Sexual communication: the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’

Image by the awesome Stuart F Taylor

There are plenty of articles and guides that highlight the importance of sexual communication. And it really is important. As I’ve said before, there’s a reason why so many posts on this blog are tagged ‘communication‘ – it’s the special sauce that makes for a really good fuck. It’s not all on you, obviously: shagging is a team sport and I need to communicate too. The more effectively we communicate, the better we’ll fuck. But although we’re often advised to communicate, there isn’t always a great deal of info on how. Just being told to ‘talk!’ is often unhelpful if you’re unused to having those conversations. So here’s a bit of advice if you’re not used to sexual communication, from someone who does a lot of it: when discussing kinks and desires, start by filling in the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what.’

If we’re fucking, I need to know what you like. Some guys I’ve slept with have been excellent at this – far far better than I am. I’ve had gorgeously fun conversations with people who have explored their own desires in depth, and can give me granular detail on not just the acts they like and dislike but which words they like using during sex, what tone they’re trying to capture, and why those things turn them on. But others struggle to do more than simply give a broad list of kinks. This can happen for a variety of reasons – maybe they just aren’t used to having those chats and they don’t know how to put their lust into words, or they’ve been taught to feel that their kinks are shameful, or maybe they still don’t really know the answer themselves.

For the first few fucks, saying something like ‘I’m into bondage and/or spanking and/or pouring custard on your tits and then smearing my face in it’ will probably do. It’s definitely better than no sexual communication at all. But as we get closer I’m going to need a little more detail if you really want me to wrap my mind around your likes and dislikes. Understanding the ‘whys’ as well as the ‘whats’.

‘Why’ versus ‘what’

The ‘what’:

“I like spanking you.”

Useful, sexy, interesting. And if you have never articulated this kink aloud before, you get massive kudos for saying it for the first time. Seriously, please do not kick yourself if this is all you can say right now – if it’s hard to say, but you said it anyway, then I’ll be first in line to pat you on the back.

But ideally this would be a first step towards giving me a lot more detail. Aka: the ‘why’:

I like spanking you because I enjoy the sensation of your flesh jiggling under the palm of my hand. I like feeling you squirm in my lap, and the way my dick presses against you as I grow hard. I like holding you close to me, running my hands over your naked bum and my fingers down the slit of your cunt to see how wet this spanking is making you.

I like spanking you because I enjoy feeling powerful and dispensing punishment. I like playing that game where you pretend to be naughty and I’m ‘correcting’ you. It’s mostly a control thing, but it can also partly be a caring thing – in a previous relationship someone liked me to spank her when she was getting too anxious and flustered. Playful BDSM helped her escape that headspace, and sometimes being treated like a brat, getting punishment, then having a cathartic cry helped her. I enjoyed being able to do that – there’s a caring/nurturing thing going on in that scenario which turns me on too.

I like spanking you because I watch a lot of porn where spanking is part and parcel of a fuck. I’m not interested in just putting you over my knee – I want to spank you while we’re fucking.  I like doggy-style fucks and fucks where you’re bent in half and I’m shoving my dick in, and for me spanking is a way to assert my dominance during a fuck. Make you feel like you’re a toy, being used. A quick smack here or there – the sound of it and feel of it and the way it makes you squeal – conjures an atmosphere of brutality and humiliation that makes my dick twitch.

See what I mean? The inside of your head will always look very different to someone else’s, and so our interpretations of what ‘spanking’ involves and why it’s hot are more likely to misalign than match perfectly. If you want someone to fulfil your fantasies, one of the most useful things you can do is articulate those fantasies. To yourself to begin with, especially if you’re nervous. I don’t expect anyone to be able to capture the exact nuance of what turns them on, and why it works that way: I’ve been doing this for nearly a decade and I still can’t do it perfectly. If I’m honest, the last six months or so have made me realise that I sometimes struggle to articulate myself with new people, because there’s a rock that sits in my brain which tells me it’s easier to send them a blog link. Communication is a learning process, and it’ll be different with each person. But the more you practice the easier it will get.

