On Suttard, Fundamental Incompatibilities, and Happy Ever After

This post contains spoilers for all five seasons of The Bold Type! Stop reading now if you don’t want to be spoilered.

Like many fans of Freeform’s The Bold Type, which just finished its fifth and final season, I was rooting for a happy outcome for Sutton Brady-Hunter and Richard Hunter (known collectively by the fandom as “Suttard.”) They’re the best straight couple on the show by far, from their Bluetooth vibrator sex date to their incredible Paris reunion in the season 2 finale.

At the end of season 4, the newly married couple have a blow-out argument when Sutton realises she doesn’t want to have children, causing Richard – who longs to be a dad – to leave her and then (at the beginning of season 5) begin divorce proceedings.

Over the course of the final season, Sutton destroys her wedding dress, throws a “divorce party,” starts therapy, and quits drinking in an attempt to get over Richard. Then they meet up to swap divorce papers, predictably fall into bed with each other, and Richard realises how much he loves her and that he doesn’t want a life without her, even if it means giving up his dream of having children.

So far, so romantic? But…

Fundamental incompatibilities

No two people will ever be perfectly aligned on every issue or desire. That’s impossible because we’re all multifaceted, nuanced, and complex creatures. But there are, I believe, a few fundamentals. Things you need to agree on (or at least be genuinely, wholeheartedly happy to compromise on) in order to have a functional relationship.

Having children is one of those things. (Others might include getting married or not, being monogamous or not, and possibly even political affiliation.)

Some things are just deal breakers. Some things should be deal-breakers. Because in reality, much as we want to believe that love conquers all, it doesn’t. Love doesn’t conquer wanting different things in uncompromisable situations. You can’t have half a child. You can’t be half married. Love, however real and powerful, doesn’t make these incompatibilities go away or create the potential for a compromise where there is none.

Fairytale endings: fantasy vs. reality

I’m glad the writers chose to end The Bold Type the way they did. Ultimately, this show is escapist fantasy – a Sex & the City for millennials with little grounding in the real world. Suttard fans were crushed when the couple split up and were rooting for them to get back together and somehow find a way through their conflicting desires.

The writers gave us what we wanted. Find me a single fan who didn’t let out a collective “awwww” at this moment:

GIF of Richard Hunter and Sutton Brady (Suttard)

But it really is just fantasy. In reality, fairytale endings like this don’t happen. Or if they do, they cause intense resentment and bigger problems down the line.

I admit that I struggle to relate to Richard, personally. As someone who decided early on that I will be childfree for life, I find it very difficult to imagine wanting to have children more than wanting to be with the person I love. (And my god, these two really do love each other – Meghann Fahy and Sam Page have incredible on-screen chemistry!)

But many people do feel like that, and it’s valid and real. Many people want to be a parent more than anything, even if it means they can’t be with the person they thought was their forever person. And those people can’t just switch that off the way Richard seems to in this too-neat-to-be-real happy ever after.

Happy endings don’t exist

A much younger, more naive version of me thought that I’d find a happy ending someday. When I left my abuser and fell in love with Mr CK, I wondered if I’d found it – if everything would be plain sailing from here.

What I can tell you now, years later, is that no. I hadn’t found a happy ending. Not because this relationship isn’t wonderful. It was then and it is now. But because happy endings of the fairytale kind don’t exist.

Real relationships require constant communication, ongoing compromise, and recalibration as you both grow and change. You can decide to be together, to commit, to go all-in, but that doesn’t take away from the very real work required to make love work long term.

Love is messy, love is nuanced, love is the best thing in the world. But it is not magical. It does not remove all obstacles or effortlessly sweep them aside. And some obstacles are too big to overcome.

So I’ll enjoy the Suttard happy ending for what it is: escapist fantasy wrapping up five seasons of escapist fantasy. But I’m glad it’s not real. Because as much as I want someone to love me for the rest of my life, I would never want them to give up their greatest dream to be with me.

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Do I Actually Have a Cuckqueaning Kink?

I haven’t taken part in Kink of the Week for some time but, when I saw that this week’s theme was cuckolding, I decided to write this post I’ve been mulling over for some time. I fantasise about cuckqueaning – but do I ever want to actually do it?

First, a quick definition: what is cuckqueaning?

Cuckqueaning (which stems from cuckolding) is essentially a woman watching her partner have sex with someone else. But unlike typical group sex scenarios like threesomes or swinging, cuckolding/cuckqueaning generally involves a degree of humiliation, submission, or degredation as part of the fun.

