Erotica Writers Spill All Their Best Tips For Dirty Talk & Sexting
There’s something hot about talking dirty with a partner, whether you’re sending them a naughty text during the workday or whispering something seductive while doing the deed. But if expressing yourself through words isn’t necessarily your thing, spicing up your language can seem intimidating. What’s OK to say, and what’s not? How will I know what the person is into? Will I make it weird?! There’s a lot to consider when it comes to dirty talk — both virtual and IRL — but fortunately, there are many ways to ease yourself in.
“People usually get intimidated by the idea of dirty talk and sexting, but it’s nothing to panic about!” says Cassie Willnauer, a licensed clinical professional counselor who works with clients on topics like sexuality and body image. “You don’t have to say the filthiest things you’ve ever heard or seen in porn. Just start small.”
If you want to explore dirty talk with a partner, there are some important things to keep in mind. Whether you want to liven things up with your long-distance partner or build sexy anticipation before your boo gets home from work tonight, here are the dos and don’ts of sexting and dirty talk, according to erotica and romance writers who (truly) have a way with words.
What Is Dirty Talk & Why Is It Important?
Dirty talk is a type of sexy communication intended to turn you and your partner on. There are many reasons to talk dirty, from teasing your partner to playing with power dynamics and more. Often, it can look like saying naughty things while making out, hooking up, or having sex. You don’t need to be an expert to talk dirty, but if you’re nervous, taking cues from experts can boost your confidence.
According to Willnauer, this can be a unique way to increase connection with someone. “Dirty talk can be a useful tool for bridging the gap between physical and emotional intimacy,” she tells Elite Daily. “It can also help people stay in the moment rather than allowing their minds to wander during sex.” She adds that talking dirty can help you feel “fully embodied” in your sexuality and express things you might not normally feel comfortable with.
It’s normal to feel nervous your first time trying it. Dr. Jess O’Reilly, a sex and relationship expert, author, and speaker, previously told Elite Daily that dirty talk doesn’t necessarily have to be extreme. “Dirty talk doesn’t have to be raunchy or dirty. It can be sweet, romantic, loving, edgy, and even funny.”
According to Callisto Adams, Ph.D., an author and the founder of the dating advice platform HeTexted, starting slow is key when you’re a beginner. “You want to feel your partner’s energy and you want to make sure they’re into it as much as you are. Instead of forcing the conversation, let it be organic, start slow, and let both of you direct the flow of conversation,” she says.
Establish Consent Before Sexting & Talking Dirty
Just like all things sex, dating, and relationships, consent matters — and dabbling in dirty talk and sexting is no different. “The big thing to remember about sexting is that consent is still required,” Willnauer tells Elite Daily. “Check in with your partner to ensure they're open to a spicy conversation. [For example], no one feels hot if they're visiting an ailing relative and you bombard them with your sexiest thoughts, so make sure the context is set before you get to it. Consider planning it in advance if you and your partner are apart.”
Ideally, you want to establish clear consent before the dirty talk or sexting has taken place. If you expect you may start hooking up soon, try asking the person you’re seeing how they feel about talking dirty in bed. You can even start by asking if they’ve explored dirty talk in the past — and how they felt about it — to gauge whether or not it’s something you’d like to explore together.
You may also be in a situation where you’ve naturally started talking dirty with someone, but you never really discussed it explicitly or established clear parameters. In this case, ask outright if they’d like to continue. It’s also a good idea to see how the person feels about sexting in different settings; some people may find a midday work sext arousing, but others may feel uncomfortable. Always communicate your desires, consider the context, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries where needed.
Be Mindful When Sending Photos
It’s one thing when you’re with someone face to face, but when you’re sexting, using an app, or video-chatting, it’s important to exercise caution. Things get personal fast, and you want to feel safe and secure about the content you’re sending. “[Be] cautious about sending photos,” Willnauer says. “If you know [the person], trust them, and have consent, go for it. Just be aware that there's always a risk of [photos] getting put on the internet for the world to see — ‘revenge porn’ laws are still very new, so people may not be deterred by them.”
It can be super hot to tease your partner with photos and videos, but be mindful of security risks and who may or may not have access to your content. To practice safe sexting, do not show your face in nudes, avoid sexting at work, and make sure there is no identifying information in your images (including your background). Remember that the internet has a memory of its own, so things that are “deleted” can still exist out there.
Keep The Conversation Playful
When exploring dirty talk and sexting for the first time, your impulse may be to get super serious. But you don’t necessarily have to deliver a series of clever lines or put on any type of “act” during dirty talk — unless you want to and find it hot, of course. It’s all about channeling your desires.
“Dirty talk should be approached in a playful manner while [being] considerate of each other’s feelings and preferences,” Adams tells Elite Daily. She adds that it’s important to cultivate a sense of lightheartedness, not judgment; chances are, neither of you is interested in being put under a microscope and overanalyzed while turning each other on. “Playfulness gives a sense of freedom to express without restraining [yourself],” Adams explains.
