My Scene Went Wrong, What Now? – A Guide to Getting Back on Track

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Sometimes, play sessions or scenes will go wrong. Mishaps, mistakes, and even the occasional genuine crisis can happen to all of us. It’s an unfortunate fact of this thing we call kink, sex or play, and we would all do well to learn better how to handle it when they do. Anyone who has been playing for any length of time and tells you they’ve never had a scene go wrong is either astoundingly lucky or lying.

A woman turned away from the camera looking upset. For a post about scenes going wrongI’ve had three scenes go wrong in relatively quick succession (a period of about 3 weeks). The first time, the equipment we were using at the club malfunctioned and dropped me. Thanks to Mr CK’s quick reflexes, we were both shaken but there were no injuries. The second time, there was somebody else at the party who I hadn’t expected to see, and who makes me feel profoundly unsafe. I tried to play in the main party space anyway, thinking I shouldn’t let him ruin my good time, but unfortunately I badly misjudged my own mental state. The third time, I let my head convince me that a situation that was actually most likely completely safe wasn’t.

To be clear, none of these was a disaster (though the first could have resulted in much more serious consequences than it did). Even so, they were all unpleasant and left both of us rattled. The after-effects could be felt for the next few days, both individually and in our interactions together. Luckily, we managed to have a spectacular play session a few days ago and I feel much better about it all as a result.

So let’s look at some techniques to get things back on the rails after something goes wrong.

In the immediate aftermath

I’m assuming that, at this point, you’ve moved away from the play area to somewhere safe if possible, and that anyone who is injured has received appropriate medical attention. I am also assuming good faith from all parties and that there were no malicious intentions or consent violations.

First of all, both/all players involved are likely to be shaken up. This is a really good time to be very kind and gentle to both yourself and each other. Sit somewhere comfy. Drink a glass of water, cup of hot tea or other comforting beverage. Maybe have a snack to get your blood sugar back up. Have a massive fucking cuddle, if you’re in the kind of relationship where you cuddle.

Don’t beat yourself up. If the problem was because of a mistake you made, you can and should apologise, but one genuine apology is much better than self-flagellation. This should go without saying, but if there was fault on the other person’s side, don’t be mean to them about it! You can absolutely say what you perceive happened and what you wish they’d done differently, but don’t harp on it more than is necessary and try to gracefully accept an apology, if one is offered. Again: be kind. This is a great time to reaffirm that you still love/like/fancy the pants off each other.

Don’t feel the need to discuss what happened in depth there and then if you don’t want to. You can, if you’re both up for it, but it’s often better to focus on caring for yourselves and each other initially. The debrief is often more productive if it comes an hour or two later, or even the next day.

Later that day/the next day

Check in with the other person. Ask them how they’re doing and be prepared to offer what comfort or support you can. Be honest about how you’re doing and ask for their support in return.

This can be a great time to have the debrief conversation: you’re over the initial shock/upset, but still close enough to the incident to analyse it effectively. Discuss what went wrong, your respective headspaces (and physical states, if relevant) at the time, the factors that contributed, and what controls you’ll put in place to try to mitigate the risk of a similar incident next time. This is also a good time to discuss what you need in the aftermath: do you need some cuddle time, verbal reassurance, some hot sex? Or just some alone time to process? Ask for it! If you can, give your partner what they ask for.

When it comes to processing, if you’re struggling with difficult feelings following the experience, this is a great time to consult a kink-friendly therapist, reach out to other kinky friends, or write in your journal.

It’s also worth remembering that you might experience sub-drop or Dom-drop. Even though you didn’t finish your scene, when something goes wrong you’re yanked out of your headspace very quickly and abruptly, which can actually be worse. Check out my list of self-care tips to try if drop, depression or anxiety hits.

Try to view a scene gone wrong as a learning experience. It doesn’t need to spell disaster for your relationship, your future as a kinkster, or even necessarily your night/day/week!

Next time you play

Re-acclimating to your partner and your play together after a scene gone wrong can be a challenge. It’s a good idea, before you next play, to touch base with regards to where you’re both at emotionally and physically following your incident. It can also be wise to negotiate your next scene or two very explicitly in advance, especially if miscommunication or misunderstanding contributed to the problem. This also applies in very long term relationships where you know each other incredibly well. It’s not a failure to spell things out upfront if relying on your knowledge of each other and nonverbal cues doesn’t feel safe right now.

Sometimes, verbally affirming consent can be really reassuring the next time you play, too. Our first really good scene after the string of issues started with Mr CK asking me to very explicitly state my consent to what we were going to do.

You can also ease back in slowly! You don’t have to go straight to a 10 on the intensity scale if a 4 feels more comfortable right now. Even if you were hanging upside down from the rafters when something went awry, you can dial it back to a gentle spanking next time you play. The only thing that matters is that you play at a level that’s comfortable for you both. A less intense scene isn’t a failed scene. The only criteria for success is that you are both safe, gave free and enthusiastic consent, and had fun.

Final thoughts

There are basically three main things I want you to take away from this post. When a scene goes wrong, remember:

  1. Practice kindness, patience and forgiveness. To yourself as well as to your partner.
  2. It happens to everyone sometimes and does not mean you failed as a kinkster, Dom, sub or partner.
  3. You CAN move past it, learn from it, and use the experience to strengthen both your skills and your relationship.

And if you’re reading this because you went Googling in a panic after your scene went wrong? You’ve got this. I believe in you. It’s okay.

Five Books That Changed My (Sex) Life

You will be unsurprised to know that, as a writer, books hold an extremely important place in my life. There are many things I am grateful to my mother for (she’s a pretty awesome lady) but one of the biggest is instilling a love of books in me when I was very young. Through the toughest points in my life, I’ve turned to reading for information, for comfort, for that priceless feeling of not being alone.

But this is, after all, a sex blog. So today I want to tell you a little about five of the books that profoundly impacted my sex life.

A shelf of books
Image by me, feat. one of my many bookshelves.

Come As You Are – Emily Nagoski

I read this one on a flight to Italy. Goddess knows what the people around us thought, when I kept reading out interesting snippets to Mr CK!

Nagoski’s message is, in brief, that we are all normal and we are all fine exactly as we are. She explores concepts such as spontaneous vs responsive desire, and the congruence gap between reported mental desire and genital response. (If you haven’t watched her recent TED talk on this very thing, please do so, it’s fucking brilliant).

