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[Guest Blog] What Happens When You’re Both a Sex Worker and a Parent by Demeter Delune

One of the reasons I love publishing guest blogs is that it gives me a chance to share experiences that I can’t personally speak to. As someone who isn’t having children, I’ll never have first-hand experience of balancing sex positivity with parenting. That’s one reason I love this brilliant guest post by Demeter Delune (she/her) about her experiences of being both a sex worker and a parent.

Amy x

What Happens When You’re Both a Sex Worker and a Parent by Demeter Delune

When you think of sex work, what comes to mind for most people is escorting or full-service sex work. However, in today’s world, there are many iterations, including phone sex operator, online cam model, OnlyFans model, Professional Dominatrix (Pro-Domme), and more. Essentially, anything you can think of relating to sex, there’s likely a professional version of it available. But I doubt you think of parenting when you think of any of these things.

Society is notorious for separating women (and those read as women) and their work, regardless of what that job is. We’re expected to wear many hats all at once, but none as important as Mother. Oddly, once we become mothers, society at large believes that’s all we can do. So imagine the gall of a woman who decides not only will she be a mother, but also a sex worker.

There are struggles, just like with any other career, but for the most part, they’re not insurmountable.

What’s the Big Deal?

In most states and municipalities, trading sex for payment specifically is illegal. Even with legislation decriminalizing the use of certain drugs, sex work never seems to land in court in a positive manner. Sadly, even if it were decriminalized, the social stigma would likely remain.

When you’re a parent, you’ll find it makes things even more difficult. Not necessarily as far as actually parenting your children, but the ability to form social bonds with other parents. If you live in an area where sex work is illegal, it’s difficult to know who you can trust.

Even if the sex work you’re performing is legal, such as exotic dancing or stripping, there are still judgmental people who will deride you for your choice of career. People don’t seem capable of understanding that our jobs aren’t indicative of who we are in the rest of our lives.

Years ago, when I was a Professional Dominatrix, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by other sex workers, most of whom also had children. A small group of us became close and our children were able to play together without concern of being outed. Having this level of support when you’re a sex worker is vital to your mental health. But it isn’t always possible without living a lie.

When Your Life is a Lie

If you’re engaging in sex work and not part of a larger group of like-minded people, living a lie becomes the norm. Especially when you have children. The ever present feeling of danger, of what would happen if anyone were to find out what you do for a living, surrounding you is fierce. You’ll be concerned that if certain authorities find out your career, your children could be taken away from you.

Creating another job for yourself is often the only way around it. Other sex workers I know tell people they’re a life coach, a tutor, or a marketing professional. All these jobs can be done from home and are easily backed up with a website when people ask.

Can You Perform Sex Work and Be a Good Parent?

Is it possible to be a sex worker and also a good parent? Yes.

Just because a woman has a job in the sex industry doesn’t mean she’s a bad parent. Sex workers are business people who happen to sell sex or sexual services as a product. They’re adults selling sex to other consenting adults, and their job doesn’t make them bad people or morally suspect.

It can be argued that many sex workers make great mothers not in spite of the job, but because of it. This career provides schedule flexibility and much better hourly wages than many jobs, and the luxury of more quality time with their children. It can also allow people to escape abusive relationships by taking control of their own financial security.

For myself, being able to stay home with my toddler while earning a living is priceless. I don’t see clients in my home nor, of course, do I engage in any type of work-related behavior in my child’s presence. I’m married, so when my husband is home or when my child is out of the house for any reason, that’s when I work.

Sure, it’s difficult at times to create all the content I need for the week in such a short window of time, but I make it work. Just like anyone else who also works from home and cares for their child.

The Bottom Line

While certain types of sex work remains illegal in so many places, sadly this means we’ll have to continue to hide our true identities in order to fit in with societal expectations. We’ll be wrongfully judged if outed.

My hope is, one day, we’ll all be able to walk with our heads held high and proudly tell whomever asks, “Yes, I’m a sex worker. I provide well for my family, I’m an entrepreneur, and I’m a parent”, without fear of repercussion.

About the Author

Demeter Delune is a sex positive educator, trying to make the world a better place, one word at a time. She’s been a Professional Dominatrix for over 10 years, with a preference for Goddess worship and is also a Relationship/Sex Coach. She has bylines in a number of sex positive magazines. Check out her work on Medium and follow her everywhere.

Thanks again to Demeter for sharing her experiences. Please check out her other work and don’t forget that chipping in via the tip jar helps me keep hiring and paying guest bloggers.

Dear Kinkly, I’m Out [An Open Letter]

Yesterday morning, I posted on Twitter a screenshot of the email I sent to Kinkly asking them to remove my blog from their site and not include me on their “Top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes” list again.

But I had more to say, so I thought I’d write an open letter.

Dear Kinkly,

This isn’t what I wanted to be writing today. I don’t enjoy using my blog in this way. All things considered, I’d much rather be writing hot smut or dildo reviews or literally fucking anything else.

