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.

How to Be a Good Couple to Threesome With

I’ve had a LOT of threesomes. I love them. Due to my status of more-or-less-constantly-in-a-relationship-since-I-was-a-teenager, I’ve more often – not always, but often – been one of the members of the more established couple, rather than the third person coming in for playtime.

Three Maine Coon cats sitting down in a row and looking at the camera. The middle one is white with a ginger face and the other two are tabbies. For a post about being a good couple to threesome with.

Playing with an existing couple can be really daunting, even if you’re really into them both. like to think that Mr CK and I are a good couple to threesome with. We’ve been told so, anyway! So I thought I’d set down some things that I believe a couple can do in order to treat the third party in their threesome well, and make sure they have a good time.

1. No Pressure

Pressure is a massive libido killer. It’s a really bad idea to go into a threesome or potential threesome with a very rigid idea of how you want it to go. This puts undue pressure on everyone, and especially on the third party, who may feel that they have (or actually have) less negotiating power than the couple.

Don’t rush things. Don’t invite a potential playmate over To Have A Threesome And Anything Else Is A Failure. Spend time getting to know what makes them tick, what they’re into, what they’re hoping to get out of the experience, what kind of ongoing dynamic they’re interested in with the two of you (if any), and how they communicate.

And for fuck’s sake, when things do progress to a sexy place, don’t make it a rush to get around all the “bases” as quickly as possible! Making out, touching, groping, hand stuff, oral sex, kink play… all of these things can be amazing. Yes, intercourse can be on the table, but it doesn’t have to be… and rushing to get there will just result in a bad time for everyone.

2. Have your own house in order first.

Nothing is more awkward than being in the middle of a couple having a fight… except being in bed with a couple having a fight.

Discuss your feelings. Talk about any insecurities or jealousies you have that might come up. Plan for how you’ll handle it if they do come up – in a way that is kind and compassionate to everyone, including the third person. “Well we can just kick her out if one of us gets jealous” is neither a solid plan nor an ethical way to treat a human being.

Don’t attempt to bring anyone else in to your relationship, whether for casual sex or something more, unless your relationship is solid first. Note I said solid, not perfect – perfection does not exist. It is monumentally unfair to bring a third party into a dynamic that is crumbling or dysfunctional. It is even more unfair to expect that this person, or sex with them, will somehow fix your relationship issues.

“Relationship broken, add more people” is a cliche because so many couples try to do it… and it never, ever ends well.

3. Approach sex as a collaboration, not a service from them to you.

If you want to have a threesome with a third party where the focus is really on the two of you in the couple, and their pleasure is less of a priority, consider hiring a sex worker. Your threesome partner, even if the sex is casual, is not a life-size sex toy! They’re a person with their own wants, needs, desires and feelings.

Sex is a collaboration, a dance. Everyone should give and receive pleasure and the goal should be mutual satisfaction for all parties – not just the couple. Your threesome buddy may not be a fully fledged member of your ongoing relationship, but they are a fully fledged member of whatever dynamic the three of you are creating together. Collaborate to have a sexy time. Don’t use them.

4. Consent first, consent last, consent in all things.

Check in early and often. If you’re not absolutely 1000% sure you have consent for something, ASK. “Ruining the mood” is a myth – a good time will never be ruined by checking on consent for something, but it can easily be ruined by overstepping someone’s boundaries.

And of course it should go without saying that no means no, and you should never push someone to do something if they don’t want to.

Mr CK and I received an email from someone we played with recently, thanking us for how good we were at consent and boundaries, and it is honestly one of the best compliments I have ever received.

5. Openly discuss safer sex.

This is absolutely vital. Ideally, this discussion should happen while clothes are still on, long before any sex happens, but it can happen in the moment if necessary. Everyone should disclose their testing status, their safer-sex protocols, the method(s) of birth control they’re using, and any other relevant information – an allergy to latex, for example.

This is as much your responsibility as a couple as it is the third party’s responsibility! 

6. Have things you’re likely to need on hand.

Have a stash of condoms, lube, gloves and dams easily reachable. Think about, and discuss, what toys you’re likely to want and have them easily accessible too (and charged, if applicable)!

7. Have an aftercare plan.

Will your threesome buddy stay over, or would they prefer to go home afterwards? How will they get home safely? If they do stay, would they prefer to sleep with you both or in a separate bed? (I hereby promise that anyone who stays over at ours after sexy time will get pancakes and your favourite hot beverage in the morning. Just, you know, in case it tempts anyone…!)

Make sure there’s time afterwards to cuddle, debrief if necessary, and make sure everyone is okay and has everything they need. Offer, and ask for, reassurance and affection freely as needed. Check in with your sexy friend the next day to make sure all is well with them.

Aaaaand that’s it. Follow these tips and, while I can’t guarantee you’ll have an amazing threesome, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’re treating your Special Guest Star with the respect, compassion and consideration they deserve.

Image is from Pixabay. It’s what came up when I searched “three” and it amused me so it stays. If you enjoyed this post, you can buy me a coffee to say thanks or become one of my sexy Patrons, and access some exciting bonus content!

