Put your pillow talk in motion.
Dirty talk has a reputation for being simple, encouraging, and sexually explicit. We see this consistently in sex on screen: participants engage in a mindless back and forth of demonstrative pleasure until orgasm reliably occurs, as if on a timer.
This display of unbridled horniness may be easy to watch, but it rarely represents the adjustments that are necessary in sex, nor the ways these adjustments can occur without squashing eroticism. As a result, people usually place “sex talk” into two categories: it’s either dirty words during the act, or it’s a really critical, humiliating, sterile conversation that happens outside of the bedroom and may destroy the sexual relationship forevermore.
Some people keep their preferences or fantasies to themselves in order to avoid the “critical” discussion, and protect the feelings of the other person. But it’s important to realize that withholding desires is rarely a favor to your sexual partner; it’s very likely your partner wants to please you and receive instructions on how to do so, even if it hurts their ego a bit in the process.
So, if you feel comfortable enough to bring the topic up, give them the benefit of the doubt and use the following tips to navigate new frontiers with your sexual partner.
You don’t need to be in a serious environment to have a serious conversation about sex. It might be helpful to bring up the conversation while you and your partner are already being intimate in some way, perhaps cuddling or kissing privately.
Asking for something you want sexually whilst building up for a sexual act will make more sense contextually to someone who may not be expecting sexual discussion at all. Alternatively, bringing up your needs in a less intimate space, following an unrelated discussion, could catch your partner off guard and lead to a less productive conversation.
(Caveat: I’m just a listicle, so follow your gut. Only you know which approaches to communication make the most sense for your sexual partnership.)
Focus on what you want, not what is “lacking”
While telling the truth is important, it’s not always necessary to run through a full length performance analysis on your partner in order to achieve the desired outcome.
In the case of simply wanting to add a component, like bondage, or a pre-sex massage, the ask could be simple: Instead of saying “I wish you did more of X” try saying something like “I’m turned on by the idea of you doing Y. What do you think?”
Of course, this method of communication doesn’t make sense in all circumstances. Say, for example, your partner is doing something that doesn’t really turn you on. You could say something like “I’ve been thinking about how I feel about X and I think Y would turn me on more.”
Bring your partner’s strengths into the conversation
You’re continuing to have sex with this person for a reason, so I’m going to assume they have sexual appeal. It can be helpful to bring appreciation into a conversation about something so personal. Think about things your partner is already doing that you love, or ways that they turn you on outside of the bedroom, and bring them up throughout the conversation.
This may be especially helpful if one of your partner’s strengths can be honed to achieve what you’re hoping for in the bedroom. For example, they may have a strong personality in their day to day life which you’d like for them to carry more into the bedroom. Give them an example of a time they turned you on with their intensity and how it could be eroticized in bed.
Accept that they may say no, but that doesn’t have to be the end of your discussion
Point blank, your partner might not feel comfortable or excited by your request. If it comes to a denial, ask yourself how important the desire is--is it something you’re just curious about, or is it something you need in the bedroom in order to feel aroused or--most importantly--safe?
If you need this sexual component in order to enjoy sex, bring this up to your partner as well. That way you can discuss next steps, like discontinuing sex entirely or, if the situation is less dire, outsourcing the desire to someone or something else.
Ask your partner if there’s anything different they’d like to experience in the bedroom
Get curious and humble by asking your partner if there’s anything new they would like to try in the bedroom. This may open the door for a more collaborative and honest conversation which helps you to discover new fantasies of your own.