However, I am in a privileged position in this situation. I am a cisgender person who is not directly harmed by transphobia. Therefore, I feel it is my responsibility to use my platform to make what difference I can.

Many people in the sex blogging community were dismayed to see what your “Top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes” list, released last week, awarded prizes to bloggers who have perpetuated transphobic behaviour this year. I must stress here that we’re not talking about someone making a mistake in good faith. We’re talking about people who expressed support for a violently transphobic piece of writing. People who misgendered others deliberately. People who doubled down and attacked when asked to do better and stop hurting trans and non-binary people.

As a community, we gave you the benefit of the doubt when you published your list. We understand you can’t go through every single bit of social media interaction someone has ever had. That’s why the problem was brought to your attention calmly and politely.

We very much hoped that you would choose to do better. It wouldn’t even have been particularly difficult! All you needed to do was say “we’re really sorry, we didn’t know,” remove the bigoted people from your list, and make more of an effort to uplift marginalised voices in the future.

Instead, you chose to double down. The comments you posted on Twitter earlier this week cannot even really be described as a “non apology.” They weren’t even that. They amounted to “welp, not our problem.”

You could have chosen to own your mistake and support the most marginalised members of our community. Instead, you told us loudly and clearly that you don’t give a damn.

In a situation of injustice, you tried to remain neutral. In doing so, you sided with the oppressor.

I’m done, Kinkly. I’m out. I’ve already told you to remove my content from your platform and unless I see meaningful and substantive change, I will not consider supporting you again in any way – writing for you, sharing your content, engaging with you on social media, or allowing you to use any of my content on your site.

We spoke up, and you chose to ignore us. We asked you to do better, and instead you chose to turn away and continue to give bigotry a platform. At a certain point, all we can do is vote with our digital feet.

So that’s it. I’m out. I hope you will seriously consider the repercussions of your actions and the very real harm they have caused to trans and non-binary people, who are already marginalised in the rest of the world and deserve to find a safe space in our community. I hope you will reevaluate your approach to how you do your “Superheroes” list, should you continue to run it in the future. And I hope you’ll make some real, meaningful steps towards making amends. Might I suggest a genuine apology, removing the bigoted bloggers from your platform, and perhaps making a donation to a charity that supports trans people as a starting point?

I hope you’ll choose to do better, but I’m not holding my breath.

Amy

Want to cosign the letter? Just comment below to do so!

How to Maintain Balance When Everything is On Fire

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
– Albert Einstein

Balance, however you define it, is important. But it’s also really hard when everything feels overwhelming. And oh my goodness, everything does feel overwhelming right now, doesn’t it?

As of right now, the UK is in what has been not-so-affectionately dubbed “Lockdown 2.0”. After completely failing to take care of my health in any reasonable way during Lockdown The First, I’m trying really hard to maintain balance and a modicum of self-care practice this time.

To that end, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite tips for staying balanced and grounded when things are hard everything is on fucking fire.

Rest

I put this first on the list because it’s by far the one I’m worst at. It can be so, so hard to switch off, unplug, and decide to do nothing for a while. But rest is absolutely vital. Without it, your health will suffer and you’ll hit burnout before you know it.

Here’s a hack that works for me: put time for yourself in your calendar, like a date you’d make with someone else, and stick to it. Then use that time to binge that Netflix show you’ve been saving, read for pleasure, take a bubble bath, or just take a nap/go to bed early.

Rest isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Eat something

When did you last eat? If it’s been more than a few hours or if you feel hungry right now, go and eat something! I recommend something with complex carbs and protein, rather than something that will give you a sugar high and then make you crash an hour later. But hey, if a sugary treat is what sounds good right now, have at it!

The trick is to listen to your body. It knows what it needs.

Move your body

I don’t mean “go out for a ten mile run” (though if that’s what makes you feel balanced and centered, knock yourself out.) Just move your body in whatever way feels good. That might look like hitting the gym and working up a sweat, or it might look like practicing some gentle yoga, or it might look like dancing to some music in your bedroom, or it might look like just doing a few stretches without even getting out of bed.

When I’m feeling sad or stressed out, I find getting on my yoga mat or having a play with my hula-hoop really helps me to regain and maintain balance.

Say no

If you’re feeling stressed, stretched, and overwhelmed, it might be because there are too many demands on your time and energy right now. Practice saying no.

If a client wants you to take on some extra work last minute? Sorry, no. Yet another Zoom happy hour? Pass if you don’t feel like it. Colleague wants you to pick up their shift? No can do!

If it doesn’t serve you or make you happy and it can possibly be avoided, just say no. Saying no firmly but politely doesn’t make you a jerk, it makes you a person with good boundaries.

Masturbate

I had to throw this one in the mix – this is supposed to be a sex blog, after all! Seriously though, masturbation is amazing. It not only feels good, it has so many benefits for your physical and mental health. Need to get out of your head and into your body for a while? Grab some porn or erotica and your favourite vibrator/stroker/hand, and give yourself some love.