Another variation on the “watching” theme is your partner going out and fucking someone else, then coming home and telling you all about it. A less common variation but one I’ve seen in porn is the submissive partner listening from the other room while their partner has sex with the third party.

The idea is that you’re being “made” to watch your partner with someone else (or listen to it, or hear about their adventures afterwards.) This plays into the submissiveness and humiliation of the scene. Obviously, the “force” is only pretend and all parties must be enthusiastically consenting to it all!

What is it about this kink that appeals?

Cuckqueaning appeals to me on a few different levels in a fantasy context. First and perhaps most obviously is that it hits my submissive buttons. What could be more submissive than watching passively while my partner gets it on with another hot person?

I love humiliation and degredation when it’s done well by someone I trust. It’s emotionally edgy, but that’s part of what I enjoy about it. Exploring those dark places is something I find healing and cathartic as well as hot and fun.

Cuckqueaning also ties deeply into my orgasm control/tease and denial kink. Something about (the idea of) watching my partner pleasure someone else while I’m on the sidelines is extremely hot to me in this specific way. Being wet and aroused and not able to touch myself or be touched is… well, very much my jam. At least in theory.

I fantasise about cuckqueaning a lot of the time when I’m masturbating. It’s one of my most often-used search terms on porn sites and Literotica. I dirty-talk about it with partners sometimes. It turns me the fuck on and it also scares the hell out of me.

Eroticising a deep fear

I firmly believe that at least some of the time, kinks emerge from eroticising the things we’re afraid of. For me, this is certainly true when it comes to my cuckqueaning fantasies.

One of my deepest, darkest, biggest fears is around my partner leaving me for someone else. This has happened to me in the past, in a relationship I thought was secure, and it was fucking devastating. It really broke me for a long time and left me with lasting trust issues, even though I know it was ultimately for the best.

I’m much more secure than I used to be (I’ve done a lot of work on myself in this area!). But, when I’m feeling at my lowest or my mental illness is kicking my ass, that fear is still the dark place I return to in my mind.

So surely cuckqueaning would hit that button in a bad way? Well… yes and no.

I’ve learned to work through that fear enough to have a happy and functional polyamorous relationship. Is there any reason I couldn’t work through it to realise my cuckqueaning kink, too?

I think a few criteria would have to be met for me to act on this fantasy in the real world. I’d need to be in a good place with my body image, feeling secure and confident. I’d need to trust not just my partner, but the third party as well, a whole hell of a lot. And I’d need a lot of aftercare and reassurance after the scene. I would need to know that my partner still really loves me and doesn’t really “prefer” (to whatever extent those comparisons are even meaningful outside of a consensual kink space) the other person.

Cuckqueaning scares the shit out of me. And yet I can’t stop finding the idea of it so fucking hot.

Because if I’m completely honest, poking the fear is also part of the appeal. It’s like dragging the biggest, scariest monster out from under the bed and facing off against it, but in a sexy way. I don’t know if I want to be cucked in spite of the fact that it terrifies me, or because it terrifies me.

So do I actually want to do it?

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Is this a fantasy that should STAY a fantasy, or is it one that I might bring out of my head and into my actual bedroom some day.

I’m truly not sure.

Acting out a fantasy in real life can be incredible if it lives up to expectations. Trying something you’ve wanted to try for years is a very powerful thing. I think it’s also valid and wonderful to have fantasies we enjoy, wank to, return to again and again… but never actually act out.

Which category is cuckqueaning in for me? I really don’t know. Time will tell.

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Kink of the Week is a blogging meme by Molly Moore of Molly’s Daily Kiss. Click the lips to check out everyone else’s work!

FYI: I’m taking a short vacation next week, so the blog will be quiet. Normal service will resume the week beginning 5th July.

What is Commitment Without Entanglement?

I’ve been thinking about commitment a lot recently. What it is, what it means, and how I can ethically incorporate it into my life in a way that aligns with my needs, my values, and my partners’ needs and values.

As a polyamorous person and an ethical slut, commitment matters a lot to me. Does that surprise you? Many people assume that true commitment is impossible in a non-monogamous context. Of course, I don’t agree.

What is commitment, anyway?

Oxford Languages suggests the definition of commitment as “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc”. I think this is actually a pretty okay definition.

