Blog

[Guest Post] Is All Sex Transactional? By Anaene Achinu

Today’s guest post comes from Anaene Achinu (she/her) who has written for Coffee & Kink once before. I’m thrilled to be hosting her words here again! Today she’s talking about transactional sex and the ways in which it can be problematic.

Amy x

Is All Sex Transactional? The Danger of Implied Terms in Sex

Very few things in life come ex gratia. Our basic needs – food, clothes and shelter – nearly always come at a price, regardless of the century, geographical location or culture you live in.

The world laughs at those who think life is a fruit tree, waiting to be plucked without a fee. The blurrier the transaction, the harder it is to get the best from it. This is why we have contracts, verbal agreements, implied terms and conditions, and so on.

When we fulfil our end of a bargain, we act in good faith, an interesting combination of hope and entitlement because, despite our finest attempts, the other party can still back out at the last minute.

Heterosexual sex is quite the phenomenon. Here we have two people, a man and a woman, in a position where they are to “consummate” their attraction to each other. However, in my experience, the bedroom tends to be more of a negotiation room. We are not inches away from the finish line, no, this is the climax.

Regardless of the physical stimulation experienced by both parties, society has never really considered sex to be anything more than an inconvenience for women, even when they proclaim otherwise. Pornography often teaches us that sex is a performance, a place where sex is acted upon a woman, a mere object and recipient to the erect pleasure of a man.

Even the LGBTQ section, especially lesbian content, is targeted for men; a virtual enactment of their fantasies. It is no wonder women, even the most libidinous, rarely have the luxury of seeing it from an uncomplicatedly carnal point of view. There is an imbalance somewhere.

The politics of sex shows us that sex is rarely solely about penetration. It is viewed as a prize awarded to the man for his efforts, his swaying and wooing and spending. In the case where a woman pursues it, it is empowering, flipping the script, asserting sexual autonomy, maybe even just an itch to scratch. Even when it is the other way around, the fact remains that sex is often viewed as trade-by-barter, a physical expression of a social, financial and at times emotional exchange.

I grew up with strong religious convictions, praying to the biblical God to wipe me clean, to rid me of my sex dreams, to aid me in my pursuit of sexual purity until marriage. And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for a childhood acquaintance five years ago.

Suddenly, the concept of lust, a sin I was told to flee from, felt like a cruel joke, something only a wicked person would say. I did not go all the way with him, because my virginity was a badge of honor back then, but I had tasted the forbidden fruit.

Of course, this was not a purely sexual arrangement. He had to wine me, dine me. Text me every other minute. Send a meme. Compliment me, unprovoked. Give and take. He gave me his time, his ideas, his encouragement. I gave him my body. And although pleasurable to the both of us, it was clear who was the one in control. No malice, no dark undertone intended.

When you receive, be it gifts or sex or something else entirely, without stating your desires before, during or even after, you will lick the crumbs and say thank you. It was not a coincidence that as soon as we started making out regularly, the other perks evaporated. No more movie nights, no more open mics. The compliments still came, but mostly as a result of the acts I performed, or my reception of his skills.

Is that a bad thing?

It could be.

Financial, emotional, or social vulnerability can disrupt the germination of a mutually beneficial relationship. He pays for all of the meals, you love him more than you love yourself. Your biological clock is ticking. You have too much at stake. Exploitation sets in. It can be subtle or it can be overpowering, but it is bound to happen.

For a long time, I assumed that by acting in good faith, by holding up your end of the deal, the other party would do their own share of the work, and we would all live happily ever after. Oh, the joys of naive intelligence, where you are incapable of seeing past the logic of “doing the right thing”.

Then I met him. A man in a long-distance marriage who thought I was remarkable, who couldn’t get enough of me. The relationship had been blurry from the start, arising from a mentor/mentee relationship to surface level parental-style guidance, culminating in an expression of latent sexual feelings for a young, fresh girl with a sharp mouth not saddled down by marriage and children and a competitive career.

To an extent, we were kindred spirits. I was who he would have been if he had not given in to the conventions of a nuclear family. I was unattached, no obligations, no raison d’etre other than to simply be. He was an embodiment of rags to riches, a walking parable of the looming fear of tasting all too familiar poverty once again.

