[Guest Post] How I Found My Femininity Through Inflation by Astra Ebonwing

I commissioned this piece way back in November, and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you as the first guest post of 2021. When Astra (she/her) pitched me this idea, I was immediately excited because it represented an opportunity to learn about a kink with which I’m almost entirely unfamiliar.

But this piece is much more than just a story about an unusual kink. It’s also a powerfully personal tale of transition, growing into an identity, and falling in love with femininity.

This is quite a long one, but so fascinating. I invite you to grab a mug of something and savour it.

As always, if you want to help me keep bringing awesome guest bloggers to you, supporting via the tip jar is the best way to do that!

Amy x

How I Found My Femininity Through Inflation by Astra Ebonwing

Transition is a Frightening Experience

I remember the day I got my first prescription for estrogen and spironolactone, the two main drugs used to transition from male to female. My doctor was in a flurry, writing medical notes that were complete bullshit.

“Your heart rate is too high and you need spironolactone to calm it. And then, an application of estrogen will ensure it does not drop too low,” she said to me as she was writing. “Yes, I’m making all of this up so your insurance doesn’t reject the request.”

When I told her my insurance actually did cover the drugs, she was flabbergasted. Very few types of insurance cover transition willingly. In 2007, there were even less options than there are today. She corrected the notes, still worried, but one hour later I walked out of the pharmacy with pills in hand. I was triumphant, but I knew I was about to follow a path of hardship. I’d have to be in public in women’s clothing. I had to master makeup, something I still struggled with at the time. I also had to walk through “the in-between,” that period of time where you look like a weird blob that doesn’t quite match to male or female clothes. The time when you wonder, “Do I look good enough to sit in the women’s bathroom and not scare the hell out of someone?”

I drove home with all of these thoughts in my head, took my first dose, and then grabbed the balloons out from under my bed. I stuck them in my bra, shoved my pillow under my clothing to puff up my stomach, and I snuggled up on my couch and turned on the TV.

In a flash, I went from a thin man to a maternal, very pregnant woman. I cherished my stomach, oversized breasts, and hips. I no longer felt frightened or scared. Every concern in my mind stopped.

This was me. This was who I was.

I closed my eyes and cried. I knew I had found the Goddess within myself. I used to fear my balloons and out-of-proportion self as much as I loved them. I felt like an outsider who had this weird passion of being in a very specific body that I didn’t think others would understand. I was scared someone would find out and that it would ruin my professional career.

But in that moment, I finally accepted myself. The look no longer felt like I was doing something dirty. I realized during that quiet time in my apartment that I was actually about to experience my own kink.

Parts of me were actually about to inflate – and inflate they did.

What IS Inflation Kink?

Look, I get that we’re not the largest or most well-known group of kinksters, so I thought I’d better include a section of explanation so everyone is on the same page with what this kink is and what it is not. We have, unfortunately, a lot of unique terms.

Inflation kink, otherwise known as expansion, is a sexual desire focused on the concept of “inflating” or growing parts of your body in some way. Expansion is an umbrella term for our kink, as it splits down into specific “shapes” of change in the body. “Full Body” is when a character becomes completely round like a balloon, “Hyper Hourglass” is an expansion of just the hips and breasts, “Hyper Preg” focuses on breasts and belly, “SSBBW” is short for “super-sized big beautiful woman” and you can easily guess what that is, “Weight Gain” focuses on literal weight gain, and finally, “Inflatables” are folks who want to be changed into big pool toys that are also, of course, inflated with air or a gas.

The growth always has a macguffin that works as a trigger for the scene. It could be as simple as a potion, a curse, or a piece of candy, or as complicated as a special machine or magical statue. At this point we introduce the medium, or the way the character is being changed. We can either grow naturally, where our bodies are just generating fat deposits like any normal growth, or be “inflated” (there’s the origin of the name) with gas, liquid, slime, etc. Different folks have different preferences for mediums. One may love the concept of a character floating in the air from taking too much helium, while another may enjoy the weight of water.

Scenes can be solo, where a participant chooses to change their own body, or between an inflator/inflatee, where one person causes the change and the other accepts it. This is the part that most kinky people will begin to understand: the power dynamics between inflator and inflatee. Inflator usually takes on the role of the Dominant, while the inflatee is usually the submissive. It doesn’t always work like that, of course, but that’s the most common dynamic.

