Blog

A Love Letter to the Art of Sexting

I don’t know if anyone has done any actual studies on this, but my totally unscientific hypothesis is that people have been sexting more than ever over the last year. With much of the world forced into lockdown (fuck you COVID), we’ve had to resort to virtual methods for everything from our work to our friendships… so why not our sex lives, too?

I’ve said before that I believe that sexting can, in and of itself, constitute a real sexual relationship. It’s one of the first ways that Mr CK and I connected before we ever had physical sex. And it’s certainly one of the ways that The Artist and I have kept our connection alive over the last year of not being able to see each other (again: fuck you, COVID.)

It probably isn’t a surprise to anyone that I am a very wordy person. I am a writer, after all. Words of affirmation are my primary love language. And I fucking love sexting.

I won’t say that it’s as good as in-person sex. It’s not. Nothing can beat the touch and smell and warmth of a lover’s body against mine. But when we can’t have that, for reasons of distance or illness or the plague, it’s the next best thing.

There’s an art to good sexting, though. I’m lucky in that my current partners are amazing at it. But I’ve certainly had more than my fair share of bad sexting in the past. The worst sexting tends to be overly dick-focused, one-sided, and

No, good sexting isn’t as simple as typing a bunch of increasingly flowery euphemisms. Like good physical sex, it’s a conversation, a dance, a push and pull between two (or more) people who are deeply attuned to one another. It involves listening and responding. A good sexter can make me drip without ever touching me. A truly great sexter can make me submit with just words.

At its best, sexting can be a way to explore fantasies and even discover new ones. Many times over the years, a partner has said something to me in a sexting session that has left me like “well I didn’t know I was into that, but oof!” Sexting can build a connection, maintain it over distance and time, and be a deeply intimate bonding experience.

Thanks to technology, virtual sexual connections are easier than ever. We no longer have to stick with just words on a screen (though that can be fun, too.) We can now trade pictures, video chat, and even control a lover’s sex toy over tens or hundreds or thousands of miles.

It’s been hard to be a slut over the last year. So many of the things I love, from regular dates with my secondary partner to outings to sex clubs and dungeons, have been impossible.

(Yes, I know perspective is important and not being able to slut it up on the regular is a very trivial concern compared to *waves wildly at everything.* I’m still allowed to miss it.)

For many of us slutty types, sexting has been one of the things that has kept us at least somewhat connected with our slutty selves. It’s a reminder that the world is still out there, and brimming with sexy adventures waiting to be had when it’s safe to do so. And I think that’s something to celebrate.

“Give me words that make my mind curl before my toes.”
– Rachel Wolchin

Quote Quest badge, for a post about making amends when you fuck up

I wrote this post as part of Quote Quest, a fun blogging meme by Little Switch Bitch. Each week there’s a new quote for inspiration. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing this week! Oh, and if you enjoy my work, please consider buying me a coffee.

[Toy Review] Sohimi Mini Tongue Vibrator

There are some sex acts that are relatively easy to mimic with toys, such as penetrative sex. There are others which are more difficult, though companies have tried valiantly – the blowjob being one such example. And then there are acts that it is seemingly impossible to replicate with a toy. Exhibit A: cunnilingus.

Suction toys have claimed for years that they simulate oral sex. Toys like the Sqweel have tried and, if the reviews are to be believed, largely failed. Today I’m reviewing the Sohimi Mini Tongue Vibrator, another toy that claims to simulate cunnilingus. But how did it fare? Let’s find out!

Sohimi Mini Tongue Vibrator

The Sohimi Tongue Vibrator is a mini clit tickler toy, featuring a large rounded base topped with a small flickering tongue. When the toy is on, the tongue oscillates or flicks rapidly back and forth.

Sohimi Mini Tongue Vibrator purple clitoral vibrator
Image credit: Sohimi

When I unboxed this toy, the first thing that struck me was how small it is. Yes, I know it’s called a mini vibrator, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite this small. It measures a petite 3″ in height and 2″ in diameter. The tongue is about 1″ long. Thanks to its tiny size, it is super light and fits neatly in my small hand.

The best way I can describe this toy is to say that it reminds me of a cross between a flower and one of those plastic candles with artificial flames that you get on restaurant tables.

Sohimi tongue vibrator for women and people with vulvas

The Sohimi Mini Tongue Vibrator is 100% waterproof and rechargeable via the included USB charging base. It is made of body-safe and surprisingly soft matte silicone in an attractive shade of purple. And yes, it’s definitely real silicone!

Does it feel like cunnilingus?

In all honesty, no.

The thing about cunnilingus is that it’s not just about the back and forth flicking sensation of a tongue. It’s actually a combination of many different sensations – the warmth and wetness of a lover’s mouth, the feel of their hot breath on your bits, that moment when they bury their whole face between your legs as if they want to devour you. So much of what makes cunnilingus great just cannot be replicated with a toy.