[Toy Review] Fifty Shades Freed ‘Lavish Attention’ Vibrator

First, let’s address the elephant in the room.

I thought long and hard (stop snickering at the back!) about whether or not to request, or accept, any of Lovehoney’s new Fifty Shades Freed line of toys for review after attending their recent affiliate product showcase. In the end, I made a balanced decision that yes, I would review this line. Let me tell you why.

A close up of an elephant. For a review of the Fifty Shades Freed Lavish Attention vibrator.

To say I have issues with the Fifty Shades franchise is an understatement. I believe those books are not just poorly written and questionably researched portrayals of bad BDSM – I actually believe they’re really harmful. The way they’re written, and marketed, passes off stalking, psychological abuse, disregard for consent and even rape as romantic. Check out Jenny Trout’s series or my friend Christine’s blog if you would like to learn why more and more sex-positive feminists are speaking out against this series.

However. A terrible first introduction though it is, more and more people are finding BDSM and the kink and sex-positive communities via this franchise. They read the book or watch the film and get turned on by all the kinky sex. “I want to do that!” they think. Okay. So where do they go? Maybe they search online. If they’re lucky, they’ll find brilliant educational blogs. If they poke around for any length of time in the internet kinkosphere, they’ll probably land on Fetlife sooner or later. They might come to a munch. And they might go and buy a sex toy, possibly for the first time ever.

The seasoned kinksters among us may roll our eyes each February when the newest film brings the influx of “the Fifty Shades crowd” to our online spaces or our local munch. But if we do not welcome these people, we are doing them a great disservice. If we push them away or look down on them, we’re completely failing to live up to our purported values of inclusion, respect and community. Not only that, but pushing them away means they’re more likely to practice kink in unsafe and uninformed ways, imitating what they’ve read in that trilogy. If we welcome them in, they will have access to tremendous resources of knowledge, experience and education. I’ve seen plenty of people who came to kink via Fifty Shades grow into fantastic, skilled, responsible kinksters.

People who come to kink via less-than-ideal source material deserve resources and information. They deserve support, a loving community and the same access to education that every single one of us needed when we were new, regardless of our route into the community.

They also deserve safe and quality toys.

The way I see it, the majority of people who are likely to gravitate towards Fifty Shades branded toys will probably fall closer to the “new/inexperienced” end of the demographic spectrum. They may never have purchased a vibrator or dildo before in their life! They’ll probably be completely overwhelmed by the sheer quantity and variety of toys on offer. If Fifty Shades was their way in – or even if it wasn’t, but it’s still the main current cultural touchstone for “kinky sex” – they may well gravitate towards these branded toys. People feel comforted by the familiar.

This, in a nutshell, is why I am glad that Lovehoney have made this Fifty Shades Freed line in the way they have. Having seen most of the products in the flesh (um, as it were,) I feel happy to say they’re a body-safe, user-friendly and just flat out good quality line of toys. I’m glad that inexperienced folks, new to the world of sex toys, are going to get quality products and not some shitty jelly-rubber, phthalate-ridden piece of crap when they Google “Fifty Shades sex toys”. (And yes, this is the first link that comes up when you do that search. I checked.)

With that out of the way… what did I think of the actual toy?

The |Lovehoney Fifty Shades Freed Lavish Attention vibrator. A half moon shaped vibrator with a handle in a lovely plum colour;.The Lavish Attention vibrator is a dual clitoral and G-spot toy. Its shape is like a half moon on top of a handle. The internal part is nice and slim, with a circumference of about 4 inches at the widest part, and flexible. When this is inserted, the external part – which is more rigid – rests against the clitoris. Both vibrate. The Lavish Attention has 3 constant vibration speeds and 7 patterns. It’s USB rechargeable, waterproof, travel-lockable, and comes with a handy – and stylish – purple storage bag.

I loved using it. I wasn’t sure I would, as dual-stim toys often aren’t very effective for me, but I like to broaden my horizons and expand my preferences. Personally, I found the shape and size of the Lavish Attention perfect to comfortably stimulate both my G-spot and clitoris without much weird maneuvering required.

Unusually, I enjoyed the vibration patterns on this toy. I think having internal stimulation slightly changes how my clitoris responds to things, though I am still figuring out exactly how this works. There are some caveats – read on for those! – but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Lavish Attention to anyone looking for a good quality dual-stim toy.

My Ratings (all scores out of 5★)

Price: ★★★★
This toy retails at Lovehoney – currently the exclusive carrier! – for £54.99. This puts it squarely into the mid-price bracket, and in my opinion it’s reasonable value for the quality. I note that Lovehoney have a stellar returns policy.

Materials: ★★★★★
I can’t praise this enough. It’s premium quality matte silicone and feels absolutely gorgeous. It’s the kind of toy you just want to stroke again and again because it feels so lovely.