Instead of restraints, like ropes or bondage equipment, we are our own restraint. By changing our bodies, we usually don’t move so well. Characters might get stuck in doors, rip out of clothing, squish into rooms that are simply too small, or the addition of gas or liquid in our limbs might keep us from bending. Of course, bondage can easily be added to our kink, so people are stuck not just due to the inflation, but also restrained by rope, cuffs, or other bondage equipment. While we can deal with pain in the kink, it’s usually overlooked and replaced by intense pleasure through change. Instead, many of us focus on internal pressure. 

Everyone has a limit to how much they can be filled, and the character will feel that pressure rising and rising. The symbolism here is obvious: it’s a visual and internal orgasm. The timing of the final rush is usually centered on where the character finds their limit. Here we have two branching choices: stay safe in which the character orgasms and stops their growth, or pop where the character orgasms and “explodes” simultaneously. Many inflationist characters simply reform in some way, back down to their original size, and are ready to ride again.

Many of our pieces feature otherworldly elements, from fantasy to sci-fi. Very rarely are we grounded in reality: Our kink simply can’t function without the suspension of disbelief.

Practicing our kink in real life is done through various pieces of prop work, which we call rigs. Injecting fluid or gas into your body via any means is extremely dangerous, and therefore many of us stay away from that. Instead, the rig is created with multiple pieces of clothing layered together with a balloon or inflatable underneath. Some folks have the money to go further, using transgender silicone skin tops or bottoms so it looks like a person is actually inflating and can be nude. Otherwise, we’re clothed or use props that match skin tone.

Inflation is Based in Nature and Instinct

There are a lot of transgender inflationists. And I mean a LOT. In helping run SizeCon, the only adult convention dedicated to our niche kink, I was surrounded by more transgender women than I ever had been in my life.

Yet is any of that surprising? Our kink is based in change and transition. Inflation can be about the end state, sure, but so many of our stories and thoughts focus on the process. The tightness of the clothing as it strains around the person, seams popping, characters falling on their rears due to their inflation – all of that is visual change.

We, as transgender people, change. This kink is in many way a reflection of what many of us experience in our lives. And you may have noticed a lot of my recollections focus on feminine physical assets over male-coded assets. This is what I believe the core of my kink comes from. It is, in many ways, the celebration of femininity or maternity. Our puberty and our hormones change our bodies, grow our breasts, add that soft layer of fat to cushion us for a future of maybe producing a child.

It was wild for me to watch my chest grow, feel my skin get softer, and squeeze my growing rear into my skinny jeans. It was everything I had practiced in my kink for years and years, and it was legitimately happening to me.

Inflation kinksters love all shapes and sizes. Your body, no matter the form it takes, is beautiful. I remember that feeling of societal pressure to be that “perfect woman,” as so many transgender women feel, but I was able to apply my kink to dilute that poison. I was happy with how I looked, be it a large pregnant woman or a small, pencil-ish nerd. I had the power to tell society to screw off because that was not what I wanted. This supermodel image was, and still is, not my desire.

For Love, Cuddles, and Science

When I returned to the inflation kink in the hellish year of 2020, the community had changed. Originally, when I admitted to other artists and writers that I was transgender, traffic to my stuff super slowed down. Back in the early 2000s, our kink was like 90-95% male. Upon returning to our community last year, the split had severely changed. We are now closer to 60% male and 40% female, and we are immersed between the LGBTQIA+ and Furry communities. We went from “I don’t understand a transgender experience” to “Psh, welcome to the club.”

Body positivity had flourished while I was gone. It made perfect sense for us. We’re bouncy, a little hyperactive, and ready to squish into someone. Size only mattered if the word was “bigger.” We also finally united with the Giant and Tiny (think Lilliputian) kinks, forming the new “size community.”

The people whom I have met and worked with this year have astounded me. Their artistry and understanding of proportion and perspective is deep. One of my artist friends told me, “You can’t do inflation unless you understand our basic proportions.” He’s right. You need to know the basics before you can take them to extremes.

My friends are doctors, lawyers, retail workers, white-collar professionals like myself, cooks, game designers, research scientists, psychologists… So many of us just spout amazing knowledge of our basic biology. The community even has a scientific inside joke: the infamous Square Cube Law. The larger your volume, the more difficult you are to cool. Elephants actually have this problem: they are so large that their internal temperature can dangerously rise. This is why they blow water out of their trunks onto their bodies frequently, or roll in dirt. So, if you applied that to a giantess or an inflationist… well it can’t work. We damn this scientific law with laughter. Our community loves our knowledge of ourselves.

The personas we emulate are at the core of who we are. Care-free, loving individuals who love to squish or be squish hugged by our friends. Our characters hold devious smiles and throw their worries and cares to the wind. We love to change.

