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The Kinky Love Languages: Acts of Service

(This week’s “midweek” post is late, sorry about that.) This is the last post in my “five love languages for kink” series. Today we’re talking acts of service! I deliberately left this one until last because it is, arguably, the one that most obviously lends itself to a BDSM context.

The acts of service love language can best be summed up as “actions speak louder than words.” The key for people who subscribe to this love language is doing things for each other in order to show love, caring, consideration and commitment.

How to love a submissive whose love language is acts of service

“Hold on a minute, Amy!” you’re saying. “The submissive performs service for the Dominant, not the other way around!”

Which, yes, that’s certainly the way it looks – and in many dynamics, that’s how it plays out. But “service” doesn’t have to mean subservience. Acts of service, in a love language sense, means doing things for the other person that make them feel loved.

The Five Love Languages site suggests things like doing the dishes, collecting their mail, and getting up in the middle of the night for childcare duties. But how do you perform acts of service for your partner as a Dominant without it undermining your dynamic?

Acts of service are, fundamentally, about taking care of each other. And I believe that as a Dominant, one of your primary and most important roles is to take care of your submissive. Exactly what “care” means in this context is, of course, open to interpretation and will depend upon your dynamic. A Daddy Dom will care for their submissive in a different way to a sadist, a pet player, or an Owner in an Owner/property dynamic.

So, yes, making your submissive dinner might be considered an act of service. You can do this out of love and to show care… and even Dominance. Making a meal might mean you’re making sure that they get proper nourishment, because they’re your most cherished possession and you like to take care of your things. Similarly, taking a chore off their hands when they’re exhausted, running an errand to save them time on a busy day, or picking up medication for them can all be acts of service that show them they’re loved… and also that you’re taking good care of your favourite toy.

Acts of service from a Dominant can also facilitate the possibility for kinky fuckery. An exhausted submissive who doesn’t have the energy to play because they’re busy running both your lives is no fun at all. Offering acts of service, as well as making your submissive feel loved, can also free up time, physical energy and mental space… which can be used to do all your favourite filthy things together.

And don’t forget that a relationship is a partnership! You might have negotiated an unequal power imbalance but you both still exist in the real world, and in that world you need to be equal human beings with responsibilities that you take on together. And shouldering your share of the load – and sometimes extra in order to support your partner – is sexy (and Dominant) as hell.

How to love a Dominant whose love language is acts of service

I mean, this is the easiest one of the entire series to write! Service is very often a part of a D/s relationship, in the sense of the submissive performing acts of service to the Dominant.

Of course, exactly what this looks like for you will depend on your dynamic. In one of my past relationships, one of the ways I showed service was by cooking for my partner (who hated cooking but loved good food.) At other times, making someone’s tea or coffee has been an act of service. Right now I’m not in a 24/7 D/s relationship but I perform small acts of service for my partners when I can, whether it’s making them food or going to the store for something they need.

Ask your Dominant, if they haven’t already told you, what specific shows of service work best for them. Perhaps you always make their drink in the morning, iron their favourite shirt or polish their boots before you go out, or have dinner on the table when they get back from work. The keys here are routine and flexibility. Routine can help build a dynamic and a submissive headspace, as well as showing consistency and reliability. But flexibility is essential when circumstances, people and needs inevitably change – which they will.

Acts of service can also relate directly to your kinky play. Cleaning the sex toys after a session, coiling your Dominant’s rope in the way they like, or making the effort to have their favourite brand of lube before they come over all totally count as acts of service. Not to mention that sexual service – performing a sex act for the Dom’s pleasure – can be hot as fuck.

Years ago, a (*tongue firmly in cheek*) Terribly Twue Subby Sub I knew lectured me: “submission isn’t cups of tea and blowjobs, you know!” And I was like… maybe not to you? And that’s fine? But I’m a service-oriented sexual submissive and actually those things ARE a big part of it to me.

Service, like submission and Dominance and kink and sex and relationships, is what you want it to be.

Additional tips that are good for anyone

The two big keys to successfully pulling off acts of service are:

  1. Doing it without being asked, at least sometimes.
  2. Going above and beyond the usual call of duty.

Of course, no-one expects you to be a mindreader and know exactly what your partner wants without them asking. But presumably you know them at least reasonably well, yes? So use that knowledge to find little ways to perform service for them without being prompted. Run to the store when you’ve run out of milk before they get up and make their morning coffee, put a hot water bottle in bed for them on a cold night, or make them lunch before a long work day. The significance here isn’t in grand gestures, but in finding little everyday ways to show consideration and love.

“Above and beyond” just means that doing the expected roughly-50% of general life duties (household chores, childcare, life admin) isn’t enough by itself (though it is important!) You need to go a step beyond that, at least sometimes. The quickest way to make your partner feel unloved and resentful, if their love language is acts of service, is to do the bare minimum you can get away with.

How can your partner show they love you via acts of service?

FYI: this post contains affiliate links.

Masturbation Monday: Discovering My Denial Kink

Eventually, my Masturbation Monday pieces will probably move back into the realm of erotic fiction. But for now I’m not really feeling it so much. While thinking what to write this morning, I realised – I can’t believe I’ve never written the origin story of my main, ultimate, One Kink To Rule Them All fetish! So let’s talk about how I learned I have an orgasm denial kink.

