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Talk Dirty To Me: Safe Sexting Advice

Question: “This might sound weird but since you’re the sex and love columnist I thought I’d ask for some advice. What are some good tips for dirty talking over text? I feel like I’m not comfortable doing it  because maybe I don’t feel confident as a sexual being. Does that make sense?” –Sextless

Dear Sextless,

Before I get into the nitty gritty details, I just want to say that sexting, just like any other sexual activity, does have its risks. While you may not necessarily be taking the chance of pregnancy or STI/STDs, anyone sexting should still do so with caution. Just because you’ve deleted or can’t find old messages doesn’t mean they’re gone. They’re floating around on the interwebs somewhere, and can end up in the wrong hands at any time. This information isn’t meant to scare you away, but it’s important to know. Keep it between two smart, consenting and trusting adults. 

Dirty talk is essentially you and your partner playing out a fantasy. If you’re initiating, or you want to initiate, all you need to do is talk about the things you may have already thought about doing to/with them. If your partner initiates and you’re not quite in the mood, you’ve got a bit more work to do. 

The first step to any sexual activity is consent, so if you’re not ready to have the conversation, that is completely okay. It may seem awkward to shut down the dirty talk, but your partner should be understanding and aware of your feelings. If they’re not, then that person isn’t worth the characters you were going to waste anyways.

If you’re in the mood but not sure what to say try thinking about what turns you on about the person you’re with. These can be physical features, personality traits, or any little details you like about them. If you’ve previously been physical with the person, try telling them all the things you like them doing or talk about all the things you know they like when you’re together.

If you haven’t been physical with your partner yet, think about what you want that first time to be like. This is a goldmine because with sex communication is key and dirty talk is essentially a sex cheat sheet. You don’t need to be physically in the moment or have an ultra-serious conversation to communicate about sex. With sexting you can tell your partner all the things you like or want to try, and you can openly ask them what they like or might want to try without it being weird. 

If you’re not sexually experienced at all, don’t worry. Dirty talk is a chance for you to think about what you might want or might like and you can still communicate that to your partner. 

As I mentioned earlier, not feeling comfortable with sexting is perfectly okay and totally normal. You’re making yourself completely and permanently vulnerable to someone. Make sure you trust that person and that you can hold true to what you say if you plan on going through with your word physically. Obviously fantasies are fine (everyone knows you probably won’t get the chance to bang against a coconut tree on a deserted island), but you should never say you’re going to do something that’s out of your comfort zone or moral grounds if you don’t actually want to do it. Just make sure you don’t force yourself to do or say something because you think you should. Any form of sex should feel natural.

Need advice from our Sex and Love columnist? Want us to cover something specific? Go to and send in your questions anonymously.

Selene San Felice can be reached at

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