On Dirty Talk


“To be clear: this isn’t about sexual repression; it’s about the sorry state of sexual expression. When did we forget how to talk dirty? Sexting transcripts are criminally boring. Craigslist ads read like chimp-generated remixes of the same five words. Is it the Internet? Why are Americans so bad at writing and speaking the thing they love thinking about and doing? You can measure a civilization’s cultural capital by how it encodes its basest operations. By that yardstick, we’re broke.”

Calling for a return to “the golden age of dirty talk,” this Awl piece introduces us to a 17th century pamphlet dubbed The Academy of Pleasure and reflects on the value of euphemisms.

Lisa Dusenbery is the former managing editor of The Rumpus. More from this author →