“Don’t be embarrassed, honey!”
When was the last time you called your husband, “babe” or “baby”? When has he called you, “Sweetie” or “Honey”? Maybe you don’t use terms of endearment like that in your relationship, but I’m willing to bet you’ve had a nickname, at least for someone in your life.
If you don’t and he hasn’t, there’s no cause for alarm. It’s just that recent studies have shown using terms of endearment in romantic relationships is a really good sign for the relationship overall. Which means if you’d like to start using that silly name you off-handedly called him one evening (that stuck), you absolutely should because pet names strengthen your relationship. Surprise!
You might not want to use the silly name you created for your boyfriend in front of his friends because it might seem a little over-the-top or weird. And let’s face it – if you did use it, which one of you would live it down? Neither one of you, that much is for sure. But even the most polished, professional, and poised of us have inside jokes with our partners. Your husband or boyfriend may be uninterested in being referred to as pumpkin outside of the house, but you should absolutely be using the cutesy, silly pet names you have for one another behind closed doors.
Why? These monikers are indicative of a relationship deep enough that you’re creating your own language.
Scientists want to tie this in to the way our mothers talked to us as children using “motherese” which is a language all women more or less understand and use. It’s essentially baby-talk or parent talk, but through this method of communication, mothers set the stage for how their children will not only communicate but refer to one another. In talking to their children, they use words and phrases that mean something to their child or their family with a higher pitch. These words might have little to no meaning to someone else — you might even remember your mother’s cutesy nickname for you that was somehow not even related to your first name.
It made you feel closer to her though, which is exactly the point. If you’re at that point in your coupledom where you have inside jokes, you’ve dedicated a night to staying in together to watch your show on Netflix, then having a silly little pet name for your boyfriend or girlfriend du jour will really only make you guys closer.
Of course, calling your boyfriend “daddy” might seem strange. Fortunately, that’s not as popular a romantic pet name as some of the others on this list. The Black Tux actually put a list together of the most common pet names in relationships. They found that overwhelmingly, babe and baby are the most common nicknames people use in romantic relationships. That’s not to say you can’t use that funny yet somehow oddly intimate nickname with your spouse or significant other.
According to another recent study, the silliest nicknames were the most satisfying to the couples that used them. Go ahead and get your wild, weird, and wacky on. Getting a little silly is good for you and your relationship – not everything needs to be as serious as your wedding vows.
If you can’t remember the last time you called your boo bae, maybe that’s a good thing. Swap out your partner’s name for one of these terms of endearment and don’t look back.
Before you do that in bed though, it might be worth talking over with your partner. While pet names are fun outside of the bedroom and a nice way to keep the intimacy alive in your relationship, if you haven’t talked over how you’ll use them in bed, it’s possible you’ll say something not only embarrassing but something that’s also a serious turnoff too.
For instance. Say you pull out the Daddy card, fellas, and she’s entirely not into that. Scratch that. You don’t know that her ex-boyfriend used to ask her to do that and it freaked her out, or some alternative scenario.
If you haven’t let your lady friend know that you like that … term of endearment … but you whisper it in her ear aggressively when you’re rolling around in the sheets?
You can probably figure out what the next step would be — she might either kick you out of bed or be uncomfortable continuing. The discomfort of feeling like you can’t speak up isn’t something you want to introduce into your relationship. Using a nickname that your girl is uncomfortable with will undoubtedly have a sour effect and that’s not something you want to introduce into your relationship. It’s better to be fun and communicative instead of mysterious and uncomfortable.
And ladies, you need to learn to speak up about what you are and are not comfortable with. What you are and are not willing to do. How you want him (or her) to refer to you. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with dirty talk — and liking it or wanting to use it — but it does kind of need to be, you know, dirty. At least, that’s the goal or desire for most people! Discuss these sorts of things before you take a step into name-calling and more. Sadly, the conversation about sex isn’t always sexy but you do need to be comfortable asking for what you want. We all deserve to feel good and safe within our relationships, regardless of how intimate they are or how long we’ve been together.
If you’re really reaching for something to call your significant other, this field guide to dating terms (and which ones you shouldn’t use) is helpful. Except please don’t use Bae. Ever.
What you choose to call “your person” in public or in private is up to you, but there’s no reason not to get a little silly with it especially if you and your boo have talked about what you prefer and what makes you content in your relationship. In the end, it will only bring you closer together.