Come As You Are taught me how to stop worrying so much about being “normal”. It taught me how to stop saying “I should feel X,” and start saying “I feel Y, and that’s okay”. And perhaps most important, it approaches these concepts through actual, hard science that cannot be argued with. It’s a warmfuzzy affirmation of your deepest desires wrapped up in a blanketof irrefutable evidence, and it’s perfection.

“Even if you don’t yet feel that way, you are already sexually whole and healthy. The science says so. I can prove it.”

Get your copy now.

The New Topping Book & The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton & Janet Hardy

Okay, I’ve cheated here because these are actually two books. But I kind of conceptualise them as two halves of one whole, so they’re getting a shared entry.

These were the first two books I ever read about BDSM, when I was barely nineteen and only just coming to the realisation that I wasn’t the only person in the world who got aroused from being spanked and verbally degraded.

As a new submissive, I devoured The Bottoming Book. I absorbed all its lessons on how to get horrible things done to me by wonderful people in a safe and respectful way. I credit it, in large part, with quelling the rising sub-frenzy and preventing me from spiraling too quickly down a path I was ill-equipped to handle. Even now, I throw it at new and young submissives frequently. I’ve lost count of how many people have borrowed my copy.

I’ve actually read The Topping Book twice. Firstly, from a purely academic perspective – as a submissive, I wanted to understand the Dominant perspective better. It fascinated me, but I didn’t feel any pull to do those things. Much later, when I started exploring my switchy side, I read it again with a more practical application in mind.

These books are, even all these years after their initial release, still the best 101 guides on the market, bar none.

“We bottom in order to go to places within ourselves and with our partners that we cannot get to without a top. To explore these spaces, we need someone to push us over the edge in the right ways, and to keep us safe while we’re out there flying.”

rel=”nofollow”Get The New Topping Book.
Get The New Bottoming Book.

Trauma and Recovery – Dr Judith Herman

I debated long and hard about including this one. It is not actually a book about sex, kink or any of that good stuff. But actually, it had such a profound impact I couldn’t not include it.

I first approached this book, a dense academic text, at twenty-one and barely out of my first long term abusive relationship. I’ve since referred back to it countless times, especially over the last three years as I try to recover from the worst abusive dynamic of my life.

What this book taught me is that my response to the trauma I’ve suffered is normal. It reassured me that I’m *allowed* to struggle with PTSD even though I’m not a military veteran or childhood sexual abuse survivor. It spoke so profoundly to what was going on in my head, and in my life, that I was frequently reduced to sobbing reading it. I usually couldn’t read more than a few pages at a time. Through Dr Herman’s words, I learned that I could recover with time and the proper support… but that it was and is 100% okay to not be fully “there” yet.

“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.”

Get your copy.

Opening Up by Tristan Taormino

There are a lot of how-to books on polyamory on the market now. However, amidst all of them, Opening Up stands out to me as the most rational, sane, compassionate and balanced of them all.

What I love about this book, which I read when I was relearning how to do polyamory after escaping an abusive situation, was how many options Taormino presents the reader with. She doesn’t dictate, as so many how-to books do, that Relationship Anarchy and The Church Of No Rules is the only way to do things right. Instead, she treats relationships as a create-your-own-adventure story, and offers us a smorgasbord of possibilities to pick and choose from. Amidst all this, there are practical tips on time management, communication skills, jealousy busting, and more.

This book came into my life at the perfect time. What it taught me is that I do not have to live up to anyone else’s idea of The Perfect Poly Person, no matter how many books they’ve sold or how many events they’ve spoken at. Instead, all I need to do is collaborate with my partners to create something that works for us.

“Nonmonogamous folks are constantly engaged in their relationships: they negotiate and establish boundaries, respect them, test them, and, yes, even violate them. But the limits are not assumed or set by society; they are consciously chosen.”

The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti

Ah, virginity. Has there ever been a topic to provoke so much judgement and angst and stigma? A long time ago, the man who I first had PIV sex with (I don’t believe “losing one’s virginity” is a meaningful concept) made it clear that my value was in my “purity”. I was precious to him because no-one else had touched me, like an expensive work of art you keep behind a glass case lest anyone else get their dirty fingerprints on it. A while later, the second man I had PIV sex with berated me for not having “waited for him,” because – being the youngest woman he’d ever fucked – I represented the closest he’d ever come to “taking a girl’s virginity”. A right, he believed, that I had denied him by shagging someone else three years before I met him.

As a result of these experiences, I’ve dealt with a lot of shame around my level of sexual experience. I fuck a lot of people, and have a lot of casual sex, and 90% of the time I’m more experienced than my sexual partners regardless of their gender. This book showed me how the “cult of virginity” has been manufactured by the patriarchy in order to control women’s bodies, and by extension women’s lives. It showed me that virginity is a medically meaningless concept, and that the only value it has is that imbued by sex-negative, patriarchal, anti-woman culture.

Valenti’s book gave me the permission to go “yeah purity is a bullshit concept”. It helped me to fully embrace my sexual experiences, past and present, as part of the rich tapestry that make me who I am. As a feature, if you like, not a bug.

“The idea at play here is that of “morality.” When young women are taught about morality, there’s not often talk of compassion, kindness, courage, or integrity. There is, however, a lot of talk about hymens.”

Get your copy.

What books had a profound impact on YOUR sex lives, friends?

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Ask Amy #7: “Respectful Flirting for Queer Women”

Today’s advice question comes from one of my wonderful Patreon supporters, who has been very patient in waiting for me to get to it. I’ve also, I must admit, been sitting on this one a bit because knowing how to answer it was tricky.

The reader in question is a woman, in case that wasn’t clear from context. Let’s go…

Two women drinking coffee at an outside table. Only their arms are visible. For a post on flirting as a queer woman.“Hey Amy,

I like girls but am very nervous about flirting, in part because they’re so cute my brain melts, and in part because I want to be polite and respectful.

What are your tips on approaching cute humans in public places (cafes, bookshops, etc.) in a respectful way, to tell them their shirt is nerdy and cool, and to maybe indicate I want to start flirting with them?”

Oof. My dear reader, if I knew the definitive answer to this one, I’d date a lot more girls. But I will do my best, writing from the perspective of a woman who likes women and is maybe open to being flirted with by them.

A cool thing I learned about flirting a long time ago, which has always served me well, is to consider treating it as an end in and of itself. Flirting is a joyful activity as long as both parties are fully on board with it, and it does not necessarily need to lead to sex/a date/a relationship in order to be “successful”. This mindset will both help to guard you against crushing disappointment if that cutie you’re chatting to turns out to not be interested in taking things further, and helps to prevent you coming across as “creepy” or having an “agenda”.