We all think we know what commitment means in a relationship, especially as it relates to mononormative culture. People often equate commitment with things like getting married, living together, and raising children together. Our society also strongly equates commitment with exclusivity. (Hands up every polyamorous person who has been asked “when are you going to commit to one person?”)

As a non-monogamous person, I suggest we look at commitment a different way. Instead of asking “what does society tell me a committed relationship looks like?”, ask yourself “what does commitment mean to me?”

Here are five things commitment means to me.

  • Commitment means I will prioritise you highly. This does not necessarily mean I will always put you first, and I will not necessarily prioritise you to the detriment of other important things in my life. But I will always consider you and strive to behave in ways that honour our connection.
  • Commitment means I will attempt to work through problems that arise in our relationship, engaging in good faith and seeking solutions that work for everyone involved.
  • Commitment means that I honour the ways in which you, I, and our relationship will grow and change. I want to grow along with you, not away from you.
  • Commitment means I want you to be in my life for as long as it is a happy and healthy choice for both of us. Ideally that means “for life,” but I accept things change. If our relationship is no longer good for one or both of us, I will let you go.
  • Commitment means that your happiness matters to me. To the best of my ability, and to the extent it doesn’t harm me or anyone else to do so, I will behave in ways that faciliate your happiness.

Your answers may be different. But I encourage you to think about what commitment is to you and maybe write down a “commitment manifesto” like the one I’ve shared above.

What is entanglement?

When I talk about entanglement in a relationship, I’m broadly referring to what is often known within polyamorous communities as “the relationship escalator.” Coined by writer Amy Gahran, the relationship escalator is described thus:

The default set of societal expectations for intimate relationships. Partners follow a progressive set of steps, each with visible markers, toward a clear goal.

The goal at the top of the Escalator is to achieve a permanently monogamous (sexually and romantically exclusive between two people), cohabitating marriage — legally sanctioned if possible. In many cases, buying a house and having kids is also part of the goal. Partners are expected to remain together at the top of the Escalator until death.

The Escalator is the standard by which most people gauge whether a developing intimate relationship is significant, “serious,” good, healthy, committed or worth pursuing or continuing.” (Source.)

The relationship escalator isn’t inherently bad, if it’s something you genuinely want (as opposed to something you’re following because of social, cultural, or familial pressure). But holding up the escalator model as the pinnacle of relationship achievement is deeply damaging to many people.

On or off the escalator?

Even though I strongly identify as non-monogamous, I’ve always valued having a core, deeply entangled relationship in my life. This is what Mr CK and I have. We live together, we share bills and cats and household chores, we are at least somewhat financially entangled. We’re each other’s next of kin at the hospital. We make big decisions together, and we hope to be together for life.

I also do not want all my relationships – or indeed any others – to be this entangled. The beauty of non-monogamy is that relationships don’t have to be all or nothing. If you have great sex but don’t have romantic feelings for one another, you can have a great friends-with-benefits arrangement. If you love each other but don’t want to live together, you can enjoy the connection for what it is without pushing for it to be more. When you have a need one partner can’t or won’t meet, you can get it fulfilled elsewhere.

This means you get to choose whether each relationship is on or off the escalator. It means you get to choose what level of commitment you want, and what that means for you and your partner(s).

You can even decide to take certain steps on the escalator but skip others, if you want to. For example, “we want to live together but no kids,” or “we want to get married, but monogamy isn’t part of our arrangement.”

Commitment without entanglement

When you try to define commitment without the trappings of heteronormative, mononormative, escalator-driven relationships, it gets complicated fast. It also gets really, really diverse.

Here are five things I’ve learned about how to do commitment without entanglement.

Create milestones that matter to you

Every serious relationship has meaningful milestones. What these look like and what they mean to you both/all will be different in each relationship. A few common milestones that don’t necessarily imply entanglement include the first kiss, the first time you say “I love you,” the first time you have sex, and the first night you spend together.

Unromantic milestones matter, too. In my relationship with The Artist, I remember feeling like our relationship had turned a corner the first time we navigated a (non-relational) crisis together. It wasn’t fun at the time, but in the long run it cemented our bond even further. I felt similarly after the first time they saw me in the middle of a major mental health crisis and didn’t run away.

What relationship milestones feel significant to you and your partner(s)? Think about both things you’ve already done (“the first overnight we spent together felt really significant to me”) and things you’d like to do someday (“I really want to introduce you to my best friends.”)