I know I loved my change. My emotions emerged, my depression subsided, and I am stuffed full of creativity. I joke that I’m “pregnant with ideas, I just gotta figure out birth.” Even that is an embrace of my internal feminine self. I never would have said that years ago. I would have been scared out of my mind to even admit that I felt like I was female.

Inflation showed me that I can love myself and be proud of my body. I don’t have to feel like I’m doing something wrong or bad, like I was trained to feel. My wife noticed it, actually. She always tells me, “You stand up straighter when you look bigger than 9 months. Your stance shifts. You’re confident.” She’s right. I finally do feel confident.

Throughout all of this, one thing stayed the same: our passion for feminine curves. I specifically never mentioned that back in 2006, when our community was male-dominated, a lot of the artists weren’t frightened of things like male pregnancy, or a man inflating and gaining feminine-coded traits like prominent breasts or soft skin. They were ready back then, just as they are now, to embrace that femininity within all of us.

We just have to be willing to listen to it.

About the Author

Astra Ebonwing is a professional writer, game designer, and video game producer. Her fiction work has been published in major video games such as Batman: Arkham City, F.E.A.R. Online, EVE Online, and others. She is honored to have contributed to iconic characters such as Wonder Woman and Superman. In the kink space, she is an inflation model and writer, with a new kink-based tabletop RPG debuting in 2021 called Wicked Wonders. When not inflating or playing a game, she can be found hugging cats, performing her duties as a Wiccan priestess, or joining live action role playing games throughout the United States. Follow her on Twitter and DeviantArt.

[Guest Post] 5 Questions to Ask Before You Open Your Marriage by Minda Lane

I’m thrilled to have another new-to-C&K writer for you today! Minda Lane (she/her) is telling us about what she learned when she first explored consensual non monogamy, and 5 questions you should consider asking yourself before you open your marriage. I found Minda’s story profoundly relatable. I hope it resonates with you, too – whether you’re polyam, monogamous, or somewhere in the middle.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Open Your Marriage by Minda Lane

The prospect of opening a monogamous marriage is, for many people, titillating. If you’re like I was, the potential is so thrilling you might not be thinking with your—ahem—brain. 

Before my husband, Jack, and I opened up, I thought about it privately for months. Marriage and family life had begun to feel too predictable. I started to feel desperate for a break from the routine, from the known. I wanted to feel young and vibrant like I once had, before I started storing Kleenexes in my shirtsleeves and worrying about things like health savings accounts and whether my kid was having too much screen time. 

When I brought up opening our marriage, the conversation went better than I hoped. We quickly ordered every related book we could find: Dating in Captivity by Esther Perel, The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton, and various others. But the information was too hypothetical. I needed to dip my toe in the pool before I could relate to what I was reading. 

We decided to go for it. Never mind wading in—sexting, playing with others nearby, or a soft swap (where no penetrative sex occurs.) Jack and I did a cannonball, dating independently, with condom use as our only hard and fast requirement. 

I’ll summarize our experience for you: it didn’t go well.    

To save you the trouble we went through, I’ve prepared a list of questions to consider before you try to open your marriage.

Do you still want to be with your partner?

Plenty of people have an affair because they lack the self-awareness, skill, or courage to tell their partner that they want out of the relationship. There are also plenty of people that seek to have an open relationship for the same reasons. 

You might think you’re sparing their feelings by avoiding the truth, or maybe you want to open your marriage to preserve your options because you’re not sure. Whatever your motives, it’s best to be forthcoming. Tell your partner how you’re feeling. Set them free. You’ll save time, spare yourselves a lot of drama, and maybe even preserve your friendship.

Are you and your partner mutually interested in opening?

It’s not uncommon for couples to disagree about opening up, or about the what’s “allowed” under their new agreements. Perhaps one partner wants to be able to have sex with other people but the other is only comfortable with light flirting or trading photos.

In this instance there are four potential outcomes, and two of them will be determined by the partner that wants more: they can either give up on their desire, or cheat. Or you can break up.

The only way forward together is to continue to talk and work at it. Reading and discussing the material or working with a therapist who is experienced with consensually nonmonogamous relationships are useful ways to ensure the conversation stays positive and productive. If there isn’t full agreement around the new arrangement, trying to open your marriage is going to cause a lot more problems than it can fix.

Have you done your own personal work? 

I had no idea until I started dating again that I had an insecure anxious attachment style, which I learned about in the book Attached, by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S. F. Heller, M.A. Insecure anxious attachment is characterized by preoccupation with a love interest, insecurity, need for reassurance, and sometimes consuming worry.

