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.

Ten Things I Took Home From Eroticon 2017

The amazing Jenny, who I met on the Sunday of Eroticon 2017, started this lovely meme and I just couldn’t resist taking part. In short: it was utterly wonderful and may even have changed my world a little bit.

So what did I bring home from Eroticon 2017?

My Swag Bag from Eroticon 2017. A purple tote bag with the Eroticon rainbow lips icon on the front.


Thanks to the amazing sponsors, I came away with a bag full of fabulous free stuff including two mugs, two very NSFW t-shirts, a notebook that has already been heavily scrawled in, a goodly amount of condoms, and a pamphlet of mini erotic stories perfect for reading on the Tube.

2. Friendships

There were people at Eroticon 2017 I’d previously considered ‘internet friends,’ who are now real-life friends. People who were strangers on Friday and friends on Monday. People who I met only briefly, but who gave me so much. Conversation, advice, business cards, their beautiful words or even just a smile in the corridor. And there are people, many people, with whom I want to keep in touch and build on our new-found friendships.

3. A renewed sense of community

The thing I love the most about a good ‘Con is the sense, however fleeting, of being not alone. I often feel isolated. I live far away from almost all the people who really get me. Eroticon has reminded me that there are people like me out there. Miles separate us, but something much more powerful joins us together – Community. (And also Twitter a little bit.)

4. An exciting new toy (actually, two)

I picked up the new Ruby Glow this weekend. I’ve only tried it out very briefly so far but what I’ve seen (well, felt) I liked. I’m looking forward to settling down for a nice long wank with it and some good smut, and then reviewing it for the reading pleasure of all you lovely pervs. I was also lucky enough, right at the end of the ‘Con, to win a cordless Magic Wand from So Divine. I doubt any vibe will replace my beloved Doxy, but the cordless Wand will be perfect for when we’re playing at the Club or other places where there isn’t a power point nearby.

 5. A new name

I’m not quite ready to reveal it just yet, but after thinking long and hard (heh) about it, I’ve decided not to use either my kink scene name or my real name (duh, right?) as the name under which I will write and hopefully publish erotic fiction. I took some advice from the incredible Kayla to pick a name that feels right for me to use and answer to, and which has some kind of personal relevance, and I think I’ve found the one.

 6. Story ideas

SO MANY STORY IDEAS, you guys. Article ideas too. And probably poetry ideas, but they won’t go any further than my notebook and possibly Fetlife page. (The poor unsuspecting world does not need my attempts at poetry unleashing upon it!) Seriously, I have like a whole page in my notebook just listing smutty stories I want to write, and another page listing possible article or blog post topics.

 7. Contacts

Two people from the weekend have already asked me to guest-write for their blogs (thank you Kayla and Exhibit A!) I’ll certainly be taking them up on these lovely offers and I’ve also come away with business cards, names of publishing imprints and more – in other words, contacts I hope I can utilise to get my work out there and hopefully, eventually, make some money in this game of ‘writing about sex.’

8. Revitalised ambition

There’s nothing like a weekend around other people on a similar path to kick-start your own ambitions. Mine have been sleeping recently, as I cope with the realities of a complicated relationship and a demanding day job. But now I’m feeling more motivated than I have in years and I’m ready to go out there, kick ass, take names and WRITE SOME SMUT. I don’t ever expect sex writing to be my full-time job (especially as my ‘vanilla’ (ugh) writing career is also really important to me,) but for the first time I’m looking at this as something that might be more than just a bit of fun and a way to entertain the three people who read what I post on Fetlife.

9. Confidence

This might be hard for you to believe of the girl bouncing around in kitty ears and a t-shirt with the word ‘FUCK’ emblazoned across it (thanks, Fuck.com) and reading porn on the Tube, but… I’m actually quite shy. Shy, plagued by anxiety and lacking in self-esteem, to be entirely honest. I went into this weekend jittery with nerves, not just at the thought of socialising with new people but also worrying I’d be seen as a fraud, a fake, an amateur, not a serious or ‘real’ writer. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only did the people who have read my work say absolutely lovely things about it, those who are much further on in their sex writing journey were also totally validating and amazing to those of us who are just starting out. I thought I’d find elitism, but I found a supportive and loving community.