Have each other’s backs

For me, one of the biggest signs of commitment is when someone is by my side through difficult times. I enjoy the sex-with-no-expectations brand of relationship with some people. But I want to know that my inner circle people are there for me.

If you’re around when you want a hot shag but then disappear when I’m sobbing on the sofa because my depression is so bad, I won’t see the relationship as a committed one and will adjust my expectations accordingly.

Having each other’s backs isn’t the same as expecting the other person to drop everything to care for you in every crisis. But it does mean stepping up when you can, being there for the bad times as well as the good, and going out of your way for the other person at least some of the time.

Ask, don’t assume

When was the last time you asked your partner what love and commitment means to them? It’s easy to assume other people define these things in the same ways that we do. But assumptions are the fast-track to hurt feelings and miscommunications.

If you’re not sure what your partner needs or wants, ask them! If you’re not sure how they’re feeling, don’t try to guess. Just talk about it.

Learning each other’s love languages can be useful here. People often make the mistake of assuming that everyone gives and receives love the way they do. The love language framework isn’t perfect. But it gives you a way to explore and communicate your needs to your partner and to understand theirs.

Asking isn’t unromantic! Asking someone what they need or want is actually a huge sign of love and respect. Mononormative culture holds that we should be able to read our partner’s mind. This is bullshit. Don’t try. Seriously, I cannot emphasise this enough – just fucking ask.

Stand up for the relationship

When I was with my ex, one of the things that stopped me ever feeling safe was the fact that his wife had veto power. Even after years together, she could have told him to dump me at any time and he would have complied. Even though it was only ever hypothetical, we talked about the possibility at length. One of the things that really hurt was the knowledge that, if push came to shove, he would not stand up for our relationship.

I won’t date anyone with a veto arrangement any more. I believe that longer-term and more entangled partners should absolutely get a say and be able to voice concerns. But I cannot be in a situation where my relationship could be unilaterally ended by someone who isn’t even in it.

If you want to show commitment to your non-entangled partner, that means being willing to stand up for your relationship if you ever need to. This might mean telling your spouse or nesting partner that no, they don’t get to slam a veto down. It might mean speaking up when your friends or family (if you’re out to them) dismiss your non-entangled relationship as not real, not serious, or not important.

Keep the promises you make (and don’t make ones you can’t keep)

To my ex, promises made to me were always breakable if anything better came up (or his wife just had a bad day). This prevented me from ever feeling truly important to him.

In general, if you make a promise or commit to a plan with your partner, you should do everything you can to honour it. Emergencies happen, of course. Part of being in a long-term relationship means being flexible enough to roll with the punches when crises arise. But breaking promises or cancelling plans for minor reasons impedes building a true sense of commitment in a relationship, in my opinion.

The other piece of this is not making promises you can’t keep. My ex used to tell me that we – me, him, and his wife – would all live together and I’d be an equal co-primary someday. I eventually realised this was never going to actually happen. If I’d known that earlier, I could have adjusted my expectations accordingly. Instead, by promising something he never intended to actually follow through on, he deprived me of the ability to make an informed and consensual choice about how much I wanted to commit to that relationship.

If your non-entangled partner is asking for something, it can seem kinder to say “yes, someday” then just keep pushing it off into the distance. But if the real answer is “no, never” or “probably not,” it’s actually much better to tell them that. Hearing “no” to something you want is never fun. But it’s much better than being strung out on a false promise and then being let down again and again.

What does commitment without entanglement mean to you?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’m so curious how other non-monogamous people handle this.

Am I a Bad Submissive if I Don’t Swallow?

I love giving blow jobs. Love love love it. The feeling of sinking my mouth down onto a dick that’s already hard, or taking a flaccid cock in my mouth and teasing and licking it to full erection… I live for that shit.

What I don’t particularly love? The feeling/taste/texture of jizz in my mouth. I don’t know if it’s a sensory thing or what, but most of the time my preference is to get the person close to orgasm with my mouth and then finish them off with my hand/a toy/penetrative sex.

There are exceptions, of course. I can sometimes enjoy the sensation of someone coming in my mouth if it’s specifically part of a D/s context where I’m feeling very submissive. With that framing, it can be hot to me on occasion. But what I’ve never been able to bring myself to do is swallow it.

I’ve been on Fetlife since I was 18, and sometime in my first few years on there I encountered a popular piece of writing that was titled something like “Good Girls Always Swallow.” Obviously this is one person’s (ill-informed and kinda gender-essentialist) opinion, but younger me took it to heart and was quite upset by it.

