Kish Lal
06.08.21
Education

The relatable porn star: Morgana on self-worth, sex and stereotypes


Do you remember your first experience with dirty talk? You may need to reach back through a thick fog of old memories or some MSN chat logs for the answer, but author Johannes T. Evans can pinpoint exactly when his fascination with dirty talk began.

“The first time I experienced dirty talk as a concept was probably in reading and writing smut fic at 14 – which is extremely cringey looking back,” the Welsh writer laughs as he talks to me on a video call from Ireland. Today, Evans has garnered a loyal following for his fantasy writing which spans horror, romance, slice of life and erotica.


Evans has always been interested in the conceptual idea of dirty talk, so about three or four years ago, while in university, he put his writing into practice when he started working as a phone sex operator. It started as a way to earn some money on the side and was oddly convenient, considering that he had a landline – which he still uses as a cost-effective way to keep in touch with his family back in Wales and Greece.


He admits that he’s never really enjoyed being on the receiving end – “I get really, really irritated in sexual situations when people keep talking, and I just think, ‘Be quiet, you’re not going to say anything sexier than what I can say’” – it didn’t take long for him to realise he had a knack for getting people off.



It makes people want to know more about me, it’s like, wow she had this traditional life and then became a porn star.

“I really actually enjoyed the work,” he admits. Evans worked as a phone sex operator for over a year and a half, and beams as he recounts stories of former clients, from argumentative comic book fans and people into med kink to callers who walked him through extremely specific scenes that required Foley (reproducing sound effects), roleplay and sometimes very little sex.


“The payoff isn’t just orgasm, it’s the sense of having completed a process,” Evans explains. “I think that for a lot of ritualised sexual fantasies, ones that people come back to again and again, completing that with someone else. . . even if it’s with a stranger, it is quite satisfying.”


Evans is a gay trans man but tells me that while working on phone sex lines he wasn’t on testosterone yet. “It was like a really nice way to up the anonymity factor to be playing a woman,” he tells me. “I didn’t want to do cam even when I could pass as a woman, and I liked that it was on the phone. . . you can create a reality that isn’t there.”

The way we participate in dirty talk, whether that’s cybersex, sexting, sending nudes, erotica or phone sex has evolved so much over the years. It’s a sexual act that isn’t usually solitary (unless you want it to be), that also ensures one’s safety and anonymity. It feels truly ephemeral, and whether it’s practised with a trusted partner, an expert, or a flirty stranger on the internet, the parameters are entirely up to you.


So why does communicating our sexual fantasies feel so good?


“It activates all regions of your brain, while your body is also getting stimulated,” Daryl Cioffi, a sex and neuropsychology expert told Medical Daily back in 2015. “Similar areas of the brain are touched upon during dirty talk as when we curse. So, very often as your brain sees it, the dirtier the better.”


“Similar areas of the brain are touched upon during dirty talk as when we curse. So, very often as your brain sees it, the dirtier the better.”

Studies show that dirty talk stimulates the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that controls excitement and pleasure. According to Medical Daily, whispers, moans, and screams alongside dirty talk are also processed by the brain’s hearing centre, including the temporal lobe, the frontal lobe, and the occipital lobe. So that feeling of satisfaction that’s more mental than physical: it’s your brain lighting up. And what kind of dirty talk lights up your brain is very personal to you.

Even just in the last decade, we’ve seen erotica evolve into screenplays, phone sex turn into sexting and dalliances in chat rooms turn into cam sessions. Advancements in technology mean that there are more ways to get that hit of dirty dopamine than ever before – your options are virtually endless.


Violet Russo, 27 is a Melbourne-based sex worker who started building her impressive collection of erotic language at around 16.


“I had access to my aunties’ romance novels, so I used to go to their bookshelf when they were busy and read all the dirty parts of these books,” she confessed. Eventually, this developed into exploring her sexuality online. Despite not being allowed to use MSN Messenger – a Millennial rite of passage – Russo found Meebo, a seemingly similar instant messaging service that she used to chat with strangers online. Though after a while, cybersex and erotic messages just weren’t cutting it anymore.


“Eventually, that developed to me being like 18 and live streaming because there were some chat rooms [on Meebo] where you could have your webcam on,” she tells me. “I would flash chat rooms with thousands of people in it, get myself off and then be like, ‘Okay, thanks, bye!’ I was really drawn to the anonymity and the distance, even though I was taught that it’s dangerous to chat with strangers online.”

“I would flash chat rooms with thousands of people in it, get myself off and then be like, ‘Okay, thanks, bye!’ I was really drawn to the anonymity and the distance, even though I was taught that it’s dangerous to chat with strangers online.”

