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[Guest Post] “Liberating Myself from the Confines of Sex and Love Addiction” by Taylor Morley

This post is the second installment in my “new voices in sex writing” project. This was actually the first pitched piece that I read, and it went straight into the YES pile, on the grounds that it made me cry.

Taylor’s story is extremely powerful and I think will resonate with lots of us who have had our perfectly normal and healthy sexuality and/or romantic life pathologised. I have long been in the “sex addiction is not a thing” camp, and if you want to learn more about this from an expert’s point of view, I suggest you check out Dr David Ley’s fantastic book, “The Myth of Sex Addiction.”

Now over to Taylor… 

A spilled glass of red wine with the word "love" spelled out in the spill. For a post on sex and love addiction

“Liberating Myself from the Confines of Sex and Love Addiction”

“Maybe she abuses sex as a means to cope like her dad abused alcohol,” my psychology
classmate said, as she tapped her leg against the barstool, waiting impatiently for her
second beer.

“No,” the next one said, as she hung up with her boyfriend for the third time in 15
minutes. “It sounds like she has borderline tendencies. Like, she’s not actually borderline,
she just has the borderline-like tendency to act out sexually and lose herself in each and
every partner.”

My friend inhaled as if she was about to speak. Finally, an ally coming to my defense, I
thought naively. “I think Taylor just picks the wrong men and she lets sex negatively
impact her life. She’s definitely an addict.” Then, she changed the subject to talk about
her last failed casual hookup.

I had been the subject of many armchair psychology sessions such as this one. In these
scenarios, my body served as the blank screen onto which people projected their greatest
sexual anxieties, judgments, and fears. I would often sit quietly, as I did that night,
listening to people talk around me as they attempted to diagnose and explain me away. I
suspect that it was easier for them to categorize me and squeeze me into neat little
pathological boxes than to listen to my lived experience. If I were the only broken toy in
need of repair, then no one else would have to engage in any self-examination.

At that point, I had been in recovery for over 3 years, after my therapist and psychiatrist had agreed on a diagnosis of sex and love addiction at age 21.

But I had been a part of this process, as well. The tricky thing about sex and love addiction is that you have the opportunity to diagnose yourself. You can even do it online with a vague questionnaire. In reality, this ludicrous practice opens up far too much space for people who have been shamed sexually to convince themselves that they are, in fact, damaged. When you are raised in a society that defines ‘healthy sex’ in such a narrow fashion – heterosexual, procreative, monogamous sex with cis bodies and few partners – there is far too much room for everyone else to fall into the cracks. Down I fell.

It hadn’t always been this way.

With no basis for self-love, body positivity, or confidence
in my youth, I had somehow managed to build and sustain it on my own for a few
beautiful years. As I look back on it now in adulthood, I realize how magical and unique
that was. When I was 18, I wrote in my diary that sex was “exhilarating and life
affirming.” I basked in my own glow. I noted the way my freckles curved around the
right side of my back, and named my legs as my favorite body part. I wrote with
excitement about my last sexual encounter, reveling in the limitless feeling of orgasm.

While my friends pined for monogamous relationships, I preferred casual dynamics that
spoke to my need for exploration and freedom. But that kind of authenticity and self-
assuredness had no place in a world that refused to see me as a sexually autonomous
being, especially as a young woman. My wings would have to be clipped before I
reached the sun.

In those same years before the diagnosis, I was harassed and stalked both on and offline,
slut-shamed relentlessly by friends and classmates, sexually assaulted, and victimized by
image-based abuse (also known as revenge porn) on more than one occasion. The last
encounter with image-based abuse destroyed my budding career and all of my future
ambitions when the photos were sent to current and former employers and coworkers.
These events sent me tumbling down the rabbit hole of self-loathing, which had been the
goal all along. Once I had convinced myself that sex was negatively impacting my career
and relationships, I surrendered to the label of sex and love addict.

I went through the 12 steps, making amends to friends and loved ones, apologizing for “acting out” and allowing my quest for sex to overrule my life.

I examined past traumas, attended women-only meetings as often as possible, and took the program seriously. But as the years drudged on, questions and doubts loomed in the back of my mind. Why were straight and bisexual women overrepresented in all of these recovery meetings? Why were men defined as sex addicts, while women were always identified as sex and love addicts? If the scientific community had never legitimized this addiction, why were we so convinced that these diagnoses were correct? How could doctors even diagnose someone with a condition that did not exist in the DSM? These questions were left unanswered in meeting rooms, and they were always met with pushback and anger, as if I had pulled the rug out from underneath us all.

The underlying, bare bones message from clinicians and fellow addicts were the same:
“We see that you enjoy sex, but you don’t seem to feel an adequate level of remorse or
self-disgust about it.” The brazenness and the confidence, the casual nature of my
relationships – these were the attitudes and behaviors that needed to be fixed, or
eliminated entirely. While other people in the program insisted that recovery would bring
freedom from shame, I could not taste the independence. Instead, this so-called
‘recovery’ was a pillow held firmly over my face, suffocating me with shame. Every
subsequent sexual experience was an exercise in self-flagellation. Whenever I looked at a
man and felt a mere twinge of lust, or yearned for a casual encounter, I berated myself
internally for falling back into toxic behaviors and ran off to a meeting with my head
hung low.

