So you want to invent a sex toy? Awesome! The world always has room for people doing cool new things in the adult industry. But there are a few common pitfalls that people often fall… More
I’m delighted to be ending my Pride Month guest post series with this personal story from C&K newcomer, The Barefoot Sub. As a fellow queer woman who struggled to know how to define her sexuality, this one resonated with me deeply.
TW: this piece contains discussion of coerced sex and homophobic emotional abuse. Look after yourselves, loves.
Wrapped in Rainbows
It is my understanding that many people know where they lie on the sexuality spectrum from a young age, even if they didn’t always understand exactly what it meant. For some of us, though, it isn’t such a simple path to follow, and I would like to share the journey of how I came to be 37 years old and celebrating my first Pride wrapped up in rainbows.
As a child I was always encouraged to be myself.
Being a tomboy meant I had the freedom to follow my brother. I was never a “girly girl” and gender never seemed to have much to do with anything. As I grew-up, I didn’t experiment with sexuality ike my peers. Make up and push up bras, short skirts and heels – these were all things I didn’t really understand.
This was part nature, but also nurture, as my mum was far from sex-positive and actively chose to protect me from the grown up world of lust and deviance. To this day she holds very conservative views on sex and relationships. As an adult I am now able to have gentle discussions with her on relationship styles, but in those formative years you can imagine how little I was able to learn.
I had been bullied by girls at primary school, for being different.
Though I made friends through secondary school, I walked a fine line within those groups because I still didn’t fit the mould. I was the short-haired, flat-chested rugby player who spent too much time hanging around in mud with her older brother and his friends and I… didn’t even shave my legs! Yes, I was the “butch” one in my year. I didn’t even join in games like “pass the ice pole” with my girlfriends for fear of being classified as the “dyke,” which I was fairly certain I wasn’t.
But what if they were right?
When I first discovered sex, I was only interested in men. When I stumbled across my brother’s secret porn stash I turned a blind eye to the images of beautiful women, choosing instead to read the stories or fuck myself along with the couples. I denied any curiosity as dirty and wrong.
Though I spent a lot of nights out in the gay bars while at University, I only went for the haven they provided, brushing off any attention I received from women. Considering the plentiful experiences I had in my late teens, it is curious that same sex hookups were the one thing that I turned my nose up at. If someone saw me with a woman… what would they think?
It was all too alarming!
The disgrace of my (mostly) liberated sexuality caught up with me after a number of years and I met a man who said he loved me. We married 8 months after meeting, but the insidious slut-shaming began within weeks of us getting together. A mixture of love-bombing and loathing created a dependency on him which I only began to understand two years after we separated. He had quite the knack for eating away at my self-worth, and as such my libido was almost entirely eroded. He was very good at nagging me until I gave in and let him have sex with me, but on the occasions that I refused and wouldn’t be made to feel guilty the name calling would start. It was always around my worst insecurity. “You don’t want to have sex with me because you’re a lesbian” he would say, without fail. And the comments would continue for days afterwards until I relented because, well, I thought I should probably just shut him up. It stopped the taunting.
Until the next time he wanted sex, and then it would start all over again.
After eleven years I was at my wits end and, while I was searching online for a better life, I met someone who would enable me to become my best me. Not that I knew this at the time, of course. I was able to open up to him and, in amongst the fantasies and daydreams, I was able to find the words. I shared what had been in my mind since watching my school friends pass those ice poles: “I’m curious about whether I’m bi-curious.”
He knew how hard that was for me to tell him and the background to my fears. As is his way, he helped me to understand that there would be nothing wrong with me if I did discover I preferred women, and it did not matter what anyone else thought either. It was also ok if I experimented and didn’t enjoy myself.
What was important was for me to be myself.
After a while, he started to test my curiosity by setting me little tasks. They seem little now, but at the time they felt huge and they were a big stretch. Flirting, a kiss, a touch… I had his support in the background, but he gave me the space to learn if the path was right for me.
When work took him away I continued to delve deeper into this new side of me. No tasks this time, just finding my feet and following my heart. There were some less-than-wonderful trials and some incredible liaisons. For the first couple of years I didn’t have much confidence in meeting new people, regardless of their gender. I had no idea how to engage with women as I had shut myself off for so long, in fear of the name calling that would follow a developing friendship.
As I started to make friends through the local fetish and swinging scenes, I found a circle of people who liked me because of me. With my D/s relationship and the acceptance of these communities, my confidence grew and I was able to ask for what I wanted, share my stories, and upgrade my experiences with some truly amazing people from all over the gender spectrum.