You can imagine the problems that ensue from this dynamic, which I repeated over and over until I finally figured it out. If I’d had this awareness earlier, not to mention processing early childhood trauma to a greater extent, I would have saved myself and Jack a lot of heartache. 

Do you and your partner communicate well?

I always thought Jack and I had great communication. I talked a lot and he listened. What I didn’t realize is that he had a more passive style. His cues were more subtle. Instead of telling me outright something hurt his feelings, he showed it in a facial expression, or by withdrawing.

The first time I hit it off with a lover, I didn’t want to acknowledge that I sensed Jack was struggling with it, because it would have meant slowing down, and I didn’t want to spoil my fun. He did his best to endure the hard feelings and give me space, but it was costly to us both. We couldn’t address the issues that remained unnamed.  

What I know now is: unless you are willing to tell the compassionate truth and give grace to your partner as they share their desires and experience, it will be very difficult to proceed with the kind of transparency needed to prevent issues from cropping up later. 

Practice saying the hard truths before you open your marriage for real (I want you to touch me this way, sometimes I fantasize about so and so, I am afraid that…) and make space for one another’s experience. Consensual nonmonogamy has great potential to nourish your primary or anchor relationship and learning to communicate with more empathy and clarity is one way it can do that. 

Are you in it for the long haul?

Relationships, like people, change over time. New lovers or partners will likely come and go, and when they do, it can cause ripples in the original partnership. But it would be a mistake to reorient your existing relationship for an affair that may fizzle inside of three months. I learned this the hard way—Jack and I had considerable struggles over a connection I shared with a lover. When that relationship ended I was left with a sinking feeling of “what for?”

Ideally, when the inevitable waves of New Relationship Energy, fear, and envy come, you can ride the waves together, knowing that difficult emotions can exist without requiring action. Jealousy, frustration, sadness, grief… consensual nonmonogamy is likely to trigger a host of feelings between you. In those times you have to lean into the love, tenderness, humor, passion, and friendship that drew you together in the first place. Honor one another, be true to yourself, and remember that lust is fickle, but love is enduring.

About the author

Minda Lane is a freelance writer based in Seattle who has recently completed a memoir relating her experience of nonmonogamy. Follow her on Instagram @monogamishbook or @mynameisminda.

If you enjoyed this piece, supporting the blog via the Tip Jar helps me keep bringing in awesome guest writers to share their wisdom with you all!

[Guest Blog] Gay Yearning: A Transatlantic Journey by Anaene Achinu

Today’s incredible guest post is by Anaene (she/her), a new contributor to Coffee & Kink. I’m so honoured to be sharing her brilliant and important story with you all.

Amy x

Gay Yearning: A Transatlantic Journey by Anaene Achinu

Queerness is expensive in Nigeria. 

If you can afford it, you wear it quietly. Your sexuality winds up as gossip fodder, playful but on the verge of vicious. A rumor that floats around in the air. And it will remain so, as long as you are not too loud about it. The more money you have, the louder you can be. Simple economics. Unfortunately, most people cannot afford this luxury good of self expression. They have their own class of options, but here are the three main ones; repression, activism, or visa. Perform heterosexuality, fight for your basic human rights to the point of near death, or fly away, far away, far, far, away. 

Your choice. 

My coming out is a complex yet simple affair. Western media has not addressed my own process, except maybe Hulu Original’s Shrill, where Fran, a queer Nigerian American, is out to her parents, but not fully accepted. Although pleasing to the sight, it is not my or many others reality. This is not their responsibility, because this is a nice start, but what can we say? I have friends who are out on the Internet, out to their friends, but not to their nuclear family. We certainly are not there yet. Some of us are too busy trying to survive the many isms that plague us; sexism, racism, tribalism. Oh, don’t forget poverty [ism]. Haha. 

But enough of the “woe is me.” Let me tell you the story of a woman who discovered the softness of women in three different continents. 

Our journey starts in Nigeria, in the heat of repression. High school was a breeding ground for the exploration of raging hormones and budding sexual identities, but my nose was mostly too buried in the Word of God to notice that perhaps my affinity towards certain girls at school was more than fondness, but crushes. Infatuation. It was easy to not dig deep, because I am unfortunately also attracted to men; the ensuing heartbreak took up most of my time. I had a tendency to magnify any slight attraction someone of the opposite sex would feel towards me. It was a combination of the usual glorified validation a teenager lends to “Mars”, and “fitting in”; wishfully believing that you are more conventional than your unidentifiable but present yearnings for something more yet familiar. 