So no, the Sohimi Mini Tongue Vibrator does not really feel like oral sex. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad toy.

But does it feel good?

Yes, it actually does!

Given how choosy my clit is and how much of a power-queen I tend to be, I was a little skeptical to begin with. Would a tiny little clitoral vibrator costing $27 be able to do anything for me?

Well, I am happy to report that it did! The flickering motion feels fantastic and distinctly different from a traditional vibrator. The tongue is structured yet flexible, so it’s ideal for those who love pinpoint stimulation but want something a bit gentler than a hard plastic vibrator.

Flickering tongue vibrator clitoral sex toy

It took a little experimenting to get it right. My clitoral glans is extremely sensitive and direct stimulation is usually too intense to be pleasurable. In the end, I discovered that the most pleasurable way for me to use the Mini Tongue Vibrator was to allow the tongue to flicker against the side of my clit. (The left side is more pleasurable on my body, don’t ask me why.) So if you get one of these, take the time to experiment and try out different placements to see what works for you.

Pro tip: this is a toy that you really need to use lube with. Without it (even when I was quite wet) I found the tongue flicking action uncomfortable. Add a very generous blob of water-based lube to the tongue itself and/or your vulva before you start, and reapply as necessary.

Controls and Interface

The Sohimi Mini Tongue Vibrator operates on a one-button interface, which sits in the centre of the toy’s base and is easy to press. Hold it for two seconds to turn on, cycle through the patterns with quick presses, then hold it for a further two seconds to turn off.

The Mini Tongue Vibrator has 10 settings total: 3 constant speeds and 7 patterns. I think it’s well-known by now that I don’t generally care for patterns much. This is a “stick it on the highest constant setting and leave it there” toy for me.

Other Important Info

The Mini Tongue Vibrator is certainly not a silent toy, but its volume is well within the range of what I consider acceptable. It makes the same kind of low, consistent buzz as a mid-powered vibrator.

It’s also worth being aware that this toy isn’t really one that you can press hard into your vulva (or you can, but the flickering motion will be severely impeded.) Too much pressure and it will stop flicking or slow down a lot.

The pictures on the website seem to imply you can use this toy internally. Which, obviously, I had to try. The verdict? You technically can, but it probably won’t do anything. The tongue is so short that it can’t get even an inch inside the vagina so, unless you particularly enjoy stimulation right at your entrance, this is an external-only toy.

Final Verdict

I’m going to declare this one “surprisingly good for the price!” No, it doesn’t feel like cunnilingus, but it provides something a bit different to a standard vibrator that still feels really good. It’s also small, portable, and body-safe.

The Sohimi Mini Tongue Vibrator retails for $26.99.

Thanks to Sohimi Sex Toys for sponsoring this review. I was paid to provide my honest and unbiased thoughts – all opinions are my own.

The Words I Claim

“The day I changed was the day I quit trying to fit into a world that never really fit me.”
– JM Storm

At some point, I became aware that I am many things that our society does not like. I am queer, I love more than one, I am mentally ill, I am a woman who speaks her mind and won’t shut up and loves sex. I felt weird, out of place, and sometimes broken. For a long time, I wondered what was wrong with me.

It took me even longer to realise there is nothing wrong with me.

At some point, I realised I could claim the words that had once been used to hurt me. I realised that it was others who had ascribed negative value judgements to those things and that I did not have to accept them if I didn’t want to. That was the day I began to step into my identity.

So yes, I claim the word queer. You don’t get to throw at me, with hatred in your voice, the most beautiful part of my identity. I love women, I love men, and I love people between and outside and beyond this binary. You will never make me feel ashamed of that again.

I claim polyamorous. Our society tells us that we must only love one person. Not only that, but we must only ever have loved one person for it to be real and true, rendering all other loves retroactively invalid. Love isn’t more pure and true by virtue of how many people you extend it to, or don’t. Love one or love many, it’s all wonderful. Because love? Love is everything.

I claim slut. Depending on who you ask, slut is a term of empowerment or the worst thing a woman can possibly be. Slut, when you throw it at me hatefully, says that you see that I live my sex life on my terms and you can’t stand that. Slut, to me, means that my body is mine, my sexuality is mine, my choices are mine.

I know it makes many people uncomfortable, whether it’s because they think people like me are dangerous or in a more benign-ableism “your illness doesn’t define you” way, but I claim mentally ill. I didn’t ask to be born with a chemical imbalance in my brain or to live through traumas that would leave lasting scars. But that’s the hand life gave me. And no, maybe it doesn’t define me, but it does impact my life every day. And I have survived and even thrived in the face of that, so hell yes, I claim it.

