How to Find a Dom or Sub: Five Places to Meet People

Spend five minutes on Fetlife or r/BDSM or any other online kink space, and this question will inevitably crop up. “How do I find a Dom?” “How do I find a sub?” “Where do kinky people meet each other, anyway!?” So I thought it was past time for me to share a few ideas on how to find a Dom or sub to share kinky adventures with.

Looking for your kinky soulmate or just someone to have some fun times with? Perhaps you’ve tried all those “FIND KINKY GIRLS TONIGHT!” sites advertised at the top of Google and had no luck. Wherever you are on your journey, here are five great ways to meet kinky people that you may not have thought of.

How to Find a Dom or Sub: Five Places to Meet People

1. Fetlife

Fetlife, known affectionately as the Facebook of kink, is not exclusively a dating site. It’s a social networking site for kinky people. But I know many people who have met partners on there, and it is a fantastic hub of online kinky socialising.

Don’t just spam your personal ad or start cold messaging people, though. Take the time to create an engaging profile, participate in some group discussions, and contribute constructively to the platform.

Before you message someone, read their profile carefully. Do they clearly state they’re not looking? Move on. Remember that kinky people are people first, so approach them respectfully. Do not assume a dynamic where none exists, and do not get explicit until consent has been established.

2. Munches

A munch is a social event for kinky people, usually held in a vanilla location such as a bar, pub, restaurant, coffee shop, or park. There are munches in most major cities and many smaller towns, too.

In the Covid times, many munch organisers took their events online, and some online munches are still running. These can be great if you live in a rural area or don’t have access to transport. But I really recommend getting out there in the real world if you can.

Don’t go to a munch with the intention of picking someone up on your first visit. Instead, chat to everyone and aim to make friends. If you hit it off with someone you fancy, great! If not, you’ll have started developing a network of kinky contacts and getting your face known in the community. You never know who could introduce you to the Dominant or submissive of your dreams.

3. Ordinary dating sites

Yes, kinky people use Tinder and OKCupid, too!

If you’re using regular dating sites, consider putting something about your kink proclivities in your profile. (But don’t be gross about it. Even something as simple as “Dominant looking to connect with subs or switches” or “I’m looking for the D to my s” is good!)

Again, always read someone’s profile in full before messaging, and always be polite and respectful. As you browse, you might be surprised how many kinksters are on these sites for precisely the same reasons you are.

4. r/BDSMpersonals

Reddit can be so many things – a cesspit or an absolute goldmine of useful information and interesting people. I’ve heard mixed things about the r/BDSMpersonals subreddit, but people do claim to have met both short-term and long-term partners on there.

You can create a post sharing your location, gender, age, kink role, and a bit about what you’re looking for. A recent glance indicates that posts by women tend to get far more engagement than posts by men, but it’s worth a shot whatever your gender.

Remember that, as with any online meeting, be cautious and exercise good judgement. Never give out personally identifiable information until you’ve met in person and got to know each other, and always meet in a well-lit public place at least the first couple of times.

5. Hobbies or subcultures that are popular with kinksters

You know those stereotypes about kinksters and geeks, or kinksters and LARPers, or kinksters and Renaissance Faire enthusiasts? They’re all kinda true. (See also goths, polyam folks, and so on). Obviously not everyone you meet in these spaces will be kinky, and you should never assume. But the crossover is large.

While I do not advocate for getting into a hobby or subculture just to meet a potential partner, if any of them appeal to you for their own sake, they might have the pleasant side-effect of allowing you to meet fellow kinky people in a vanilla or vanilla-ish space.

A disclaimer and word of caution

Naturally, these are only suggestions and I can’t guarantee any of them will work for you. Sometimes, meeting people can be a strange mix of circumstances and right place/right time happenstance, so keep your eyes open and treat everyone you meet in the community as a potential friend.

Finally, please be aware of the dreaded frenzy. If you’re starting to feel like you just need to play with someone – anyone – then you might be in sub-frenzy or Dom-frenzy. If so, then this is a good time to pause and reevaluate before diving into anything.

Happy kinky dating!

How to Set Boundaries Firmly But Lovingly

As I’ve got older, I’ve realised more and more that when it comes to healthy relationships (romantic, professional, platonic, or otherwise), good boundaries are everything. But what are boundaries, why are boundaries important, and how do you set boundaries firmly but lovingly?

I’ve been thinking about, and setting, boundaries a lot lately. This post will have somewhat of a focus on romantic/sexual relationships, since that’s the focus of this blog, but many of these tips for setting boundaries can apply to any type of relationship.

