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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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. 

[Wearable Review] Bijoux Indiscrets Maze Choker/Collar

Have you guys noticed that collars seem to be really trendy right now? Everywhere I look, femme folks are wearing them as fashion accessories. This is both awesome (“I can wear my collar in public and no-one will think it’s weird!”) and really annoying (“it’s so hard to spot my people in the wild now!”)

The line between what constitutes a choker and what constitutes a collar is… flimsy. I’d say there are some items that are definitely collars, but ultimately the distinction comes down to the meaning you ascribe to it. Wearing a collar is, at its best, a place of safety and grounding for me. It gives me a sense of security in my submissive identity and the knowledge that my Dominant will take care of me for as long as I’m wearing it.

My former collar was a thing of beauty. I do not miss that relationship but I do miss that collar. Since then, I’ve worn a number of play collars, but none has ever felt as right around my neck as this one.

The black faux leather Maze collar on my desk.

Ethical Glamour

Like every piece in Bijoux Indiscrets’ Maze collection, this collar is made of faux leather made of polyurethane from recycled materials. This means it is both environmentally conscious and certified vegan! A major plus for those of us who love leather but feel weird about the animal cruelty implications of the real thing.

As I’ve said before, I struggle with what I acknowledge is a level of hypocrisy within myself, being a vegetarian who also adores leather. I particularly love Bijoux’s products because their faux leather looks and feels so close to the real thing. It sadly doesn’t have that sexy-as-fuck leather smell, but I guess you can’t have everything. This material is a really fantastic choice for the animal welfare-conscious kinkster.

Simple, Elegant and Comfortable

My neck in the Bijoux Maze black faux leather collar.You can get all kinds of gorgeous and fancy collars. However, I’ve always tended more towards simplicity in the designs I like. The Maze collar is a slender band with a simple ring at the front, which is both decorative and functional (ideal for attaching a leash, for example!)

I have this collar in black, but it also comes in brown, which is equally beautiful and a really nice option for those who don’t want all their fetishwear to be black, red or purple. (I was sorely tempted to ask for a brown one myself! The black won out because it goes with more of my wardrobe.) Both colours are gorgeous.

The Maze collar is also super duper comfortable! I wore it all evening at a party, and it was so comfy that we were half way through our two hour drive home before I remembered I was still wearing it. (Gotta tell you, though, Bijoux collar plus Doxy t-shirt is the ultimate in “post-sex-party chic”.)

One Size Fits Most

I really love the fastenings on this collar. There is no buckle; instead, it is closed with a small peg which you push through one of the holes. I really liked this aspect as it meant it was super easy to put on and take off myself, without needing any help. The downside is that it is not lockable, so if you’re after a collar that can be locked into place, this is not the one.

It’s super adjustable, meaning one size will fit the vast majority of necks regardless of sex or body type.

The Perfect Everyday Collar

I am in love with this collar, and actually this entire range. Pair your Maze collar with a leash and cuffs for kinky fun, with a harness for bondage-inspired glamour, with my favourite ears for kitten play, or with some nipple-pasties/sparkles for burlesque-style sex appeal.

The Maze choker/collar retails for £22.50/$26, making it one of the more affordable pieces in the Maze collection. Eco-conscious beauty at an affordable price!

Thank you to Bijoux Indiscrets for sending me this piece free of charge in exchange for an honest review! If you buy your Bijoux goodies from Shevibe or Peepshow Toys (use code COFFEE for 10% off) sends a small commission my way and helps me keep doing what I’m doing.

Photos are by me and not to be used without permission.

Three Great Things About Threesomes

I fucking love threesomes, and at this point in my life I’ve had a lot of them. Many good, a handful bad, and a rare few just explosively fucking brilliant.

A plate of pancakes. For a post about threesomes.Threesomes are, according to a bunch of studies and anecdotal evidence, one of the absolute most common sexual fantasies. The stereotype, of course, is that all straight men want a threesome with two women, but I think it goes deeper than that.

Making threesomes work isn’t necessarily easy, especially not the first few times you have one, but when they work they’re amazing.

Here’s three of the things I love most about the magical, mysterious menage et trois.

1. I get to watch my partner having fun

Seeing someone I love receiving and giving pleasure is fucking awesome. Threesomes allow me to see their pleasure in a whole new way. Through the way someone else touches them, I can learn new things about their body. From the things our Special Guest Star is into, they can pick up new tricks to bring back to their relationship with me. Watching my partner enjoying somebody else and being enjoyed by them just brings up massive feelings of compersion.

