How to Talk Dirty in Bed, According to Porn Stars

It's all about communication, you filthy animals.

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Oct 12 2018, 8:20am

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Though it may seem like garnish on the main dish, dirty talk is, for a fair number of people, an important part of satisfying sex. On a purely sensual level, whispering (or screaming) nasty nothings at the right moment can get everyone in a sexual encounter a little (or a lot) more turned on, and make them feel whatever is happening more acutely. (As kink and tantra educator Jane Jett puts it, “the mind is the most important sex organ, and it can be reached by words as well as by physical contact.”) On a practical level, it allows partners to communicate their needs, desires, and reactions without feeling like they’re breaking the mood or getting too clinical. On an almost therapeutic level, it can free one to highlight different aspects of their personality, or play with fantasies to spice things up in a long-term relationship. It can even, some experts argue, help people reclaim derogatory sexual language used against them in a trusting, safe sexual encounter, turning everyday slurs and vulgarity into a source of power and pleasure.

Yet despite the inherent appeal of, and apparent widespread interest in, dirty talk, many people struggle with or just never try it. Four years ago, the sex therapist Vanessa Marin went so far as to diagnose America with an “epidemic of silent sex.” This disconnect between interest and action largely stems from the fact that dirty talk can be intimidating, especially for those just starting out. How do you even start, especially if you aren’t good at coming up with ideas on the fly? Are there specific things you have to say? What if the things you feel like you’re supposed to say don’t feel natural? What if you say something that turns your partner off? What if the things you want to say feel too dirty? Do they make you a creep? Do they mean you’re damaged or porn-brainwashed? Forget turning them off, will they make your partner hate you?

Those trying to figure out how to talk dirty can easily find endless how-to guides online, or even the occasional in-person seminar or class. But many are bad. They offer supposedly surefire lines or tactics. Such lists are almost guaranteed to fail, given how individualistic people’s tastes and desires are, and how forced it sounds to rattle off perfunctory smarm. Others offer some good advice, like communicating with a partner before sex about their dirty talk dos and don’ts, building up the intensity of dirty talk with any given partner slowly and individualistically through gradual practice and feedback, and encouraging dirty talk from a partner through questions, body language, or dirty talk of your own. But they can also contain dubious advice, like lean on alcohol for comfort. Or you might not trust an author’s credibility.

In an effort to help those in doubt clear up their confusion about how to approach dirty talk, or just feel more confident in their game, VICE recently reached out to a few experts in the field: porn stars.

Porn itself, it's worth noting, is not a great guide to dirty talk, as performers themselves admit. It does offer, notes performer Riley Reyes, “a lot of examples of different types of dirty talk” one could try out, from the gentle and seductive to the downright filthy. That is why a number of sexual educators and therapists recommend porn transcripts, or other erotica, for dirty talk ideas, or just familiarization with all the possible forms it can take. And knowing the porn your partner likes, says actress Brenna Sparks, “can really give you some big hints” to build on.

But, as performer Lola Fae notes, porn dirty talk often gets repetitive. You have to get creative to keep it interesting. Star Kimmie KaBoom adds that porn, a scripted fantasy, can build unrealistic expectations about how the average person might react to a given form of dirty talk. That’s especially true when it comes to more outlandish porn dirty talk, which seems widely effective on screen, but may be niche in real life. “In porn,” says performer Larkin Love, by way of an example, “you could say ‘I want to fill your pussy with a watermelon-flavored wine cooler and make you squirt it all over the windows while I bang your mom,’ and pretend that it gets us super horny. If you want to try that one in your own life, let me know how it goes.”

Many porn stars, though, are knowledgeable sex workers, with years of experience under their belts discussing sex and desire openly and widely with people of varied proclivities. Their experiences on set and off give them a fair degree of insight into how to approach dirty talk writ large. Granted, not all of their advice will work for everyone—especially people who know, or find with practice, that dirty talk just doesn’t do it for them. (Not liking dirty talk, Jett stresses, “is totally fine too. Nobody should ever do anything that feels in any way forced or uncomfortable” in sex.) But their insights, presented below, are a good starting point for anyone looking to learn more about dirty talk, especially novices who are utterly confused about where to start.

Why do you think so many people have trouble approaching dirty talk?

Lindsay Leigh : I believe it has to do with confidence. If you are embarrassed or nervous to say something like "lick my asshole," it will come out sounding wimpy and awkward.

Riley Reyes: People tend to get in their own heads. Dirty talk can be really intimidating.

Kimmie KaBoom: Unfortunately, most people have been taught that it is wrong to do it. And by the time they realize it is actually OK to be themselves, they don't have a clue how to do it.