When society grows tired of policing women’s sexual activity, they teach us to
police ourselves, and I was monitoring my own behavior so closely, no one else had to
weigh in. It was a dull, colorless existence, and it only served to exacerbate the
depression that was already simmering underneath.

If authenticity was my goal – and it was – I would have to liberate myself.

The first step was to exit the program and leave the sex and love addict identity behind. I sought out a sex therapist that had worked with other defectors from the program, and over the past few years, he has helped me re-learn how to have pleasurable, exhilarating, life-affirming sex without the existence of shame. It is a process that has yet to reach its
conclusion, but for the first time in over a decade, I have no interest in contorting myself
to fit into a tiny box in order to be more palatable or acceptable to society. My healthy
relationship with sex will not be explained away, or pathologized. You will just have to
sit there quietly, and listen to my lived experience.

Taylor Morley is an activist, writer, and advocate who writes and speaks on topics ranging from sexual liberation, to anti-imperialism and human rights issues. She does marketing and development for non-profit organizations in Los Angeles, where she resides with her Dorothy Parker books and her vinyl collection.

[Guest Post] “RESPECT: Find Out What It Means to Me” by LittleWelshMinx

I recently decided to run a pitch call for newer voices in sex writing – specifically, the criteria was anyone who has never been paid to write about sex/relationships before. I got a huge number of pitches and many of them were outstanding in quality. In the end, picking just one from the 70+ I got was too hard, so I picked a small number of my favourites and will be publishing them one at a time between now and Christmas. Today’s is from LittleWelshMinx. This one stood out to me because of its unique take on the role of song in self-care around dating. I also wanted to share this one first because it’s so timely given Aretha Franklin’s sad death last week. 

Without further ado, over to LWM…

RESPECT: Find Out What It Means to Me

A shelf of records in a store, for a guest blog on Aretha Franklin and RESPECTToday I’m talking about relationship rituals.

I have been dating now for 18 years. During that time, I have developed certain rituals for getting me through the tough times and for getting me through the really tough times. As my regular readers will know, I’m a big music fan. I often use music as a way of feeling, thinking, soothing myself, and finding the strength to face the pain, love, rejection, betrayal, and the unknown that is the world of relationships and dating.

My parents have handed down to me a very eclectic taste in music, and one of their favourite genres – and mine – is soul. In turn, soul music became one of the key elements of my own personal relationship soundtrack.

The deep, powerful voices would resonate through my room, vibrating through my heart, connecting me to singers from over 50 years ago, making me feel slightly less alone as their voices raised in celebration, desperation, and elation.

Of all of them, I loved Aretha Franklin’s Respect the best.

Here was a woman, not bowed in defeat, not crying in a corner but standing up for herself. Rather than giving up and walking away, the woman within the narrative of the song seems to be drawing a line, telling her partner the way it is, and demanding better treatment. You get the sense that she has taken some crap and just isn’t prepared to take any more.

Every time I was in a bad place, and had been neglected, ignored, abandoned, patronised, cheated on or dumped, I would turn to music, and inevitably, turn to Aretha.

Respect acted like a much-needed shake from a collective sisterhood, putting fire in my heart and stiffening my backbone. When I was looking for the strength to keep going, stand up for myself, or screw up enough resolve to look inside for the truth, for the reality of my situation, to face my unhappiness and find the strength to leave, her voice and words would give me courage, hope, and determination. She sang about not taking any shit back in the 1960s. I’d be damned if I’d take any shit 50 years later.

And so this women, with her words and raw power, would get me through.

She was there for me during the pain and shame when “D” made me go shopping with him for his girlfriend’s Christmas present, knowing I loved him, and the day after he slept with me for the first time.

She was there for me when “S” was playing mind games, gaslighting me before I knew gaslighting was a thing, when in my bewildered state I questioned my own sanity and morals.

She was there for me when “J” trailed off into oblivion.

She was there when “R” left me for another woman, three days after introducing me to his extended family, and three months after insisting I meet his son.

This song, among many others, has been a touchstone for me. An audio reminder of who I am, what I want, and what I will and will not tolerate in my own life and relationships.

The thing to remember is that we all go through tough times and we all get our hearts broken at some point or another. To survive it, you need to have things you can fall back on, and songs like Respect, that help to snap you out of the pain, make you laugh at yourself, and keep moving forward.

Whenever I find myself hurting, I find bittersweet comfort knowing I can turn to music for solace. More than just reminding me to be strong, Aretha has been a thread throughout my dating life. Whenever I listen to Respect in a moment of pain, I am forced to remember the previous moments, but also forced to remember the fact that I got through them, and survived, a little wiser, a little tougher, and a little stronger.

