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[Toy Review] Womanizer Starlet 2

Before we dive in: did you see I’ve revised my Patreon? There are new reward tiers, better perks, and more ways to get involved! Go check it out and maybe support me – every single dollar really does help.

Despite saying I was going to do substantially fewer product reviews, interesting things to try out keep finding their way to me! Remember when I said I’d been wanting to get my hands on a Womanizer toy for ages and hadn’t had the opportunity? Well, my cup runneth over, so to speak – as I have yet another new Womanizer product to tell you all about!

Suction Toys

I wrote recently about whether or not I think all suction-based clitoral stimulators are basically variations on the same theme. The conclusion I came to was… sort of. The sensation provided by these toys is remarkably consistent across models and even across brands. However, unique design features can really make or break each specific model. Read on to find out whether I thought the Starlet 2 was a hit or a miss.

A little more down-to-Earth…

The Womanizer Starlet 2 sex toy on a brown wooden surface.

After the high-end luxury with price tags to match that defines the Womanizer Premium and Duo, the Starlet 2 is a simpler product – more aimed at the everyday consumer, rather than at serious toy enthusiasts with serious money to spare. The Starlet 2 retails at the much more affordable £69.99 (that’s $79.99 to my American friends!) and is an upgrade of the original Starlet model.

It’s a petite toy, only 5 inches in total length, and very light. I have tiny hands and would have preferred the body of the toy to be slightly longer for ease of use, so bear that in mind if you’re a person with big hands. However, for those who find holding larger or heavier toys difficult, the compact nature of this model could be an advantage for you.

The Starlet 2 is USB rechargeable, requiring 30 minutes’ charge for 30 minutes’ playtime. I’m really not impressed with the battery life here. 30 minutes, for me, is often not even long enough to reach orgasm – and the same is true for a lot of people with vulvas. When other toys can do two or three hours on a full charge, this is a major negative in my view.

The Starlet 2 is also fully waterproof, if playing in the bath is your thing. It comes in two colours – a pinkish-orange called “coral”, and a deep blue.

Body-safety, care and cleaning

The Womanizer Starlet 2 sex toy in coral resting on a white sheet

The Womanizer Starlet 2 is made of hard ABS plastic with a silicone nozzle. Like all Womanizer products, this makes it completely body-safe.

The silicone nozzle is removable, so you can remove it and sterilise it in the usual ways – boiling water or a 10% bleach solution. You can also buy replacement nozzles, which are your best bet if you’re going to be sharing the toy with a partner, as it’s not really possible to use a suction toy with a barrier.

Pro tip: swirl a bit of water-based lube around the rim of the nozzle, and put some on your clit too. Lube makes everything better!

Controls & Settings

The Starlet 2 has four possible speeds. This is far fewer than the higher-end models: the Classic has 8 speeds, and the Premium has a massive 12.

The Womanizer Starlet 2 sex toy in coral on a white sheet

Honestly, I think for most people, 4 speeds is probably enough? They’re not as finely graded as they could be, true, but they allow for a steady increase in intensity. But I’m aware I am saying that as someone whose usual play-style with toys is “whack it on the top setting and leave it there.”

The controls are two simple buttons: On/Up and Off/Down. No complaints here – they’re sensibly located in the centre of the main body of the toy, and they’re easy to press. If anything, the Off/Down button could do with being a bit bigger – it’s smaller than the Up button and I see no good reason for this. Overall, though, I’ll give the Starlet 2 points for simple and sensible controls.

So was the Starlet 2 a rising star?

I had high hopes for this toy after my amazing experiences with the Premium and the Lovehoney/Womanizer Pro40. Unfortunately, it just really missed the mark for me in practice.

Due to the shape, and how little the nozzle sticks out from the body of the toy, I found it almost impossible to get the right angle against my body. I tried holding the toy in multiple different ways, but all of them either left a gap between part of the nozzle and my body (thus meaning my clit got much less stimulation) or required contorting my hand/arm in uncomfortable ways. A longer handle and a more pronounced nozzle would go a long way to mitigating this issue.

I also really noticed the relative lack of power at the higher settings, compared to other suction toys.

I tried this toy three times, and was not able to orgasm with it on any occasion.

So do I recommend it?

Unfortunately I don’t. I was hopeful about the Starlet 2, but it didn’t live up to expectations for me at all. It’s not egregiously bad or anything, but I was left unimpressed and I doubt I’ll use it again. I recommend splashing out another £30 if you can and getting the Womanizer/Lovehoney Pro40 instead, which is just so much better.

Thanks to Womanizer for sending me this product in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own and images are by me. Please use the affiliate links within this post if you want to make a purchase; commission helps to keep this site going!

[Wearable Review] Wild Blooms Lingerie by Lovehoney

Content note: this post briefly discusses my wonky relationship with my body image, including weight (no numbers and no diet talk!)

Often, when I review or write about lingerie, I’ll try it on a couple of times, take some photos, and then basically never wear it again. It’s rare that I find a piece I genuinely just want to wear again and again and again.

The official Lovehoney product picture of a white female model with dark hair wearing the Wild Blooms Embroidered Body
Official product photo featuring Lovehoney model. Selfies coming up…

My Wild Blooms Embroidered Body is one such piece.

Blooming Wild…

Wild Blooms is Lovehoney’s latest lingerie offering. It features 3 different designs – a basque set, a bra set, and the body – each of which is available in Standard and Plus sizes. This means all the pieces can fit anyone from a UK size 6 to a size 24.

A close up of my neck and the top of my chest wearing the Lovehoney Wild Blooms Embroidered Body

They’re all made of a sheer black mesh (polyester/elastane blend) and embroidered with colourful flowers in orange, blue, and shades of pink. I actually have a Monsoon dress in a very similar fabric which is one of my favourites!

I received the Embroidered Body to try out – let’s take a walk in the garden…

The Wild Blooms Black Embroidered Body

I love one-piece lingerie! This is partly because I am fundamentally quite lazy when it comes to my femme aesthetic – I enjoy things I can wear and look hot in without battling straps, suspenders, and sets with five separate pieces. (See also: the Catsuit of Joy, and the fishnet dress thing I got as a Halloween freebie and absolutely adore.) And, to be honest, if I’m wearing lingerie it’s likely because I’m going to a kink club, swing night or sex party. Therefore I want something I can take off for play and put back on again afterwards with a minimum of fuss!

A white female-bodied person wearing the Lovehoney Wild Blooms embroidered body.

So the Wild Blooms Embroidered Body was an obvious pick for me. I can get in and out of it in less than 3o seconds, and without getting tangled up in anything. Definitely an A+ for convenience!

Fit & Comfort

These pieces, like most of Lovehoney’s lingerie, don’t come in individual dress-sizes but in S/M/L etc. sizing. The website provides sizing guidance and I’ve generally found them to be fairly accurate. I’m currently wearing a size 14, so I ordered the Large and found it a good fit. I think when I was a size 16 I would have found it tight, so I recommend going up a size if you’re not sure. (Luckily, Lovehoney have a solid returns policy – just keep the tags on and send it back for an exchange if the sizing isn’t quite right!)