Content warning: this one talks about mental health and makes brief mention of abuse in a relationship

An unfortunate side effect…

SSRIs can be brilliant. They can also be the fucking devil. For me, they were both. I was 21 and in my final year of University when my mental health took an extreme downturn, almost entirely – I realise now – as a result of being with a seriously abusive partner. You can read the story about how I ended up taking SSRIs here, but please heed the content warnings and look after yourself.

After a couple of weeks on citalopram, it actually did help. Somewhat. It mellowed out my extreme anxiety and took the edge off the worst of my depression. But it also had another effect: it made it impossible for me to orgasm.

I didn’t own any sex toys at that point, and always masturbated with my fingers. I first realised that something was wrong during a solo session where, whatever I did, I simply could not get myself over the edge. The same thing happened when I had sex with my then-partner. Things that usually worked just… didn’t. It was like there was a thick blanket between my cunt and anything that touched it, dulling sensation and making things that had previously been reliable orgasm triggers just feel… sort of nice.

Discovering denial…

I eventually broke through this orgasm block with a high-powered vibrator, and things got better after that. (Temporary anorgasmia is, it turns out, a known side effect. And I’m sure that part of the problem was psychological – worrying about whether or not you’ll be able to come is hardly conducive to great orgasms.)

But the weird thing was that, on some level, I kind of enjoyed it.

I didn’t enjoy not having the choice. I didn’t enjoy the fact that my body seemed to be betraying me. But the lack of orgasms itself? Yeah, I realised a few times that I was definitely getting a kick out of that. The frustration was, in and of itself, powerfully erotic. Finding myself constantly horny, almost always thinking about sex on some level, my cunt getting soaking wet so damn easily. The way that I’d still be aroused and unsatisfied after a sex session, and have to stop myself from squirming too much as my Dom slept peacefully next to me. Feeling my clit twitching, demanding attention that I knew wouldn’t be satisfying.

I vividly remember the first time I reached a hard edge. I was rubbing my clit harder and harder, feeling the wave of orgasm rising, sure that this was the time I’d be able to get myself over the edge. But it just… hit a certain level and then stopped. There was no peak, no satisfying spasms or clenching, no relief or release. I did it again and then again, trying in vain to push myself over the edge. I had to stop eventually because the overstimulation was starting to hurt. But that awakened something in me right then. Something that has played, to a greater or lesser extent, into the overwhelming majority of the sexual fantasies I’ve had in the years since then.

After breaking through the SSRI-induced orgasm issue, I mentioned this to my then-partner and asked if we could play with it. We did. I’m not ready to write about sex things I did with him in a positive way – honestly I’m not sure I ever will be – but suffice to say that getting to explore this kink was one of the few good things that came out of that time.

How did you discover your favourite kink?

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Masturbation Monday is a meme created and run by Kayla Lords. Click the logo to see what everyone else is getting off to this week! If you enjoyed this piece, please consider buying me a coffee to show your appreciation… or join my sexy patron community on Patreon!

The Love Stories That Weren’t

I don’t believe in “The One”. I’m a hopeless romantic, yes, but I’m also something of a realist. The mere fact that there are nearly seven billion people on this planet makes it absurd to me to think that there is exactly one person designed for everyone to love. I mean…

“It’s just mathematically unlikely that at a university in Perth
I happened to stumble upon the one girl on Earth
Specifically designed for me!”

– Tim Minchin, “If I Didn’t Have You

Aside from the sheer numerical absurdity of the idea, my own experience shows that “The One” just isn’t a meaningful concept. I’ve loved a number of people in my life. Not all of them were healthy for me – some were pretty terrible – but the love I felt? That was real. And it isn’t retroactively less real because I don’t love them any more.

I say that Mr CK is the love of my life, and that’s true. But that doesn’t mean he’s the only person I’ve ever loved or could ever love. It doesn’t mean I think we were somehow predestined to find each other and be together. It means that in this chaotic world, we did find each other and he’s the person I have chosen to spend my life with – to walk hand-in-hand with along the path of life, hopefully until one of us runs out of heartbeats.

Don’t you think the idea of choice, of choosing each other again and again every day, week, month and year, is more romantic that a notion of some pre-determined fate? I do.

I’m also very aware that, for all the people I’ve loved or been in relationship with in my life, there are others which could have happened, and didn’t for whatever reason. So this is for the almosts, the maybes, the “right person, wrong time”s. The love stories that weren’t.

There was the one who was my first “what if…?” We were seventeen and I was already in a relationship. I didn’t have any kind of language for non-monogamous feelings, so I thought I was bad and wrong because I couldn’t stop thinking about someone while in a relationship with someone else. I don’t think he ever realised his crush on me was reciprocated. We’re friends to this day and he was one of the first people I ever came out to as bisexual.

There was the one who was significantly more fundamentally-monogamous than I am. We knew it had no long-term potential, but we were powerfully drawn to each other anyway. He and I danced around each other, kissing and pseudo-dating and doing kinky play and pretending it was all very casual, for the better part of two years. At one point, we were talking on the phone almost every night. He used to call me Kitten. I used to say “I love you” after he’d hung up.

There was the one I got on a train and traveled six hours, on little more than a whim, to meet. This woman who looked like a 1950s pin-up model and kissed me with lips that tasted of green tea. I was recently out of my first same-sex relationship and exercising the age-old wisdom that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. She was curious, and her husband graciously gave her a one-night pass with me. I just wish I’d known the pass was only for one night.

