Thursday, March 18, 2021

(Don't) Talk Dirty To Me?

This one is in firmly adult territory, folks. If you're not comfortable reading about s-e-x, best go find something else to read.

As always when I choose to write about sexual/relationship matters, right away I have to dispel a wave of uncharacteristic self-consciousness, because...well...most people don't. Write about this stuff, I mean. You have erotic literature, you have faux-erotic things like Cosmopolitan for the ladies (if there's a male equivalent to Cosmo, I don't know what it would be) and then you have dry sex-ed texts that make sex sound like something you're only allowed to have in fully lit doctor's offices.  What you don't have are people, particularly men, writing about sex and emotions. 

Then another wave of self-consciousness crashes against the mental shore as I consider: I'm not a typical male. Understatement. That doesn't make me special, or at least any more special than anyone else, but it does make me different, and so please be aware I'm not speaking for other men here. Only for me. So I'm not sure what value this actually has, if any, and yet...

I feel compelled to write it out anyway. Because I have had a kind of slow motion epiphany about this over the it a couple of years. I had to wait for all the pieces to fall together in my head and here we are. Thank you, source material, for the final piece.


Ask Eva and she'll tell you: I have two exasperating traits that dovetail off each other. One I'll call "inconsistent literality" and the other I'll call "detail fixation".

Inconsistent literality: the tendency to take some things extremely literally, while easily accepting the mythical, poetic, or fanciful meanings of other things. This trait causes me to see things next to nobody else does, and also to miss things, especially visual things, everyone else sees. A non-sexual example would be Frank's Red Hot sauce, the slogan for which is "I put that shit on everything". Now, see, this bothers me. Why would a company refer to its own product as "shit"? And I mean, yes, of course I know they don't mean it "that" way, but nevertheless I can't help but read it/hear it that way. I'm not buying your product, you said YOURSELF it's shit!

Sexual example: BDSM. 

I hasten to say that this is not my thing. At all. I'm not into receiving pain from someone I love (isn't that called 'breaking up'?) and I sure as hell would never choose to inflict it. Nor do I feel the slightest need to "discipline" my partner, let alone handcuff her to the bed. Really, what I don't like is the power dynamic: if I'm dominant, that makes my partner...lesser. In my mind, anyway. And since I don't feel that way, since if anything I feel like I'M the lesser one, the idea of domination just sets alarm bells to ringing in my head. It's called 'making love', right? Even though the love is, or should be, already made (hello, selective literalism!)? How is calling someone a filthy slut and pulling her hair AT ALL loving?!

You've probably spotted detail fixation. Yep, guilty: I see "BDSM", especially the "SM" part, and recoil. Sadism? Sadists are people who inflict pain for their own pleasure. They belong in a jail, not in a bedroom, my mind insists as I try to lecture it about spectra. Ironic, since I have no trouble grasping the idea of a spectrum in a myriad of other contexts. But whip that single word "sadism"  in there and I have visions of a murderer jerking off at the scene of the crime.  Take away Christian Grey's millions of dollars and just try to tell me he wouldn't be rotting in a jail cell right now. 

And yet millions and millions of women soaked those books up. Literally, in some cases, I'll bet. And sometimes it seems like any woman who isn't a dominatrix herself wants to be dominated.

I've asked people about this hard block I have, and many have patiently tried to explain to me how everything I think I know about this subject is wrong. But without fail they'd do it in such a way as to reinforce at least some part of my selective literalism or detail fixation, and so it's been a slow, slow process overcoming this. Before I could tackle nipple clamps and neck bruises, I had to step way back and confront the first hurdle on this path: dirty talk. 

Confession: I often forget to talk AT ALL during sex. I moan and I groan and at some point I sound like an enraged water buffalo, but I don't talk. It feels too good for words, for one thing, and for another I'm afraid of sounding like a broken record. There are only so many ways to tell your partner what they're doing is exquisite, and so many of those ways--the dirty ones--don't feel at all authentic to me. 

Reading the linked article, I find:

  • Nine out of ten people are aroused by dirty talk, if it's the right kind;
  • Four out of ten have stopped sex because of the wrong kind;
  • Hearing sexual talk is more arousing than saying it
My eyes were opened by what they considered 'dirty talk'. Complimenting your partner on their performance? I mean, I guess that can be made raunchy, but it doesn't sound 'dirty' to me. Moaning? MOANING is "dirty talk"? Stop the presses! A kind of colour commentary on what you're about to do, or what you want to have done? Again, this can be made dirty, for sure, but it lacks inherent degradation, which is how my selective literalism insists on defining "dirty". 

