Behind Closed Doors: Dirty talk

It’s hard to talk about sex. It’s taboo, simple as that. We’re taught from a young age that our thoughts about sex are best kept to ourselves, never mind the dysfunction that it creates with our friends, family and the other people in our lives. This attitude makes it hard for us to tell our partners how we’re feeling during sex. For the good of us all, let’s get better at verbalizing our feelings about sex, particularly while we’re having it. That’s right; I mean let’s get better at dirty talk.

Let’s get this out of the way: Sometimes you will sound stupid. Get over it. It’ll be funny later. If you’re shy about being vocal with a new partner, wait until it’s with somebody you know well. For a little added assurance, make sure you’re somewhere with relatively thick walls. It will be somewhat less funny if other people hear, too.

Getting better at talking to your partner will improve the quality of your sex. It’s an important and often overlooked part of foreplay. When you start talking, you’ll be less inhibited and more likely to act on your feelings and come away more satisfied. In addition, some people respond in a very physical way to that sort of stimulation. Not only are you setting the mood, you’re also working to condition a physiological response that can enhance the physical aspect of sex. Even though it feels awkward at first, I promise that a little more chat when you’re warming up will improve your sex life right from the get-go.

Our generation has something working in its favor when putting words to our feelings about sex. We are more and more adept at verbalizing what we want and what turns us on because, for better or worse, we do it over text. For the record, I totally hate the word “sexting.” It really sounds like something our middle school gym teachers lectured about in health class. However, while it trivializes the concept, the word “sexting” does capture a trend that is surprisingly new among young people, which is the ability to say how they feel about sex.

Of course, when you’re behind a keyboard there is the advantage of being able to think about what you want to say (and reel it in if things get out of hand), but it really isn’t so different. If you’re that bold behind a keyboard, you probably know the words you want to use, and it’s worth trying it face-to-face. In any case, if something doesn’t come out quite right, at least it’s not floating around the internet forever.

The most important thing I can say about sex talk is that you need to be sincere. Of course you will feel ridiculous if you try to sound like a porn star, because porn is not real sex and doesn’t have the same feelings associated with it. The ability to talk to your partner during sex comes most naturally when you say what you feel. Let your partner know what feels good. Suggest things you want to try. Remind them of something they do that you love. It doesn’t have to be explicit or artfully phrased or perfectly thought out. It only needs to be truthful.

Maybe dirty talk is a bit of a misnomer for verbalizing specific aspects of sex with a partner. Being able to talk about what makes you feel good and ways to be sexually fulfilled is not “dirty”; it’s healthy. Go ahead and say what you feel. There is no need to be a sonneteer of carnal verbiage, only to be honest and willing to laugh if it doesn’t come off quite like you wanted. Blunders and all, you’ll have better sex.

Cate M. is a Behind Closed Doors columnist who thinks that sexting is no excuse for poor grammar. 


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