6 Signs You May Have A Praise Kink & Hot Phrases To Turn You On
Praise kinks seem to be all over social media lately. TikTok now features reams of videos tagged with #praisek1nk with millions of views apiece, with people longing to be called a good girl or good boy and not afraid to discuss it. Google Trends shows that from April 2021 onward, searches for the phrase have skyrocketed. Considering the year we've collectively had, it's maybe not surprising that people are looking for a little positive boost.
Let's talk about what a praise kink really is, how to know if you have a praise kink, and how to incorporate it into your sex life if it piques your interest.
What is a praise kink?
"A praise kink is a predisposition one has to draw erotic pleasure or excitement by either receiving or giving praise to a partner," explains Kyle Zrenchik, Ph.D., LMFT, ACS, a couples' and sex therapist and clinical director at ALL IN Therapy Clinic in Minneapolis. "Someone with a praise kink 'gets off' by showering or being showered with praise, compliments, and attention."
In general, a kink is anything that is particularly arousing for a person, particularly things or sexual behaviors that are considered nonnormative. Praise kinks are reasonably common, says Zrenchik, since "praise as a mechanism for pleasure" is widespread. That said, he prefers to see kinks as lying on a spectrum rather than a binary—that is, it's a little simplistic to say that everyone either absolutely has or absolutely does not have a praise kink.
Why people have praise kinks.
There are lots of different theories about why someone might have or develop a praise kink. For example, some "may have the type of personality that seeks encouragement, which may logically translate to eroticizing it during sexual interactions," says sex educator Niki Davis-Fainbloom. Whereas others might develop a praise kink as a result of having low sexual self-esteem and feeling extra aroused by situations in which their prowess or beauty is complimented, she says.
Our own personal erotic histories can also come into play in the development of a praise kink.
"Perhaps when growing up you saw a love scene in a movie between a man and a woman, and the woman was moaning loudly about how good he was making her feel, and how big he was, and how sexy she found him. Well, if watching that movie was one of your first sexual experiences, you may have had an early imprint that a big part of sex was women giving praise to men. Thus, you began drawing connections between the two and developed a praise kink," says Zrenchik.
Signs you may identify with the praise kink:
You're always fishing for compliments.
You can't get enough of hearing your partner tell you how pretty, good, and strong (insert any positive descriptor here, really) you are. You love words of affirmation, and it's the part of a partnership you often focus on.
You enjoy sex more when your partner is vocal.
When having sex, the thing that can take sex from good to great is hearing your partner's thoughts about how hot your body is or how good you are at giving head. "Prolonged, seemingly excessive amounts of desired praise may be clear signs of a praise kink," says Zrenchik.
You can get yourself over the edge of orgasm when praised.
Sometimes, the thing that makes the difference to whether you come, or when you come, is the encouragment your partner gives to you while having sex.
You watch porn with a lot of vocal encouragement.
No watching porn with the volume turned all the way down for you! Your favorite scenes involve the actors telling each other often and in detail how much they turn each other on and how well they please each other.
You fantasize about compliments when masturbating.
When alone with your hand or vibrator, the things that get you going in your mind are recalling the times your partner called you a good girl or a perfect princess (or some other affirmation) or imagining scenarios in which you're lavished with praise.
You often ask for reassurance from your partner.
When you're with your partner, you often need or want them to assure you that you're hot, sexy, or good in bed. You want to feel desirable.
Praise kink phrases.
In general, says Zrenchik, praise statements can focus on how good someone is in bed, how well-endowed they are (don't say this, though, if they have a small penis—patronizing is a different kink), and how good they make you feel. You can also direct compliments toward someone's body, their beauty, and assurances of how much you love them and how special they are to you. Some of those may not go over well on a first date, so adjust accordingly.
Here are some ideas of phrases you can say during sex that might turn on someone with a praise kink:
- You're such a good girl/good boy/good little slut, etc.
- You're doing such a good job.
- Look at you.
- You take my dick so well.
- Your dick is so big.
- I love the way you move your body against mine.
- The sounds you make when I fuck you are so fucking hot.
- Your ass is so soft.
- Keep going.
- I'm so proud of you.
- You're incredible.
- You're a perfect slut who knows exactly what I like.
- You give the best head I've ever had.
- I love the way your body looks.
- You're a dream.
- Just like that.
- Atta girl.
- I love the way you do that.
- That's my baby.
- You give it to me like no one else.
- You know exactly how to please me.
- You know me so well.
- You're so strong.
- You're so fucking pretty/handsome.
- I can't believe how good you are at that.
(Here's our full guide to dirty talk, too, for some more ideas.)
Tips for exploring the kink:
"If you think you have a praise kink, make sure to communicate that," says Zrenchik. Most people want to be good lovers in bed, and people cannot be good lovers without good information from their partner. Try saying things like, "Just so you know, when having sex, I really, really like to hear X" or "How do you feel about telling me 'X' during sex?" he suggests.
If your partner tells you they have a praise kink, then you can see if you can try it out for their sake. Of course, if the thought makes you deeply uncomfortable, Zrenchik says not to press your own boundaries. But otherwise, lean into "freedom, creativity, vulnerability, and openness." After you've given it a try, you can always decide whether you're interested in continuing.
Do some self-reflection.
"If you have a praise kink, engage in some introspection to precisely determine what language you enjoy hearing. For example, do you like being called a good girl? Do you enjoy compliments about your body? Are you into people describing how much you are turning them on?" says Davis-Fainbloom. She suggests trying to figure this out through watching praise-centered porn or by masturbating, talking to yourself or imagining those phrases being said to you, and seeing what type of words or phrases excite you.
Use past experiences.
If you feel like you might have a praise kink but feel unsure about what exactly it is that gets you going, try thinking back over past hookups or scrolling through old sexts to find words or phrases that jump out at you. You can then ask your partner to incorporate them.
Whether you're a self-professed slut for compliments or just dipping your toes into the praise-kink waters, remember that the experience should be fun and fulfilling for all involved. Check in with your partner about their comfort levels, and make sure you're both on the same page. Now go forth and get praised!
Kesiena Boom, M.S., is a sociologist, writer, and poet. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Manchester and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Lund University. Her work has been featured at Slate, Buzzfeed, Vice, Autostraddle, and elsewhere. Her writing focuses on sex, pleasure, queer experience and community, feminist theory and practice, and race and anti-racism.