[Guest Post] Why Talking to Strangers Online Makes Me Feel Better About My Chronic Illnesses by Layla Jax

I strive to run Coffee & Kink as an intersectional space that considers all the different ways sexuality relates to the various other facets of our unique identities. That’s why I’m delighted to be publishing this piece on chronic illnesses and dating by Layla Jax (she/her). Disabled people are so often desexualised by society but, as Layla says, sexuality is for everyone who wants to engage with it.

As always, you can help support me in bringing in more brilliant guest bloggers by chipping in via the tip jar. More voices really do make this space better, and paying all my writers a small fee is incredibly important to me.

Amy x

Why Talking to Strangers Online Makes Me Feel Better About My Chronic Illnesses by Layla Jax

Chronic illnesses have been part of my life for the last eight years – longer, even. They have consumed every aspect of my being from my ability to work, to my social life and interactions with the world. More than that though, they have affected my dating and sex life. 

Living with chronic illness, you are constantly subjected to people who don’t quite “get” you. You may look healthy or “normal”, and therefore they assume your illnesses cannot be as bad as you’re making out. People struggle to sympathise with a body full of symptoms and no end in sight. Meeting a person in a dating capacity is no different because, unconsciously or not, people judge and feel uncomfortable at the prospect of dating a person who is not fighting fit. 

Moving to online dating, I thought I had found the answer. I could talk to people without them noticing any of my symptoms or see the worn out version of me behind a screen. Yet quite quickly this started to fall short, too, because eventually it had to come out. People wanted to know why I didn’t work or why I was still living at home and therefore my chronically ill self was revealed, and a lot of the time they would disappear without a second glance. For those who did stick around, the change in the tone of conversation would start, and the patronising would begin. 

Time and time again the devastation of being rejected would hit me and I was sick of being stuck back at square one. But more than that, the disappearance of the excitement I felt at being desired cut deeper than the idea of someone not wanting to take me out for dinner. It was then that it hit me: it wasn’t just that I wanted to date. I wanted someone to rip my clothes off, to throw me across the bed; I wanted to have sex. 

Swinging websites were first introduced to me through my kink-loving ex. Although at the time I wasn’t too interested, it has always stayed in my mind. Signing up to the website for the first time on my own, simple messaging was all that was on my agenda. I was nervous at first, embarrassed even, weighed down with the previous setbacks I had faced of people ghosting me and finding me unappealing due to the reality of my life. Even so, I was horny and I wanted to get the buzz I used to get before becoming ill, that feeling of being wanted.  So, I created a basic profile, added a pretty PG snap, and watched the likes and messages flood in. 

Message after message, with no judgement, filled my screen and suddenly I had all these people wanting to talk to me. People who knew nothing of my life and the limitations I had, who didn’t know me or my chronic illness journey, who weren’t interested about my lack of job or my living arrangements. They didn’t speak to me like a patient who didn’t know my own mind or a child who was still finding their way in the world. They spoke to me like the 30-something grown-ass woman I was, the one that had been hidden for so long. 

A 30-something grown-ass woman who has sexual fantasies and desires, who loves masturbation and being dominated as well as partaking in serious filthy talk, yet has never had the freedom to explore these things due to the bias found in the normal dating world. Suddenly I could talk about my body and what it needed, I could take part in – albeit virtual – simultaneous wanking and I could sext long into the wee hours of the morning. For once, I could feel like the sexual woman that I am, and not the woman I am perceived to be. 

Talking to strangers about sex online has helped me for so many reasons. It has installed confidence in me to know that there are people out in the world who can see past all the other bullshit known as life. On a sexual level, it has helped me find what my kink is through getting to know my own body and what turns me on, and I can now use my body as a vessel for pleasure and not just anguish.  Online I can be anyone I want to be. I can be the me who can escape and leave my troubles behind or the me I strive to be away from the pain and the fatigue – the real me. It has shown me there are so many reasons to love the skin I am in and the body I call home. It has awoken something in me no judgemental guy looking for their perfect person on a traditional dating site could ever do. 

Collectively, we should all understand that being chronically ill and/or disabled doesn’t take away our sexual instincts or desires. Sexuality isn’t just reserved for the healthy or abled-bodied. Take away the physical limitations and my time online is no different to anybody else getting their horny kicks. My mind works in the same way as a lot of people my age, as does the wetness between my legs. Where sex is involved we are all on an equal playing field, and I for one have no intention of forgetting that ever again. 

About the author:

Layla Jax is a chronic illness blogger and writer. Her passion is for writing erotica, exploring her new found fantasies, and educating people that disabled people can love sex too.

[Guest Post] Being a Submissive with ADHD by Redridingbrat

While I don’t have an actual diagnosis of ADHD, I’ve long felt that it’s something I very likely have at least to some degree. Whenever I see any ADHD content, from medical information to memes, I find myself going “yep, it me”. So I wasn’t altogether surprised when I also found this piece from my friend Redridingbrat (she/her) deeply relatable.

I feel very strongly that kink is for all consenting adults who want to engage in it. Many of the images we see online and in the media are reductive, exclusionary, and harmful. That’s why it’s so important to me to represent a diversity of experiences on this blog. To that end, I’m thrilled to bring you this piece from RRB on ADHD and submission.

As always, you can help me to pay more lovely guest writers by chipping in via the tip jar.

Amy x

Being a Submissive with ADHD by Redridingbrat

What comes to mind when you think of the perfect submissive?

Perhaps it is someone who is entirely focused on their Dominant, able to follow the rules and pre-emptively do whatever their Dominant might desire.

How does this change when you have ADHD?

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a medical condition that affects the way a person thinks and acts. This often presents as someone being inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive – three things that can often clash with the pop culture view of submission. As a submissive with ADHD, I have had to work with my Dominant to make sure that my submission isn’t adversely affected by my ADHD.

One of the ways inattention in ADHD can affect a D/s dynamic is forgetfulness. Forgetting rules, forgetting tasks, forgetting where things have been placed… not something that is in the picture-perfect view of a “sub”! Thankfully, this is something this can be easily accommodated. Having the rules written up and displayed somewhere is a straightforward way of not relying on the memory. Having things placed in see through or open containers lets you quickly see where they are. A long-term solution is to have your Dominant help you create habits, so you do not need to remember a thing.