And let’s be real – what’s sexier than watching two hot people you’re wildly attracted to getting it on with each other, except watching this and also knowing you get to join in?

2. Getting to try different kinks and roles

There are some kinks and activities that simply need three or more people in order to work. For example, I’ve recently been having a lot of fantasies about having a submissive lower than me in the “hierarchy,” who I can push tasks or punishments off onto. I also generally have a lot of feelings about “Switch in the middle” type dynamics, where I have one person dominant over me and the other submissive to me. I really find group sex situations, especially threesomes with a more-dominant and a more-submissive partner, to be a great way to flex my Dom muscles in a safe way. Then again, I’m also really into subbing for two people at the same time – another one which, by definition, kinda requires three people to explore.

3. The warm fuzzies

No – seriously. This one might sound weird but it’s so true.

There’s the aforementioned compersion, of course, and how close and connected I feel to my partner afterwards. Then there’s the exhausted tangle of limbs in the bed when you take a breather or finally stop for the night. The warmth and cosyness of three-way snuggles. All the giggles and laughter and stupid jokes in between – or sometimes during – the fucking. The sense of awe and rush of deep fondness I usually feel for the person who has joined us, like “you’re so fucking great and I’m so fucking lucky to be getting to share this with you.” My best threesomes have been hot, yes… but they’ve also been happy, giggly, funny, silly, irreverent, sweet and affectionate.

Sometimes one of the nicest things about a really good threesome is in the morning, when your partner goes and makes pancakes for you and the girl you just fucked.

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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.

#SoSS 03 Feb 2018

#SoSS or #ShareOurShitSaturday comes from a call to action by the fabulous Girl on the Net, calling on all those who love the work of sex-positive creators (writers, bloggers, photographers, artists, educators) to share our work (“share our shit”) far and wide. This is particularly important in the wake of Facebook deleting accounts, Twitter shadow-banning, and Instagram shutting down anything with “BDSM” or “sex” in the name.

For a lot of us, this work is both our passion and the way we make our living. We show up day in, day out, often for peanuts in terms of financial reward, because we believe in the content we make and we know the content we put out into the world has a positive impact on our readers.

Of course, supporting us with your £££ is amazing if you can, but sharing our shit is a way that you can support us without it costing you a penny. So, in the spirit of #SoSS, here’s a quick roundup of some of my favourite content from across the blogosphere this week…

February 1st: Bow by The Other Livvy

I challenge you to look at this picture and not swoon. Bet you can’t.

Do You Want It Too? by Kate Sloan

A piece that hit me right in the feelings about the importance of knowing your lover is really into the things they’re doing with you, and not just doing it because they think you want it.

Sex & Pets by Emmeline Peaches

A fascinating and well-researched look about what your dog or cat (or parrot) really thinks when they see you and your other human companions fucking.

February 2nd: Floored by Exhibit A

Woof. The only thing hotter than this picture is the text that accompanies it. This one really tapped into some of my often-dormant Dommey feelings and reminded me why male submission and vulnerability is so fucking hot.

Relearning to Have Sex After a Hysterectomy by Isabelle Lauren

This guest post for Girl on the Net is vulnerable, fascinating and brilliant. Experiences like this are too rarely talked about, but it’s so important to discuss how major surgeries can impact sex for years to come. I particularly love the phrase “communication saved us.” Ain’t that usually the truth?

What have YOU all been reading and enjoying this week?

How to Buy Your Lover a Sex Toy for Valentine’s Day

I kind of love Valentine’s Day. I know it’s a manufactured commercial holiday, but at its heart it is a celebration of love – and I am in favour of there being more love and expressions of love in the world.

Two red roses and three boxes wrapped in white gift paper. For a post about buying sex toys for Valentine's Day.

Flowers and chocolates might be more traditional, but I think that a sex toy they’ll really love is a super romantic gift for Valentine’s Day. Sex is a massive part of many loving romantic relationships, and we could all use more pleasure in our lives. Giving your partner the ideal sex toy is a great way to make them feel seen and loved and to show that you’re invested in their sexual fulfillment.

There is one huge, enormous caveats to this, namely:

ONLY DO THIS FOR ESTABLISHED SEXUAL PARTNERS. Don’t buy your office crush or that cutie who makes your coffee a sex toy. That’s creepy.