To approach or not to approach?

When it comes to deciding whether to approach someone in public, it’s important to look for visual clues as to whether they may be open to being approached or not. If they’ve got headphones in, for example, or are hiding away in a corner behind a book or laptop, they’re probably either super busy or wanting to be left alone. Body language and general demeanor are important too. Does she look sad, stressed out, pissed off? That person is unlikely to be in the mood to chat. But someone who seems chilled out, happy or content is more likely to be open to meeting new people.

What to say?

A good way to approach someone and gauge if they’re interested in chatting to you is to offer an opener that they can either pick up and run with, or answer quickly then get back to whatever they were doing.

“I love your shirt! Where did you get it?” is a great one, especially if they’re wearing something that reflects a shared interest. You can also substitute “shirt” for bag, item of jewellery, shoes, cute notebook, etc. etc. Anything that clearly reflects an interest or personality trait. The key is to be genuine in your compliment. That way, if she’s not interested she can say thanks and you’ll have made someone smile. If she is open to more conversation, you’ve got a perfect first thing to talk about.

“Oh, I love [Author Name]” is also a good one if, say, you’re browsing the bookstore and see a cutie checking out one of your favourites.

Then, if she seems open and receptive, you can maybe tell her your name and ask hers, and see if you can get a conversation going. Ask if she wants to sit with you, or if she’s up for company at her table or would prefer to be alone. If you’re scared of backing her into a situation where she feels unable to say no, try the ball-in-her-court approach: “I’ve got to go meet my friend, but I’m [Name] on Facebook if you fancy looking me up. I’d love to get coffee and geek out over [shared interest] with you sometime”.

The “is she even into girls?” problem

Of course, you can’t usually tell by looking at someone if they’re queer or interested in your gender. There’s no easy way around this unless they “flag” in some way. Many people prefer not to be openly queer until they know they’re in a safe space to do so. This is particularly true in small or conservative communities.

There’s not a super easy way around it. Often, you’ll find out if someone is queer or available in the course of conversation and getting to know them. But one way to show that you’re a safe person to be open around is to flag queer in public, however subtly or overtly you’re comfortable with. This also makes it more likely that other queer folks who think you’re cute will approach YOU! Consider a rainbow bracelet, a “queer” or F/F symbol pin badge, a bi pride necklace, a risque phone case, or an LGBTQ/sex-positive tee.

Other ways to meet people

It’s probably also a really good idea, if you don’t already, to try to join some activities where people like you will congregate. Is there a feminist book club, a queer women’s social, an LGBTQ+ film group, a board game geeks’ night, anywhere near where you live? Go along and make friends, not with the specific intent of getting a date, but with the intent of meeting other people who share your interests and making friends. One of these people could be the next love of your life! Or they could invite you to a party, where one of their friends will turn out to be the cutie your heart desires.

In these environments, you’ve got a huge advantage over just meeting people in public. Everyone is, presumably, there to socialise and meet others to a certain extent. Not to mention you’ve got a ready-made thing to talk about! If you’re nervous, “I’m new, how long have you been coming?” is a fine opening gambit.

Most importantly: give yourself credit

Meeting people is hard. Saying hi to someone in public is even harder. This is all amplified by a thousand when you’re a queer person trying to get by in a heterocentric world. So if you say hi to someone cute, congratulate yourself! Maybe you’ll get knocked back, maybe you’ll make a friend, maybe you’ll get a date. The result isn’t the only point. The point is you put yourself out there. Confidence, coupled with a healthy respect for other people’s boundaries and comfort, is sexy as hell. So go you!

A "support me on Patreon" buttonWant me to answer YOUR question? Email me, DM me on Twitter, or comment on this post. All questions will be answered, but Patreon supporters get priority!

 

Ask Amy #6: “The Care and Feeding of Your Unicorn”

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Whew, it’s been a while since I had an advice question from a lovely reader. This one, I must confess, has been sitting in my inbox for a while. Thanks to the person who sent it in, both for the excellent question and for waiting so patiently for an answer.

An artistic drawing of a sitting unicornNOTE: For those who don’t know, a “unicorn” is a person (usually a woman or AFAB person, though not always) who gets into some kind of relationship with an existing couple. So called because this type of person is almost as rare, precious and highly sought-after as the mythical horned horse. “Unicorn hunter” couples get a bad rep because so many of them approach this type of relationship from a fantasy-fulfillment perspective without due regard for the third person’s feelings, needs or, well, humanity.

Let’s dive in…

Hey Amy,

So my primary and I have suddenly and quite unexpectedly acquired a unicorn! We love them so much (we’ve been friends with them for years). So far we are all three having a delightful time. We are, as much as possible, using our polyamory skills to continue this state of affairs.

But I am nervous. Obviously being a unicorn is a terribly vulnerable position and so many unicorns end up really hurt. So: can you give me some tips from your own experience on making sure we keep our unicorn as gloriously happy and safe and secure as they deserve, while also making sure that we look after our own needs too? Because, my goodness, they deserve all that is good and wonderful.

Dear Nervous Unicorn Handler,

Okay, first of all, I LOVE this one. Not only because you say you are all having a wonderful time in your newfound triad, but because you are obviously as invested in your new partner’s happiness as you are in your own and your Primary’s. So, yay for you! You’re already way ahead of the curve here.

You’re also doing the right thing in realising that being a unicorn is a vulnerable position. Your unicorn has a certain level of advantage in that they’ve been your friend for a long time, but you and your Primary will still have tonnes of shared history, intimacy and knowledge that your unicorn has not been privy to.

I find myself wondering if you’ve talked to them explicitly about this? Even something as simple as “hey, we understand that being a unicorn can be a really vulnerable position, and we want you to know that we love and value you so much and are really invested in your happiness in this relationship. Please don’t be afraid to tell us what you need and let us know if something doesn’t work for you” can go a really long way. Then, obviously, follow through on that with actions such as listening actively, consulting them on things that affect them, and not getting upset with them for expressing needs or emotions.

Balancing multiple people’s needs is tricky in any relationship. It does, of course, become somewhat more difficult the more people are involved. However, there’s no reason you can’t keep all of you safe, secure and happy for a long time to come!

Communication, as ever, is key. It sounds like you’re well aware of that and all making efforts to communicate well. Keep doing that!

