With the new season of “The Crown” gracing our TV screens, all anyone can talk about is Tampongate. Not to be confused with anything politically motivated like Watergate, Tampongate references the time King Charles III and Camilla Parker Bowles (soon to be Queen Consort Camilla) shared an intimate phone call that was later leaked to the press in 1989.
And when I say the two lovers shared an “intimate phone call,” what I really mean to say is they had full-blown phone sex. (Because, yes, even the Royals get horny.) In the transcription, King Charles told Camilla he wanted to “feel his way along her, all over her and up and down her and in and out,” and that he wanted to “press her tit harder and harder.” Sexy, right? Well, he also expressed that he’d like to, um, be her tampon — and thus began “Tampongate.”
Essentially, King Charles told Camilla he missed her so much that he wanted to “live inside” her trousers and that he’d want to be her tampon. And though the pair were likely just joking, this conversation prompted a world-wide response of confusion and second-hand embarrassment. (You can read the full description here.)
But while you may laugh or recoil after reading the transcription, let’s be real, we’ve likely all been there before. Sure, maybe we’re not all fantasizing about being a tampon, but at one point or another, we’ve all been behind some embarrassing sexting or phone-sex moments that made us cringe — they just didn’t get leaked to the press.
If this is totally relatable to you, then you know that the things said during sexy time do not feel weird, embarrassing, or cringe in the heat of the moment. So why is it that what we say during consensual dirty talk seems so horrifying outside of that context?
Why Does Dirty Talk Feel So Cringe Once It’s Over?
Apparently, sexual arousal might decrease your body’s natural disgust response.
In a study published in the Public Library of Sex, researchers asked female participants to complete various disgusting-seeming actions, like drinking from a cup with an insect in it or wiping their hands with a used tissue. And as a result, they found sexually-aroused subjects responded with less disgust than subjects who were not sexually aroused. Translation: sex makes seemingly disgusting things more bearable.
Clearly, this explains why Camilla was not at all turned off by Charles wanting to be the menstrual product inserted into her vagina.
Licensed therapist Emily Maynard also explains that, “When you are actively sexting, your body is flooded with the biological chemicals of pleasure. When those body chemicals have been processed, you’re just looking at words without all the feel-good sensations. You feel awkward or embarrassed now because those words are out of the specific pleasure context you were in before.” And honestly, this tracks.
It’s also true that when we’re all horned up, we’re likely to say things that we otherwise wouldn’t outside of a sexual context. So when we’re no longer in that sexual headspace, and we think back to what was said, we’re embarrassed or shocked by our actions. (Looking at all of you who like to call your partner “mommy” or “daddy” in the bedroom — IYKYK.)
Let’s make it clear that shaming yourself — or even King Charles III for what he said during a state of horniness — is not the move.
But hey, let’s make it clear that shaming yourself — or even King Charles III for what he said during a state of horniness — is not the move.
So long as all of the sexual play was rooted in consent and you were enjoying yourself, you don’t need to be embarrassed about what felt good to say in the moment. What brings us pleasure is never something to be ashamed of, despite living in a society that imposes sexual shame and stigma on young people.
Maynard suggests the next time you’re stressing over what was said during a sexual interaction, ask yourself these questions: Do you feel genuinely embarrassed because you did something outside of your values? Or do you feel bad because society says sexual pleasure is shameful? Or are you just no longer horny and the words are not making you feel the same as they did in the moment?
Most of the time, you’re going to find it’s the latter. So if the sexual messages or conversations are giving you the ick, don’t be afraid to delete the sexts or memories in your head until you’re horny again.
And if it’s any consolation, the chances of your conversations being leaked to the press are slim to none. So try not to sweat it.