So how do you ensure your sexy gift lands right? Here’s some tips…

Most importantly, take note of their preferences, desires and fantasies.

Is your partner a girth lover? Do they really need intense clitoral stimulation to get off? Are they all about their cock, or super into anal play? Do they love dual stimulation, or do they prefer to focus on a single sensation at a time? You need to know these basic things about your lover’s body before you can successfully buy them a toy.

Aesthetic preferences matter here, too. For some people, something pink might go down brilliantly. Others hate the colour and want nothing to do with it. Case in point: I was already MEGA impressed when Mr CK bought me a Doxy for my birthday the first year we were together. The fact that it was purple, my favourite colour, just emphasised that he’d really been paying attention to my likes.

This stuff isn’t hard to pick up. You just need to be paying attention.

That’s THEIR preferences!

In order for this to be successful, you need to buy your partner a toy you think THEY will really love – which might not be the same thing as buying one that you really want to watch them use. There’s no use buying them a massive dildo if they’re all about clitoral stimulation, for example. However much you fantasise about watching them fuck themselves silly, the thing is just going to gather dust in a drawer if it doesn’t turn them on.

If you’re not sure: ask.

You can ask this overtly, if you want – “babe, I’d love to buy you a fabulous sex toy for Valentine’s Day. How does that sound? Anything you’ve particularly got your eye on?” But if you want it to be a surprise, you’ll have to do some subtler sleuthing. As part of a more general conversation about fantasies, desires and new things to try (you are having these conversations, right??) you can ask them if there’s any particular activities or toys they’d super love to try. If you ever visit sex shops together (do this, it’s a fab date activity) or browse products online together, see what they gravitate towards.

If you’re STILL not sure, let them choose!

Loads of stores, both brick-and-mortar and online, now offer gift vouchers to be redeemed on sexy purchases. Why not buy them a voucher for your local feminist sex shop and go together, or a Lovehoney voucher and spend a fun date evening browsing and choosing something together?

Pro tip: skip “gift bundles.”

Bundles of several toys together are tempting because they come with several items and seem really well priced. Unfortunately, they tend to be cheap because they tend to suck. It’s much better to buy one really good quality toy from a reputable retailer and with a decent warranty. “Gift bundles” are often full of jelly, phthalate-ridden crap with terrible motors that will break in five minutes. Give them a miss.

Need some inspiration? A few of my favourites to start you off…

My friends at Lovehoney have kindly offered a discount code on a few of my favourite items, including the Doxy Original in purple, the new and fabulous Doxy Number Three, the We-Vibe Tango, the Tantus Vamp Super Soft (in purple, of course!) and the Desire Butterfly hands-free vibrator. Check them out here and get 15% off!

Have a great Valentine’s Day. May you all be blessed with love and, if applicable, orgasms aplenty.

Affiliate links are contained in this post. Buying from my affiliates supports me and helps keep the blog going. All opinions my own, as always! Image courtesy of Pixabay. 

[Toy Review] Godemiche Valentine’s Dildo

I’ve been a Godemiche fangirl ever since I first encountered their beautiful, unique, colourful and fun dildos at Eroticon last year. So imagine my delight when they, via the always-wonderful Molly, offered me and my bits an early peek at their new Valentine’s design.

It looks like this:

The Godemiche Valentine's dildo, a purple and white sparkly dildo with little purple hearts.

The picture really doesn’t fully do it justice. It is white and purple, and sparkly with little hearts. I squealed so hard when I took it out of the delivery box and ran upstairs to show it to Mr CK, who was quite bemused at how delighted I was.

Facts ‘n’ Figures

The toy’s diameter is about 1.6″ at the widest point, and the total insertable length is about six inches. It’s got a large, round base which makes it harness-compatible and also anal-safe. (Can we just talk for a minute about how much I want to put this into my strap-on and fuck another cute femme with it!? Because seriously.)

My ratings (all scores out of 5★)

Price: ★★★★★
This is a limited-edition toy and will be retailing for £35, which is an absolute steal for a hand-poured silicone dildo of this quality!

Appearance: ★★★★★
My inner femme is squealing with delight at this toy. Look at it! It’s glittery with little purple hearts! I love it so much I want to put it out as a display item almost as much as I want to stick it in my genitals.