When I heard the news of her death, I stopped in my tracks. Later that night I wept. I wept for a woman I never met, because her song helped me to become the woman I am.

Thank you, Aretha.

xxx

Little Welsh Minx in a masquerade mask.About LittleWelshMinx

Hello! I’m a 30-something girl from Wales, who likes classic literature, rugby, salsa, old Hollywood cinema, 40s/50s/60s fashion, and drinking gin and tonics. I blog about sex, from as many different view points, subjects, and angles as possible… academic, historical, geographical, scientific, technological, moral, personal, socioeconomic, political, emotional….

Sex – it’s not just a noun or a verb.

[Toy Review] The Red Head by Glas

I love glass toys, I love pretty toys, and I love double-ended toys. So when the folks at The Adult Toy Shop offered me this beauty from their range to try, I eagerly jumped at the chance. If you’ve never tried a glass toy, you really should. They feel like nothing else! Smooth and yet completely unyielding, glass begins cold to the touch but warms up surprisingly quickly with your body’s heat. And you can always run it under some warm (not hot!) water or pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to play for some exciting temperature-based fun.

The |Red Head Glas DildoLet’s meet the Red Head…

Unlike many double ended dildos, I liked that both the ends on this one are the exact same size.

It’s 8.5″ in total length, and 1.5″ in diameter at the widest points of the heads. The shaft is 1″ in diameter.

This toy is really pretty. I always find glass toys very aesthetically pleasing and the red wave pattern on each of the heads gives this one a unique, striking appearance.

Is glass body-safe?

Short answer: yes!

Long answer: A properly made glass dildo is highly, highly unlikely to just break – and I have never heard of one breaking inside someone. Borosilicate glass, the kind that most glass toys are made of, is the same stuff that “Pyrex” and similar cookware is made from. It’s very hardy stuff and can withstand changes in temperature. It might break if you drop it on a hard floor from height, but that’s all you need to worry about.

Glass is non-toxic and non porous – it doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals like phthalates, and as long as you clean it properly it won’t harbour any bacteria or germs.

Glass toys are also latex and non-latex condom compatible, and safe to use with water, silicone or oil based lubes. In short, a great choice!

To clean your  glass toy, wash it in warm water and some gentle soap or soak it in a 10% bleach solution for a few minutes. For a quick clean, a body-safe medical wipe or toy wipe will do the trick.

In use…

Unfortunately, I did not have another pretty vulva-owning person on hand to try this toy with, so I tested it solo. I’m definitely keeping it earmarked for the next time I have someone with a vagina in my bed, though! As it doesn’t have a flared base, the Red Head is not suitable for anal play, but there are anal safe glass toys on the market if that’s your jam.

I’ve sometimes struggled with straight glass toys because, as they’re so rigid, it can be hard to angle them just right and they end up pressing into the wrong spot and hurting. No such issues with this dildo, though. The curved shape and super smooth surface means that, with the help of a little lube, it slid in with no pain or discomfort at all.

The combination of the gentle curve and the bulbous heads made the Red Head dildo immensely satisfying for me. I’m super multi orgasmic when it comes to G-spot stimulation, and… well, let’s just say after about five or six, I stopped bothering to count. The head presses in just the right spot and with a little gentle wiggling, it feels absolutely wonderful.

A quick pro tip from me: if you like G-spot vibration and intense stimulation, insert your glass dildo then press a wand vibrator against the bit that’s outside your body. The glass will transmit the vibrations and they’ll feel really strong.

I have never squirted, but if I was ever going to, I’m pretty sure it would be a curved, very rigid G-spot toy – like this one – that got me there. Hmm. More experimentation is in order! For science, of course.

So do I recommend it?

Yes, this is a wonderful little (or not so little) toy for the price! It’s body-safe, super pretty, it feels delicious, and it’s perfect for both solo and partnered play. A perfect beginner glass toy, or even a good addition to an afficionado’s collection.

The Red Head retails for $28.34 (RRP $34.99) at The Adult Toy Shop.

This unbiased review was sponsored by The Adult Toy Shop, who carry a wide range of very affordable sex toys. This in no way affects my views of the product which are, and will always be, entirely my own.

[Toy Review] Womanizer Premium

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a Womanizer for SO long, you guys. I think I missed the buzz (heh) when they first launched as the first few models were already old news when I started my blog, so I was delighted to see that A) there are new models out, and B) Lovehoney were kind enough to provide me with one to review for you all.

The Womanizer Premium on a wooden floor.Now, for those who don’t know, Womanizer were the first company to create clitoral suction toys of the kind that are now made by a whole host of companies. Many sex toy experts hold them up as the original and best, while others say they’re overpriced and the much more affordable Satisfyers do just as good a job. I’m not here to compare these toys today (though I will at some point) but felt that little bit of context was relevant.