 10. Words of affirmation

There were so many great things said over the weekend, and lots of the most quotable parts were live-tweeted (check out #Eroticon for just some of the fun!) But the pieces that really struck home for me, I scribbled in my notebook – partly for the joy of writing beautiful words by hand, and partly so I can come back to them any time to remind myself.

I leave you all with the words of affirmation, love and community and are immortalised in ink in my jumbled set of notes from the weekend:

You are not alone. You are not broken. (Formidable Femme)

RELAX. (Alix Fox)

No-one does what you do quite like you. (Girl on the Net)

Stand firm with your boundaries. (Sorry, I can’t remember who said this.)

See you all next year x

The image featured in this post was taken by me and I own the copyright. It must not be copied or reproduced without my express permission.

How to Get Started in BDSM

It’s New Years Eve, the time of new beginnings and new adventures. This is the very first post on this blog. So how better to get started than with some handy hints and tricks on… getting started? That is, of course, dipping your toe into this thing we call kink, BDSM or ‘The Lifestyle.’

First: Get a Fetlife Account

If you have not yet stumbled across it, Fetlife is absolutely the place to be for all things kinky. It’s not a dating site, though people do use it that way for better or worse – it’s a social networking site for kinksters. The ‘Facebook of kink,’ if you like.

It’s free to join Fetlife and you can give as much or as little information as you like. I’ll do a separate article on getting the most out of the site soon, but for now:

  1. Do not, for the love of all that is holy, use your real name or give out any details more personal than which city you live in. (You can even lie about that if you’re really cautious, though I don’t recommend it because finding local people and events is a big part of the purpose of Fetlife.)
  2. Put up a profile picture. It doesn’t have to be a face pic, but something that speaks to you or represents you is good (don’t steal other people’s work, though – that’s not cool.) Your genitals are NOT a good profile picture, however proud of them you are.
  3. Join some groups related to your interests. Read lots. Listen. Learn. Don’t believe everything you read – the only One True Rule of Kink is that there are no True Rules of Kink beyond “informed consenting adults.”
  4. Reach out by message to some people local to you, particularly if they run events or seem very active and respected in the community. Remember: the goal is to make friends and find community at this stage, not hook up.

Okay, you’ve got a Fetlife account. Good. Next step: READ READ READ.

Read posts on Fetlife. Read as many articles, essays and blogs as you can find (on kink in general or on your particular areas of interest.) Read books – check out The Bookshelf and my favourite resources list for some recommendations.

This isn’t a “one shot and done” homework assignment. I hope you will keep reading, listening and learning for as long as you’re doing this thing we call Kinky Fuckery.

If you’ve already got a partner/partners

If you’re single, you can skip this section as this is written for folks already in a relationship (or several – we’re poly friendly here!)

Firstly, if you haven’t already, you NEED to talk to your partner about your interests.

I know how tempting it is, if these desires have been burning inside of you for months or years, to go out and explore them on the sly. We have a word for this, however, and that word is cheating. Most folks in the BDSM community take a dim view of lying and cheating, because they go against the central ethos of informed consent.

It doesn’t need to be a big sit-down drama-filled conversation. How about just, “hey, honey? I was thinking it would be really hot if you could be a little Dominant in bed sometimes/if you let me spank you/if we explored tying each other up/-insert your interest here.- How do you feel about that?”

Hopefully, if your partner is communicative and sex-positive, they’ll be happy to have a conversation about it. That doesn’t mean the answer will be “yes,” necessarily, but you’ve opened up a dialogue and that’s a huge step.

If they seem curious excited to know more, talk to them about some of your fantasies and encourage them to have input with things they fantasise about. Explore this through sexting/cyber-sexing if it’s too scary or embarrassing to do it face-to-face at first. Read some erotica or watch some porn together that ticks your kinky boxes. Show them Fetlife, blogs, books and any other material you’ve found helpful. Go to a munch, talk or workshop together. Explore a few light things first – always with a safeword, of course – and see how you go. Moving slowly, with lots of check-ins, negotiation, love and care is the way to have some really positive kinky experiences. Everything you want to try will still be there weeks, months or years down the line. You don’t have to do everything now!