What Are Boundaries?

Love is Respect (a fantastic resource on healthy relationships aimed at young people) has this to say:

Boundaries are really about your relationship with yourself; they help you honor your needs, goals, feelings and values. Boundaries can be emotional, physical or even digital.

Love is Respect

In other words, boundaries are about the things that are yours and over which you have ultimate say. Access to your body, your time, your home, and emotional or physical intimacy with you, are all areas where boundaries are essential.

Your boundaries state the things you will and will not do, and will and will not accept, when it comes to those things that are yours.

Why Are Boundaries Important?

Good boundaries are a crucial component of taking care of yourself. Without strong boundaries, you are likely to end up feeling used, burned out, or taken advantage of. This can happen even if no-one has any ill intent towards you! And if someone does have less than positive intentions towards you, a lack of good boundaries may help them to get their claws in.

This is not to say that being abused or harmed is ever the victim’s fault. It absolutely isn’t and no-one, no matter how good or poor their boundaries, deserves to have that happen. But in a world where some people sadly do have bad intentions and operate in bad faith, good boundaries are one tool we can use to help protect ourselves.

Good boundaries also help you to keep a strong sense of self. A boundary that I have now is “I will support my loved ones when they need it, but I will not take on someone else’s problems or emotions as my own”. This has helped prevent me from losing myself in a relationship or making myself solely responsible for someone else’s feelings, which is definitely a mistake I’ve made in the past.

Finally, good boundaries enable true consent to exist. I firmly believe that a person can only give a meaningful yes (to sex, a date, a new project or responsibility, or even just a conversation) if they also have the ability to say no. Good boundaries allow us to say yes when we mean it, and no when we need to.

How to Set Boundaries (Firmly But Lovingly) in a Relationship

If you’ve historically been bad at setting and maintaining boundaries, it can be difficult to know where to start. You might worry that people will be upset, angry, or disappointed when you start to set boundaries with them. You might even be right! But that just makes those boundaries even more important.

The thing people often miss is this: you can set boundaries in a loving way! Here are seven ideas and strategies I’ve found useful when it comes to setting firm boundaries and keeping my relationships intact.

Use “I” Statements

Boundaries are about you, so use “I” statements when you set them as far as possible. This can help prevent the other person from getting defensive or pushing back against what you’re saying (it’s harder to argue with someone about their own feelings, thoughts, or needs!)

Here are a couple of examples:

“I’d love to cuddle with you but I don’t want to have sex tonight.”

“If I’m in my office with the door closed, I’m working and only want to be interrupted if it’s an emergency.”

Use a Calm Tone of Voice

If you can, communicate your boundary calmly. It might sometimes be necessary but in general, the middle of an argument isn’t a great time to discuss your boundaries respectfully. A neutral tone allows the other person to be receptive to what you’re saying. Raised voices, name calling, or an accusatory tone are all likely to make them defensive before you’ve had chance to make your point.

Assume the Other Person is On Your Side

Unless you have very clear evidence to the contrary, assume that the other person – your partner, friend, family member, or even coworker – is on your side and cares about you. This means that they wouldn’t WANT you to overextend yourself or say yes when you really mean no.

This will help you approach the boundary as a necessary self-care step for yourself, and not as something you’re doing to the other person. It’s also a clever conversational trick – if you signal to the person that you expect them to be understanding and respectful, they’re more likely to want to live up to that expectation by responding appropriately.

Consider When to Compromise (and When Not To)

Compromise is essential in healthy relationships. This means you might not get 100% of what you want in every situation. If your needs conflict with your partner’s, it can be useful to have a frank conversation and try to come to a compromise.

However, you should never compromise on a firm boundary. If you’re someone who (like me) tends towards people-pleasing, what the other person thinks is “compromise” can look like you conceding your boundaries in favour of keeping the peace. Don’t do that.

Directness is Kindness

One of the biggest headfucks for me in past relationships has been not knowing where I stand or what the other person needs. By making someone guess at your needs or hiding your true feelings, you’re not doing them any favours. People who care about you would rather know what’s going on with you.

Being direct gives the other person the gift of knowing you better and having clear information about what you need. Being vague helps no-one. Clarity, specificity, and directness are the name of the game when it comes to boundaries.

Model Respect for Others’ Boundaries

In a healthy relationship, both (/all) people have their boundaries heard and respected. So as well as setting your own boundaries, you need to listen to and adhere to theirs.

