How to Talk Dirty and Ask for Sexual Consent
How to Talk Dirty and Ask for Sexual Consent
The conversation around sexual consent has become more and more mainstream in the past decade or so, but that doesn’t mean it’s been a smooth or straightforward process.
Despite the incredible importance of understanding consent, there’s been pushback from people who feel that increased awareness of how consent functions — what its presence and absence look like, and how to give or withhold it — is actually a bad thing.
One of the persistent complaints about consent culture has been the notion that being clear about what all the involved parties want and what boundaries shouldn’t be crossed will ruin sex by making it, well, less sexy. Even things like going in for a first kiss — that magical romantic moment — have been the subject of consent-oriented debates.
Questions abound: Can you ruin a first kiss by asking if it’s OK before kissing someone? How invasive is an unwanted kiss, exactly? Is it possible to tell, beyond a reasonable doubt, when someone wants to be kissed, without asking?
Those same concerns more or less apply to sex, too. But the idea that you would ruin sex by asking more questions overlooks an important but perhaps under-discussed fact: You can ask consent-oriented questions in a sexy way just by framing them as dirty talk.
Don’t believe it? Read on to discover the secret to exploring consent in a sexy way, as explained by sexperts.
How to Make Asking for Consent Sexy
Despite the unsexy perception that asking for consent can have — perhaps in part because we tend not to see those kinds of conversations in porn or even in pop culture sex scenes — nothing could be further from the truth, according to Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., host of the “@SexWithDrJess” podcast.
“There are many ways to ask for consent, and cultivating consent can be sexy,” she says. “In fact, there is almost nothing sexier than an enthusiastic partner who wants to explore sex with you.”
Kayla Lords, sexpert for JackandJillAdult.com, agrees. “Making consent sexy is not just possible, it’s an art,” she says. “Telling someone in explicit detail what you want to do to them can be dirty and sexy [as hell].”
After all, consent talk is essentially checking in and communicating with your partner (or partners) during the act. It can take any form so long as you’re both comfortable with it, and the idea that asking for consent is some kind of “everyone stop what you’re doing and go over some legal paperwork before proceeding” thing is incredibly misguided.
Approaches to consent issues can be things like safe words or safe signals; they can be things you work out in the moment or beforehand, or just phrased in a sexy way. In short, talking dirty — telling your partner about your fantasies, what you want to do to them, how aroused you are — can be an incredibly consent-oriented process.
“You can easily combine dirty talk and consent,” says Lords. “By telling someone exactly what you want to do and ending with […] ‘What do you think?’ or ‘Does that sound good?’, you give them the chance to respond. The only thing you have to add is a question to the end:
‘I want to strip you naked, lick every inch, and pound you all night. Does that sound good to you?’”
“Not only have you been clear in your intentions, you’ve given them information so they can make an informed decision.” And, if you’re on the same wavelength, you’ve probably turned them on, too.
“The other way to incorporate the two is to make your sexy statement and then wait for their response,” adds Lords. “If they come back with something just as dirty, keep going. If you get radio silence, stop and check in.”
Things to Keep in Mind About Mixing Dirty Talk and Consent
Of course, it can be a little bit more complicated than telling the other person your most erotic fantasies and then asking them how they feel. For starters, you need to make sure the other person is on board with hearing them at all. Don’t go trying this out with someone who hasn’t shown any interest in being sexual with you.
However, if you’re at the stage of navigating how to ask for consent for sex generally or specific sex acts with a partner, you can ask them if they’d like to try this approach with you — and be prepared you might get a ‘no.’
“Dirty talk is its own sex act and requires consent, too,” notes Lords. “If you make a simple statement like, ‘I want to bend you over and fuck you’ and they say they’re not comfortable with that, don’t continue. You don’t have consent. Ask what they are comfortable with and give them that. Some people don’t like dirty talk at all, so don’t force it.”
“The other reality is people don’t always respond to the same words you do,” she adds. “Some people don’t like the word ‘p***y’ or ‘cock’ and would prefer ‘vulva’ or ‘penis’ instead, so watch their facial expressions, follow their cues, and listen to their words. If they’re not into it, stop and ask. Once you have the right words that your partner wants to hear (use how they’ve talked to you in the past for clues, too, or just ask them what they prefer), then you can start dirty talking with their full and enthusiastic consent.”
If your partner is on board with dirty talk, O’Reilly notes that you can use it outside of the bedroom, too.
“You might begin to cultivate consent in advance via text,” she says. “This doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind, but you can get started to build anticipation and plan for your sexual adventure before you meet. You might talk about what you want to do, the props you will bring along, the words you want to hear, the fantasies and themes you’d like to explore and how you want to be seduced. You might also share your turn-offs, hard limits, safe words/signals and concerns.”
Of course, getting a go-ahead beforehand doesn’t mean it’s an absolute go when you do meet up — consent is a fluid thing and getting consent at one point doesn’t mean you’ll have it indefinitely. O’Reilly says you should still double-check right before things actually start up to make sure you’re both still on the same page.
“Even if you’ve discussed your expectations, boundaries and desires in advance, you’ll want to check in when you meet up and be open to changes.”
Dirty Talk Phrases That Also Ask for Consent
So what does asking for consent in a sexy way look like in practice? Lords suggests making your fantasy explicit and then finishing it with a question, like so:
“You’re such a dirty girl [or guy]. What if I bent you over the bed and spanked you? Would you like that?”
“You make me so hard. I can’t wait to have you underneath me, legs over my shoulders while I pound you so hard. What do you think of that?”
“The next time I see you, I plan to strip you naked and make you cum until you beg me to stop. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
O’Reilly, meanwhile, notes that those questions can take all kinds of forms, and you can place them before the fantasy in question, too, like this:
“Do you want to …”
“How do you feel about …?”
“I’d love to try … How about you?”
“Do you like it like that?”
“Let me know what you like …”
“Do you want more of …?”
“How does it feel when I …?”
“What can I do to please you?”
“Tell me if you want more of …”
“Because consent can be communicated in multiple ways, you can solicit non-verbal responses to indicate consent, too,” adds O’Reilly. She suggests you try saying things like:
“Nod if you want more of it.”
“Smile if you like it.”
“Hold on right there if you want me to keep going.”
“Show me how you like it.”
“Come closer if you want to …”
“Bend over if you want me to …”
“Get undressed if you want to try …”
Of course, you’re hardly bound to just the above examples — but they’re a good way to get started if you’re still figuring things out. Try a few out with your partner and see how they respond, then tweak them as needed to bring them more in line with what the two of you like.
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