Eleanor Conway on Talk Dirty to Me: ‘I’ve found the kinkier apps…’

Currently on the road with her show Talk Dirty to Me, Eleanor Conway is a comedian who has racked up over 150 million views on TikTok with her brutally honest approach to examining sex, addiction and dating.

Talk Dirty to Me received a sold-out run at this years’ Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Conway is rounding off the tour with stops in Leeds, Manchester and London this week ahead of further dates in 2024.

The hour long stand-up show sees Conway take her a brutally honest approach and marrying it with a high energy performance that looks at relationships in 2023, and the disparities between men and women – known as ‘the pleasure gap.’

Conway caught up with us to tell us about the meaning of the pleasure gap, how she’s in her stride with Talk Dirty to Me, and how she’s coping with her permanent ban from Tinder.

Q&A with Eleanor Conway

What can you tell us about your show Talk Dirty to Me and the ‘pleasure gap’?

It’s a dirty little show about the straight female pleasure gap, or lack of it. Women getting bank accounts has really ruined straight dating in the last 5-6 decades, by that, I mean that straight men can’t just rock up with a paycheck and be entitled to a live-in maid aka a wife. I see so many of my girlfriends upset that they’re single, puzzled as to why they’re struggling to find love with men and I wrote this show for them, to let them know, it’s not because they’re unlovable, we’re just in the middle of a system reset. Female pleasure used to lie in serving men and family because the only labour that used to be rewarded with money was men’s. So women had to be connected to a man so that they didn’t die from hunger. Maybe the reason our grandparents were married for 50 years wasn’t because they were better at finding ‘true love’ but because our grandmas didn’t have a bank account and couldn’t leave.

What’s it like to be on tour with the show following your Edinburgh run?

I love it, I feel like I’ve really hit my stride. Anyone that came to see my first few shows will know that I wrote shows that were dark and visceral, I was newly sober and I talked about that alot. But when I started writing this show, I realised I’d run out of trauma. I live a happy life. I realised though, that in my sex life, I wasn’t experiencing a whole lot of pleasure. And I wrote this show from that place. It’s a much broader show and it taps into a lot of the chatter online from women in my age group, but also younger. Society does not freely offer female pleasure to women, you have to take it. But first you need to believe you deserve it. And women do deserve to access pleasure, in the same way men can.

Have audiences in different parts of the country reacted differently to the show?

There’s a real sliding scale of response… My shows are generally quite dirty and so I love it when prudish audience members love it. I think I say the things that women are thinking and I get to crystallise that into a clit joke that really isn’t just about my clit. It’s only really through social media that older women have been able to lift the curtain on marriage and babies en masse to younger women. In the past older women were called ‘bitter’ for warning younger women. We’re sharing our experiences. Marriage and babies isn’t this Disney thing, for a lot of women it’s a labour trap. Working mothers who co-parent with fathers still do two thirds of the domestic work even though both parents work full time – that is scandalous. I’m childfree, I’ve never wanted kids, so I feel like I need to share the reality with younger women, so that they can go into parenting with a man with open eyes and ask the questions that need to be asked. Also, just to share that a wonderful life awaits you if you choose not to have kids as a woman. I wish I’d known that, I’m trying to be the role model I didn’t have.

Has your online success changed how you’ve approached your in-person shows?

Not at all, more people turn up though, which is good. I think when I post videos I forget that people watch them, even though they get millions of views (humblebrag)… And then when I meet them after the show they kind of know me. It’s weird. But I really enjoy that, it motivates me to keep going. It makes me feel like what I’m doing is the right thing.

How are you coping with your Tinder ban?

Absolutely fine. I’ve found the kinkier apps… They’re much more conducive to the theme of the show and finding female pleasure… You’ll have to come to a show to find out how though…

Eleanor Conway: Talk Dirty to Me is at Old Woollen, Leeds on 30th November, The Cultplex, Manchester on 1st December and 21 Soho, London on 2nd December. Extra tour dates will be announced early 2024.