Before I stopped being afraid of what my sexuality meant to other people, I had no idea that there could be so much pleasure, fun, and laughter outside of heterosexual relations. A person’s beauty and desirability isn’t necessarily linked to their gender identity or genitalia.
With the support and guidance of Sir, the generosity of spirit that my wonderful friends have showered me with, and a little bravery to conquer my fears, I have learnt that I was right all along. I am not lesbian. But I’m not straight either.
This year marks the fifth pride month since my explorations began, and I am proud to say I am confidently queer and celebrating!
The Barefoot Sub can be found over at A Leap of Faith reminiscing about her self-discovery through kink while also sharing smut that is yet to happen. You can find her over at Twitter, usually getting distracted by the filthy GIFs, and occasionally on Instagram, where she is almost always covered in rope.
I didn’t actually get the Doxy Die Cast as a review unit. I bought it from my friend LSB (who blogs over on Little Switch Bitch – follow her, she’s great!) But, being the ultimate Doxy Fangirl, I thought you guys might be interested in knowing what I thought.
Holy shit, you guys.
For those who are new here and/or have been living on the moon, what is the Doxy Die Cast?
Doxy is a British company based in Cornwall, launched in 2013 to be England’s answer to the famed (not-actually-Hitachi-any-more) Magic Wand. It’s safe to say they met and exceeded that goal, as their products are now sold and renowned globally.
The Doxy Die Cast is functionally very similar to the Doxy Original, with two significant differences:
- The body is metal, specifically an aluminium/titanium alloy (as opposed to the ABS plastic of the Original.)
- The head cover is made of firmer silicone, giving the vibrations a slightly different feel.
Stats & things
The Doxy Die Cast is a large, hefty and heavy beast of a toy that means business. It is 37cm long with a head diameter of 6cm, and weighs 690g. This toy is operated via plugging in to the mains, and the cable is 3 metres (10 feet) long, so don’t worry if your bed isn’t next to an outlet!
Your Doxy Die Cast comes with a sturdy, zip-up case which is ideal for both transporting it and keeping it safe in storage.
The Doxy Die Cast’s head is rigid and made of black silicone, which is non-porous and totally body-safe. All Doxy products are non-waterproof. You can clean your wand with a damp (NOT wet) cloth and some gentle detergent, and sterilise it with a body-safe medical wipe. And don’t forget that, if you’re sharing it, you can stretch a condom over the wand head for STI protection.
The Doxy Die Cast is absurdly beautiful. I can’t stop looking at it and stroking it. It comes in four standard colourways: brushed natural aluminium (silver,) black, purple, and red. All of these variations retail for £149.99. There’s also a matte black version with a 24K gold collar which retails for £199.99, and you can even custom-order a version completely plated in 24K gold if you want to spend ten grand on a sex toy.
Mine is purple and it’s the most gorgeously bright, vibrant colour.
All Doxy wand massagers run on a simple three-button interface. There’s an on/off button, and increase/decrease buttons. It really couldn’t be simpler. There’s also a pulse mode, which you can access by holding down the on/off button.
The buttons are large and easy to press. Unlike the Original wand, the Doxy Die Cast has LED-lit buttons for easy use in the dark.
To Die (Cast) for?
I knew I was going to love this toy. I’ve been a Doxy fan for years, ever since Mr CK bought me my (much-loved and still going strong 5 years later) Doxy Original for my 25th birthday. There’s really no way the Die Cast wouldn’t live up to expectations.
Holy fucking shit, I love this thing. The power is INTENSE. The Doxy Die Cast motor is capable of 3000 to 9000 RPM and, thanks to the rigidity of the head, that power manifests as deep and penetrating rumbles. I used this on the second setting, through my clothing, and it still got me off in minutes.
Not just for clits! (And other pro tips.)
The Doxy massager range were all designed with clitoral stimulation in mind, and they do a damn fine job of it. But why stop there? If you have a penis, vibrations can also feel intensely pleasurable. Try holding the wand against the underside of your cock, or running it over your whole genital area.
Just a few other ways you might want to use your Doxy:
- Pair it with a wand attachment, such as a penis stroker or a rabbit attachment.
- Press it against the base of a dildo or butt plug for intense internal stimulation.
- If holding the Doxy for long periods of time is uncomfortable or difficult for you, consider using a wand mount to hold it in place. Another option is to stack a couple of pillows, put the wand on them, and lie on top of it. The pillows and your body weight will keep it in place.
Get creative! There are always numerous ways to use a sex toy.
So do I recommend it?