Ask for help

The idea that we are all supposed to be self-reliant is so, so toxic. You know what’s a sign of strength? Asking for help when you need it. So if you’re struggling, reach out to someone. Talk to your partner or a friend, call a helpline like Samaritans, make an appointment with your doctor or therapist. Whatever it is you need to help you ground and maintain balance, you can ask for it.

You don’t have to do this alone.

You’ve got this.

It’s going to be okay.

Quote Quest badge, for a post about how to maintain balance when everything is on fire

This piece was written for 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!

Reflections on Four Years

Yesterday (11/11/20) was the fourth anniversary of my relationship with my secondary partner, The Artist. This year has not been easy – we only live an hour from each other, and at the time of writing we haven’t seen each other in a little over 9 months. (For context, in non-pandemic times our average was once to twice a month.)

In honour of them and all they’ve given me in our time together, I thought I’d share a few reflections on our relationship.

It’s possible to have a secondary relationship that is truly, deeply joyful

Years ago, I wrote a defence of hierarchical polyamory and how people need to lay off judging it as Always And Absolutely Unethical. I said at the time that I was happy being The Artist’s secondary partner, and I stand by that now.

We have no desire to be each others’ primary partner. We each have our person that we live with and have entangled our lives with, and we love them very much. What we have with each other is different.

When people decry secondary relationships, it’s usually because they’ve been in one where they got burned. And I’m sorry for that, because I’ve been there. But this relationship has affirmed what I’ve always believed: that it’s possible to have a secondary relationship that is loving, nourishing, and joyful.

Because secondary doesn’t mean “just sex” or “less important” or “I don’t really care about you.” In the last four years, The Artist and I have had some amazing experiences together and shared mutual care and support in crises. We’ve held each other up and we’ve had each other’s backs. It might be secondary, but it still matters. A lot.

Taking it slow works out well sometimes

There’s been a post sitting in my drafts for over 2 years that I might publish eventually that explores this point in more detail. The working title is Fucking is Easy, Loving is Harder.

Because it took me a long-ass time to fully open up in this relationship. I got very adept at slamming a lid on my real feelings, keeping my emotions in check, because I was still convinced there was a catch. That I liked them more than they liked me, that they’d get bored with me, that I’d fuck it up. Saying I love you took me just shy of two years.

Because love is high stakes. The highest. Letting someone in is fucking hard when you’ve been hurt multiple times, especially when you’re an abuse survivor. By taking it slowly, my brain had time to catch up to my heart. And the trust we built was real, not based on impulsivity or rushing headfirst into something without thinking it through.

We can get through a lot

As I mentioned at the start of this post, we haven’t seen each other since February (it’s now November.) We currently have no idea when we’ll be able to see each other again. The UK is back in lockdown, and COVID-19 cases are still soaring. At this point, I’m expecting the total length of our separation time to stretch to a full year or more. If it doesn’t, I’ll consider that a pleasant surprise.

Is it easy? Fuck no. Does it suck? Yes. A lot. But have we got through it so far and do I believe we’ll keep getting through it? Yes and yes.

It’s not all been hot sexting and mushy online dates, either (though there has been some of that.) Some days, it’s been nothing more than an “everything sucks, but I love you” message. Of course there have been moments I’ve wondered if our relationship could survive this, if the long separation will result in them deciding they don’t need me any more, if one of us will just get too fucking depressed to keep this thing going.

But overall? I feel like if we can survive nine months to a year of lockdown, we can survive a lot of things.

I love them super-much

Basically, I think that’s what I’m trying to say, here. This is a fucking weird love-letter, but it’s a fucking weird year, so this is what I have right now.

I love you, sweetheart. Here’s to the next four.

Want to help me keep (over)sharing my love/sex life with you all? The tip jar is open!

I Will Never Stop Speaking Out Against Injustice

Well, it has been a week, hasn’t it? At the time of writing, we’re less than 48 hours from the 2020 US Presidential election being called in favour of Joe Biden. The Orange Fascist who currently sits in the White House, unsurprisingly, is not conceding quietly. My home country, the UK, is back in our second four-week lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. And in the last two hours, I have witnessed some of the most shocking and violent transphobia on social media directed at my friends and members of my community. It’s a lot, and this is just the top of the iceberg. So let’s talk speaking out against injustice.

TW: I’m going to be talking about difficult subjects including anti-LGBTQ violence, sexism, transphobia, racism, police brutality, and the rise of the far right. Please take care of yourselves.

I am very aware that there are people who wish that people like me would shut up. They’ll call us SJWs, snowflakes, the loony left, and so on and so on. The thing you have to remember is this: they really, really want us to shut up. You know why? Because we terrify them.