This pattern followed me to England, where I slowly allowed myself to dream outside of hetero conventions, thanks to my very straight best friend, who accepted me for who I was before I even had a clue. She was the one that made me realize that perhaps I was not interested in marriage or child-breeding, but I was interested in a companionship similar to ours; soft, simple and beautiful. It took some time for me to realize I could have this outside the walls of friendship; slowly, my world expanded, and the yearning became more defined. A poignant example of this happened during a house party, where, from afar, I fell in love with a masculine woman. I followed her with my eyes all night, weirdly excited, until I discovered with pure disappointment that this was a mere cis man. 

What a shame. What a shame.

(Un)fortunately, I was unable to physically explore this side of me, but I made up for it in Nigeria. Not in numbers, but in quality. Though I never fell in love with these women, I fell in love with femininity. I was finally becoming, whatever that means. The softness, the generosity, the similarities and differences. The security, even in the dizzying madness of discovery. 

I entered the Nigerian workforce with few to no illusions. My colleagues could “manage” my UK-contracted atheism, but not my sexuality. I was not ready for the possible fetishization, ostracism, or even the gradual reduction of financial opportunity. It was not worth it. I carefully picked those I could disclose myself to, because it is very hard to keep your truth to yourself, especially in the honeymoon stage of it, when you are post-Eureka but it is not well worn yet. 

Thankfully, I found solace in the nightlife scene, where body grinding was non-discriminate. However, I did not have what it took to fully step up to a woman, to ask her to dance, to initiate anything. I once fell in love with a girl with golden braids. I danced with men throughout the night, but I could not get her out of my mind. I told her she was beautiful. She thanked me, hugged me. We exchanged social media. Then, I found out she had a boyfriend. 

Shrugs. 

Now here I am, in America, still coming out. I come out on dating apps, where I meet interesting women. I am still wary of work colleagues knowing my sexuality, but those I tell do not bat an eyelid. I am not deceived by the illusion though; the homophobia is still palpable. I was once subjected to listening to a horrible homophobic conversation between two people who clearly had nothing better to say on a train. It was so triggering. No one was a direct target in that exchange, thank goodness, but it was a stark reminder that rainbow colors on advertisements, magazine spreads, etc. do not mean full acceptance; it is still paraphernalia. Maybe one can feel more comfortable when it is normal, not “celebrated”. I mean, it should be celebrated. But maybe in a “this is normal” way, not a “we are still fighting for the right to breathe in front of our parents” way. 

That’s a conversation for another time. 

I have had moments where I wanted to come out fully, like Lena Waithe did on Master of None. But my mother is not Angela Bassett. My grandmother’s hearing, unlike hers, is very sharp and Catholic. And although this partial freedom can be uncomfortable, although I yearn for more, I am content with what I have.

Anaene Achinu is a New York based writer.

[Guest Blog] What Happens When You’re Both a Sex Worker and a Parent by Demeter Delune

One of the reasons I love publishing guest blogs is that it gives me a chance to share experiences that I can’t personally speak to. As someone who isn’t having children, I’ll never have first-hand experience of balancing sex positivity with parenting. That’s one reason I love this brilliant guest post by Demeter Delune (she/her) about her experiences of being both a sex worker and a parent.

Amy x

What Happens When You’re Both a Sex Worker and a Parent by Demeter Delune

When you think of sex work, what comes to mind for most people is escorting or full-service sex work. However, in today’s world, there are many iterations, including phone sex operator, online cam model, OnlyFans model, Professional Dominatrix (Pro-Domme), and more. Essentially, anything you can think of relating to sex, there’s likely a professional version of it available. But I doubt you think of parenting when you think of any of these things.

Society is notorious for separating women (and those read as women) and their work, regardless of what that job is. We’re expected to wear many hats all at once, but none as important as Mother. Oddly, once we become mothers, society at large believes that’s all we can do. So imagine the gall of a woman who decides not only will she be a mother, but also a sex worker.

There are struggles, just like with any other career, but for the most part, they’re not insurmountable.

What’s the Big Deal?

In most states and municipalities, trading sex for payment specifically is illegal. Even with legislation decriminalizing the use of certain drugs, sex work never seems to land in court in a positive manner. Sadly, even if it were decriminalized, the social stigma would likely remain.

When you’re a parent, you’ll find it makes things even more difficult. Not necessarily as far as actually parenting your children, but the ability to form social bonds with other parents. If you live in an area where sex work is illegal, it’s difficult to know who you can trust.