He worked hard, although he was looking for ways to work smart. Meeting him in that hotel room was an act of curiosity, digging into what it really means when sex is a weapon of mass destruction. Bottom power. And it worked, when I did not demand much. The potency dwindled when I started asking for things outright. Suddenly, our text messages were filled with excuses.

But that’s not all. As I demanded more, he demanded I earned it by risking my safety, proposing all sorts of adventures, looking for adrenaline.

The ultimate was when he asked me to come to his family home, posing as an employee. It baffled me, the audacity. What can one say? Tit for tat. I will acknowledge that at the time, I was unemployed, flat out broke, financially vulnerable, all known to him. Yet, he had every intention to make me work for it, to the detriment of my personhood.

At first, I left the affair wounded. Had I been in love with him, or wanted something more from him besides the clandestine meetings or intellectual sparrings, perhaps one could have questioned my lucidity. But the terms and conditions were implied.

I present to you my youth, my freedom, my body. You buy the meals, the experiences, the gadgets. The obvious disparity in age, class and pedigree. You pay in part and in full. However, the other party in this contract showed that he was not in it for the long haul, so I dissolved the contract.

We live in a world where no matter the role you play, as a woman you take the heat for it. You owe it to yourself to be explicit in your wants and needs, to take control of whatever capacity you can, regardless of the nature of the sexual relationship.

Most women learn this with time and age. But we must document these things. Archiving our experiences will prevent a lot of unnecessary trauma in the future. It is an honor to discuss this, however morally questionable to some. I continuously look forward to the possibilities, of a life where women are confident, where they have less to lose, and ultimately, where the scale is balanced.

Anaene Achinu is a New York based writer.

Things That Matter More to Me Than Looks

I won’t pretend that looks are completely unimportant to me in a relationship. There does need to be a level of physical attraction – I need to be physically into my partners and have them be physically into me. But looks only get you so far and they’re so much less important than a great many other things.

I have met people I was physically attracted to, only to have that attraction greatly diminish or completely switch off due to some other trait in the person. At least a couple of crushes have been snuffed out when the hot person turned out to be an asshole.

So here are a few things that are ultimately way more important than looks.

Kindness

When it comes to dating someone or having them as a close person in my life, this is probably the single most important attribute they can possess. If someone isn’t kind, I’m unlikely to want to get close to them.

Even if I’m not immediately physically attracted to someone, kindness is one of the most reliable indicators that attraction could grow.

Things in Common

Obviously, no two people have everything in common. And separate interests and activities can be healthy in a relationship. But if we don’t have enough in common that we can share at least some hobbies and enjoy doing some things together, that’s unlikely to be a good fit for anything more than a very casual fling.

Matching Goals for the Relationship

I’ve been in relationships before where we wanted wildly different things out of it, and this is its own special kind of hell. While some things are open for negotiation, our core hopes and goals for the relationship should match. If one person wants a very serious, entangled relationship and the other wants friendship with casual sex, that’s likely to lead to resentment and frustration on both sides.

Compatible Kinks

Sex is important! If I’m going to have a romantic relationship with someone, chances are that sex and kink are going to be a part of it. That means that compatible kinks matter.

Again, no two people will have 100% crossover. Kinks and preferences are far too unique and nuanced for that. But there needs to be a pretty significant overlap for things to work.

I’m primarily a submissive, so while I enjoy dating switches, dating someone who wanted to bottom a lot of the time wouldn’t work for me. Likewise, dating someone whose main kink is my hard limit is unlikely to end well for either of us.

Similar Politics

Some people believe you can have very different or even opposite politics and still have a relationship. I do not believe that. I need someone whose politics are broadly aligned with mine if we’re going to be partners, lovers, or even close friends.

We don’t need to agree on everything. I think nuanced discussion and learning things from each other can be a wonderful part of a trusting relationship. But realistically, no-one who is right of centre is ever going to be a good match for me. We need to be on the same page about the important stuff.

What matters more to you than looks? Let me know in the comments.

Quote Quest post about things that matter more than looks

I wrote this piece as part of Quote Quest, a weekly meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the button to see who else was inspired by this week’s quote! And if today’s piece resonated with you, you can always buy me a coffee to say thanks!

[Toy Review] We-Vibe Touch X

Earlier this week, I reviewed the Tango X from We-Vibe’s new and updated range. Today, in much the same theme, we’re discussing the We-Vibe Touch X.

