Kick these unsexy phrases to the curb. Photo: James Fitzgerald
When it comes to a little dirty talk between two consenting adults, not much is off limits. However, if you believe that the language we use shapes the way we think, much of the sexual vocabulary we pick up from mass media and porn is undoubtedly harmful.
Academics have been researching the connection between porn and respect for women since the ’70s. Many of the behaviors that we see in porn have made their way into the mainstream media, and our bedrooms. As the internet exploded the porn industry and opened the doors for increasingly dark and degrading content — particularly in the way women and other subordinated groups are depicted — so follows the sex we have in real life.
There are also sentiments that put one partner’s pleasure over the other, creating an unbalanced experience. If you and your partner have open communication and consent, anything goes. That being said, some sexual phrases can put the breaks on mutually respectful, pleasurable sex. Here are a few sentiments to avoid to keep things kosher.
“Yeah, baby, you like that.”
Note the lack of question mark? That’s because so often in porn, this isn’t a question. Even if it’s posed as one, when one partner tells the other what they like in the heat of the moment, it effectively shuts down the lines of communication. That doesn’t allow for that partner to ask for adjustments for their pleasure. Avoid assumptive statements that what you’re doing is exactly the right thing, so you can keep the conversation flowing.
“You look so good when…”
Unless you’re complimenting how your partner looks in that very moment, keep your body comments to yourself. Don’t try to art direct your partner to look more sexually appealing for yourself. Yes, visuals are a huge component of sex. But to make sure that the sex is good for both of you, you need to focus more on how your partner feels than how they look. Beside, if you’re that caught up in the visual, odds are you aren’t experiencing the pleasure you could, either.
“Would you look at that [insert body part here]”
In the same vein as “You look so good when,” talking about your partner’s body parts in the third person can be a great way to make your partner feel objectified and disconnected from said body. Whittling down your partner to their chest, thighs, shoulders, or junk also doesn't allow you to explore and experience their body fully during intimacy. Instead of focusing solely on your partner’s sexy gams, put your attention on them as a whole and the way they’re making you feel.
There are very few instances where apologies follow or lead to hot sex (unless, of course, apologies are your thing). If you’re apologizing for an action you made during sex, it’s worth carefully considering if a more open conversation was necessary about that action before you hit the sheets. If you’re apologizing out of insecurity, stop it. It may be so cliche it practically has it’s own Pinterest category, but confidence is sexy. Do your best to wear it.
“Are you close?”
Nothing kills a hot moment like asking if it’s almost over. Yes, check-ins are important. Asking if your partner is close to coming may seem thoughtful on your part, but in reality, it can put pressure on your partner to get there on your schedule, rather than theirs. That sort of question can also give your partner sexual performance anxiety and stop their flow of pleasure altogether, undoing all the good you’ve done together. Let your partner experience their orgasm in their own way, and in their own time.
Sexual dynamics are complex and no two situations are the same. A whisper that one person finds steamy may completely throw cold water on somebody else. The above is by no mean a definitive guide for everyone. However, the sentiments behind these phrases can be damaging to your partner and to the sexual experience you create together. The moral of the story? Even in the heat of the moment, be conscious of your words — they can hurt.