Another annoying symptom of ADHD is being prone to distraction. Sitting in a corner with no stimulation is my personal idea of hell. It isn’t just me who can suffer as a result of this, though; losing interest in an activity halfway through a scene can very quickly make a Dominant feel like they failed at a scene, and make the submissive then feel guilty for not being able to concentrate. This does not have an easy fix but there are things that help. Doing shorter activities can do wonders, as this gives less chances for the brain to wander off. Sensory deprivation can also help as it can force the submissive to focus on their other senses. The biggest things that can help are open communication and being self-aware. By letting your Dominant know when you are having a bad day focusing, you can reassure each other that neither is at fault when focus issues arise.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, another symptom of ADHD is hyperfocus; getting so consumed by a task that everything else is ignored. When a task is interrupted by something else, it can be extremely hard to bring yourself out of the task and into the new thing, regardless of how urgent it may be. In extreme cases, this can lead to ignoring the need to drink or use the toilet for hours on end. One thing my Dominant has found to help with this is simply asking “when will this be done?”, helping me to verbalise what done looks like as well as giving me a subconscious queue to start bringing myself out of the task. Having a set routine and structure also helps with this as it ensures that my body becomes accustomed to performing certain activities at certain time, with an external check (my Dominant) making sure it is adhered to.

Another symptom of ADHD that is often overlooked is internal motivation. I can often sit in “standby mode”, endlessly scrolling social media whilst given tasks go unfulfilled. Part of this is that a larger task can be overwhelming if not broken down into smaller steps, making it physically uncomfortable to get started. Something that can really help prevent situations like this is breaking a large task down into multiple smaller parts, while also being clear about what signifies completion of each part. For example, “make yourself presentable for me” can be broken down into: “Go shower, style your hair into a high ponytail, put on a full face of makeup with red lipstick, and wear the red underwear. I want these tasks to be complete by 5pm”. Rewards-based dynamics are also excellent for those who require the internal motivation to be turned external. Extra orgasms for doing a large task? Yes please!

Whilst I have spoken at length about the challenges of having ADHD, it does come with a number of positives too. Those of us with ADHD often excel when in “crisis mode”, meaning we can be very good if something goes wrong in a scene. ADHD folks are also creative in our problem solving, making us the perfect people to do puzzle-based tasks or mend broken toys. And ADHD people can also be more adventurous, making us the perfect partner for trying new activities in the bedroom.

ADHD can make submission hard. It breaks many of the pre-conceived notions of what a “good submissive” looks like. Someone who is forgetful, distractable, and hard to self-motivate is not the “ideal” that is written about in popular literature. However, there are things that can help overcome the barriers that may come up in a D/s dynamic. The main thing to remember is that D/s is not one size fits all. You can customise and change how your relationship looks. You are not a failure if it does not look like the glamorised novels. Anyone can be a submissive. All you need to do is identify as one and find someone who adores you and your style.

Redridingbrat is a switchy brat who loves nothing more than to engage her submissive side. Her main experiences involve rope, D/s and discussions surrounding disability within the kink community.

[Guest Post] Giving Thanks for Sex by Ness Cooper

It’s the season of giving thanks and being grateful! That’s also the theme of today’s guest post by sex and relationships consultant and writer, Ness Cooper (she/her). This one gave me lots to think about and I hope it will for you, too.

Amy x

Giving Thanks for Sex by Ness Cooper

In a sweaty mess, he rolled over and as he looked into my eyes and kissed me, he uttered two words that shocked me: “Thank you”.

Mentally mumbling in my head and set-back from the intimate headspace we were just in, I didn’t know how to respond. Part of me wanted to say that I don’t accept thanks for sex. It was the first time anyone had said thank you to me after sex, and I really didn’t know how to take it.

Part of me wanted to have a go at him for being silly because really, he shouldn’t have to say thanks for something we were both enjoying mutually. But upon reflection, I realised how rare it had been over my sexual and romantic life, that someone had ever thanked me for intimacy. And it made me realise how rare it was to be thanked for doing anything in my past relationships, from thoughtful plans to romantic tasks, and even gift-giving.

Had I just gotten used to bad relationships? The answer probably is yes, as those matches haven’t lasted, and obviously there were good reasons for them to end.

To make things even more interesting, I have been teaching couples to say thank you to each other for over 10 years, including after sex as part of aftercare. So I shouldn’t have been surprised that one day someone would actually say it to me, but I found myself in that very situation.

Saying thank you whilst sharing vulnerability can be hard to process as we’re both in a vulnerable state post-sex. It can feel natural to be on your guard when things happen that you’re not used to. But thanking someone post-romp generally isn’t an expression that has hidden intentions or anything to worry about, it’s someone being vulnerable with you and thanking you for being vulnerable with them.

Thinking about it more, I realised that I had always been led to believe certain things around sex were just expected, whilst a lot of the time teaching people that we shouldn’t expect sex a certain way. I think:

  1. I had always been taught that sex is something we should do but not talk about.
  2. That there’s a certain standard to sex and even when reached we don’t get praise for it – just like many other roles in society that are expected, sadly.
  3. That we sometimes feel we should be “British” and be ashamed of receiving things from others or sharing vulnerability in any form.
  4. If it’s good, you’re lucky, and you should be grateful.

These are the main factors I was led to believe from my upbringing and poor sex and relationship education. And even though I fight against these things regularly when teaching sex and relationship education, I hadn’t really been faced with them in my day-to-day life until I was thanked for sex.

Yet, we should be thanking each other for having a good time together. As long as that time is enjoyable and consensual, the context of the intimacy shouldn’t matter. If it was important to you, and the other person or people showed you things that had meaning to you then, then saying “thank you” to them could mean so much to them even if it’s a casual encounter.

I’ve seen people challenge thanking intimacy in the past as it can make it feel like a transaction. Even over the many years, I have engaged in sex work, being thanked by clients for services is rare. We’ve partly come to expect sex, no matter what format it is offered, free, paid, or a mutual exchange. And from that expectation of just thinking we have a right for it like many other things, we have forgotten to say thank you and apricate that vulnerability someone has to others or share with us.