A word of caution to those with larger busts: this thing does not contain your boobs! Like, at all! Mine were either “barely contained” or “nipples falling out” depending on the position I was sitting/standing in. Of course, that can be a hot look which a lot of people enjoy! Smaller-busted people will find it provides a little more coverage.

The collar and crotch fasten with simple poppers. The fabric in these sections is somewhat stretchy to provide a flexible, comfortable fit. And, of course, the crotch fasteners offer the opportunity to have all kinds of fun without even taking the body off if you don’t want to!

I had a slight issue with the length of the sleeves. I have shorter limbs than average for my body size, and they were definitely too long for me. Luckily, they can be tucked under easily without ruining the look – and if you’re handy with a sewing machine, you could even turn them up with a few stitches.

My favourite thing about this piece? How disproportionately comfy it is compared to a lot of sexy lingerie! The mesh fabric is surprisingly soft. I expected it to be somewhat rough or coarse against my skin, but it really isn’t. It’s sitting next to me as I type and I keep running my hand over the lovely soft fabric. The embroidered sections are a little coarser than the plain mesh parts, but still much softer than I expected when I saw the picture. There are also no wires, no scratchy lace, no digging in or pinching. All around, I’m giving the Wild Blooms Embroidered Body top marks for comfort!

Care & Cleaning

Like a lot of lingerie, the Wild Blooms range is hand-wash only. Put it in a protective net bag and use the cold “hand wash” cycle on your washing machine, or just wash it with cold water and some mild laundry detergent in the sink. The fine mesh can tear easily, so be gentle with it! I recommend storing delicate pieces like this in a separate bag in your lingerie drawer/box – that way, it won’t snag on anything else and accidentally tear (bra clasps are the devil for this!)

Aesthetics & Sex Appeal

I feel so hot in this piece that I actually snapped some pictures immediately, posted them on Fetlife and sent them to my partners!

I have an “ugh” relationship with my body-image much of the time, especially due to a lot of weight gain in the last couple of years. So lingerie that makes me look in the mirror and go “yeah I’d fuck that” is like gold-dust. For me, I find the Wild Blooms Body draws attention away from areas of my body I feel self-conscious about (stomach; back fat) and towards the parts I feel really good about (waist/hip curve; amazing boobs.)

The aesthetic is feminine and elegant. The flower embroidery speaks straight to my femme heart, without being too over-the-top.

Yes, I love this garment!

Get Yours…

The Wild Blooms Embroidered Body is available from Lovehoney for £44.99 at full price (but is currently on sale at £35.99!)

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this piece for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own. Affiliate links send a small commission my way, which helps to keep this blog going! Official product image is property of Lovehoney and used with permission. Other photos are by me.

[Toy Review] Womanizer x Lovehoney Pro40 Clitoral Stimulator

A quick PSA before we start: I’ve revamped my Patreon! There are new tiers (named after types of coffee because of course,) new rewards, and plans for lots of exciting content in the near future! Please check it out and support me if you can.

Many of you may remember from a a while back that I am a Womanizer convert! The Premium was just so damn good. So when I heard that Womanizer had teamed up with Lovehoney to produce a toy together, how could I resist giving the Pro40 a go?

The Womanizer Pro40 black and rose gold clitoral suction toy lying on a white bedsheet.

Are all suction-based simulators broadly the same?

I’ve been wondering this as I try more of them. And my answer is… sort of. All the air suction based clitoral toys I’ve tried have been, in many ways, remarkably similar. Each one has slightly different features, of course, and some certainly work better for my body than others. But if you like one you’ll probably like a lot of them, and if you hate the sensation of one then you’ll (probably) dislike most of them. They’ve certainly got better over the years (the first time I tried one I did not see what all the hype was about!)

But broadly speaking, one suction-based clitoral stimulator feels very similar to the next. Luckily, the sensation they provide is one that I absolutely love. My clit gets overstimulated easily with direct contact, so the gentle caressing sensation is perfect for me. These things, if I’m in the right headspace, can give me full body, clutching-at-the-sheets-and-trying-not-to-wake-the-neighbours orgasms.

With that said, how did the Womanizer x Lovehoney Pro40 stack up?

The Womanizer x Lovehoney Pro40 is a one-off collaboration between these two companies. It uses Womanizer’s signature Pleasure Air technology, which stimulates the clitoris via rapid pulses of air. These types of clitoral stimulators can be a godsend for those who find that vibrators often make them feel numb. (They do not, however, feel like oral sex! Whatever the hype says, I will die on this hill.)

The Womanizer Pro40 black and rose gold clitoral suction toy in my hand on the background of a white bedsheet.

I’ll be honest: a lot of the time I’ll try a suction toy, review it, and then shove it in a drawer and not bother with it again for months. I fucking love this one, though. I’ve been reaching for it again and again lately, long after all the necessary testing sessions for this review were complete. It’s just really, really good.

Important bits…

The Lovehoney/Womanizer Pro40 has an ABS plastic body and uses silicone nozzles. This makes it completely body-safe. The nozzles are also removable, which is convenient when it comes to cleaning. Just pull the nozzle off, sterilise it in boiling water or a 10% bleach solution, pop it back on and you’re good to go! You can also buy , should you need to.

You can’t really use a barrier with a suction toy, so I suggest swapping out the heads between users if you’re sharing with a partner. As ever, water-based lube is recommended – I find swiping a bit of lube around the rim of the nozzle makes the whole experience feel so much better.

The Womanizer Pro40 black and rose gold clitoral suction toy lying on a white bedsheet.

The Pro40 is fully waterproof, and is rechargeable via the included USB cable. The battery life is great – I’ve had over 3 hours use out of a single charge.

Price and Aesthetics

The plastic body of the Lovehoney/Womanizer Pro40 is a pretty mix of black and rose-gold. (The latter of which seems to be VERY trendy for sex toys right now.) It comes packaged in Lovehoney’s distinctive style, with just a shade of Womanizer luxury thrown on top. This toy, and its packaging, lacks the high-end feel of some of Womanizer’s other recent products, but nontheless has a sleek, stylish vibe.

At £99.99, it’s far from a cheap toy, but is more wallet-friendly than the pricier Classic, and the eye-wateringly expensive Duo and Premium.

Ease of use

The Womanizer x Lovehoney Pro40 is around 6.5 inches long and pleasingly light to hold. Ergonomics-wise, this one is a huge win for me. I have found some suction-based toys cumbersome to hold or difficult to position, but this one feels comfortable in my small hand and fits against my body like a dream. It helps that the nozzle also sticks out a good distance from the body of the toy, making it much easier to angle it effectively against my clit.

The Womanizer Pro40 black and rose gold clitoral suction toy lying on a white bedsheet.