Their Feelings Aren’t Your Problem

You might do everything right when you set your boundaries, and the other person might still be upset. At this point, it’s not your problem. While you can sympathise and work with them to get both your needs met, their feelings about your boundaries are ultimately not your job to solve.

If someone becomes very angry or upset about a reasonable boundary, it might be because they felt (consciously or subconsciously) that they were owed a certain level of access to you. This is a huge sign that the boundary was necessary!

Stand firm and resist the urge to compromise your boundaries in the face of yelling, guilt trips, sulking, or other manipulative behaviour.

Do you have any tips for lovingly setting boundaries? Share them in the comments!

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A Dom Ignored My Safeword. Now What?

No, the title of this post isn’t something that has happened to me recently, so please don’t worry! But it’s something I see shockingly frequently, from Fetlife to Reddit’s r/BDSM and many other places on the internet. “My Dom ignored my safeword. What do I do now?”

I hate how common this question is, and I wanted to address it.

For anyone who doesn’t know, a safeword is an agreed-upon word that clearly and unambiguously means “stop immediately”. They’re often employed in kink and BDSM situations, particularly those where words like “no” and “stop” not being taken at face value is part of the game.

“Red” is a common safeword (with the accompanying “orange”/”amber” meaning pause and check in). But your safeword can be whatever you want it to be. My first one was “canary”.

A safeword is an absolute. You should never play without one, no matter how long you’ve been together, and you should never, ever ignore one. Oh, and by the way? If you haven’t explicitly agreed otherwise, “no” and “stop” are the ultimate safewords in every context.

First: no, you’re not overreacting

When a Dom has ignored your safeword, you might feel a range of different emotions. You might feel angry, sad, betrayed, frightened, numb, or something else entirely. When a Dom ignored my safeword in a scene years ago, I felt scared first, sad second, and angry much later. Your experience might look very different.

Whatever you feel, and whether the harm is physical or psychological or both, your feelings are valid. You are not overreacting.

Seek support if you need it

Do you need to talk to a kinky friend or another partner, see your therapist, or yell into the void of an anonymous online forum? You get to seek support, whatever that looks like for you.

If the consent violation occured in a public or semi-public location such as a dungeon, sex club, munch, or even a private kink party, consider telling an organiser, team member, or dungeon monitor. They should make sure you’re okay and help get you the support you need in the moment. They may also remove the perpetrator from the space and perhaps even issue a (temporary or permanent) ban.

You might also have been physically harmed. If you have been physically injured or been sexually assaulted in a way that leaves you vulnerable to an STI or an unwanted pregnancy, please seek medical attention immediately.

You don’t have to confront them (though you can)

Your only job is to take care of yourself. You don’t have to confront the person who ignored your safeword and call them out on it. But if you want to, you’re also within your rights to do so.

If telling them that what they did was fucked up and not okay, have at it. If you’d rather stay far away from them, you get to do that, too.

You don’t have to decide immediately if you’ll ever play with them again

If you ask me if I think you should give a Dom a second chance after they violate your safeword, I will always say absolutely not. I can forgive a lot of things, but this is such a complete and total annihilation of trust that I would never let that person near me ever again.

But your mileage may vary. If you feel conflicted, you don’t have to decide straight away. You get to take all the time you need and you’re allowed

Also: you’re not obligated to give them a second chance, no matter how apologetic and contrite they seem. Don’t let them guilt you into it if you don’t want to.

Their reputation is not your concern

Choosing whether to speak out publicly in the community about your experience is a very personal decision. There are good arguments on both sides and ultimately, the best choice is the one that’s right for you.

Either way, remember that their reputation is not your problem. You do not have to keep silent to protect them. You also do not have to make excuses for them or downplay what happened if you do choose to share.

Sadly, when someone speaks up and says “this Dom ignored my safeword”, some people will accuse them of exaggerating or instigating a witch-hunt. You’re not. Keep speaking your truth if you want to.

Don’t blame yourself

You might be tempted to blame yourself. You might be wondering if you didn’t say your safeword loudly or forcefully enough[1], if you should have put up more of a physical fight when the Dom continued, or if you just safeworded when it wasn’t “necessary.”

Sometimes, the D-type in question will seek to blame you, too. One common tactic amongst abusive Doms is to say something like “I knew you could take more”, “I know what you need better than you do”, or “I told you I played hard so you should have known what to expect”.

No. All of this is bullshit. The only person to blame for ignoring your safeword is the person who did it, and there is never any excuse. Kink is about consent and without ongoing, active consent, it is abuse. You get to safeword at any point for any reason and have that respected.

