To talk dirty or not to talk dirty–that is the question. When I went to dig deeper into this topic and consulted Playboy Hard Science columnist Justin Lehmiller, he told me there is not much data on what people tend to like when it comes to dirty talk. So I interviewed 25 men and 25 women about dirty talk because, damn it, you have failed us once again, science.

What I learned overall:

• For those of us who enjoy the fine art of dirty talk, timing is everything. The optimal times are generally foreplay, position transitions and right before orgasm.
• The general consensus is that when the sex is really amazing there shouldn’t be much talking.
• The biggest takeaway, as with all things pertaining to sexuality, is that it all depends on personal preference. The trick is honoring one another’s desires and being able to openly communicate what turns you on and what doesn’t.

The interviews were fascinating, revealing and Not Safe for Work (yeah, heads up). Points of view varied, but some common themes emerged. WARNING: THIS MIGHT GIVE YOU A BONER.


Men had a lot to say about this one. Many men can’t tell a real orgasm from a fake one, but they know in an instant if we are phoning in the sex talk. Another common complaint was when women parrot porn stars, using a baby doll voice to imitate what they think they should sound like. This comes across as disingenuous and unnatural. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it.

Sometimes it can just flow. Sometimes you’re not in the mood for it, and it would just come out forced. If I know it’s going to be forced, just stick with grunts and sighs and moans. Nothing sounds more ridiculous then insincere dirty talk.

I’m very dominant in bed, but I’m also disinterested in doing the talking because it would feel awkward to me. I’d rather show than tell.


I could (and will) write a column just about the use of “daddy” in the bedroom. Both sexes have vastly different opinions about this highly-charged word. For now, all I can say is not to assume anything. It varies from person to person and warrants a discussion.

I was all about it until I had a girl who had never met her dad call me “daddy.” Sort of the beginning of the end.

Terrifying. Nothing stops the action faster than if I ever hear that.

I’ve been in all situations. Women are fine with it. Women request it. Women think it’s creepy and aren’t having it. I don’t have a problem with it, and I enjoy it with the right person.

I love hearing stuff about being his little girl, like him playing daddy. “My princess.” “My little girl.” “Naughty girl.”

I’ve been sleeping with a guy since last fall who loves it when I call him “Daddy.” Literally gets him hard every time–even just by texting him. 


Humans love feedback. The more you communicate what works and what feels good, the better the experience will be. That’s not to say you should be critiquing the entire performance like you’re announcing a football game, but guidance is generally appreciated. This seems to be especially true when it comes to oral sex.

It’s great to get some feedback on how you are doing when you are involved in oral sex. Sometimes we need a little guidance on location and when we are at the appropriate level of engagement. I know that each person is different, but I see it as part of the intimacy when you can speak very openly with your partner in the moment.

Only acceptable time for any talking to me is when my head is between your legs and you’re saying, “Don’t stop. Right there.”

I personally love to hear a detailed description of what my partner wants from me or what she wants to do to me. I love to hear what she wants more of and what she likes. I also love when she asks me what I want and gets off on the fact that telling her will make her crazy.

I really like telling people when they’re doing a good job. I feel like it’s good feedback, and it only makes the sex better.


Humans also LOVE compliments. Giving them and receiving them. Be generous. You can never really go too far with this one.

I like hearing how good the woman is feeling or how good I make her feel. “I love your cock pounding me.” “Keep playing with my clit.” “Deeper.” “Harder.” “Fuck my little pussy.” Or when she asks me questions like, “You like watching my tits bounce?” Or “You like when I sit on your cock?”

I enjoy telling a woman how good she feels. For example: “You’re so wet. Or tight. Or hot.” “I love the way you taste.” “Your pussy feels so good.”

I like hearing compliments about my body when we fuck. I like hearing that my pussy is tight.

I like telling him what to do, where to touch me, to spank me or tease me. Also telling him how something feels, what it’s doing to me, that I missed feeling him in me. I like being told I’m sexy or hot.


Words like slut. Or whore. These are waters you only want to venture into with permission, with an expressed desire. Some men aren’t comfortable with these terms at all, under any circumstances. (Hats off to you, sirs.) Some women told me they love being called a “dirty little cunt,” and they will ask when they want it. NEVER ASSUME YOU CAN USE DEGRADING LANGUAGE. But don’t rule it out, either.

I think, like most things having to do with the actual act, dirty talk bears some discussion beforehand. You don’t want to kill the vibe by saying something that really turns your partner off, or worse, triggers some remembrance of a past traumatic experience.

I’m not comfortable using words like “bitch”, “slut” or “whore." I feel they are demeaning and would never use them unsolicited. If a woman specifically asked that I use those words because it turned her on, then I’d work them in to my script. 

Once we’re agreed on acceptable terms, I really enjoy talking dirty and hearing her talk dirty. Not, like, constantly. You have to pick your spots. But judiciously deployed, I say the filthier the better.

The degrading stuff (dirty whore, blah-blah-blah) isn’t cool at all.

I kind of like being called a slut, especially when it’s from someone I know doesn’t actually think I am one.