Then there was the one with whom the chemistry was so intense and so immediate that I felt the zing from across the room. Though ultimately it amounted to little more than a single very hot scene, it’s a memory I cherish.

There was the one who I shared just one incredible date with. I remember looking at him across the table of my favourite Thai restaurant, wishing I could pour the moment into the empty wine bottle, cork it and keep it forever. I never did learn why he ghosted me afterwards. That one hurt for a long time.

I don’t like the concept of “the one who got away”. It has too many weird implications for me – and, again, is too tied into this notion of There Can Be Only One Real Ultimate Love. I prefer to think about it in the sense of how much possibility there is in the world. None of us, even the most polyamorous, could ever possibly explore every single possible love that might theoretically be out there in the world for us.

But isn’t that abundance of possibility just wonderful?

[Wearable Review] Hot For You Lingerie by Lovehoney

We all know by now, don’t we, that I am a whimsical romantic? So how could I resist some cutesy Valentine’s-themed lingerie? Hot For You is Lovehoney’s 2020 Valentine’s offering.

Things are heating up…

Hot For You consists of three sets: a bra and knickers set available in standard and plus sizes, and a thong designed for people with penises. They are all black and feature small decorative accents (hearts on the bra sets, flames on the thong) which start off black and turn to red as your body temperature rises. Cute, no?

Plus size model wearing the Hot For You lingerie from Lovehoney. For 2020 Valentine's gift guide

I got sent the Hot For You bra set to try out…

I heart this look

Aesthetically I’m really into this range. It’s playful and just a touch on the silly side without being excessively twee or over-the-top. Black is my preferred colour of choice for lingerie most of the time, and the heart accents are super cute.

Close up of a male body in the Hot For You flame design thong

(Though I wish they’d made the flame design thong for folks with vulvas too – the idea of a colour-changing fire icon over my junk just amuses me on a deep level for some reason.

Does the colour-change function actually work?

Yep!

So my house tends to get Extremely Fucking Cold at this time of year. Therefore, the first time I tried these pieces on, I… erm, blasted a hairdryer at my tits for a few seconds. (The things I do for you guys and journalism, honestly!) The hearts changed colour almost immediately in the warmth.

I later tried them on again when I wasn’t quite so cold, and they did change nicely as my body temperature warmed up.

So, yes, it does what it says on the tin.

Comfort and Fit

Yet again, these pieces are listed as “One Size.” The standard is supposed to fit sizes 8 – 16, and the plus is supposed to fit sizes 18 – 24. The bra and knickers actually are very adjustable; the bands are made of an elasticated satin material and are also length-adjustable. The bra is a halter-neck design, so be aware of that. If you find it difficult to tie things behind you, you might want to get someone to help you.

Though these pieces function as “One Size” better than many I’ve tried, I still have the familiar recurring problem: my boobs don’t really fit. The standard bra and knickers set fits me quite nicely (I’m about a size 14 right now,) but really barely contained my probably-an-F-cup boobs at all. The spilling-out look can be fun if that’s your sort of thing, but I prefer a bit more coverage unless I’m intentionally going for revealing.

A close up of a person with large breasts wearing the Hot For You bra

The standard Hot For You set is really designed for folks who are more like an A – D cup. It’s frustrating that lingerie designs always assume that bigger body = bigger boobs, which isn’t true at all! Some people wear a size 8 but have F-cup boobs. Some people are plus-size but have small boobs! This is always going to be an issue in “One Size” pieces, which is why I generally wish that making sexy lingerie based on actual measurements (i.e. cup and band sizes) was more of a thing.

(Though, I have to admit, my partners were in favour of the “boobs falling out” look.)

The bra provides next to no actual support, but… I mean, it’s not like I was going jogging in it, and I don’t wear bras most of the time anyway, so *shrug.*

The sizing issue notwithstanding, the Hot For You set gets good marks for comfort. The mesh material is soft and non-scratchy, and the stretchy satin bands feel nice against the skin. There are no wires or boning, so nothing to dig in or pinch.

Final thoughts

A cute and inexpensive Valentine’s day gift – for your lover or yourself! (Fun idea: wear this set to bed and see how long it takes your lover to notice that the hearts or flames are changing colour!)

The Hot For You bra sets both retail for £19.99, and the thong is £14.99.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this piece in exchange for an honest review! Affiliate links are contained within this post. All views are mine. Selfie is by me, other pics are by Lovehoney and used with permission.

[Guest Blog] Do I Base My Characters on Real People? by Violet Grey

I’m delighted to be hosting Violet’s second Coffee & Kink guest blog today (check out her first here!) Violet is a brilliant smutty writer and a delightful human. Check out her work and give her a follow on Twitter!

Do I base my characters on real people?

This is a question I’m asked a lot as a writer: Do I base my characters on real people? I’m a writer and blogger. What do I write about? Sex. Lots of sex. IRL sex, erotic fiction, vanilla, kinky, you get the idea. I create characters that get off with each other and have a great time doing it. I imagine different sexy scenarios and create a story surrounding it.

Regardless of what I write, I still get asked that one question: Do you base them on real people?

The honest answer is yes… sometimes.

One of the biggest pieces of writing advice I’ve ever been given is to draw inspiration from what surrounds you. Personal experiences, something seen in the news, a piece of history (Margaret Atwood did this with The Handmaid’s Tale, so you’ll be in good company!) It’s not uncommon (in fact it’s very common) for writers to do this. I am guilty of basing some of my male protagonists’ looks after gorgeous men I see on the train or when walking down the street. Or a celebrity crush. Sam Worthington? Phwoar!