Bigots and oppressors hang on to the status quo because it serves them. They either don’t care about the people they’re standing on to get to the position they’re in, or they’ve trained themselves not to see it. They hate us because we make them see it. We force them to confront it. People who benefit from injustice will do anything they can to hold onto the power and privilege it gives them.

All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, as the famous quote goes.

That’s why it is vital that now, more than ever, we continue to speak up.

Joe Biden’s victory is a huge win for human rights and anti-fascism, but Trump’s defeat doesn’t mean the battle is won. There is still so much work to do, not just in America but all over the world. LGBTQ+ rights are still under attack in so many places. Institutional racism and the police brutality it enables continue to run rampant. Abortion rights are coming under fire. Here in the UK, our own brand of far-right nationalists are still gaining traction. And so on and so on and fucking so on.

We must keep going. Keep fighting. Keep speaking up and speaking out, raising our collective voices to say we will not tolerate this. Because one person might not be able to change anything on their own. But together? Together, we can change the fucking world.

I feel an obligation to speak out against injustice when I see it. And I don’t think this makes me a special or amazing or extraordinary person. I’m not, and I don’t want cookies or accolades or thanks. Frankly, it boggles my mind every single day that anyone can see the violence and oppression and bigotry going on in the world, and not want to do something to stop it. Such an astonishing lack of empathy or care for one’s fellow humans is just something I cannot grasp.

No matter how many people yell at me on social media, call me names, threaten me, launch hate campaigns against me. It’s happened before and I expect it’ll happen again. I can’t truthfully say it doesn’t matter and it doesn’t hurt, because it does matter and it does hurt. But to shut up and let them win? That would be like cutting out my soul.

I’m afraid I don’t know who to attribute these words to, as I’ve seen them floating around on social media for years (if you know who the originator is, please tell me so I can credit them!) But I think this sums it up beautifully:

Meme about snowflakes for a post about speaking out against injustice

Winter is coming. We will not be quiet. We will never stop speaking out against injustice – because enough snowflakes form an avalanche.

I want to leave you with this, from the incredible Grace Petrie:

But if there’s a fire in your heart
It only needs to be a candle
Every fire in the world
Started from one spark
So take the fire in all our hearts
We will be more than they can handle
Take my hand in here tonight
And we will light up all the dark

(Listen)

(Header image by Johnny Silvercloud, licensed through Shutterstock.)

[Guest Blog] “You’ll Never Pass as a Woman” by Velvet Divine

I’m absolutely delighted to be welcoming Velvet Divine (fae/faer) back to Coffee & Kink for the second time! You can check out Velvet’s last guest post for me and follow faer on Twitter!

This is your reminder that Coffee & Kink is and always has been a trans positive space. I’m cis and have a lot of learning to do, but I love my trans siblings and friends and am delighted to be able to uplift their voices on the blog!

Over to Velvet.

– Amy x

“You’ll Never Pass as a Woman” by Velvet Divine

“You’ll never pass as a woman.”

The last words my mother and I exchanged regarding my transition.

I came out to my mother and my aunt (and essentially the whole family, because no one in mine has a concept of “privileged information”) on New Year’s Eve, 2015 – subsequently ruining the holidays and turning the domicile into a Cold War simulation.

Some background:

I was raised in a Roman Catholic, Colombian household. Although our family subverted the usual patriarchal expectation with our generations of single mothers (and my situation specifically, being raised by my mom and my aunt,) we still retained a lot of heteronormative frameworks. My entire life I was told that I was a “man” and had outlined for me the behaviors that were expected of a “man”.

To be quite frank, I never internalized any of those messages and never identified with being a “man” or “masculine” in any capacity. They were just words and concepts tossed at me by virtue of the particular set of plumbing I was born with, but they never meant anything to me.

Fast-forward to much later. It wasn’t until I was exposed to actual LGTBQIA+ people and terminology that I learned that the issue was not my failure to live up to some nebulous, gendered expectation, but rather that those expectations were entirely immaterial to me. I began by exploring using “they/them” pronouns and more neutrally-coded terms for myself, distancing myself from my masculinity as much as I could. And it worked, for a time. (Note: this is by no means a censure or criticism of masculinity, simply my own experience with it and having it forced upon me).

After identifying as “anything but he/him”, for a few months, my thoughts shifted from “not a man”, to “maybe a woman”, to… yes. Absolutely a woman. Much like when I discovered I wasn’t heterosexual, my initial reaction was relief and joy – at the weight of doubt lifted and the prospect of being true to myself. However, that semblance of joy was, in both instances, quickly replaced by anxiety and frustration at the knowledge that I still lived in a heteronormative world and, whether it was randos on the street, the systems and powers that be, or religion, I would have to fight tooth-and-nail to simply be true to me.

For a year I kept my realisation secret from my family and workplaces, slowly coming out to close friends and my cousins (who are practically siblings,) as well as a few professors throughout the course of the year. Some folks gave me odd looks when they heard my name and pronouns, others had difficulty with the new pronouns, and others just dropped me. And while that hurt, no one had been abusive or malicious. I guess my mistake was expecting the threat to come from outside the gates rather than within.

