Tracey Tong/metro ottawa
"From the time that you’re a child, you’re taught to respect people. When you’re talking dirty, you’re speaking degradingly to a person. You have to put all that aside. You’re creating a fantasy world."
It’s barely 10 o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting on erotica writer Patricia McCarthy’s futon, talking about sex.
It’s a jarring first assignment of the day, especially before breakfast. I’m a bit apprehensive.
Brought up in a modest household by ultra-conservative Asian parents, I’m not used to vocalizing what my naughty bits are doing, especially in front of strangers.
But the Ottawa resident, who will host a seminar on ‘dirty talking’ at this weekend’s Sexapalooza show, has a way of putting people at ease. She’s got a low, soothing voice and discusses sex with the same nonchalance that some would talk about the weather, or a tennis match.
Many people are shy about talking dirty at first, she said.
“From the time that you’re a child, you’re taught to respect people. When you’re talking dirty, you’re speaking degradingly to a person,” she said. “You have to put all that aside. You’re creating a fantasy world.”
More than 10,000 people are expected at Sexapalooza, which runs at Lansdowne Park this Friday to Sunday. The first-time event features over 100 exhibitors, seminars and workshops related to sex and sexuality, said Esther Vincent of Black Kat Enterprises, the company that operates Sexapalooza.
The show offers insight into sex and sexuality as well as how to be more confident and open-minded, she said.
McCarthy, who will be teaching people how to tap their inner vixen, said the first step is letting go of your inhibitions.
“It’s in the heat of the moment,” she said. “There’s so much passion and lust that unexpected words come out of the blue.
“Have you ever talked dirty with someone?” she asked me suddenly.
“Sure,” I stammer, without being entirely sure if it qualified.
Here’s my chance to consult with a real expert. It’s now or never. I summon the courage to ask her for tips.
“First, decide whether you’d be more comfortable being dressed or naked,” she said. “Describe to your partner about how their body smells. Talk about the texture of their skin. Compare their body to that of an animal. Say they’ve got the stamina of a horse.”
And don’t be afraid to use harsh language, she said.
To get comfortable, McCarthy suggests practising in front of the mirror, as some porn stars do.
By this point, I’m pretty speechless.
No matter. McCarthy generously offers me copies of her vampire erotica novels, suggesting I read passages from them to my partner to get things going.
“It’ll get your batteries revved up.”
Metro Ottawa's Tracey Tong is an award-winning reporter. A Burlington native, Tong's career has taken her all over Ontario. Her Cityscapes column appears every Wednesday.