Now if you’ll excuse me, you’ll find me melted in a puddle of post-orgasmic bliss.
Affiliate links appear in this post. All views are, as ever, my own.
Sometimes, I unbox a toy and within two minutes, I know exactly what my review is likely to say. I’ll sometimes be proven wrong in the course of the testing process, but more often than not these days my first impressions are bang on. I guess that’s what comes from having tested well over 100 toys at this point.
I opened up the Dame Arc Silicone G-Spot Vibrator and very quickly ascertained that my review was most likely going to say, “great shape, shit vibrations.”
Reader, I was not wrong.
Meet the Dame
The Dame Arc is a curved silicone vibrator with a ridged bulb tip, designed for G-spot stimulation. It is 7.5 inches in total length, 4.5 inches insertable. It’s completely waterproof, USB rechargeable via the included cable, and has a travel lock function.
The Dame Arc retails for £99.99.
I hate this toy’s outer packaging! It comes in a white, pink and blue box with a line illustration of the toy, and frankly the aesthetic makes me think of a medical device. Not sexy.
When you remove the outer sleeve, you find a plain pink box the same colour as the vibrator.
The Dame Arc is pink, but it’s a kind of muted dusky pink that I have to admit is quite pretty. It comes with an off-white drawstring storage pouch featuring the Dame Products logo.
The body-safe silicone is super soft and nice to handle. The toy’s body is rigid and it has very little “squish.”
My G-spot loves this shape…
The shape of this toy is fantastic! It curves in exactly the right way to get that delicious come-hither motion against my G-spot, and the bulbed head is firm but not too hard.
It’s comfortable to hold and easy to manipulate, with an ergonomic handle shape. The buttons are also sensibly placed on the underside of the curve (so they point upwards when the toy is inserted) and the controls are intuitive. There’s one on/off button that is also used to cycle between the 5 patterns, and up/down controls to control the 5 levels of intensity.
…The vibrations, though, are sorely lacking
The Dame Arc’s vibrations are pretty pathetic.
Since I’m much more of a clitoral than a G-spot gal when it comes to vibrations, I decided to test this toy on my clit as well as internally. My clit was halfway to numb before I got anything approaching an orgasm out of it.
Obviously not everyone is into the kind of high-powered vibrations that I’m into, but in my anecdotal experience the overwhelming majority of people with vulvas would take stronger and rumblier vibrations over this weak, buzzy offering.
What I’m saying is: if you like gentle vibrations, sure, get this toy. (Except don’t because it’s a hundred fucking quid and a £20 equivalent will do the same thing.)
Do I recommend it?
I’ll definitely be using this toy again, but I’ll leave it switched off and use it as a G-spot dildo. I highly doubt I’ll ever reach for it again for the vibrations.
It’s far too expensive for what it is. You can get a decent curved G-spot dildo for less than half the price, and the Queen of G-spot toys for only £30 more. There are both better and cheaper vibrators out there.
So yeah. I called it. Great shape, shit vibrations.
Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the Dame Arc in exchange for an honest review. All views, as always, my own.
 As an aside, the currently sole reviewer on Lovehoney had this to say: “…this toy has been scientifically designed by female sexual-health and well-being specialists for one purpose alone, medical-grade gushing!” Which just made me howl with laughter. What the fuck is medical grade gushing!?
The thing is that you brought this out in me. How could I want it with anyone else?
– J.M. Storm
TW: emotional and psychological abuse, gaslighting. Sorry that I’m writing so much about my abuser right now – I’m processing some things and writing helps.
“The truth is, I don’t think I’ll ever love anyone else the way I loved her.” I remember saying this to one of my play partners, a year or so after the relationship with my first girlfriend ended.
“You won’t,” he said, surprising me. “What you’ll eventually realise is that that’s a good thing.”
I didn’t understand exactly what he meant then, or for several years afterwards. In fact, I don’t think I fully grasped the whole truth of this statement until I left my last abusive partner.
My play partner was right. I’ve never loved anyone else exactly the way I loved her. That would be impossible.
Firstly for the obvious reason that no two people are the same, so how could two relationships or two types of love be the same? But secondly, because she and I represented a specific moment in my life. I was very young, just barely over the cusp of adulthood, and still a baby queer barely peeking a toe out of the closet. She was the first. She was the person who took my hand and guided me through those early, tentative explorations.
No-one else can be that, nor should they try to be.
What we had was many things. It was beautiful and it was terrible. Sometimes, as we struggled to communicate and connect in a world that was very much against our brand of queer, polyamorous love, I felt like I might die. Other times, I was sure she was the one great love of my life. But there is one thing it was not: sustainable.