However, my perspective on this is slightly different. I’ve never tried or owned the original We-Vibe Touch, so this is a stand-alone review rather than a point of comparison. So just know that going in.

We-Vibe Touch X

The We-Vibe Touch X is a petite, palm-sized clitoral vibrator with a concave side and a tapered tip.

We-Vibe Touch X clitoral vibrator

It measures 4″ in total length and is made of 100% body-safe, smooth silicone. Mine is pink (well, it’s really more pinkish orange) and it is also available in a dark sea-green.

Clitoral vibrator with tapered tip for pinpoint clit stimulation. Vibrator by We-Vibe

The Touch X is fully waterproof and USB rechargeable. It comes with a small white silky storage bag.

User Interface

The We-Vibe Touch X features 8 levels of intensity and 7 patterns. The simple user interface is identical to that of the Tango X: two buttons to change the intensity up and down, and a central button to switch between patterns.

Vibrator buttons on the We-Vibe Touch X powerful external vibrator

The buttons are intuitively placed and relatively easy to press. However, they’re a bit fiddly due to their small size. I would have liked them to be a little bigger.

The Touch X also features a cool press-and-hold button functionality, so you can just hold the up or down button until you get the exact level of intensity you’re after.

Power and Experience

I think the new generation Touch has the same motor as the new Tango X. However, I found that the silicone dampened the vibrations to such an extent that they felt far weaker and more buzzy.

Side view of We-Vibe Touch X new generation clit vibe

Though I can get off with the Touch X, I found it a pretty frustrating experience. As a big lover of We-Vibe products, I kept thinking that this couldn’t be as high as the power goes… but it was.

I do like the tapered shape, but the vibrations themselves were disappointing. I can comfortably say this is by far the most underwhelming We-Vibe product I’ve tried, and I doubt I’ll be reaching for it again.

Verdict

Perhaps it’s because I tried the Tango X first (and ohhhmyyygoddd) but I found the Touch X… just okay.

It’s well-designed and I like the shape. I certainly have no serious complaints. The motor is decent, like all We-Vibe toys. However, I think the silicone just dampened the vibrations a little too much for me. The result was all buzz and not intense enough. I don’t get the deep, satisfying rumble from the Touch X that both Tango models provide.

If you like a still-respectable-but-slightly-gentler vibration, get the Touch. If you need pinpoint stimulation or intense, rumbly power, the Tango X will be your new best friend.

The Touch X retails for £79.99/$79.

Thanks to Wow Tech for sending me the We-Vibe Touch X in exchange for an honest review. You can support the blog and send a small commission my way at no extra charge by shopping through the affiliate links in this post.

[Toy Review] We-Vibe Tango X

One of the world’s most powerful bullet vibrators – not to mention the most popular – has had a makeover! It’s well known that I have long been a big fan of the Tango, We-Vibe’s tiny, unassuming, knock-your-socks-off bullet. So I obviously jumped at the chance to review the brand new We-Vibe Tango X, which was released recently.

We-Vibe Tango X: What’s Changed?

There are a few notable differences between the Tango X and the original We-Vibe Tango. The X is slightly larger, measuring just under 10cm in from base to tip (the original is around 8.5cm.)

We-Vibe Tango X and Tango Original comparison

The new Tango X retains the signature lipstick-style tapered tip of the original, but features a silicone grip around the base. This makes it more comfortable to hold and means that your hand gets vibrated slightly less in use.

The Tango X has had a motor upgrade, taking this already super-powerful bullet vibe up to the next level. Its battery life has had a boost, too – you’ll now get around 2 hours playtime out of a 90 minute charge.

Finally – and this is a big deal – the controls have been upgraded. Instead of the original Tango’s one-button interface in the base of the toy, the Tango X features three buttons, allowing you to cycle between patterns and change speeds up and down with ease. The power buttons also feature a press-and-hold function, allowing you to choose exactly what level of power you want simply by holding the button down.

The Tango X features 7 patterns and 8 intensity levels. It is waterproof, USB rechargeable, and features a travel lock. In the box, you’ll also find the charging cable, a sachet of We-Vibe water-based lube, and a white silky storage bag. My Tango X is navy blue, but it also comes in pink.

In Use

The tiny but mighty Tango has always been a great toy, and this new iteration continues that tradition. It is light (less than 40g!), the new handle makes it ergonomic and comfortable to hold, and small enough to pop in your bag or pocket. The dream travel toy when you need to economise on space!

