‘My girlfriend talks dirty to me in German and I hate it’

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Dear A&E, 

My girlfriend talks dirty to me in bed, which I’m not used to, and I don’t know how to respond. We’ve been together for six months and this started about three months in. 

She also does it in German (her native language), which I don’t understand, and it gives me nervous giggles, which she says she finds difficult. I’ve tried to raise the subject, but she carries on and now she wants me to do the same. I’m not sure where to go from here. 

– Awkward

Dear Awkward, 

There’s a lot of fuss about dirty talk: How do I do it? How should I respond to it? Is it sexy? Does it kill the vibe? Does it enhance the vibe? What on earth do I actually say? But the truth is, some people just do it. They just continue to verbally communicate while having sex. For those people who don’t do it naturally, it can take a long time to find their sex voices. And some people never find them.

So, your partner started muttering her hot nothings three months into the relationship, presumably just as she was starting to relax with you? It can be an odd period of adjustment. 

At the very start, couples will often be desperate to get their hands on each other. How, when and why doesn’t matter. But then you start to grow into the sexual, emotional and practical terms of your relationship and start to work out how it might all play out.

Listen, if you’re still together in five years she’ll probably be talking about the shopping list (how do you say, ‘Don’t forget the bin bags’ in German?), so this could be an opportunity to deepen your connection rather than something to shy away from.

First let’s look at your giggles. Laughter is fantastic during sex, but a nervous giggle seems to us to represent the opposite of connection. The first way to combat this nervousness might be to work out exactly what it is that she is saying. 

Rather than panicking and giggling, ask her: ‘What does that mean? Tell me more…’ The use of her native language most likely means that she’s really into you and into it, so take it as a compliment.

That said – and because you have already told her that you find it unnerving, but her urge to talk is strong – why not suggest that she talks to you in English? And think about what you’d like her to say. What would really put lead in your pencil? What have you been fantasising about hearing for all these years? What are your arousal trigger words? Most people will find that they have one or two…

When it comes to sex, telling our partner what we don’t like can be as important as discussing what we like. So perhaps explain to her that you adore having sex with her, but the talking is a huge distraction and it takes you out of the moment and into a place of discomfort. 

Generally we are programmed to want our partners to enjoy themselves in bed, so this might quieten her down a little, but we would suggest that you also try to meet talk with talk. It might be a shame to silence her without giving it a go. Why not?

If we break dirty talk down to its simplest component parts, the basics are surely to ask for what you want and to offer encouragement. That’s not so hard. She won’t expect an intricate, X-rated pornographic scenario. She will just want to feel wanted, to feel like she is the centre of attention, the main event, the whole shebang. 

And, if we flip that thought, those are the things she is telling you – albeit in German, but nonetheless we can feel assured that she isn’t saying, ‘This is not turning me on… I don’t want you… Stop doing what you’re doing.’

Start with looking into her eyes. Kiss her for a while longer. Make sure she knows that this is not just about having sex for you, it’s about having sex with her and only her. Women need to feel specifically desired. You may not need words, but find a way to make your feelings and intentions crystal clear.


More from the Midults: 

What readers advised in response to last week’s problem: ‘How can I tell my overweight friend that she’s slowly killing herself?’

@JNFriend: ‘I had a very good friend who was morbidly obese. I told her she was killing herself; she ditched me as a friend. On a brighter note, she has had bariatic surgery as a result (within two months of our conversation) and is now (12 months later) 40 kg lighter and looking great. Unfortunately we still don’t speak, but I’m happy she is doing well. She will now live to see her daughter grow up, which is much more important to me than our friendship.’ 

@AndrewDale: ‘You need to sit your friend down for a polite chat. Sketch out a visual; fork in the road, one path leads to death, the other to health and well-being, physically and mentally. Encourage her to take up light exercise (with you, as support) keep the exercise and calorie management going, little and often to start with. Your friend will hate it at first but, as the weight slowly starts to come off and oxygen to the brain starts to improve, as well as an endorphin boost, she will start to enjoy it.’

@JumpingJack: ‘Good advice on the weight issue, Midults. I know I’ve been there and lost 45kgs. The only thing I’d change is referring to ‘we’ are worried about you. Don’t make it sound like you have been talking about her problems behind her back, make it personal from you.’

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