When I met my abusive partner, in some ways it felt similar. He gave me the same dizzy, giddy, love-drunk feeling. Kept me slightly off-kilter. Made me feel like I was losing my mind.
What I didn’t realise then, that I know now, is that with her those feelings were the symptom of first love between two people who were trying their best but were ill-equipped to handle the intensity. With him, though, they were symptoms of deliberate manipulation. I was constantly off-balance because he put me there.
I often felt like I was dying when I was with him. He was the oxygen I needed to breathe, and held the absolute power to cut off my airways if I displeased him. (Despite my best efforts, I often displeased him.)
One of the things I mourned when it all went so badly wrong was what we’d had in the beginning. At that stage, I still romanticised the sleepless nights, the desperation to drop anything and everything else to please him, the way he made me feel simultaneously like a precious but fragile doll and like his saviour.
What I know now, that I didn’t know then, is that that wasn’t romance. That was grooming. That was textbook lovebombing, holding me up on a pedastal so I’d be disorientated and broken and compliant when he inevitably threw me off it.
Maybe you’re just not who I thought you were, he’d say. And that was all it would take to have me desperately trying to prove that I was who he’d said I was on one of those early dates where we’d stayed up all night talking and fucking. Because I wanted to get it back. I wanted those soaring highs again. I wanted to love like that again.
Now I realise that I never will. But I never will because I am older now. Wiser. A little more jaded, perhaps. But I can protect myself now. And that means I will never again allow myself to be taken in by superficial charm that masks something much more sinister.
So no, I’ve never loved anyone else quite the way I loved her, and that’s okay. I’ve never loved anyone else quite the same way I loved him, either – and that’s a good thing.
Have I loved just as hard, just as deeply, just as wholeheartedly? Yes, absolutely. But the same? Never.
This piece was written for Quote Quest, a new 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!
I loved today’s piece about exploring gender identity and creating gender euphoric feelings through the possibilities which exist in fiction but aren’t available to us in the real world. I hope you guys enjoy it as much.
This post deals with gender dysphoria, so please take care of yourself if that’s likely to be difficult for you.
This Pride Month, I’ve been thinking about how erotica can allow trans people like me to navigate the at times strained relationships with our bodies.
For most of my tenure as an erotica writer, I have generally kept my work realistic. The experiences are edited and simplified to bring a narrative to those sweaty, gloriously chaotic moments when we give ourselves over to intense sensation. But I prefer to keep things as close to my real life experiences as possible.
There are a couple reasons for this. Firstly, I want to encourage more inclusive beauty standards and write about real bodies. I want big bellies and asymmetric tits, sweat drips and positions which don’t require gymnastics training.
The other reason is that, by sticking to things I have personally experienced, I know how they feel. My aim when writing erotica is to immerse the reader in the experience, to allow them to imagine what it would feel like to be degraded in public, to be fisted, or to be spanked until they cry. To do that, I need to know what that feels like to begin with.
Recently, though, I’ve started making an exception to this rule. Why should I bind the trans people I write about to a body that feels wrong to them? In prose I can grant a body denied by nature and the medical system, one which affirms and meshes with their gender identity.
In a recently published piece of erotica I imagined my boyfriend with a flat chest and a factory installed dick, and I saw the joy that imagery brought to hir. From now on, I will not be bound by painful accuracy. Let’s use this as a way to imagine trans bodies freed from dysphoria, immersed in gender euphoria which blends with and amplifies arousal.
When we are freed from the constraints of accuracy, we can explore options which would be impossible in the real world. Wish your genitals could shift between cunt and cock as easily as your identity shifts between masc and femme? Me too! I can definitely write about that. Wish you had an androgynous gentacle rather than conventional genitals? I can write about that! (Also you should really check out some hentai.) Wish you transcended the mundane and had a 6 dimensional vortex between your legs? I love the way your filthy mind works you brilliant queerdo, and I can (try to) write about that!
For all the issues that plague the world (including the sex writing industry,) erotica can serve as a glorious escape, a way to imagine experiences and connections shared with others. So let’s use that escapism to help trans people explore their identity and imagine bodies in which they feel more at home.
Last week, I gushed about how impressed I was with the basic, affordable Ignite Bullet Vibrator from Lovehoney’s new line. Today I’m bringing you another one from the Ignite range – a line of simple, no-frills toys that all retail for £29.99. Read on to learn what I thought of the Ignite Finger Vibrator.
Finger on the pulse…
The Lovehoney Ignite Finger Vibrator is a tiny little toy, barely 3 inches in length. You wear it on your finger like a ring. It’s shaped like a teardrop, and tapers to a soft point.