It also has easy, intuitive controls. There’s an on/off button, and +/- speed buttons and… that’s it. The buttons are easy to press, sensibly located on the main body of the toy, large enough, and well spaced out. The only thing that could improve the controls would be to have the +/- signs on the buttons raised, so that the user could easily feel which was which without having to look.

Settings & volume

The Lovehoney/Womanizer Pro40 has six levels of intensity. It also has – praise the sex toy gods – No Fucking Patterns!

This toy is pretty quiet on the lower levels, but does get quite loud when you turn it up to full power. Not as loud as a wand, but definitely louder than your average vibrator. So you’ll want to bear that in mind if discretion is important to you.

Overall, do I recommend it?

Yes. I adore this toy! I was so surprised by how good it was, and how well it stacked up against more expensive models. Fully endorsed with the C&K Stamp of Approval.

Thank you to Lovehoney for sending me this product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are, as ever, my own. Affiliate links are used within this post and send a small commission my way if you make a purchase. Images are by me.

[Guest Post] Anxiety and Sex: How Panic Attacks During Sex Led to Me Getting the Help I Needed by Ruby Bell

I knew I wanted Ruby Bell to guest blog for me the moment I read one of her several brilliant posts for Girl on the Net. Thankfully, she agreed and pitched me this fabulous piece. You know that, here at C&K HQ, we’re all about the filthiest, sexiest smut… but we’re ALSO all about talking frankly about mental health and all the other complications of life. I’ll hand you over to Ruby, who is going to tell us all about panic attacks and sex. – Amy x

A woman facing away and holding her head in her hands. For a post from Ruby Bell about panic attacks during sex

My partner has me against the wall. He has me blindfolded and he’s using a very powerful vibrator on my clitoris. These are some of my absolute favourite things… so why am I moments away from having a full-on panic attack? 

Living with anxiety isn’t easy, but it is something we all know a lot more about these days. It’s brilliant that people are talking more about mental health, and most of us are feeling a little less intimidated about sharing our true thoughts and feelings with those we love. Despite all of this progress, it doesn’t make having panic attacks any easier for those of us who struggle with them, and having panic attacks during sex is a part of anxiety not many people talk about. It’s certainly not something I ever expected to have to deal with. 

So, let’s talk about some of the science behind the madness of our minds. The release of oxytocin during sex magnifies emotions as well as promoting trust and empathy with your partner. This suggests that it can encourage a release of feelings that may have nothing to do with what is actually going on in that moment. Maybe you’ve had an argument with your mum recently. Maybe you’ve had a fucking awful week at work or maybe your mental health has just generally been suffering lately. Now you’re in this safe place with the person you trust the most, and all of these things are coming out. It’s quite common for some people to cry during sex, and this can easily go from a few tears to a panic attack if you suffer with anxiety or depression as well. 

The first time I had a panic attack during sex was only the second or third panic attack I’d ever had, which meant I hadn’t yet learnt how to spot the signs of an attack rising or how to calm myself down and prevent it from getting any worse. I barely even knew what a panic attack was! This ended up with me having a pretty out of control, I-can’t-breathe, sobbing-my-heart-out kind of panic attack in front of my (still pretty new at the time) partner… who is standing there enjoying edging me, watching me writhe and squirm with a thick hard cock as he does. 

Fortunately, he dealt with the situation even better than I ever could have asked for. He turned the vibrator off, he removed my blindfold, and when I replaced it with my hands to try and hide my embarrassment he pulled me close to him and held me against his chest. He asked if he had done anything wrong. I sobbed that he hadn’t, that I was enjoying it and I didn’t know why this was happening which actually panicked me even more. He told me it was fine, he told me to breathe and he walked me around the house reminding me to keep breathing. At the time, I thought it was strange and a little comical that two semi-turned-on people were walking around the house together, completely naked for no apparent reason as my face dripped with tears and mascara and my chest heaved with heavy, struggling breaths. I know now that the walking helped to ground me. It helped distract from the panic as well as allowing me to feel close to and loved by my partner. 

I’m lucky – now that I have worked on my mental health and my panic attacks in particular, if one does start to rise in me I know how to calm myself down and can reign it in before the main symptoms begin around 90% of the time. But having panic attacks during sex did two wonderful things for me – although I didn’t know there was anything wonderful about it at the time of course.

First of all, it changed the dynamic of my relationship completely. Up until the point of that first attack, my partner and I were still holding back things during sex and I was being careful not to come across as overly emotional or ‘crazy.’ Looking back, it was probably the reason that first attack manifested itself – I hadn’t been honest with my partner about the feelings I was having in our relationship and I was hiding who I really was, which is never a good thing. This attack led to me and my partner connecting emotionally on a whole new level that we never had before. I learned that my partner was not just the tough guy exterior that came across. Showing my own vulnerability and opening up to him allowed him to do the same with me, and this led to us having a much stronger relationship in the long run. I now know I can talk to my partner if I’m feeling anxious, depressed, panicked or anything else. I can tell him if I don’t even know what’s causing those feelings and we can deal with it together.

The second thing that first attack during sex did for me was make it clear I did have a problem that needed to be addressed. Up until that point I had struggled with my mental health for years without ever really facing it. I had several extremely unhealthy coping mechanisms which were in fact making things worse, and having my partner walk me around and remind me to breathe led me to learning how to deal with these feelings effectively. From that experience, I learned coping techniques that I still use today. Having that outburst in front of another person meant I had to face what was going on. It meant someone else could see that actually I wasn’t okay, I wasn’t coping. This led to me getting the help and support I so badly needed, as well as working on my communication regarding my mental health overall. 

I hope that anyone else dealing with panic attacks during sex – or at any other time – takes it as a sign that they need to deal with the emotions causing these attacks. Listen to the fact that your body has felt comfortable enough to open up fully in front of the person you are making love with. I think we all need to listen more to what our bodies and emotions are telling us. And perhaps if we take the time to stop and listen to ourselves, then there is a good chance things won’t ever need to get as far as a panic attack.

Ruby Bell writes erotica and is passionate about sharing her filthy sexual experiences and fantasies. Her sex-positive writing also includes mental health, self-care, and educational pieces. She wants to spread both arousal and information! She’s a sucker for BDSM, chubby women and growing her own herbs and spices.  

Ruby is a brilliantly smutty writer who has shared her work on Girl On The Net’s amazing blog a number of times over the past few years. You can check out some of her work here (warning – very NSFW) and keep yourself up to date on what she’s doing at @absolutely_ruby on Twitter, where you’ll find upcoming articles, occasional audio porn, and whatever else pops into her head. Ruby is also currently working on her first novel with hopes of publishing next year. 

The Kinky Love Languages: Words of Affirmation

This is the first in a mini-series of posts where I explore the five love languages as they can relate to kink and BDSM. If you don’t know your main love language, take the quiz to find out! Most of us are a mix of several or all of them, but have one that comes out most strongly. The model is somewhat flawed (I think there are more than five languages – two additional ones of mine are co-creation and food, for example) but it’s a useful starting point for exploring how you like to give and receive love. I believe that a lot of problems with one person feeling unloved and unappreciated, in relationships where everyone is acting in good faith and doing their best, come down to a mismatch of love languages and not understanding each other’s.