We-Vibe Tango X clitoral bullet vibrator

And those vibrations… good lord.

This new edition Tango delivers in that department and then some. The vibrations are powerful as fuck. Not only that, they’re also rumbly as fuck. There’s no surface-level, numbing buzz here – it’s all powerful, intense rumbles. Think of it as a deep tissue massage for your bits!

The Tango X is also surprisingly quiet, making it a great choice if discretion is a must for you. The new style buttons are a little smaller than I would ideally like, but intuitively located and easy enough to press.

Like the original Tango, the Tango X’s shape is dreamy. You can use the shaft for broader stimulation, or the tapered end for perfect, precision clit stim. It’s small enough to slide between bodies during penetrative sex, if that’s your thing.

We-Vibe Tango X bullet vibrator

Honestly, I’m a simple creature when it comes to my sex toys. I want intense, rumbly power that is easy to use and gets me off. In that respect, the Tango X delivers and then some.

Verdict

An upgrade in every way! I often roll my eyes when toy companies release “new and improved” versions, adding features that no-one asked for and upping the price. But the X is legitimately an improvement on an already great product.

It has everything you love about the original Tango, only with better controls, a more comfortable grip, and even more power.

Yes, yes, yes! An absolute winner.

The Tango X retails for £79.99/$79.

Thanks to Wow Tech for sending me the We-Vibe Tango X to review. You can purchase the Tango X from Lovehoney or Peepshow Toys and help me out by sending a small commission my way!

Edge Play: How to Safely Experiment with Darker Kinks

“Don’t worry about the darkness in my soul. It ignites me like an embered coal.”
– Anon

I’ve written before about the darkness we all have within us somewhere, and the ways in which I feel it is important to honour the dark parts of ourselves rather than running from them. I believe that consensual kink is one of the places that we can safely revel in our darkness in a controlled and safe way.

I’m deliberately not defining what a “dark kink” is here, because it’s different for everyone. One person’s hardcore edge play is another person’s average Friday night. If you’re playing around your edges, you’re doing edge play, and this advice will be useful to you.

Ensure your partner is enthusiastic about going there with you

Consent is always vital, of course. But it takes on a new level when you’re experimenting with your edges or your darkness. Edge play is inherently risky – even if there’s limited physical danger, it’s entirely possible for someone to end up triggered or traumatised.

This applies to Tops, too, by the way. Tops get to give or withhold consent just as much as bottoms do – and Tops can also be traumatised by engaging in something that they’re not fully consenting to or something that goes wrong.

Practice RACK

Risk-aware consensual kink, or RACK, acknowledges that we cannot eliminate all risks inherent in sex and BDSM. But we can take steps to understand and mitigate them.

So if you’re going to try something edgy, take the time to understand the physical, mental, and emotional risks in what you want to do. Once you understand them, put

By the way: when you start doing this, you might decide the reality is too risky and you’d like to keep this kink as fantasy-only, for now or forever. That’s fine too – you get to pull the plug at any stage.

Have an aftercare plan

Don’t try edge play or a kink that’s straying into darker territory for you the night before a big meeting or an early start or a long drive. Ideally, if you’re going to experiment with edgier kinks, it’s best to do so when you’ll have plenty of time to recover, take things very easy, and take care of yourself.

Talk to your partner about an aftercare plan ahead of time. Ensure they’re fully briefed on what you’re likely to need and willing to provide it – and willing to adapt on the fly if the reality turns out to be slightly different.

A good aftercare plan might involve a long sleep, time to cuddle and debrief with your partner, and your favourite snacks within easy reach. Remember that drop from an intense scene can hit several days later, so plan how you’ll handle it if that happens.

Take it slowly

It’s always better to come away from a scene still wanting more than to come away upset or traumatised because you went too far. Remember that there will always be a next time.

Take things slowly, check in often, and don’t try to do everything all at once. If you’re experimenting with a new kink that’s edgy for you, maybe start out just by reading some erotica together or doing some dirty talk around it. When you do start playing, only go as far as feels good… and try to stop before you hit the “shit, we went too far” point.

Get some advice and do your research

Almost any kinky thing you want to do, I guarantee that someone else has already done it and probably created a tutorial on it. So do your research, learn as much as you can, and if possible get some advice from an expert. Many local kink clubs and swing venues hold tutorials on how to do various kinky activities safely (outside of pandemic times, obviously) – and you can also find endless resources online.