I also advise, in so far as it’s possible, each of you having one-on-one time with your third partner sometimes as well. Just as the two of you need alone time together in order for your relationship to flourish, your relationship with your unicorn and your partner’s relationship with them needs the same to a certain extent. But, of course, lots of lovely all-three time is also really important to schedule and prioritise.

Looking after your own needs is vital in any relationship. So, try to keep a good handle on where you’re at internally. Ask your partners to look out for themselves similarly. Have you considered a periodic check-in meeting for all three of you? This can be by Skype or phone if you live far apart, or around the kitchen table over coffee, or even snuggled up in bed together. It doesn’t have to be serious. It can just be, “how are we all doing? Anyone got any issues they want to raise?”  Then if anything comes up, you talk about it. If it doesn’t, you carry on doing the snuggling/coffee drinking/kinky fuckery. Obviously, you can react to things as they arise. But don’t underestimate how useful it is to have a designated time to check in with everyone and focus on your three-way relationship.

Beyond this, the things that spring to mind seem obvious and I’m sure you’re doing them/not doing them already:

  • Don’t try to control/limit who your unicorn can date. Having a secondary relationship with them while being in a primary relationship with your existing partner is A-okay, but don’t try to make them be exclusive to you or make it difficult/impossible for them to date others.
  • Discuss, with your Primary AND all three of you together, what will happen if someone feels jealous or left out. “We’ll close down the relationship and kick the unicorn out” is not a valid answer to this.
  • Keep your promises and honour your commitments. Emergencies happen, of course, and a degree of flexibility is important. But your partner should feel that the two of you are reliable and will do what you say you’ll do.
  • Related to the above, don’t make promises you may not be able to keep.
  • Never, ever, for the love of all that is sexy and good in the world, throw your unicorn in the middle when you and your Primary have a disagreement.
  • Try not to set rules on who is supposed to feel what for whom. This is a recipe for disaster because the heart doesn’t obey rules. Expecting your new partner to feel exactly the same way about each of you, for example, is unrealistic at best and straight-up coercive at worst.

I just want to finish by saying this seems like a really positive, healthy relationship. I’m not getting any of the red flags I so often see in a couple+unicorn situation. You’re doing everything write, Letter Writer, and I wish you all the best for a long, loving and wonderful relationship.

Again, please submit your questions to me for an anonymous answer on the blog. Patreon supporters get priority!

Is This What They Meant by “Gay Sex Toys?” A Rainbow Round-Up for Pride

It makes me cringe when I see toys advertised as “gay sex toys” or “lesbian sex toys”. Toys do not have a sexual orientation or a gender! However, today I want to talk about a different type of queer toys – that is, those adorned in rainbows and pride flags and ridiculously bright colours!

An abstract of rainbow coloured smoke.Look, I acknowledge the problems with the way Pride celebrations have gone in recent years. I am, for the most part, firmly in the “Pride is a protest” camp. However, as a queer person living in a queerphobic world, I feel that it is my right to take joy and fun where I can get it – and one of the places I get it is through outrageous, brightly coloured, flagrantly queer-coded sex toys.

Therefore, for your reading and shopping pleasure, here is a round-up of some of my favourite “gay sex toys” currently on the market.

My left hand - 3 nails have purple sparkly polish and the ring finger has a blue sky and Rainbow design like on the Positive Vibes toy.Good (Rainbow) Vibes

I recently reviewed Lovehoney’s Positive Vibes line, one of which features a super cute rainbows-against-a-blue-sky design. There was even a mega-fun launch event during which I got my nails (pictured) done to match! These affordable as fuck vibrators are surprisingly strong and rumbly for the price point, especially considering they’re battery-operated.

Other good, affordable options for a fun and colourful vibrator are Rocks Off’s kaleidoscopic rainbow bullet, and this little cutie from Tokidoki.

 

Fuck the Rainbow

A rainbow dildo standing next to a glass full of coloured pencils.Rainbow insertables come in all different shapes, sizes and price-points, so there’s bound to be something to suit you whatever you’re looking for.

A good, affordable starter dildo is the Avant Pride P1 (pictured) which I reviewed yesterday. This also comes in trans pride and lesbian pride colourways, which is awesome. There’s also the always-popular Colour Pleasures Pride Edition, BS’s various rainbow dildos, and Lovehoney have a lovely wavy six-inch rainbow dildo.

Size queens of any gender should check out the Rivetor from Split Peaches, and serious texture fans will adore the Screw You from the same company.

Fancy yourself as part unicorn? You can now have sex with a rainbow unicorn horn.

Butt-ing In…

Anal toys are perhaps the most frequently coded as “gay sex toys”, which is clearly nonsense. Anyone can enjoy anal pleasure if they want to – it’s not an activity reserved for gay men! (And, straight dudes, listen up: liking having your ass played with means literally fuck all about your sexuality or masculinity).

However, despite this silly stereotype, there are a great number of brightly coloured anal toys that any of us can enjoy. BS have the rainbow BoBo, or the pink or blue Bingo which has a rainbow base. Avant’s Pride range has butt plugs in genderqueer, genderfluid and leather pride colours. Seriously! And if you’re into a bit of sparkle, Luxe have this lovely set of three plugs with colourful crystal bases.

A black butt plug with a fluffy rainbow tail.Hot on Your Tail

Want to be a queer-as-fuck pony, kitten, puppy or unicorn? You’re in luck, because this gorgeous BRIGHT fluffy tail (pictured) exists! And for a seriously luxurious treat, Crystal Delights do a beautiful multicoloured tail on a glass butt plug.

Not so much bi-furious as bi-annoyed-but-resigned

Are you surprised it was hard as fuck to find ANYTHING with the bi pride flag colours on it? No, me neither. It’s so fucking predictable I barely have the energy or fucks to be ragey about it. That’s why I’m bidding on the bi pride dildo from Godemiche in their pride month auction (well, that and the fact that it’s for a brilliant cause!)

Thankfully, the Official Bisexual Colour is purple (because, apparently, gayness is pink and straightness is blue and we’re a mix? I don’t fucking know, but it’s a good colour). And there are a LOT of purple sex toys out there. That’s why I hereby declare that all purple sex toys will now henceforth be coded as Bisexual Sex Toys.

Companies: rainbows are great, but get it together and make bi themed toys, please! In the meantime, it’s lucky the love of my life comes in purple really, isn’t it?

Happy Pride!

Affiliate links appear in this post. Using them sends me a small commission and helps me keep doing this work . Header image is from Pixabay. Other images are either my work or property of the retailers and used with permission. Don’t steal my pics, thanks. 