It’s also worth noting that it’s not just paid services and gifts we should thank people for, but we should thank people more often for other ways in which they influence our lives positively. It may sound a bit like Charles Dickens here, but when did money have to exchange hands for us to be thankful for something?

I may have gotten used to people I dated acting a certain way, and when someone changed that dating script I had been so used to, it made me realise that I didn’t have to keep following the same routine. It can be really hard to change dating patterns, even when we want them to change, and this can also make it harder for us to accept those changes when they do happen. I now know from my own experience that accepting and being able to go-with-the-flow during these changes can take time. Making sure you make room for them in your life for the things you have wanted and needed deep down can make a big difference to your sexual wellbeing.

So I end this article of reflection by giving thanks to that person who taught me that yes, you really can say “thank you” when sex is involved.

Ness Cooper is a Sexologist who works as a Sex and Relationship Coach and writer at The Sex Consultant www.thesexconsultant.com. She also writes sex toy reviews at www.nymphomaniacness.com

[Guest Post] Adventures in Gentle Femdom by Katherine Pierce

Today’s guest post comes from Katherine Pierce (she/her), who is writing for C&K for the first time. I loved this heartfelt piece on her explorations into gentle femdom and praise kink, and what it means to her and her partner.

Amy x

Adventures in Gentle Femdom by Katherine Pierce

My partner and I have been together for six months, and recently we began exploring kink. He’d never experimented with kink before, and my previous experiences of it were quite negative: my last partner didn’t let me explore my own desires and treated me as a permanently submissive player in his fantasies, which he often wasn’t good at distinguishing from real life. I consider myself a switch, but wasn’t interested in the very aggressive style of dominance my ex enjoyed, and assumed I would never find a way to explore that dominant part of myself.

When my current partner and I first started going out, we were focused on understanding each other sexually. He hadn’t had a lot of past sexual experience, and each time we slept together we uncovered new things about both of us. Our first find was his praise kink and his love of cuddling and tenderness after sex.

Soon after, he began to show me that something he really enjoyed was following instructions and knowing he was pleasing me. He enjoyed not having to be in control. I, meanwhile, loved the fact that I was in a dominant position, but one completely different to what I had seen before. Giving him attention, affection and love after our sex was really fulfilling for me. I decided that this would be a great opportunity to start introducing kink into my sex life again.

We did a bit of research together, and discovered something that seemed to sum up what we already did and what we were interested in trying: gentle femdom.

What is gentle femdom?

Gentle femdom is a style of dominance where a woman is in charge, often but not always of a male partner. However, unlike more aggressive styles of dominance, it focuses on gentleness, tender words, soft aesthetics and lots of aftercare.

A gentle femdom is a nurturing and caring figure, one who supports her sub and gives them space to please her, follow instructions and be rewarded for their good behaviour. She might dress her sub up, give them baths or makeovers, penetrate them in different ways, or a whole host of other activities.

Gentle femdom also doesn’t tend to use pain or punishment as a significant part of its modes of play. Whilst a little spanking for sexual pleasure might be included, there is no hardcore pain infliction. Humiliating or demeaning dirty talk isn’t often used, either. Sexologist Carol Queen said that sometimes subs “feel that it is easier to feel loved and cared for in such a scene”. What kind of sex could work better for a dom interested in being gentle and a sub with a praise kink and longing for affection?

Trying it out

As soon as my partner and I heard about this, we thought it sounded perfect for us. We started small, doing our usual sex acts but with a slightly altered dynamic. I guided him verbally and physically through doing the things we were used to, gave him lots of praise and instructions, sometimes wore lingerie or fancy outfits for our sex together. When we had sex focused on gradually introducing kink, he called me mistress.

I liked having him listen to me, seeing his eagerness to follow instructions. Gradually we began to introduce new elements to our sex, with me guiding him all the way. We’re a very verbal couple, and instructions, dirty talk, and gentle commands are a great part of our sex life which help us both settle into the kinky roles we enjoy.

I placed him in more open and vulnerable sexual positions, and we tried rimming and fingering for the first time, which we both loved. We’ve also recently started trying butt plugs and have bought a strapon, although we’re working up to using it. The tenderness and slow pace of gentle femdom has helped so much with our explorations of kink. It’s also given us a brilliant opportunity to learn more about each other emotionally.

We’ve experimented with a bit of gender play too, and dressing my partner up in my lingerie brought a subversive element to gentle femdom, especially because it made him feel more submissive and pretty. I love that telling my partner he’s beautiful is now a specific, dedicated part of sex.

Aftercare is one of my favourite parts of gentle femdom, especially because it builds on intimacy my partner and I already enjoyed. He sometimes feels fragile or nervous after sex. Having a specific, dedicated time for taking care of him and making him feel safe has made our sex even hotter. Researching aftercare and thinking of new things to do together after sex – having bubble baths, snacking on chocolate – expands our intimacy and gives it a comforting framework.

Gentle femdom has given me an opportunity to explore a side of myself I’ve always wanted to know, as well as making sex a tender and emotionally open space. I’ve been able to learn more about my partner and take care of him in a way which brings us even closer together, and we’ve tried some really hot things along the way.

As always, you can support the blog by chipping in via the tip jar (tips help to pay a small fee to my lovely guest writers) or by buying through the affiliate links that appear in this post.

[Guest Post] My Sexless Pregnancy by K. Maira

One of the reasons I opened up Coffee & Kink to guest writers was to share experiences that I’ve never had or can’t/won’t ever have. From the trans experience as an erotic writer to fetishes I don’t share to aromantic identity and much more, my guest writers have generously shared their stories and made C&K a more vibrant and expansive place to discuss all the nuances of sexuality. Today’s guest writer is K. Maira, a pseudonymous writer who is sharing her experience of a sexless pregnancy and the solo sex life she cultivated.

As a lifelong childfree person, I’ll never experience the unique intersection of sexuality, pregnancy, and parenthood, so I am delighted to be sharing this fascinating and intimate piece with you all.

Amy x

My Sexless Pregnancy (Unless You Count with Myself!) by K. Maira

Sex during pregnancy is usually taken as a given. After all, if you’re pregnant you must have a partner, right? Well, not for me. While most people worry about sex hurting the baby in some way, I was thinking about all the orgasms I was missing out on. My baby’s father disappeared when I found out I was pregnant. But then again it was a one night stand, so I can’t say I was all that surprised. I was, however, very horny. And I wasn’t exactly on the dating scene with my ever-growing belly.

