pillow talk

[pil-oh tawk]

What does pillow talk mean?

🎶 I love to hold you close, tonight and always / I love to wake up next to you 🎶 Ah, how the melodious lyrics of Zayn Malik perfectly capture the post-coital cuddling and honest, affectionate conversation, called pillow talk.


Pillow talk can also suggest any very close relationship or intimate topics more generally.

Examples of pillow talk


Examples of pillow talk
A woman who has been accused of using pillow talk to obtain insider trading secrets has claimed her boss bullied her during a 20-year affair to make her get illegal information for him.
Daily Mail, June, 2011
I have 2 words.....pillow talk. I’m a total sucker for it, and thank heavens my cute husband is a P.T. pro...This is a little luxury in life I truly just appreciate the f*ck out of! #Cuddles #ImTheBigSpoon #PillowTalk #LittleSpoon
@thepastelmomma, August, 2018

Where does pillow talk come from?


Pillow talk is recorded as early as the 1910s, though pillow has signified sexual intimacy for far longer. A pillow-mate, for instance, was slang for “prostitute” in the 1870s, as people usually bump uglies in the bedroom. You know, where there are pillows.

After sex, two parents may lie in bed, embrace, and engage in sweet, loving, very personal and revealing banter, ergo pillow talk. Studies have even shown how the hormone oxytocin, sometimes dubbed the “cuddle” or “bonding hormone,” promotes emotional intimacy following that physical part.

Pillow talk has been popularly featured on screens big and small. The 1959 film, Pillow Talk, featured plenty of romantic repartees between its stars Rock Hudson and Doris Day. Elsewhere in cinema, pillow talk has played a more nefarious role, with people taking advantage of after-intercourse openness to learn secret information—a trope called the honeypot used in many a James Bond story.


Popular music has seen pillow talk, too. Former One Direction singer Zayn Malik released his debut solo single in 2016, “Pillow Talk,” which hit #1 on the Billboard charts. The music video featured his girlfriend Gigi Hadid. Its chorus looked at both sides of the relationship pillow, as it were: “Pillow talk / My enemy, my ally / Prisoners / Then we’re free, it’s a thin line.”

Who uses pillow talk?

Pillow talk, naturally, is often used in discussions of deeper personal connections and lovebirds learning about each other in new relationships.

As partners are often more open after sex, willing to slip secrets, scandals, and hearsay, pillow talk is often used as a form of “gossip,” whether juicy or harmful.

Pillow talk is also associated with extreme honesty, sex tends to reveal our true selves.

Pillow talk is also used in platonic relationships, especially in close female friendships along the lines of bonding.

Pillow talk can be a metaphor in the likes of politics and business for two parties that are unusually close or showing special treatment, such as revealing trade secrets. 

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