Bedroom talk in pop culture can be a bit exaggerated, to say the least. We’ve seen portrayed in our movies, TV shows and music. Sometimes this portrayal can make it seem like a daunting or awkward way to approach intimacy with your partner, but in reality could be something much more healthy and common than we may think.

All types of relationships may actually benefit from this intimate language as long as the experience is consensual and allows both partners to intimately express themselves with honesty. Bringing up the idea of sexy talk itself, awkward as it may be for some, can help couples learn how to understand their love language through a different medium. 

In a survey of 990 European and American respondents who reported speaking sexually with a partner, we sought out insights into how people approach the naughtier side of bedroom talk. How do people prefer to get it started? What are some absolute turnoffs? Continue reading to see our findings.

Sexual Conversations: Who’s and What’s

While we may think that sexual talk is confined to late night TV, it might be relatively common among couples: 7 in 10 respondents talked sexually with their partner(s) in the past year.

And a higher rate of partners using bedroom talk may lead to greater relationship satisfaction. In fact, sexually satisfied respondents talked sexually during intercourse more frequently than other people. 

Keeping up with regular sexual conversations that are acceptable to each person can be beneficial to the relationship: Expressing your desires doesn’t make starting the conversation any less awkward, but it certainly helps ease the tension surrounding sexy talk. Discovering what turns your partner on and off enables a deeper sexual and physical connection between a couple. 

For some, starting slow with flirty questions and light touching may be a perfect balance between modesty and sensuality; for others, getting explicit consent out loud before intimate acts can bring two people closer together. Talking sexy in bed can take many forms that adapt to everyone’s unique boundaries and can improve the dynamic between two people by establishing a new love language. 

Most respondents who talked sexually did so a couple of times a month, while 29% of respondents brought sexy talk into bed every single time they reported being intimate.

With over 9 in 10 respondents revealing feelings of arousal when their partners talked sexually, it’s clear that many couples could benefit from the addition of flirty talk in their sex lives. 

Sexual Do’s and Don’ts

Everyone has different sexual turn-ons and turnoffs, but nicknames (especially derogatory) are a major point of contention. A respectable fraction of respondents admitted to being turned on by derogatory pet names, although a larger proportion considered these names a deal-breaker in the bedroom. Pejorative terms and nicknames aren’t for everyone, while others use sexual talk to win back slurs and terms that can be used for empowerment. However, communication is key to finding out what makes you and your partner tick. 

Respondents were quick to pay appreciation to times when a partner articulated a sexual request or desire, with more people reporting that these phrases were a turn-on than any other form of dirty talk. Another big turn-on was moaning: 44% of respondents said moans turned them on the most during sex. Instead of complete silence, moaning produces a physical and tangible representation of pleasure and offers a sign to someone’s partner that the interaction is enjoyable. 

Often, bedroom speak can cross over into uncharted territory, an environment that some might not want to enter. Twenty percent of respondents had stopped intercourse because they were turned off by their partner’s sexual talk. When proceeding in this situation, be honest and open about what turns you off. 

Which Topics Turn Us On the Most?

Most sexual discussions occurred as spur-of-the-moment events, as cited by almost 61% of respondents. Learning how to communicate sexually with your partner can be tough, so keep things simple with open discussions and listening to each other’s likes and dislikes.

We found that over 35% of respondents had pulled inspiration from previous sexual encounters, which was not a favourable opinion overall, as 61% of people expressed that they’d be annoyed with a partner for recycling sexual phrasing. 

You could argue pornography is often a source of sexual misinformation, but it would be difficult to deny the popularity of pornographic films and their influence on many people’s sex lives. Men were more than twice as likely than women to borrow a dirty phrase or word from porn, with 45% of male respondents acknowledging porn as a source of inspiration. The porn industry is diverse with varying levels of intensity; it’s possible to mentally jot down tips and execute them in real life. However, not everyone is up for these behaviours

Sexual Talk With Your Partner

Overwhelmingly, respondents recommended starting slow rather than going into sexual talk full steam ahead. Nearly 1 in 4 respondents suggested easing into provocative bedroom talk to gauge their partner’s response. Other options were partner-focused, including giving compliments, using appropriate nicknames, and asking what their partner likes. 

Only 38% of respondents had engaged in these discussions about sexual talk. However, sexually satisfied respondents were more likely to have done so. This conversation might be easier to have digitally, as we found that sexually satisfied respondents engaged in sexual talk outside of the bedroom more often than other people

This can include sexual talk through texting, apps, or social media. In the age of the internet, our smartphones have become a part of relationships, and “sexting” has hit a positive nerve in many while increasing in prominence within our relationships. 

Changes and Trends in How We Talk Sexually to Each Other

Preparing for bedroom talk no longer requires a nerve-wracking rehearsal in front of the mirror. It can be simple, like a casual hot text or a short exchange that can heat up a room. 

Not everyone views sexual talk as a relationship enhancer, and the argument has been made that it has the potential to be jarring to people who share that level of intensity between partners too rapidly. That said, our analysis reinforces the fact that, when done correctly, sexual talk can help define or add to a relationship in incredible ways.

For tests and treatments to help you stay healthy and happy in the bedroom, Superdrug Online Doctor is here to assist. From contraception to STI treatment, Superdrug Online Doctor offers a variety of ways to keep on top of sex-health, delivered straight to your door with discretion. 


For this project, we surveyed 990 European and American respondents about their sexual talk habits in and outside the bedroom. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 83 with an average age of 40 and a standard deviation of 12.4. 271 respondents were baby boomers, 355 were Gen Xers, and 364 were millennials. 54% of respondents identified as men, and 46% identified as women. 861 respondents said they were sexually satisfied. 


Our data relies on self-reporting by the respondents and are merely exploratory. Issues with self-reported responses include but aren’t limited to exaggeration and bias. No statistical testing was performed. The data were not weighted.

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