I have rarely - OK, never - been able to compare myself to Liam Neeson before, so please excuse my indulgence by paraphrasing one of his iconic roles. “I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want … but what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career.”

I’m not an ex-CIA agent. I like to think I’m much more dangerous: I’m an erotica writer.

Words are important to me, and I've learned how to use them to turn people on. So I speak from experience when I say there’s a lot to learn about sending sexy messages. Sometimes those lessons could mean the difference between getting someone turned on … or having your communications shut down.

Here's a guide to texts that will help you set your phone, and maybe even your partner, aflame.

Read: Sexting for Men: How to Keep It Classy and Still Get Your Rocks Off

Make Sure Your Advances Are Welcome

Before we start, however, we have to talk about the most important thing when it comes to any sexual activity, including sexting: consent.

Read: A Step-by-Step Guide to Negotiating Consent

It's never OK to drop your pants, snap a pic of your undercarriage, and send it to anyone, ever, without their explicit permission.

Before you get all snippy thinking about getting a signed and notarized contract of agreement (in triplicate), consent can be easily done with a simple message or conversation beforehand. For example: "How do you feel about me sending you something sexy via text or email?" You can then go into more details about what you are thinking about doing.

If they say no, or even appear uncomfortable (and I really shouldn't have to say this), do not send them anything explicit. Do not make a fuss. Do not try to twist their arm. Instead, respect their wishes and move on. Also, understand that if consent is given, it can be revoked at any time. If it is revoked, again, do not make a fuss. Just respect it and move on.

Another word to the wise: If you are under the legal age of consent in your state never, ever engage in sexting. Not only can this get you in lots of trouble at home, but it also has the potential of landing you or your partner in jail on charges of sexual exploitation and child pornography (and, yes, in some jurisdiction those charges WILL stick). Rather than take the risk, it's best to simply not to do it - at least not until you (and your partner) are legal adults.

Find the Right Time

OK, so let's assume you are both legal adults and you have clear consent. What next?

Well, the next thing to do is make sure the person you are messaging is available.There are countless stories of explicit texts and selfies being zapped to other people - only to be received by someone at work, or even worse, when they are visiting their parents.

One of the best ways to do this is to either know ahead of time when your partner, or the object of your affection, is free to receive your sexiness. The other is to open with the classic “what’s up?” - or whatever your phrase of choice might be.

If you get back a “just chilling” or such then you can go from there. If you get anything else, like “hanging with friends," you've been warned that now is not the best time for your textual ministrations. By the way, adding “when you’re alone” with a kiss emoji can be a great idea because it implies that you have something you want to share that’s too spicy for being out in public.

Finally, if your partner isn't available, please don’t ever respond with “K.” You might think this means swell, dandy or cool-with-me, but most people see this as a passive-aggressive pout.

Sexting Isn’t for Everybody

Once you have consent and have caught your partner at a good time, is it time to just leap right into the Great American Dirty Text Session?

Nope. The fact is, some people are really uncomfortable with sexting. They get embarrassed. They don’t know how to type well. They don’t know what to say. It’s a long list. But even if they don’t know how to respond, or are shy, that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Instead, find out what they are comfy doing and add that to your session. In other words, start slow and feel your way along.

You can also work some basic questions into your sexting so you know you’re on the right path: “You want me right now, don’t you?” is a good one, especially towards the middle of your session. You can also ask for some feedback to help guide the play. Try, “Do you want to lick my [fill in the body part of choice]?"

Ironically, for many people, the gauge for how things are going is the deterioration of the spelling and grammar of either party: meaning that one hand is being used for something else.

Before we get into sexting itself, I want to suggest another ground rule. This doesn’t come up when either person is a distance away, but if you’re both close by you should be upfront about where this could lead. After all, a hot time of sexting can have an icy ending when one person pleads for - or even demands - a real-life visit and the other isn’t comfortable with that.

If you’re both cool with hooking up after, then happy trails and be sure to practice safe(r) sex. If not, always be upfront that this is just (and only) sexting. I suggest saying something like “Here’s something for you to think about before we get together,” or “I can’t come over tonight, but I’m thinking about you” to set-up what can and can’t happen.

