There are few places where feedback can be more important than in the bedroom. Knowing what’s working (or not) can lead to better, more rewarding se-x. When done well, dirty talk can drive your partner crazy. When done poorly, it can drive them, well, home. Literally. And since we all have different tastes, it’s unfair and inaccurate to craft an arbitrary list of “do’s” and “don’ts.” Instead, we asked thirty men and women to share their dirty-talk thoughts. What we found? Successful dirty talk isn’t always about the actual words used, but more about connection and intention. Here’s a list of suggestions for your coitus convos, first of which is to never, ever call them that.
Talk About the Dirty Talk
This may seem obvious, but if you aren’t sure what kind of dirty talk your partner likes or if they like dirty talk at all, ask them! If you feel comfortable enough putting your parts in their parts, or vice versa, you should be comfortable enough to have a conversation. Communication will help avoid any awkward slips ups of “oh sorry, I thought you liked being called ‘daddy’s little donkey-face!'” Maybe it’ll reveal desires neither of you knew the other had. And if you’re still too nervous to bring up the topic, try sending them this article.
Most people told me they like when the se-x talk involves words of encouragement and compliments like “you’re so se-xy,” “I wanted you all night,” “you make me feel good.” Se-x is not the time to bring up unresolved issues like “you’re emotionally unable to provide me with the stability needed to start a family.” If you’re having relationship problems, talk about them when you’re not boning. This is not to say you can’t get derogatory in your dirty talk, but only if they said (see #1) that they are comfortable with that.
Never Fake It
A huge turn-off to everyone I spoke to is when their partner fakes dirty talk. I can admit that there have been times where I repeated lines from a porn in bed because I thought it sounded se-xy—”meow meow, make that kitten purr!”—but the result was completely un-se-xy. It’s like when your supervisor tries to quote Drake lyrics and you’re like oh, HELL no.
I once slept with a guy who’d repeatedly say “you’re so wet.” The first couple of times it was se-xy, but after the tenth I was like wait, is the roof leaking? He was just tossing generic lines at me. Being specific lets the other person know that they specifically turn you on. So tell them exactly what you like about their body, or exactly how they smell or taste. Say their name. Not only is it se-xy to hear someone moan your name, but it also assures us that you actually know it.
Respond When Prompted
This is a conversation, not a monologue. Even a grunt of assent is better than nothing.