Women like me, women who speak their minds and won’t minimise themselves for men’s comfort, are often called difficult. I think I was 15 the first time someone told me I was difficult, too opinionated, too much. What I understand now is that that said far more about them than me. So yes, I claim difficult woman. If you can’t handle someone who won’t make herself smaller, well, that sounds like a you problem.

Finally, I claim survivor. People don’t like to acknowledge that abuse happens, let alone how widespread it is. They don’t want to see it because once they see it, truly see it, they will feel compelled to speak up against it. Most people do not want to or cannot do that so instead, they shut down and deny that it exists. What happened to me was not my fault or my choice, but I get to decide what I do with it. I was hurt but I survived, and I am proud to claim the label of survivor.

Quote Quest badge, for a post about making amends when you fuck up

I wrote this post as part of Quote Quest, a fun blogging meme by Little Switch Bitch. Each week there’s a new quote for inspiration. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing this week! Oh, and if you enjoy my work, please consider buying me a coffee.

How to Do Better When You Fuck Up

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” 
– James Joyce

Another week in the sex blogging world, and another company that purports to be ethical has behaved horribly.

I’m not going to name them here, because that isn’t the point of this post. I’ve removed all their links from my site and won’t be supporting them again unless I see real and meaningful change.

This post isn’t really about them. This post is about the fact that this shit keeps happening. Whether it’s ostensibly sex-positive companies or their owners tweeting misogyny, or kink websites perpetuating transphobia, or big-name educators turning out to be serial abusers, it feels never-ending.

I believe that very few people are inherently evil or incapable of redemption. In fact, I believe that for most of us, our mistakes are how we learn, grow, and become better people.

God knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes – big ones and small ones. I’ve fucked up and I’ve hurt people and I’ve caused harm. I challenge you to find me a single person who hasn’t.

But when you fuck up badly? Accountability is needed. You need to apologise meaningfully, make amends, and do the work to ensure you never repeat the same harm again.

With the enormous caveat that I am not an expert, here are a few things I’ve learned about doing better when you fuck up and get called on it.

Don’t double down

If you’ve been called out for shitty behaviour, it is very unlikely that doubling down and attempting to justify it is going to go over well. Unfortunately, doubling down often comes across as invalidating (“you’re misinterpreting what I said”) or straight-up gaslighting (“that didn’t happen the way you say it did.”)

Many people, when called out, will lash out at the people telling them they fucked up. Some will even act as though denouncing harmful behaviour is an act of abuse in itself. Seriously: do not do this.

If your behaviour was a result of baggage or unresolved trauma, that might be relevant context, but it can only ever be a reason – not an excuse.

Don’t expect a half-assed apology to fix everything

There’s a recurring pattern with the people and companies who fuck up in these ways: if they apologise at all, it’s only after multiple very public call-outs.

If you fuck up and get called on it, apologising is a good thing to do. But don’t expect it to fix everything immediately. People aren’t obligated to forgive you. They might eventually, or they might not. That’s their decision to make.

And if you’re not actually sorry you did it but just sorry you got caught and called out? Don’t even bother. Because we’ve seen this before and we can always tell.

Accept the consequences

It’s hard to be truly accountable without accepting the consequences of your actions. Sometimes, people won’t want to be friends or share space with you any more. Some might choose not to buy from your company any longer. You might lose sponsorship deals, speaking gigs, income opportunities.

All of these are likely to be proportional and appropriate responses to the harm you have caused. You’re not being silenced or cancelled or having your life ruined. You’re experiencing consequences for your fuck up. Owning and accepting them is actually part of the process of healing.

Work to ensure you don’t repeat the mistake

Apologising and making amends is useless if you just repeat the same harm again and again. So take the necessary steps you ensure you don’t. This might mean educating yourself, getting therapy or other professional support, or seeking help from your friends and loved ones (NOT including the person you harmed) to hold you accountable.

The best apology, after all, is changed behaviour.

Quote Quest badge, for a post about making amends when you fuck up

I wrote this post as part of Quote Quest, a fun blogging meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing this week! Oh, and if you enjoy my work, please consider buying me a coffee.

You Need to Listen to Survivors. Now More Than Ever.

TW: this post is about sexual assault, harrassment, and violence against women.

This has been a hard week to be on social media as a survivor of sexual violence. I was tempted to step away from the internet entirely but, well, I can’t really do that thanks to my job.

So I stayed. And I read the stories. And I sent love and solidarity to my fellow survivors all over the world, even as I felt increasingly hopeless and increasingly retraumatised.

I was 12 years old the first time a boy grabbed my breasts without my consent. I was 13 or 14 the first time I can remember having something obscene yelled at me in the street. The first time I felt creeped out by an adult man’s behaviour? I was 9. The first time a boyfriend pressured me into a sex act I wasn’t comfortable with? I was 15.