The ethics question…

But there’s an ethical stance to this question we need to consider. Especially so when it comes to romantic and erotic fiction. Where do you draw the line? How far is too far?

We’ve all heard of the stories of the creepy dedication to the love interest. A fictional character based entirely on this person, right down to the last idiosyncrasy. The result is neither erotic nor even romantic. It’s outright questionable and can end uo going down a truly sinister road indeed. Law & Order, anyone? Long story short: don’t be that person.

How do I approach IRL inspiration?

I can only speak for myself here: for a character that’s inspired from IRL, I tend to use snippets from various things and splice them together. Physical traits. Personality traits. A stylish coif or a broad stature. A dimple in the cheek when they smile. How they enjoy watching NFL or having a beer at a sports bar on a Thursday night.

A little bit like layering a few real things with your own twist on them. That’s what I personally recommend as writer when bringing real life into sexy time writing, if you chose to do so. It’s not compulsory and this is not the case for every story I write. In fact, most of my characters are inspired from photographs, music and fantasies one often sees in erotica and romance i.e. the billionaire playboy or the wholesome cowboy. Sounds cliché, I know, but I am a sucker for it.

Layering your inspiration

When I create a character, I like to think of it a bit like a cake recipe (yes, my very British obsession with Bake Off is showing. I’m not sorry!) You have your ingredients: flour, butter, sugar and eggs. This is your foundation.

  • Who is your character?
  • What do they do?
  • What do they look like?
  • What are their hobbies?

Then you’ve got your flavourings, like vanilla (no pun intended), peppermint, chocolate, whatever you like.

  • What are their kinks?
  • What do they enjoy in bed?
  • Are all their kinks (if they have any) sexual or non-sexual?
  • Do they have any conditions that can affect that?

And finally, the decorations: put your own little finishing twists on them to make them stand out. What makes, for example, a particular dominant man different from all the others? Does he have a penchant for a particular kind of aftercare? Does he shower his sub with gifts? Is he strict, soft, or a bit of both? What is it that will make him desirable to your readers?

These are all questions to ask yourself when drawing from snippets around you. It’s not so much about imitating, it’s about breaking down and splicing together, to create your own. Before you know it, you’ll have a character you can work with. And if it doesn’t work? Well, like any recipe, you can always start again.

If you want to guest blog for me, send me a pitch!

Masturbation Monday: Masturbating When Depressed

I know I’m depressed when I start masturbating not out of horniness, but out of a desire to just feel something. I know I’m really depressed when I stop masturbating completely.

Heads up: this one talks about severe depression and briefly mentions suicidal ideation. I also discuss needle play in a kink context. Please take care of yourselves.

The reasons for the former are perhaps self-explanatory. When you’re depressed, you can feel adrift, listless and lost. Finding a way to simply become grounded in your body again can be tremendously helpful. Orgasm releases endorphines and dopamine, the body’s natural “happy” chemicals. That’s why you sometimes feel spacey and euphoric after really good sex.

As both a writer and a person with a laundry list of mental health issues, I spend a lot of my life in my head. And my head isn’t always a calm and happy place to be. This means that the opportunity to get out of my head and into my body is precious. Masturbation can be a way to give that to myself.

Even if I don’t really want to masturbate, I sometimes make myself because I know it will help. It’s a bit like making yourself drink a glass of water when you’re feeling crappy. You don’t wanna, exactly, but you know it’ll make you feel better so you do it. And usually it does help, at least for a short while.

The latter, though, is harder to both explain and deal with.

When I’m in my deepest, darkest pit of depression – the kind where I either cry for days or lie on the sofa doing nothing while I seriously contemplate killing myself – I sort of lose the ability to properly feel anything physical. I’ll know intellectually that I am, for example, hungry or thirsty or needing to pee or that my left arm has gone to sleep. But I don’t really feel it, at least not in the usual way. It’s like all sensation is masked under a thick layer of cotton wool or a heavy fog. The best way I can describe it is that my sadness is so dense that it sits around my body like a physical barrier.

It’s at this point in depression that my sexuality completely vanishes. It’s at this stage where I’ll recoil if a lover touches me, and beg my partners not to talk about anything sexy. “I can’t bear it,” I wrote to one of my lovers the last time I was this sort of depressed. “Can we just forget I even have genitals for a bit?”

It’s at times like this that I neglect this blog and my social media accounts and seriously consider just shutting it all down because I’ll never ever want to have sex again anyway , right?

I think there’s another element to it, too. Depression, for many sufferers, is intimately bound up with feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing. This is definitely the case for me. When I’m in the grips of it, I feel on a deep level that I’m somehow bad, broken, not worthy. And of course that drives a feeling that I don’t deserve pleasure, so why would I have sex or masturbate?

I’ve tried, in the past, to use kink to pull myself out of this headspace. The results have been mixed. Partners are often, very understandably, reluctant to do things like hit me when my ability to consent may be compromised by my mental state. This is especially true when I’m in the aforementioned self-loathing spiral. On at least one occasion, a Dominant partner has realised that I’m asking them to hurt me not out of kinky desire, but out of a feeling that I need to be punished for some fundamental flaw in me… and, rightfully, refused to play under those circumstances.