If you take nothing else away from this piece, please take this: it is not your fault.


[1] I want to acknowledge that there might be rare incidents where a Dom genuinely does not hear a safeword. This might happen in a loud environment like a play club. But in those circumstances, they will be mortified and apologetic and go out of their way to take care of you the moment they realise what has happened. It is also the Dom’s responsibility to ensure consent is ongoing in those environments, whether through clear non-verbal safe signals, regular check-ins, or even just choosing to play somewhere a little quieter.

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Praise Kink Phrases: What is a Praise Kink and How Can You Enjoy It?

Once in a while, I check the search terms people use to find me. For the last few months, the term “praise kink” has popped up again and again. Which is interesting, considering this is something I’ve never actually written about!

So I thought it would be fun to talk about it. What is a praise kink, what are some praise kink phrases you can use, and what do you need to know about this incredibly popular fetish?

Let’s dive in and find out!

What is a Praise Kink?

In short, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Someone with a praise kink gets off on being praised, complimented, or receiving verbal approval.

“But doesn’t everyone love praise?” you’re probably asking. And yes, many of us do! But having a praise kink isn’t quite the same thing. For people with this kink, receiving praise might elicit a sexual response, send them to subspace or Topspace (yes, it’s more common amongst submissives in my experience, but Tops and Dominants can have a praise kink too!) or otherwise have an impact beyond just “warm fuzzies from receiving a compliment”.

I don’t think there’s any actual data on this (can someone finance this study immediately please?) but I suspect there is a lot of crossover between those who enjoy praise in a kink context and those who have words of affirmation as one of their primary love languages.

Praise kink is often seen as being part of the softer, gentler type of BDSM. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be! As with all kinky things, it can be whatever you make of it.

Do You Have a Praise Kink?

You might be reading this article wondering if this description applies to you. Sorry, I can’t answer this for you! The only person who knows for sure if you have a praise kink is you.

But consider these questions:

Do you have a sexual, submissive/dominant, or otherwise kink-based response to receiving praise?

Do you enjoy sex or a kink scene more when your partner gives you lots of positive verbal feedback?

When you think back on your hottest sex/kink scenes, do the complimentary things your partner said to you stand out as one of your favourite parts?

If any of these sound like you, then you might have a praise kink!

It’s important to note that praise kinks can be very contextual. While some people might find it hot whenever anyone gives them praise or a compliment, others find that this desire is specifically directed towards those with whom they have some kind of attraction, sexual relationship, or kink dynamic.

Some Praise Kink Phrases You Can Use

Ultimately, the best way to learn what praise kink phrases will work for your partner is to ask them. Communication, understanding one another, and listening to feedback will get you further than a list of ideas ever will.

But if you’re not sure where to start, here are a few to get you started.

  • “You’re such a good… [girl/boy/slut/pet/their favourite term of endearment]”
  • “You’re doing/you did really well.”
  • “You look so beautiful/handsome/sexy when you… [insert activity here]”
  • “I’m so proud of you.”
  • “I love how well you took that spanking for me.”
  • “That feels amazing, keep doing that.”
  • “I love it when you… [insert action or activity here]”
  • “I can’t stop thinking about when you [insert hot or sexy thing they did here]”
  • “Your ass looks incredible in those knickers
  • “You’re so good at [eating my pussy/sucking my cock/fucking me/insert activity here]”
  • “I can’t wait to show you off to everyone at the club”
  • “You’re strong, I know you can take it for me”
  • “You’re so loved and cherished

These are all just ideas and you will undoubtedly come up with your own as you explore. Remember: the only right way to do it is the way that works for you and your partner.

Do you have a favourite praise kink phrase? Share them in the comments if so!

This post contains affiliate links. All views are mine.

What is Ethical Porn and How Can It Enhance Your Sex Life?

I love porn. 

People are often surprised when I say that. As an outspoken and unapologetic feminist, surely pornography would be against everything I stand for? Well, not exactly.

It’s true that the mainstream porn industry has a lot to answer for. Too often, the large “tube” sites profit from stolen content or non consensual content, including revenge porn and child abuse material. 

But there’s an alternative. If you’ve never explored ethical porn, you’re missing out on something that can be a wonderful addition to your sex life. 

Bellesa Plus ethical porn streaming platform

Today I’m spotlighting Bellesa Plus, a porn streaming platform that calls itself “The Netflix of Porn” and offers a “pay what you can” model costing from as little as $1 per month. The higher prices offer special perks, such as free sex toys and gift cards to the Bellesa Boutique (BBoutique), but the low entry point means you can enjoy more ethical adult content even if you’re on a budget. 