Because I wanted to be a good girl! I wanted to be the kind of submissive that Dominants would enjoy playing with, that they would come back to again and again, and maybe that one would choose for a lifelong relationship someday.

So, I wondered, am I a bad submissive if I don’t—can’t—swallow jizz?

A more pertinent question might be, a bad submissive for whom? Yes, I’m probably a bad submissive for someone whose number one kink is having someone suck them off and swallow. I’m probably also a bad submissive for someone who just wants to dish out as much pain as possible, because my masochistic happy place is somewhere between mild and moderate.

Here’s what I eventually learned, though: there’s no such thing as a universally “good” or “bad” submissive. People are all different and no-one will be perfect for everyone. The idea that there is one universally-accepted standard of The Perfect Submissive is bullshit.

Fetlife and normative kinky porn would have us believe that to be a good submissive, you need to be an 18-21 year old skinny white cis woman with contortionist-level flexibility, an unlimited pain threshold, the ability to orgasm immediately from penetration, and a cum-swallowing fetish a mile wide.

This is—I truly cannot stress this enough—absolute bullshit.

Everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or kink role if they have one, has their preferences and their limits and the things they can and cannot do. Some people can hang out in strenuous bondage for hours. Others can kneel for as long as their partners want, while some of us get creaky knees if we’re on the floor for too long. Some people can take a lot of pain, others hardly any at all.

The great thing about all this is that there’s no right way to be a submissive (or a Dominant, or a switch, or a vanilla player!) There are no standard acts. Everything is negotiable, customisable, an infinite array of mix-and-match combos where you can create the thing that works for you. Sex and kink aren’t about ticking boxes. They’re about the connection, the dynamic, the interplay and the dance and the exchange of energy between two (or more) people.

So am I a bad submissive if I don’t want to swallow cum?

No.

I’m the submissive that I am. The value I bring to my Dominants is through being myself, not through being the living embodiment of a Tumblr porn fantasy.

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Reunion

Have you ever just fallen into someone and held onto them as if you would drown if you let go? That’s how it felt to me when I saw my secondary partner[1] for the first time in sixteen months this last weekend. Throughout the 30 hours or so we spent together, I had to keep touching them just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

The last year has not been kind to many people, including us. We’ve survived many things in the four and a half years we’ve been together, from a terrifying car accident to my mental breakdown in 2019. But a pandemic that separated us for almost a year and a half was a different beast entirely.

Of course, our relationship wasn’t on hold during all this time. We couldn’t see each other physically, but we kept in touch with Skype calls and sexting and app-controlled sex toys and online theatre and movie dates. But it’s not the same. Sometimes I wanted to hug them so badly it hurt. Often, actually.

Even so, I went into our reunion not really knowing how it would go. So much has changed in the last year. Life is not the same. I am not the same. I’ve changed not just my hair and my body, but also my career and my relationship with myself in the past year. In some ways, I am far better. My self-esteem and my relationship to my work are both hugely improved. But in other ways, I am carrying the inevitable scars of the last year. I am jumpy and scared of things I was never scared of before. I don’t always know how to people any more, after almost a year in such isolation.

So no, I wasn’t sure if we would still fit. Because when people and circumstances change, relationships do, too. I think it’s fair to say they were more sure than I was, but I think they also had their doubts. How could we not, after all this time?

The doubt dissolved the moment I saw them, the moment we clung to each other and I buried my face in their shoulder and I remembered all the ways we fit together. Every time I looked at them, I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. Because yes, it still works. The love is still there. Our connection was tested but never severed. Our hearts and our bodies remember each other, and that matters more than days or months or distance.

Sometimes, in the sea of everything changing, you just need something that still feels right. You just need someone who will hold you as though they felt every damn second of all the months you were apart.

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[1] We use “secondary” as a descriptive term, not as any kind of pejorative, and we love each other deeply and fiercely despite not being on the relationship escalator with each other.

My Body is Not Dirty

As the world begins to open back up, my partner and I have been spending a little time delving back into the online swinging scene. It’s probably going to be a while yet before we feel safe meeting or hooking up with anyone in real life, but it feels good to even be able to consider it again after being isolated for so long. (#FuckYouCovid.)