The initial reaction when I came out to my immediate family was resigned silence. With the evening ruined, we all retired to our separate rooms. The next few days were fairly quiet and I mistook the silence to be one of processing instead of festering. What followed were six months of being dragged to various churches, an incompetent psychoanalyst (the type who claims that bi/pansexuality don’t exist and that people like me are just “promiscuous” or “greedy”), and debilitating dissociation. I wasn’t surprised by the pious or even the general assholes, but I felt beyond betrayed by the teachers and “philosophers”, who suddenly had nothing to say while my proverbial carcass was vivisected by the vultures of archaic values.

Throughout this process, my mother did her best to belittle and discount my identity – posing that I was a confused gay man, not trans, or that my sexuality was a phase.

I have to admit, there are few things in life that given me more pleasure than watching the color drain from her face as I explained to her that I was not confused and was quite clear on what and who I was attracted to, having tasted not only the rainbow but most, if not all, of the candy shop.

Mayhaps even more important than what I learned about myself throughout those six months, was what I learned about my family.

The sheer breadth and depth of their hypocrisy and cowardice.

Gossips and educators were conveniently silent, too cowed by tradition or my mother’s infamy to offer the slightest encouragement or reassurance. Alleged guardians who were far too married and enamored of the person they had in their heads, more than willing to sacrifice the flesh-and-bone individual to protect their fantasy. Child abusers, frauds, and narcissists are coddled, made excuses for, and prayed over but the queer kid wasn’t allowed the same clemency.

I wish I could tell you that we worked through it and had some appropriately cheesy Hallmark moment with accompanying music, but I won’t because we didn’t. I became the new Black Sheep, mostly because after what they put me through, I made it a point to fight fire with fire. If I had to endure LGBTQ+ bashing under the guise of religious expression, I quite happily delivered one of the appropriate biblical punishments for infidelity, violence, and fraud (to the point of telling an uncle that I’d bet money on their God being more fond of gays than cheaters) and eventually came out as an Atheist as well.

The best we have done is reach a point where the rest of them pretend it never happened. I assume they’re waiting for me to move out and be far away from them when I do begin the physical component of my transition – out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. They’ve learned better than to bring up homo-/transphobic nonsense in my presence. I am no longer invited to the vast majority of family gatherings and those that I do get invited to, I refuse.

If you want to help me to keep bringing important stories like this to the blog, please head over to the tip jar! Thanks again to Velvet for sharing this powerful story with us.

Pancakes

I love making people pancakes the morning after a night of filthy sex.

I don’t know quite when this tradition or this association started, but it’s now firmly entrenched in my mind that an overnight date should ideally end with a lazy, late-morning pancake breakfast.

Food is one of my love languages. I love the ritual of making a loved one a cake for their birthday (or, let’s be real, any other special occasion.) Adding flour and eggs and chocolate chips and infusing the whole thing with love. I love dashing around the kitchen whipping up a feast for a group of friends. God, I miss dinner parties. Years ago, I taught myself how to cook vegan (I wasn’t yet even vegetarian at the time) because a dear friend adopted strict veganism overnight and it seemed like a good way to show support.

And I love making pancakes the morning after the night before. Whether we’re grinning at each other across the kitchen table with filthy, hot memories still fresh in our minds, or balancing trays on our laps and trying not to spill syrup on the bed, there’s something delightfully intimate about eating breakfast together.

If I’ve let you stay over (or I’ve stayed over with you,) it means I trust you to see me at my most imperfect. It’s one thing to get dolled up and go out to a restaurant and then go home and fuck and slip out before we fall asleep. It’s another entirely to let you see me with bed hair, morning face, pre-coffee blearly eyes.

A lot of my sex is pretty casual, but I still care deeply about everyone I get naked with. Whether we’re long-term partners or friends who also fuck occasionally, I want you to know how loved and valued you are. Making breakfast is my little way of saying “I want to do all kinds of hot and dirty things with you. But I also want to hang out in our pyjamas and eat pancakes with you.”

If you enjoy my work, you can always buy me a coffee or shop with my affiliates in the right-hand sidebar to help me keep the blog going.

[Guest Blog] Kink: Not All Whips and Chains by Violet Grey

Ms. Grey is becoming a C&K regular at this point, and I couldn’t be happier about it. She always pitches me great ideas and writes fantastic, thought provoking pieces it’s a privilege to publish. Today, she’s here talking kink and why it’s not all whips and chains!

Amy x

Not All Whips and Chains by Violet Grey

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me!

This classic line from Rihanna’s hit song, S&M, encompasses a general flavour of sadomasochism. It’s a common perception that BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism) involve some form of pain or impact play. 

What comes to mind when you think of BDSM? Is it tying people up? Spanking? Paddles? Whips? Giving control to someone else, or being the one in control? 

