Yes, And… ! Making Space For Improvisation In Your Sex Life
You’ve probably seen improvisers on TV, creating whole hilarious scenes on the spot, based on suggestions from the audience. They don’t look like they’re making anything up, right? That’s because they practice. Since good role-play and dirty talk are almost entirely improvisation, you too can practice, using principles from improvisation as guidelines. I suggest starting with: “yes, and.”
In improvisation, saying “yes, and” means if that your improvisation partner “makes you an offer” that is, puts a suggestion or a proposal out there for use in the scene you accept that proposal, you say “yes,” AND you do something to further the scene, either expanding on their suggestion with description/action OR by adding something on to push it forward from a narrative point of view.
Saying “yes” is the first step. Now, of course you say “no” during sex if your partner pushes a button that you didn’t know you had, or if you’re just not up for it tonight. But assuming that you’ve already discussed your basic likes/dislikes, and hard limits, and parameters of the role play… try saying “yes”. In both sex and improvisation, you have to have faith that your play partners are not deliberately out to trip you up or squick you out. If you don’t have this trust, then you probably shouldn’t be playing with them. If you do have this trust, then listen to what they’re leading with, and say “yes.”
AND. That’s the next part. Just saying “yes” doesn’t really get you anywhere. Again, this is true in both sex and improvisation. If you just say “yes” and don’t add anything after, that shifts the burden of the scene onto your partner; they have to come up with something else, otherwise you’re both just sitting there smiling and nodding at each other, an almost-sexy standstill.
Following the principle of “Yes, AND” is a surefire way to improve your improvisation/dirty-talk game and send your sex life places you may not have even known existed, but you have to practice:
- Next time you hear yourself saying “oh, God, fuck yes”, you know, just random expletives or nonspecific words of encouragement, EXPLAIN YOURSELF. Try to articulate what you like about whatever it is that your partner is doing. Give them at least a few words to work with. If you can retain your powers of description even when all around you are losing theirs, you are gonna sound like a sex deity, no matter what you say.
- When you find yourself spending a little extra time on one of your partner’s body parts -neck or nipple or pink bits – say what is keeping you there! “Your fingers taste like the maple syrup we just had on the pancakes” or “I can feel your pulse with my lips” or “I love it when your cock jumps like that.”
- If your partner suggests a position, either verbally or with body language, go there, see how that feels, and then at some point, elaborate on that, again, either verbally or just by moving. “What happens if I put my leg there?” or just, you know, put your leg there, if it’s not too awkward or disruptive. Worst case? Doesn’t work, you laugh and mop up the spilled glass of water, and go back to whatever was working.
- If your partner “makes an offer” with a role or character -“I want you to be my boss” – don’t just say “okay.” Add on something about being a boss, either as character/dynamic development – “you can’t keep your eyes off of those tight pin-striped skirts I wear, can you?” – or as story development, e.g. “why haven’t you been getting the reports in on time?”
The main thing here? Don’t say “no” during improvisation, unless it’s an actual hard limit or something physically dangerous that maybe you need some training in. Say “yes, AND.” Try to take the tack that everything is fair game, within the range of things that you and your partner have talked about. It may get silly or awkward; you may feel like a fool. But if you treat it like what it is —PLAY— you’ll at least have fun, and you may also run across something that you might otherwise have never found. I think it’s worth the risk.
– Cameryn Moore
About the writer: Cameryn Moore is an award-winning playwright/performer, sex activist and educator, sidewalk pornographer, and a long-time phone sex operator. Her work in theatre, literature, and activism/advocacy is both a challenge and invitation to adventurous audiences everywhere. She is the writer and performer of four solo shows: Phone Whore, slut (r)evolution, for | play, and The Pretty One (and other things that need to be said). To date, she has toured these shows to nearly 50 cities around the world. She is the creator and host of Smut Slam, a storytelling open mic, and Smut Slam Cabaret, both featuring real-life, first-person sex stories. When not performing, Cameryn sets up her world-famous traveling Smut Stand, providing bespoke typewritten erotica on the spot to happy drunks and discerning passersby. She currently winters in Montreal, which is exactly as stupid as it sounds.
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