The ability to talk dirty comes naturally to some, but the idea just seems silly or improper to others. Dirty talk can be a big hurdle early in relationships, especially in the age of online dating and text-based icebreakers when audio and visual cues can be missed, or worse still, misinterpreted.

How do you know when, let alone how, to talk dirty? And how do you interpret the cues correctly so your words will be appropriate?

If you’re asking yourself these types of questions, try breaking the process down into these three simple steps, and maybe you’ll find your answers.

Talking about talking

Sex and language are both highly personal aspects of the human experience. Some people have an easier time talking about sex than others, but if you’re at all interested in having sex, it definitely helps to be able to discuss the subject.

However, don’t be too eager to address sex explicitly with someone new in your life. Practice adapting your language to fit more closely to your partner’s patterns by talking about more innocuous subjects. Observe how they use and interact with language around topics they find interesting.