Even if the sex work you’re performing is legal, such as exotic dancing or stripping, there are still judgmental people who will deride you for your choice of career. People don’t seem capable of understanding that our jobs aren’t indicative of who we are in the rest of our lives.

Years ago, when I was a Professional Dominatrix, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by other sex workers, most of whom also had children. A small group of us became close and our children were able to play together without concern of being outed. Having this level of support when you’re a sex worker is vital to your mental health. But it isn’t always possible without living a lie.

When Your Life is a Lie

If you’re engaging in sex work and not part of a larger group of like-minded people, living a lie becomes the norm. Especially when you have children. The ever present feeling of danger, of what would happen if anyone were to find out what you do for a living, surrounding you is fierce. You’ll be concerned that if certain authorities find out your career, your children could be taken away from you.

Creating another job for yourself is often the only way around it. Other sex workers I know tell people they’re a life coach, a tutor, or a marketing professional. All these jobs can be done from home and are easily backed up with a website when people ask.

Can You Perform Sex Work and Be a Good Parent?

Is it possible to be a sex worker and also a good parent? Yes.

Just because a woman has a job in the sex industry doesn’t mean she’s a bad parent. Sex workers are business people who happen to sell sex or sexual services as a product. They’re adults selling sex to other consenting adults, and their job doesn’t make them bad people or morally suspect.

It can be argued that many sex workers make great mothers not in spite of the job, but because of it. This career provides schedule flexibility and much better hourly wages than many jobs, and the luxury of more quality time with their children. It can also allow people to escape abusive relationships by taking control of their own financial security.

For myself, being able to stay home with my toddler while earning a living is priceless. I don’t see clients in my home nor, of course, do I engage in any type of work-related behavior in my child’s presence. I’m married, so when my husband is home or when my child is out of the house for any reason, that’s when I work.

Sure, it’s difficult at times to create all the content I need for the week in such a short window of time, but I make it work. Just like anyone else who also works from home and cares for their child.

The Bottom Line

While certain types of sex work remains illegal in so many places, sadly this means we’ll have to continue to hide our true identities in order to fit in with societal expectations. We’ll be wrongfully judged if outed.

My hope is, one day, we’ll all be able to walk with our heads held high and proudly tell whomever asks, “Yes, I’m a sex worker. I provide well for my family, I’m an entrepreneur, and I’m a parent”, without fear of repercussion.

About the Author

Demeter Delune is a sex positive educator, trying to make the world a better place, one word at a time. She’s been a Professional Dominatrix for over 10 years, with a preference for Goddess worship and is also a Relationship/Sex Coach. She has bylines in a number of sex positive magazines. Check out her work on Medium and follow her everywhere.

Thanks again to Demeter for sharing her experiences. Please check out her other work and don’t forget that chipping in via the tip jar helps me keep hiring and paying guest bloggers.

[Guest Blog] “You’ll Never Pass as a Woman” by Velvet Divine

I’m absolutely delighted to be welcoming Velvet Divine (fae/faer) back to Coffee & Kink for the second time! You can check out Velvet’s last guest post for me and follow faer on Twitter!

This is your reminder that Coffee & Kink is and always has been a trans positive space. I’m cis and have a lot of learning to do, but I love my trans siblings and friends and am delighted to be able to uplift their voices on the blog!

Over to Velvet.

– Amy x

“You’ll Never Pass as a Woman” by Velvet Divine

“You’ll never pass as a woman.”

The last words my mother and I exchanged regarding my transition.

I came out to my mother and my aunt (and essentially the whole family, because no one in mine has a concept of “privileged information”) on New Year’s Eve, 2015 – subsequently ruining the holidays and turning the domicile into a Cold War simulation.

Some background:

I was raised in a Roman Catholic, Colombian household. Although our family subverted the usual patriarchal expectation with our generations of single mothers (and my situation specifically, being raised by my mom and my aunt,) we still retained a lot of heteronormative frameworks. My entire life I was told that I was a “man” and had outlined for me the behaviors that were expected of a “man”.

To be quite frank, I never internalized any of those messages and never identified with being a “man” or “masculine” in any capacity. They were just words and concepts tossed at me by virtue of the particular set of plumbing I was born with, but they never meant anything to me.

Fast-forward to much later. It wasn’t until I was exposed to actual LGTBQIA+ people and terminology that I learned that the issue was not my failure to live up to some nebulous, gendered expectation, but rather that those expectations were entirely immaterial to me. I began by exploring using “they/them” pronouns and more neutrally-coded terms for myself, distancing myself from my masculinity as much as I could. And it worked, for a time. (Note: this is by no means a censure or criticism of masculinity, simply my own experience with it and having it forced upon me).

