Let’s talk about sex baby…

Image: Shutterstock/Alina Cardiae Photography

By: Kat Merwin

Do you ever communicate with your partner during sex? Do you let them know when you’re enjoying something? Or when you’re not? Then this article is for you!

Do you shudder at the very idea of attempting “dirty talk” during sex? Then this article is still for you!

Are you looking to ‘spice things up’ in the bedroom? Guess what –this article is for you!

It can be difficult to talk about sex –even with the person you’re having sex with! Talking about sex can make you feel vulnerable, and research has shown that people fear being misunderstood, or even rejected, by their partner when it comes to talking about sex [1]. Despite how scary it might be, discussing sexual topics with your partner is important and very worthwhile! When people talk about their sexual likes (and dislikes) with their partner, they experience greater sexual and relationship satisfaction [1-6]. It may be especially important to talk about sex with your partner if you’re in a long-term relationship; couples often experience declines in sexual satisfaction and desire over time [7].

While most research to date has examined the kinds of sexual discussions people have outside of sexual activity, it has become clear that the kinds of sexual talk people engage in during sex are also quite important [8]. In fact, when people communicate more with their partner about their sexual pleasure during sex –and when a person perceives that their partner is communicating more about sexual pleasure during sex—they experience greater sexual satisfaction [9, 10].

But what are couples talking about during sexual activity?

Are they having in-depth political debates? Probably not… unless that’s what turns you or your partner on –in which case, debate away!

Are they talking about their (or their partner’s) sexual pleasure? Probably!

A recent study actually examined the different types of sexual talk that people engage in during sexual activity, and found that there are 2 main types of sexual talk [8]. Note: the examples provided above are not an exhaustive list. The actual phrases that people say to their partner may differ depending on sexual orientation, gender identity, or personal preferences.

Mutualistic Talk: ‘other-focused’ sexual talk that relates to sharing the sexual experience with your partner.

Mutualistic talk includes:

Giving your partner positive feedback (e.g., “That feels so good!” or “You taste so good”)

Giving instructional statements (e.g., “Go harder/faster/slower” or “Go down on me”)

Statements of intimacy (e.g., “I love you” or “I feel so close to you”)

Talking about sexual fantasies (e.g., “Let’s pretend….” or “I’m imagining that people are watching us fuck”


Individualistic Talk: ‘self-focused’ sexual talk that relates to your own sexual experience and pleasure.

Individualistic talk includes:

Exclamations of excitement or pleasure (e.g., “Yes/yeah!” or “Oh god!”)

Statements that are sexually dominant (e.g., “Show me your pussy/cock”)

Statements that are sexually submissive (or inviting your partner to be sexually dominant) (e.g., “I’m all yours” or “Let me be your dirty slut”)

Messages of sexual ownership (e.g., “You’re mine now” or “Whose pussy/cock is this?”)

Both mutualistic and individualistic talk were found to be associated with greater sexual satisfaction — at least for the person doing the talking8 (research hasn’t examined whether the same holds for the person hearing the sexual talk).

Don’t use any of these types of sexual talk during sex, but want to?

Awesome! Maybe start small, such as exclamations of excitement/pleasure or telling your partner when you like what they’re doing. (After all, everyone likes to hear when they’re doing a good job at pleasing their partner!)

Figure out what terminology you want to use. Does ‘vagina’ sound too clinical to you? Try an alternative, such as ‘pussy.’ Do you find the word ‘cock’ sexy, but the word ‘dick’ is a huge turn-off? Share this with your partner! Once you know the words you’re comfortable saying (or hearing) that will make it easier to start using some dirty talk during sex with your partner!

Do you already use some of those types of sexual talk with your partner(s)?

Awesome! Maybe try out some different types of sexual talk (if you and your partner are comfortable with it) or just keep doing what you’re doing!

Final Tip

(insert ‘that’s what she said’ joke here)

Try not to not take it too seriously – have fun with it!



[1] Rehman, U. S., Rellini, A. H., & Fallis, E. (2011). The importance of sexual self-disclosure to sexual satisfaction and functioning in committed relationships. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8, 3108-3115. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02439.x

[2] Byers, S. E. (2011). Beyond the birds and the bees and was it good for you?: Thirty years of research on sexual communication. Canadian Psychology, 52, 20-28. doi: 10.11037/a0022048

[3] Byers, S. E., & Demmons, S. (1999). Sexual satisfaction and sexual self-disclosure within dating relationships. The Journal of Sex Research, 36, 180-189. doi: 10.1080/00224499909551983

[4] Coffelt, T. A., & Hess, J. A. (2014). Sexual disclosures: Connections to relational satisfaction and closeness. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 40, 577-591. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2013.811449

[5] Greene, K., & Faulkner, S. (2005). Gender, belief in the sexual double standard, and sexual talk in heterosexual dating relationships. Sex Roles, 53, 239-251. doi: 10.1007/s11199-005-5682-6

[6] MacNeil, S., & Byers, S. E. (2009). Roles of sexual self-disclosure in the sexual satisfaction of long-term heterosexual couples. The Journal of Sex Research, 46, 3-14. doi:10.1080/00224490802398399

[7] Klusmann, D. (2002). Sexual motivation and the duration of partnership. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 31, 275-287. doi: 10.1023/A:1015205020769

[8] Jonason, P. K., Betteridge, G. L., & Kneebone, I. I. (2016). An examination of the nature of erotic talk. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 45, 21-31. doi: 10.1007/s10508-015-0585-2

[9] Babin, E. A. (2012). An examination of predictors of nonverbal and verbal communication of pleasure during sex and sexual satisfaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30, 270-292. doi: 10.1177/0265407512454523

[10] Brogan, S. M., Fiore, A., & Wrench, J. S. (2009). Understanding the psychometric properties of the sexual communication style scale. Human Communication, 12, 421-445. Retrieved from http://www.uab.edu/Communicationstudies/humancommunication/