All these kinks, and many more, are surprisingly common. But “kinky” esn’t mean the same to everyone – it depends on the person. In everyday life, as we’ve seen with books and films like Fifty Shades of Grey, BDSM is often misunderstood if not completely misrepresented. 

Two of the most common misconceptions are: 

  • BDSM, fundamentally, is abusive. 
  • As I heard one person say, “It’s just all hitting each other, isn’t it?”

Firstly, BDSM is not abusive as long as it’s done between consenting adults, limits and boundaries are respected, and they are playing safely and responsibly. While there are individuals who can and do use BDSM as a guise to abuse others, they are not representative of the majority of kinksters. Most of us just want to have good, safe fun. That being said, it is important to vet any potential partners properly and call out abuse when you see it in the community.

Secondly, no, BDSM is not “just hitting each other”. Any knowledgeable and safe sadomasochist will tell you that. If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this piece, it’s this: kink doesn’t have to be about pain. 

Kink without pain!?

This can be quite a shocking revelation to some folks, especially if all they’ve seen of BDSM is someone having a whip cracked against their arse. My first introductions to BDSM were through very two-dimensional Femdom scenes in crime dramas, usually involving heavy bondage and whips. Male submissives were often ridiculed, and sometimes BDSM as a whole was the butt of a joke. 

So when I was first exploring my kinks, it came as a surprise to learn that you can still be really kinky and not incorporate sadomasochism. I’ll be candid here: I’m no pain slut by any means. While I enjoy erotic spankings and rough sex as much as the next person, if you bring a tawse or thick cane near me, I’m running for the hills! 

So how can you navigate getting kinky without pain or impact play? It’s simple: the same as you usually do. Through negotiation and consent, safety protocols and risk assessment. You have your boundaries, and they can and should be respected. 

Painless kink? Let me count the ways!

So what kind of kinks can you have that aren’t necessarily about whips and chains and pain? Oh, so many! 

From someone whose kinks are mostly not pain-related, so to speak, let me list some of mine for you: 

  • Praise kink – A praise kink is where someone feels aroused or enjoys other positive feelings from being praised by a partner in a scene or during sex. A common example is “good girl/good boy”. Basically, if you call me a “good girl” I’m putty in your hands! 
  • Dominance and submission (D/s) – This dynamic forms the foundation for many BDSM and kink arrangements or fantasies. D/s play can incorporate pain and impact play if you want, but it doesn’t have to. Something as simple as doing the dishes or cuddling can be made kinky when you add a D/s twist. 
  • Blindfolds – Pretty self explanatory. Blindfolds can be made of soft material, like a scarf, satin mask, etc., or tougher materials like leather. My go-to blindfold is my silk sleep mask. 
  • Light bondage –  Light bondage can involve something as simple as a scarf, or you can use cuffs or basic Shibari (Japanese rope bonage) ties. As well as the super-hot element of restraining someone, many people find bondage relaxing. However, bondage – even light bondage – carries a risk factor. Always play safely and responsibly
  • Sensual domination – Sensual domination is my kinky happy place. I love it. This is domination that focuses on delighting the senses, rather than giving pain. It is domination that focuses solely on pleasure, and can involve implements like feathers, satin, bondage rope, massage oils, and candles to set the mood. It can even involve all of the above (which for me, it does!) Sensual domination can often be seen as a gateway for people experimenting or getting started in BDSM, but it’s a valid activity in itself that many experienced kinksters enjoy.

Though sometimes I crave the rough stuff, which I also adore, sensual or “soft” kink (as it’s sometimes called) is where I feel most in my element. 

 On that note… 

No shame in soft kink

Some of the more “hardcore” kinks are so-called due to carrying a great deal of risk. Needle and knife play, for instance, are by no means activities for beginners and require deal of studying, safety, and risk awareness to master. 

I’ve seen less “extreme” kinks, or those not involving pain, described as “diet kink.” Some even go as far as to kink-shame people for “not being kinky enough”. Obviously this is not ok.  It’s easy, when looking into BDSM, to internalise “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. I should like hard spankings and floggers, or I should be able to do 24/7 Total Power Exchange if I want to be “really kinky”.

But the truth is, if you’ve got a kink, even if it’s just one? Congratulations! You’re kinky!

No two people are exactly the same. It can be easy to internalise (guilty as charged) feeling like you have to fit into a kinky box – and, of course, feeling you have to be into pain. For all the reasons I’ve discussed here, you don’t have to be and if you’re not, that’s ok. Your kinks are entirely unique to you. 

So go forth, experiment, and have fun! And as always, play safely and responsibly!

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 and shopping with my affiliates help me to keep paying occasional guest bloggers.

Sex Toy Review FAQ

Did you see that this week’s Quote Quest prompt is by… me? I’m deeply amused by this and it reminded me that occasionally I am funny. Since the quote is about working/wanking, I thought I’d write a little sex toy review FAQ this week.