Feel: ★★★★★
It’s made of beautiful matte silicone, which is nice and soft as well as flexible. The curve and shape of the head mimics a bio-cock. The tip’s angle is just right to deliver glorious pressure to my G-spot. I also found it to be the perfect size for me – I’m not much of a size-queen, especially where length is concerned (my entire genital area will pack up and go “NOPE” if anything hits my cervix) but I like to feel pleasantly full, and this dildo delivered in that regard. Combined with my Doxy on my clit, it gave me an explosive orgasm.

Ease of Use: ★★★★★
The base fits neatly in my hand, making it super easy to hold and manipulate. It slid in smoothly with just a coating of water-based lube and is delightfully simple and comfortable to use.

Care, Cleaning & Body Safety: ★★★★
All Godemiche dildos are made from premium quality silicone, which is non-toxic and non-porous, meaning it’s completely body safe and should last for years if properly cared for.

Clean-up is easy. You can wash silicone dildos with soap and water, wipe them clean with a sterile medical wipe, or boil them in a pan of water for a few minutes to sterilise completely. Being basically penis-shape, it’s the perfect shape to use with a condom if you’re sharing it. Silicone is safe to use with both latex and latex-free condoms.

Overall score: ★★★★★
From my perspective at least, this toy is basically perfection in dildo form. If you are (or if you know) a sparkle-femme then you need this in your life.

Thank you to Godemiche for sending me this toy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks also to Molly for facilitating setting this up. All opinions are, and will always be, my own. Please support small businesses like Godemiche by buying their products, and if you’d like to support my work I will gladly take a virtual coffee. Photo is by me. Don’t steal it, thanks.

Ten Lessons from One Year of Sex Blogging

I started my blog late in the evening on 31 December 2016. Can you believe I’ve been at this game for a whole year already? Time flies when you’re having fun, banging various sexy people, and accumulating a collection of sex toys bigger than you reasonably have storage space for.

A white mug from Girl on the Net with the text "No-One Does Whar You Do Quite Like You." For a post about things I've learned in a year of blogging.

And oh what a year it’s been! This little side project – and the community I’ve met as a result – has changed my life, and changed me, in deep and fundamental ways. I’m a better person, and a better writer, than I was a year ago thanks to this little adventure. I’ve placed in the top 100 sex bloggers, won a Newcomer Award, and been paid for my work. I’ve worked with great companies like Hot Octopuss and Lovehoney. And I’ve met some of the most awesome people I’ve ever had the privilege to know.

So, in the spirit of reflecting on the past year – it is New Year’s Eve, after all! – I wanted to share with you ten lessons I’ve taken away from this first year.

1. I can experience pleasure and orgasm in ways I never imagined.

I hardly ever bought sex toys before I started this little adventure and started getting sent things to review. They’re pretty expensive and my vulva is fussy – it knew what it liked (this baby, mainly) and though I was curious about other toys, I couldn’t quite bring myself to spend upwards of £50-100 on things that may or may not work for me.

Well, I’ve now tried oscillating toys, suction toys, dual-stimulation toys, ride-on toys, great vibrators, terrible vibrators, mediocre vibrators, dildos in interesting materials, and even sex toys shaped like penguins. And if you’ll pardon the pun, FUCK ME it turns out my experience of pleasure is diverse. Not only can I get off in all these different ways, but each gives me a subtly (or sometimes wildly) different variety of orgasm.

Bodies are cool, y’all.

2. Sex writers are the best community.

I cannot overstate the extent to which the sex writing community has changed my life for the better. At events like Eroticon, Lube & a Laptop, and even the recent sex blogger Christmas party, I feel profoundly seen, deeply understood, and radically accepted in a way that I have never quite encountered anywhere else.

This community is so open, so generous with time and support and knowledge and friendship and a helping hand up, that I want to cry with joy every time I think about it. You, reading this? Yes, you. I love you.

3. I have the power to take my ideas and make them real.

This whole “sex blog” thing was just a bit of a side project a year ago; a bit of fun that I thought would keep me busy during a difficult transitional period and maybe entertain a handful of people. Now, though? Now it’s so much more. It’s my genuine passion project AND a source of additional income.

That didn’t happen by accident. That happened because I had an idea and ran with it. It happened because I put in the hours (and hours and hours) at the computer screen, tap-tap-tapping away; because I invested what I could, money-and-time-wise, into things like going to Eroticon; because people like Girl on the Net, Kayla, Molly and Michael, and Sarah generously shared their wisdom and I was smart enough to shut up and listen and learn from them; frankly, because I worked my ass off for it. I still do every day.