Appearance: ★★★★
One of the big plus points for the whole Freed range, for me, is how pretty they are. They’re all the same plum silicone with rose gold accents. The look is classy, sensual and sexy as fuck. If it didn’t have the Fifty Shades logo emblazoned upon it, it would be the perfect aesthetic for a sex toy in my opinion.

Ease of Use: ★★★
I generally find dual-stim vibes take some practice and some experimentation to find the best position to use them. This was no exception. I also found it slightly awkward to hold due to the positioning of the handle. It is nice and light, which is a big plus and particularly relevant for anyone who struggles to hold heavier toys due to disability or injury. My biggest gripe is that you can’t turn the speed and pattern settings down – if you want to get back to the previous setting, you have to cycle alllllll the way back through.

Ease of care & cleaning: ★★★★★
You can clean the Lavish Attention, as with any silicone toy, with a sterile body-safe wipe. These are available cheaply in bulk from medical suppliers. This toy is completely waterproof which means you can submerge it to clean. The internal piece can easily be covered with a condom, but it’s not so easy to use with a barrier externally.

Versatility: ★★★★
The Lavish Attention has 3 speeds and 7 patterns, making it nice and versatile whichever you prefer. One feature I would have liked would be the option to control the internal and external vibrations independently of each other. The shape makes it safe for anal use, and I imagine the external stimulator could feel really nice against the perineum during anal play if that’s your jam. It is fully waterproof, so safe for bathtime play.

Intensity:
★★★★
As ever, please remember I am the biggest Power Queen who ever Power Queened. The vibrations were more than adequate and got me off, but I would have liked one or two higher settings. Considering that my preferred power level is “Doxy on speed,” though, I might be an outlier here. The vibration quality is a little buzzy, but not numbingly so.

Overall Score: ★★★★
A very solid dual-stim toy which I enjoyed using. Not perfect, but perfect doesn’t exist anyway. I’ve marked it up for being body-safe, fully waterproof, gorgeous looking and relatively quiet. It lost a few points for the annoying lack of a “down” control.

I don’t recommend this toy to lovers of girth – it’s definitely slimline – or those who can’t stand their vibrations being even slightly buzzy. But if you’re looking for a good quality, mid-priced clitoral and G-spot toy from a trustworthy retailer, and don’t mind the Fifty Shades branding, I suggest giving Lavish Attention a try!

The good folks at Lovehoney sent me the Lavish Attention vibrator in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinions which are, and will always be, entirely my own. Buying your sexy products through Lovehoney helps support me with a small commission and keep the blog going.

Elephant image is courtesy of Pixabay, a fab source of copyright-free images. Toy image belongs to Lovehoney and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

When You’re Exploring, Not Everything Will Work – and That’s Okay!

This one’s late! Sorry sorry sorry! I had a really bad mental health day yesterday. Trigger warning: this post talks about consensual non-consent including rape fantasy.

I’d like to thank Sarah Brynn Holliday for becoming my latest sexy patron. You should check out her blog, she does brilliant work. If YOU’D like to support my work here, please visit my Patreon and pledge at any level. Even $1 a month means so much and you’ll get access to occasional exclusive content and get your very own shout-out here (with a link to your blog or Twitter if you have them.)

A close up on a map, magnifying glass and compass. For a post on exploring kinks and when they don't work.

So, onto today’s topic which, credit where it’s due, was suggested by my sweetie The Artist when I messaged them going “heeeeeelp I’m not inspired”! Today’s prompt from 30 Days of D/s (it’s nearly over, y’all!) is all about exploring your kinks together with a partner, in particular things you haven’t tried but would like to.

I’ve tried a lot of kinky shit over the years. Like, a lot. I’m not gonna say “name a kinky thing and I’ve probably done it,” because some of you have truly devious imaginations. But I’ve been doing this stuff for well over a decade. I have a lot of experience. At the start of our relationship, The Artist asked me what I hadn’t done and might like to try. I was just like “oh shit what have I not done!?”

Inevitably, perhaps, I’ve done some things that I do not care to do again. When you’re exploring an area as broad as kink and sex, you won’t like everything you try. That’s okay! Trying something and not liking it isn’t a failure. It’s a valuable learning experience.

I’m pretty big into consensual non-consent, or CNC – also known as “rape fantasy”. This is a really, really common kink especially among (people socialised as) women. I am nowhere near qualified to start delving into the reasons for that. Anyhow, I’m into it, and I practice it carefully with safe partners and safewords. Up until last year, my biggest fantasy was a group CNC scene, where several partners would ambush and ravish me. Um, to be honest, this is still one of my biggest fantasies.

But you know what happened when we tried to make it a reality? It didn’t work. Some combination of the time of night, my tiredness level, the people involved and my sense of disorientation combined to make it too much. I safeworded out and then spent the next two hours crying and apologising. What was wrong with me? This was my fantasy, why hadn’t it worked for me?

The truth is there was nothing wrong with me. There was nothing wrong with my partners, either – everything they did was 100% consensual! It was what we thought we all wanted! None of us did anything wrong. The scene just didn’t work out. Sometimes scenes don’t work, and that’s okay. Sometimes you can be absolutely sure you’ll like something… and then in reality, you won’t. That is also ten million percent normal and fine!