On another occasion a few years ago, I invited Fondlebeast over when I was in the depths of this kind of depression. I asked him to do play piercing (sometimes called needle play) on me. The express reason I asked for this was “I want to feel something so I know I’m still alive”. And you know what? It actually did help.

As an educator I don’t necessarily advocate for this approach. But in that instance and in that time, it was what I needed and it worked. There was also a very specific relational context at play. I’ve known Fondlebeast for well over a decade and we’ve played together dozens if not hundreds of times.

To bring this back around to masturbation, though, I really don’t have any easy conclusions or solutions. When the fog of depression is this dense, I don’t think the “just make yourself masturbate because you know it’ll help” would be effective. Chances are I wouldn’t physically be able to reach orgasm or probably even feel much pleasure anyway.

Sometimes mental illness just fucking sucks and all we can do is sit in the suckyness, waiting for it to pass. One of the most useful coping strategies I’ve found is to remember that it is always temporary. The fog always does lift. My sex drive always does come back. Eventually, I feel wanting of and deserving of pleasure again.

Something else I’ve found helpful is to think of my sex drive as the canary in the coal mine of my mental health. Under this schema, losing all desire is a warning light to heed, rather than a symptom to manage away.

How do you handle masturbation and sex when you’re depressed, lovelies?

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Masturbation Monday is a meme created and run by Kayla Lords. Click the logo to see what everyone else is getting off to this week! If you enjoyed this piece, please consider buying me a coffee to show your appreciation… or join my sexy patron community on Patreon!

Coffee & Kink Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 2020

I understand intellectually that Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday… and I love it anyway. I’m a soppy hopeless romantic at heart, and a day to celebrate love is fine by me! Of course, I think this should include all forms of love, not just sexual and romantic relationships.

As the Day of Love is fast approaching, I wanted to share with you a few of the products I’ve tried recently and that I think would make ideal gifts, if giving sexy/romantic gifts is something you do in your relationship.

For new partners or nervous beginners: Feeling Foxy Gift Box

The Feeling Foxy subscription box, for a Valentine's 2020 gift guide

What is it? Feeling Foxy is a new gift box subscription service. You sign up initially for 12 months (though you can cancel at any time) and receive a box bi-monthly. Your box is a surprise and will contain a mix of items such as dildos, vibrators, bondage gear, lube and more. Check out my unboxing thread to see what I got in my box.

Who is it good for? These boxes are ideal for people who are just exploring. Whether you and your partner are new to each other, looking to spice things up but not sure where to start, or they’re interested in trying toys but feeling overwhelmed, a subscription box gives you lots of different things to try out. Perfect for figuring out what you like!

Cost: £45 for the “Play Time” box (4+ items,) £85 for the “More Play Time” box (6+ items.)

For power queens and clit-stim connoisseurs: Wand by We-Vibe

The We-Vibe Wand, for a 2020 Valentine's Day gift guide

What is it? Did anyone else let out an actual squee when they heard We-Vibe were releasing a wand? Yeah, me too! Simply named Wand, this toy combines We-Vibe’s signature strong, rumbly motors and app connectivity with nifty new innovations such as Smart Silence touch-sensitive tech, all packaged in the classic wand style we know and love. It even comes with two awesome attachments for more versatile play.

Who is it good for? People who love POWER POWER POWER! Wand by We-Vibe is the most powerful cordless toy on the market right now.

Cost: £159.99 UK, $170 US.

For whimsical romantics: Hot For You colour changing underwear

Plus size model wearing the Hot For You lingerie from Lovehoney. For 2020 Valentine's gift guide

What is it? Hot For You is Lovehoney’s 2020 Valentine’s range. The little heart or flame motifs change from black to red as your body temperature rises.

Who is it good for? This is a cute, inexpensive gift ideal for those who love a touch of playful sillyness with their romance.

Cost: £19.99 for the bra and knickers set (also available in plus size!) or £14.99 for the thong for cock-owners.

For luxurious lingerie lovers: Wild Blooms

A white female-bodied person wearing the Lovehoney Wild Blooms embroidered body. For Valentine's gift guide 2020

What is it? This brings a whole new meaning to giving your lover flowers! Wild Blooms is an absolutely stunning range of beautiful lingerie by Lovehoney. The pieces are made of a soft black mesh and embroidered with colourful flowers. I’m absolutely in love with my Wild Blooms body – it’s always coming out at play parties.

Who is it for? A sensual and sexy treat for the femme in your life. The aesthetic is both elegant and feminine. Perfect for a Valentine’s night in… or out!

Cost: RRP £44.99 but currently all pieces are reduced to £18 – mega bargain!

For penis owners: The Hot Octopuss Pulse III

Hot Octopuss Pulse Solo. For a 2020 Valentine's gift guide
Hot Octopuss Valentine's Day sale banner 2020

What is it? I know I never stop banging on about this toy but I am absolutely convinced it’s the best toy for dicks on the market. (Not having a dick myself, I am basing this on the many excellent reports I’ve heard!) The Pulse III is a toy for penises which is based on actual medical science. It uses oscillations to stimulate and induce orgasm, and can be used from hard or flaccid.

Who is it for? Great for anyone with a penis who is looking to try a different type of stimulation, change up their masturbation routine, or just get off in a new way!

Cost: £89 for the basic model, £129 for the enhanced Lux model. But all Hot Octopuss toys are buy-one-get-one-half-price until the end of Monday 10 February!

