By Erica Andrist
I’m a rhetoric major. I like words. I especially like them in bed. But the rhetoric that goes best in the bedroom isn’t along the lines of Derrida — I’m talking about dirty talk.
Trouble is, dirty talk can be kind of hard. It’s awkward to just blurt out, “Baby, your sweet ass makes me so hard I could cum right now,” mid-makeout session. But it can be equally awkward to ask, “Hey, would you like it if I said, ‘Baby, your sweet ass makes me so hard I could cum right now,’ mid-makeout session?” over, like, pizza or something. So what’s a would-be dirty talker to do?
Question 1: How do I get started?
Even though “dirty talk” has the word “talk” in it, communicating with a partner about it can be difficult. There are two good options for initiating dirty talk: outside the bedroom or inside. First, outside the bedroom is a lower-pressure situation. Broach the topic in a direct, but broad manner: “I think the sex we have is totally awesome, but I’ve been thinking I’d really like to try some dirty talk.” Since “some dirty talk” could encompass any number of things, if your partner has any interest whatsoever, he or she will probably ask you to elaborate — thereby giving you a perfect window to explain what you had in mind. If your partner is not interested, he or she might say, “I probably wouldn’t like that,” but since you weren’t in the bedroom, no mood was killed and no potential fuck was ruined.
However, it also works to introduce dirty talk inside the bedroom. If you’re having a one-night stand, this is pretty much your only shot. Additionally, you and your partner are probably already turned on, and turned-on people tend to be more receptive to new things. One method to try is asking your partner, “What do you want me to do to you?” Not only is this a great way to make sure what you’re doing is consensual, but your partner’s answer can also be a good gauge of how he or she will respond to dirty talk. If he or she says, “I’d like you to straddle me and fuck me ‘till I can’t see straight, please,” then it’s probably OK to just go ahead and say whatever you want. But even if your partner’s response isn’t quite so forward, pay attention to the words he or she uses. If she uses the word “penis,” then incorporate the word “penis” into whatever you say — not “cock,” not “dick,” and please, not “wiener.” If he says “ass,” then use “ass” — not “asshole,” not “anus,” and not “butt.”
Start slow. If you’re talking dirty to a partner you’ve never dirty-talked to before, don’t pull out the big guns right away. Throw in one word: “wet.” If your partner seems to respond well, throw in another: “hot and wet.” Pay attention — does your partner eagerly respond? Moan? Smile? Throw in another: “I want you to put your face between my legs and taste how hot and wet you made my sweet-spot power-slot.”
This, of course, is an ideal scenario. But maybe after you say, “Taste how hot and wet you made my sweet-spot power-slot,” your partner rears back, wide-eyed, but close-mouthed. This brings us to question No. 2…
Question 2: What if my partner thinks I’m a freak?
Sometimes, even if we’re perfectly polite about our sexual desires, our partners don’t respond well. Rejection hurts. On the one hand, we’ve got to recognize that not everybody will be into every sex activity, and that’s fine. Respecting our partners’ boundaries (and making sure our partners respect our own) is an important part of healthy sex. But if your cute new partner stares at you slack-jawed and says, “I didn’t think you were into stuff like that,” things can get santorum-sticky awfully fast.
Two options. No. 1 is to continue to negotiate. There are a whole lot of words and phrases that can be incorporated into dirty talk, and odds are really, really good that you can find something that works for everyone. If she’s not okay with “tits,” perhaps she’ll like “breasts.” Perhaps he’ll be comfortable so long as there aren’t any commands involved. As with many sexual activities, exploration (and sometimes straight-up trial and error) can teach us things about ourselves that we never would have expected.
No. 2: If you are interested in talking dirty and your partner absolutely refuses to negotiate, think about finding another partner. Our partners have no obligation to engage in sexual activities they don’t want to try for the sole purpose of making us happy — but we also have no obligation to remain with a partner who isn’t interested in the same things we’re interested in.
Question 3: What the fuck am I gonna say?
If the initiation of dirty talk goes well, then the next issue that comes up is, well, what to say. There are a number of useful methods for making your dirty talk sound sexy. The first is to practice. I am not joking. A really good way to practice is while masturbating. Start by just thinking about things you might say. After you find some words or phrases that really turn you on, say them out loud. One of the biggest secrets of successful dirty talk is that half of doing it well isn’t what you say — it’s how you say it. Smooth and self-assured sounds better than hesitant and nervous, no matter what is coming out of your mouth.
Related to this is to choose words that you think are hot and feel comfortable saying. If you don’t like “pussy,” then it’s going to be difficult to make yourself sound sexy saying it. Again, there are a whole lot of words and phrases out there, and some of them are bound to turn you on. Finding those words can be really, really fun — watch porn. Read erotica. Ask your partner what words turn her or him on, and see if any of them tickle your fancy.
Finally, remember that sex is at its core a hilarious activity — naked bodies thrusting together with all sorts of various fluids and sounds and awkward facial expressions. Sometimes, even the most experienced dirty talkers mess up. Once, a person who may or may not have been me (it was me) attempted to say, “Let me suck your cock,” but then decided to say “dick” at the last second, thereby busting out with, “Let me sick your duck.”
Yeah. What can a rhetoric degree do for you?
Erica Andrist is a senior facilitator with Sex Out Loud. If you’d like to see your question answered in a future Hump Day column if only because it would make Erica happy, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.