I had to give myself all my own orgasms and I’m so happy I did. It led me on a journey to sexual self discovery. I realized things about myself I would have never known otherwise. Only having yourself to make the magic happen for so long opens up a whole new perspective on sex. I’ll walk you through the journey of my masturbation-only pregnancy, trimester by trimester.

First Trimester

The first trimester is famously known for being three months of hell. The morning sickness and fatigue alone could put you on the ground. With no horndog of a partner breathing down my neck, I was able to completely relish in the woes of those first few months. I felt just fine looking like shit, my breath smelling of vomit and passing out before 5pm. No pressure to look and smell nice there.

On the rare occasion that urge did strike me, my fingers could just walk their way down my pants and enjoy. Nope, I wasn’t shaved, but my fingers didn’t care. I was able to fully enjoy my orgasm in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise. And I could do it on my time. There was no waiting for the guy to get out of work, or for him to drive over to my house. There were only orgasms on demand.

Second Trimester

Oh, the second trimester… it’s so much different than the first. It’s this one where the body feels an almost constant need for sex. I struggled with this for a while, craving what a man would give me that my toys could not. But never underestimate the power of porn. It’s the porn that got me through this trimester.

Being on a strictly porn diet taught me a lot about myself, and the sexual interests I didn’t know I had. I found myself watching a lot of lesbian porn and bi mmf porn. And oh, did it make me cum over and over again! I came harder than I had ever cum from watching those kinkier videos. I know these weren’t pregnancy cravings, because I still crave them and they still get me off.

Third Trimester

Sex in the third trimester gets a bit more complicated. I knew this – I had been pregnant before and had tons of sex during my past pregnancies. That big belly gets in the way, your feet are swollen and there’s constant pressure down there. While I used to solve this problem by opting for anal most of the time, again, it wasn’t an option for this pregnancy.

This is when I learned other ways of masturbatung could get me off. This is where the grinding came in. Grinding pillows, the arm of the couch, grinding whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I’d never done it before then, but I’m so glad I discovered it!

I’ve added it to my current masturbation routine even though my pregnancy ended over seven months ago. You read that correctly – I’m quickly approaching 18 months with no sex, unless you count with myself. And it doesn’t bother me, because those nine months of solely masturbating has taught me how to better enjoy my own body.

Go Ahead and Enjoy Yourself

Here’s my advice: if you find yourself in a sexless position, go ahead and enjoy yourself. Experiment with new things and try a variety of porn. What you find yourself liking may surprise you. It’s possible to have a sexually fulfilling relationship with yourself! Have some fun and when you do enter into a new sexual relationship, you just may start having better sex.

I was a very sexually active woman prior to this last pregnancy, and was already leaning towards the kinkier side of the spectrum. During the last 18 months I’ve moved even closer to it. When I do decide I want to start having sex again, I know my sex life will be better than it ever was, because I’ve discovered new things about my sexual interests and about my own body.

Thank you so much to K. for contributing this fantastic post! You can pitch your own story here or chip in a few £ to the tip jar, which I use to pay my guest writers.

[Guest Post] “Silly Rabbit, Toys are for Everyone!” by Velvet Divine

Velvet Divine (fae/faer) is back again with another fantastic guest post, this time about transition, sex toys, body image, and lots more good stuff. Don’t forget to follow faer on Twitter!

“Silly Rabbit, Toys are for Everyone!” by Velvet Divine

“Hey, I’m really flattered and hella down but it’s been a while since we talked and there’s been some new developments. I’ve been on HRT for a bit now and it’s started to affect my downstairs equipment so things don’t really work the same as before.”

“That’s fine, we can still have amazing BDSM sex without a dick or even any kind of penetration.”

“You’re absolutely right, I guess I’m just still getting used to the new situation and never really thought I’d be here, ya know?

– A snippet from a conversation I had recently with an old flame about being physically intimate again. 

I was born with a penis and although knowing I was trans femme and being out socially and professionally, for the most part, I was not able to begin the medical portion of my transition until around five months ago. I shan’t bore you with the minutia of the HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) process but want to focus on one aspect of my experience: the loss of libido and erectile dysfunction as a result of the low blood pressure from Spiro and the Estrogen.

It’s not a bad thing in any capacity, mind you, I was never particularly attached to my bio dildo, to begin with, but it’s different – for the entirety of my sexual history up until these past few months, it was largely the main event or performing a duet with various accoutrements. That’s not the case anymore.

Now, I find myself in the process of learning how to make sensuality, foreplay, and various accessories the headliners of the experience. This isn’t a problem in and of itself but I have noticed that it can get tricky trying to navigate expectations, both mine and others. I’m typically physically and sexually intimate with other femme-coded people and more often than not those people have vaginas and, in the case of my last few encounters, came from mostly if not exclusively being with cis men.

A few of these people I was intimate with prior to HRT and then during, which became an interesting exercise in shifting expectations and accommodating material realities. Those liaisons did not last but they were incredibly affirming and I could not have asked for more at the time. The ones that followed were less affirming and a bit more awkward. There was disappointment that my equipment did not perform to expectation and trepidation about trying toys for the first time. They weren’t bad experiences but they were not repeated.

Orgasms are different too, they’re not quite as jolting as they used to be and I no longer feel the mounting pressure to like climax like I did prior. They’re rad enough but they’re no longer the ritz. I could take them or leave them. And I leave them more often than not nowadays since penetration used to be my main vector for climax.

I’m sure you’re about to say, “Velvet, that’s a barrel of bananas if not a whole jungle. There are so many other forms of stimulation you could receive or do for yourself”. And you’d be correct, dear reader – but here’s the kicker:

I do not want other people touching me any more than they have to. Or more accurately, by the time the trust and foundation needed for me to feel safe being touched intimately, my Fraysexuality has usually kicked in and the liaison plateaus platonically. (Fraysexuality being on the ace spectrum and characterized by a loss of sexual attraction as a platonic relationship is established and cemented. Think of it as the opposite of Demisexuality.)

Despite the complexity and frustration of the present situation, I’m making a concerted effort to approach it as an opportunity to heal and better conceptualize the relationships I have with intimacy, both the one I provide myself and the one I get from others.