None of this is unusual. In fact, it’s heartbreakingly common. It’s practically ubiquitous.

All the stories that are pouring out on social media right now, in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard? If you’re not a survivor, I want you to listen to those.

If you’re not a person who experiences misogyny, I want you to sit with this and listen to it. Not because we think you’re to blame for the actions of all men. The point isn’t that all men are perpetrators, or even that only men are perpetrators. Obviously that’s not the case. The point is that virtually all women – probably every single woman you know – has been on the receiving end at some point or another.

Maybe someone walked a little too close to us as we walked home at night, or maybe someone yelled something disgusting from a passing car. Maybe we were raped or assaulted by a man we trusted. Perhaps we convinced ourselves it wasn’t really assault, it wasn’t really harrassment, it doesn’t really count. Perhaps we didn’t report because we felt like no-one would believe us, no-one would care, it wasn’t really that bad.

Or maybe we did report, and maybe we were gaslighted into believing we imagined it. Maybe we were told not to make a fuss, not to ruin his reputation, not to go out at night or wear that dress or have that second drink if we don’t want our bodies to become public property.

Many of us were children the first time this happened.

If you don’t experience misogyny and you’re not a survivor, I need you to hear this. We don’t need self-congratulatory posts about how you’re such a good guy and feel ashamed to be male because of what others of your gender have done. We don’t need to hear “I would never do that.” Instead, we need you to listen to us. To ask how you can help. To talk to your fucking friends and to stop asking that one creepy, gropey, rapey guy to your parties. We need you to step in and stop being a bystander.

I want to stop hearing about how people don’t think they’re part of the problem, and start seeing them be part of the solution.

But first I want you to listen.

And I want you to believe us.

[Guest Post] Using Gender-Neutral Language Isn’t Enough

Today’s guest post comes from Shannon Burton (they/she) who I met through the Smutlancers community. They’re a brilliantly talented writer and I’m thrilled to be publishing them on C&K for the first time, talking about gender-neutral language and how to use it.

It’s important to note that though this article uses one specific example of problematic language as its jumping-off point, it’s not about attacking or critiquing an individual. This is stuff that virtually all cis people – including me! – could do better with. I learned a huge amount from this and I’m sure you will, too.

They’ve helpfully included some working definitions for those of you who are new to these concepts, so I’ll include those first and then we’ll dive into the article.

Amy x

Definitions

Cis/cisgender: when someone’s gender identity matches their assigned sex at birth

Trans/transgender: when someone’s gender identity is different than their assigned sex at birth

Genderqueer/nonbinary: when someone’s gender identity falls outside the categories of man and woman

Intersex: when someone’s sex characteristics such as chromosomes, hormones, gonads, or genitals don’t fit neatly into typical definitions of male or female sex. Being intersex does not determine a person’s gender identity.

Vulva-owner: person with a vulva (generally including the mons pubis, labia majora and minora, clitoris, and vaginal opening.) Being a vulva owner does not determine a person’s gender identity.

Penis-owner: person with a penis (generally including glans, shaft, and foreskin.) Being a penis owner does not determine a person’s gender identity.

Using Gender-Neutral Language Isn’t Enough by Shannon Burton

Sometimes, even our best intentions fall short.

Such was the situation in the very first lesson of Dr. Emily Morse’s “Sex and Communication” Masterclass.

“I want this class to include everyone,” the Sex With Emily podcast host begins promisingly. “So instead of hearing me say woman, I’m gonna say vulva-owner or vulva, and instead of man, I’m gonna say penis-owner or penis.”

Arrrrgggg!

This is a perfect example of trying to be inclusive of trans, genderqueer, and nonbinary people and falling short. Our bodies do not always indicate our gender. Yet, this statement still implies that women are vulva-owners and men are penis-owners. It also implies that being inclusive is just a matter of swapping out gendered words (woman, man) for neutral, body-based ones and then—hurray!—our work here is done.

But not every man has a penis, and not every woman has a vulva. While this body-centered language helps when giving sex advice and talking about bodies without assuming gender, this introduction unfortunately undoes its own intent.

Without that statement, the rest of the course is pretty gender inclusive. Dr. Morse uses body-centered language throughout the lessons (slipping up just once), so that vulva-owners and penis-owners of all genders can tune in to relevant information about themselves and/or their partners. That introduction, though, leaves viewers free to mentally substitute gendered terms when they hear the gender-neutral ones, maintaining the status quo that marginalizes trans, genderqueer, and nonbinary people.

What could Dr. Morse have done differently? What can those of us who are trying to be more inclusive in our work and day-to-day life do to be better at keeping up with and using terms correctly, especially when it feels like they’re constantly changing?

The first step is to get in our own heads about gender.

