

Now 22% Off

Credit: Vintage Books

Want more? Goodreads has an “Erotica for Men” reading list with more than 100 books.

For listening:

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.

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