As we browse pics and read profiles, I’ve noticed an upsetting trend. Of those individuals and couples who won’t even consider anyone with body hair (and that’s already a majority of swingers,) many are using language that explicitly or implicitly conflates body hair with dirtiness and being clean shaven everywhere with being hygienic.

Where did this idea come from? When did it become so normalised to equate body hair with being unclean? How are an enormous majority of ostensibly sex-positive grown ass adults so disgusted by something so natural?

Whenever I see statements like “we expect clean and shaven” or “hygiene matters so not interested in hairy people” or “no gross bushes,” I want to say this: my body is not dirty.

Body hair is one of the many arenas in which women’s and AFAB folks’ bodies have been turned into political battlegrounds. Whether I intended it as such or not, my choice not to remove my body hair is seen as a statement. Shaving or waxing everything off has become so normalised that the literal natural unaltered state of my body is automatically viewed as having a deeper meaning.

Sure, in a certain light it can be a useful way to wear my politics on my body. People who have a problem with women’s body hair will probably have a problem with a lot of things about me. But what if I just… like my body like this? What if I just find hair removal a time-sucking pain in the ass? What if I hate ingrown hairs and the inevitable itchy-as-fuck regrowth period? What if I just leave my body hair as it is because I, and my partners, find it kinda sexy?

I get that we all have our preferences, and that’s fine! Do what you want with your own body, and feel free to date people whose grooming habits align with your preferences. I certainly don’t want to have sex with anyone who is grossed out by an aspect of my body! But if you’re that disgusted and turned off by body hair, I challenge you to ask yourself why.

It’s not unhygienic and it’s not dirty. That’s a myth. Pubic hair actually helps to protect your sensitive genital tissue from infection and bacteria. The only time body hair is unhygienic is if you don’t wash it… and frankly, if you don’t wash regularly you’re going to be unhygienic regardless of whether you have hair or don’t.

Body hair is a natural thing that adult bodies have. Shaving everything off is a relatively recent cultural norm. It’s literally the result, as so many beauty norms are, of corporations convincing women there’s a problem with our bodies so they can sell us the “fix.”

I want people to stop talking about a normal feature of the human body like it’s something disgusting. I want people to stop equating hair removal with cleanliness. If you’re grossed out by it, then admit that that’s on you. Stop acting like “body hair = gross” is some unavoidable law of the world that you are powerless to question or examine. Keep your socially-imposed expectations off my genitals.

Because my body is not dirty.

A Love Letter to the Art of Sexting

I don’t know if anyone has done any actual studies on this, but my totally unscientific hypothesis is that people have been sexting more than ever over the last year. With much of the world forced into lockdown (fuck you COVID), we’ve had to resort to virtual methods for everything from our work to our friendships… so why not our sex lives, too?

I’ve said before that I believe that sexting can, in and of itself, constitute a real sexual relationship. It’s one of the first ways that Mr CK and I connected before we ever had physical sex. And it’s certainly one of the ways that The Artist and I have kept our connection alive over the last year of not being able to see each other (again: fuck you, COVID.)

It probably isn’t a surprise to anyone that I am a very wordy person. I am a writer, after all. Words of affirmation are my primary love language. And I fucking love sexting.

I won’t say that it’s as good as in-person sex. It’s not. Nothing can beat the touch and smell and warmth of a lover’s body against mine. But when we can’t have that, for reasons of distance or illness or the plague, it’s the next best thing.

There’s an art to good sexting, though. I’m lucky in that my current partners are amazing at it. But I’ve certainly had more than my fair share of bad sexting in the past. The worst sexting tends to be overly dick-focused, one-sided, and

No, good sexting isn’t as simple as typing a bunch of increasingly flowery euphemisms. Like good physical sex, it’s a conversation, a dance, a push and pull between two (or more) people who are deeply attuned to one another. It involves listening and responding. A good sexter can make me drip without ever touching me. A truly great sexter can make me submit with just words.

At its best, sexting can be a way to explore fantasies and even discover new ones. Many times over the years, a partner has said something to me in a sexting session that has left me like “well I didn’t know I was into that, but oof!” Sexting can build a connection, maintain it over distance and time, and be a deeply intimate bonding experience.

Thanks to technology, virtual sexual connections are easier than ever. We no longer have to stick with just words on a screen (though that can be fun, too.) We can now trade pictures, video chat, and even control a lover’s sex toy over tens or hundreds or thousands of miles.

It’s been hard to be a slut over the last year. So many of the things I love, from regular dates with my secondary partner to outings to sex clubs and dungeons, have been impossible.