Stats & Things

The Womanizer Premium on a wooden floor.The Womanizer Premium is the latest in Womanizer’s line of toys utilising what they call “Pleasure Air Technology”. Essentially, the nozzle creates a seal around the clitoris and the toy provides stimulation via rapid pulses of air.

This toy operates off a simple interface of 4 buttons. The bottom button just above the charging point switches the toy on and off; the one with a little wave pattern on it switches in and out of Auto Pilot mode; and the +/- buttons adjust the speeds. The buttons are easy to press, and well positioned to change the speed when in use without breaking your flow.

It’s USB rechargeable, completely waterproof, and ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in the user’s hand.

Premium Product, Premium Packaging… Premium Pricetag

The Womanizer Premium black box.The Womanizer Premium lives up to its name before you even take it out of the box. The packaging is elaborate and decorated in a style which makes me think of perfume or high-end make-up, with a clear section where you can see the toy. Included with the toy is the charging cable, a convenient storage bag, and two nozzles of different sizes (so you can swap them out depending on what suits your body).

The Womanizer Premium box openNow this toy screams luxury to me. The velvety soft premium silicone (available in three  colours and, praise be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, none of them are pink!) and subtle gold-coloured accents add to the luxurious feel.

This product does, though, come with a premium price-tag. It retails for £169.99 ($198.99 US). Do I think it’s worth it? Eh… maybe. It’s a damn good product from a trusted company, and if you can drop this kind of money on a toy it’ll be an investment that will last you for years. On the other hand, if money is tighter you can forego some of the special features (more on that later) you can get the Classic model or a much cheaper Satisfyer without losing a tonne of functionality. This toy does have some distinct advantages over cheaper models, but whether they’re worth the extra cost is a personal choice.

Body-Safety and Cleaning Concerns

The 100% silicone (apart from the ABS accents) of this toy make it completely body-safe. As it’s completely waterproof, you can submerge it to clean it all over. As an extra hygiene precaution, I recommend taking off the nozzle and sterilising it in boiling water or a 10% bleach solution after every few uses. In between, a sterile medical wipe will do the job just fine.

Sharing suction toys can be an issue, as they are not barrier compatible. Fortunately, this toy comes with two nozzles (and you can buy extras) so I recommend just swapping nozzles between partners if more than one person is going to be using it.

As ever, I recommend water-based lube.

Special Features

The Womanizer Premium has three defining features which set it apart from the lower priced models.

Firstly, it boasts a massive 12 speed settings (the Classic model has only 8), with the lowest setting lower and the highest setting higher than ever before.

Second, it has a super nifty body-sensor feature they call Smart Silence, which means the toy turns itself off automatically when it’s not in contact with the body, and then back on again (on the same setting) when contact is reestablished. It’s really cool and I like it a lot. No more fumbling with buttons if your roommate knocks on the door or your child barges in at an inopportune moment!

And finally, there’s the Auto Pilot mode. I hate this, because it’s basically a glorified pattern, but I think a lot of people will love it. In Auto Pilot, the intensity moves automatically between speeds (within a range of 4, which you can turn up or down). Personally, I want to be in control – it can ruin my chances of orgasm if the stimulation changes suddenly when I’m getting close – but others may love this. It could be fun to utilise as part of an edging or orgasm control game?

So how does it actually feel?

Short answer: amazing.

Long answer: it feels like it’s caressing your clit with a fierce determination to rip an orgasm from you whether you want it to or not, and when it does it’s the kind of orgasm that drenches the sheets and wakes the neighbours.

…At least that was my experience.

After a lackluster first try or two last year, I’m a serious suction toys convert. The differences between each model of suction toy are fairly subtle, but I’d describe this one as gentler than some others – even at the higher settings. If you’ve got a super sensitive clit and other toys of this type have been too intense for you, the Womanizer Premium on the lower settings might be the perfect choice.

Anything I Didn’t Love?

Well, that stupid Auto Pilot setting, but it’s easy to forget that exists. It’s also not the quietest, even when pressed against the body. For reference, my partner could hear it in the next room. It’s quieter than a wand but definitely louder than a bullet.

Otherwise, I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t enjoy about this toy.

So do I recommend it?

Yes, if you can afford to drop close to £200 on a toy and want something really luxurious that will last you for many years!

Thank you to Lovehoney for sending me the Womanizer Premium to review. All views are, as ever, entirely my own. If you buy through my affiliate links I make a small commission. Thank you for supporting my work when you buy your sex toys! All images are by me and not to be reproduced without permission.

Group Sex Does Not Ruin You For 1-on-1 Sex

Believe it or not, this post title has been in my ideas list for ages… and then Exhibit A said almost exactly the same thing in one of his Smutathon posts! So this forms my final post of the day (probably, unless this is quicker than I think it’s going to be and I end up rattling off a sixth one). If you still want to donate to our fundraiser for Abortion Support Network, you’ve got time!

A snowy slope with a ski lift. For a post about group sex and the slippery slope fallacy.
This is a slippery slope. Sex and kink is not one.

I get asked this question surprisingly often. “Doesn’t group sex mean you can’t be satisfied with one on one sex any more?”