And by the way, “I like spanking you because you get off on it” is a good answer if it’s honest, but it is not a complete answer in this instance. Alone, it sounds like you’re doing me a favour – like rubbing my feet or hanging up my laundry. If it’s my pleasure that genuinely gets you off, have a go at articulating what it is about my pleasure that you like.

“I get really turned on by how wet you get when I spank you. I like the noises that you make. I enjoyed that time when you pulled down your knickers in the kitchen and looked me in the eye like you desperately wanted me to punish you. I find it hot just how much pain you can take, and although I get a bit nervous about smacking you too hard, there’s a definite hotness in hearing you beg ‘harder’ and ‘more.'”

Your answer will be different, obviously, but you get the idea.

Sexual communication prompts

When you’re working on sexual communication, one of the most useful things you can do is consider your desires/likes in the context of the following things:

  • Touch
  • Taste
  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Scent
  • Atmosphere/tone

Some of these things will leave you cold, or be inaccessible to you (if you’re blind or have anosmia sight and smell won’t be your go-tos). I don’t always take account of every detail when I’m writing a blog post: for me what makes a fuck hot is usually the tone and the atmosphere. Reading other people’s erotica, I’m often struck by how much they focus on the physical descriptions of the people involved. While I’ll occasionally chuck in a ‘big strong hands’ or ‘dark dark eyes’ here and there, by and large I try not to physically describe the people in each story. When Stuart draws his gorgeous illustrations, he tries to represent a broad range of different people, so that everyone can see themselves represented in an image somewhere. But if it’s visuals that turn you on? Use them in your sexual communication! Tell someone ‘I like the way you look when you bend over’ or ‘I love the sight of your tits in my face when you’re riding me’ or ‘you have a beautiful cock.’

So you don’t have to use all the prompts, but going through the list might help you to fill out more detail on your kinks.

I like spanking you because the sensation of your bum under my palm feels soft and pliable. I like the tingly slap of my palm and the jiggle of your flesh underneath. You arse looks really hot, presented neatly on my lap. I love it best when your knickers are pulled just partway down, the fabric cutting in to the crease at the top of your thighs, pushing your cheeks up slightly and squishing them for extra movement when I smack. Talking of ‘smacks’, I love the sound – both of the spanking itself and the little squeals you do when I let rip. I prefer it when you’re squealing with pleasure, and the yelps if I hit you too hard make me nervous, which is why I always try to increase the intensity gradually, to keep you in that pleasurable zone. I want the atmosphere of a spanking to be one where we acknowledge that you’re a filthy slut for wanting it, and I’m only too delighted to give it to you – I’m building your frustration by stroking/spanking/touching you, and it’s only when I’ve spanked you to intense horny desperation that I’ll give you a fuck to say thank you. Oh! Also I love putting dildos in your cunt and then gently spanking you so it smacks the base of it – it hits the ‘pleasure’ tone and also the feel of it is glorious. You squirm in my lap so delightfully when I do that, and I know the extra sensation inside is getting you even wetter.

See? We didn’t do touch or taste because they aren’t relevant to this particular fantasy, but they may well be relevant to yours. Going through the list, though, prompts me to consider the ways in which this person wants to spank, not just the fact that they do.

Talk to yourself first

If this all sounds really hard (it is!) then the first step in getting better at sexual communication is talking to yourself. Pick one of your favourite kinks or desires, and have a go at detailing it using the prompts and questions above. You don’t need to show it to anyone, although if you’d like to share it, comments below are open and I fucking love reading this kind of stuff – or pitch me a guest blog if you write something you’re proud of! The aim isn’t to come up with something world-shattering or knicker-melting, though: just something which captures the detail of what you like, and gives you some practice at articulating your kink. That way, the next time someone asks ‘what are you into?’ you don’t need to panic or just say ‘spanking’, you can guide them towards something richer and more ‘you.’