I do not like my body, never have, but for the first time, I don’t actively loath it. Sure, there’s hair in all the wrong places, I feel like I’m built like a titan from the eponymous anime, and I still cringe if I catch the wrong angle in the mirror. But I’m growing boobs. That hair is growing back slower and it’s more manageable. The hair on my head (the one I actually like) is the longest it’s ever been and when it cooperates – my curls are fuckin’ hot.

(Note on the breast development: for the first twenty-four years of my life I was pretty unaware that I had nipples. Now I’m entirely too aware and they’re sore more often than not. But, boobs. So I’m pretty damn stoked.)

Inhabiting this mortal coil usually feels like being stuffed in an iron maiden two sizes too small and trying to provide myself with intimacy feels just as unwelcoming. Self massages, oils, and most spicy toys don’t quite hit the mark but hugging squishmallows, breaking out a weighted blanket, and even taking those extra five or ten minutes to pop a hoodie in the dryer for a warm treat on a cold night, have been baby steps that I can stomach.

Getting intimacy from other people, however, has proven more Icarian than Herculean. Not the least of which by virtue of the fact that being some flavor of aro/ace (Aroflux and Fraysexual in my case), at least for myself, makes it extremely difficult to discern the exact kind of attraction I feel for certain people and harder still to know the way I would prefer to express or receive that attraction.

In the event you may not be aware, there are different forms of attraction besides the classic romantic and sexual. Aesthetic revolves around enjoying a person’s appearance or style, without any desire for more. Sensual refers to wanting to touch and be touched by that person, in as far as hugs, holding hands, kissing, cuddling, etc. Alterous attraction means the lovely limbo north of the platonic but not quite romantic, you’ll often hear it in reference to queerplatonic situations.

Some people I find incredibly and even frighteningly attractive, but the buck stops there. I’m just happy they exist and I can respectfully look at the insta feed. Others are a little trickier. They might have beautiful hands that I’d like to hold and kiss, maybe I want them to hold me and play with my hair while I get lost in their eyes (no, you’re thinking of specific people right now, don’t project onto me), and some I’d be cool with having them ride my face for an evening.

And once or even if the mode of attraction or vector of affection is identified, how the fuck do you make that known. I mentioned in previous pieces here that approaching femme-coded people as a trans femme, especially still looking as masc as I do, can be pretty frightening but there’s even less of a script for bringing up niche topics outside of those niche communities.

Amatonormativity has set such a draconian binary between platonic and romantic affection that even among LGBTQIA+ people it can be difficult to ask for intimacy or establish connections outside of this script imposed upon us. Thus, we may end up in situations that often don’t serve us or that are downright uncomfortable because we don’t know other ways to fill those needs.

You might settle for a romantic relationship even if you’re not interested in romance because it might be the most convenient way for you to get a nesting partner, co-parent, or a source of emotional closeness when a queerplatonic situation might better serve you. For me, I engage in a lot of casual sexual intimacy not necessarily because I want sex but because it’s the most socially acceptable and convenient way for me to get the sensual intimacy I need.

And sure, I could ask. I won’t, but I could.

Besides the fact that I would rather be dead than vulnerable, there’s this tremendous fear that opening that Pandora’s Jar would irrevocably change those friendships. 

Would they understand that my sensual attraction isn’t sexual and a testament to how safe I feel with them or would they be uncomfortable around me moving forward?

Would they reciprocate or be at least comfortable with my alterous attraction to them or just consider me the latest in a line of friends that ruined the connection by burdening them with my confession?

People are complicated. Try, if you have the spoons and the patience, but toys are always an option too.

I pay all my guest writers and would like to increase the rate, hire more amazing writers, or both. If you want to see more new voices on C&K, head to the Tip Jar to show your support!

[Guest Post] Aftercare for D-Types: Mental, Emotional and Physical by Kelvin Sparks

I recently put out a call for guest bloggers to write about aftercare in BDSM from the Dominant’s perspective. I published the first post earlier this week. Today’s, by Kelvin Sparks (he/him), is the second. Kelvin has written for C&K once before.

Amy x

Aftercare for D-Types: Mental, Emotional and Physical by Kelvin Sparks

Aftercare—the activities and/or attention given to a partner after sexual, BDSM, or kink experiences—is something widely discussed within kink communities. However, a lot of the discussion of aftercare focuses on aftercare for submissives, bottoms, and masochists (who I’ll collectively called s-types). This seems intuitive at first—they’re the person being acted upon, after all—but it’s important not to dismiss the importance of aftercare for dominants, tops, and sadists (who I’ll collectively call D-types).

Why Do D-types Need Aftercare?

Just as with aftercare for s-types, aftercare for D-types incorporates three kinds of well-being; mental, physical, and emotional. 

Leading a scene can take a huge amount of mental energy. While the power exchange within D/s scenes is mutual, it’s tops within a scene who have the greater responsibility when it comes to managing risk. Being a D-type in a scene involves practiced and involved skillsets—such as using impact toys with accuracy, assessing a bottom’s emotions during a scene, and assessing risk and safety both pre and mid-scene—and the attention, careful observation, planning, and empathy involved in topping and/or domming can easily lead to mental fatigue after a scene is concluded.

Depending on what kinds of play partners are engaging in, topping can also be physically exhausting or taxing. It can be easy to think of the physical impact of BDSM scenes being only pain and/or injury, and that this is something limited to s-types, when in reality that’s not the case at all. For one, dominants can be bottoms, but it’s also worth noting some forms of play can be physically taxing on tops as well as bottoms. As an easy example, for people new to strap-ons, topping during play can be physically exhausting, as it uses muscles that they may not have used much before.

Finally, aftercare is important for emotional wellbeing. “Drop” is a well known phenomenon in kink circles, referring to the period after a emotional/endorphin high during a scene. Sometimes specifically called sub-drop or top-drop depending on who it’s used to refer to, it can happen immediately after a scene, hours later, or even days later, and is characterised by intense negative feelings.