Decoupling Body from Gender

Body-centered language (like penis-owner and vulva-owner) is becoming more common in some contexts, and for good reason. In reproductive health settings, for example, it’s important to know whether someone has a uterus or testes. Asking whether someone is a woman, man, or other gender identity can’t tell you that, since there are men with uteruses, women with testes, nonbinary and genderqueer people with either, and intersex people of all gender identities.

In other contexts, however, body-centered language isn’t always necessary. For example, when discussing social issues that disproportionately affect different genders, it’s appropriate to use those gendered terms. (i.e. “Women tend to make less money than men for the same work,” “Men are more likely than women to develop a dependency on drugs or alcohol,” or “Trans people experience higher rates of sexual assault than cis women and men.”) Our socially-constructed gender identities are a major part of these social problems, so using those terms makes sense.

When it comes to talking about sex, things can get messy (no surprise there!) Sex is socially stigmatized, and people of different gender identities experience different pressures as a result. Meanwhile, sex educators and businesses aim to provide helpful advice and knowledge that often involves talking very specifically about people’s most intimate body parts. 

This requires ongoing work on our part to decouple bodies from gender in our own heads, while still considering how those things interact. That’s going to look different for everyone, but one place I like to start with cisgender friends is to ask a question you may have already asked yourself, seriously or not:

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and your body’s sex characteristics had changed?

In this thought exercise, you’d still be you… but your body hair, chest, hips, and genitals would be different, and perhaps your voice, too. If you currently have a penis and testicles, you might now have a vagina, uterus, and ovaries, and vice versa.

When I first explored this question with friends in high school, our answers predictably ranged from “freak out” to “find someone to go down on me.” Go ahead, have fun with the thought exercise yourself. Think of all the things you’d do with a different appearance and new sex organs. Then, really sit with it. What would happen if you woke up with the new body day after day, week after week? What if you’d have it for the rest of your life?

For most cisgender people, I think this would be very distressing. They’d know, to their core, that they are a “woman trapped in a man’s body,” or vice versa. The body would not feel like their own, and they might seek to change it with hormone therapy and/or surgery, if they had access to that and could afford it. They’d resent being treated as a gender not their own in day-to-day interactions, and told their gender identity is wrong when they correct people.

This is often the trans experience: one’s body does not reflect the gender one knows deeply to be true. (Please note, however, that despite this not all trans people desire hormone therapy or surgery.)

When you begin to understand how your gender identity is separate from the body you possess, you begin to understand why saying something like “instead of women I’ll say vulva-owners” is well-intentioned but still problematic. Not everyone who knows in their heart that they are a woman has a vulva.

What Sex Educators and Businesses Can Do

How could Dr. Emily Morse have done better? An improved introduction might look like this:

“I want this class to include everyone, so instead of giving advice based on gender, I’m going to focus on the parts of the body many of us use during sex. You’ll hear body-centered language like penis-owner and vulva-owner to help indicate which information is most relevant to you and your partners.”

Sex educators and sex-related business owners can learn about and use better language by consulting with gender-aware writers and editors for their content. They can also commit to further educating themselves by seeking out trans, genderqueer, and nonbinary authors, bloggers, podcasters, and educators. They can read, watch, and listen to what these people are sharing to build a better understanding of how different people experience gender.

Most importantly, they shouldn’t stop here. I am but one nonbinary person and this post is a very limited introduction to thinking about gender and language. Check out resources like this guide for writing about transgender people, which is constantly being updated, and the Trans Journalists Association style guide.

Our understanding of gender is constantly changing. The language and ideas I’ve used in this post may be problematic without me realizing it, or may be outdated just a year or two from now—and that’s okay. I trust my fellow trans, nonbinary, and genderqueer comrades to hold me accountable and offer better alternatives, and you should, too. Be okay with making mistakes.

There are way more unanswered questions about gender out there than answered ones, so doing better at being inclusive is a life-long learning journey. Accepting that is a huge first step to being part of a safer world for people of all gender identities, and it’s worth taking.

About the Author

Picture of Shannon Burton, guest blogger writing about gender-neutral language

Shannon (they/she) is a sex coach and content writer residing in New Orleans. You can find them at SexCoachShannon.com or on Twitter @SexCoachShannon.

Remember: you can help me pay more guest bloggers (and pay guest bloggers more!) by donating via the tip jar.

I Don’t Believe in Soulmates (But…)

“A true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert

I don’t believe in soulmates.

Well, it’s not quite that simple. I don’t believe in soulmates in the “one person on earth for everyone who will complete you” kind of way.

Aside from the previously discussed mathematical absurdity of imagining there’s exactly one person designed for one other person, the One True Soulmate thing doesn’t account for polyamory, or people who are widowed and then find love again, or just people who have multiple serious relationships in their life because something isn’t retroactively less real because it ended. Then there’s the fact that we are all whole already and don’t need another person to complete us.