We all know about phone sex, raunchy erotica, exhibitionism in chat rooms, and sexting with people you meet online, whether you pay them or not, but what about solo dirty talk?

Slutbot is just one of the many AI-powered chatbots available on the market today – and it’s completely free to use. SexTech innovator, Brianna Rader who owns sexual health and wellness company, Juicebox started Slutbot in 2019.

Anyone in the US and Canada can text with Slutbot and practice how to sext over text messages. It takes the worry out of interacting with a person, especially if you don’t feel ready to take that step. You can also use it if you’re just horny and want to see what that AI do. ‍

“I think dirty talk is a lot more fun now,” admits Emily Costello, 26. Costello is a sex coach based in New York who started her career after an elucidating experience.

“I had hired my own sex coach roughly a year ago to work through my own sexual trauma. From there, I fell in love with the model of sexual therapy.” In her work, Costello helps non-monogamous clients to work through guilt and shame, opening their partnership, uncovering kinks, and working on communication.

“There’s just something about being consensually called a “dirty little whore” by my Dominant that gets me in a mood.”

Over the last year, Costello has come out as polyamorous and continues to explore her own degradation’ kink. “There’s just something about being consensually called a “dirty little whore” by my Dominant that gets me in a mood,” she explains. “A lot of my work is dismantling the shame surrounding this kind of kink.”


Costello posits that people are becoming more generally accepting of kink, especially with the maturation of social media, which has led to more people being exposed to it. “We’re no longer relying on poorly made pornography for an intro to dirty talk,” she tells me. “We now have trained members of leather communities, as well as sex educators, to tell us how to, when, and why we participate in dirty talk.”


One such practice is BDSM, where communication is key. There’s a specific vocabulary that people use to explain their desires and limits in this consensual power exchange, which makes dirty talk a very natural part of it.


“BDSM is mostly cerebral not physical,” explains Mistress Jasmine Stone, 28. She’s a professional dominatrix, BDSM educator and community organizer based in Los Angeles.


When I ask how dirty talk manifests in her work, she tells me: “There’s a clinical side to it, which comes up when I screen a client before they come in. I ask things like, ‘What are your interests? Why are they your interests? When did you start becoming interested in BDSM?’ And then they’ll start recounting their memories. When they come into a session, I make sure to incorporate their interests into dirty talk.”

“I think of dirty talk as a way to co-create a fantasy together.”

Stone started playing around with dirty talk as a teenager, beginning by calling her boyfriends “daddy.” This came about after she first became sexually active and discovered Tumblr. Back then, Tumblr was a curious teenager’s dream, filled with art-house blogs, chronicles from sex workers and horny content in every form. Stone was drawn to most of this, but also found a corner of the platform where amateur couples would share videos, photos and posts about their own experiences.


“I followed mistresses that would write about their workdays on a daily basis or weekly basis, and that’s how I started getting interested in BDSM.”


But it was actually a post on Craigslist that led her to change careers, from a medical assistant at a cosmetic dermatology office to become a dom. Through her work, she’s noticed different patterns in how people interact with her, but most of all it comes back to fantasy.


“I think of dirty talk as a way to co-create a fantasy together.”

A lot of fantasies changed during the global pandemic. Stone admits that she’s noticed differences in her clients’ risk-taking behaviours, as well as an influx of “newbies” wanting to explore BDSM.


“I don’t know what it is, but I think there’s something about COVID that really got more people interested in BDSM,” she tells me. “I think people’s sense of mortality has become more apparent, so they want to do the things that they were scared of, or they’re trying to become more accepting of others and themselves.”


Since she interacts with a client base so focused on dirty talk, I asked if Stone has noticed any patterns in people: “I’m not sure if it’s over the years, but I think as people age or get more experienced, their need for dirty talk or their comfortability is heightened. . . Or maybe that is just my skewed perspective from being a sex worker in the world.”


Enjoying dirty talk definitely isn’t something that ends in your twenties.


Warren, 50 (not his real name), is an e-commerce content production project manager and formerly a pop culture journalist. He first heard about phone sex lines in 1984, when he was in the 8th grade. These premium rate telephone numbers played a recording of an actress passionately professing her sexual needs and desires. “You’re telling me I can call up and hear a woman describe how she wants to have sex with me for a few minutes without having to engage, without worrying about saying the wrong thing? I was like, ‘Hell yeah, sign me up.”


He racked up expensive charges on his home phone, then on a relative’s phone and eventually, a family friend’s bill felt the wrath of the teenager’s fascination with these phone lines. Ultimately, he had to stop.

“You’re telling me I can call up and hear a woman describe how she wants to have sex with me for a few minutes without having to engage, without worrying about saying the wrong thing? I was like, ‘Hell yeah, sign me up.”