In dominants or tops, the emotions of drop can be intensified or informed by the cultural conversation around dominance and sadism. Feeling a sense of guilt at one’s actions and desires—even after risk-aware and consensual sex—isn’t uncommon, and these feelings can be intensified for marginalised D-types. In my own experience, the guilt I sometimes feel after SM play is impacted by the cultural perception of trans people and masculine queer people as sexually predatory. As another example, some of my sadistic Domme friends have expressed that their feelings of guilt after a scene are sometimes mixed with a sense of shame for their deviance from a lot of the gendered expectations around dominance. 

What Does Aftercare for D-types Look Like?

Aftercare for D-types is as varied as it is for those on the other side of the slash. Different scenes can feel intense in different ways and to different extents to different people, and what people enjoy and/or need as part of their aftercare can vary from person to person. Depending on your wants and needs, aftercare for you may look like administering first aid, having a snack and a drink, praising your partner(s) for what they did during a scene, watching a film together, having some alone time, or creating a “buffer zone”—a period of time spent with your partner/s doing something unrelated to BDSM.

I’d also like to emphasise debriefing as a kind of aftercare in itself. Once both partners are grounded, talking over what went well (and not so well) in a scene doesn’t just help when playing in future, but can alleviate the guilt that contributes to top-drop. Hearing that their partner loved being hit and why, for example, can work wonders in alleviating the guilt somebody may feel around enjoying hitting their partner. 

Aftercare Compatibility

If both sides of the slash need aftercare, and it’s just as important for D-types as it is for s-types, how do you navigate situations where these needs are in conflict? This is why aftercare is just important to bring up in negotiation as what players are looking for in the contents of a scene. If a submissive prefers to have alone time following a scene, but the dominant person they want to play with needs cuddles and affirmations, then it’s best if these things are worked out in the discussion stage. 

In some cases, conflicting needs when it comes to aftercare can be solved by delegating aftercare to a third party person, or by players compromising some of their wants so all players have their needs met. In other cases, vastly different needs when it comes to aftercare means players aren’t compatible, even if they’re otherwise agreed on what they want from a scene. It may suck finding out you’re not compatible with somebody you want to play with, but it’s far better finding out before you attempt to play together than after.

Kelvin Sparks logo

About the Author

Kelvin Sparks (he/him) is a bisexual trans man who writes about sex on the internet. You can find him at KelvinSparks.com, or at @Kelvinsparks_ on both Twitter and Instagram.

[Guest Post] Aftercare for D-Types: The Care and Feeding of Your Sadist by Bethany Baker

I recently put out a call for guest posts on aftercare in BDSM from the Dominant’s perspective. I received a few great pitches and ended up commissioning two. Today’s piece from Bethany Baker (she/her) is the first. The second will follow later this week. This is Bethany’s first piece for C&K.

Amy x

Aftercare for D-Types: The Care and Feeding of Your Sadist by Bethany Baker

Aftercare is vital in BDSM. The focus of aftercare tips is usually on submissive types, who have experienced very intense sensations in the scene and who may experience sub drop even days later.

I’m here to talk about aftercare for the person who took the dominant role in the scene. This applies to Dominants, Tops, sadists, and so on (D-types for short) including those who identify as switches.

What is sadism, really?

Sadism is one of the Ss in BDSM. There’s a perspective on sadism that I’ve found very helpful to understanding dominant/sadistic types, which I discovered through Carolyn Elliott’s book Existential Kink and which she attributes to Tani Thole and Leslie Rogers of the Light/Dark Insitute: “Sadism isn’t necessarily the desire to inflict pain; it’s the desire to inflict sensation, to make oneself felt.”

This insight is what fully unlocked my sadistic kink. It helps to explain why kink without pain is still so, well, kinky! And when the submissive type enjoys pain, that makes it an extra fun sensation to inflict.

So, as someone who loves to inflict intense sensations of various types, what kind of aftercare is most helpful?

Tell me how it felt

I want to know that I have been felt. Did you love it? Love to hate it? Was it exquisite torture?

The dominant person in a scene is usually doing a lot of reading-between-the-lines. Submissive types are often either non-verbal (due to subspace, literally being gagged, etc) or are contrary or facetious on purpose (such as in the case of bratting). Pre-negotiation of the scene and safe words create guardrails, but the dominant person in the scene still has to steer between those.

So while aftercare for a submissive (especially after intense scenes such as humiliation play or hard impact play) involves explicit confirmation of “I am affectionate towards you, I regard you positively,” this type of explicit confirmation can be important for the D-type as well. Messages like “I love what you did to me” and “I want to do more of that” are affirming and restorative. (Always be honest. More on constructive feedback below!)

This doesn’t have to be immediate. It’s natural for it to take a day or two (or longer) for a submissive type to collect their thoughts, and in my experience, being genuine is more important than being prompt. What might that look like in practice? My partner recently said to me about a scene where he was submissive, “I love being the subject of your creativity.

Angels sang. My heart is soaring, just remembering him saying that. That is the sort of thing that goes into my mental bank of quotes to pull out on bad days. That kind of genuine feedback easily refills my bank of motivation to take the reins in the next scene. Speaking of that bank…

Dom debt and the energy bank

I’d like to put forward the idea of “Dom debt” as a counterpart to sub drop.
While submissive are generally experiencing a lot of intense sensations, Dominants are making a lot of intense decisions. We’re expending emotional energy, especially if we’re affectionate Dominants closely reading a submissive. When a dom spends more energy than they have, that incurs “Dom debt”.

My Dom debt tends to feel like overwhelm, exhaustion, withdrawal. It’s a “I just don’t have it in me today” kind of feeling. So, what to do about it?

Research shows that a small blood sugar boost (think: a light snack, a piece of chocolate) can replenish the brain’s decision-making capabilities in the short-term. Other effective strategies are adequate sleep, exercise, and relaxation (think: yoga, meditation, hot bath.)

Interestingly, if a D-type can be impulsive in a scene, this can actually help alleviate decision fatigue. So, the better the members of the scene know each others’ boundaries, the more impulsive the D-type can be, and the less decision fatigue they incur. This is another reason that feedback is crucial!

Check in on how to give feedback

Affirmation is important, and so is constructive feedback. As a submissive resurfaces from subspace, it may be intuitive to share feedback with a D-type as it comes to mind. This might work well for some people, but not for everyone.