A piece of paper saying "I love you" with a lipstick kiss, for a post on words of affirmation as a kinky love language

Words of Affirmation

People whose primary love language is words of affirmation like to be told they’re loved. They like to be told explicitly, out loud and in detail that they are valued by their partner(s.) People who understand love via words of affirmation do not ascribe to the adage that words are meaningless and only actions count. Don’t get me wrong though – your actions still need to back up your words!

How to show love to a submissive whose primary language is words of affirmation

Many submissives will tell you that the words “good girl,” “good boy” or similar will just make them melt in their Dominant’s arms. If you have a submissive who will do anything for these nuggets of praise, you might just have a sub whose love language is words of affirmation. Offer them genuinely as often as you can.

You can take it a step further, too. Mix in other compliments and words of praise. This can range from “I’m so proud of you” when they accomplish something, to “you look so hot kneeling for me like that” during a scene. Compliments – on their achievements, talents, character and looks – should be given freely. Remember to make sure everything you tell them is genuine and heartfelt. A person who speaks this language can tell when you’re just parroting the lines with no feeling behind them.

A submissive who needs words of affirmation is likely to need regular reassurance, too. They might need to hear that you love them, that you value them, and that they’re not too much or too needy. If you’re in a non-monogamous dynamic, they’re likely to need verbal reassurance sometimes when you’re spending time with others. Tell them explicitly how much they mean to you.

Don’t underestimate the power of written words, too! If you live apart, a “good morning beautiful/handsome” text could brighten their whole day. If you live together, a naughty or affectionate IM while they’re at work will make them smile and keep them thinking of you.

Writing tasks were also made for these submissives! Have them write down fantasies, write in a daily journal, or write down mantras to increase their confidence in themselves or the relationship. You could even set “lines” as a punishment if they misbehave! As with any punishment or protocol, make sure you negotiate fully.

How to love a Dominant whose primary love language is words of affirmation

People tend to forget that Dominants have emotional needs too! Like anyone else, D-types also have ways that they prefer to give and receive love. So if your Dom is into words of affirmation, how can you make sure they feel loved and appreciated consistently?

A Dominant who is into words of affirmation might love to hear lots of verbal feedback during and after play. You don’t have to go overboard or fake it, but a well-timed “mmm, that feels so good” or “this is making me so hard/wet” is likely to go over well. After play, general words of appreciation (“I needed that so much, thank you”) or specific compliments (“the way you handle the whip is so sexy”) are likely to make them glow. Again: whatever words you give, it’s important that they are genuine! Only say things you mean!

It’s amazing how often submissives don’t realise this or forget it, but: COMPLIMENT YOUR DOM! I often say “hey, nice ass” when I see Mr CK walking around naked. (Words isn’t really his language, but it is mine.) Tell him that shirt really suits him. Tell her the way she looks in those boots makes you go weak at the knees. Make sure they know you really appreciate their skills as a… whatever it is they’re good at. Tell them you love their laugh, their random acts of kindness, their devotion to their family. Just pick something and tell them how great they are!

However confident and stoic they seem, Doms can also feel insecure, jealous or wobbly. Regardless of your relationship structure – but especially if you’re non-monogamous – check in with your Dom regularly to see how they’re doing. Be prepared to offer any verbal reassurances they need. Ask them what they need you to remind them of, or pick it up from contextual clues, and tell them that thing. Let them be vulnerable with you and meet that vulnerability with words of love and support.

If your D-type sets you a writing task, take it on promptly and joyfully. Do the best you can with it. In fact, you might even suggest this to them if they haven’t thought of it!

Additional tips that are good for anyone

Don’t be afraid to remind your partner of your confidence, faith and pride in them. As someone who speaks the words of affirmation language, if I have a big interview, presentation or important meeting coming up at work I love nothing more than hearing “good luck, I know you’ll rock it!” from my partners. And if something they aim for doesn’t pan out, be there to pick their spirits up with loving reassurance that it doesn’t mean anything about their ability and that things will go better next time.

Sexting was made for relationships between people who communicate their love in words. Share a filthy fantasy, a sexy dream you had, or spinning an elaborate scene together over text or IM are all great ways to feel more connected… and to gain delicious new ideas of things to try together.

If you live apart (or even if you don’t!) then consider love-letters. These could be emails or actual, old-fashioned pen-and-paper letters. However you do it, they’ll give you something to look back on and cherish for years to come.

Say “I love you.” Seriously. Say it often. No-one who speaks the “words of affirmation” language will get tired of hearing it.

Do you speak “Words of Affirmation” as your love language? How do you like to give and receive love in your kinky relationship?

Do you want to support my work and help me to keep producing content like this? Join me on Patreon (I’m trying to get better about posting on there, I promise!) or just buy me a coffee.

[Wearable Review] Bondage Boutique Rainbow Leather Harness with Collar

Before I tell you about this lovely harness, I feel I should acknowledge that I haven’t blogged since 18th May (and that was a guest post!) and today is 6th July. This is by far the longest blogging break I’ve taken since I started, and I thank you all for bearing with me. I wasn’t sure, for a while, if I was going to come back at all.

My mental health took a serious downturn back in May for a number of reasons, and most of my energy has gone on my recovery. I took some time off work as a result for the first time. I’m not back to 100% yet, but I’m making progress and felt able to start writing again – albeit maybe a little more slowly for a while. With that out of the way, let’s dive in…

Happy Pride, friends!

A bunch of bright multicoloured roses for a review of a leather pride harness

Today is Pride in London. I am, sadly, not there. Aforementioned health issues, plus lack of spoons for travel and huge crowds, means I’ve sat this one out this year. However, in the spirit of celebrating a little bit at home, Pride day felt like the appropriate time to share my review of this rainbow-themed piece with you all.

Whether you’re celebrating in the Capital today or not, I hope you’ve all had a very happy Pride.

Boutique Bondage Gear…

Bondage Boutique is Lovehoney’s in-house range of kink and BDSM gear. With pieces ranging from cuffs to wax play candles, from nipple clamps to rope, they’re a great place to find affordable and entry-level kinky things. In honour of Pride season, they’ve recently added a line of rainbow themed items, one of which I was only too happy to try out!

Rainbows, Leather and Kink: A Few of My Favourite Things

The Bondage Boutique pride rainbow harness laid out on a white sheet

The Bondage Boutique Rainbow and Leather Harness with Collar is a really versatile kinky piece. It’s a unisex design, suitable for any type of body. The aesthetic is fairly androgynous, too, neither particularly femme or particularly masculine. You could totally femme or masc it up depending on what you wore it with!

