Online ExclusivesThe Happy Trail

Dirty talk sparks debate on respect in the bedroom

Usually silence is golden, although not always in the bedroom. Some people think that they need to buy a new product in order to make their sex life exciting, but there is often an easy fix: dirty talk. Dirty talk does not have to be an art form, it can range from using a few explicit words and phrases in the bedroom to playing out an entire fantasy. Of course, if you want to start talking dirty, it’s important to chat with your partner beforehand so you’re both aware of each other’s boundaries.

Some people can be intimidated by dirty talking and it can take a little while to get used to. Your first attempt at it will probably be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. The Seattle-based sex shop Babeland suggests that when it comes to talking dirty, practice makes perfect. They say that you don’t have to be a creative genius in order to become a sexy minx in the sack. Their pro-tip: while gettin’ down, “describe what’s happening when you’re having sex and how you feel about it.” Sometimes it doesn’t matter exactly what you say, but how you say it that makes it hot.

That being said, dirty talk can be harmless, but it can also get a little bit sticky because it can involve name-calling. Dirty talk is often associated with sexual submissiveness and has started a discussion in the sex-sphere as to whether or not dirty talk reinforces ideas of sexual objectification.

I want to end slut-shaming just as much as the next feminist, but I think that a little bit of name-calling in the bedroom can spice-up your sex life. Is this problematic? Maybe.

“I don’t like dirty talk because it makes the sexual experience more about the raw physical pleasure and dehumanizes the subject,” senior Louise says, “removing their actual feeling and replacing it with an image of how they want the person or situation to be.”

There’s no denying that some people desire being objectified in the bedroom, but it is where and how the language is used that makes a difference. Some people say that dirty talk is great because both partners are aware that they are in sexual fantasyland and the things they say don’t reflect how they feel.

“If you’re in bed and your partner calls you a slut, it’s different than if you’re not in bed,” senior Thelma says. “It’s all about intent. In bed, it’s to get me going. Otherwise, it’s to hurt me.” If both partners consent to dirty talk, there’s no problem.

Does porn play a role in this? It’s possible. Porn is not always to blame, but it is used as a model for how people should have sex, and usually not very realistic. In this way, people believe that the way pornstars talk during their performances is often too over-the-top.

“I think that people learn from porn that dirty talk means verbally objectifying your partner,” Louise says, “but there are other ways to talk dirty, other than calling your partner names.” Maybe pornstars should read a chapter from Babeland’s book (really, they have a book). Ultimately, talking dirty is what you make of it.

To reiterate, dirty talk is all about consent. Consent is what makes talking dirty different from harassing someone in the street and verbal abuse. It’s hard to be sexy when you’re thinking about the paper that’s due next week or the test you have to study for, and talking dirty can give your brain a little bit of respite. So, take a page out of Jason Derulo’s book, get jazzy on it, and try it.