The Ignite Finger Vibrator is fully waterproof, USB rechargeable, and has a travel lock. It also comes with a little drawstring storage bag. On the surface at least, impressive features for a £29.99 toy.
It’s made of the same body-safe, phthalate-free silicone as everything in the range. Too many manufacturers compromise on safety when making entry-level toys – which, needless to say, I am NOT here for. So it’s nice to see companies normalizing body-safe materials as a minimum standard even for their basic ranges.
As ever, a good quality water-based lube will enhance your experience!
Because this toy is so tiny and light, it could work well for people who find it difficult to manipulate larger or heavier toys. And because it’s worn on the finger, you don’t even have to hold it in place. The small size makes it easy to fit between bodies for clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex, if that’s your jam.
The Ignite Finger Vibrator is definitely made for people with small hands! I have smaller than average hands, and it’s very snug on my index, middle and ring fingers. People with larger hands or thicker fingers will likely find this toy either uncomfortable or just impossible to use.
The button placement is also weird. It’s a single-button interface, and the button is on the base of the toy. This means that whichever finger you wear it on, you have to curl your thumb under at an awkward angle to change the setting or turn the toy on and off. It would have made much more sense to place the button on the front of the toy, where the charging port and Lovehoney insignia are.
Power & patterns
The Ignite Finger Vibrator features the same 20 settings (3 constant speeds and 17 patterns) as the rest of the products in the range. I personally think 20 settings is a bit excessive, especially for a toy with a one-button interface (hello endless scrolling to find the one you like!) But I can forgive it because these are entry-level toys, and having lots of settings to try is a good way to find out what you like.
The Ignite Finger Vibrator is… not a powerful toy. I’m not sure if it uses a different motor to the bullet (possible, as it’s a noticeably smaller toy) or if the problem is with motor placement. Either way, the Ignite Finger Vibrator’s vibrations are weak and buzzy to the point of numbing.
Some people enjoy gentler vibrations, and if that’s you then you might find this toy perfectly adequate for your needs. But if you’re looking for strong or rumbly vibrations, pass this one by.
Final thoughts: do I recommend it?
I thought I’d have more good things to say about this toy after I was so impressed with the bullet from the same range. Unfortunately, it was really quite disappointing.
Sadly, I can’t really recommend this toy. Its vibrations are too weak and buzzy, and I had to reach for a different toy mid-masturbation to finish the job. Couple that with the awkward button placement and
Even if you’re on a restricted budget or looking for a basic product, there are better toys you can get for your money.
Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this product to review! All views are, as always, my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.
Happy Pride Month! I decided to put out a call for pitches for this month to showcase just some of the amazing, brilliant, and diverse voices that exist within the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Today’s post comes from C&K guest blogging regular, the supremely talented Violet Grey.
Bi the Way…
Hi, I’m Vi. I’m also bi.
Yes, I’m bisexual. For me, that means I am attracted to both cisgender and transgender men and women. Some think that, as a bi person, I should mouth shut about LGBTQ+ rights and that I don’t belong at Pride or in other LGBTQ+ spaces. I’m here to tell you that is complete and utter horseshit.
First let’s get some stereotypes out of the way:
- Yes, bisexuals do exist. Surprise! *jazz hands*
- No, our sexuality does not mean we are more likely to cheat on you. Never have, never will. Sexual orientation and infidelity are not linked.
- No, we don’t all have threesomes. Some of us do, but not all of us. Again, sexual acts and sexual orientation are not the same thing. There are plenty of straight, gay, pansexual, etc. people who have threesomes, and plenty of bi people who don’t.
- The only things I’m greedy or selfish for are cuddles and chocolate.
- Bisexuals don’t have to “pick a side.” We like more than just one gender. Get over it.
- Bi doesn’t mean having multiple relationships at one time. That’s polyamory. They are two very different things.
- We’re not just straight girls experimenting or gay men just biding their time to come out. We are bisexual.
- And sadly no, we don’t all cuff our jeans. As much as I love a good pair of cuffed jeans, they don’t love me. I do have a thing for leather jackets though…
Anyways, now we’ve got that out of the way, I’d like to move on to a subject that is very personal for me: erasure. Among the fellow bisexuals in my friendship groups and family, I don’t know a single person who hasn’t experienced some kind of erasure or negativity, usually in the form of the harmful stereotypes listed above.