My Safety Philosophy: Why I Practice (C)RACK

I always listen to Loving BDSM Podcast the day it comes out (Fridays), usually on my way to work. They’re always insightful, frequently hilarious and often make me think.  Today’s episode was all about the different safety philosophies within the kink community. Kayla and John discussed why they personally practice SSC – Safe, Sane and Consensual. As always, they’ve got loads of great things to say and I highly recommend you take a listen.

A cracked wall with flowers growing out of it. For a post on safety philosophies in kink.As I was listening, I realised I’ve written about safety tips for kink, but I’ve never actually written about my own personal safety philosophy before.

In kink, the three safety philosophies you’ll mostly hear cited are:

SSC: Which states that everything we do must be Safe, Sane and Consensual.

RACK: Which urges us to practice Risk Aware Consensual Kink.

And PRICK: Which asks us to take Personal Responsibility (in) Informed Consensual Kink.

Each of these has their merits and I will never knock anyone else’s safety philosophy as long as it’s based around the cores of safety and informed consent. Personally, though, I practice RACK. Let me tell you why.

What is “safe” anyway?

Very little in life is completely safe. We take risks in our life every day. It would be absurd to think that sex or kink could be completely free from risk. I take a risk every time I use a sharp knife to chop vegetables. I take a risk every time I get in my car (driving, when you think about the size of the machine you’re in and the speeds at which it moves, is fucking terrifying). And I definitely take a risk every time I let someone spank me, string me up in ropes, or get into edgy and emotionally fraught places in my psyche. (Yes, not all risk is physical. Mental risk is just as real).

Risk Aware, for me, doesn’t just mean knowing the risks are there but taking active steps to reduce them. We know driving is dangerous, so we wear seatbelts, don’t drive drunk, and don’t text while we’re driving. And in kink, it’s exactly the same.

Being risk aware means letting a partner know about any physical issues I might have that could impact our play, and keeping an eye on them during. It means letting my partner know about a pinched nerve or pins and needles in my hands. It means, when I’m Topping, getting proper education on the acts I want to do to another human being and not playing beyond my competence level.

So: nothing we do is, or can be, completely safe. Even vanilla missionary position sex with the lights out carries some degree of risk. By being informed, we can meaningfully mitigate risks to the best of our ability.

Who gets to define “sanity”?

I, like approximately 1/4 of the adult population (conservative estimate,) suffer from a mental health problem. Does that mean I’m incapable of doing kink responsibly? No, absolutely not. As a person with mental health conditions, I find classifications of “sanity” to be intensely problematic.

As long as I’m aware of where my mental health is at, and can communicate that to a partner, it’s generally reasonably safe and completely healthy for me to play. Which… circles us back around to that risk aware piece, doesn’t it?

At best, sanity is nebulous and difficult to define. What feels “insane” to one person might be “average Saturday afternoon” for another.

My unease with PRICK

PRICK is a fine philosophy, in so far as it goes. But it makes me feel a vague uneasiness whenever I hear it, and today I finally put my finger on why.

I’ve been involved in various ways in anti-sexual-violence activism for 6+ years. The phrase “personal responsibility” has been thrown at me and so many of the survivors I know more times than we can count. In those instances, unfortunately, it is taken to the extreme of meaning that you are ultimately responsible for everything that happens to you.

This means that a generally good philosophy (“look out for yourself, take responsibility for your actions and the impact they have on yourself and others around you”) has been co-opted and twisted to mean “if someone harms you, it’s your fault”.

It’s not that I’ll never play with someone who practices PRICK, but I would need to make damn sure that their meaning is closer to “we are responsible for taking care of our own and each others’ safety and wellbeing to the best of our ability”. That’s what a good philosophy of personal responsibility would look like.

Sadly, I just know too many people who say “personal responsibility” when they mean “if you get raped, what were you wearing how much did you drink why were you out late how did you not know that guy was a rapist?????

It all comes back to consent

Whichever you practice, you’ll notice that the one thing all these philosophies have in common is consent. Consent is at the core of everything we do. However, it occurred to me today that there is one key ingredient which none of these philosophies explicitly address…

The missing piece

Kayla and John so often come back to the importance of communication in their discussions on Loving BDSM. I often find myself nodding along, and am in absolute agreement with them that effective communication is at the core of everything we do. You cannot have safe(r) kink and sex without communication. You cannot have a good relationship without communication! And I don’t think we can meaningfully discuss good philosophies of safety without also discussing the importance of strong communication.

Therefore I present to you my new philosophy, adapted from RACK, which you are all welcome to use if it speaks to you:

CRACK: Communicative (&) Risk Aware Consensual Kink.

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Image from Pixabay and used under Creative Commons licensing.

Top Sexting Tips

I’ve been doing a lot of sexting recently, and it’s pretty awesome. Being one of those ridiculous “surgically attached to my phone” millennials and also having a tendency to crush on attractive humans who live far away from me, it’s a pretty ideal way to keep sexual connections going – and spark new ones – amidst my busy life.

Close ups of two peoples hands as they type on their phones. For a post about sexting.

I think – based on feedback and the high rate of return customers (as it were) – that I am a pretty good sexter. This was not always the case. My second long-term boyfriend was the first person I sexted with, and back then I couldn’t muster much more than “*moan*” or “mmm”. Which, you know, are fine… but they’re not really enough.

So, based on a good amount of experience, trial and error, here are my top tips for good sexting.

1. Pay attention

This is actually probably the single biggest tip for sex in general, but it’s particularly important when someone’s words are all you have to go on. With sexting, there are no body-language or tone or breathing cues. So watch what they’re saying and now they’re responding.

Are you getting a lot of positive feedback? Are they virtual-moaning in response, telling you it’s making them wet/hard/distracted, adding their own bits to the sexy narrative you’re building together? If you’re getting one-word, vague or noncommittal responses, it’s probably a good time to pause and check in if this is working for them. They might need a change of direction for the chat, or it might be a bad time to sext entirely.

Pay. Attention.

2. Mirror their words back to them

What terms do they use? Are there particular phrases that come up again and again?

This is particularly relevant when it comes to things like what to call body parts. Real talk: I hate the word pussy. Fucking hate it. I refer to my genitals as my cunt or my vulva (or occasionally my “vag” or “foof” if I’m being silly). If I repeatedly use the words I like, and you keep coming back at me with the ones I hate, I’ll assume you’re either not paying attention (see point 1) or deliberately disregarding my preferences. Either way, it’s not a good look and won’t lead to happy sexty times.