After identifying as “anything but he/him”, for a few months, my thoughts shifted from “not a man”, to “maybe a woman”, to… yes. Absolutely a woman. Much like when I discovered I wasn’t heterosexual, my initial reaction was relief and joy – at the weight of doubt lifted and the prospect of being true to myself. However, that semblance of joy was, in both instances, quickly replaced by anxiety and frustration at the knowledge that I still lived in a heteronormative world and, whether it was randos on the street, the systems and powers that be, or religion, I would have to fight tooth-and-nail to simply be true to me.

For a year I kept my realisation secret from my family and workplaces, slowly coming out to close friends and my cousins (who are practically siblings,) as well as a few professors throughout the course of the year. Some folks gave me odd looks when they heard my name and pronouns, others had difficulty with the new pronouns, and others just dropped me. And while that hurt, no one had been abusive or malicious. I guess my mistake was expecting the threat to come from outside the gates rather than within.

The initial reaction when I came out to my immediate family was resigned silence. With the evening ruined, we all retired to our separate rooms. The next few days were fairly quiet and I mistook the silence to be one of processing instead of festering. What followed were six months of being dragged to various churches, an incompetent psychoanalyst (the type who claims that bi/pansexuality don’t exist and that people like me are just “promiscuous” or “greedy”), and debilitating dissociation. I wasn’t surprised by the pious or even the general assholes, but I felt beyond betrayed by the teachers and “philosophers”, who suddenly had nothing to say while my proverbial carcass was vivisected by the vultures of archaic values.

Throughout this process, my mother did her best to belittle and discount my identity – posing that I was a confused gay man, not trans, or that my sexuality was a phase.

I have to admit, there are few things in life that given me more pleasure than watching the color drain from her face as I explained to her that I was not confused and was quite clear on what and who I was attracted to, having tasted not only the rainbow but most, if not all, of the candy shop.

Mayhaps even more important than what I learned about myself throughout those six months, was what I learned about my family.

The sheer breadth and depth of their hypocrisy and cowardice.

Gossips and educators were conveniently silent, too cowed by tradition or my mother’s infamy to offer the slightest encouragement or reassurance. Alleged guardians who were far too married and enamored of the person they had in their heads, more than willing to sacrifice the flesh-and-bone individual to protect their fantasy. Child abusers, frauds, and narcissists are coddled, made excuses for, and prayed over but the queer kid wasn’t allowed the same clemency.

I wish I could tell you that we worked through it and had some appropriately cheesy Hallmark moment with accompanying music, but I won’t because we didn’t. I became the new Black Sheep, mostly because after what they put me through, I made it a point to fight fire with fire. If I had to endure LGBTQ+ bashing under the guise of religious expression, I quite happily delivered one of the appropriate biblical punishments for infidelity, violence, and fraud (to the point of telling an uncle that I’d bet money on their God being more fond of gays than cheaters) and eventually came out as an Atheist as well.

The best we have done is reach a point where the rest of them pretend it never happened. I assume they’re waiting for me to move out and be far away from them when I do begin the physical component of my transition – out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. They’ve learned better than to bring up homo-/transphobic nonsense in my presence. I am no longer invited to the vast majority of family gatherings and those that I do get invited to, I refuse.

If you want to help me to keep bringing important stories like this to the blog, please head over to the tip jar! Thanks again to Velvet for sharing this powerful story with us.

[Guest Blog] Kink: Not All Whips and Chains by Violet Grey

Ms. Grey is becoming a C&K regular at this point, and I couldn’t be happier about it. She always pitches me great ideas and writes fantastic, thought provoking pieces it’s a privilege to publish. Today, she’s here talking kink and why it’s not all whips and chains!

Amy x

Not All Whips and Chains by Violet Grey

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me!

This classic line from Rihanna’s hit song, S&M, encompasses a general flavour of sadomasochism. It’s a common perception that BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism) involve some form of pain or impact play. 

What comes to mind when you think of BDSM? Is it tying people up? Spanking? Paddles? Whips? Giving control to someone else, or being the one in control? 

All these kinks, and many more, are surprisingly common. But “kinky” esn’t mean the same to everyone – it depends on the person. In everyday life, as we’ve seen with books and films like Fifty Shades of Grey, BDSM is often misunderstood if not completely misrepresented. 

Two of the most common misconceptions are: 

  • BDSM, fundamentally, is abusive. 
  • As I heard one person say, “It’s just all hitting each other, isn’t it?”