Take Time for Build-up

Like with a good erotic story, the build-up is important. Opening with “Lick my [fill in body part of choice]” can sometimes be really hot, being so wild and unexpected and all, but starting with a bang also means that you still have to keep, well, banging to keep the heat up.

A better way to begin is to ask how your partner is. Everyone likes to hear that. Then test the waters with “I’ve been thinking a lot about you,” or even better: “I keep thinking about [insert last hot date].” This is a great segway into “I loved it when you did [insert favorite activity].”

Jumping to an out-of-the-blue explicit fantasy can make people uncomfortable. It is much better to say what you liked the last time you were together, then go into how that made you feel, and then bring up what you want to try next time.

Now, if you don’t have a history, you have to tread very lightly. After all, you don’t want to jump right into a text or message version of a dick pic (or your genital configuration of preference). Instead, begin with general arousal and then feel out what the person on the other side of the conversation might be into.

How to do this is a matter for the moment. If your partner seems to respond to being told what is going on, and what you want to do with and to then, then go with that. However, always take a moment, now and again, to test the waters to make sure they are on the same page and having a good time.

The Language of Sex

Similarly, you want to be fairly innocuous with your language to begin. So, “I’m rubbing myself” instead of “I’m stroking my big cock” (just to be male focused for a second). As things heat up, sure, you can ramp up the language, but you don’t want things to cool down because you used the wrong word at the wrong time.

Better yet, let them use the words they want to use … and always listen to and respect that choice. If they say “dick” or “pussy” don’t leap off-script by using other words. Feeling that you are not being listened to, or respected, is a sure-fire way of killing the mood or even ruining the whole session.

Oh, and don’t use “ooooooo” and “aaaaaaaahhhhh” or repeat the same word (“yes yes yes yes yes yes”) - unless, of course, you’re getting close to coming and you’re losing control of your fingers. Otherwise, it’s just lazy writing that really doesn’t add any heat to the scene.

Story Time

Here’s where things get interesting. I’ve often read that telling someone an erotic story is the way to go when sexting. To be honest, I don’t think that’s such a hot idea. For one, it’s really tough to do correctly - and this is coming from an erotica pro. People get caught up in trying to be clever, adding lots of silly details and metaphors, and end up just being confusing instead of arousing.

It is much better to be intimate and vivid in your descriptions rather than trying to be a literary master. “I love the way you taste … salty and hot” is so much better than “You taste like the relentless and deeply saline kisses of the ocean.” OK, that last one was a bit much (even for me), but you get the gist.

“I love the way you taste … salty and hot” is so much better than “You taste like the relentless and deeply saline kisses of the ocean.”

If you do want to tell a story, keep it focused on a shared reality. That way you won’t feel the pressure to give away too much backstory. “We’re in your bedroom” is far better than “We’re at a cabin in the woods and there’s a big, pale moon watching us from a sparsely clouded sky, as ancient trees creak and moan along with our pleasures.”

This isn’t to say that you can’t take a shot at some playful fan fiction. If you are both "Rick and Morty" fans (and if not then what’s wrong with you?), try something silly (but sexy). “I grab my portal gun and take us to Earth D-24 were the trees look like cocks, but none as big or gorgeous as yours.” Silly? Sure, but a bit of laughter can also loosen things up and lighten the mood. This should be fun, after all.

Coming to the End

One of the quirks of sexting is that simultaneous orgasms are pretty damned rare. Try not to get hung up on having it be a totally reciprocal thing. Most people, after all, have a hard enough time finding the bathroom after a good orgasm let alone having the ability to type with any degree of accuracy.

It’s fantastic if they can respond in turn, but if not, think of sexting as an erotic gift you’re giving another person. If it goes well, you have, with only the power of your words and your imagination, helped your partner to have a gloriously powerful orgasm, which can be a great turn on in and of itself.

Besides, once they’ve popped their sexting cherry, they might be willing to take the digital reins the next time with you.

A Story of Heat and Laughter

As with all good things, sexting gets better the more you practice. Don’t expect it all to go perfectly the first time. Instead, take it easy, try not to take on more than you can handle, and (most importantly) stay focused on not being a literary genius (and you’ll notice I didn’t say “like me”) with the power to conjure near-apocalyptic earthquakes of physical release using only your near-cosmic power of language. Instead, do it to have loads and loads of fun.