Silence is golden: leaving space for non-speech in dirty talk

Something I have to remind even myself: it’s okay to be quiet sometimes. 😀

I think a lot of people get their notions of “dirty talk” from pornos, so no wonder it feels intimidating to learn. I mean, that’s a non-stop flood of oooh-yeahs and assorted bits of fake-sounding sex talk. You have to keep talking, right? Who has that many words for anything?

In fact, when I started doing phone sex, I learned quickly that silence plays a large part in dirty talk. No matter how much talking you do, there has to be room for the other person to talk. Otherwise it’s just a filth stream, which is fine, if that’s what you both are into—dirty stories need an audience!—but if you are trying to have a sexy conversation, you have got to leave some room in the conversation where you will be able to listen as well.

The thing is, you are listening for more than just words. I learned this early on in my phone sex career: there are sounds that you will not hear, if you keep running off at the mouth. Heavy breathing, swallowing or gulping, those pre-verbal gasping moans, the beat of your partner’s heart through their chest… even if you are with someone who is pretty inarticulate, sound cues are still going to be there, and you will miss them all if you are trying to fill in the audio gaps with stuff you memorized from that one clip on PornHub.

Silence gives you time and space to listen to all of the ambient noise of sex. It also buys you time to let those noises sink in and stir around for a bit before you come up with your own response. Take that time, if you need it. At least give yourself a few seconds, to inhale and exhale once. You don’t need to respond right away. Personally, I would wonder about a partner who is always instantly ready to drop in a piece of purple prose. It would feel to me as though they haven’t been listening to me very well; they’ve just been planning what they’re going to say.

I understand why many people are super nervous about leaving blank space in the convo. They want to sound cool, they want to turn their partner on, and oh god, what if something falls flat! In that insecure headspace, any silent moment is an indictment of their sex-ability and desirability. It’s not, and it doesn’t have to be. This is not just “dirty talk,” it’s a dirty dialogue, and as with any good conversation, both people need to make room for each other.

PRO TIP: aside from the issues of courtesy and holding space for each other, silence can be an incredibly effective item to your erotic toolkit! If you’re into power exchange during sex, demanding silence can be an excellent manifestation of mental domination, especially when you’re doing activities like impact or pain/sensation play that might normally draw forth almost involuntary sounds. Reward your partner for managing silence in the face of such provocation!

All this to say, I’m not going to tell you to not experiment with dirty talk. (I’ve got a good workshop, inquire within for Intimacy Improv details and touring schedule.) But please, don’t think that silence is a problem. If treated as the gift that it is, silence is a virtue.


It’s so interesting to go back and dig up the practical ramifications of my phone sex experience. If you think this is good stuff to get out in the world, consider becoming a patron of mine on Patreon!

1 Comment
  • Carin

    I have a dominant lover who watches his partners’ faces to judge their level of arousal. He has tried to teach me to do the same with him, but he’s very stoic-faced until he’s right at the edge. I really cannot tell from his expression until it’s basically too late to back off. I have to listen to his breathing to judge his excitement level, and that’s hard to do if I’m making too much noise.

    May 31, 2017 at 6:01 am
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