What I’ve found particularly jarring is when bisexuals experience negativity from not just certain bigoted straight people, but fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community. Despite us being right there in the name (what did you think the B stood for!?) we are often told we don’t belong in LGBTQ+ spaces or at Pride.
Having recently come out, seeing that marginalisation – within a community that prides itself on campaigning for the safety and rights of those marginalised for their sexuality or gender identity – is incredibly saddening. As a result , it’s not uncommon for bisexuals to feel like we don’t belong in either community. We’re told we a re “too queer” by people who are straight, but “not queer enough” by fellow queer people.
I am a feminine bisexual woman in a monogamous relationship with a straight man, and have been for almost five years now. Even in that dynamic, prejudice can rear its ugly head from those on the outside. A bisexual woman with a lean towards men, like me, is not seem as really bisexual (insert “not queer enough” prejudice here).
People assume I’m just saying I’m bi so men will fetishize me, while having the privilege to “blend in.” Sometimes, this comes in the form of a backhanded compliment, such as: “Well, you’ve made the right choice if you want to have a baby.” Yes, people say that, and no, it’s not a compliment.
It may have taken me 24 years to accept that I’m bi and that there’s nothing wrong with it, but I’ve always known my sexuality was more fluid than my exclusively heterosexual peers. It’s ok to like one gender more than others, and doesn’t make you any less bisexual.
Let’s take a moment to discuss “blending in.” I won’t deny the privilege I do undeniably have. Both my partner and I are white and live in the UK. That in itself affords us a lot of privilege. However, anti-LGBTQ sentiments are still alive and well here in the UK. So what looks like “blending in” and benefiting from assumed heterosexual privilege to you, looks like having to stay closeted to me (which around certain people I am.) And believe me, being in the closet for the very real fear of negative reactions is no privilege.
While I’ve been lucky to not experience as much of this as others, biphobia is a big issue that definitely needs tackling. So, here are a few things to help if you’re unsure and/or want to support a bisexual friend or family member:
I can’t stress this enough. We bisexuals get enough of being erased or fetishized by society as it is. The last people we need it from is from those close to us. You may not understand everything about bisexuality, or any of it for that matter, but it’s important to keep an open mind and give your nearest and dearest a place where they can be safe.
Don’t tell them that it’s “just a phase,” even if they’re not sure exactly where on the sexuality spectrum they fit. If someone is questioning or unsure of their sexuality, they are already feeling pretty vulnerable. So instead of dismissing their feelings, say something like, “It’s ok, you’ll figure it out. It changes nothing between you and me.” Let them know they are safe and loved.
If You’re Unsure, Ask!
No one is expecting you to know everything. What we ask is for you not to be a jerk about it. Many of us have stereotypes about certain people reinforced by our surroundings or upbringings. That can take some time to get your head around and unlearn. But again, don’t be a dick.
Someone is trusting you with personal information about themselves. Even for people like myself, who knew my immediate family would be accepting, I was still absolutely terrified. So it’s important to listen and learn. If you’re unsure about what bisexual means, ask. Let them know it doesn’t come from judgement, but wanting to learn so know how better to support them.
Homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic behaviour is bullying. So please don’t be a bystander. Support your loved one. Support and uplift bisexual and other LGBTQ+ voices. Don’t stand in silence.
Be there for them if they need to talk to someone. Perhaps they’re having a bad day or they got bother from that homophobic auntie at the family reunion. When queer people come out, it’s important to know we’ve got support around us. Just that one person can make all the difference.
Keep It Discreet
If your loved one have come out to you but not to anyone else yet, please don’t betray confidence. It is up to them to tell the people they wish to, based on their own comfort level and safety.
They have trusted you with this information, so be the good person and keep that discretion. Never out someone. Again, this is for their safety, because let’s face it: we don’t always know how someone will react. Keep it quiet until they decide, if they do, to come out to others around them.
Love is love. Make sure your loved ones know that you are there for them.
Violet Grey describes herself as “your 20-something lady who loves to write. I write erotic fiction, along with real-life sex stories, thoughts on sexuality, kink, BDSM, and generally whatever else is on my mind.” Check out her blog and give her a follow on Twitter!
Oh, and if you enjoyed this post, tips help me to keep paying occasional guest bloggers.
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning.”
– Louis L’Amour
TW: this post contains discussion of abuse in relationships
Leaving an abusive relationship is like relearning how to breathe.
People talk about learning how to trust again. I’m still working on that one. They talk about remembering how to sleep through the night, how to stop jumping at shadows. For me, it was relearning how to breathe.