The short answer is no. The long answer is…

Things, and people, don’t work that way. Are you no longer able to enjoy a simple but delicious meal simply because you occasionally go to fine dining restaurants? Are you unable to appreciate quiet drinks with friends because you’ve also experienced wild, dancing-on-tables nights on the town?

No. Because people don’t work that way. Sex is exactly the same. The idea that things always have to get more and more and more extreme in order to keep a person satisfied once they’ve had a taste of the “exotic” just doesn’t stack up. Sex isn’t a drug – you don’t need a bigger hit every time to get the same high.

I love group sex. Love it love it love it. The tangle of bodies, all the hands and mouths and cocks and cunts and… oops, sorry, got a little carried away there. Point is that it’s brilliant. No matter how many times I do it, and how often and in what combinations, it’s still fucking amazing. I honestly don’t see that ever changing.

But you know what? One on one sex works exactly the same way! We might have had nine-person orgies (that was a great birthday party) and group spanking parties and kinky threesomes and wild nights with other couples… but none of that takes away from the simple, perfect loveliness of my partner’s lips on mine and his cock inside me. Enjoying four or six or eight hands on me doesn’t mean I can’t still delight and find bliss in the same two hands that have known and loved me for years.

It’s the same with kink. I have done some wild kinky shit in my life, and loved every second of it. But it doesn’t mean every session needs to be wilder and more extreme than the last! Despite what some scaremongers would have you believe, spanking is not a slippery slope to being strung up from the ceiling on meat hooks. (Hook suspension exists, don’t google it if you’re squeamish, #YKINMKBYKIOK!) The intense stuff I’ve done has been brilliant and I’m sure it will continue to be brilliant. But it doesn’t mean I’m always seeking harder, crazier, more. A light spanking can still thrill the hell out of me exactly as much as it did the first time I experimented with it. A good old vanilla-ish shag with my partner is still super satisfying, too!

Sex is not a drug. You cannot “ruin” yourself for one-on-one sex by having group sex. Liking kink is not a sign that your desires are getting out of control or that you’ll end up doing something dangerous to get your rocks off. Enjoy what you enjoy, and don’t stress – you’re not going to lose control.

Masturbation Monday: “Blue Dress”

A mostly-true story for Smutathon 2018: Smut for Choice edition. There’s still time to donate and enter the raffle!

A girl in a blue dress from the back, for a Masturbation Monday post about fucking after a wedding“No, keep your dress on.”

The order is sharp. His voice is low – our hosts are asleep in just the next room, after all – but there’s no mistaking the do-as-you’re-told, no-arguments tone. I pause from unzipping the side of my blue silk dress.

“Bend over the bed and keep quiet.”

I lean over the bed, my face buried in the duvet, the wooden frame digging in to the front of my thighs. He lifts the hem of my dress, flipping it up over my back, and runs a hand over my ass. He saw me put on the red knickers I know he likes this morning, and I’m sure he’s been thinking about them ever since as we’ve been terribly well behaved at the family wedding. He’s pulling them down until they sit around my ankles. I’m still wearing my sparkly dancing shoes, and my hair is still somehow, unbelievably, tamed into the impossible style that took the miracle-worker at the salon an hour and a half this morning.

I’m not really completely ready for him when he starts to push his hard cock into me. I wasn’t expecting this and we didn’t bring lube with us. But the humiliating position and the feeling of him fucking me with my dress still on are getting to me. It hurts just a little bit, but I like that. My gasp spurs him on and he buries the full length of his cock in me.

“Keep quiet,” he tells me. I bite my lip and bury my face further into the bed. The sensation of being used is unbearably erotic and I can already feel myself edging closer to orgasm. Perhaps he can feel my telltale spasms, because he says, “come for me. Just do it quietly.” The order is enough to push me over the edge and I come hard around his cock. In response, he thrusts harder.

When I come a second time, it pushes him over the edge too. He releases into me with a low groan.

My beautiful hairstyle is ruined, my makeup smudged and my best knickers stained with his come. The perfect end to the night.

Masturbation Monday is created and owned by Kayla Lords. Click the logo to see what’s getting everyone off this week. (I’m the prompt!)

If you enjoyed this story, you can get bonus erotic fiction with #BonusSmutTuesday plus other fun perks every single week by signing up to my Patreon page at any level.

Image sourced through Pixabay.

Men: Her Orgasm Is Not About Your Ego

This is my third post of #Smutathon2018: #SmutForChoice Edition. Please donate to our page for Abortion Support Network, and don’t forget to leave your email address or Twitter handle so we can enter you into the raffle to win some awesome sex toys!

Dear Well-Meaning Cishet Man,

This one’s for you.

You’re a good guy, right? You care about your sexual partner’s pleasure, and her orgasms. You even eat pussy! When DJ Khaled’s comments surfaced about “different rules” for men re. oral sex, you probably tweeted furiously “I’M A GUY AND I LOVE EATING PUSSY”.