Other people’s experiences can’t prepare you for every single eventuality, but they can give you more context, help you think through how you’d handle various scenarios, and show you some of the common pitfalls to be aware of.

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!

[Lingerie Review] Lovehoney Captivate Black Lace Spanking Dress

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which can mean only one thing: a host of new lingerie and sex toy offerings! This is my third review of Lovehoney’s new Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired Captivate range (check out parts 1 and 2 here.)

By the way: there’s still time to join our free smut slam if you’re looking for a fun and socially-distanced Valentine’s Day activity!

Today we’re looking at…

Captivate Black Lace Spanking Dress

I love one-piece lingerie. I love it because it’s usually relatively comfortable, easy to wear, and easy to get on and off during sex club adventures. (*sigh* sex clubs… remember those?) It’s also often more forgiving for those of us who are well-endowed in the boob department.

So I was excited to try out the Captivate Spanking Dress.

Fifty Shades of Grey spanking dress packaging

It came packaged in a cardboard sleeve featuring a picture of the model and a hilarious(ly terrible) Fifty Shades quote on the back.

Fifty Shades of Grey Fifty Shades Darker quote

Inside, the dress was packaged inside a plastic film wrapper, with a piece of cardboard inside to help it keep its shape.

Lovehoney Captivate Spanking Dress

First impressions: wow, this is super tiny! I can’t see any way I’m ever going to fit in that! However, I quickly realised that it is also super stretchy. This “one size” version fits me (a size 12/14) comfortably, and is supposed to fit anyone from size 8-16. There’s also two plus-size versions, one to fit sizes 18-24 and one to fit sizes 26-30.

Woman in Fifty Shades of Grey lingerie black lace spanking dress

The floral mesh is pretty and feminine with just a little bit of a kink-inspired edge. The skirt reaches to just below the butt, and the hem and neckline are edged with pretty floral lace trim. The deep V-neck gives amazing cleavage, and the collar-style neck adds to the soft BDSM aesthetic.

Neckline of Lovehoney spanking dress from Fifty Shades lingerie line

At the back, the butt is fully cut away which is both sexy as hell and allows easy access for impact play. Wearing it just makes me want to bend over and get spanked!

Womans butt in black lace lingerie spanking dress

The Captivate Black Lace Spanking Dress retails for £24.99 from Lovehoney.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me these knickers to review. All thoughts, as always, my own. Shopping via my affiliate links sends a small commission my way at no extra cost to you.

[Guest Post] How I Accidentally Brought Out the Kink in My Vanilla Partner by Erato Feistein

Today’s guest post is from a new-to-C&K writer, Erato Feistein (she/her.) I love this piece because I’ve always dated other already-kinky people, so a story about introducing kink to a previously-vanilla partner is quite a different story! What I love about this piece is that it didn’t require the relationship to get to crisis point before kink was introduced to “save” it, and no-one cheated or did anything shitty. It’s a lovely example of how communication, honesty, and vulnerability can take a relationship from great to amazing.

I’ll hand you over to Erato. And if you want to write for me, check out the pitch guidelines.

Amy x

How I Accidentally Brought Out the Kink in My Vanilla Partner by Erato Feistein

Whenever I begin exploring sex with a new person, I am always nervous to go all-out with my desires. I wonder if my partner will be able to accept my sexual desires. I be perceived as “freaky” or “sex-crazed”? How do I introduce my kinks to them and will they receive them with an open mind? 

Kink shaming is very real, especially in countries where sex education is not valued. As a child in Eastern Europe, my only conversation about sex included my aunt demonstrating how to properly put on a condom using a desk reading lamp. I had never heard girls or women openly talk about sexual pleasure until I was in my 20s. A friend of mine, left wanting more from her partner, asked me “Will he always be this vanilla? When does it get spicy?” 

It takes a level of trust to confide your sexy secrets to your new partner. Sometimes, your kinks don’t match up with theirs. It can be hard to find romantic partners who share our ideas of great sex. But chances are, your partner(s) are aching to please you. It’s just a matter of open communication. 