There’s an anecdote in, I think, one of Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton’s books. I’ve just spent an hour searching for it and can’t find it, which is really annoying me! Anyway, it tells of a woman who has always fantasised about receiving caning… until she finds she reality too painful. This is because fantasy isn’t accurate, realistic information. Fantasy is there first for fun and titillation. Yes, it gives you an insight into things you might like to try, but liking it in fantasy doesn’t mean you’ll like it in reality. You might, you might not. You might like a modified version. Either way, that’s completely okay!

I still have group CNC fantasies, and I may or may not try to act them out again at some point. If I ever do, I’ll use the information I learned from what went wrong last time to modify the scene. If I don’t, it’s still okay for me to enjoy the fantasy! Not wanting to do something for real doesn’t mean you can’t fantasise about it! Even trying something and having it go wrong doesn’t have to be a barrier to continuing to enjoy your fantasies.

The key to exploring, I think, is to try not to attach too much to one particular outcome. This sounds ridiculously “zen,” and I appreciate it’s really difficult. But if you approach trying something new with the mindset of, “it might work, it might not, but we’ll learn something either way,” the pressure to have it be the best scene of your life lets up almost immediately.

Approach with an attitude of open exploration, communication and the goal of mutual pleasure and discovery. You might find your new favourite thing. You might also find out that some things are happier staying in your inner fantasy world – and that’s valuable too.

Kinky item of the day: Spreader bars! For me, there is very little sexier than being spread open and vulnerable in front of a Dominant lover. Especially if they’re also slapping my cunt and/or ripping an orgasm from me with the Doxy. Try this lovely adjustable bar from Sportsheets.

The image featured in this post was reproduced here under Creative Commons Licensing.

Six Things I Wish My Parents Had Told Me About Sex

Today’s 30 Days of D/s is all about being parents while being kinky. I’m stumped here, to be honest. I am lifelong childfree by choice. I made this decision at twenty and I’ve never wavered for even a moment.

Scrabble style letters on a desk spelling out "Teach." For a post on what I wish my parents had taught me about sex.

For this one, I nearly wrote a post on why I choose not to be a parent. “My writing career is more important to me and I like freedom to go where I want, sleep until noon and fuck whenever I feel like it” would be a pretty short post, though. (But, um, there you go. That’s my answer.) So instead I thought I’d share with you a few things I wish my parents had told me about sex, in the hopes that it maybe helps some of the kinky parents among my readers.

To be abundantly clear: I have AMAZING parents. I love them to death and they’ve always loved and supported me unconditionally, even when they didn’t agree with my choices. We didn’t really talk much about sex in our house. When I was about fifteen and started going out with boys, I got the “don’t do it until you’re ready and not until you’re 16” talk. Which, to be fair, is solid advice. It’s also tremendously limited.

Here’s some knowledge I wish had been imparted to me when I was growing up. I wish this stuff got taught in sex ed, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. As it is, I think parents really need to be the ones to give their kids accurate information.

Girls desire sex just as much as boys

Seriously, why did NO-ONE tell me this? It wasn’t mentioned at home, and all I got at school was “boys want sex, girls should say no”. Not even a second of airtime for “sex is great and it’s totally normal for ANYONE to want it!”

Everyone masturbates

I knew boys masturbated by the time I was 11 or 12. But I had no idea it was a thing girls did too until I read about it in a magazine. (Though, for some reason, it was framed as “a thing girls sometimes do it the shower.”) I have literally never wanked in the shower in my life. I thought I was weird for doing it, then I thought I was weird for doing it in bed.

Most people watch porn, regardless of gender

I found some porn on my boyfriend’s computer when I was 15. I confided in my mum because I was so freaked out. Much respect to her, she basically said “did it involve children or animals? No? Then you’re good, it’s normal, all men do it”. While this is basically true (#notALLmen, obviously) I wish someone had told me that loads of women watch porn and read erotica and that’s normal too. When I discovered internet smut (FictionPress was my gateway drug, check it out, there’s some damn good porn on there if you look for it,) I felt like a freak.

It’s important to feel comfortable, but it doesn’t matter if the first person you have sex with isn’t the love of your life

I justified having sex when I was a teenager by telling myself, well, we’re not married yet but I’m obviously going to marry him! (I have no idea where I got the “wait until marriage” value from, as my parents certainly didn’t preach this and we didn’t go to church). What I was told, though, was to make sure I loved the first person I had sex with. Which is fine advice in so far as it goes, (uh, kind of – doing it casually is fine too as long as it’s freely chosen)! But I took this to mean I had to be absolutely sure he was the one and only person I would ever fuck.

If you’re doing hand-sex and oral sex, you ARE having sex

Can everyone please start teaching teenagers that “sex” is not synonymous with “P in V”? Seriously? I got so hung up on we’re not having SEX until I’m legal (we did it on my 16th birthday, FYI) that I didn’t realise I’d already been having actual, real, honest-to-Goddess sex for over a year.