If you’ve ever wondered what goes into writing a sex toy review for money, read on – you’re about to find out!

How do you make money through sex toy reviews?

Two main ways: affiliate marketing and sponsored reviews. Far more of the former than the latter.

As an affiliate, I work with various toy companies to promote their products using a special link. When someone makes a purchase through one of my links, I make a commission.

A sponsored review is when a company pays me to feature their product on my blog. Sponsorship doesn’t guarantee a positive review, of course (more on that in a minute). I don’t do many of these – a handful a year, at most.

What do you do if you’ve been sponsored but you hate the product?

I make it very clear upfront that sponsorship doesn’t guarantee a positive review. The company is paying for product exposure on my blog, but I won’t say I liked something if I didn’t.

I will try to find good things to say about the item as far as I can, as long as they’re true. For example, I won’t review toys made of unsafe materials so at the very least I can pretty much always praise review products as being body-safe. Plus something isn’t necessarily objectively bad just because it didn’t work for me. I’ll talk about why I didn’t like it and then suggest the kinds of people and preferences it might work better for.

Some products are just objectively trash though, and if that’s the case I will say so.

How much can you say or not say about a product in a sponsored review?

I generally won’t agree to terms where I can’t say whatever I want (as long as it’s true, of course). Again: I’ll never promise to gush about something if I don’t genuinely love it, and I won’t usually edit a review once it’s been published.

The one exception to this is when the company has provided me with information that is useful for background info but confidential for a good reason, such as particular manufacturing or product development details they don’t want being made public. But that’s pretty rare.

Do you pitch a company if you really want to try a specific product or do they always come to you?

A mix of both, but they come to me far more often. At this point, I work closely with a small number of companies who regularly send me review products. They’ll usually email me and tell me they’ve got a new line coming out and let me choose an item from it for review, or that they’re having a push on a certain product type and would I like to review it?

On occasion, I will ask one of the companies I work for if I can try something specific. They’re usually very accommodating if it’s avaikable!

When it comes to companies I don’t have an existing relationship with, they usually come to me first. I’ve reached out on occasion, with mixed results. Some companies are notoriously hard to get review products from, others have their preferred roster of reviewers and aren’t open to new ones. Occasionally, I’ll get a yes and get the product.

But probably 90%+ of the time, they come to me.

Is there a common practice of asking for more information before you agree to a review?

I have done occasionally but there’s usually no need to. I can check out the product specs and the company’s website to find all the info I need to say yes or no.

Then there’s just a bit of back-and-forth to agree the terms, payment, delivery date, and any other specifics.

Is there anything that will cause you to reject a review product?

  • Unsafe materials.
  • Sexist, racist, or otherwise gross marketing content.
  • Unethical behavior from companies, especially if they show no remorse or improvement when called on it. (Fuck you Lelo.)
  • If the company behaves incredibly unprofessionally during outreach and negotations. (Lookin’ at you, Bestvibe.)
  • If I can immediately tell I’ll hate it (in a really hate it way, rather than I “I can be hilariously snarky about this” way).

I want to be a toy reviewer, but I don’t know if I’m good enough!

The great thing about sex toy reviewing is that there isn’t really one right way to do it. You’ll also get better at it as you go – my early reviews are nowhere near as good as my current work.

Here are my golden rules of writing a sex toy review to help you get started:

  • Always always always always be honest. Your readers’ trust is everything.
  • Read up on sex toy safety and only feature safe products on your site.
  • Avoid overly gendered language. People have genders, sex toys (and body parts) do not. (Example: say “people with penises” rather than “men”).
  • Brush up your spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. You can always run your work through Grammarly before you hit publish if that helps!

Other than that? Cultivate your own unique voice and don’t overthink it too much.

How do you protect yourself from people trying to get your work for free?

I just say no. At this point, I’ll only accept products that are carried by one of my existing affiliate companies (joining a bunch of new programmes isn’t worth it) or from companies that are paying me to review.

I have an email template that I use when new companies reach out to me for reviews, stating that I’m happy to offer product reviews, my rates are £X and my terms are Y and Z. 9 out of 10 don’t respond again, but that’s okay. If the only thing I’ve lost is work that I wouldn’t have been paid for, it’s no loss at all.

How much do you make from sex toy reviewing?

About £2400 so far in 2020. £150 of that was for a sponsored review, and £300 was for paid reviews I wrote for another platform. The rest is from affiliate sales.

Do you have any questions about sex toy reviewing?

If so, ask away and I might do a follow up at some point!

[Toy Review] Lovense Domi 2

You might remember that I recently reviewed the Lovense Lush and was generally underwhelmed. Well, I was surprised (and impressed) when the good folks at Lovense reached out and suggested a different product I might get on better with, and offered to send me one to try. And that’s how I’m bringing you today’s review of the Lovense Domi 2.