Get out into the community and make friends and build a kinky support network. More on that coming up shortly…

If your partner isn’t open to exploring things with you, don’t push or pressure them. Give them time and space to process, ask open-ended questions and express yourself honestly. If they’re not interested, is there any other way you can get your needs met? Perhaps with other partners, if you’re non-monogamous, or through opening up your relationship in some limited way if you’ve been monogamous until now? Perhaps with a professional?

If they are insistent there is no way your kinky needs can be met while in this relationship, I’m afraid you may have a very difficult decision to make – one which no-one else can make for you.

If You’re Single

If you already have a partner or partners, you can skip this bit as this is written for the single curious kinksters out there.

If you’re single, it can be really tempting, when you discover this kinky thing, to dive right into trying to find a partner to explore it all with. However, if you do that, you’re missing out some really important steps.

Hopefully you’ve started off your explorations with joining Fetlife and doing plenty of reading and learning. Perhaps you’ve even reached out to some local people. Brilliant!

Remember: your goal right now is to make friends and build a community. Partners and opportunities to play will follow. A bit of patience right now will set you up well in the long run, I promise.

Go to a munch, class, talk or workshop (more on this coming up in a minute!) Ask a trusted friend to go along with you if you’re scared.

Get Off the Damn Internet – Getting Out There In Real Life

Yep. After extolling the virtues of Fetlife and all the great material you can find on the internet, I’m now telling you to get off the web and out into the world.

Find an event near you. A munch is ideal – a munch is an event held in a vanilla location like a pub, in acceptable-for-general-public dress, where kinksters meet up to socialise, hang out and make friends. Most major cities have at least one, and many small towns have them too. Search Fetlife with the name of your city or town to find out what’s going on. If you’re nervous, message the organiser – their Fet name should be listed – and ask if they’d mind introducing you to a few folks. Munch organisers typically do what they do because they love the community and want to give back to it, and most will be delighted to help you find your feet.

Other good events to go to are talks, workshops and classes on your area of interest, or even a kinky conference like Kinkfest in the UK or ShibariCon in the US. These are often a greater time and financial investment than a simple munch, though, so you might want to wait a while before making this leap.

Going to your first event is scary. The golden rules, though, are simple. Follow these and you’ll be fine.

  1. Dress and act appropriately. Basically, at a munch, if it’s okay for a generic pub it’s okay here. Leave the whips and the leather corsets at home. A t-shirt and jeans will be fine in most places, as will a nice shirt and slacks, a cute dress or skirt, or whatever you’d usually wear to meet people in a pub. Don’t try to play at a munch unless it’s specifically advertised as one where that’s okay. If in doubt, most events will have a dress code and possibly a code of conduct available online, or you can ask the organiser.
  2. Don’t be a creep. Don’t latch on to that one cute young just-barely-turned-18 girl. Don’t only talk to people of the age, gender and body type you’re attracted to. Don’t ask people to play immediately or ask overly intrusive questions. People will notice and I promise, it’ll piss them off.
  3. Be yourself! Talk about your hobbies, your work, your family, how you came to kink… take your cues from others and just make friends the way you would in any other setting.
  4. Don’t get too drunk.
  5. Don’t touch anyone without permission. Kinksters are often a touchy and huggy bunch, but remember there may be relational contexts you’re not familiar with. Always ask before hugging or otherwise touching anyone.
  6. Don’t be a dick. This covers so many bases. Be friendly, open and welcoming to everyone and don’t be afraid to admit you’re new, nervous and not sure what the protocol is.

Most of all, remember to have fun. If you can, gather the Fetlife names of people you talk to and ask their permission to friend them. (You can always follow up with a PM – “Hey, we met at the ABC Munch. I really enjoyed our conversation about XYZ. Would you like to be friends on here?”

Et voila. You’ve got the beginnings of a kinky community and circle of friends. Now – rinse and repeat. You’ll soon learn who your people are, who you really click with and who you don’t much care for. You don’t need to like everyone but you do need to be polite and civil to everyone (unless, of course, something serious like a consent violation occurs, but that’s beyond the scope of this particular post.)

And there you have it – you’ve made your first steps into Kinkland! Doesn’t it feel great? Now go forth and be kinky, my friends.

Happy New Year.