Dr. LB Wells, a board-certified surgeon, erotica writer, and author of The White Coat Effect, suggests warming up with compliments that aren’t explicitly sexual. “Even if one or both of you is the shy type, believe me, you are all capable of coming up with dirty talk, either in-person or virtual,” she says. “Start with something innocent, like [complimenting their] ear lobe or eye color… then take it up a notch.”
When You’re In Person, Tell Them What Turns You On
If you want to talk dirty but you’re getting in your head about what to say, Willnauer recommends telling your partner your exact turn-ons. What is it about them that drives you wild? Maybe it’s the way they use a body part, the sparkle in their eye when you’re in bed together, or something attractive they do with their voice. Not only does focusing on your turn-ons naturally set you up for dirty talk, but when you tell someone what turns you on, they’re more likely to repeat that very thing — so why not be honest?
“Being vocal about the things that are going well for you in the moment can be huge for creating safety and reducing self-consciousness,” she says. “[Dirty talk] shouldn't feel like a play-by-play review of what's going on, but more of a sprinkling of appreciation here and there throughout.”
For example, if you’re making out and want to take things to the next level, say something like, “I love the way your lips feel” or, “It turns me on when you touch me like that.” Remember: When you communicate what you’re enjoying specifically, your partner will be more likely to continue that same action. Hearing praise is a total turn-on.
When You’re Sexting, Imagine An IRL Scenario
If you feel the impulse to over-edit your text messages or say the perfect thing, Willnauer recommends simply using your imagination. “If the person you're texting is someone you've been with in person, it's best to include things that anchor back to the times you've been physically together,” she says. “Did they do something that drives you crazy in the best of ways? Mention that! Tell them how hot it is, and tell them you're imagining that they're doing just that.”
If you haven’t been with your recipient physically yet, you can still imagine what it would be like to hook up with them and explore the scenario through sexting. “This is a great way to share sexual desires and fantasies with a new partner,” Willnauer says. “Say what you'd like them to be doing to you if they were present. Say what you'd like to do for them.”
Christoph Weigert, a writer, trauma-informed coach, and author of Jinn in the Sexosphere, adds that once you’re comfortable sexting, you can also play with timing and cadence. “Play with rhythm. Don’t text all day. Take pauses, tease them with a longer pause, and have them begging for your message,” he says.
TV Shows & Movies Can Serve As Inspo
Remember that one steamy scene in Bridgerton that you haven’t stopped thinking about? Now’s the time to channel your inner romantic.
“I'd suggest taking inspo from your favorite rom-coms,” says Georgia Clark, the author of romance novels including Island Time, founder of the multigenerational storytelling show Generation Women, and cofounder of Heartbeat, a newsletter featuring short stories about love. “Switch up Harry Burns’ famous quote from When Harry Met Sally with your own dirty spin: ‘I came here tonight because when you realize you want to get freaky with somebody, you want to get freaky as soon as possible.’ Or what about Notting Hill? ‘I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to rail her. Straight to the point!”
Dirty Talk & Sexting Phrases To Get The Conversation Going
Need some sexting and dirty talk inspo? Try one of these lines to get warmed up.
Dirty Talk IRL
- “Your body feels so good right now…”
- “I love the way you taste…”
- “You’re so hot when you kiss me like that…”
- “Grab my [a**, hips, boobs, or another body part].”
- “Just like that. Don’t stop.”
- “You f*ck me so good.”
If you can’t find the words in the heat of the moment, a satisfied moan or expletive will do the trick!
- “I wish you were here with me right now…”
- “If I was with you right now, the things I’d do…”
- “I’m in bed thinking of your [d*ck, p*ssy, or another term] and how much I want you…”
- “I wish you were here so you could rail me…”
- “I’m playing with myself right now…wanna see?”
- “Just wait until I see you next — I’m going to make you c*m so hard.”
When sexting, don’t be afraid to use emojis 🥵👅💦 (‘Nuff said).
Connection Is Key
No matter what your dirty talk entails, Wells tells Elite Daily that mutual trust matters above all. “The key to dirty talk is the connection between you and your partner,” she says. “This can apply to serious intimate connection[s] or a casual affair, as long as the sexual connection is strong… [so that] the basis of dirty talk is trust.”
At the end of the day, dirty talk and sexting can be intimidating. However, with a little practice, you’ll be on the way to feeling comfortable and confident with dirty talk in no time! Always move at your own pace and try not to take yourself too seriously or psych yourself out entirely. Whether you’re sexting your long-distance partner or heating things up in bed, don’t be afraid to channel your inner erotica writer and take sexytime to the next level.
Cassie Willnauer, LCPC, licensed clinical professional counselor
Dr. Jess O’Reilly, sex and relationship expert, author, and speaker
Callisto Adams, Ph.D., author and founder
Dr. LB Wells, board-certified surgeon, erotica writer
Georgia Clark, romance author, performer, founder
Christoph Weigert, erotica author, trauma-informed coach