But What is Ethical Porn?

As with many of the things we consume, from food to media, people are becoming more and more concerned about the ethics behind their porn. Untangling exactly what constitutes ethical porn can be a minefield, especially given that the porn industry is still often defending its right to exist at all. 

Here are four things that I believe go into making porn ethical. 

Consent

This might seem like a bare minimum standard, but it’s missing from a shocking amount of mainstream porn. 100% of Bellesa’s content features consenting adults having consensual sex that has been consensually filmed. 

Performers have the opportunity to negotiate with their partner before filming starts, exploring their likes and dislikes. If a scene involves roleplay, performers will be briefed on their role in plenty of time to ensure they’re comfortable with it. 

And if, like me, you’re squicked by all the pseudo-incest (think: “step sister”) content that pops up on mainstream sites, you’ll be pleased to know Bellesa doesn’t do any of that. 

Chemistry and Connection

When I watch porn, I often gravitate towards amateur content because it feels so much more authentic. Whatever the specific acts that they’re engaging in, ultimately I want to watch people who truly like (or even love) each other, having hot sex that they’re genuinely enjoying. 

Many mainstream porn studios don’t give performers much choice who they work with. Bellesa pairs performers who truly have chemistry and actually want to have sex with each other. Because real connection and attraction makes for much hotter content and a much better working environment for the performers. 

Women as Subjects, Not Objects 

One of the things that will turn me off the fastest in any porn scene is seeing women being objectified. This is apparent in everything from the naming of scenes to the ways in which female pleasure is explored (or, often, ignored.) 

Ethical porn puts the pleasure of all participants front and center. In ethical porn, the women being depicted are full human beings with their own desires and erotic agency. In other words, subjects of pleasure, not objects to be acted upon. Bellesa porn is directed and produced by women, headed up by the inimitable Jacky St. James

A Safe and Respectful Working Environment

Making pornography is work, and performers deserve a safe working environment just as much as employees in any other industry. 

This can be as simple as prioritizing their comfort on set, such as making sure they’re well fed and hydrated. Sexual safety is important too, whether that’s ensuring plenty of lube is used or carrying out rigorous STI (and now also Covid-19) testing. And, of course, performers must retain the right to say no or to call “cut” on a scene for any reason. This goes back to consent. 

Performers should also be fairly compensated for the work they do. Making porn can be huge fun but it can also be physically and emotionally taxing at times. Performers are workers and deserve to be paid a fair rate. 

How Ethical Porn Can Enhance Your Sex Life 

Despite what naysayers might say about it, I believe that porn can be an extremely healthy and positive addition to your sex life, whether you’re single or partnered. When you make a point of consuming ethical porn, you can feel good about your viewing habits.

Here are three ways ethical porn can enhance your sex life. 

Get New Ideas

I recently experimented with a new kink activity with my partner. Why? Because I saw this specific act in a porn clip, thought it looked hot, and asked him if he’d be willing to try it with me.

Good porn has the potential to introduce you to new kinks, activities, and ways of having sex that you might never have thought of before. While you might not want to try everything you see, some things are sure to resonate. 

One of the things I love most about human sexuality is its infinite variety. Every single day, people are having sex in endlessly creative ways, many of which I’m sure I’ve never even thought of – and you probably haven’t, either! Ethical porn gives you a consensual window into other people’s bedrooms and allows you to draw inspiration from what you see. 

Enjoy Things You Can’t Do in Real Life

Perhaps there are things you fantasize about but can’t (or don’t want to) do in real life. For example, you might be a bisexual person in a monogamous relationship with a different-gender partner. Watching porn can allow you to express your attraction to same-gendered people without changing the relationship you have with your partner. 

Or maybe you have a particular fetish that your partner doesn’t share. If your relationship agreements don’t allow for getting that itch scratched with others, porn featuring your kink is another ethical and safe sexual outlet. 

It’s also valid to enjoy things in fantasy that you don’t want to do in real life. Let’s say you fantasize about gangbangs but consider the idea too risky to carry out in reality. Ethical porn is a wonderful way to enjoy your fantasies in a safe way that doesn’t carry any of the real-world risk that might come with realising them. 

Boost Your Desire

For many people, including me, arousal begets arousal. In other words, the more you masturbate, have sex, or consume erotic media, the more you’ll want to. The anti-porn crowd would say this is a bad thing, but I believe it can be just the opposite! After all, sexual pleasure is healthy and orgasms are good for us. Why not seek a little more of both in your life? 