Being with him felt something like the emotional equivalent of being trapped underground, where the air is dirty and the roof is made of rocks that will come tumbling down on your head if you make one wrong move. Like having a crushing weight pressing down on your chest, which is slowly suffocating you but which you think will kill you if you remove it.
Leaving was like emerging into the sunlight but not knowing how to breathe air that is clean and safe.
The truth is that, for many survivors, the point of leaving is the beginning and not the end.
And not just because the point where we leave is statistically the most dangerous.
My ex didn’t come after me physically after I left him. Violence was never his way. Psychological manipulation was his game. He was clever enough to be the master of the mindfuck, and I was naive enough to let him far enough into my brain that he’d rearranged my psychic furniture before I knew what was happening.
So no, I never feared he would kill me. But he kept playing his head games with me, finding ways to make sure I never felt safe. He emailed me out of the blue for the most spurious reasons, throwing unfounded accusations of infidelity and betrayal. He demanded money. Then he bullied his way into access to my home. He, or one of his friends (I’m still not sure which) kept tabs on me via a sockpuppet account on Fetlife, tracking who I was dating and which events I was going to. On one occasion, my current partner and I caught him driving past us multiple times while we were out in a way that made me feel like I was being watched.
Is there any wonder I didn’t feel like I could breathe freely until I saw definitive proof that he’d moved to a different city hundreds of miles away?
It was difficult for me to claim the label of abuse and apply it to that relationship, because he didn’t hit me. I wondered if I was being whiny, if – as he said – the only reason I felt like my mind was being systematically broken was because I was crazy. Even once I left, I asked myself if what I’d experienced was really that bad or if I’d deserved it because I pissed him off.
So no, leaving isn’t the end.
It’s the beginning of a journey of healing that can take months, years, whole lifetimes. I will never be the person I was before him. My life can be divided neatly into three parts: before, during, after.
Leaving is the first step on a long, long, long road of learning how to be you again, free from your abuser’s influence. It’s the first tentative grasping at the straws of, “maybe I’m not crazy. Maybe it all really happened exactly as I experienced it. And maybe, just maybe, that wasn’t okay.”
Leaving is the first gulp of clean air into lungs that have forgotten what that felt like. It’s feeling your chest expand as that crushing weight gradually lessens and then lifts.
It’s relearning how to breathe.
This piece was written for Quote Quest, a new 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!
“Dear Amy, where can I get a decent first sex toy that won’t break the bank?” I get a variation of this question in my inbox at least once every few weeks, and it’s a great question. Decent toys can be expensive. If you’re on a budget, or don’t want to spend a lot of money until you know what you like, choosing the right product can be minefield.
Enter Lovehoney’s new Ignite range, a line of six different sex toys for beginners and those on a budget. They all retail at a very affordable £29.99 each. Today we’ll take a closer look at the Lovehoney Ignite Bullet Vibrator.
Let’s take a closer look…
The Ignite Bullet Vibrator is 3.5 inch long external vibrator in the classic “bullet” shape. It’s USB rechargeable (cable included,) and two hours of charge gives you around 100 minutes of run time. It is also fully waterproof. It has a travel-lock feature and even comes with a little drawstring storage bag. Not bad for a £30 toy!
I must admit that the first thing I noticed about this toy is that it is SHOCKINGLY pink. Like, absurdly pink. I would like to declare a moratorium on new sex toys being made in this colour, because there are already too many.
On the plus side, though, the Ignite Bullet Vibrator is coated entirely in smooth silicone, which is completely body-safe. Being waterproof, it is easy to clean with warm water and gentle soap. For a more thorough clean, use a body-safe medical wipe or a 10% bleach solution.
I bang on about this all the time, but for the benefit of the beginners: lube makes everything better! Body-safe water-based lube pairs beautifully with silicone sex toys.
Power and patterns
This toy has TWENTY different settings – 3 constant speeds and 17 patterns. As someone who generally doesn’t care for patterns and just wants constant vibrations, I found this a bit overkill. However, reminding myself that this is a toy aimed primarily at the entry-level market, the sheer number of settings mean it’s a great way to experiment and learn what kind of vibrations you enjoy.
With one notable exception, the Lovehoney Ignite Bullet has the best vibrations I’ve ever found in a toy of this price-point. It’s packing some real power and doesn’t have that horrible numbing effect that some weaker vibes do.
I can get off quickly, easily and reliably with this toy. I like using the gently tapered end for more pinpoint stimulation, but you can also use it side on if broader vibrations work better for you. Because it’s so small and light, it’s ideal for fitting between bodies to provide clitoral stimulation during penetrative sex.
The volume level is about what you’d expect for the power. It’s not silent, but you’re not going to have the neighbours complaining either.