Perhaps pair it with killer heels and cute stockings… or with some sexy as fuck leather trousers? Or even just throw it on over a t-shirt to add some public-safe queer joy to your Pride ensemble! I love the little rainbow panels, which give an otherwise fairly standard bondage piece a fun and playful edge.

The Bondage Boutique rainbow pride harness laid out on a white sheet

This harness also features two D-rings, one in the front centre of the collar and one in the front centre of the waist band. This means it’s practical for play as well as decorative. You could clip a leash to the collar, use the lower D-ring to tie off a crotch rope, or cuff your submissive’s hands to the harness to restrict their movement.

Materials & Care

This harness is made of real leather. For some this will be a huge advantage, and for others such as vegetarians or vegans it may be a serious downside. I personally love leather (even though I’m a vegetarian – yes, I know, I’m a hypocrite!) The softness, the smell and the undeniable associations of real leather all really do it for me. Leather is also exceptionally durable, and tends to get softer and more supple over time.

An anonymous white female bodied person wearing the Bondage Boutique pride harness and a black sports bra

The small rainbow panels are stitched over the leather. The fastenings are made of metal.

Care for this harness the way you would with any other leather item. Cleaning after every wear isn’t typically necessary, but clean it occasionally with a special product designed for leather – many leather enthusiasts recommend saddle soap. If it needs a bit of extra shine, use a little gentle leather polish plenty of time before you next want to wear it. (Or have your sub do so – a fun service play task, perhaps?) Store your harness unfastened and as flat as you can. Don’t store or transport it with anything that could scratch the leather.

Remember that leather is a porous material and will therefore absorb traces of sweat, your skin’s natural oils, and any other bodily fluids it comes into contact with – including blood and sexual fluids.

Harness Fit

This harness is adjustable in three places for a versatile and customisable fit. The adjustable parts are the collar, the waist belt, and the strap that runs down the centre of the chest.

A close up of the Bondage Boutique pride harness on an anonymous white female bodied person wearing a black sports bra

Lovehoney’s site conveniently lists the measurement ranges, so you can check this piece will fit you before buying. The collar fits a neck circumference of 13.5 – 18 inches, the waist belt ranges from 26 to 34 inches, and the connecting strap can be anything from 5.5 to 10 inches in length.

I currently have a 34 inch waist (UK size 14) and found this harness comfortable on the loosest setting. As a short person, I really appreciated being able to shorten the connecting strap too.

A close up of the collar of the Bondage Boutique rainbow harness on an anonymous white female bodied person in a black sports bra

Unfortunately, this harness does not currently come in a Plus Size version. Please consider making one, Lovehoney pals!

So do I recommend it?

I love this harness! It’s super cute, relatively comfy, and pretty affordable. I’m always recommending Bondage Boutique to kink newbies, but wherever you are on your journey, grab this piece if you want to add a little rainbow sparkle to your kinky life.

The Bondage Boutique Rainbow and Leather Harness with Collar retails for £39.99.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this piece to review. All opinions are my own. Pictures are by me. This review contains affiliate links!

[Guest Blog] Broken Toys Are More Fun to Play With by Lilith Young

Today’s guest blog is from the fabulous Lilith Young. Lilith describes herself as a “30-something kinky lesbian switch” and blogs at Lilith Young Writes . I absolutely loved this piece and am delighted to be sharing it with you all today.

A woman with her hands tied above her head in cuffs, for a guest post by Lilth Young

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice on how to make kink safe for you. Do your own research. What is safe for me may not be safe for you.

This is my first time writing about how my disability affects my sex life. To be honest, it’s quite terrifying. But, in the end, all the good stuff is just that. Quite terrifying. Maybe that’s just one of the reasons I am into kink – I like the edge that comes with being scared. So in the words of Jenny Lawson, “Be bizarre. Be weird. Be proud of the uniquely beautiful way that you are broken.”

My name is Lilith and I am broken. I am a 30-something kinky lesbian switch, who makes awkward jokes when I am nervous, and I have EDS and POTS. To put it simply: my joints fall out of place and my heart rate often races until I pass out. Sorry fellas, it’s not you making my heart race – it’s my poor circulation. Ladies, on the other hand… well, that’s poor circulation too, but you do make me wet. So that counts for something, right?

That’s all nice, Lilith, but how does this affect kink? I mean, why am I even still reading this post? Perhaps your kink is women who ramble incessantly. In which case, hi! I’m Lilith, and you are?

For me, kink and disability all boils down to negotiation.  It is super important to explain anything that impacts your safety or your partner(s) safety. If someone seems unsure, can’t keep you safe, or dismisses what you are saying, don’t play together. You know the type. The guy that calls himself a master, but doesn’t know what he is talking about and casually dismisses your concerns. Cringe. Red Flag. Run Away! Or make an excuse to go the restroom and call your friend and sneak out a window. Whatever method is easiest for you.

It can feel impossible to say to someone, “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but play with me maybe and… I have lots of medical issues. No, wait, don’t run away – I have a cute butt. I swear.” In reality, a lot of people will not be intimidated by you expressing your needs clearly. In fact, many will appreciate it.

So, you caught the big fish and you found someone to play with. It’s not so hard to quickly get down to playing. Just make sure you discuss anything that can hurt you or others. That’s it. You do not need to share your life story.  Can you stand? Can you sit? Can I hang you upside down? Do you bleed easily?

One time I got one of my many spontaneous nose bleeds at a fashion show in Miami. Gushing. I was in the bathroom for thirty minutes trying to get it to stop, thinking, “Great, now everyone here thinks I am super into cocaine! And where is someone with blood kink when you need them?”

Be specific about your limits and give details. Such as, “I pass out easily. My primary partner knows the signs; listen to them when they call it and don’t freak out if it happens.”  

So what are some big things I personally negotiate

  1. I can’t stand for long periods of time. So don’t ask me to. Lots can be done from a stool or a bench or kneeling on the ground. Oh so much…
  2. I can’t be still either. So again, don’t ask me to. Five minutes of stillness and my joints start to sublax (that’s when they slide in and out of place on their own). I find watching it fun, in a creepy sort of way. But it does hurt (and not the kind of pain I am looking for), so I have to be able to adjust my position at all times. Fullstop. Someone who is super into protocol probably would not want to try to negotiate a night of high protocol with me, but guess what? I make a terrible slave in other ways as well. Literally terrible. The worst. They would never invite me back!
  3. You’re probably thinking: if you can’t sit still, I would tie you up. That is almost always what is said next. Sorry folks. That will just pull my joints all out of place. Plus, now I am still… and in undesired pain. How about you let me tie you up instead? That I can do. I once had a friend run their hand over my spine and my spine moved around in their fingers. I laughed. They freaked out.
  4. I have lots of extra safewords. There is so much debate on safewords – some people argue that a Dom should recognize the signs and know when to stop. Some people argue that you should never play without safewords.  I will not dive down that rabbit hole today. For me, I use colour safewords. This is something almost everyone has experience using and feels comfortable with. Since I need to be constantly checked in on, I like green, yellow, red for that. This way I can pause things with yellow to adjust as needed. “Yellow! I need to move my arm.” I also use purple when playing with long term partners. If something has triggered an anxiety or panic attack that’s unrelated to what we are doing, I will use “purple” to stop play. I wanted something that indicated that we had not crossed an agreed limit, but that something had gone wrong and I needed to stop. Those are deep conversations I don’t have with everyone. With someone casual, I will just red out. Goodness, I can’t unload all my baggage on casual play. And I don’t think I really should.