When I started dating my current boyfriend a year ago, we didn’t talk about our sex life. I had accepted our conventional coitus and didn’t bring up anything that could be considered a “deviation” from it. He seemed to be enjoying it, so I didn’t want to disappoint him by voicing that I needed more. I didn’t bring it up for a couple of months, until I decided to weave in some kink references into our conversations to see what kind of reaction I would get out of him. 

Almost as a joke, I suggested that we take the BDSM test as an informal reference point for our preferences. While my results were a colourful mix of masochist, rope bunny, experimentalist and switch, his results came out as mostly vanilla. 

As we are in a monogamous relationship, finding sexual pleasure elsewhere was out of the question. So we sat down to have the anticipated conversation about how we can both be sexually satisfied, without overstepping each other’s boundaries. This got us talking about our desires, fantasies, and favorites in sex. To my pleasant surprise, he was really interested in the things that turned me on, even if those included rope play, for example – something he had never tried before. We talked over the things we would never do (hard limits) and set up clear parameters for the things we were willing to try together. 

Honestly, I was not expecting this conversation to go so smoothly and for him to be so open to exploring new things for us to try. So far so good. But was he actually willing to do those things, or was he just fascinated by the variety of kinks and fetishes that exist? Well, let’s just say that the next time we had sex he tied up my wrists and ankles with my satin scarves and even choked me a little bit! The next time, he poured hot candle wax on me. I would say it was significantly less vanilla than our usual sex play. 

I recognized my partner’s efforts to adhere to my sexual desires and that in itself was a huge turn-on. Since he was actively trying to understand my wants and needs, I made sure to check in with him and ask him if it was something enjoyable for him, too. I worried if he was going too far out of his comfort zone to please me without finding pleasure for himself. Many of the things we were trying out were brand new to him. 

When I asked how he felt about the kinks we had incorporated, he told me he was actually surprised how much he liked it! 

In our daily lives, I am certainly the more dominant one – very outspoken and sometimes a bit controlling. As he tends to be more laid-back and reserved in his day-to-day, he said exploring dominance and kink in our sex life has been refreshing for him. It is a space where he can safely delve into another version of himself. Being dominated and degraded tends to have the same effect for me – I can release the need to control the situation and allow myself to be vulnerable under someone else’s authority. In a way, this power shift teaches both of us about the spectrum of our emotions and characters. 

So it turns out, my partner is not so vanilla after all. We just needed some open communication to build that level trust in our relationship to experiment sexually. Our conversations and ventures into kink have opened up a whole new world of ideas in our relationship. We have both found new things that turn us on and work for us. 

While I realize this is certainly not the case for every sexual partnership, educating each other and talking openly about our wants and needs in sex opened up my partner to the world of kink, which has definitely been a positive shift in both our sex life and our relationship. 

About the Author

Author pic for Erato Feistein

Erato Feistein is a freelance writer, photographer and digital marketer in the daytime. At night, she comes alive with the desire to share her erotic tales with the world. While she is new to the field of sex writing, she hopes to share her personal experiences with other open-minded people and, in turn, both teach and learn a thing or two about kink and sex. Outside of her daily digital life, she loves to climb cliffs (preferably with rope), experiment in the kitchen, and go on long, romantic walks on the beach with her dog, Ella.

[Lingerie Review] Lovehoney Captivate Lace Open-Back Knickers

Valentine’s Day is coming up! Whether you’re looking for a gift for a lover, a sexy treat for yourself, or ignoring the day altogether, this is always a great time of year for new lingerie and sex toy releases. Lovehoney’s new Captivate lingerie line has just launched in time for Valentine’s, and I’ve got a couple of mini reviews coming out this week.

By the way: are you looking for a fun stay-at-home Valentine’s date idea? Join us for our seasonal and totally free smut slam!

The Captivate line is inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey, which I… don’t love. To address something people keep asking me, I review Fifty Shades-inspired products because the reality is that a LOT of people will come to sexual exploration via that franchise, and I want to give them informed choice about what’s worth their money.

Check out last week’s review of the Captivate Bra Set, and check out the whole range here. Today, we’re looking at…

Captivate Lace Open-Back Knickers

These crotchless knickers came packaged in a black and grey cardboard sleeve bearing the Captivate branding. Recyclable, yay!

Fifty Shades of Grey Captivate knickers packaging

The less said about THIS insult to literature that’s printed on the reverse side, the better:

Fifty Shades of Grey Fifty Shades Darker quote

The knickers are folded neatly inside the sleeve.