The Lovehoney Ignite Bullet really couldn’t be simpler! It operates on a single button user interface. The button is large, intuitively located on the base of the toy, and easy to press.
I always prefer up/down button options, especially when a toy has as many patterns as this one does. Scrolling all the way through if you miss the one you want is kinda infuriating.
Finally, an entry level toy that doesn’t suck!
Okay, not all entry level toys suck, obviously. But frankly, a huge majority of them do, and I always find it so disappointing. Beginners need good toys! People on a budget need good toys! So I’m really pleased with what Lovehoney have done with this one.
It’s simple, free from gimmicks, body-safe, and does what it says on the tin. Plus the power level is actually surprisingly decent.
So do I recommend it?
Yes, I’m happy to recommend the Ignite Bullet Vibrator as a good entry-level or budget-friendly clitoral vibrator. I’ll definitely be adding it to my list of recommendations for people who are exploring toys for the first time.
Next weekend I’ll be bringing you another product from this range, so watch this space!
Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this product to review! All views, as always, are my own. I’ve used affiliate links in this post.
TW: this post discusses rape and sexual violence. If you’re a survivor, please feel enormously free to step away and care for yourself. If you’re not a survivor, please try to read this one to the end.
This isn’t the post I wanted to write today, but yet again I found myself falling down the hellish rabbit hole of rape apologism on social media today.
I’m used to this. It’s just part of being a woman who talks about sexuality, sexual violence and feminism in a public space. I hate it, it makes me angry and sometimes it makes me cry. But I consider these issues too important to not speak up. Sometimes, though, the reality of talking about sexual violence on the internet straight up retraumatises me. Today was one of those days.
“You’re too ugly to rape”
This is a summary of what was said to me on social media today.
What upset me wasn’t the insult. Aside from the fact that this person doesn’t actually know what I look like, because I don’t show my face on Twitter, I don’t much care if random men think I’m hot or not.
What bothered me was the deeper implication, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard it.
Circa 2014, I inadvertantly started a civil war in my local kink scene by speaking out about sexual violence. (No regrets, would do again, the resident rapists all told on themselves, etc.) But at the time, I wrote something about how I’d experienced several sexual assaults of various kinds in my life. Someone wrote in response, “LOL, she thinks she’s hot enough to have been assaulted “multiple times.””
The idea that only “hot” people get sexually assaulted, or that speaking out about sexual assault is some kind of statement on one’s own attractiveness, is profoundly fucked up and shockingly common.
“I wish people wanted me so much they couldn’t control themselves”
This has been said to me a number of times by men over the years, including but not limited to former romantic partners.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the implication here is that sexual assault is a privilege. The implication is that being wanted enough to be sexually violated is something to be grateful for. Something to be flattered by.
Like, sure, one in four women (very conservative estimate) are sexually assaulted or raped in their lifetime… but they should just shut up and be grateful because some guy really really wishes someone he’s attracted to and wants to fuck anyway would throw him down and have their way with him.
Rape isn’t about attractiveness
How likely someone is to experience sexual violence isn’t even remotely correlated with their level of attractiveness (insofar as attractiveness is even a meaningful or measurable thing, given that it’s so absurdly subjective.)
Rapists don’t rape because they’re attracted to their victims. Physical attraction to another person isn’t a button that turns a decent human being into a monster. Everyone is capable of controlling what they do sexually, even when they’re super turned on and super attracted to someone. Most of us know this.
It’s not a fucking brag when I say I’ve been sexually assaulted multiple times in my life. It’s not a “hey look I’m so hot everyone wants to fuck me!” If I speak up about the worst and most deep-seated traumas of my life and your reaction is “lol she thinks she’s all that” then that shows something deeply and profoundly wrong in your understanding of how sexual violence works.
Rape isn’t even about sex
Rape is a crime of power. It’s not about the perpetrator being so overwhelmingly aroused, so overcome with lust, that they couldn’t help themselves. It’s not about sex at all.
To be raped isn’t to feel wanted and desired. It’s not some fucking ravishment fantasy out of a shitty romance novel where the hero you were totally gonna fuck anyway rips your bodice and has hot passionate sex with you. To be raped is to feel violated in the most fundamental way. To feel as though your body is no longer your own.
To still occasionally have nightmares thirteen years later.
Because rape isn’t sex. Rape is violence. And it needs to stop.
I’m accepting tips that allow me to keep giving time and energy to this incredibly exhausting work. But even more than that, I’d love it if anyone who could afford it made a small donation to Rape Crisis.