I’m not sure I even believe in souls, at least not in the metaphysical or religious way the term is often used. I’m both an atheist and fundamentally quite cynical.

So no, I don’t believe in soulmates. That doesn’t mean I am cynical about love. I’m not. I do believe in powerful connections between people, which might happen quickly or might grow over years.

When I hear “soulmate,” I think it implies a situation where you’re so made for each other that everything is easy. It’s the Disney-fied, romcom-style happy ending where all problems vanish and you live blissfully ever after.

But that’s not real. It’s a seductive lie, a dangerous fiction, a marketing ploy that leads real people to believe their relationships are inadequate.

I don’t want always-easy, because always-easy does not exist when it comes to meaningful relationships. What I want is someone who sees me completely. Someone who sees everything – the good, the bad, the ugly, the broken – and loves me anyway.

And, yeah, someone who can call me on my bullshit.

I don’t believe that anyone can know us better than we know ourselves. That is a fallacy. No-one else will ever be in your head or your body and you are always the ultimate and final expert on you. But I do believe that another person can see the bits of us that we’re not seeing, or choosing not to see, or trying to choose not to see.

Of course, it requires trust and vulnerability to let someone in that far. I’m not very good at either trusting people or being truly vulnerable. It takes me a long time to get there and the rest of the time, there’s a protective layer around me. Sometimes it’s a steel wall a foot thick, sometimes it’s barely perceptible and almost permeable.

A soulmate, in that fiction, would be someone who immediately fixed all those issues with their True Love. That doesn’t exist. What I want is someone who takes the time to see everything that is behind that wall, makes the effort to understand it, and wants to stay even then. Someone who does not expect pretense or perfection, but who embraces all that I am and – and this bit is important – all that I will be.

The “soulmates” ideal implies something static, something immovable and permanent. Real love isn’t necessarily like that. Our souls – our selves – are not static. Instead, I want a person who commits to growing alongside me. Someone who is all in, for the messy as well as the tidy, for the worse as well as for the better. And honestly? Someone who will walk away if it is truly no longer working, rather than someone who is so attached to an ideal that they stay to the detriment of both of us.

So no, I don’t want a soulmate. I want people who will do the work, make the effort, and show up again and again when it’s hard as well as when it’s easy.

It might not be quite so picture-perfect, but at least it’s real.

Quote Quest badge, for a post about experimenting with edg play

I wrote this post as part of Quote Quest, a fun blogging meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing this week! Oh, and if you enjoy my work, please consider buying me a coffee.

[Toy Review] Hot Octopuss Kurve

Every now and then, I get my hands on a sex toy that is so pretty that it delights me just to look at it. Even more occasionally, that toy is as good in function as in form. The new Kurve by Hot Octopuss is one such toy.

Meet Kurve

Kurve is a new vibrator for folks with vulvas from Hot Octopuss, pioneers of sex toy innovations. At first glance, it looks like a fairly standard, curved G-spot vibrator – but it is so much more than that.

Hot Octopuss Kurve g-spot vibrator

The Kurve features dual-motor, patented Treble and Bass technology, the same technology used in the Jett (a wonderfully creative toy for penis owners.) But instead of sitting in two separate pieces, Kurve brings both motors together in one creative and

As I mentioned, my first impression of the Kurve is just how pretty it is. The silicone body is a rich burgundy colour, and the plastic handle fades from burgundy to black. When I held it up to show my partner and metamour on camera, they declared it “essentially the aubergine emoji in a sex toy!”

The Kurve is just over 7.5″ in length, of which around 5″ is insertable, and 1.6″ in diameter. It weighs 189g.

The Kurve is fully waterproof, USB rechargeable via the included cable, and comes with a silky black storage bag with Hot Octopuss branding.

Let’s Talk About That Shape, Tho…

Curved toys are usually a big hit with me because they’re fabulous for targeted G-spotting. Kurve’s, well, curve is near perfect. Not only that, but the bulbous head is soft and squishy while the rest of the shaft is rigid.

Hot Octopuss Kurve g-spot and clitoral vibrator

Even before we bring the vibes into the equation, Kurve won me over as a G-spotting dildo alone. Bonus: the plastic handle is comfortable and ergonomic to hold and manipulate.

All About That Bass (and Treble)

So here’s where things get really fun! The Kurve’s unique selling point is based on its two motor, treble and bass design. What does that mean, exactly?

The toy contains two distinct motors. The “treble” vibrates at a high frequency, while the “bass” gives a deeper sensation. In common sex-toy-reviewer parlance, we might think of the treble as the “buzz” and the bass as the “rumble.”

The beauty of the Kurve is that you can use the two motors together or separately, and at different levels. So if you want a little buzz and a lot of rumble or vice-versa, you can do that. If you want a lot of both? Yep, that’s available, too.