Nicknames are make or break, especially the ones that are emphatically NOT terms of endearment. I'n all about the terms of endearment, but you will never catch me calling you a whore or a slut, and if you call me 'daddy', I will immediately get out of bed and go to work to provide for my family and that'll be the last time sexytime with my "daughter" comes up in any way shape for form until the end of time. 

Is this bad? I mean, there has been a concerted effort to reclaim 'slut' from the slurpile (slurp? don't mind if I do, lol) and so I run the risk of "slut-shaming" by even admitting it's a word I have trouble with.  Again and again and again: if you love to have lots of casual sex, more power to you. I won't be one of your partners, though, because I would feel completely interchangeable. You probably don't mean to make me feel that way, it's a choice I'm making like all feelings, but it's a choice I seem almost hard-wired to make. 


A while back on Reddit, a woman was asking why it was her new boyfriend activated something in her nobody had ever done before. "He's so calm and authoritative", she wrote, "whereas my last boyfriend was aggressive and rough." Calm and authoritative resonated, and I found myself writing this in response: 

Love is "feeling vulnerable, safely". Calm and authoritative gives you that feeling you crave, without that niggling feeling in your head that you might not be safe in your vulnerability.

I recall staring at that little wisdom nugget, wondering as I often do where it came from, and I had this niggling suspicion it was just searching for another piece of information to slot fully home and change my brain. 

That piece of information is in the linked article above. 

An [...] important area in the brain is the amygdala, a fear center that plays a large role in the excitement and pleasure experienced during sex. Submissiveness in bed, such as being called names, can stimulate the amygdala by making a participant feel vulnerable.

I never knew that. I never suspected it. Being called names does make ME feel vulnerable, but not in a good way. Besides, it often seems to me as if "the names" are all things men bestow on women. Is there a dirty-talk male equivalent to "slut" or "whore"? If my partner called me a "himbo", we'd both laugh ourselves silly (and if I was inside her at the time, this means my dick would snap in half). 

I have never sought to enhance the vulnerability in sex. There's lots there already, even for long term partners: most of us have body issues, many of us are convinced nobody actually sees us as desirable, and some of us men are scared we won't measure up. I don't experience sexual jealousy, but I for damn sure experience sexual ENVY... holy shit, you gave her HOW many? Three HOURS?

I think of myself as submissive, and yet really I'm not. What I am is unconfident in my own desirability, and hence I feel much more comfortable being led. If you're telling me what to do, I reason, it's because you want it done and, wow, you want ME to do it.  That's arousing as hell. Hey, guys, I just found out: if a woman touches her ears with her ankles in front of means she likes you. She likes me! Hey, Mikey!

If you're not telling me -- if you're letting me decide -- how will I always pick the perfect thing? I won't. I might even start to do something that turns you off, completely, and if that happens I'll assume it was me, and no good can possibly come of that. 

If you're with me so far, this next part is the most explicit, so feel free to skip it if you wish.


Oral sex has been my chief fantasy, both giving and receiving it, since puberty or maybe even before. The partners I had in my younger years weren't keen on either giving or getting head. Getting, because they said they were disgusted by, well, one of them even used "down there", and giving for reasons it took a while to get somebody to honestly tell me. I thought it was a hygiene issue, somehow, and was repeatedly assured it wasn't, yet ask for oral and I'd unfailingly get that moue of distaste that screams your cock is coated in rancid cheese. It turned out the issues were more prosaic: girth (he said, modestly) and just plain distaste for oral sex, the taste and or texture of semen, etc. So the urge for getting it got repressed and became my go-to fantasy. The urge for giving it is fantasy 1A, and that never went anywhere.  Never will, either. Vagina owners: if your partner wants to go down on you, that is because your partner loves your taste. Internalize that, please. You're delicious. 

Talk about vulnerable if you're a guy: you might unknowingly find yourself about to be gobbled by Ivana Bychacockov. But someone willing to taste you all over, you can pretty much rest assured they want you. 


It all comes back to desire. Everyone wants to feel desired at times like that. Not just loved, but wanted...NEEDED.  Right there. Oh, yes. And what did I say above? "I feel much more comfortable being led. If you're telling me what to do, I reason, it's because you want it done and, wow, you want ME to do it.  That's arousing as hell."

Gee, Ken, don't you think maybe other people might feel the same way? And might want you to lead every once in a while, to show them how much you want them? How desirable they are? And you'd do that calmly and authoritatively, because being dominant isn't necessarily about turning your partner into a collection of holes that exist only for your pleasure. No, maybe being dominant is convincing her, through your own aching need, that she is yours. Safely. 

I think I am growing. (Checks between legs) Yup. 

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