It’d be silly of me to write this piece without also recommending this excellent book for further reading: Enjoy Sex/Finally, helpful sex advice! is a fucking brilliant place to start if you want to explore your own desires in more depth and work on your sexual communication. 


  • SpaceMind says:

    Thank you for this. It’s really helped me focus on the what and why of the various things that turn me on. Just that gentle guidance to aid me to talk to the inner kink me and know him better. I look forward to taking this forward with my fuck buddy when we are next allowed to get together. Here’s to deeper, more meaningful fucks ahead. Thank you x

  • fuzzy says:

    Great, great post.

    You use an example, “If it’s my pleasure that genuinely gets you off”, and this has been true for me all my life with my partners. It’s my primary kink, actually; and it never fails to work.

    It gets my cock hard. If it’s hard, it gets it harder. I can have ejaculated three times in the past two hours, and if my partner is still cresting and moaning and wanting more, that alone is more guaranteed to get me hard again than anything else. Even if I *can’t* get hard anymore, it will make me horny and wanting and hurting and wanting to please my partner and wanted to be doing whatever it is that gets them off.

    It’s great when it is working; when my partner is less interested in sex and pleasure it definitely has drawbacks.

    It’s a vicious circle is what it is, but I love it, and and at the end of the day it’s me.

    • Girl on the net says:

      “Even if I *can’t* get hard anymore, it will make me horny and wanting and hurting and wanting to please my partner and wanted to be doing whatever it is that gets them off.” This is LOVELY. I am a huge fan of ‘wanting and hurting’ and frankly I think a lot of my pre-sex dirty talk focuses heavily on *aches*. Like … my cunt is *aching* for your cock or asking someone if their dick aches while I’m teasing them.

      However, fuzzy, I’m going to say you’re already quite an expert in articulating yourself so I have a further question for you. When you say ‘it gets my cock hard’… what does? Why?

      – the sound of someone pleading for something
      – their noises of pleasure
      – the feeling of them getting wet/hard for you
      – the power you feel, having their pleasure in your control
      – the service element of knowing you’re doing something *for* them

      Etc etc etc. That’s the part of yours I really want to delve into.

      (You don’t need to answer this if you don’t want to, btw, I feel a bit like an English teacher putting red pen ‘why?’ in the margins of someone’s essay. I just thought if you’re going for that answer, that’d be a handy bit to expand on! I think for me it’s about feeling wanted/desired/needed/*hurt for* – the knowledge that I have made someone desperate for me, and I am the only one who can help them relieve the ache/pain/misery of *not being fucked by me*)

  • Tempe says:

    This is good advice. I really enjoy the ‘why’ conversations as a massive part of foreplay before meeting up with someone. It’s a turn on in itself.

    One of my frustrations with trying to find porn that suits is that it addresses my ‘what’ but not my ‘why’. I search for ‘humiliation’ and it doesn’t quite hit the spot. Search for ‘verbal humiliation’ and again it doesn’t entirely tap into what I want. But for some reason the search terms ‘verbal humiliation that goes beyond generic comments like “you filthy slut” to more personal mockery based around my emotions and feelings for the other person because that feels so much more intimate and about me and only me and therefore it’s more special even though and probably because it hurts so much” are not commonly found on PornHub*.

    It’s also why I tend to very broadly say what I’m into if a potential partner asks but I’m always clear that what I’m into is different with different people because that ‘why’ can vary between different partners as well, dependant on the type of person they are and the relationship we have.

    *PornHub given as widely known example of porn site.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Ah yeah I think that’s one of the things that erotica/audio can do much more easily than visual porn. You get to hear characters’ motivations and thoughts in a way you can’t really (at least not in a realistic way) with video porn. I’ve seen some really lovely visual porn which has started with inner monologues so you get a bit more background on the characters, but yeah if you’re looking on Pornhub you’re probably not going to find much that hits that spot. Sites like do some way more involved/detailed scenarios with great characterisation, and sites like Clips4Sale have a huge range of content that delves deeper into specific niches (you can get down to some really granular detail in searches). There’s also custom stuff too – so many adult performers do custom stuff these days that I reckon if you could articulate what you wanted in loads of detail, you could commission some absolutely spot-on custom porn because you’ve got the exact script you want!