I’m not a big fan of buzzy vibrations generally – as a rule, I’m all about the rumble. But holy shit, this toy when they’re both on together…. wowwwww. The multi-layered stimulation is super intense and I’m super here for it. I actually found that it felt best when I laid it along one side of my vulva and allowed the vibrations to thrum through my labia to my clit.

Controls

Kurve’s controls require a little getting used to, though they’re fairly intuitive once you learn which button does what. The treble and bass controls are conveniently marked on the handle.

Hot Octopuss Kurve vibrator for g-spot and clitoral stimulation

There are also two small buttons, one that turns both the treble and bass off simultaneously, and one that switches between patterns. The Kurve has 5 patterns and each motor has 5 speeds.

The buttons are raised, making it easy to find them without looking, and easy to press. Once you’ve memorised which side is treble and which is bass, you can operate the toy completely by feel.

Final Verdict

The Kurve is a damn good toy.

I do have a couple of small complaints that I hope will be ironed out in subsequent versions. Most notably, the seam between the silicone shaft and plastic handle is uneven in a way that is a little unsightly on an otherwise luxurious looking toy (not to mention a potential bacteria trap.) It would also be nice to be able to control patterns independently for each motor, as well as speed.

In the scheme of things, though, they’re small issues and this is a great product that I heartily recommend and that has earned a place in my quick-grab toy basket.

The Kurve retails for £99.

Thanks to Hot Octopuss for sending me this product in exchange for an honest review. All views, as always, are mine. Affiliate links appear in this post.

[Guest Post] Happy Never After by Velvet Divine

Velvet Divine (fae/faer) is becoming something of a C&K regular at this point! I’m delighted to welcome faer back again with this wonderful person piece about being on the aromantic spectrum. Don’t forget to follow Velvet on Twitter!

Happy Never After by Velvet Divine

It’s fitting that I compose this piece as Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week comes to a close.

Let’s start from the top – my name is Velvet Alicia Lilith-Victoria Azshara Divine. I am trans-femme, non-binary, Sapphic, and – most recently discovered – aroflux.

Aroflux falls under the aromantic spectrum and is described as fluctuating between points of aromanticism (not experiencing romantic attraction) and alloromanticism (experiencing romantic attraction.)

I describe my particular experience as an inability to distinguish between romantic and strong platonic affection. I love my partners in the same manner that I do my closest friends, the only real difference comes in the manner that those affections are expressed and reciprocated.

This can also make something as simple as a crush or casual interest wildly frustrating as I’m never sure if I want to friend-up or bone-down, much less where the other party stands! Furthermore, it’s quite a hurdle to forming any semblance of a relationship or consistent companionship, at least on any level north of the platonic.

Alloromantic folks are (understandably) reticent about getting involved with someone on the aro spectrum and for those that I have been involved with, it was always understood to be an ephemeral arrangement, lasting just until the fire faded or they found an alloromantic partner.

I wish I could tell you that I’ve embraced being aroflux as easily and even enthusiastically as I have being non-binary, but that would be a fib of the highest order.

Most days I resent the realization.

As someone who has a voracious craving for physical intimacy and relies on sexual intimacy to find validation despite vicious gender dysphoria and body dysmorphia, it’s a cruel joke to only find those things in incredibly niche circumstances.

In no way do I want to imply that physical or sexual intimacy is necessary for a whole and fulfilling life or relationship, but these are aspects of intimacy that are important to me. Moreover, by niche circumstances, I refer to the already small dating pool as a trans femme Sapphic being further shrunken by those willing to engage in the necessary level of communication and understanding to navigate the caveats of my being aroflux.

Ironically enough, I’ve been essentially navigating the hookup and casual sex scenes as an aroflux person, just without the label. My various trysts and liaisons were short-term or consented to end at a set point – whether I felt I had too much going on to try to establish a relationship or the other party found a partner more suitable. At points, I even thought it was simply a matter of working through my baggage and trauma before I would be able to connect with someone on that level.

As my therapy progressed and under the copious amount of self-reflection required to cope with the current pandemic, I had the opportunity to do a lot of self-reflection and evaluation of what it is that I truly want out of an interpersonal relationship. This is when I began to realize just how little difference there was in my interactions and expressions of affection between my intimate partners and my close platonic friends. Often, the difference was only a matter of physical or sexual intimacy.

There’s an incredible beauty to the way I approach relationships and I’m endlessly bemused by the fae-like, casual contracts I have with certain connections regarding the comfortable ways we can exchange affection and the term limits that dictate until when that mode of affection may continue. But now and then I feel almost cheated.