This is also particularly relevant when it comes to kink dynamics. Many people have very strong associations with certain words, good or bad. If they describe themselves as a “filthy little slut,” that’s probably something they’d be into it if you said to them. Listen, and mirror their language and style of speech back to them… as well as demonstrating your own preferences and interests for them to mirror back to you!

3. Keep it simple

Sexting is not a good time for flowery prose. (For real, there is no good time for flowery prose in my opinion). Others’ mileage may vary, but if you’re sexting with me at least, don’t use 50 words where 5 will do.

“I’m gonna eat your cunt then fuck you until I’m satisfied” is much better than “I will stick my tongue into your sweet honeypot and devour your delicious nectar until your orgasms burst forth like flowers in bloom, and then I will probe the depths of your mysterious caverns with my semi-moist treat stick…”

(Unless you want your sexts to become an entry in #EuphOff, that is).

4. Don’t be afraid to explore new territory…

Text is a great and low-pressure, relatively low-risk way to test out new kinks and fantasies that you might not be sure about. This could be anything from mentioning an interest to a partner for the first time if you’d be too nervous to say it in person, to trying out a new honorific or a new form of humiliation play that you’re not 100% sure about.

5. …But move carefully and with consent. 

Don’t pull a sudden extreme turn in the conversation without your partner’s input and consent! If you want to try something new, introduce it gently. Try a phrase like one of these:

“I wonder how you’d react if I…”

“I kinda want to call you…”

“How do you feel about…?”

“I’ve been fantasising a lot about…”

Judge their reaction. Proceed accordingly. I’ve had loads of sexting conversations where someone has suggested something the other person isn’t into, and as long as you’re receptive to that, things can recover and carry on just fine.

Example:
I’d really like to tie you up.
“I’m not okay with full restraint, but you could pin me down.”
Ooh! My hands on your wrists…

6. Approach it as a collaboration, not a performance.

Actually, again, this is good “sex in general” advice. Sexting is all about building a hot, steamy scenario together with your partner(s). It’s not a monologue or a one-man show. It’s best to go in without a super specific idea of where you want the chat to go, and allow it to grow organically as you both have your input and follow the energy wherever it leads.

And those are my tips. What are your top guidelines for sexy sexting?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter – there’s bonus smut every single Tuesday and other fun additional content too.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Ask Amy #5: “When should I start getting STI tests?”

It’s been a while, but it’s time for another reader question! Don’t forget you can submit your own questions to me to be answered – anonymously – via Twitter or email.

A red condom and some pills. For a post about STI testing.Today’s lovely reader asks:

I have a possibly-stupid question about sexual health testing: I’m quite new to having any kind of sex, and have never had PIV sex. What point should you start getting tested? I obviously want to practice safer sex, but should I get tested now or does it not matter so much until I start having penetrative sex?

We had a bit of back-and-forth discussion and then they followed up with a second question:

To complicate things a bit, I’ve also learned that I have vaginismus. I’m planning to go to the GP about this, but it made me realise that I have zero idea what would happen when getting a tested for STIs! I assume this would involves things going into my vagina?

First: on when to test

My view is that anyone who is having any kind of sex with other people should be getting tested regularly, whether that sex is penetrative or not.

Different activities carry different transmission rates: broadly speaking, anal is riskier than vaginal, which is riskier than oral, which is riskier than hand sex or toy sharing. However, any sexual activity with another person does carry a level of transmission risk, including – for HSV or herpes – any skin-to-skin contact.

Please don’t take this as intended to scare you, dear reader – forewarned is forearmed.  Knowing the facts means you can take steps to look after your own and your partners’ health.

What barriers and safer sex methods you use is entirely up to you. Personally, I use condoms for PIV and shared toys (unless they’re pure silicone and without a motor, which can be boil-sterilised) and have hardly ever bothered with barriers for oral or hand sex. I’ve always been fine. Your level of acceptable risk may be different, and that’s completely fine. A good rule of thumb is to let the most risk-averse person set the level of precautions (e.g. “I don’t insist on barriers for oral but I’ll happily use one if a partner wants to”). And of course, whatever protective methods you ultimately decide to use or not use, it’s vital that this goes hand-in-hand with an open and honest conversation about testing practices and sexual history with your partner(s).

For more info on how to have this conversation, check out Reid Mihalko’s ‘Safer Sex Elevator Speech’.

Finally, this bears saying over and over again: Most STIs aren’t that scary, and the majority can be cured with a simple course of antibiotics if they’re caught early. A huge percentage of the population (between 50 and 90% depending on who you ask) is carrying the HSV virus, and the majority will never have an outbreak and may never know they’re carrying it. Even HIV, which many regard as the worst of the worst, is completely manageable these days and those diagnosed can live a full and normal life.

Knowing your status is your first and best weapon in protecting yourself, so please start getting tested as soon as you start having sex with other people.

Now, on to the second question: what actually happens when you go for a test?

It slightly depends on the clinic.

I’ve been going for STI testing regularly since 2009. Back then there tended to be a full, clothes-off-feet-up-in-stirrups examination by a nurse. But that hasn’t been the case for years. And as someone who has moved around a lot, I’ve been to quite a few different clinics.

Every clinic I’ve been to in the last 6+ years has asked for either a urine sample or a self-swab, the latter being more common. This is a tiny tiny thing that you put in your vagina for a few seconds, swirl around and then pop into a sterile container and give to the clinic nurse. You do this in private, either behind a curtain in the consulting room or in the bathroom. (If you’re having anal or oral sex, they should do rectal and throat swabs too, though I sometimes have to prompt for this). They’ll also do a blood test, which is the most reliable way to screen for blood-borne infections such as syphilis and HIV.

The most important bit is to speak to the nurse/practitioner on the day about any concerns you have, including your vaginismus. The swab things are really tiny (much much smaller than even the smallest tampon), but if anything going into your vagina is a no-go for you, they should offer you another option such as a urine test. STI testing shouldn’t have to be painful or uncomfortable.

At some point during the test, they’ll ask you some questions about your sexual history, especially your most recent partners. Some of the questions might seem weird or irrelevant, but it’s important to answer them honestly. A good healthcare practitioner shouldn’t make you feel judged for whatever you tell them, and if they do, you’re within your rights to gently push back or even ask to see somebody else.

After that, you usually wait two weeks for your results. Some clinics will text you to tell you everything is okay, and others operate on a “no news is good news” policy. If there are any issues, they will call you and ask you to come in to discuss the issue and your treatment options.

And that’s it! Go forth, lovely reader, and have lots of responsible safer sex.