One way to care for a D-type is to check in with them on when and how to give your feedback. At the end of an intense scene, the D-type may be feeling sensitive themselves, or may be emotionally tired and have a harder time remembering or processing feedback. If that’s the case, try jotting that feedback down and then sharing it as you’re planning for the next scene. 

Mutual aftercare

Additionally, the aftercare that is good for S-types is often great for D-types too! The cuddling, checking in, gestures of affection — these are verbal and nonverbal ways to affirm the mutual positive regard in the relationship.

Curious for an inside peek at a dominant headspace in action? Check out The Art of a Bad Day, an erotic short that I wrote for Pride Month 2021.

In conclusion: want to give a dominant type a little extra love? Tell them how they made you feel, buy them sweets, confirm how to best share feedback, and most importantly… behave! 😉

About the author

Bethany Baker avatar for guest post on aftercare for Doms

Bethany Baker (she/her) writes erotic romance that blends the familiar and the fantastical, the erotic and the emotional, the silly and the sexy, into one downright tasty concoction. You can read her novels and short stories for free on bakecookieswritesmut.com because she’s just a little slutty like that, and feel free to reach out on Twitter @BakeSmut.

[Guest Post] How CBD Lube Changed My Sex Life When My Body Forgot How to Orgasm by Hattie Gladwell

Today’s guest post comes from Hattie Gladwell (she/her,) a freelance journalist whose work I have been reading and enjoying for a while. This is her first piece for C&K.

I loved this story because struggles with orgasm are so, so common, especially for cis women and other people with vulvas. The limited cultural narratives around sex can make us feel that we should all be having the most amazing sex, all the time and without ever talking about it.

Those same narratives push the idea that if we’re with the right partner, sex and orgasm will be easy and effortless, and that any use of additional tools (such as toys or lube) indicate failure. But as we can see from Hattie’s story, those things can be game changers in the best possible way.

Enjoy!

Amy x

How CBD Lube Changed My Sex Life When My Body Forgot How to Orgasm

I was in a sexless relationship for almost six years. It was difficult not just physically, but mentally, too. I wanted an intimate relationship, but sadly he wasn’t interested. Of course, I thought it was me. That something was wrong with me. I changed how I looked constantly to see if maybe he’d start loving me again, but the relationship had been dead for years. 

When we first got together, I was able to orgasm easily and quickly. Multiple times. Having an orgasm had never been a concern to me. I’d always had a good sex life before the relationship, and during the first year. But everything changed, and I don’t know why. 

When we finally broke up and I walked away from the stale relationship, I met somebody new quickly. My family and friends warned me that it was too early, that I needed to heal. But I had already done my healing over the last six months of the relationship—because I knew it was coming to an end. 

It was incredible to have sex with someone new. I mean, it was incredible just to have sex again. But, I couldn’t orgasm. It made me feel bad because I didn’t want my new partner to think it was him. My body just forgot what an orgasm felt like, and I couldn’t do it anymore. 

When I tried to get there, it was even more impossible, because I was putting myself under too much pressure. It wasn’t until I decided to “re-discover myself” alone, learning what I liked and didn’t like, and what made me tick, that finally, I came to climax again. 

I decided to show my partner what I liked, and it worked—but it still took me up to an hour to get there, and sometimes I couldn’t at all. It was frustrating and I felt resentment towards my ex because I felt like I had no control over my body.

I could only come during mutual masturbation. Never during sex. Which is annoying, because I want to reach orgasm when my partner does. It feels more intimate. It makes me feel closer. 

That’s where the CBD lube comes in. 

There are lots of CBD lubes out there, even though not that many people know about them. Of course, most people have heard about CBD and the common belief that it helps with chronic pain. But it can also help with sensitivity of the vulva, as it is absorbed through the tissues.

I was sceptical, but decided to try Dani Pepper’s “O” orgasm enhancer.

It comes in a bottle that looks just like regular, non-CBD lube, and is transparent. It’s made using organic and natural ingredients, and is water-based, meaning it’s okay to use with latex. 

I sat down with my partner and talked about using the lube, and he agreed. He was just as adamant about getting my orgasms back on track as I was. 

That night, we had sex. But before we did, we did what we usually do, and he tried to get me off. I decided to do it during mutual masturbation because I wanted my body to get used to the CBD lube in a way that I knew might just make me come. 

He put the lube on me, and within 15 minutes I started to feel more relaxed. I wasn’t worried about climaxing. I decided that it didn’t matter if I didn’t orgasm this time—I could always try again. 

But I did come. Quickly. Intensely. The most extraordinary orgasm I have ever had. 

It lasted for at least 10 seconds, and afterwards, my legs were shaking and I couldn’t speak through breathlessness. 

What I also loved is how calm I felt afterwards. I continued to feel this really relaxing sensation. Sex afterwards was amazing because, even though I can’t come through penetration still, it made us both feel accomplished. Knowing I’d “got there” meant there were no frustrated vibes after having sex—or masturbating for an hour. 

I always use the lube now; every time we have sex. It’s my go-to, and I of course have more than one bottle at a time so that I can keep myself stocked up. 

CBD lube, and specifically Dani Pepper’s orgasm enhancer, has been a game-changer for me. Not just because of the incredibly intense orgasms, but because it has brought me closer to my partner sexually. I feel like our sex life is way more intimate now, and I never feel like I’m missing out. And I won’t ever again.

About the Author

Hattie Gladwell is a journalist and editor from Sussex. She is passionate about raising awareness of mental health issues, and mainly writes about sex, relationships, parenting and mental illness.

Product recommendation is the writer’s own and is not an affiliate link.

[Guest Post] Erotic Fanfiction as Sexual Exploration by Kelvin Sparks

Today’s guest post comes from a new-to-C&K writer! I’ve followed Kelvin Sparks (he/him) on Twitter for some time and enjoyed many of his writings. I’m delighted to be publishing this essay on the history and appeal of sexually explicit fanfiction!

Amy x

Erotic Fanfiction as Sexual Exploration by Kelvin Sparks

When discussions of fanfiction reach the mainstream, one of the go-
to jabs is always to talk about erotic fanfiction as a punchline in itself.
Even when fanfiction has its defenders, they often try to distance ‘the
good stuff’ from explicit works within the genre. This is something I don’t
think is fair, not just because I think erotic work is unfairly maligned in
general, but because of the history of explicit fanfiction as a safe space
for people (particularly women and/or LGBTQ+ people) to explore sexual
ideas and fantasies.