So if you’re looking to get in the mood more often or more easily, pulling up your favourite steamy scene can help make that happen. Whether you watch alone or with a partner, the right porn can help to fire up your libido when it needs a little extra help. 

Want to Explore Ethical Porn?

If so, grab yourself a Bellesa Plus subscription. You’ll get access to top content from 50+ premium porn channels, unlimited 4K streaming, access to interactive sex education content, and unlimited access to over 600 erotic stories. You’ll also enjoy 24/7 support, discreet and secure billing, and an ad-free viewing experience. 

Best of all, you can get off to some of the hottest content you’ll find anywhere, and know that you’re supporting a company doing good in this industry. 

Bellesa Plus ethical porn logo

FYI: this post was sponsored by the good folks at Bellesa. All views, as ever, are my own. 

How to Do Better When You Fuck Up

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” 
– James Joyce

Another week in the sex blogging world, and another company that purports to be ethical has behaved horribly.

I’m not going to name them here, because that isn’t the point of this post. I’ve removed all their links from my site and won’t be supporting them again unless I see real and meaningful change.

This post isn’t really about them. This post is about the fact that this shit keeps happening. Whether it’s ostensibly sex-positive companies or their owners tweeting misogyny, or kink websites perpetuating transphobia, or big-name educators turning out to be serial abusers, it feels never-ending.

I believe that very few people are inherently evil or incapable of redemption. In fact, I believe that for most of us, our mistakes are how we learn, grow, and become better people.

God knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes – big ones and small ones. I’ve fucked up and I’ve hurt people and I’ve caused harm. I challenge you to find me a single person who hasn’t.

But when you fuck up badly? Accountability is needed. You need to apologise meaningfully, make amends, and do the work to ensure you never repeat the same harm again.

With the enormous caveat that I am not an expert, here are a few things I’ve learned about doing better when you fuck up and get called on it.

Don’t double down

If you’ve been called out for shitty behaviour, it is very unlikely that doubling down and attempting to justify it is going to go over well. Unfortunately, doubling down often comes across as invalidating (“you’re misinterpreting what I said”) or straight-up gaslighting (“that didn’t happen the way you say it did.”)

Many people, when called out, will lash out at the people telling them they fucked up. Some will even act as though denouncing harmful behaviour is an act of abuse in itself. Seriously: do not do this.

If your behaviour was a result of baggage or unresolved trauma, that might be relevant context, but it can only ever be a reason – not an excuse.

Don’t expect a half-assed apology to fix everything

There’s a recurring pattern with the people and companies who fuck up in these ways: if they apologise at all, it’s only after multiple very public call-outs.

If you fuck up and get called on it, apologising is a good thing to do. But don’t expect it to fix everything immediately. People aren’t obligated to forgive you. They might eventually, or they might not. That’s their decision to make.

And if you’re not actually sorry you did it but just sorry you got caught and called out? Don’t even bother. Because we’ve seen this before and we can always tell.

Accept the consequences

It’s hard to be truly accountable without accepting the consequences of your actions. Sometimes, people won’t want to be friends or share space with you any more. Some might choose not to buy from your company any longer. You might lose sponsorship deals, speaking gigs, income opportunities.

All of these are likely to be proportional and appropriate responses to the harm you have caused. You’re not being silenced or cancelled or having your life ruined. You’re experiencing consequences for your fuck up. Owning and accepting them is actually part of the process of healing.

Work to ensure you don’t repeat the mistake

Apologising and making amends is useless if you just repeat the same harm again and again. So take the necessary steps you ensure you don’t. This might mean educating yourself, getting therapy or other professional support, or seeking help from your friends and loved ones (NOT including the person you harmed) to hold you accountable.

The best apology, after all, is changed behaviour.

Quote Quest badge, for a post about making amends when you fuck up

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Edge Play: How to Safely Experiment with Darker Kinks

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

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

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

Ensure your partner is enthusiastic about going there with you

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

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

Practice RACK

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

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

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

Have an aftercare plan

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

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

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

Take it slowly

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

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

Get some advice and do your research

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

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

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I wrote this post as part of Quote Quest, a fun blogging meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing this week!

4 New Years Resolutions Not to Make for 2021

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Make it a good one.”
– Brad Paisley

Well, friends, here we are! 2020 is finally over, and not a moment too soon. This is my first post of 2021, and so I thought it would be good to look at the popular-but-divisive topic of new years resolutions.

I’m generally not a big fan of “resolutions” – they’ve always felt like a lot of pressure, very “all-or-nothing.” Not to mention that January is the most depressing month of the year.