If you’re having sex, you should expect and demand pleasure

I didn’t realise for ages that sex was a thing people did for mutual pleasure. All the toxic messaging from school had me convinced it was a thing girls put up with in order to make boys stay in relationships with them. I wish I’d been told that sex was as much for my pleasure as his. I wish I’d been told that my pleasure mattered -and that I should expect my lover to care about it as much as he did his own.

What do YOU wish you’d been taught about sex?

Kinky item of the day: feather ticklers! I’m all about sensation play. These can also be used for tickle-torture play if you’re into that.

The image featured in this post was reproduced here under Creative Commons Licensing.

Five Tasks and Rituals that have Nothing to do with Sex

Quickie-post today, dear readers, because I am up to my face in PhD research proposals. Today’s prompt in 30 Days of D/s is about tasks and rituals: the little things you do to help you feel more submissive or more Dominant, to “bring you back to your mental, emotional and even physical D/s space.”

A pair of hands offering a steaming mug, in black and white. For a post on tasks and rituals.

These things can often be sexual. In my previous D/s relationship, my tasks included things like rolling a dice and edging that number of times. There were times when he instructed me to wear Ben-wa balls to work every day, or to go to the grocery store without panties every day for a week.

These sexual tasks are all well and good, but D/s isn’t always about sex. Sometimes you just want to feel Dominant or submissive without your genitals involved. Here’s a few ideas for tasks or rituals and have nothing to do with sex.

1. Text (/call/email/message) at a specific time each day

This is especially good if you’re long distance or don’t live together. Simply texting “good morning, Sir,” “goodnight, Pet” or some other variation on a daily touching-base can be surprisingly powerful.

2. Making their drink

I used to always make my ex-Master’s tea and then serve it to him in a specific way. Learning how your Dominant likes their drink and serving it to them is a lovely, affirming submissive action for the service-oriented among us.

3. Write a journal

Loads of Dominants task their submissives with journalling regularly. Whether this is open to your D-type to read or entirely personal is up to the two of you. It’s a great way to get to know yourself, explore your desires and experiences within the relationship, and check in with yourself to make sure you’re happy and functioning.

4. Eat or drink something specific

Massive disclaimer to maybe avoid this one if food is a trigger for you or you’re recovering from any kind of eating disorder. This could be something really simple like “drink 2 litres of water a day” or “eat a piece of fruit after dinner,” but it can be a nice way for a submissive to feel like they’re doing as they’re told and a Dominant to feel like they have a hand in their submissive’s health and wellbeing.

5. Repeat a mantra

You can do this to yourself in the mirror, to your partner, or even on your kinky social media if you like. Try something like, “I am beautiful and Sir loves me,” or “I am proudly owned by my Mistress”. Whatever works for you and your relationship!

I hope you find some inspiration here! What tasks and rituals do you use in your D/s relationship?

Kinky item of the day: remote-controlled vibes! Want to get your sub hot and bothered on the bus, gagging for it in the grocery store or worked up at work? These beauties have got you covered!

The image featured in this post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.

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Stop the Drop: 25 Things to Do When Subdrop Feels Overwhelming

Subdrop is real. As Kayla says in today’s 30 Days of D/s prompt, what goes up must come down. Subspace is a kind of high, fueled by adrenaline and endorphins and all kinds of happy-fuzzy brain chemicals.

Subdrop is what can happen when those chemicals wear off and reality sets back in. For some, it can be as soon as the subspace high has ended, while for others it can hit a day or even several days later. A lucky few may not experience it at all. Everyone is different. I most often drop somewhere between 12 and 24 hours after an intense play session, though it has been known to be quicker.

A close up of a person's torso wrapped in a blanket. For a post on subdrop

Drop looks different for everyone. You might feel sad or depressed. You might cry a lot. Some people report feeling really listless or now on energy/”spoons“. When you’re in the middle of it, it can be overwhelming and completely horrible.

Not everything on this list will work for everyone. Pick out just one or two that speak to you and try them. Here’s 25 things you can do to help when you’re dropping.