For proud queerdos: Godemiche Pride Ambit

Bi Pride flag dildo. For 2020 Valentine's gift guide

What is it? Godemiche’s Ambit might be the most perfect dildo known to exist (at least for my body!) The shape and curve is just perfect, and they come in a huge array of colours and styles. I own three of them and frankly I want more. (Especially the one called “Sparkly Bisexual” because: MOOD.) Their Pride collection Ambits are styled after a variety of pride flags: Gay/LGBTQ+, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, pansexual, polysexual and lesbian.

Who is it for? Make your favourite LGBTQ+ person’s Valentine’s by getting them a dildo in the relevant pride flag. What could be more romantic than a gift that says “I see and love who you are… AND I want you to have awesome orgasms?” Plus, £10 of the purchase price will go to support an LGBTQ+ charity.

Cost: £45.99.

What are you hoping to get for Valentine’s Day this year, loves? And what are you giving your sweeties?

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Images are either by me or property of the respective retailers and used with permission. All views, as ever, my own.

[Toy Review] We-Vibe Chorus

There are a number of buzzwords and phrases, frequently used to describe sex toys, of which I am highly sceptical. One of these is “for couples”. Another is “hands free”. The We-Vibe Chorus claims to be both of these things. However, my experiences with We-Vibe over the years have been almost universally positive, so with my hopeful-but-ready-to-be-disappointed face firmly in place, I set out to test the new We-Vibe Chorus for you guys.

First impressions

The We-Vibe Chorus in its box

The We-Vibe Chorus comes attractively packaged in a sturdy box. Inside you’ll find the toy and remote, a USB charging cable, and a dock that functions as both travel case and charging station. There’s also a little instruction booklet and a free packet of water-based personal lubricant. (Second ingredient: glycerin. Ughhhhh.)

The We-Vibe Chorus comes in three colours, and mine is “Cosmic Pink.” It is OBNOXIOUSLY pink. (I asked for the purple, but I guess everyone probably asked for the purple. Ah well.) It’s sort of shiny-sparkly

The matte silicone is squishy and soft to the touch.

Shiny new tech! (Or: How is the Chorus different to previous We-Vibe models?)

The Chorus is the latest iteration of We-Vibe’s signature “wearable” vibrators, a line which also includes the Match, Unite and Sync. But how is it different?

The We-Vibe Chorus and remote

The most obvious upgrade, when we compare the Chorus to the Sync (its most recent predecessor,) is the introduction of the squeeze remote. The tighter you squeeze the remote, the more intense the vibration gets – and vice versa! This is a genuinely innovative touch that I haven’t seen anywhere else. You can turn squeeze control on and off with the small button at the top of your remote. When squeeze control is on, you use the +/- buttons to set the base intensity – that is, the lowest setting it will default to if you stop squeezing. We’ll get more into fun ways to play with this in a minute.

There’s also new touch-sense tech, which responds to your movements against the sensor, changing the intensity of the vibrations to match depending on which setting you’ve selected. You can turn touch-sense off through the We-Connect app, if you want to. I had a play with this function but the responsiveness was mixed. Overall, I found it too unpredictable to be pleasurable, and quickly turned it off. If I’m going to use touch-sensitive tech, I want to to actually be reliable. The We-Vibe Wand achieved this much better than the Chorus does.

The WeVibe Chorus and remote on the docking stand

Another significant upgrade to this model is that it is adjustable in two places. Not only can you adjust the distance between the two arms, you can also alter the angle of the internal arm for a more comfortable and stimulating fit. I can’t overestimate how appreciated this is! Bodies come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and one size will never fit all. I find getting poked in the vaginal walls off-putting and the opposite of erotic, frankly, so being able to adjust the Chorus to actually sit comfortably in my body was a game-changer.

Finally, the Chorus is the first We-Vibe product to use a mix of AnkorLink and Bluetooth technology to connect it to the We-Connect app. The difference here was EXTREMELY noticeable – the connection was much more stable and the responses much more consistent.

In conclusion, the Chorus might superficially resemble We-Vibe’s previous offerings, but you get so much more bang for your buck.

The Chorus is waterproof (though the remote is only splash-proof). I got just shy of 90 minutes of playtime from a full (2 hour) charge.

Not just for couples!

Again, I find the notion of “toys for couples” annoying. Anything can be a couples’ sex toy if you use it with a partner! And many so-called couples’ toys can be used just as well for solo fun. The phrase “toys for couples” has come to be near-synonymous with “toys you use while having penis-in-vagina intercourse”. But lots of couples don’t have sex like that, or only have sex like that sometime… and of course, not all couples are cis-hetero! I vote we change the common terminology to “toys for PIV” instead of “toys for couples”.

Anyway, I digress. The We-Vibe Chorus is a great option if you’re looking for a toy to wear during PIV sex. The slender and adjustable internal arm makes for a comfortable fit regardless of your bodies’ shapes and sizes, and the external arm provides powerful clitoral stimulation – which 70 – 90% (depending on which study you believe) of vulva-owners need to reach orgasm.

But it’s so much more than that! I actually really like this style of toy for solo masturbation. Though I do need to use my hands (see below,) holding it against my body requires almost no strength or energy. It’s easy to use a dildo with it at the same time if I’m after more internal stimulation.

Other fun ways to play

Thanks to its innovative technology and design, this toy has so much potential beyond the obvious “wear during PIV” application.