A man and woman kissing. For a post about ego and sex.Well, okay. But slow down. I want you to read this with an open mind, and try not to feel attacked. That’s not my aim.

However, please – please – stop making your female partners’ orgasms about your ego! Let me explain.

When I started having partnered sex in my mid and late teens, my boyfriend compelled me to tell him I’d never had an orgasm before I met him. He’d decided this was the case.  Telling him it wasn’t seemed like it wouldn’t achieve anything but bruising his ego. He was very into the fantasy of me as the perfect innocent. So I went with it.

I think a lot of young women have similar experiences. Their (also young and often inexperienced) boyfriends want to feel like sex gods who introduce them to a world of pleasure they never knew existed before. They don’t want to hear “I’ve been having orgasms by myself for years”. This narrative is a big part of the Fifty Shades of Grey fantasy. Ana has not only never masturbated or had an orgasm. She’s never even thought a sexual thought until Christian “I-Don’t-Make-Love-I-Fuck-Hard” Grey deigns to deflower her.

How this played out for me was thus: he didn’t really know what I liked. I knew what I liked, but couldn’t tell him because then he’d known I’d – gasp – had sexual feelings and even touched myself before he showed up. So a long time was spent with him trying to get me off, and either getting pissed off that it took so long (when I got there at all) or me faking it because dude, it’s been two hours, my clit is rubbed raw. 

This is, of course, a sex education problem. We don’t teach young women that exploring their bodies is okay. We don’t teach boys that girls masturbate and hey, she might know a thing or two about her own body! Instead, we glorify this notion of “I’ve never felt anything like this before!” even when you’ve totally felt something like that before… a lot.

A big part of the problem, though, is that these attitudes don’t really change as we get older! I remember reading in a glossy magazine (it was probably Cosmo?) advice along the lines of “when he whips out a new move in bed, tell him you’ve never done that before, even though you totally did that with your ex”. (That’s how Cosmo speaks, right?) The point is that women are still supposed to coddle our male partners’ egos to the point of straight-up lying to them, in order to pretend they’re the only person who has ever unlocked our sexuality.

This also plays out in other ways. I hang out on the Sex Toys forum at Reddit and also similar groups on Fetlife, and time and again men will post: “looking for a sex toy for my partner, but it needs to not be too big or powerful. Don’t want it to replace me!” But what if that big dildo or power-tool vibrator could give their partner the best, most explosive orgasms of her life? I guess it doesn’t matter – what they’re thinking about is not her pleasure, but being upstaged.

Men: women’s sexuality does not exist to stroke your ego! If your partner has a rich and fulfilling erotic life with herself, and/or had a rich and fulfilling erotic life with other partners before you came along, this doesn’t imply anything about you! When she uses toys, she’s not replacing you!

If you want your partner to never have masturbated (or to pretend she’s never masturbated,) or if you want your partner to have never had good sex with anyone else until you came along, you are not being sex positive. You are not being a good lover. You’re making your partner’s sexuality a receptacle for your ego.

And this brings me on to the Great Pussy Eating Debate of 2018, and the problems I see with it. Obviously, what DJ Khaled said was gross, as are all the other ridiculous things straight men have said about going down on people with vulvas. However, a lot of the responses pissed me off too. A lot of men felt the need to weigh in on how THEY always go down on their partners. Which… might seem harmless but is actually indicative of a particularly insidious form of virtue signalling that often comes into play around (particularly heterosexual) sex.

Prioritising your partner’s pleasure isn’t something to brag about. It’s the bare fucking minimum.

The other place I see this kind of ego-tripping manifest is around the issue of whether or not a woman orgasms during a sexual encounter with a man – and how that orgasm happens, if indeed there is one.

Too often, I hear “I want to make her come from intercourse, no clitoral stimulation, what am I doing wrong?”.  What you’re doing wrong, my dude, is prioritising your fucking ego over her fucking orgasm. The vast majority of people with vulvas don’t experience orgasm from penetration alone. This is normal. What you need to do is realise you don’t actually have a problem that needs solving. Talk to your partner, and stimulate her fucking clit the way she likes.

Basically: sex is much better when you take your ego out of it. I promise.

I Tried to Make Him Hit Me.

This was written as part of Smutathon 2018: #SmutForChoice edition. I’m sorry it’s not very sexy, but it’s sex-adjacent and it needed writing. If you’d like to support abortion access, please click below and donate – you can also win sex toys!

A giant male hand holding a female figure crushing her. For a post called I Tried To Make Him Hit Me.The one thing he never did was hit me.

He screamed at me, including in the middle of the night, including where my flatmates could hear, including when I had no idea what I’d done. He controlled so many facets of my life, and not in ways I’d consented to as part of a kinky dynamic. Guilting and ignoring your partner because they went for an innocent coffee with a friend who happens to be of a different gender is not fun D/s. He monitored my weight and shamed me if I gained a few pounds. I was pushed on to medication. He would even punch, kick and throw objects in front of me, just so I was in no doubt how scared he wanted me. It goes on.

