While talking dirty seems to come easily to some people, for the rest of us, it can feel (extremely) awkward and unnatural—especially when we first get started. As with any other sexual situation, nobody should do something if it makes them feel genuinely uncomfortable, but if you’re simply curious but nervous, here are some excellent ways to ease into a whole new form of conversation.

Start Slowly…

“These things take practice!” says sexual health advocate, director, and adult film performer Jessica Drake. “Moans are great, followed by things like, ‘Yesssss… and ‘right there,’ or ‘lower!’ Drake says what works best here is to use phrases and terminology that are part of your normal vocabulary—just emphasize their sexiness.

“Describe something your partner is doing in that moment,” she says. “For instance, ‘I love it when you ________’ and ‘Your ______ is so ______!’ It’s like adult Mad Libs!”

It can also be fun to use all the dirty words that pop into your mind when you fantasize. “If there was ever a time for the F-word, it’s now,” Drake says. “Even if you breathe it softly in your lover’s ear, it can have a big impact.”

… Even Quietly

Building from a slow burn also applies to tone of voice, which is so important when talking dirty. “Nobody wants to be screamed at by a drill sergeant when you’re getting down to business (unless you’re into that sort of thing!)” says Miss Foxx UK, a pro dominatrix and kink expert on the iWantPhone.com platform. “Try talking really slowly and sensually, whispering naughty words into your partner’s ear, and accentuating words like ‘hard,’ ‘wet,’ and ‘lips.’ That will really get your partner going!” she says.

Or Go Solo to Start

“You need to get used to saying the words, feeling them roll off your tongue, hearing them come out of your mouth,” says Laurel House, dating coach and resident sexpert for My First Blush. “One way to get into this is to dirty-talk to yourself out loud when you masturbate. Get comfortable with it. Then start slowly dropping in a statement or asking a question in the dirty-talk style while having sex,” she says. Don’t pressure yourself too much—you don’t need to go full throttle and talk throughout your entire sex session, after all.

Remember That Nobody’s Recording This

“Find absolute solace in the fact that nobody will ever hear you utter these words again,” says fetish model and adult performer Allie Eve Knox. “So no matter how bad you are at this, nobody is going to play back that one time you described that very dirty experience.”

Let Them Take the Lead

If you’re really uncomfortable exchanging dirty talk with your partner, then ease into it by mirroring their tone. Simple commentary like, “Mmmm that’s making me so hot/hard/wet,” can keep things spicy and moving along well. “Shorter is better—especially as you expand your comfort zone,” says Antonia Hall, M.A., psychologist, relationship expert, and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life. If you ask complicated questions that force your partner to have to stop and think, it could actually break the flow and mood.

“If you want some inspiration, try reading erotica,” she says. “Or if you’re feeling especially brave, read it to your partner as foreplay and let things unfold from there.”

Eye Contact, Eye Contact, Eye Contact

“If you want to know if what you’re saying is having its desired effect, don’t be afraid to look your partner dead in the eye as you speak those seductive words,” Foxx says. “But make sure you’re not looking like a deer in headlights—be relaxed and confident with what you say.”

Ask for What You Want

If there’s something you’ve been dreaming about, put it into words and ask for what you’ve been craving. “This can amp up the action in the form of requests,” Drake says, suggesting options like, “Spank me!” (if you’re into that) “Bend me over and _____,” or “Do you want to ______ my _______?”

There’s nothing off-limits as long as it’s true to who you and your partner are. “I think to be able to talk dirty in bed starts with you being comfortable in your own skin,” says adult star Daizha Morgann. Be vocal—and genuine.

“Do not, under any circumstances, put on an elaborate fake act—your partner will sense it and question their ability to really make you feel good,” Morgann says. You don’t need to play any role when hitting the sheets. Be you—just a more amplified, fearless-with-your-words version of yourself. If you’re normally the kind of person who says “darn it,” when you stub your toe, don’t feel pressure to be over-the-top vulgar in bed.

Don’t Overthink It

Don’t think too much—just go with the flow and say what’s on your mind. “Tell your partner how much they are turning you on, how good that thrusting is feeling, how hot their body is, and how naughty they are making you feel,” Morgann says.

“The biggest sex rant I hear from both my male and female followers is about the dreaded ‘silent sex.’ Sex should be a time to really let loose—physically and mentally! Start slow when gearing up for dirty talk, with moaning and playful small talk, and you’ll really get to know a side of yourself that has been dying to come out.”

Expand the Scene

Talking dirty isn’t just for the bedroom. What better way to get your partner all amped up than to send a few dirty text messages during the day? The classics are classic for a reason, Foxx says. “Telling them what you’ll be wearing and what you want to do to them when you get home never fails to have its desired effect,” she says. Just make sure you’re messaging the right person before you hit send!

Build Your Way Up

Dirty talk is most successful when you create imagery so vivid that your fantasies feel real and in the moment. Details and description can help you get there. “Overly describe every single step you would take, from eyeing them across the room, to undressing your partner, to the sexy things you want to be doing to them tonight,” Knox says. Describe all five senses you want to experience: what their body smells like, tastes like, etc. And then, just let go.

To up your game even further, Drake suggests watching an adult movie together and providing commentary while you do—then ask your partner if you’d like it if you perform the acts you’re watching on them.

Most Importantly: Don’t Stress

The whole point of dirty talk is to have fun. “Sex is fun, awkward, hot, messy, funny, and everything in-between. If you say the wrong words or talking too dirty just feels cheesy to you, laugh it off and keep going,” Drake says.

Aly Walansky is a New York-based lifestyles writer. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @alywalansky.