Is Dirty Talk Really Just Consent?

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How to ask for enthusiastic consent in a way that turns you on.

Conversations about respect and consent in sexual relationships have become a growing topic within politics, pop culture, education, etc. since the spark of the Me Too Movement, a campaign started by Tarana Burke in 2006 to help promote empowerment and healing among women of color who experience sexual assault.

Even with the increasing awareness of consent, there’s still a common misconception that consent ruins the mood. People tend to misconstrue what consent really is by viewing it as a monotonous, repetitive check-in that interrupts a sexual encounter every six seconds, but that belief is out of touch with how stimulating consent can be. Above all else, the brain is the most powerful sex organ so it only makes sense to give it the same kind of stimulation and attention that we give our genitals.

So. what if you’re new to dirty talk or you’ve tried to do it but you’re not sure where or how to begin? Well have no fear because I’ve consulted with a sexpert on how to incorporate dirty talk as a form of consent into your sexual escapades:

First things first. How can consent be sexy?

Dr. Megan Stubbs, a board-certified sexologist and relationship expert based in Michigan, tells us, “When teaching, I always say that consent talks are boring if you are. You don’t have to make it a robotic conversation where you are asking ‘is this ok?’ every minute. Think of your consent talk as foreplay and I promise that it will not seem boring or robotic. And more important than that, if you aren’t able to articulate what you want to do with someone else, chances are that you’re not ready to be engaging in that kind of activity.”

And she’s right. If there is a disconnect in communication between you and whoever you’re hooking up with, that will carry into the bedroom. If you’re excited and eager about having sex with someone, you should feel comfortable being direct with them without fear that it will ruin the experience.

Why is dirty talk automatically a turn on for many?

“Our imaginations are powerful things, so the mere mention of something hot and steamy can have our minds shift into sex mode,” Dr. Stubbs continues. “It’s like telling someone not to imagine a pink elephant. You’re seeing it in your mind now already aren’t you?”

“People tend to misconstrue what consent really is by viewing it as a monotonous, repetitive check-in that interrupts a sexual encounter every six seconds, but that belief is out of touch with how stimulating consent can be.”

What are some examples of dirty talk that express consent?

Dr. Stubbs suggests asking, “‘How would you like it if I took that shirt off of you and sucked on your hard nipples?’ First of all, that sounds super hot. Secondly, you’ve formed it as a question so they can say ‘OMG yes, please! What would you do next?’ Or they have the opportunity to say ‘You know that doesn’t sound great to me, but what if we did [insert alternate activity here]?’”

I agree that expressing your desires while leaving room for the other person to confirm that they want the same thing, decline completely, or suggest something else is key. Here are more examples that you can use:

  • “I want you to tease me until I can’t take it any longer.”

  • “Tell me how you want me to please you.”

  • “I love what you’re doing to me right now. I never want you to stop.”

  • “I want you to take control of me.”

    What can people do if they want to express more dirty talk but feel awkward or shy doing so?

Dr. Stubbs explains, “An easy way to dip your toes into the dirty talk pool is to just say what you’re feeling. It doesn’t have to be complex or super detailed, but just express your desires. Tell them ‘I can’t stop thinking about what I’m going to do to you when I get out of work’ or ‘My mind just keeps replaying everything from last night. It’s distracting me from my conference call.’”

I can relate to what she said about dipping your toes in the dirty talk pool because this is exactly how I started out. I didn’t get completely comfortable with dirty talk until I incorporated it into sexting first. Here are examples of sexts you can text your partner to get them in the mood beforehand:

  • “I want you naked by the time I get home.”

  • “I had the sexiest dream about us and it gave me some ideas on what I want you to do to me after our date this weekend.”

  • “I can’t stop fantasizing about your lips on my pussy.”

  • “I’m still sore from the night before. Let’s do that again tonight.”

What can people do to create a comfortable space for using dirty talk?

Let’s say you’re not the one who feels shy and awkward about using dirty talk and you love doing it, but your partner doesn’t talk dirty to you as much as you do to them. How can you to create a safe and comfortable space for them to be more expressive and erotic with their sexual communication? Follow some of these tips!

  1. Don’t be over the top with profanity if it’s a turn off for your partner. Even the people who don’t mind being as wild as possible with their language may still have trigger words that’ll automatically make them drier than the Sahara desert. Words such as cock, pussy, cunt, whore, etc. might be cringey for some people.

  2. Use descriptive language in a way that worships your partner’s body or positively affirms the sexual act. People feel the most comfortable when they’re the most confident. You could easily keep saying “I like that,” but after a while that might sound repetitive. Go from “Yeah, I like that,” to “This feels so good I never want you to stop.” You can also be specific about what it is that you like in that moment, such as “I love the view of your ass bouncing up and down on me right now.”

  3. Have fun with it! I think people get shy with dirty talk because they feel like they have to put on a show, but as long as you’re having fun while doing it then it will come naturally to you, and your partner will feed off the playful energy.

Ultimately, dirty talk can easily be filled with consent, expression of desire, and encouragement between all parties involved. The more a person gets comfortable with expressing what they want in bed, the more anticipation and pleasure they’ll get out of unlocking the limitless erotic desires of their mind.

Header image illustrated by Leonor Carvalho

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Tatyannah King

Tatyannah King

Tatyannah graduated from UNC-Greensboro in 2018. She is now a sex blogger, travel enthusiast and educational presenter with the Center for Positive Sexuality. To stay up to date with her future workshops and presentations about sexuality, follow her on Instagram @taty_kaloni_k.
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