When the internet arrived at his college ten years later, Warren discovered erotica, porn and eventually sex chat rooms. This led to his first few mutual phone sex encounters, which he says, “were rather freeing and fun.”


Warren met his now-wife in 1997, and although they didn’t share the same passion for dirty talk, it’s found a way into his life again. “My wife is 10 years older than me, and she hit menopause really hard about 15 years ago and lost her sex drive completely,” he discloses. “We’re still wildly in love and super compatible. . . she just doesn’t want to have sex with me.”


This led Warren to return to sexting and sometimes phone sex with strangers. His wife is aware of what he does, though by his own admission she’s not “wild for it.”


To search for what he calls, “friends with weird benefits,” Warren uses Tinder, Bumble and even once had success on Ashley Madison. “I’m very upfront about my marital status and sexting desires on the apps, and every time I do it, I’m like ‘this is ridiculous, this can’t possibly work again.’ but I’m always able to find someone new to chat with that’s amenable to my situation.”

Over the years, Warren’s relationship with dirty talk has “ebbed and flowed.” But what he enjoys the most is centring the other person’s desires and fantasies. “The dopamine rush of a good sexting session – where boundaries are established and respected while encouraging exploration, where I can concentrate on communicating clearly – that’s my shit.”

When I ask him what changes he’s noticed from his sexting partners over the decades, Warren tells me: “Many of the women I chat with are assertively into anal play much, much more than I ever experienced in my single days. I certainly have found more women than I have before who really like calling me “daddy” and like me to use language like ‘my slut,’ ‘my whore,’ and ‘cunt.’ When any of that taboo-kinda stuff comes up, I do try to make sure it isn’t for my benefit. In the beginning, I always try to get those guideposts set up.”

Moira Murphy, 22 has always been drawn to particularly “filthy” dirty talk. She’s a full-service sex worker and erotic masseuse from Gadigal Land (Sydney) and through her experiences has noticed that people are more open to roleplay and fantasy than ever before.

“Which is great because we’re digging deeper into our sexual creativity, and it makes fucking and flirting much more personal.” But Murphy worries that it could be “damaging because in turn we tend to stigmatise ‘vanilla sex’ and ‘vanilla dirty talk’ which puts a lot of pressure on femme folk to ‘deliver’ or push their personal boundaries.”

Whether that’s a ready-to-send library of nudes or a willingness to be ready to jump into complex fantasies, Murphy thinks that people’s expectations are higher than ever before.


It’s an interesting thought, one that has recently been discussed through the term “vanilla-shaming.” This was also recently publicised through the lens of TikTok, in a corner of the app dubbed ‘FreakTok. According to i-D, in one video that garnered over 1.1 million views (but has since been taken down), a user bragged about encouraging her reluctant partner to choke her. Another video opens with a caption that reads, “Share this if youre into 🔪 play, im trying to prove something to the vanillas [sic].”

Sexual satisfaction and dirty talk doesn’t have to be extreme, it can also be about the most unexpectedly banal things.

Dirty talk can be intimidating, especially if you expect yourself to have pornstar-level linguistic skills or fear that someone might laugh at what you say. The importance of consent, communication and trust is echoed by everyone I spoke to, but besides that what I took away from these conversations was that sexual satisfaction and dirty talk doesn’t have to be extreme, it can also be about the most unexpectedly banal things. When chatting to Evans about his time as a phone sex operator, he recounted a session with one client who called and asked to roleplay a visit to the hairdressers.


“I started by first going through the scene of cutting his hair, so there’s the ASMR thing of that,” he explained. To set the scene, Evans snipped scissors down the line but otherwise relied on storytelling. “What he was leading to was the sexual humiliation while he’s still on the chair. He found it so appealing because of the inherent dominance a hairdresser has over their clients. And I thought that was so interesting because it’s completely right, but it’s never something I thought too much about.”


Neither had I. “Just thinking about how sometimes you sit in a hairdresser’s or a barber’s chair, and they ask you if it’s all right, and even if it isn’t you don’t say because of the power dynamic. . . But I would never have thought about it as a dominant-submissive dynamic. Now I completely understood what he meant and that’s stuck with me ever since.”


When I first started these interviews, I assumed it would just validate my own understanding of dirty talk, but the takeaway is that it’s not always about expressing how you want to be touched, sucked and fucked. Sometimes it’s about the vulnerability and pleasure you get from sharing a unique and fleeting moment with someone, where you get to live out your most intimate fantasies and achieve a level of sexual satisfaction that feels really fucking good – even if that’s just hearing someone pretend to wash your hair over a landline.



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You can buy Kish’s debut book, My Anaconda Don’t, here.