If you’re into power-exchange games, you could give your partner the remote and have them use the squeeze function or buttons to control when and how you get pleasure. Or the person who is wearing the vibrator could be tied up with the remote in their hand, and their Dominant partner could instruct them on when to squeeze tightly (getting more stimulation) and when to release (getting less).

I really like playing edging games with this toy – squeezing tightly until I’m close to coming, then releasing the control to back off again.

Due to the improved app connection and functionality, this toy is also ideal for long-distance play. Wherever you are in the world, simply hook your toy up to your partner’s phone via the app, and you can give them control of your toy while you sext or exchange smutty pictures.

Not really hands-free

As ever, bodies are different and your mileage may vary. But I do not agree that the We-Vibe Chorus is a hands-free toy. However I adjusted it, I could not get it to stay firmly in place. Every time I moved slightly or changed the intensity of the vibrations, it would shift and move away from my clit. I ended up using one hand to hold it in place and the other hand to operate the remote.

Not a huge problem in the grand scheme of things, but if you’re looking for a truly hands-free experience you’ll want to be aware of this. (Also: if you find a sex toy that is actually, effectively, 100% hands-free, please let me know. This is up there with unicorns on the list of “things I am convinced do not exist.”)

Worth noting: the lovely Phallophile Reviews suggests that wearing tight knickers (such as Spanx) helps this toy stay in place. So that’s something to try!

Power play

Importantly, how does the We-Vibe Chorus stack up in terms of power? Frankly, if I’m going to spend close to £200 on a toy, it’d better knock my socks off, power-wise!

We-Vibe have long been known for using excellent, powerful motors in their toys and the Chorus is no exception. For its small size, it packs a punch. The vibrations are strong, rumbly and – in case this is important to you – surprisingly quiet.

The gentle, lay-on contour of this toy, plus the rumbly vibes, feel fucking phenomenal against my clit.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for the ultimate “wear during PIV” toy, this is it. I’m seriously impressed with the Chorus! But I also really love this toy for solo play. It’s on the pricier end at £179.99 ($199 US) but you get so many nifty features for your money. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

A gem. We-Vibe have done it yet again.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the Chorus in exchange for an honest review. We-Vibe’s other new release, the Wand, will feature in my Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, coming out tomorrow, so stay tuned for that! Header image is by Lovehoney and used with permission, all other images by me. Affiliate links appear in this post.

The Kinky Love Languages: Physical Touch

It’s time for the penultimate “Kinky Love Languages” post, in which I explore the five love languages and ways that they can relate to kinky relationships. Today we’re exploring the love language of physical touch.

When people think of the love language of physical touch, they often think of sex first. And, yes, sex is part of this language for sure. But it’s far from the only part. A person whose love language is physical touch is likely to highly value things like cuddling, holding hands, hugs, kisses, and even an arm around their shoulder.

Let’s look at some ways this can relate to kinky relationships, shall we?

How to love a submissive whose love language is physical touch

A submissive who speaks the love language of physical touch is likely to highly value the physical aspects of BDSM. Think the thud of a flogger across their back, the feeling of rope tightening against their skin, the raw intimacy of a spanking, the feeling of your hand in their hair. If your submissive speaks this language, it’s more important than ever to make plenty of time for close, physical, intimate kinky play.

For a submissive who experiences love through physical touch, your touch can be its own reward. Caress their cheek when you tell them they’re a good girl or good boy. Give them a few swats on the ass before bed. Stroke their hair. If you want to reinforce certain behaviours or just make your submissive feel loved, give them plenty of physical affection. Touch them lovingly, easily and often.

Many submissives want to feel taken care of. You can incorporate physical touch into the way you care for your sub. This could include things like washing or brushing their hair for them, helping them with things like shaving, or even – something I’ve occasionally found super hot – feeding them from your hand.

Something I love as a submissive is to feel like my Dominant is proud of me and wants to show me off. If your sub’s love language is physical touch, try keeping them physically close to you when you go to a kinky event or play party. A hand on the small of their back, an arm around their waist or simply holding their hand could help them to feel more submissive and more loved.

You can also easily incorporate physical touch into your day to day or quiet time at home. Fondle their ass while they’re cooking, if that’s something you have consent to do. Have them sit at your feet with their head in your lap while you watch television or read the newspaper. Give their leg a gentle squeeze when you’re sitting together. Hold their hand as you walk around the store. Pause to kiss them before you go to work.

How to love a Dominant whose love language is physical touch

People tend to forget that Dominants like hugs and cuddles too! Many Dominants highly value physical touch and physical intimacy with their partners beyond just the sexual.

If your Dominant’s love language is physical touch, you have so many opportunities to bring this into your service to them. Learning to give a really good back massage or foot rub can be a wonderful gift for your Dom. You could also include physical closeness by doing intimate tasks for them such as painting their nails, styling their hair, or washing their back.

You can also show your submission through low-key physical affection. Try laying your head on their lap or shoulder, curling up close to them on the couch so they can pet you, or kissing whichever parts of their body they like to have kissed. (I used to show submission to a former Dominant by kissing their feet. Super hot if that’s your thing!)

Again, the physical side of kink is likely to be hugely important to your Dominant if this is their love language. So make time for kinky play! Prioritise it in your week and do your best to stick to any play dates you arrange. And tell them what you like and what you’re in the mood for! A Dominant whose love language is physical touch will love nothing more than to have the body of a naked, willing submissive at their mercy to play with.

