When does sexy language add to the hotness of your relationships? When does negotiation become foreplay? All the time! Communication before, during, and after sexytimes sets the stage for intimacy, deep pleasure, and maybe unexpected adventure–and help turn every after into your next before!
We often think of desire, arousal, sex, and play as things that happen in the body. While this is true, it’s the brain that controls the body’s physiological response (whether we are conscious of it or not), so how we think and talk about sex and kink plays a huge role in our arousal and our feelings of connection and satisfaction.
Using Desire-Focused Language
Definition: Desire-focused language expresses YOUR desires for both receiving and giving. These sentences often start with “I want…” or “I love it when…” Your desires might include physical sensations (pleasure/pain), feelings you want to experience (cherished/degraded/owned, etc.), specific activities you’d like to explore (or have more of).
A note on recognizing and expressing desire: Some people have a hard time expressing (or even knowing) what they want, but they can tell you what they DON’T want. This can sometimes feel unintentionally “negative” or “critical” to a partner, so it’s super important to proactively talk with your partner about how desire comes up in your body. When they understand this is just a part of YOUR personal wiring, it can be much easier to navigate without taking your personal pathway to understanding your own desire personally.
- I want to ______ to/with you.
- I want to (see/hear/taste/smell/feel) you ______ to/with me.
In flirting/negotiation: Approaching your partner(s) from a place of your own desire is both powerful and vulnerable. Negotiation that starts from what each of you wants to experience (rather than starting with the limits around what you DON’T want to experience) can create a space of curiosity and collaboration, even within power differential relationships. It is important to share your boundaries and limits, but hearing what your partner wants from you can increase arousal and serve as a delicious appetizer to your scene.
Negotiation is also a great time to share any particular words or phrases that turn you on, what words or names you like to be called during sexytimes, and what words you like to hear used for your sexy bits and body in general.
To ensure ongoing consent: Using desire-focused language also paves the way for confirming ongoing consent while maintaining a sexy, powerful vibe. During negotiation, be sure to address the kind of communication each person needs to establish and reconfirm consent as needed as the scene or interaction escalates.
Using Sexy Conversation to Build Connection and Arousal
Use the prompts below to explore your own desire and pleasure in writing first. Reflect the things you appreciate about your partner in both sexual and non-sexual ways. Consider your own fantasies, including those you may not have shared before. Even if you don’t want to explore making those fantasies a reality, vulnerably sharing what turns you on can strengthen the intimacy of your connection with your partner and opens an opportunity to get creative together.
If you’re uncomfortable talking about sexytimes (the full range of sexual activities ranging from flirting to intercourse to snuggling and more), be honest with your partner about that. Vulnerability and empathy are powerful tools for both connection and arousal. Try starting your sentence with something like, “This feels a little (fill in your own true feelings) to share, but…”
- You are such a _____ lover.
- I love when you _____.
- It really turns me on when you _____.
- I think about you _____ to push me over the edge of orgasm.
- Oh, please _____. That’s so good.
- I really want to feel _____ during sexy times.
- My favorite memory of sexy times with you is _____.
- I’d really love to try _____with you.
- In my hottest fantasy, we _____. (Would you try that with me? OR I don’t really want to act it out, but I want to share my secret turn-ons with you.)
- When I masturbate, I fantasize about _____ with you. Would you try doing that with me?
Using Dirty Talk to Increase Intensity
To add fantasy to your scene: Even if what you want isn’t on the menu right now (or ever), sharing your authentic desire helps create the kind of connection that invites your partner into your personal erotic buffet, and offers a pathway to bringing fantasy into your scene.
What are some fantasies that you might not want to actually experience in real life, but are super exciting to think about, read about, or watch in porn? Try amping up the intensity of your sexual experiences by asking your partner to role play or talk about planning or living out your fantasy while engaging in other consensual activities.
To connect with core desires: The hotness isn’t just in the actions we do; it’s in the feelings we have about those actions. Words help create the context for our actions to make us feel the way we want to feel during sexytimes.
What if you can’t think of anything to say? Try asking sexy questions that require short answers or telling your partner what you are observing about their bodies or desire. In a pinch, saying your partner’s name, “yes” or “yes, please” depending on your role, or other vocalizations can be just as hot.
To strengthen power dynamics:
- I want to ______.
- I want you to ______.
- (Do this thing) for me.
- Please (do that thing I want).
- Please let me (do that thing I want).
Using “Back Scratch” Instruction Skills for Touch That Lights Your Fire
Think about a time that you had an itch you couldn’t reach, and you asked your partner to scratch it for you. Odds are they didn’t hit exactly the right spot with exactly the right kind of scratching the instant they touched you. You had to offer instructions: “Up a little, okay over to the right, a little harder…” You had to think about their perspective as the toucher (their right, or my right?), neither of you took it personally when they didn’t immediately find the itch, and you were reasonably patient with their efforts. And when they finally hit the spot just right, you moaned in pleasure and gratitude. Try this “low charge” technique for teaching your partner how to touch you for maximum pleasure in a specific moment, especially as bodies change over time.
- Experiment, follow instructions, practice patience on both sides
- Avoid emotional charge around asking or being asked (slow your breath to settle your nervous system if you feel charge rising)
- Avoid anxiety about “doing it right”
Using Appreciative Reflection as Aftercare
While some people prefer quiet during aftercare, you can also use this time to reflect on the scene you just shared and explicitly share with your partner what made it so good for you. Sharing appreciation verbally lets your partner know which moments stood out as something special for potential future repetition and builds greater connection in the moment.
- That was so good! I loved when you _____.
- You made me feel _____, and that turns me on so much.
- Seeing/hearing/smelling/tasting/touching ______ was so ______. (Describe your sensory experience with as much detail as desired)
- (That specific thing you did or said) was so fucking hot!
- When you ______ it made me want to ______.
TURNING AFTER INTO BEFORE
Using Memory to Build Anticipation
Anticipation makes every experience better, and you can start building anticipation for your next sexual encounter anytime! Keep the pilot light of your sexual energy shining bright by using memories of your past experiences together as seduction toward the future.
- Verbally share your memory writing about your most recent sexy times to build enthusiasm and anticipation for “next time.”
- Mmmm…. Last night/this morning/lunchtime/etc. was so hot! (Tell the story of what was so hot for you)
- It’s never too late to amplify memory into fresh desire: Remember that time we _____? That was so good. Let’s do that again.