(Yes, I know perspective is important and not being able to slut it up on the regular is a very trivial concern compared to *waves wildly at everything.* I’m still allowed to miss it.)

For many of us slutty types, sexting has been one of the things that has kept us at least somewhat connected with our slutty selves. It’s a reminder that the world is still out there, and brimming with sexy adventures waiting to be had when it’s safe to do so. And I think that’s something to celebrate.

“Give me words that make my mind curl before my toes.”
– Rachel Wolchin

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I wrote this post as part of Quote Quest, a fun blogging meme by Little Switch Bitch. Each week there’s a new quote for inspiration. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing this week! Oh, and if you enjoy my work, please consider buying me a coffee.

The Words I Claim

“The day I changed was the day I quit trying to fit into a world that never really fit me.”
– JM Storm

At some point, I became aware that I am many things that our society does not like. I am queer, I love more than one, I am mentally ill, I am a woman who speaks her mind and won’t shut up and loves sex. I felt weird, out of place, and sometimes broken. For a long time, I wondered what was wrong with me.

It took me even longer to realise there is nothing wrong with me.

At some point, I realised I could claim the words that had once been used to hurt me. I realised that it was others who had ascribed negative value judgements to those things and that I did not have to accept them if I didn’t want to. That was the day I began to step into my identity.

So yes, I claim the word queer. You don’t get to throw at me, with hatred in your voice, the most beautiful part of my identity. I love women, I love men, and I love people between and outside and beyond this binary. You will never make me feel ashamed of that again.

I claim polyamorous. Our society tells us that we must only love one person. Not only that, but we must only ever have loved one person for it to be real and true, rendering all other loves retroactively invalid. Love isn’t more pure and true by virtue of how many people you extend it to, or don’t. Love one or love many, it’s all wonderful. Because love? Love is everything.

I claim slut. Depending on who you ask, slut is a term of empowerment or the worst thing a woman can possibly be. Slut, when you throw it at me hatefully, says that you see that I live my sex life on my terms and you can’t stand that. Slut, to me, means that my body is mine, my sexuality is mine, my choices are mine.

I know it makes many people uncomfortable, whether it’s because they think people like me are dangerous or in a more benign-ableism “your illness doesn’t define you” way, but I claim mentally ill. I didn’t ask to be born with a chemical imbalance in my brain or to live through traumas that would leave lasting scars. But that’s the hand life gave me. And no, maybe it doesn’t define me, but it does impact my life every day. And I have survived and even thrived in the face of that, so hell yes, I claim it.

Women like me, women who speak their minds and won’t minimise themselves for men’s comfort, are often called difficult. I think I was 15 the first time someone told me I was difficult, too opinionated, too much. What I understand now is that that said far more about them than me. So yes, I claim difficult woman. If you can’t handle someone who won’t make herself smaller, well, that sounds like a you problem.

Finally, I claim survivor. People don’t like to acknowledge that abuse happens, let alone how widespread it is. They don’t want to see it because once they see it, truly see it, they will feel compelled to speak up against it. Most people do not want to or cannot do that so instead, they shut down and deny that it exists. What happened to me was not my fault or my choice, but I get to decide what I do with it. I was hurt but I survived, and I am proud to claim the label of survivor.

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

I wrote this post as part of Quote Quest, a fun blogging meme by Little Switch Bitch. Each week there’s a new quote for inspiration. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing this week! Oh, and if you enjoy my work, please consider buying me a coffee.

You Need to Listen to Survivors. Now More Than Ever.

TW: this post is about sexual assault, harrassment, and violence against women.

This has been a hard week to be on social media as a survivor of sexual violence. I was tempted to step away from the internet entirely but, well, I can’t really do that thanks to my job.

So I stayed. And I read the stories. And I sent love and solidarity to my fellow survivors all over the world, even as I felt increasingly hopeless and increasingly retraumatised.

I was 12 years old the first time a boy grabbed my breasts without my consent. I was 13 or 14 the first time I can remember having something obscene yelled at me in the street. The first time I felt creeped out by an adult man’s behaviour? I was 9. The first time a boyfriend pressured me into a sex act I wasn’t comfortable with? I was 15.

None of this is unusual. In fact, it’s heartbreakingly common. It’s practically ubiquitous.

All the stories that are pouring out on social media right now, in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard? If you’re not a survivor, I want you to listen to those.

