The basis of memory techniques is that the brain remembers visual imagery better than numbers, and erotic, exotic and exciting imagery best. … “When forming images, it helps to have a dirty mind,” [Joshua Foer, author of “Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything,”] writes. “Evolution has programmed our brains to find two things particularly interesting, and therefore memorable: jokes and sex — and especially, it seems, jokes about sex.”So if you were ever wondering why you never had any trouble learning dirty words in a foreign language, this is probably it.
But the tactic has you using it for any words at all:
[Memory grand master Ed Cooke] coaches [Foer] in a system of memorizing a deck of cards in under two minutes that uses both familiar old memories and thrilling new pictures. Foer said his images devolved into “a handful of titillating acts that are still illegal in a few Southern states, and a handful of others that probably ought to be.”However effective it may be, I'll venture that we're not going to see this tactic widely deployed any time soon.