Again, please submit your questions to me for an anonymous answer on the blog. Patreon supporters get priority!

The Big Damn Wands Comparison Post

I’m obsessed with wands.

I love them. I love the size and weight of them, the intense rumble of the vibrations. And I fucking love the way they rip orgasms from by body, sometimes taking me from cold to coming in as little as a couple of minutes.

All seven of the wand vibrators I own lying on my bed on a white sheet.

Whether you use them on a clit, a dick, or on your sore muscles, wands are fucking great.

“But which wand should I buy?” people often ask me. And my answer is… it depends. It depends what you’re looking for. So here I want to look at some of the most popular wands on the market that I’ve tried, and the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.

The One That Started It All: The Magic Wand Original (AKA “Hitachi”)

The Hitachi Magic Wand Original, lying on a blue notebook covered in bi pride stickers.I reviewed this just yesterday! It’s the most famous wand vibrator of all, popularised in the 1960s by the amazing and inimitable Betty Dodson. In use, I found it decent but not world-rocking. Your mileage may vary, of course, and it’s popular for a reason!

Quick facts: Plastic body; PVC head; 2 settings; mains powered.

Pros: The most famous and original wand vibrator; trusted for over 50 years; VERY powerful; mains powered so will never run out of charge.

Cons: Only 2 settings; porous head; very flexible/bendy neck; almost impossible to source legitimately outside of North America; not particularly visually attractive; needs to be plugged in to use.

Get yours: SheVibe or TooTimid. Retail price anywhere between $60 and $120.

The Rechargeable One: Desire Luxury Rechargeable Magic Wand by Lovehoney

Good rechargeable wands are really hard to find. Those in the US and Canada have the Magic Wand Rechargeable at their disposal if they can afford it, but what are the rest of us to do? I’m pleased to say that Lovehoney’s Desire Wand really delivers in this regard.

Quick facts: plastic body; silicone head; mains rechargeable; 20 patterns and 5 levels of intensity.

Pros: completely body-safe; LOTS of settings so extremely customisable; rechargeable – no need for a plug socket; 3 hours running time on a 3 hour charge; travel lock; comes with an attractive faux-leather case; visually beautiful.

Cons: Pretty heavy; less rumbly than some other wands; you can only scroll one way through the pattern settings, so if you skip over the one you like you have to go allllll the way back through; risk of batteries running out mid-wank.

Get yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada. RRP £99.99, currently on sale for £69.99 in the UK.

The Budget Option: Lovehoney Classic Mains Powered Wand

A white female hand holding the Lovehoney Classic Wand, a white wand vibrator decorated with a little red heart.

I initially didn’t expect much from this one, given the cheaper price-tag compared to luxury wands, but I was quite pleasantly surprised! I haven’t actually done a stand-alone review of this one yet but I will. With some caveats (see below) I’m happy to recommend it as a lower budget option for a wand.

Quick facts: Plastic body; rigid PVC-coated head; variable speeds controlled with a sliding wheel; mains powered.

Pros: Affordable; VERY powerful for the price; mains powered so no risk of running out of battery; easy slider control.

Cons: No pattern settings; somewhat porous head (using a condom is recommended); needs to be plugged in to use; one of the louder models.

Get yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada. RRP £49.99.

The Extremely Light One: Pink BOB Allure Wand

The Pink BOB Allure Wand, a pink wand style vibrator.I reviewed this one recently and overall liked it more than I expected to. It’s never going to be a top go-to wand recommendation in general, but some people struggle with the weight of some heavier wands and this is a good bet in that regard.

Quick facts: plastic body; silicone head cover; 20 speed/pattern settings; mains powered.

Pros: Body-safe; extremely light compared to all other models; very versatile with so many settings; mains-powered so no risk of running out of battery; solid level of power for the price.

Cons: EXTREMELY PINK; not the finest quality silicone; gets hot after more than 3o minutes’ use; “Battery Operated Boyfriend” as a brand-name.

Get yours: TooTimid. RRP $69.95.

The ‘Mid Budget, High Quality’ One: Lovehoney Deluxe Extra Powerful Mains Powered Wand

The Lovehoney Deluxe Wand, a black magic wand vibrator decorated with a little grey heart.I JUST tried this one last night and haven’t even reviewed it yet. Bear with me, though – I definitely will! In short I really like it and I’m growing more and more impressed with what Lovehoney are doing with their own-brand luxury toys.

Quick facts: Plastic body; silicone head; 10 speeds and 20 pattern settings; mains powered.

Pros: Body-safe; really good price for a luxury toy; mains-powered, so no risk of running out of charge; dozens of speed/pattern combinations so extremely versatile; sleek and attractive design; impressive level of power.

Cons: Pretty heavy; less rumbly than some other wands; you can only scroll one way through the pattern settings, so if you skip over the one you like you have to go allllll the way back through; needs to be plugged in to use.

Get yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada. RRP £79.99.

The Tiny But Mighty One: Doxy Number 3

A white female upturned hand holding the Doxy Number 3, a small silver wand vibrator with a black head.

Mr CK rolled his eyes at me when I brought this one home. “Surely you don’t need another Doxy?” Yes, friends, I definitely did. This baby is a POWERHOUSE, despite its small size. It’s the only wand I own that can make me come, through underwear, in less than a minute pretty reliably.

Quick facts: Aluminium body; silicone head; multiple graded settings and an escalating pulsation mode.

Pros: Body-safe; RIDICULOUSLY POWERFUL; rumbly vibrations; removable silicone head for easy cleaning; by far the smallest wand with this level of power on the market; mains powered, so no risk of running out of charge; sleek and attractive design; fantastic, ethical company with brilliant customer service.

Cons: Expensive; weighty for its small size, needs to be plugged in to use.

Get Yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Shevibe. RRP £119.99.

The Most Beautiful One: Doxy Die Cast

The Doxy Die Cast, a deep purple wand vibrator with a large black silicone head.

I don’t actually own one of these! (Any companies or generous readers want to send me a present? 😉 ). But I’ve tried out a friend’s one and it’s pretty divine.

Quick facts: Aluminium and titanium alloy body; silicone head; mains powered; multiple graded settings and an escalating pulsation mode.

Pros: Body-safe; RIDICULOUSLY POWERFUL; rumbly vibrations; mains-powered; the most beautiful wand on the market hands-down; fantastic, ethical company with brilliant customer service.

Cons: The most expensive on this list; only 1 “pattern” setting; very heavy; needs to be plugged in to use.