It took me a considerable amount of time to gain confidence in my play and life surrounding my health. It happened so slowly that I did not realize I had overcome a lot of my fears. Until one day, I started wearing my compression socks out in public, whether or not they made me look like an old lady with stockings on, and no matter how many people made comments on them.

“I’m not looking up your skirt, I’m – are you wearing stockings?” That was my boss. Because at that point, I knew I didn’t give a fuck how it looked to other people. I only cared about how it helped keep me from getting dizzy and blacking out.

So I don’t care if creating a long detailed negotiation is too much for some people. Those are not my people. I care about how I feel when I play.

Once you begin to accept yourself, a whole world opens up. You never know what may happen. I even found a pair of bondage cuffs that allowed enough movement for me, and I am pretty sure that moment is exactly the same feeling people get when they climb Mount Everest. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating. A little. What can I say? Kink is all about letting your imagination run wild.

So, jump in and start playing.

Thanks to Lilith for sharing her story so generously with us. Don’t forget to check out her blog and give her a follow on the Twitter!

[Toy Review] Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration Masturbator

Satisfyer are really churning them out lately, aren’t they? A few weeks after receiving the now-infamous shipment of 7 new toys for vulvas, I received a parcel the other day containing two new penis toys. They seem very similar, so I got rid of one via a Twitter giveaway, and kept the other one to test make Mr CK test. Meet the Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration Masturbator (hereafter ‘Satisfyer Men Heat’).

Keep your gendered marketing

I’m opposed to gendered marketing of sex toys. Not everyone who has a penis is a man, and not all men have penises! Trans and nonbinary people exist! Unnecessarily gendering toys not only makes trans and NB folks feel ignored and sidelined, it’s also just bad business. Why would you want to alienate a part of your potential customer base? So I was already a bit “ugh” about this product just from the name. But I tried to keep an open mind, I really did.

“A stylish playmate for modern guys”

This is how the Satisfyer Men Heat is described in their marketing copy. I mean… okay, I guess? The colour scheme is black and silver, a minimalistic and stereotypically masculine aesthetic. At first glance, the toy looks like a cross between a portable coffee cup and a torch. One end is closed, and the other is a hole where you insert the penis. The outer is made of ABS plastic, and the fuckable end (sorry, I can’t think how else to describe it) is lined with soft, squishy silicone.

Fuck it, describing this toy is hard, here’s a visual.

The Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration on a white sheet

The Satisfyer Men Heat features a heating function, which warms the toy to three possible levels, the highest being 104F (about 40C, or slightly over normal body temperature). This is designed to make the experience “breathtakingly realistic” which, one assumes, means “it feels like a vagina”. Then there’s “like a blowjob… but BETTER!” as the box claims. I’m skeptical to say the least, but let’s move on.

Size-wise, it’s got about 2.75″ of penetrable depth (so if you like really deep penetration, this isn’t going to be for you). It’s about 3″ wide, and the hole that you penetrate is around 1.5″.

Close up of the Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration

The Satisfyer Men Heat is USB rechargeable and fully waterproof.

Settings & controls

The Satisfyer Men Heat has 4 buttons set into a control panel on the front of the toy. The on/off button is at the top and also changes the vibration pattern. Then you have the +/- buttons to change the speed, and lastly the temperature control button. You can set the toy warming without the vibrations being on, so you might want to give it a few minutes to warm up before playing. It starts getting warm very quickly and the instructions say it comes to temperature in five minutes.

This control panel is really where the problems started. The buttons are not raised at all, so you cannot feel for them with your fingers without a visual. They’re also not clearly marked – thin grey markings on a black background! This means it’s basically impossible to see the buttons properly during use unless you’re in very good light and have perfect vision. In low light, forget it. Mr CK also pointed out that this makes the toy really inaccessible to those with any kind of visual impairment.

Additionally, though you are supposed to be able to adjust the heating function, there is no discernible way to tell which heat setting it’s on. You just get the flashing thermometer icon to indicate that the warming function is on.

This toy boasts “70 different vibration combinations”. I’m not sure how the maths works here, given that by my count it has 8 possible speeds and 6 patterns, making a total of 48 possible options. But what do me and my D in GCSE maths know!?

Care and cleaning

About the best thing I can say about this product is that it is body-safe, which is still shockingly rare for penis toys. Standard masturbators like Fleshlights are all made from porous materials such as TPE, which harbour bacteria and are impossible to get completely clean. Fortunately, silicone is non-porous, phthalate-free and 100% safe. At least Satisfyer got THAT right.

As the Satisfyer Men Heat is waterproof, you can clean it with warm water and gentle soap. It’s a bit of a pain to get clean given the shape, but it can be done with a bit of extra care. If you want to share this toy with a non fluid-bonded partner, you can use it while wearing a condom. As always, I recommend water-based lube – and you’re going to need PLENTY of it if you attempt to use this thing.

So how did it work?

The Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration on a white sheet

“Badly” is, unfortunately, the short and sweet answer. Mr CK was able to fit his penis into the toy with the help of plenty of lube, but he found it uncomfortable. Anyone with a larger than average penis, especially if you’re quite girthy, should avoid this product – you just won’t fit or it’ll hurt! Despite the squishyness of the silicone, it doesn’t have much “give” to make extra room – and one side is completely rigid. This is really a “one size” toy, which doesn’t work at all because penises are so infinitely and gloriously varied. It also makes a squelching noise when you penetrate it, which – while giggle-inducing – is not sexy.

Additionally, the vibrations just didn’t measure up. Even at the highest setting, they’re pretty pathetically weak. Mr CK very quickly concluded that there was zero chance of this toy bringing him anywhere near to orgasm.

When the best your partner can manage is a shrug and an “it’s not… unpleasant?” you know you’re not on to a winning toy.

“But does it feel like fucking a vagina?” I asked. “No,” he said.

“And is it better than a blow job?” “No,” he said again. Never one to waste words.

The verdict

Unfortunately we cannot recommend this product. If you have a penis on the smaller side AND enjoy gentle vibrations, you might get something out of this toy – but otherwise we suggest you spend your money elsewhere. Check out the Godemiche OffBeat, the Hot Octopuss Pulse III or the Hummer wand attachment for some of my most often-recommended penis toys.

Sorry, Satisfyer – I still love you (you’ll have my heart for a while for that amazing flower thing) but seriously, please stop churning things out quite so quickly and develop them more rigorously first.

The Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration Masturbator retails for $59.95.

Thanks to Satisfyer for sending me this product in exchange for an honest review. All views are, as ever, my own. Pictures are by me. Affiliate links contained within this post make me a small commission if you use them to make a purchase.

[Interview] Kayla Lords, Smutlancer Extraordinaire and Editor-in-Chief of The Big Fling

I used to joke that I would know I’d “made it” as a writer when I had a column. Well now I have one! (Though I’m not sure I actually feel I’ve “made it” after all.) My wonderful friend Kayla is now Editor in Chief of The Big Fling, “a community of writers using sex positivity and good info to fight toxic masculinity in dating, hookups, and relationships”. I pitched and was commissioned to write an article on polyamory earlier this year. Shortly after that, Kayla approached me and asked me to write a monthly column all about consensual non-monogamy in its many forms. I was only too happy to say “hell yes!” So when I started my most recent interview series, I was thrilled to chat to Kayla once again about her work at TBF and beyond.

A picture of Kayla Lords cuddling a big teddy bear

Tell us a little bit about you and the work you do?

While I’ve been a sex blogger since 2012 and a kinky podcaster since 2015, I’ve worked with adult brands and companies for the past several years as well. These days I’m also the editor in chief of The Big Fling which means my job is content! In the beginning I wrote content, and now we’re able to invite writers to pitch their ideas and contribute to the website. My job is to work with writers, look over their pitches, ask questions and give feedback when appropriate, and publish good sex-positive writing.

So what’s this Big Fling all about and how did you come to be involved?

When I was approached about working with The Big Fling, they had big dreams. For years, they’ve been a site where (primarily) cishet guys go to learn about dating apps, phone chat lines, and chat sites for hookups. But an opportunity was being missed in the process — to help the people who visit the site have better, healthier experiences.

Not everyone wants to be in a long-term relationship, but the toxicity of interactions that some guys have is scary, and born from not enough good sex education. The Big Fling decided it wasn’t enough to point them in the direction of where to find a date or hookup, but to teach people how to do it all in a better, more sex-positive way. They reached out to me and asked me to write for them. Over several weeks, they began to share their larger vision with me, of becoming a community of writers, and I was excited to help them execute the plan.

How is The Big Fling different from other adult-oriented sites out there?

Having written for many different relationship, dating, and sexuality sites over the years, what I find to be different about The Big Fling is that we know we’re talking to guys who might only be thinking of the sex they want to have… but we do it in a way that speaks to them where they’re at and says, “You’re smart enough to know better, and here’s what you need to know to be better.”

We don’t assume our readers all want to get married or have long-term relationships, but we don’t assume they’re being led around by their penis (or other sexual organs) either. So instead of the “typical” cishet-oriented site that only shows mostly naked women or assumes they’re all out to hit-it-and-quit-it, we talk to them like we’d talk to our friends. We also never assume we know the sexuality, tastes, desires, or identity of anyone who lands on our site.  

What would you say is the main ethos of the site?

We want to combat toxic masculinity in the world of dating, sex, and relationships by letting the average cishet male reader know that their desires are okay, their feelings are okay, and that there’s another way to exist in the world beyond what society taught them. We know we can’t fix toxic masculinity on our own, but we can do our small part to build a more sex-positive world.

I love that! If authors want to get involved with writing for you, how do they do so?

Pitch me, but read over the guidelines first. As a writer, I know how hard it is to pitch, and not a lot of sites tell you what they want which is frustrating. Hopefully I’m the least intimidating editor you’ll ever meet, but I also expect writers to read and follow the guidelines given. So do that, then pitch

I can vouch for you being the kindest and least intimidating editor! So you’ve published loads of great writers, but who would be your dream guest contributor, if money was no object?

For me, I don’t have a guest contributor. My dream, if money was no object, would be to publish as many great writers as possible and to accept every good idea that I receive. That’s the dream. I want to put out as much interesting, high quality sex-positive content as possible, to publish more writers, and to reach as many readers as possible.

What’s one thing you really wish people would STOP asking you?

I get two questions that I’d love to never hear again:

1) “How do you do it all?” I hate this partly because I’m well aware of what I’m NOT doing, so when someone asks how I do it all, my anxiety spikes as my brain imagines everything I should be doing. Plus, I love what I do (okay, maybe not the tedious parts of my work, but I love most of what I do), and so it’s not a burden or strain to work a little longer or give up my free time to work on my blogs or do freelance work. But I do have to be careful not to overwork or I’ll make myself sick or trigger my mental illnesses (I have generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and bipolar disorder — that’s about as fun as you might imagine, especially when deadlines loom).

2) “How do I have a relationship like the one you have with John Brownstone?” I really don’t mind the question. It’s seeing the look in people’s eyes when I give the answer (their eyes tend to glaze over). We met online and connected from the beginning, but it wasn’t love or lust at first sight. I fought my feelings for him every step of the way, refusing to believe that I deserved him. So when I say take the time to develop trust between you and be willing to say difficult things, I mean that.

Without those two factors, I couldn’t have let go of most of my baggage to be with him. I had to be willing to do as much work as he was willing to do. Our love and respect are mutual, and we fought our own individual battles to be together. A lot of people want quick and easy, and in my experience, quick and easy rarely work. The things that matter take time and patience. So the answer to that question tends to be boring, not at all romantic, and generally unsatisfying to the person who asks…

Oh, fuck. I think the next question on my list is sort of a variation on “how do you do it all?” You do so many things – between Loving BDSM, Smutlancer, your personal website and now Big Fling! What’s your key time management strategy?

Two things: prioritizing my goals, which has always been a struggle because everything feels important all the time, and time blocking (sometimes called calendar blocking). Every single thing in my day (including taking a shower and going to bed) has a slot in my calendar. I block out the time I need to do my day job and be a responsible member of my home, and whatever’s left, I block out for blogging and other projects — with time left for mindless scrolling through social media and other things that don’t count as “work.”

If you could impart one piece of wisdom about sex to everyone in the world, what would it be?

There is no right kind of sex to have, but you’ll never have the right kind of sex for YOU if you aren’t willing to talk about it with your partner. Both partners have to be willing to communicate, and you might have to be the one to speak up first, but the best sex happens when you’ve talked about what you want, what you don’t want, what you’ll do, and what you won’t do. 

Who’s your favourite sex toy manufacturer and why?

It’s always hard to pick just one, but for overall marketing inclusivity and quality of product, I’d say Hot Octopuss. Everything I or my partner, John Brownstone, have tried has been amazing. Really great people work for the company — watch them online, read their blog post, or talk to them in person, and you know they really care about what they do. 

Oh, I love them too! What’s something you used to believe about sex or relationships that you don’t believe any more?

I think I used to believe that only certain people had great sex or relationships. I didn’t know who those certain people were, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t one of them. As the years go by, I continue to learn more and more about what I like and don’t like and what kind of sex and relationships I need and don’t need.

