Brush up your dating skills. The Lovers’ Guide advises on the do’s and don’ts of sexy conversation.
You do a good conversation? Maybe. But if you find it hard to talk to people, or they seem unresponsive to you – or seldom follow up on the first encounter – it’s possible you’ve unwittingly developed bad habits, which are dampening your social and sexual progress. Let’s say you’re at a bar or a party and you meet someone new. Here’s how to talk:
Sex basics / talking point 1
Keep the conversation fairly neutral at first, so that either of you can back off easily – and that’s from the subject or each other – if you want to. Talk about things which couldn’t possibly offend, or lead to heart and soul searching, before moving on to more personal matters. It’s a mistake to tell too much too soon. If you embark on an immediate outpouring of all the intimate details of your personal life, you’ll frighten off the other person with your intensity.
Sex basics / talking point 2
Do not, when you first meet someone, either undersell or oversell yourself. That’s a fine line to tread? Not really. It’s normal to try to present yourself in a flattering light, but remember that a false image may be difficult for you to live up to – or hard to live down.
Sex basics / talking point 3
Don’t wander off the point of conversation, talk too much about yourself, or interrupt continually when someone else is talking.
Sex basics / talking point 4
Never answer a question with a flat yes or no. This ends a conversation as soon as it’s started. Expand your answer somehow. Give the other person a cue to continue the discussion.
Sex basics / talking point 5
Talk about what really interests you and be positive in what you say. It’s even better if you can find something you both have in common – a shared interest or mutual friend – to get things going.
Sex basics / talking point 6
Try not to let lengthy pauses develop. If you can’t think of a new topic, follow up what the other person last said with a comment or, preferably, a question that renews the discussion.
Sex basics / talking point 7
When you’re listening, remember this isn’t a totally passive role. Every now and then make some encouraging response to show you’re been listening. When it’s your turn to speak, take the opportunity of confirming first of all that you’ve understood and enjoyed what the other person has just said.
Sex basics / talking point 8
At the end of a conversation, ask yourself how balanced it’s been. Have you done all the talking? (Bad.) Or practically none of it? (Also bad.) Do you feel you know more about the other person than he or she knows about you, or vice versa? Ideally, you should balance your disclosures so that neither feels the other is holding back. Nor should you feel the other person is disclosing more personal information than you’re prepared to give about yourself.
Sex basics / talking point 9
When you first meet someone, it’s not a good idea to prolong the conversation longer than feels comfortable, or, if you’re at a party or other social gathering, to cling to the person you’ve just met like a limpet. It’s better to move on when things are going well, leaving your new acquaintance free to meet other people. If you like him or her enough, say something that will make it obvious you’ve enjoyed the conversation and would like to follow up. (Try: ‘It’s been nice talking to you. Perhaps we’ll catch each other again in a bit.’)
Sex basics / talking point 10
Stay alert to your body language – your eye contact, facial expression, gestures, posture, and any touch you use – and to the tone and volume of your voice. Make sure you’re being open, relaxed and friendly – and not holding back defensively or being too intrusive.
Does this sound like it isn’t much to do with the be-all-and-end-all world of sexual success? Yeah right. But if you are out of practice, the best thing you can do is, well, practise. Go out and consider it a game. You’re going to make conversation and put yourself out – with, say, half a dozen people tonight. Print this page out and carry it with you – and after each conversation, check the dos and the don’ts and see how you scored.