Talking dirty can be really hot but can go south quick if what turns one person on turns the other off. People are pretty specific about certain words–and using them in the heat of the moment can be a deal-breaker.

I was with a guy who thought it was sexy to use words like “whore” during sex. It was not. At all.


Then there’s domination. Many strong women I know have to be so assertive in the world (for me, in the male world of comedy), and we like some domination in the bedroom. Many men like being dominated, too. I also know many women who like to dominate and degrade their little fuck-boys. This dynamic depends entirely on the two people and requires a lot of trust and communication.

It has to have a creatively psychological flair to engage her mind. Always variations of “I’m going to dominate you, and you’re going to love it,” more or less.

I want to be told how I’m going to be fucked first and then maybe just maybe I’ll add in my two cents on being choked out, bent over, pinned against a wall, etcetera. I do not want to be the aggressor but will totally instigate and push for that from a guy. If he pusses out and wants me to be in the lead, then just fucking forget it.

I like being the sub in bed because I’m so dominant in real life. I like being manhandled and controlled in bed.

I love it when this one dude texts me in the middle of the day that he wants to choke me with his dick because I miss our unique sexual experiences, and feeling like he has the power, and it makes me feel like a woman and wanted.


First of all, just because you say something doesn’t mean you have to follow through on that act. Kinky talk is a great way to explore the boundaries of sexuality. This requires discretion and comfort with your partner. I wouldn’t lead with, “I want to peg you tonight” if we hadn’t kissed. And I would never say that if I knew he was weirded out by butt stuff. Don’t tell her you want to tie her up if you haven’t even made it to second base. The general rule here: proceed with caution. Going too far could be a one-way ticket to nowhere, fast.

Dirty talk is amazing. It really only works right when you can slightly push at taboos and boundaries while knowing you won’t genuinely hurt her feelings.

Dirty talk is in many ways is almost as challenging as approaching the ‘Let’s try anal’ conversation, because it can often totally change the dimension of thinking.

I won’t necessarily give in to all of his desires, especially facials and anal, but there is something about a verbally confident male who isn’t abusive that melts me.

I like being called dirty. And being told that he wants to spit in my mouth and do gross stuff to me.


As a writer, I LOVE SEXTING, and we all know how I feel about nudie selfies. This is a great way to test the waters. It’s also a great way to heat things up before you meet in person. I also love knowing I have the power to turn someone on from a distance, that a dude can be in a meeting at work, and now he’s hard. This makes me wet, and I’m not alone in this. Both sexes seem to get equally drunk with power at the ability to arouse their lover digitally.

You can dance a randy tango over texts sent during the working day. You can share your considerations of who is going to fuck who harder. Then there’s always the testing of boundaries–the subtle way of bringing in things you’d like to try—and often that can really help understand what does and doesn’t flip the switches.

It’s the build-up that gets me. The heat that grows in between my legs and the wetter my pussy gets closer to the end of the day when I know we will get to pounce on each other and get it on in the living room chair before everyone else comes home.


All dirty talk requires trust. I’ve always said a man can do basically whatever he wants as long as I know he loves the FUCK out of me. If there isn’t mutual respect, dirty talk leaves the participants feeling disrespected and can border on abuse without that baseline of affection. Everyone I interviewed expressed that one of the things they love about dirty talk is that it’s a way to bond with their partner–a secret they share.

It’s confidence-inspiring if you trust that person. And on some level, the talk weirdly brings some element of porn in to it. And who doesn’t have some level of porn fantasy?

The best is when there’s interplay between tenderness and dirty talk. Genuine perversion underpinning genuine care and vice-versa.

It’s only when I’m extremely comfortable with my partner that I can muster up the strength to say it aloud. I haven’t felt comfortable enough even with boyfriends, like the one who tried to make me feel bad about how many guys I had been with. He got no dirty talk because he was an asshole and made me feel self-conscious and slutty from the get-go.

I feel like I need to know I won’t be judged even if something weird comes out in order to talk dirty. Sometimes I still keep it to myself because I’m in the zone, and it takes energy to get it out of my head and into the world.


Dirty talk isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK. Don’t go there unless you know it’s copacetic. Some people have had traumatic experiences that dirty talk can trigger. Best to tread lightly until you get the green light.

Personally, I don’t like dirty talk. Nor do I like sexting, though like many other people I will make sacrifices when attempting to engage in coitus. In particular, dirty talking, or talking in general while doing the nasty, is a turn-off to me. In my head, unless you’re moaning or trying to hold back moans, I’m not doing my job. Having the ability to think of something to say, create a whole scenario and recite it back is a clear indication that the pleasure setting isn’t at its max.

Hold the dirty talking for when you’re married for 20 years and need something to “spice up your life.”

I hate dirty talk. Some verbal feedback is fine with me, like expletives or oh-gods, but if talk gets too verbose, I’m out. It pulls me out of the moment, and I can have a hard time refocusing. It also usually seems forced, and anything remotely demeaning would be a turn-off.

When I used to have sex with men, most dirty talk just irritated me, but hey, it turns out I’m a lesbian, so that makes more sense now.

Bridget Phetasy is a writer and comic in Los Angeles. Twitter: @BridgetPhetasy.

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