And there is no “type” who gets to have great sex or a solid relationship. Like anything else, it takes hard work and communication, but regardless of our size, age, gender, sexuality, skin color, we are all capable of having whatever kind of sex or relationship we want. It might not be easy (it most definitely isn’t) but if you’re able to find the right person/people, it can be worth it. But part of it begins and ends with embracing who you are as an individual — what you like and what you don’t like, what you need, and what you want. 

And just for fun because it is “Coffee and Kink” – what’s your usual order at Starbucks?

My usual order is a Venti Iced Coffee with four stevia and extra heavy whipping cream — it’s how I get my coffee fix and stick to a Keto diet/lifestyle.

The Big Fling logo for an interview with Kayla Lords

Thanks to Kayla for giving her time to impart her amazing and hard-earned wisdom to us all! Check out all her various projects and give her a follow on Twitter!

Ten Things a Collar Can Mean (But Doesn’t Have To)

Mr CK and I recently had a discussion about collars – specifically, whether there was any context in which either of us using a collar in kink play with somebody else would ever be okay. (This is, and currently remains, one of my absolute bottom-line boundaries – seriously, that limit is so hard you could etch it on a diamond).

A black collar lying on a white bed, for a post about collars sponsored by Taboo Brighton

After a while of unproductive discussion, we realised we were talking past each other for a simple reason:

We both understood what we were talking about in completely different ways!

To him, a collar essentially means very little. He considers it a piece of equipment, no more inherently meaningful than a length of rope or a paddle – useful as a way to, say, move someone around or immobilise their hands by tying them to it, but that’s about as far as it goes.

To me, a collar means everything. I don’t do 24/7 D/s dynamics any more (for good reasons) but wearing a collar for someone is still a profound display of love, trust, vulnerability and – yes, even for a limited amount of time – giving myself to them completely. For me, my primary partner collaring someone else would be a betrayal akin to putting an engagement ring on someone else.

We were elightened by this realisation, but remain unable to completely reconcile our massively different views on this topic.

But it got me thinking about all the different things collars can mean, and not mean. A simple band of leather (or stainless steel, or faux leather, or whatever) can take on so many different significances. Here are some I thought of, though I am sure there are many more.

A lifetime commitment

This is perhaps the closest to the “a collar is an alternative to a wedding ring” school of thought, to which many kinksters ascribe. For people who feel this way, a collaring – whether with a formal ceremony or not – is as significant as a marriage. I very much felt this way when I was collared to my ex.

Permanent ownership

Not everyone who wears or gives a collar views it as a symbol of ownership or ascribes to an “owner/property” dynamic, but many people do. In this kind of permanent D/s relationship – which may also be romantic or not – the collar can serve as a symbol, marking the submissive out as property of the Dominant. Many people in these types of relationships will use collars that lock and cannot be removed without the key. (If you do this, please, please give your submissive a spare key in case of emergency!) Some even go as far as to get a body modification, such as a tattoo or piercing, in place of or as well as a more traditional collar.

Remember: ownership (of whatever kind) does not necessarily imply monogamy. Polyamory can absolutely be a part of a D/s dynamic.

Temporary ownership

This is perhaps closest to the way in which I think of collars these days. I do not wish to be permanently owned by anyone – but I find enormous comfort, meaning, and hotness in giving “ownership” over me to my partner for a limited amount of time (usually a scene, sometimes an afternoon or day, occasionally up to a weekend). In this type of non-24/7 D/s dynamic, the collar serves as a symbol of going into and then back out of that headspace. When it goes on, I am his property. When it comes off, I am me again.

Connection and closeness

I heard this one a lot from people in long-distance relationships when I threw this question out on Twitter. Wearing a collar can symbolise closeness and connection to your partner, and even a sense of being “with” them while apart.

Consideration or training

There’s a certain school of thought on collaring that has submissives wear a “training collar” or “collar of consideration” for a period of time before being formally taken on as a submissive (at which time they would receive a permanent collar). Many people who view collars in this way describe a collar of consideration as the D/s equivalent of an engagement ring, and the permanent collar as the wedding ring.

A way to get into a headspace

When Mr CK and I go to an event together where I’ll be in the submissive role, often one of the first things he’ll do on arrival is put my collar on me. Kneeling in front of him (or even standing with my head bowed and moving my hair out of the way) while he puts it on is an almost instant subspace trigger for me. This seems to be a pretty common experience – with the collar, you also “put on” a certain role or headspace. Similarly, a pet play enthusiast on Twitter told me that putting on their collar is how they quickly access their “pup” headspace.

Leave me alone, I’m taken!

When I was in a 24/7 D/s relationship, my partner rarely came to events with me. As such, I was usually attending with friends without a partner in tow. Often, I’d be the only person not visibly partnered in our group. So wearing my collar was an easy way to signal “not available!” It worked… sort of. I definitely got significantly less unwanted attention when wearing it (and yes, I did an experiment). Unfortunately, it also led to some comments implying that if he wasn’t physically with me, I was available for any random Dom who took a fancy to me.

Nothing, it’s a tool like any other!

This is the version Mr CK most closely ascribes to. In this schema, a collar is there for what it can do rather than what it means. For example, he’s had me wear an anal hook to an event and then fastened this with rope to the back of my collar. He’s also clipped my cuffed hands to the ring at the front of my collar to immobilise me. There are dozens of ways that a collar can simply be of practical use as part of a bigger scene.

Nothing, it’s just for decoration!

Collars look pretty! I have one that, though I adore it, doesn’t have any particular meaning as part of a relationship (it was given to me as a freebie to review). I sometimes wear it out and about, just because I think it looks pretty, complements my outfit, or subtly flags me as kinky. Which brings me on to…

Flagging kinky in public

“Flagging” originates from the “hanky code” of the 1970s US gay and bi male scene, where coloured handkerchiefs placed in certain positions indicated interest in various sexual practices. Thus, it refers to using outward symbols to subtly indicate your proclivities to other interested parties. There are any number of events where it’s safe to assume many of the participants will also be kinky, but not all of them will be. (Think gay and bisexual community events, goth clubs, geek/sci-fi events, Renaissance Fairs and so on). For me, wearing my collar signals that I am a kinkster and invites other kinksters to come and make friends.

Do you wear a collar, or does your partner? What does it mean to you? Comment below or tweet me – this topic is so fascinating to me in sheer variety alone.

The Taboo Brighton Logo

This post was sponsored by the good folks at Taboo Brighton. Taboo launched in 2003 and has established itself as a genre-defining Brighton retail experience, winner of the “Best Sex Shop in the UK” at the Erotic Trade Awards and once described in The Guardian as the “Dolce and Gabbana of Sex Shops”. It has also featured on many TV shows including C4’s Sugar Rush, The Sex Inspectors and the forthcoming documentary The Family Sex Shop Business. I love checking out Taboo whenever I make it down to Brighton, but you can browse and shop their whole extensive collection online. All views are, as always, my own.