Kiki Daire : Dirty talk [also] leads to a certain vulnerability that is a touch scary in a world of impersonal text messages.

How can people get over their apprehensions about, or lack of confidence in, dirty talk?

Lola Fae: People cannot excel at skills they do not develop. If a person struggles with dirty talk, they must merely begin somewhere.

Larkin Love: No one starts off great at sex. So treat dirty talk the same way. Ignore the XXX fantasies and build up your own arsenal of skills based on your experience.

Riley Reyes: Once you get started, it's really easy.

How should people start dirty talking, either for the first time ever or with a new partner?

Brenna Sparks: The safest method of experimenting is by casually throwing in one or two lines during sex and just seeing the response.

Lola Fae: Try it in bed, or when flirting. If they stay turned on, they are probably receptive! Also, you can just ask. Communication is key. Talk about how you want to be for that person. [Find out things like] is your partner dominant… submissive? [Then work from that.]

Riley Reyes: You could even watch porn together and comment on it. That way you can see what they think is sexy or what they think sounds silly, without having to put yourself out there.

What do you think people most often get wrong when they’re exploring dirty talk?

Kimmie KaBoom: First of all, not communicating with [their] partner.

Kiki Daire: Trying to take things they've read or heard and use them with a partner without communication [about them]. If it doesn't fit the two of you, it can come off as just silly.

Riley Reyes: The most common complaint I hear is that people imitate porn dirty talk when it’s unrealistic. You don't have to talk about how huge someone is if they've got an average-sized dick.

Lindsay Leigh: Undiscussed boundaries. Being uncomfortable is a total mood killer. You and your partner never want to feel forced or disrespected during a sexual act, unless they ask for it.

Riley Reyes: Never use derogatory or insulting terms for your partner without asking first, or at least following their lead. If a woman calls herself a filthy slut in her own dirty talk, you can probably do the same. But, don't just come out of the gate with that kind of talk.

Larkin Love: Skipping levels when escalating the language. You can't just go leaping from "I want to feel the swell of your nipples as I caress them with tips of my fingers" to "I'm going to fuck your ass with my 11-inch strap-on while your mom watches from the closet.”

Brenna Sparks: A lot of people just dirty talk way too much. People can be turned on by just a few words. You get absolutely no additional benefit from saying more. But you [run] the risk of making it awkward. So don’t waste your time on saying a lot [instead of saying what works.]

What is the best way for people to avoid these, or other, potential dirty talk faux pas?

Kimmie KaBoom: Communication!

Kiki Daire: As hard as it can be, all sex starts with questions about what [you and your partner like]. Once you have an idea of that, it's much easier to tailor dirty talk to your partner. [So] don't be afraid to ask your partner for guidance. And communicate what you want, as well.

Lindsay Leigh Either mention you are trying something new beforehand. or ask your partner what they are comfortable with. Discuss it playfully out of the bedroom and see their reaction. They might be more into it than you think.

Johnny Goodluck: If you are in the sack [with a partner] for the first time, start light, and adjust accordingly depending on how they're reacting.

Larkin Love: Start slow. Pay attention to reaction. And build up if the response is positive.

How can one figure out what to say, though, especially when many people aren’t great at coming up with ideas on the fly, or might not know what constitutes starting light?

Riley Reyes: Most dirty talk is just narrating activities that are happening. [Use] statements and questions that can help you be a better lover and enhance the sexual encounter. My [personal] dirty talk is more instructive than in porn. I tell my partners exactly what I like and how to do it.

Larkin Love: Narrate what you're doing or what you're about to do. That's how I learned.

Lindsay Leigh: [You can also turn check-in questions like] do you like that into a command by switching up the words. Like, you like that, don’t you!

Lola Fae: If you make dirty talk personal, it will be received with gratitude.

What about figuring out when to slip dirty talk into a sexual encounter?

Brenna Sparks: Your dirty talk should correspond to the particular moment. For example: During the first insertion. Or when things speed up. Or if [you] want to compliment a body part upon first sight. Or during ejaculation. Your dirty talk will improve drastically just by timing it correctly. In fact, timing will bring authenticity to the entire moment.

What other advice would you give to people trying to explore dirty talk?

Riley Reyes: Just get over yourself and say what you're into. Your partner finds you sexy. They want to hear your thoughts.

Brenna Sparks: Experiment, and don’t be afraid of being awkward.

Johnny Goodluck: Be yourself!

Lindsay Leigh: [And] if you try it and it doesn't work, laugh it off. Sex, while serious, can be playful. You got to try it a couple times to find your rhythm. Don't give up on the first try!

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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