How to have phone sex confidently and leave awkwardness on hold forever


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Photo: Getty Images/Philipp Nemenz

Upon first thought, phone sex may seem like a relic of the past thanks to the growing list of video-chat options: Skype, FaceTime, Snapchat, etc. But research shows auditory cues facilitate arousal, meaning it makes sense to keep the vintage-ish mode of communication in your rotation. So if you’re in an LDR or are simply looking to upgrade your sexting sessions, consider dusting off your phone’s primary function and dialing out for a sexy call.

But…if you’re rusty or have never given phone sex a shot, you may not be so amped or ready to dial that first number. For tips on verbal finesse, Kristen Tribby, head of education at pleasure-product company Fun Factory, and indie erotic filmmaker Erika Lust are here to explain how to have have phone sex in nine simple steps.

Below, get expert tips for how to have phone sex in a way that doesn’t make you want to fake a bad connection.

1. Make sure your partner is down

Before you dive right into dirty talk, make sure your partner is into it—with “it” being both phone sex in general and doing it in that very moment. Why? Because consent is sexy, plain and simple.

To test the waters on this front, Tribby suggests saying, “I think your voice is so sexy, and I would love to have a hot phone date with you. Would you be into that?” Or, you might just ask, “Is phone sex something you’d be interested or comfortable trying?” The added bonus of scheduling the encounter is that you can prepare your own personal space and set the mood for the main event. “Dim the lights, put some music on, light some candles,” Lust says. “If you feel sexy in some particular underwear then put them on.”

Once you’ve taken care of that initial convo, you might ask, per Tribby, “Do you want to explore some fun fantasies over the phone tonight?” Or, “Are you in the mood to remember that one time we made love in Florida?” In both instances, the question-asking style of broaching the subject is key. “It’s really important to give the person space to decline, ask more questions, or reschedule,” says Tribby. And if any of those things happen, don’t take it personally or try to convince them otherwise. Instead, communicate your support by letting them know you understand and are are open to finding other ways to connect.

2. Ask your partner what words they like

“It’s never a bad idea to ask each other if you have terms you love or hate,” says Tribby. Different people are into different words for genitals, for example, and find some to be a turnoff or even triggering. Same goes for common adjectives people turn to for phone sex: engorged, rock-hard, powerful? Depending on your preferences, you might be turned on, skeeved out, or somewhere between—and unless you talk about it with your partner, there’s no way you two will end up on the same page.

“A word that makes you or a past partner feel sexy and empowered might make your current partner feel icky and uncomfortable.” —Kristen Tribby, head of education at Fun Factory

“A word that makes you or a past partner feel sexy and empowered might make your current partner feel icky and uncomfortable,” says Tribby. And vice versa. After all, nothing initiates the “hang up immediately” cue quite like having your south side described as a “cavernous fountain” when you like to think of it as a “tight tulip.”

3. Play TBT

“Remembering a hot experience together can get you both in the mood instantly,” says Lust, who recommends a three-step scene-setting guide: 1. Get vivid. 2. Tell the story with your partner. 3. ask questions.

Here’s what that might look like in practice: “Remember when we were in Cali, in that parking garage outside Whole Foods? How I pushed you against the wall, pressed my body firm into yours?” Does your partner seem into it? If so, you might continue: “What if I had dropped to my knees right there?” or “What if I’d bent you over the hood right there…?”

Detail here is key because it transports your partner to that place. “And asking questions allows your partner to take over at times so it becomes a back and forth interaction,” says Lust—plus, whenever there’s a question, there’s room for gaining ongoing consent.

Likewise, if your partner begins to describe something you’re not into, speak up and guide them. “I’d rather feel your lips here.” Or, “Tonight I’d prefer something more aggressive.” Or, “I like it better when you touch me like you did that one time….” Or, “Not right now.”

4. Explore a fantasy

“Phone sex can be a great tool for exploring fantasies that you’re not ready to try in real life yet, or even fantasies that you will never actually do in real life,” Lust says. In the latter case, a main reason it may feel so erotic is precisely because it would never play out IRL. Others have fantasies that simply aren’t possible. “Maybe you want to have sex in outer space or in the Victorian era. You can explore this in phone sex, but not in real life,” she adds.

5. Read an erotica passage

You know how it’s said that the hardest part of any journey is taking the first step? Well, the same principle applies to phone sex. So, take off that pressure already. “Start by reading one of your favorite sex or erotica scenes,” suggests Lust. Literotica, Libidia, and Sugarbutch Chronicles are great places to start.

You know how it’s said that the hardest part of any journey is taking the first step? Well, the same principle applies to phone sex—and erotica can take off that pressure.

You might pick a story together and alternate who reads aloud. Or, try the storytelling erotica app Dipsea together (it’s basically the Headspace of dirty reads). Or, DIY it with some pen and paper. “Leave a journal next to your bed and write down erotic thoughts, scenes, or dreams as they come to you,” suggests Lust. Then, the next time you have phone sex, you can look back through your journal and read them to your partner.

6. Listen

You don’t want to get so wrapped up in what you’re going to say next that you forget to listen because being half-present may lead your partner to feel uncomfortable being vulnerable with you about their desires. So, don’t worry so much about what your next sexy comment may be. “When you’re really listening, your imagination will run free and give you ample material to share,” Lust says.

7. Make noise

“Breathe, moan, gasp, grunt…whatever sounds come natural,” says Lust. “You don’t need to fake it, but definitely don’t try to quiet your want.” Also, don’t be afraid to laugh (at yourself, or with your partner). “It doesn’t have to be all serious,” she adds. “If you get tongue-tied and you want to laugh, then just laugh.” Remember, this is supposed to be fun.

8. Optional: Touch yourself

“Like with all sex, nothing is mandatory here…and that includes masturbating and orgasm,” Lust says.

But if you do touch yourself, tell your phone-sex partner exactly how you’re going about it. Or, allow them to direct you. “Even the most simple act, like removing your panties, is highly charged when someone is walking you through it,” says Tribby.

9. Use wireless headphones

Why? Two hands, obviously.

Want to take your dirty talk from phone to IRL? These tips can help. And, if you want to talk about sex, this guide will make it easier

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