Additional tips that are good for anyone

I firmly believe that physical intimacy is so, so important for almost all romantic relationships. For many people, this does mean prioritising regular sex and/or kinky play. If this is you (or your partner,) don’t forget to make time in your week to get sexy together.

Again, though, remember that this love language isn’t just about sex. Cuddles, kissing, holding hands and the kind of easy physical closeness that come in a long-term relationship are all so important. Prioritise them.

Physical touch is probably the hardest language to meet if you’re in a long distance relationship. There are still things you can do, though! Give your partner a soft toy to hug. Give them a shirt that smells like you to sleep with. Invest in some really good app-controlled sex toys so you can touch them sexually by proxy. But realistically, if one or both of you feels strongly connected to the love language of physical touch, you’re going to need to make an effort to see each other in person as often as you can.

Is physical touch your love language? How do you meet it? How can your submissive or Dominant partner help to meet it?

Heads up: this post contains an affiliate link.

Masturbation Monday: Why People in Relationships Should Still Masturbate

One of the most enduring myths about masturbation, and one of the ones that I most wish would die, is the idea that people in relationships don’t – or shouldn’t – masturbate.

Seriously, this is such an enormous crock of bullshit.

I’m here to tell you that masturbation is healthy, natural and good for you – whether you’re partnered or single. Let’s look at some really good reasons to engage in some self-love regardless of your relationship status.

Your only lifelong sexual relationship will be with yourself

Relationships come and go. Even if you’re with one person monogamously for your entire life, there will be times when that person can’t or doesn’t want to engage in sex. For most of us, we’ll go through periods of being in relationships and periods of being single throughout our lives. But whoever else is or isn’t in our lives (and beds,) our longest and most enduring sexual relationship will always be with ourselves.

Masturbation is how we build a positive sexual relationship with ourselves. It gives us the tools to satisfy ourselves sexually without the need for anyone else. It contributes to positive sexual self-esteem, increased pleasure, and better mood. Masturbation is awesome!

Masturbation can improve your partnered sex

There’s nothing sexier than a partner who knows exactly what they like and asks for it. And you know what masturbation does? Teaches you what you like!

Exploring your own body gives you the tools to tell – or show – your partner how you like to be touched. And this isn’t a one-and-done thing, either! Remember that our bodies change throughout our lifetimes for many reasons, and that can include our sexual desires changing. Masturbation helps to keep your knowledge of your own body sharp. It also reduces fear of change in your body, because you already know how to roll with it and adapt to meet your body where it’s at.

It can take the pressure off – for both of you

Relying on one other person to meet all of your sexual needs can be a LOT of pressure for both of you. If you’re in a monogamous relationship, exploring with other people is off the table – but exploring with yourself absolutely shouldn’t be.

If having sex with your partner is the only way to get your sexual needs met, that creates an environment that is more likely to lead to coercion or pressure – even if unintentionally. But if you have a rich sexual relationship with yourself, if you’re feeling the need to get off but your partner isn’t up for sex, you can masturbate and take care of business without any pressure or resentment.

Masturbating doesn’t mean your partner is “failing” or that your sex life is bad

Something I often hear is “why does my partner need to masturbate? They have me!” This is compounded by disparaging jokes about people who masturbate after sex, about sad lonely people who masturbate because they can’t get a partner, or about people jerking off to porn when their partner is in bed because their sex life has died.

In more than 15 years of being sexually active, I’ve realised that the amount I masturbate has almost nothing to do with the amount (or, frankly, the quality) of partnered sex I’m having. Some people even report that they masturbate more when they’re having tonnes of yummy partnered sex. Orgasms beget orgasms, after all!

Your partner masturbating probably has nothing to do with you or the quality of your sex life together! Because…

Masturbation can fulfill a different need to partnered sex

Even during times when I’m having tonnes of partnered sex, I still feel the urge to masturbate. This is because it fulfills a completely different set of needs. Partnered sex is about the connection, the dynamic, the interplay between me and my partner(s) as much as it is about the physical sensations. Masturbation can be about anything from exploring new sensations in a completely pressure-free and private way, to simply getting off as quickly as possible so I can go to sleep.

Partnered sex is about both (or all) of us. Masturbation is just about me. Call it “me time,” call it “self care,” but keeping things that are just for ourselves is so important.

The bottom line is that masturbation and partnered sex are different activities and they meet different needs. I love and desire both for completely different reasons.

Your body belongs to you

A relationship is a mutual and consensual exchange between two (or more) people. It does not imply ownership over the other person, their body or their sexuality. (Unless that’s your kink – but even then you know it’s a game really, don’t you?)

Whatever your relationship status, your body is yours and you don’t need anyone’s permission to enjoy or explore it. If your partner thinks masturbation is a form of cheating, that’s a red flag for controlling behaviour and you should consider leaving. The person who tries to control your sexual relationship with yourself is likely to exhibit abusive behaviours in other areas of life.

(Again: I’m not talking about kink dynamics here – I have an orgasm control kink, after all! But the point of a kink is that it’s for fun and you have the ability to opt out of playing the game if you want to.)

No-one owns your body but you. No-one else gets to control what you can and can’t do with it.

If you have a vulva and are new to masturbation, I really recommend Jenny Block’s book The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex.

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Masturbation Monday is a meme created and run by Kayla Lords. Click the logo to see what everyone else is getting off to this week! If you enjoyed this piece, please consider buying me a coffee to show your appreciation… or join my sexy patron community on Patreon!