With that said, I do like taking the time during the new year period to look back over the last year, take stock of where I am and how I’m doing, and commit or recommit to my goals. My new year present to myself was an Ink and Volt Goal Planner and a bunch of fun, colourful stickers to use in it, and I spent a fun and satisfying few hours working out how to get where I want to go this year.

Whether you love resolutions or hate them, here are four that I think you absolutely SHOULDN’T make this year.

Go on a diet

Diets, of the type that start on January 1 and have weight loss as their driving goal, are unlikely to succeed. That’s because they tend to be punishing, starvation-based, and unsustainable. They’re also based on forcing our bodies to conform to an ideal that is patriarchal, oppressive, and not even possible for most people.

If you want to lose weight, I’m not going to tell you not to. Our relationships with our bodies are very personal, and only you know what’s right for you. But whether you want to gain, lose, maintain, or ignore the number on the scale entirely, focus on eating foods that make you feel good and moving your body in a way that feels nourishing and joyful.

Just don’t go on a new years diet. Please.

Get a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner

The reason I think “get into a relationship” is a new years resolution to avoid is this: it’s not entirely within your control. Naturally, you can do things that make it more likely you’ll meet your dream person or people (more on that in a minute.) But so many factors – whether the people you fancy are available, whether they fancy you back, whether your wants and needs are compatible – aren’t within your direct control. Not to mention, you know, the ongoing pandemic that is making dating challenging at best.

If you want to date more, or meet more new people, set that as your goal instead! These are perfectly fine goals that are actually within your control. You can get on the dating apps, dust off that old OKCupid profile, join a group or club for one of your interests (maybe virtually right now…) or ask your friends to facilitate introductions to any of their friends they think you’d hit it off with.

But resolutions like “by December 31, 2021, I will have a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner” is a recipe for pressure, frustration, and resentment. None of which actually lead to conducive dating.

Be more positive

There is little I find more eye-rollingly infuriating than toxic positivity, except possibly toxic positivity that comes from a place of unexamined privilege (and is presented in easily-digestible, pseudo-motivational quotes attached to pretty pictures on Instagram.)

I’m not saying we should all be relentlessly negative, of course. That doesn’t help or serve anyone. But I’m a big proponent of the power of appropriate and well-placed negativity.

2020 pretty much sucked. Not entirely, of course. Some good things – some great things – happened. But when there’s a pandemic raging, your government is killing people with their actions or inactions, you’ve lost your job, you can’t see your family and friends, and your mental health is tanking… well, the last thing I want to hear in that instance is “positive thinking is the cure to all your woes!” No it isn’t. The cure for our woes would be a competent government, mass vaccination, adequate and accessible mental health care, and necessities provided for everyone. (I’ll write a whole post on this soon.)

Instead of making resolutions like “be more positive”, what would happen if you decided to honour all your emotions this year? Feel both your sadness and your joy. Allow anger in and sit with it. There’s no such thing as a bad emotion – what matters is how we act on them. Sometimes, negativity is appropriate. Sometimes it’s okay to say “yeah everything is pretty much shit right now.”

Say yes

This is another of those pseudo-deep life advice things: say yes to everything! Embrace opportunity! It sounds great, except… it isn’t.

I’ve gone through phases of saying yes to pretty much everything people asked of me, both the fun and the not-so-fun. You know what happened? I ended up burned out and pissed off.

Saying yes to blowing off work to spend the day in bed with your partner might be great, or it might lead to serious professional repercussions. Saying yes to a spontaneous trip might be a fun adventure, or it might spell disaster for your finances. And saying yes to dessert when you don’t really want it might lead to you enjoying a tasty slice of cake, or it might end up with a sugar crash that leaves you feeling like crap.

Instead, consider your decisions carefully. Say yes when you really want to say yes and when it’s a good decision for you. Otherwise? Learn how to say no more often and more freely.

“No” doesn’t mean you’re closed off to opportunity, a bad friend or partner or employee, or not spontaneous enough. “No” means that you prioritise yourself, know where your boundaries are, and hold them without apology. And I think that’s far more beautiful and beneficial than agreeing to everything until you feel completely out of control.

Are you making or breaking up with resolutions this year?

Let me know why you love resolutions or why you hate them – and any that you’re determined to never make again!

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

How to Be a Sex Writer

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
– Stephen King

Hey gang! Have you seen that I’m sharing Black Friday sex toy deals over on Twitter today? Follow the hashtag to get some bargains on some of my absolute favourite brands and products.