You can, too.  You just need an idea, some determination, and the willingness to put in the hard work to see it through.

4. Sometimes, the best way to get what you want is just to ask.

Sending off my first pitch was so scary that I needed to celebrate a little bit having done so. Actually getting it accepted? Well, that was something I’d never imagined! That first time someone believed in my work enough to pay me for it, even a little, was like a shot of pure confidence straight to my anxiety-riddled brain. But I never would have got it if I hadn’t faced down my fears and just asked.

Writing to Hot Octopuss a couple months ago on a whim, going “hey we’ve got some common interests here want to sponsor a post?” felt ridiculous. Presumptuous. Why would a big and successful company want to work with a nobody like me? But they said yes. They liked my idea and they paid me for it and I’ve worked with them again since!

These little victories would never have come my way if I hadn’t bitten the bullet and just asked the damn question.

5. Rejection can tear you down, or it can propel you forward.

Rejection happens in any creative industry. It’s just a fact of life. I’ve been rejected plenty of times, both as a sex writer and in my vanilla writing life. My first novel probably got rejected 30 times before I decided to e-publish. I got rejected from an OxBridge Masters programme at the final interview stage. I’ve spent days, weeks, crafting a perfect contest entry and not placed. I’ve sent pitches off and never heard back.

What I learned this year, though, is how to channel rejection into determination and forward momentum. I’ve honed my pitching style and my approaches. I’ve looked again at a rejected piece with fresh eyes and revamped it. And I’ve taught myself how to view all experience, even rejections, as valuable and as opportunities for growth. All writing experience is good writing experience.

6. Whatever weirdnesses I have, I’m definitely not alone.

Whatever bizarre fetish or kink I might be into, someone else is into it too.

When I think I’m the only person in the world whose body responds to a certain stimulus in a certain way, someone will go “me too!”

When I’m struggling with an emotion or a fear or a trip into the darkest depths of my psyche, sometimes what keeps me going is just knowing that someone else sees me, that they understand what I’m going through, and that they came out the other side – and I will too.

7. I have workaholic tendencies.

Okay, so I had a hunch about this one already, but it’s become apparent to me in the last year just how true it is. When I’m really into something, I am in real danger of becoming completely consumed by it.

In October, writing every single day for my Kink Month challenge was stressful and thrilling in equal measure. Since then, I’ve forced myself to take half a step back to recharge as my day job workload explodes over the festive period, but I still feel twinges of guilt if I go more than three or four days without blogging.

This passion and the way it eats at me until I sit down and do the work is a blessing, in large part, and occasionally a curse too. Sometimes the best thing my loved ones can do for me is give me space to work, and sometimes the best thing they can do is force me to take a break, eat some snacks and watch a terrible movie with them. Often, though, I need to take a good look at how I’m really doing in order to communicate which of these things I need.

8. People HATE being told the truth.

Whether it’s that their jelly dildo is riddled with toxic gunk, that shoving 2lb of marbles up their ass is a really bad idea, or that their favourite toy company hired a known abuser as a spokesperson, people really cannot deal with facts and information if it conflicts with their view of The Way Things Are. What’s more, sometimes these people will come at you with name-calling, personal attacks and even threats of physical violence when you speak the truth.

Block early, block often, my friends.

9. How not to take shit from companies.

I don’t work for other people/companies for free, unless:

1) You’re a charity I really, deeply believe in, OR
2) You’re a personal friend and I’m either doing you a favour or we’re doing some kind of work exchange.

Even so, the number of companies who have approached me wanting me to write for them for nothing – or “for the exposure!!!” – is fast approaching levels of bullshit I never knew existed. Add this to seriously shady requests like “talk up our product but don’t let on to your readers that we sponsored you for this,” and I’m left shaking my head at the audacity of some people. This year, I’ve learned to value my work properly and not accept flattery or “exposure” as forms of currency. I’ve learned to stand up for my worth, to hold firm with my boundaries, to put my foot down, so say “no”.

You love what I do and REALLY REALLY want to bring my voice to your readers? Perfect. I’m flattered. Now pay me.

10. No-one Does What I Do Quite Like Me

I’m just gonna finish off with this gem of wisdom from Girl on the Net, a phrase which adorns the mug (pictured) that I drink my coffee from every morning. Because it’s true.

Happy new year, you beautiful lot. Here’s to 2018.

Image by me.