Lovense Domi: Closer Look

The Lovense Domi 2 is an app-controlled mini wand vibrator. It is 9.5″ in total length, with a plastic body and a head coated in body-safe silicone. The Domi 2 is black with a silver band towards the top of the handle:

Lovense Domi wand vibrator

The Domi 2 is splashproof but not fully waterproof. It is USB rechargeable. A full charge takes around 2 hours and I got a respectable 2 hours of battery life out of it.

App functionality

The app functionality offered by Lovense’s toys is truly next level. I have never tested a sex toy smartphone app that was even half this good.

The Lovense Remote app is free to download and compatible with iOS (9.0 and later,) and Android (4.3 and later). There’s also a Mac version, and a Windows PC version. You’ll need a special Lovense USB Bluetooth Adaptor if you want to use the latter.

Screenshot of the Lovense Domi app

When I reviewed the Lush, I noted that it was clearly a toy designed with app-first usage in mind. Without the app, its user interface is rather limited. However, the same cannot be said for the Domi 2. While the Lush is a toy that really requires the app, the Domi 2 is a great toy in and of itself and the app just adds some extra bonus features. That’s how it should be, in my mind. Not everyone wants to hold their phone while they’re wanking!

When you download the app, you’ll need to set up a free account, switch on your Bluetooth, and click the link symbol in the top right corner to connect your toy. The Domi 2 connected in less than two seconds and maintained a steady and reliable connection throughout use.

Once you’ve connected your toy, you’ll find several fun options:

  • The “Remote” control panel allows you to change the vibration speed with a simple finger swipe. You can also use the “loop” feature to create your own patterns.
  • In “My Patterns,” you can find pre-installed vibration patterns. This is also where you can create and save your own custom settings.
  • “Alarm” lets you schedule the toy to start vibrating at a specific time. This has significantly fewer applications with a toy like a wand as opposed to an insertable, but I’m sure some creative kinksters could come up with a fun way to use it.
  • “Sound” makes the toy respond to nearby sounds such as talking, music, and so on. Fair warning: it’s very very responsive. On the higher sensitivity setting, it was picking up the faint sound of my partner talking on the phone at the other end of the house. So you might want to turn the sensitivity level down a bit. I’m really into the D/s potential of this function. A Dom making my vibe react with just their voice? Yes please! Another fun idea: watch porn and sync the toy with the sounds!
  • “Music” syncs the vibrations along with music files uploaded to your device, or linked through a streaming service like Spotify.
Lovense Domi app screenshot

Without the app, the Domi 2 features a simple 3-button interface to change the speeds and flick through the pre-installed patterns.

Sex and social distancing

Not able to get it on in person right now? Never fear, Lovense has got you covered…

Play from anywhere in the world

In a Long Distance relationship or currently apart? Use the “Long Distance” tab in your Lovense app to hand over control of your toy to your partner. They’ll also need a free account and you’ll need to add each other with your usernames.

Connectivity is fast, reliable, and holds steady as long as you are both in an area with a good internet connection.

Lovense Domi wand vibrator

If your partner doesn’t want to set up an account or you’re playing with a new person and just trying things out, you can create a limited-time “control link” and send it to them. You can specify the length of time it lasts – a few seconds up to an hour. Every link is one use only and will expire if not used within 30 minutes. You can end the session any time – just press “back” on the app.

Camsite capability

All Lovense toys feature a unique connectivity with cam sites. As far as I know, this is a first. If you perform on sites such as Chaturbate, MyFreeCams, Manyvids, or many others, you can hook up your Domi 2 and create tip-based responses. This lets your fans “control” your vibe based on the tips they send you.

Got a particularly generous tipper? If you wish, you can hand over control to them using the control link function we discussed a moment ago.

As I’m not a cam performer, I have not tested this functionality myself. However, I have watched clips of performers using it (the things I do for research!) Reviews are generally very positive.

Knock-your-socks-off power

Where the Lush fell down is where the Lovense Domi 2 really comes into its own. I cannot believe the power this thing is packing! It’s not only extraordinarily powerful, it’s also rumbly as fuck. I might go as far as to say this is the rumbliest toy I’ve ever used.

It doesn’t have quite the pure power of a mains powered wand (though honestly it’s not far off.) But as far as rumbles go? This is incredible.

My Domi 2 has been within easy reach of my bed ever since I got it. When I want a toy that gives me deep, satisfying clitoral orgasms in record time, this is the one. When I’m already very turned on, I don’t even need to hold it directly against my clit. Pressing it into the side of my vulva or top of my pubic mound is enough.

Final thoughts

I have seriously no idea how the Domi 2 only has 3.5 stars out of 5 on Lovehoney. This thing is FUCKING INCREDIBLE. (I also don’t know why everyone raves about the Lush so much when the Domi is very clearly the superior toy.)

The Lovense Domi 2 is on the pricey side, retailing for £139.99 at Lovehoney. Is it worth it? My verdict: fuck yes.

Thanks to Lovense for sending me this product to review! All views, as always, are my own. Affiliate links appear within this post.