A Short History of (Explicit) Fanfiction

Although people have been a) interested in building on existing
stories and characters and b) horny for pretty much the entirety of
human history, fanfiction as we know it currently is rooted in the sci-fi fan
culture of the 20th century.

While plenty of people talk about Star Trek as having the first fandom in the 60s, many of the activities associated with this early fandom activity were derivative of more general sci-fi fandom culture. For example, Star Trek fan magazines (or ‘fanzines’) weren’t something original or exclusive to the fandom, but were simply more specific versions of sci-fi fanzines, which printed amateur writing. The difference was that Star Trek fanzines, starting with 1967’s Spockanalia, contained and popularised derivative fanfiction rather than original work.

Star Trek was also influential on modern fandom in other ways. For
one, the term ‘slash’, used to refer to same gender (primarily male/male)
pairings within fanfiction, comes from ‘Kirk/Spock’. While not all explicit
fanfiction is slash fanfiction and not all slash fanfiction is explicit, the
reputation of K/S (as the pairing was also known) fans was often as
smut-peddlers. While it’s hard to know specific details about the early
history of smut fanfiction—first-hand sources are hard to come by—we
do know that by 1978, it was prevalent enough that the editors of Star
Trek
fanzine Fantasia discussed the “rift between the porn-haters and
the porn-lovers”.

Fanfiction—and specifically smutty fanfiction—became more visible
as internet use became more common. While internets had been used for fandom since pretty much their creation— bulletin boards and mailing
lists were promenant in the 80s—the creation of the world wide web and
more widespread internet usage in the 90s drove some of the most
prominent fandoms of the period, such as The X-Files and Xena.

For the most part, fanfiction was kept in private archives, although the creation of Fanfiction.net and LiveJournal in 1998 and 1999 respectfully changed this. Fanfiction.net banned NC-17 fanfiction in 2002, and while
Adultfanfiction.net initially filled the void, Archive of Our Own (created in
2007) has become one of the leading alternatives. While AO3 doesn’t
hold a monopoly on fandom— FanFiction.net is still under use, and other
sites like WattPad have thriving fanfiction communities—it is one of the
leading communities, especially when it comes to erotic fanfiction, which
is still banned on FanFiction.net and is less prevalent on WattPad due to
its younger demographic.

Why Do People Like Erotic Fanfiction?

The main reason that people enjoy erotic and explicit fanfiction is
pretty clear—people enjoy erotic media! The real question here is why
do people enjoy erotic fanfiction over other kinds of erotic work and art?

Written erotica in general provides a space that’s low risk while being
explicitly erotic. A fantasy or desire may feel unapproachable or anxiety
inducing in real life, but fiction allows us to play with these fantasies and
desires in a space that’s totally controllable. If you like the idea of
bondage, for example, reading erotica about bondage may feel easier
than actually attempting to act out these fantasies because a book can
be closed at any time.

Written erotica tends to have an easier time expressing emotional aspects of sex than visual erotica (which isn’t to say that either is better than the other, just that they are different mediums), and for people who experience a lot or most of their satisfaction from the emotional aspects of sex, written erotica can feel more satisfying.

Fanfiction erotica can heighten some of the characteristics that written erotica already has. Because fanfiction is derivative, the audience for it already has a familiarity with the characters involved, as well as some kind of emotional connection to them. I would also argue that the writing side of fanfiction has a heavy focus on emotional continuity. In order to write a character so that they’re recognisable as their canon self but distinct enough to fit into a new universe, a writer needs to have a good handle on their interiority, meaning that fanfiction often becomes a very character-focused and emotion-focused type of storytelling.

Both the derivative nature of fanfiction and the internal tropes of the
genre can make it feel even safer to explore erotic ideas than conventional erotic fiction. Fanfiction archives often display information about the content included in the piece of fiction. For example, with Archive Of Our Own, pieces of fanfiction are given clear warnings for content like character death or violence, and authors can choose to tag works with various bits of information about their content, such as (for example), ‘Threesome – F/M/M’, ‘Rimming’, or ‘Rope Bondage’. This kind of archive system not only lets readers know about what content they’re likely to see, but allows them to search for specific or particular themes or types of content.

The nature of romance or erotica centric fanfiction often means that readers know that their preferred pairing (or more than pairing) will end up together, but the appeal of reading fanfiction is to watch the journey unfold. This safety—as well as the community built into fanfiction as a genre—means that it can feel like a safe space to explore ideas, both as a reader and writer and not necessarily connected to erotic preferences and practices. Plenty of people I know within fandom discovered that they were queer and trans through fanfiction, sometimes discovering it was even a thing because of fic and sometimes having their first encounter with depictions of what it was like to be trans/queer in terms of internal emotion be fanfiction.

My Experience with Fanfiction

No blog post would be complete without some personal context or story! I’ve drifted in and out of fanfic circles over the years, sometimes having periods of time where I write a lot of fanfic all at once and at other times not writing it for months or years at a time.

During my teenage years, I was pretty active in fandom, and used it as a space to explore my sexuality. It wasn’t so much an exploration of queerness for me. I’d already come out as trans by the time I started
writing fic, and I didn’t discover I was bisexual because of fandom. But
fandom and fanfic did allow me to explore my sexuality in other ways.

While I was already devouring romance novels prior to discovering
fanfiction, fanfic gave me access to stories and fantasies about
people outside of the cisgender, heterosexual, vanilla relationships that
I found in my my local library’s romance section. I was able to read not only
about transmasculine characters written by other transmasculine
people, but about polyamory, about BDSM, and about fantasies I would
never have come across in other circumstances.

At the same time, the fact these ideas were explored through characters I already knew and cared about made it feel far more approachable than original work with the same themes would have. It also gave me a built in audience when it came to writing my own erotic fiction, exploring what kinds of kinks, scenarios, and emotions I found compelling.

Kelvin Sparks logo for guest post about erotic fanfiction

About the Author

Kelvin Sparks (he/him) is a bisexual trans man who writes about sex on the internet. You can find him at KelvinSparks.com, or at @Kelvinsparks_ on both Twitter and Instagram.