If you’re not a person who experiences misogyny, I want you to sit with this and listen to it. Not because we think you’re to blame for the actions of all men. The point isn’t that all men are perpetrators, or even that only men are perpetrators. Obviously that’s not the case. The point is that virtually all women – probably every single woman you know – has been on the receiving end at some point or another.

Maybe someone walked a little too close to us as we walked home at night, or maybe someone yelled something disgusting from a passing car. Maybe we were raped or assaulted by a man we trusted. Perhaps we convinced ourselves it wasn’t really assault, it wasn’t really harrassment, it doesn’t really count. Perhaps we didn’t report because we felt like no-one would believe us, no-one would care, it wasn’t really that bad.

Or maybe we did report, and maybe we were gaslighted into believing we imagined it. Maybe we were told not to make a fuss, not to ruin his reputation, not to go out at night or wear that dress or have that second drink if we don’t want our bodies to become public property.

Many of us were children the first time this happened.

If you don’t experience misogyny and you’re not a survivor, I need you to hear this. We don’t need self-congratulatory posts about how you’re such a good guy and feel ashamed to be male because of what others of your gender have done. We don’t need to hear “I would never do that.” Instead, we need you to listen to us. To ask how you can help. To talk to your fucking friends and to stop asking that one creepy, gropey, rapey guy to your parties. We need you to step in and stop being a bystander.

I want to stop hearing about how people don’t think they’re part of the problem, and start seeing them be part of the solution.

But first I want you to listen.

And I want you to believe us.

I Don’t Believe in Soulmates (But…)

“A true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert

I don’t believe in soulmates.

Well, it’s not quite that simple. I don’t believe in soulmates in the “one person on earth for everyone who will complete you” kind of way.

Aside from the previously discussed mathematical absurdity of imagining there’s exactly one person designed for one other person, the One True Soulmate thing doesn’t account for polyamory, or people who are widowed and then find love again, or just people who have multiple serious relationships in their life because something isn’t retroactively less real because it ended. Then there’s the fact that we are all whole already and don’t need another person to complete us.

I’m not sure I even believe in souls, at least not in the metaphysical or religious way the term is often used. I’m both an atheist and fundamentally quite cynical.

So no, I don’t believe in soulmates. That doesn’t mean I am cynical about love. I’m not. I do believe in powerful connections between people, which might happen quickly or might grow over years.

When I hear “soulmate,” I think it implies a situation where you’re so made for each other that everything is easy. It’s the Disney-fied, romcom-style happy ending where all problems vanish and you live blissfully ever after.

But that’s not real. It’s a seductive lie, a dangerous fiction, a marketing ploy that leads real people to believe their relationships are inadequate.

I don’t want always-easy, because always-easy does not exist when it comes to meaningful relationships. What I want is someone who sees me completely. Someone who sees everything – the good, the bad, the ugly, the broken – and loves me anyway.

And, yeah, someone who can call me on my bullshit.

I don’t believe that anyone can know us better than we know ourselves. That is a fallacy. No-one else will ever be in your head or your body and you are always the ultimate and final expert on you. But I do believe that another person can see the bits of us that we’re not seeing, or choosing not to see, or trying to choose not to see.

Of course, it requires trust and vulnerability to let someone in that far. I’m not very good at either trusting people or being truly vulnerable. It takes me a long time to get there and the rest of the time, there’s a protective layer around me. Sometimes it’s a steel wall a foot thick, sometimes it’s barely perceptible and almost permeable.

A soulmate, in that fiction, would be someone who immediately fixed all those issues with their True Love. That doesn’t exist. What I want is someone who takes the time to see everything that is behind that wall, makes the effort to understand it, and wants to stay even then. Someone who does not expect pretense or perfection, but who embraces all that I am and – and this bit is important – all that I will be.

The “soulmates” ideal implies something static, something immovable and permanent. Real love isn’t necessarily like that. Our souls – our selves – are not static. Instead, I want a person who commits to growing alongside me. Someone who is all in, for the messy as well as the tidy, for the worse as well as for the better. And honestly? Someone who will walk away if it is truly no longer working, rather than someone who is so attached to an ideal that they stay to the detriment of both of us.

So no, I don’t want a soulmate. I want people who will do the work, make the effort, and show up again and again when it’s hard as well as when it’s easy.

It might not be quite so picture-perfect, but at least it’s real.

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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! Oh, and if you enjoy my work, please consider buying me a coffee.