  • Tempe says:

    Some more good advice, and I do really need to open up my porn searching. I also do really like written stuff, often better than visual stuff.

    I’m fortunate to have some partners who are expert at writing stuff that works for me, and so I have lots of lovely written material to enjoy at my leisure. It helps that I have a ‘kink’ for language and the written word; it means I tend to end up with people who are excellent writers and that pays dividends. My boyfriend has written a couple of excellent pieces for me recently, and then I’ve been able to highlight the bits that particularly worked for me and explain *why*, and that will pay off even more when we meet in person. It’s not always been the bits that he’s expected, and so it massively helps with that conversation about the ‘why’. Also, there’s something particularly delicious about reading erotica and knowing it’s going to happen to you at some point in the future (dependant on plague situation).

  • fuzzy says:

    Let me give this a shot. Other peoples’ arousal makes me aroused. It seems that the more aroused they are, the more I am. If what my partner is craving right now is to masturbate, and does so, then it excites me. If my partner get goosebumps and orgasms when I touch and kiss and lick her neck in the right spot; then that is what i want to be doing, and it will be what is getting my cock hard.

    Experiencing the smell and sound and touch of an aroused partner is certainly a big part of this; but a large part of it *for me* also *has* to be the service element. My spawn one day while we were talking about human sexuality said “I am a service-oriented switch” and I gasped and was like “Oh I’m going to steal that turn of a phrase for sure”.

    And now I’m going to get all mystical, because it’s not the power and control as much as it is the sharing / mixing of our auras. “Sharing” is my default word for sexual activity, and when we do, it is in itself powerful, and in that sharing / mixing of our auras a new thing is created that exists in that space and the more you do it the more it is. It’s a new/old paradigm of consciousness.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Oooh this is super interesting – thank you so much for elaborating fuzzy! I think the connection/sharing thing hits on something I’ve not really considered in that way, like it sounds almost spiritual? This is why I *love* the ‘why’ question, especially when relating to tone/atmosphere of a fuck – I have a lot of assumptions about tone/atmosphere that usually come from my own ‘why’s, but yours is super different and I think a really cool thing to articulate. I would be honoured if someone told me this innit =) Also yeah ‘service-oriented’ is a really helpful phrase – I’ve used it a few times when trying to explain how I feel about getting head (I’m not a fan but if someone really *wants* to do it, like gets off on the taste of me/feel of their lips on my cunt then I can totally get into it. As if I’m kinda allowing myself to be their buffet).

      Just realised that ‘buffet’ probably doesn’t sound very sexy, but still.

  • fuzzy says:

    Argle, this didn’t end up in the spot in the thread where I was trying to reply.

  • Will says:

    Fantastic post. This post articulates something that I failed to do well for a long time, and still haven’t mastered. Thanks for writing it up so clearly.

  • Reina Skalbeck says:

    Great post. I am mostly into using things like feathers, blindfolds (great for attempting that fridge scene from 9 and a half weeks) handcuffs sometimes -playfully and I have done a couple of risky things during sex or should I say where exactly it happened. One the Garda were driving past the hotel I stayed in with my then future husband while we were at it on the balcony. We were on the 3rd floor of it in Dublin and lo and behold they drove past on patrol. However I have always thought it was the shenanigans from Miss Whiplash and her boyfriend downstairs at the front as their room was like a Dutch sex shop, for all the world to see exactly what they were up to. The other was in a lift believe it or not. Still finding the imagination takes me places I never thought I would experience more at the same time, not out of losing sight of myself but things change, not having much time still is another thing as well.

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