With that out of the way, let’s dive in to today’s post. I’ve had a lot of people ask me this. “Amy, how can I do what you do?” “How can I get paid to overshare on the internet?” “How can I get companies to send me products to review?”

So today I thought I’d share my tips on exactly that.

A Very Incomplete Guide to How to Be a Sex Writer

First, disclaimer: there’s no way this can be comprehensive. There are as many different ways into this strange but wonderful career as there are people doing it.

With that said, here are a few things to know if you want to be a sex writer.

First, you need to be able to write

Sounds obvious, right? But a lot of people think that, because we’re in the adult niche, sex writers don’t need to be good writers. Sorry, but you do. Stray typos are one thing, but mistakes all over the place make your writing look sloppy.

Good writers are those who are always learning and improving. In short, you become a writer by writing. So practice and practice and practice. But don’t think quality doesn’t matter just because you’re talking about sex. It does.

Pro tip: if you struggle with spelling or grammar, Grammarly Premium is a good investment.

You need to know a thing or two about sex

Again: obvious, no?

But seriously, so many people don’t realise just how much there is to know about sex. This leads to them thinking it’s an easy or frivolous topic, and putting out content that is anywhere from cringeworthy to downright dangerous.

You do not need to know everything! None of us know everything! But if your knowledge of sexuality doesn’t extend much past “tab A in slot B,” you might want to study up before you attempt to be a sex writer.

You need to be willing to be surprised

If there is one thing about sexuality that will always be true, it’s this: the world is infinitely varied. Part of being a good sex writer is about being able to stay open-minded, stay curious, and always be willing to be surprised.

I thought I was pretty well-versed in sexuality, including niche kinks of various stripes, when I started this blog. Turns out I’d barely scratched the surface. I still haven’t. That’s part of what makes this field so fascinating.

Study some good resources

I’m gonna shout out The Smutlancers here! Kayla and Molly have created an incredible resource for anyone who wants to create content about sex and get paid to do it. The website and podcast are a goldmine of totally free information, and you can also join the Patreon community for just a few dollars per month.

You should also read other sex blogs (which you’re presumably doing, since you’re here.) Check out my blogroll in the right hand sidebar for some of my top recommendations. Your goal isn’t to copy anyone or write like anyone else, but to see how the pros do it and learn from their vast wealth of knowledge.

Naturally, you should also read books, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, and otherwise consume content in the sexuality space. This is how you keep your knowledge fresh, come up with content ideas, and learn how to be a good and responsible creator.

Don’t expect to make money straight away

I never went into sex writing to make money. I went into it because I find sexuality fascinating and I had things to say. The fact that I did make money and that it has become a significant part of my career? That’s a wonderful bonus that has changed my life in so many ways.

Thanks, I think, to the expression “sex sells,” people often grossly underestimate how hard making money as a sexuality writer actually is. I didn’t make a penny from my blog for the first four months. After that, it was just a few pounds here and there. It took close to a year before my hosting and other blogging expenses were covered – in other words, before the blog started paying for itself.

My first commission paid me a tenner. I spent a good deal of time underselling myself. I’d been doing this work for pushing a year and a half the first time I got paid what I would consider “market rate” for an article.

Go into sex writing because you genuinely love it. If you keep working hard and you’re good at what you do, the money will come. But don’t expect to be rolling in cash overnight – that’s not how this works.

Put yourself out there

It’s easy to think and dream about being a writer. But if you want to actually do it, you’re going to need to take a deep breath and put yourself out there at some point.

Hit “publish” on your first blog post and promote it on social media. Send that pitch to that publication you’d like to write for. Approach that company you love and ask if they’d consider letting you become a reviewer.

Taking that leap is terrifying the first few times you do it (honestly, I’m close to 4 years into this endeavour and I STILL get the butterflies when I pitch new publications.) But it’s the only way you can take your sex writing goals from dream to reality.

By the way… I could be your first commission!

Looking for your first sex writing byline? Pitch me your ideas! I pay a small fee, and I’m generally un-scary. I also LOVE working with new writers and giving them their first paid commission. So hit me up (email in the guidelines) if you’re ready to dive in.

This post was written as part of Quote Quest! Check out what everyone else wrote about this week.

How to Maintain Balance When Everything is On Fire

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

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

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

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

Rest

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

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

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

Eat something

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

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

Move your body

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

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

Say no

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

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

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

Masturbate

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

Ask for help

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

You don’t have to do this alone.

You’ve got this.

It’s going to be okay.

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