Amy’s Top 25 Subdrop Remedies

  1. Cuddle someone/something! Your partner, a friend, a stuffed toy, your pet.
  2. Make your favourite hot drink and sip it slowly, noticing how it tastes and letting the cup warm your hands.
  3. Eat some chocolate or whatever your favourite sweet treat is. Not enough to make you feel sick, just enough to give you those feel-good chemicals.
  4. Cook yourself a simple, healthy meal and enjoy eating it slowly. Something with protein and vegetables.
  5. Watch your favourite film or an episode of your favourite Netflix show. Something lighthearted is better.
  6. Write in your journal.
  7. Post to your blog, if you have one.
  8. Share how you’re feeling on your kinky social media of choice. Sympathy and virtual cuddles from friends who get it can be surprisingly cathartic.
  9. Listen to a comedy podcast or watch some stand-up. Laugh until your tummy hurts.
  10. Curl up under a cozy duvet with a good book or a magazine.
  11. Meditate. There are thousands of free guided meditations on Youtube, or try the Insight Timer app.
  12. Masturbate! Orgasm can perk you up no end.
  13. Go for a walk. Preferably somewhere out in nature, but to the shop at the end of the street and back will work in a pinch.
  14. Sit in your garden, if you have one, or a nearby park. Fresh air is important.
  15. Buy yourself something, if you can afford to. This could be as elaborate as that dress you’ve been lusting after for months, or as simple as a fancy coffee.
  16. Tidy up your room or work space. I always feel better and more clear-headed when my safe spaces are neat and tidy.
  17. Take a bath or shower. Spend as long as you like luxuriating in the hot water. Use your most decadent shower gel or that fancy bath bomb you’ve been saving.
  18. Play loud, upbeat music. Optional extras: sing along loudly, dance around your room for the length of a song or two.
  19. Call someone you miss. Your mum. A grandparent. Your best friend in another city. Just pick up the phone, say hi and catch up.
  20. Create something. Whatever your creative talent is, use it. Play your instrument, bake a cake, write a page of your novel, knit a few rows of your latest project.
  21. Take a nap. Even an hour of shut-eye will help recharge you a little.
  22. Exercise. Hit the gym, go for a run, or do some yoga. Moving your body releases tension and clears your mind.
  23. Get your hair cut or your nails done. No drastic changes! But a bit of pampering can really raise your mood and make you feel good about yourself.
  24. Just sit with the feeling. This is a mindfulness technique. Sit, feel, and think: I am feeling rotten right now because I am subdropping, but I know this feeling will soon pass and I will be okay.
  25. Do something for someone else. Whether it’s a chore that’s normally your partner’s but they’re super busy today, or getting shopping for an elderly neighbour, caring for others takes you out of your own head.

I hope some of these techniques are helpful to you, dear readers. How do you banish the dreaded drop when it hits?

Kinky item of the day: Bondage candles! Ever tried wax play? It’s one of my favourites and it doesn’t have to be painful – it can be really sensual. Please only buy candles designed for this purpose, as regular household candles can burn much hotter – especially if they have dyes or scents added. Remember to take fire safety precautions and start slowly if you’re new to wax play.

The above is an affiliate link. If you buy through it or any of my affiliates, it supports the blog. All opinions are and will always be my own.

The image featured in today’s post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.

So You’ve Been Told You Have Sub-Frenzy?

Sub-frenzy is the topic of the day in my #KinkMonth 30 Days of D/s series, and goodness I have a lot of feelings about this one. (I have a lot of feelings about a lot of things. Had you noticed?)

A woman's upper body, wearing only a black fishnet sleeveless body-stocking. She is holding her hands up in front of her and they are cuffed together with black leather cuffs. For a post about sub-frenzy

Hey there, newbie. I’m going to write this piece to you as I wish someone had written it to me, when I started out in kink close to a decade ago. I want to tell you the things I wish I’d known.

So maybe someone has accused you of having “sub-frenzy?” Or maybe you’ve been cautioned by your new kinky friends that this “frenzy” is something to beware of and avoid?

What is sub-frenzy?

Kayla Lords defines sub-frenzy as  “a moment that happens for new submissives, or submissives in new relationships, where they get a little intense about their submission, sometimes to the detriment of their own safety.”

Sub-frenzy can manifest in a variety of ways, from being willing to play with anyone who offers to wanting to call your new boyfriend “Master” RIGHT NOW TODAY. But in a nutshell, it’s such a desperation to submit that common sense and self-preservation fly out of the window.

How will I know if I’m in sub-frenzy?

Are you a new submissive, or a submissive in a new relationship? (Particularly after a period of little or no play?)

Are you so desperate to submit that you’d probably kneel for a brick wall if it would just smack your ass and call you a naughty girl?

Have you played with, or are you tempted to play with, Dominants you barely know just to get the submissive itch scratched?

Have you given, or are you tempted to give, your submission to the next randomer who messages you on Fetlife?

Are you making, or are you tempted to make, decisions that may be detrimental to your health, safety or mental wellbeing out of desire to submit?

Do you feel like you might just GO MAD if you can’t submit to someone right now?

If you said yes to any of the above, you might be in sub-frenzy.

What is this ‘frenzy’ crap? Don’t good submissives want to submit all the time?

No.

Good submissives are not doormats. Real talk time: being so desperate to submit that you make poor decisions is not only really dangerous, it’s also really unattractive to good Dominants.

If you’re looking for a long-term D/s relationship, a good Dominant will want to take time to get to know you and build a relationship with you. Even if you’re only after casual play, desperation isn’t sexy.

Okay, I’ve realised I might be a bit frenzied. What now?

Stop. Pause. Breathe.

Are you breathing? Okay, good. Now, I’m going to ask you to do something that is going to seem really, really antithetic to what every fibre of your being is screaming to do.

Wait.