Get Yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada, Shevibe, The Pleasure Garden. RRP £149.99.

My Favourite One: Doxy Original

The Doxy Original, a purple wand style vibrator with a grey head, held on an upturned palm.What can I say!? I’m a loyal girl. Mr CK gave me one of these for my birthday our first year together, and I’m only about 10% joking when I say that’s when I knew he was a keeper.

Quick facts: Plastic body; non-porous, medical-grade PVC head; mains powered; multiple graded settings and an escalating pulsation mode.

Pros: Body-safe; RIDICULOUSLY POWERFUL; rumbly vibrations; mains-powered, so no worries about it running out of charge; comes in several different colours including purple, pink and white; fantastic, ethical company with brilliant customer service; has come down in price and is now really good value for the quality.

Cons: Only 1 “pattern” setting; needs to be plugged in to use.

Get Yours: Lovehoney UK, Lovehoney EU, Lovehoney Canada, Shevibe, The Pleasure Garden. RRP £89.99.

IN CONCLUSION

No-one except you can say with any certainty what the right wand for you will be… or even if wands are the right toys for you at all. They’re not for everyone. But I hope this post will have given you an insight into the pros and cons of various models I’ve tried, and why I think they’re great (or not so great).

Happy shopping, and you can always email me or hit me up on Twitter for a personalised recommendation!

Affiliate links are used in this post. Shopping with them sends a small kickback my way and helps me keep doing this work. Thanks to TooTimid and Lovehoney for providing me the toys required to do this post. Images are either by me, or property of the featured retailers, and must not be reproduced without express permission.

How Sex Toys Improved My Relationship

Almost unbelievably now, regular use of toys is a pretty new addition to my partnered sex life. It’s less than two years since Mr CK bought me a Doxy (still the love of my life – yes, the man and the toy!) and only about a year since I started buying, and eventually being sent, toys to review. But I can unreservedly say that adding in toys has massively improved my sex life, and my relationships as a whole.

A pink banner ad for The Pleasure Garden. For a post about using sex toys in a relationship.

More to Explore…

Using different kinds of toys means that sex with my partner can be really diverse and interesting, even though I’m fucking the same person many times. Whether it’s a ring that makes his cock vibrate, a toy that sucks on my clit, or a dildo you can cool down or warm up, toys allow for a range of possibilities that simply aren’t physically possible with our factory-installed bits.

“Sex toys for couples” are really popular, and there are some great ones in particular that are designed to be worn during intercourse, if that’s your thing. However, something I’ve learned is that literally anything can be a couple’s toy. A vibrator, a cock-ring, a dildo, a stroker… if you use it with a partner, congratulations, it’s a couple’s toy. It sounds obvious, but this was a revelation for me when I realised there was nothing wrong with reaching for my favourite vibrator during partnered sex.

Continued sexual exploration keeps things exciting, but it also builds physical and emotional intimacy, provides opportunities for vulnerability and openness with your partner, and allows you to see each other’s pleasure and desires in whole new ways.

Reliable Orgasms

My clitoral orgasms have always been somewhat unreliable, and more so for the last six years as I’ve been on antidepressants. Struggling to come from manual, oral or penetrative sex can lead to a really frustrating and stressful experience for all involved. I start putting pressure on myself, which makes the orgasm drift further away, which feeds into the whole vicious cycle!

With toys, though, my orgasm becomes much more reliable. Even when I’m really struggling to get off, the vast majority of the time I can grab a high-powered vibe and get the job done in less than five minutes. More reliable orgasms means more relaxed sex, less pressure for all concerned, and a happier Amy and more satisfying sex and relationship life as a result.

Speaking of less pressure…

Using toys also releases pressure on bodies to perform a certain way. We grow up with a narrative that suggests that sex works in one specific way – you kiss, then you get naked, then you do hand stuff, then she goes down on him, then he maybe goes down on her (but probably not for more than a few seconds), then fucking happens – and that if a dick doesn’t get hard, a pussy doesn’t get wet, or orgasms don’t happen simultaneously, it’s a failure.

Do you need me to tell you that pressure to conform to a really narrow and prescriptive view of sexuality is the opposite of sexy?

One thing I love about using toys is that they free up bodies to do what they’re gonna do with much less worry. A cock isn’t getting hard when you want it to? No worries, grab a dildo instead. If my partner’s bad neck is playing up and he can’t go down on me for an hour or more, he can probably still hold a light bullet vibe in just the way I like. The key for me here is to think of toys as an extension and expansion of what our bodies can do, not a replacement or a poor second choice.

Asking for what you want

I’ve historically been really bad at asking for what I want both in and out of the bedroom. I used to drive past partners crazy because I couldn’t even express a preference in something as simple as where we would go for dinner!

Using sex toys with my partner has helped me to cultivate a greater ability to ask for what I want and clearly advocate for my needs. It’s really hard to be vague when what you mean is “fuck me with that glass dildo until I have to safeword out” or “hold the vibe still against my clit and oh god yes don’t move it a fucking millimetre“. Toys helped teach me that I deserve pleasure and that I deserve to get my needs met. When you make a habit of asking clearly for what you want, your whole life improves, and this goes far beyond sex.

Fun with gender

Toys also bring some really fun opportunities to play with gender, gender roles and power within a relationship. I’m pretty cis and very femme, but that doesn’t mean that occasionally I don’t want to have a cock and fuck my lover with it hard. Toys give me the ability to do this. And for my cock to be purple and sparkly if I want it to be! This means that, despite what cisheteronormativity tells us, sometimes I can be the fucker and he can be the fuck-ee. And this is just one of the ways in which we’ve examined societal gender roles in our relationship and thrown out all the ones that don’t work for us.

Sometimes it’s as simple as being seen and understood

I’ll finish with something simple but true. Whether it’s really seeing and noticing and putting into practice my body’s preferences based on my toy usage, or buying me the perfect toy gift for my birthday, sex toys have helped my partner to see and know me in a deep and profound way.

Tweet me and tell me: how do YOU use toys to enhance intimacy, connection and love in your relationships?  What’s YOUR ultimate couple’s toy, whether it’s marketed that way or not?

Banner ad for The Pleasure GardenThis post was sponsored by the wonderful folks at The Pleasure Garden, an inclusive online retailer committed to body-safety and gender-free marketing. If you buy toys from them with my links, you support a small feminist business AND send a little bit of commission my way to help me keep doing what I’m doing. All views are, as ever, entirely my own. Images are property of The Pleasure Garden and must not be used without express permission.