I have a secret confession: I tried, a handful of times, to make him hit me. On these occasions, when he shouted at me, I didn’t cower – I sassed back, very occasionally even yelled back. I called him out on his bullshit. I even, on one particular occasion, told him “you’re abusive”. That was the time I most thought he was going to throw a punch at me.

I wanted permission to leave. I wanted something that would tell me unequivocally, this is bad and you can get out. The part of me that still loved him would, I thought, quiet down if he actually raised a hand to me. The part that was sure he was the best I’d ever do would snap out of the stupid trance he’d got me in. I realise now that it probably wouldn’t – I’d probably have justified it and convinced myself that I deserved it and stuck around anyway, the subservient fucking lapdog that I was.

Just fucking hit me, I thought, and then I can leave and I won’t be the bad guy. Because if I left, I knew he’d demonise me. I couldn’t love him as he was. I couldn’t be good enough to make him happy. I’d be the girl who couldn’t handle it.

We teach women and girls that they should leave if a partner physically hurts them. But we don’t speak enough about emotional and mental and psychological abuse. Too often, the message women get is try harder, try harder, try harder! Love him into not abusing you! We romanticise control as being “protective”.  We play off screaming as “it’s only because he cares”. This starts in childhood, when we tell little girls he’s mean to you because he likes you, and it continues and continues and continues and the next thing you know you’re in your 20s and sobbing on some guy’s floor because he yelled at you again and you just love him so much you’re sure you’ll die if you leave. THEN they have the fucking nerve to say “at least he didn’t hit you.”

He never crossed that line, and in his eyes that made him not-abusive. In mine, it just meant I had to wait for the abuse to get bad enough before I was “allowed” to leave. That took a long fucking time. Learning earlier that physical violence wasn’t the only form of cruelty I should Not Tolerate might have made all the difference.

Parents, teachers, adults: we must teach our girls that they do not have to tolerate cruelty of any kind. That they don’t have to tolerate the mental torture until he finally snaps and hits them. Please let’s do better for the next generation of girls.

[Toy Review] Happy Rabbit Thrusting Realistic Rabbit Vibrator

This review is my first post of #Smutathon2018: #SmutForChoice Edition. Please donate to our page for Abortion Support Network, and don’t forget to leave your email address or Twitter handle so we can enter you into the raffle to win some awesome sex toys! Now on to the review…

A Thrusting Vibrator?

I have a complicated relationship with rabbit vibrators – I occasionally find one I love, often find one I hate, and am frequently quite indifferent to this whole category of toys. The main reason for my struggle with dual stimulation toys is that I just don’t like vibrations inside my vagina. My G-spot, as I have mentioned previously, either wants to be pounded, caressed or left alone – never vibrated. (Coming up later will be a guide to choosing a rabbit, so look out for that!) So when I saw that Lovehoney’s new line of Happy Rabbit vibrators includes a rabbit with a shaft that thrusts rather than vibrates, I simply had to try it out.

The Thrusting Happy Rabbit standing up on a wooden dresser.Bunny Bits ‘n’ Bobs

The Thrusting Happy Rabbit is one of seven toys in Lovehoney’s new Happy Rabbit range. It’s quite a large toy at 9 inches in total length, 4.75″ of which is insertable, and a diameter of 1.5″.

There are two control buttons, one to control the thrusting motion and one to control the clitoral vibrations in the ears. The one-button control for the vibrations is annoying, as you have to scroll all the way through in order to go back to a previous setting. Toy designers: up and down buttons, please!  I do also wish it wasn’t quite so pink.

The Thrusting Rabbit is fully waterproof, and is USB rechargeable, giving a decent 120 minutes play time from a 150-minute charge.

A hopping good time

A gif of the Thrusting Happy Rabbit in action.I admit I looked at this toy and gulped – I normally need a good amount of warm-up to take something this size internally. Thankfully, apparently “haven’t had an orgasm in a few days” + “lube” = sufficient warm-up.

What surprised me even more was that it brought me to orgasm in under five minutes!

The thrusting motion feels amazing. There are three different speeds of thrusting motion to choose from. I preferred the slowest speed, but as ever your mileage may vary.

The “ears” are thick and firm, and have a massive fifteen different vibration settings. They’re not the most powerful vibrations you’ll ever find, but they were more than sufficient to get me off. The clitoral arm has some flexibility, so you can maneuver it to fit with your body.

The main downside in this toy, for me, is the sound. It’s not exactly loud – my partner couldn’t hear it from the next room with the door shut – but the thrusting motion sort of… squeaks? It wasn’t distracting enough to stop me enjoying all the good points of this product, but if you’re very sensitive to sounds (particularly higher pitched sounds) it’s something to be aware of.

Materials & Cleaning

The entire Happy Rabbit range are made from body-safe, non-porous, phthalate-free silicone. A far cry from the horrible jelly things that everyone went mad for after that episode of Sex & the City aired 20 years ago!

