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Help: My boyfriend asked me to talk dirty

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The question

Recently, while making love, my boyfriend asked me to talk dirty. I immediately lost my focus, trying to figure out: a) what he wanted me to say; b) what I would be comfortable saying, and c) what would be a turn-on for both of us. Can you suggest how to prepare for this kind of request?

The answer

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Question (b) is more important than question (a) as it results in the all-important question (c). It is only the dirty talk delivered with conviction that makes for the double turn-on - as opposed to the lonelier and more surreal single turn-on (like watching a birthday party from behind bulletproof glass). So, how to get there?

Do a quick cultural inventory of your boyfriend's books and records. Gauge his tastes to calibrate your material. Will this be PG-13 or NC-17? Most telling, has he ever articulated his fantasies to you? This, according to Toronto sexpert Rebecca Rosenblat, a.k.a Dr. Date, is your break in the case.

She cites the world of phone sex: To keep a customer on the line, an operator will "pick up on the words he is using. She will feed his trigger words back to him."

TT, does your boyfriend use expletives or recite poetry? Are his fantasies set in wheat fields or dive bars? Think of being an echo with the voice of Kathleen Turner.

Impossible? Your boyfriend has (like many men) never fully expounded on what it is he wants? Divert. Pick up an anthology of erotica. Suggestions: Do Not Disturb, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel; Lips Like Sugar, edited by Violet Blue or Russell Smith's collection Diana: A Diary in the Second Person. Propose story time and read aloud to your paramour. Note carefully what each of you responds to. Even if you do not get to the end of the story, you may want to keep your librarian glasses on.

Erotica gives you a script. You did not invent this naughty story; you are merely one of its players. Talking dirty makes for role-play. And role-play? Ms. Rosenblat says: "Once you are in character, it is the perfect way for women to give feedback. Then he feels like a porn star and she gets the sex she wants." In other words (c).

Claudia Dey is the author of the forthcoming How to Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier.

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