I have a lot of trauma surrounding attachment and abandonment, to the point that I will frequently check in with people I’m close to just to ensure that my company is still desired in some capacity. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve expressed some version of the sentiment, “I don’t care in what capacity, I just want to be a part of your journey”. Up until recently, I had always held out hope for that fairytale type romance, whether that came in the form of one partner or many – the type of love my mother has told me my entire life does not exist and that society all too often tries to tell me that I’m not worthy of.

Now, by some caprice of fate, the door to a classic happily-ever-after is closed to me. 

I know that romantic love is far from the end-all-be-all, and maybe my current frustrations stem from a place of internalized arophobia and conditioned amatonormativity, but I find that I no longer have any clear picture or idea of what a possible physically intimate relationship would look like for me. A dear friend of mine recently asked me what the ideal scenario would look like for me and I said that the most plausible scenarios would be some kind of non-monogamous situation or some kind of queerplatonic arrangement with another allosexual aromantic person in a similar position. 

I could carry on as I have and see for how long this revolving door method is sustainable, but I’m tired of having to get close to people who will not be staying or being a placeholder until a better alternative appears. I could come to terms with the fact that what I want is unattainable and that it’d be better in the long run for me to get used to filling those needs with toys or vicariously through ethical and worker-owned media, but I can’t imagine either filling the gnawing void. Maybe nothing ever will. Which would track for me.

None of this to say that I don’t receive an overwhelming amount of love and support from my friends, I do, and I’m beyond grateful for it. However, there are things that my platonic friends cannot do for me, one of them being to commiserate with me on this topic. As far as I know, none of my friends are aro, and the few aros that I have met are aro-ace. So while there’s plenty of solidarity and support to be had around being aspec in an allo world, I don’t have anyone to relate to my specific situation.

I’m allowing myself the time and space to mourn the model and vision I had for myself as far as relationships go, even deleting my dating apps and taking myself off the proverbial goblin market while I work through some issues that continue to impact my interpersonal relations.

I hope that with time, I’ll learn to like and appreciate being aroflux for what it is. But until then I’m choosing to give myself grace for once and let the process play out.

I pay all my guest writers and would like to increase the rate, hire more amazing writers, or both. If you want to see more new voices on C&K, head to the Tip Jar to show your support!

I Need Noise!

Say something – do it soon, it’s too quiet in this room
I need noise, I need the buzz of a sub
Need the crack of a whip, need some blood in the cut

– K Flay

Something I’ve heard multiple times throughout the pandemic is the assumption that introverts will be fine. After all, we like staying inside and keeping things low-key and not interacting with anyone… right?

Well, as it turns out, not really.

I’m an introvert and I am decidedly not fine at all. Yes, I value my own space. Yes, I sometimes prefer to stay in as opposed to going out (sometimes.) And yes, I’ll often choose spaces that are a little quieter and a little less crowded. But the keywords in all of this are sometimes and often.

No-one, not even the most introverted introvert, is supposed to live like this for a year or more.

For me, once the initial tidal wave of panic and fear passed sometime in late March last year, the not-okayness has been a slowly rising fog. Some days it’s denser than others. Sometimes I almost think it’s almost cleared, then I’ll realise I can’t see a metre in front of my face. And one of the things that is driving me absolutely crazy is the relentless fucking quietness of everything.

As I recently told my friends, “I want to go clubbing. I don’t even really like clubbing any more, but I want to go.” I want to go to a packed London bar, the kind of place where you have to fight your way through a crowd just to get a drink. I want to dance shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, make eye contact with a girl I’ll never dare approach, accept a drink thrust at me by a guy I’ll never fuck.

I want to be the first on the dancefloor at a sex club, shamelessly pulling my dress off over my head to reveal something extraordinarily black and tiny and lacy underneath. To take a spin around the pole before I’ve drunk enough to render it a bad idea. To blow a kiss to that cute couple and wonder if it’s their first time when they blush. I want to hear the music punctuated by whip cracks and squeals of blissful pain and moans of pleasure.

I want the kind of place where you have to shout to be heard. Where the music thumps so loud and heavy that I can feel it rising through the floor and throbbing in my legs, my stomach, my cunt. I want somewhere I can be anonymous, one of a crowd. Somewhere I can get out of my head. Somewhere that’s such an overwhelming assault on the senses that I couldn’t think clearly even if I wanted to.

It’s too fucking quiet and I can hardly stand it any more. I need noise. I need the kind of noise that silences what’s in my head. Now. Please.

So please check in with your introvert-identified friends as much as you do with the extroverts. Please don’t assume we’re fine. And please don’t make the jokes about how we’ve been training for this our whole lives – we’ve heard them all and they’re not funny anymore, if they ever were.

Who wants to go somewhere BUSY and LOUD when all this is over?

Quote Quest badge, for a post about quiet and noise during the pandemic

Today’s post was inspired by Quote Quest, a meme by the lovely LSB. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing about this week! And if you enjoyed this post, please buy me a coffee?