As the Thrusting Rabbit is completely waterproof, clean-up is a breeze. Just use some warm water and gentle soap for a thorough clean. For a quick clean between uses, a body-safe sterile wipe will work just fine.

A word of caution on cleaning: due to the creases in the thrusting mechanism, germs and bacteria can easily get trapped in there. Take extra care around these folds to make sure you get all bodily fluids and lube out.

The insertable part of this toy is condom-compatible. As ever, water-based lube is recommended.

So did the Thrusting Rabbit make me happy?

Yes! If, like me, you enjoy dual stimulation but don’t want internal vibrations, this toy is a great choice for you.

It is on the pricier side, retailing for £79.99 ($119.99 US.) However, it’s cheaper than Fun Factory, probably the most popular thrusting vibes on the market right now, and much cheaper than a fucking machine. So if you want a good quality thrusting toy, this is a really great option.

Thank you to Lovehoney for sending me the Thrusting Happy Rabbit in exchange for an honest review. If you purchase through any of my affiliate links, I make a small commission – however, any affiliate income made this weekend (Saturday 11/Sunday 12 August) will be donated to Abortion Support Network!

A Very Brief Look at Sex Toys in Popular Culture

Despite its problematic elements (and OH GODS there are a lot, TW for biphobia, transphobia and racism in that link,) Sex & the City was groundbreaking for its time. In 1998, when the episode “The Turtle and the Hare” aired featuring the women discovering the Rabbit sex toy, a frank discussion of vibrators on a prime-time, hugely popular TV show was a big deal. A few years later came The L Word – queer women’s answer to Sex & the City, which I devoured when I was in my late teens, low-key ridiculous though it undoubtedly is. Alice asks her girlfriend Dana to penetrate her with a strap-on. Sex toys then feature as a recurring theme throughout their relationship.

DivaInner G-Spot Rabbit vibrator with box, for a post on sex toys in popular cultureBut let’s face it, the portrayal of sex toys in popular culture hasn’t been hugely positive.

In the fairly recent past, sex toys in movies and TV were treated as the butt of a joke. 2001’s Not Another Teen Movie, for example, famously opens with Janey getting caught masturbating by her entire family (and for some reason a few random children and a priest.) The idea of a woman masturbating – especially a geeky, not-classically-beautiful young woman – is supposed to be hilarious in itself. The “Rabbit” episode of SATC depicts Miranda’s friends shaming her for using a vibrator instead of having sex with a man. (“You can’t take it home to meet your parents!”) Later they stage an intervention to stop Charlotte using hers, treating her like an addict.

In The L Word, Dana’s shame around using toys is an ongoing theme in the depiction of her relationship with Alice – including a cringe-inducing scene where they go through airport security. (“Yup. Nipple clamps.”) Later, a jilted Alice dumps out a box of toys in front of Dana and her new girlfriend, who recoil in disgust. It’s a dildo, guys! It’s not going to hurt you!

Thankfully, things are starting to improve.

The wonderful Sense8 features a beautiful scene of two women having sex using a strap-on dildo. Netflix’s Grace and Frankie feature the two main characters trying to design sex toys for women over 60 – and older women’s sexuality is not treated as gross or as a joke. And, of course, Broad City’s pegging scene became such an instant classic that there is now a line of sex toys themed around the show.

This is all a great start. I’d really like to see more positive portrayals of sex toy usage in popular media going forward. Give us joyful depictions of female masturbation, divorced from shame or guilt or narratives about being addicted, a nymphomaniac, or unable to find a man. Give us sex scenes in which partners reach for toys and no-one thinks it’s weird, gross or offensive. I’d even like to see vibrators casually sitting on female characters’ night stands without it being a big deal.

Popular culture has begun to catch up, but still has a way to go in the sex positivity realm.

Luckily, sex toys themselves have (s0metimes) improved tremendously in the last twenty years. The infamous 1998 SATC “Rabbit” is made of some kind of translucent jelly material, which is certainly not body-safe. Jelly toys are softened with phthalates, plasticiser chemicals which are now banned in children’s toys in many countries as they are known carcinogens. They’re also horrible for the environment! Unfortunately, the adult product industry remains largely unregulated, allowing unscrupulous manufacturers to keep making cheap, dangerous sex toys. There have been documented cases of people getting chemical burns in their genital area from unsafe toys!

Fortunately, there are reputable adult brands out there dedicated to offering body-safe and eco-friendly toys. DIVAINNER is one of them, creating intimate products of the highest standard such as this fab G-Spot Rabbit, out of exclusively premium, body-safe materials such as non-porous, phthalate-free silicone! Despite the silly stereotypes, it’s impossible to get addicted to a sex toy – so you can let go of your inhibitions and have as much fun as you want.

This post was commissioned by DivaInner and first appeared on their blog. Featured image is property of DivaInner. All opinions, as ever, are my own. Want to see YOUR company, brand or product on these pages? Get in touch!