Seriously. Just stop and catch your breath and wait. The best way to let frenzy pass is to acknowledge it and consciously decide not to give in to it. Give yourself a time-limit, if you want. “I am not going to play with anyone knew until I have been going to munches for three months” works well, or “I am not going to let my next partner collar me until we have known each other for at least a year.” You know yourself and what kind of timescale is realistic. Very broadly, in my anecdotal experience, frenzy will probably pass in more than a month but less than a year.

Frenzy is normal and it passes. I promise. But in order to keep yourself safe, you need to practice discipline and patience.

How can I scratch the itch to submit in a safe way?

Join your local community. Please. Meet some people, get to know them, get a sense of who the safe players are. If you meet someone you’d like to play with, do so in a public place like a play party to begin with.

Watch some good BDSM porn. Write and read erotica. Fantasise. Wank furiously. Read everything you can about the lifestyle and learn, learn, learn. (Fifty Shades of Grey and the Gor novels do not count.)

How will I know when sub-frenzy has passed?

Your desire to submit, though still there, will be somewhat less visceral and immediate. You’ll be able to think through situations with a clearer head and make decisions with your own best interests at heart. You won’t want to fall to the feet of every vaguely Domly person you meet. You’ll know some of the red flags of a dangerous Dominant to look out for, and the signs of a good one.

Good luck. This too shall pass.

Kinky item of the day: A leash! I loooove leashes. Nothing makes me feel more submissive than being led around by my Domly one. Ours just came from a pet store. No need to spend a lot of money. [Remember: don’t be super obvious or you risk involving the store staff in your kink non-consensually!]

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The image featured in this post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.

Ask Amy #4: “Can I get safe toys on a budget?”

It’s been a while since I’ve had a reader question, so I am super excited to dive into today’s. This one’s about one of my favourite topics: SEX TOYS!

Our lovely reader asks:

“Hi Amy. I was wondering, what do I need to know when looking for cheap, body-safe sex toys, especially here in the UK?”

A blue dildo and some condoms. For a post about body safe toys on a budget

I love this question so much. First, Letter Writer and everyone else, please know this: it is simply NOT TRUE that affordable body-safe toys don’t exist. This is a complete myth, and it’s a harmful fiction that leads people on a restricted budget to buy unsafe toys under the mistaken notion that they can’t get anything better within their price-range.

You absolutely can. You categorically, 1000% can. And what’s more, you deserve high-quality, safe stuff that you can enjoy without worrying about your health.

So, what to look out for?

Firstly, it’s all about materials.

Good: Silicone. ABS Plastic. Glass (of the borosilicate or “Pyrex” variety.) Stainless steel. Aluminium. Ceramic, as long as it’s treated with a non-toxic glaze. Wood, as long as it’s treated with a non-toxic glaze or sealant.

Bad: TPR. TPE. Rubber. PVC. “Cyberskin” etc. “Sil-a-Gel.” Latex. Anything with “jelly” in the name.

Generally, metal, ceramic and wood toys will be more expensive, while silicone, ABS and glass are easy to find on a budget.

The materials I’ve listed as “good” are perfect because they’re non-toxic (no phthalates or other harmful ingredients,) don’t off-gas or leech chemicals, and are non-porous so they won’t harbour bacteria as long as you wash them thoroughly between every use.

Those I’ve listed as “bad” are variable. Please avoid anything with “jelly” in the name like the plague – these almost certainly contain phthalates, as does PVC. That’s how they get that squishy texture. “Cyberskin” and anything else that is sold as “realistic,” if it’s not silicone, is also to be avoided. TPE/TPR (thermoplastic elastomer/rubber) don’t usually contain phthalates, but are porous as fuck and may be softened with other nasty chemicals. Same goes for latex, which is also a super common allergen and there’s some evidence that prolonged exposure can cause or exacerbate sensitivity. “Sil-a-gel” isn’t even a real thing and it certainly isn’t in any way the same as silicone.

[Note: The ONE exception I’ll make for PVC is the Doxy Original, which uses medical-grade (and therefore phthalate-free) PVC for the head. They claim it’s non-porous and I’m inclined to believe them as they’re such a great, transparent and ethical company – and also my Doxy is still good as new after 2 years – but I haven’t seen any hard scientific evidence. If you’re cautious and want a Doxy, either always use a non-latex condom, or buy the Die Cast, which has a silicone head.]

If you want to read up more on the specifics of these materials and why they’re toxic, I recommend Dangerous Lilly’s brilliant guide.

Also worth adding is that if you don’t know what it’s made of, avoid it, and remember that the sex toy industry is pretty much unregulated – so just because a company claims something is body-safe, doesn’t mean that it is.

It’s NOT all about brands

A lot of the toys you’ll hear recommended come from big-name brands in the business: Doxy. Lelo. Tantus. We-vibe. Hitachi (less so this one in the UK.) These brands and many more are popular for good reason (though Lelo are kinda… ugh, these days,) so if you do ever spot their products on a mega-sale, you’ll most likely be getting something good quality.

But you don’t need big brands or loads of cash for great quality toys!

Go own-brand

As with food, own-brand sex toys can be much cheaper but not compromise much on quality when compared to the big names.