Fifty Shades of Grey black crotchless knickers

First impressions: the lace feels nice and soft, and I like the feminine combination of the floral motif and frilly trim around the split. A black bow adds a cute finishing touch. I’ll probably cut off the Fifty Shades insignia charm, to be honest.

Fifty Shades of Grey Captivate black lace open-back knickers

These knickers are open at the crotch and butt for ease of access for sex, spanking, or whatever else you feel like doing. The effect is a sexy, oval-shaped opening, showing off your butt.

Fifty Shades of Grey Captivate black lace open-back knickers

I think they look pretty good on me, don’t you?

I love lingerie that is sexy without being horrendously uncomfortable, and these knickers deliver. They sit comfortably, don’t pinch or dig in anywhere, and the lace is soft enough for all-day wear.

The Captivate Lace Open-Back Knickers are available in 4 sizes, to fit UK sizes 8 to 22. I’m currently wearing a 12/14 and I ordered the M/L size as recommended, which ran true to size and fit me well. The waistband and leg holes are stretchy, allowing for some wiggle-room on sizing.

Captivate Lace Open-Back Knickers retail for £12.99 from Lovehoney. Enter my code “coffkink10” in the coupon box at checkout to get 10% off your entire order.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me these knickers to review. All thoughts, as always, my own. Shopping via my affiliate links sends a small commission my way at no extra cost to you.

[Lube Review] The Butters Palm Grease High Viscosity Lube

The original lube from The Butters Hygienics Co was the first product I tried from this company, way back in the dark ages of 2018. It was one of those products I really wanted to love. And I did love it in theory – but in practice it didn’t work for me.

I am an experimental soul, so for the last in my series of The Butters product reviews, we’re looking at the Palm Grease High Viscosity Lube.

The Butters Palm Grease oil-based lube

A reminder that The Butters Hygienics Co is a small, Black- and queer-owned company that produces 100% handmade and vegan products at affordable prices. Use my code “coffeeandkink” at checkout to get a small discount and to send a commission my way.

The Butters Hygienics Co Palm Grease High Viscosity Lube

Palm Grease is The Butters’ high viscosity personal lubricant, designed for “fist fucking, dick stroking, long play, and other high viscosity needs.”

Oil-based lube high viscosity from Get The Butters

It contains three ingredients:

  • Palm butter, a nutrient-rich fat that is great for the skin.
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Vitamin E

And… that’s it. Three body-safe, animal-friendly, and skin-loving ingredients.

Palm Grease is white in colour and semi-solid at room temperature, a bit like coconut oil. Its melting point is 103F or 39.4C, just above normal body temperature, so it will melt easily and become useable when you take some out of the pot and rub it between your hands. It has a very faint planty smell (for want of a better description.)

Palm Grease oil-based personal lubricant vegan

By the way: Palm Grease is compatible with all body-safe sex toy materials including silicone, glass, stainless steel, and ABS plastic. It is also fine to use with nitrile, polyurethane, and similar barriers – but NOT compatible with latex.

How does it feel?

So, I don’t generally love the feeling of oils on my hands. In fact, if I’m cooking and get oil on my hands I have to wash it off as quicky as possible. Call it a weird sensory thing, I don’t know. For that reason, I don’t generally gravitate towards oil-based lubes.

Still, I was determined to go in with an open mind and give Palm Grease a fair shot at winning me over.

So, you really only need a little bit. Palm Grease is deceptive in how far it goes once it’s melted. And good lord, they were not kidding about the “high viscosity” thing. This stuff seriously lasts. For that reason, I can see it being great for activities like fisting and anal sex where a lot of reliable lubrication is required.

Vegan lube oil-based

But… it just really doesn’t feel good to me. This isn’t a criticism of the product itself, which is objectively of high quality. But the feeling of greasiness was so wildly distracting to me that all I wanted to do was wash my hands as quickly as possible.

Vegan oil-based lube by The Butters

Clean up was relatively easy with soap and warm water. As an aside, my hands felt nice and soft afterwards, which I guess is the skin-friendly ingredients at work.

Pricing

4oz of Palm Grease costs $6.25, and 8oz costs $13.25. You can also buy half a gallon for $90.25 or (!) a whole gallon for $170.25. I can’t conceive of ever needing a GALLON of lube, but I’m sure some of you are out there having a lot more sex than I am!