Lovehoney and Bondara are two examples of companies who do some really solid own-brand stuff. Not everything in their lines are safe, unfortunately, but if you follow the materials guide above, you can’t go far wrong.

A quick note about retailers:

Tempting though it is, please please resist the urge to buy your toys from a retailer such as eBay or Amazon. There are loads of knock-offs around on all the major brand toys, some of them quite convincing, so there’s no way to know for sure if you’re getting a genuine product. Dangerous Lilly (she’s amazing!) has written more extensively on this.

I personally really advocate for Lovehoney, because their returns policy is stellar and they really care about their customers. Full disclosure: they are an affiliate partner of mine and if you buy through them with one of my links, I may make a small commission. However, my first concern is always my readers’ happiness and safety, I will never recommend an unsafe toy, and I only partner with companies I strongly believe in.

Some Concrete Suggestions

I thought I’d put together a list of options for various tastes that are body-safe, under £30, and easily available in the UK.

In the interests of full disclosure, Lovehoney links are affiliate links. Other links are not. If you buy from Lovehoney, whether one of the listed items or something else, use code COFFKINK10 to get 10% off your order.

Clitoral Vibrators:

G-spot Vibrators:

Rabbit Vibrators:

Dildos (silicone)

Dildos (other safe materials)

Anal toys:

This list is by no means exhaustive or even really scratching the surface. These are just a few of the categories of toys available and just a very small handful of the options out there. Go forth and get your sexy on, lovely Letter Writer, and I hope this was helpful to you and anyone else shopping for safe toys on a budget.

Remember: we all deserve pleasure, and we all deserve SAFE toys, no matter what our financial situation.

Love,
Amy xx

Remember: I’ll answer your question on the blog, too! Just email coffeeandkink69 (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll help if I can.

The image featured in this post was offered for use under Creative Commons Licensing.

Six Benefits of Going to a Munch (Apart from Finding Partners)

Munch: a social gathering of BDSM enthusiasts, usually in a setting such as a pub or restaurant.

Today’s post is, once again, inspired by Kayla Lords’ 30 Days of D/s and is part of my #KinkMonth series. Kayla and John ask:

Today, think about whether you think you’ll find a munch, a club, or a party. Have you done it in the past? What was your experience? Are you nervous or shy? Explore your feelings and consider whether the local community is a viable option for you.

Two pints of beer on a pub table. For a post about the advantages of going to a munch

Kinky communities are awesome! I’m thankful constantly for all the things that BDSM community has brought to my life – “finding partners” really being the least of it. So today, in no particular order, six things you’ll find when you venture out into your local kink community.

You’ll make friends

Everyone likes friends! I’ve got friends I think will probably be lifelong who I first met at munches. Kinksters, generally, are a friendly bunch and we love helping newbies find their feet.

The key here is to treat it like you would any other situation with new people. Ask people about themselves, their work and hobbies, even whether they’ve seen any cool films or read any interesting books lately! Be prepared to share a little of yourself, too. Overly intrusive sexual questions are not acceptable, even at a munch, but you may find the conversation goes into sexy or kinky territory quicker than it might at a different kind of gathering. Take your cues from the room.

You’ll build a solid reputation

So much of kinky social standing is built on reputation. People want to play with, and be friends with, people who are well thought of. Be friendly, be kind, be open and honest, respect others, respect consent in all things, and be a safe player! All these things get noticed and the next time that cute person at the Club wants to play with you, they’ll ask around and be told you’re a solid person who others trust.

You might get invited to better parties

The key to getting invited to the awesome private parties is to make friends with people, and be a genuinely cool person who others want to be around. This one isn’t going to happen overnight, but be your shiny self and make friends, and you may soon have an awesome new kinky social life

It’s a safer way to vet people

If you’ve met someone you might like to play with, meeting at a munch or going to one together is a safe, low-pressure way to get to know someone. And if you haven’t met anyone but would like to, getting to know people on the scene gives you a pool of local people to ask if your Mr or Ms or Mx Right really is as great as they seem!

You’ll learn things

They won’t even all be kinky things! Broadly speaking, kinksters are a smart bunch and geekier than your average bear. We love to enthuse about our “thing” and share our knowledge. Open your mind, listen, and you might just have some amazing conversations.

Kink-wise, too, a munch is a great place to access a wealth of information from your fellow kinksters. If someone mentions something they’re into or knowledgeable about, and you’re intrigued or curious or just exploring that thing yourself, ask them about it!

It’s a safe place to be yourself

As kinksters, we often live on the fringes, which means we’re super accepting by and large. With us, you don’t need to hide your geekery or your nerdy hobbies or your slight social awkwardness or your passion for XYZ niche topic or even your penchant for getting suspended upside down and flogged!

You can wear whatever you want (within reason – keep it acceptable for public!) and present your gender and sexuality however you like. You can be you, and you’ll be accepted.

What have you found to be the benefits of kinky community, dear readers?

Kinky item of the day: A subscription to Loving BDSM! It’s a fantastic community and you’ll be supporting an amazing educator and activist at the same time.

The image featured in this post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.

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