Verdict

I’m afraid Palm Grease comes down to another case of “I love it in theory but it’s not for me.” I LOVE that there’s a body-safe, vegan, ethically made oil based lube on the market for all your high viscosity needs. But… I just can’t with super oily things on my hands and bits.

It’s the best oil-based lube out there. I just have to conclude I don’t like oil-based lubes!

Thanks to The Butters for sending me this lube to review! Don’t forget to check out their fabulous selection and use my code “coffeeandkink” to get a discount at checkout.

[Impact Toy Review] Sportsheets Vegan Saffron Layer Paddle

(I hope it goes without saying that what follows is a personal stance only, and I cast absolutely no judgement on people who make different choices – ethics are complex, personal, and multi-faceted, and we should all trust one another to make the best decisions for ourselves and our circumstances.)

I’ve mentioned before that I have complicated feelings about leather as a material. I love the look, the feel, the smell… but it also poses an ethical dilemma. I don’t eat meat and have recently been changing aspects of my diet to move closer to veganism, and for a long time I’ve only purchased vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics. So if I don’t eat animals, is it ethical to wear or use products made from them?

Even though leather is a meat industry byproduct (kind of, it’s actually more complex than that), I still worry that buying it supports that industry – even indirectly. The process of leather tanning is also environmentally problematic… though so are many leather alternatives made from polyurethane and similar plastic-based materials.

There are no easy answers to any of this, and I don’t have a hard and fast personal stance on leather for myself yet. I’m leaning towards continuing to love and use what I already own, but not buying any more new items. But that could change.

I share all this to provide a little context to my interest in faux-leather, leather-alternative, and vegan-friendly kink gear. Like this Saffron Layer Paddle from Sportsheets that I’m reviewing today, courtesy of my new friends at Self&More – a woman-owned, gender-inclusive and body-positive sex shop.

Sportsheets Saffron Layer Paddle

The Saffron Layer Paddle comes from Sportsheets’ Saffron range of vegan faux-leather kink products in black and red. It features three layered straps which are coated in fuzzy suede-like material (also vegan) on one side. The stitching is strong and holds up under use.

Vegan paddle from Sportsheets - Saffron Layer Paddle

The paddle is black and red, which are pretty much the quintessential “kink colours”. The outward facing surfaces are red, and the front side of the handle features a polka dot design.

The Saffron Layer Paddle features a loop handle which you can wrap around your wrist while you’re wielding the paddle, or use to hang it for convenient storage. A small tag bears the Sportsheets insignia.

Saffron Layer Paddle vegan BDSM toy

This paddle is 12.2″ long from tip to tip, and 2″ across. It’s super light, which makes it comfortable to hold and easy to wield. I don’t really top very often but on the rare occasions I do, I like toys that I can use until my bottom has had enough (as opposed to when my weak arms give out!)

Its Bark is Worse than Its Bite…

This probably isn’t a paddle for serious pain players, as the impact it delivers is on the gentler side. Pro tip: if you hit with the longest layer impacting the body first, you get a more impressive sting. The impact is pretty surface-level. Since the paddle is so light, you’re unlikely to get any significant thud out of it.

Vegan leather BDSM paddle from Sportsheets Saffron faux leather range

This is one of those paddles that sounds worse than it is. Thanks to the three layers smacking together, it provides a loud and satisfying THWACK even without putting much force behind it. If you’re looking for something that sounds impressive without needing to actually hit very hard, layered paddles are the way to go!

Safety Considerations

Paddles are one of the safest impact toys you can play with (floggers are slightly more dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, and whips are yikes-just-don’t-go-there-without-expert-tuition!) You’re really unlikely to do any damage with a light paddle like this one, so you can play without worrying – even if you’re a complete beginner.

Just remember the golden rules: never hit the joints, spine, lower back and kidney area, head, or face. Aim for fleshy and padded areas like the butt, thighs, and shoulder blades.

Verdict

This is a well-made and reliable basic piece that will serve you well and last a long time if you take care of it. If you’re new to kink or prefer playing on the lighter side and are looking for a vegan-friendly paddle, this is a solid buy.

The Sportsheets Saffron Layer Paddle retails for £24. You can also get 10% off any order at Self&More using my code:

Thanks to Self&More for sending me this product to review. All views, as always, are my own. Shopping using my affiliate links makes me a small commission at no extra cost to you.