Firstly, BDSM is not abusive as long as it’s done between consenting adults, limits and boundaries are respected, and they are playing safely and responsibly. While there are individuals who can and do use BDSM as a guise to abuse others, they are not representative of the majority of kinksters. Most of us just want to have good, safe fun. That being said, it is important to vet any potential partners properly and call out abuse when you see it in the community.

Secondly, no, BDSM is not “just hitting each other”. Any knowledgeable and safe sadomasochist will tell you that. If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this piece, it’s this: kink doesn’t have to be about pain. 

Kink without pain!?

This can be quite a shocking revelation to some folks, especially if all they’ve seen of BDSM is someone having a whip cracked against their arse. My first introductions to BDSM were through very two-dimensional Femdom scenes in crime dramas, usually involving heavy bondage and whips. Male submissives were often ridiculed, and sometimes BDSM as a whole was the butt of a joke. 

So when I was first exploring my kinks, it came as a surprise to learn that you can still be really kinky and not incorporate sadomasochism. I’ll be candid here: I’m no pain slut by any means. While I enjoy erotic spankings and rough sex as much as the next person, if you bring a tawse or thick cane near me, I’m running for the hills! 

So how can you navigate getting kinky without pain or impact play? It’s simple: the same as you usually do. Through negotiation and consent, safety protocols and risk assessment. You have your boundaries, and they can and should be respected. 

Painless kink? Let me count the ways!

So what kind of kinks can you have that aren’t necessarily about whips and chains and pain? Oh, so many! 

From someone whose kinks are mostly not pain-related, so to speak, let me list some of mine for you: 

  • Praise kink – A praise kink is where someone feels aroused or enjoys other positive feelings from being praised by a partner in a scene or during sex. A common example is “good girl/good boy”. Basically, if you call me a “good girl” I’m putty in your hands! 
  • Dominance and submission (D/s) – This dynamic forms the foundation for many BDSM and kink arrangements or fantasies. D/s play can incorporate pain and impact play if you want, but it doesn’t have to. Something as simple as doing the dishes or cuddling can be made kinky when you add a D/s twist. 
  • Blindfolds – Pretty self explanatory. Blindfolds can be made of soft material, like a scarf, satin mask, etc., or tougher materials like leather. My go-to blindfold is my silk sleep mask. 
  • Light bondage –  Light bondage can involve something as simple as a scarf, or you can use cuffs or basic Shibari (Japanese rope bonage) ties. As well as the super-hot element of restraining someone, many people find bondage relaxing. However, bondage – even light bondage – carries a risk factor. Always play safely and responsibly
  • Sensual domination – Sensual domination is my kinky happy place. I love it. This is domination that focuses on delighting the senses, rather than giving pain. It is domination that focuses solely on pleasure, and can involve implements like feathers, satin, bondage rope, massage oils, and candles to set the mood. It can even involve all of the above (which for me, it does!) Sensual domination can often be seen as a gateway for people experimenting or getting started in BDSM, but it’s a valid activity in itself that many experienced kinksters enjoy.

Though sometimes I crave the rough stuff, which I also adore, sensual or “soft” kink (as it’s sometimes called) is where I feel most in my element. 

 On that note… 

No shame in soft kink

Some of the more “hardcore” kinks are so-called due to carrying a great deal of risk. Needle and knife play, for instance, are by no means activities for beginners and require deal of studying, safety, and risk awareness to master. 

I’ve seen less “extreme” kinks, or those not involving pain, described as “diet kink.” Some even go as far as to kink-shame people for “not being kinky enough”. Obviously this is not ok.  It’s easy, when looking into BDSM, to internalise “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. I should like hard spankings and floggers, or I should be able to do 24/7 Total Power Exchange if I want to be “really kinky”.

But the truth is, if you’ve got a kink, even if it’s just one? Congratulations! You’re kinky!

No two people are exactly the same. It can be easy to internalise (guilty as charged) feeling like you have to fit into a kinky box – and, of course, feeling you have to be into pain. For all the reasons I’ve discussed here, you don’t have to be and if you’re not, that’s ok. Your kinks are entirely unique to you. 

So go forth, experiment, and have fun! And as always, play safely and responsibly!

Violet Grey describes herself as “your 20-something lady who loves to write. I write erotic fiction, along with real-life sex stories, thoughts on sexuality, kink, BDSM, and generally whatever else is on my mind.” Check out her blog and give her a follow on Twitter!

Oh, and if you enjoyed this post, tips and shopping with my affiliates help me to keep paying occasional guest bloggers.

[Guest Blog] I Wish I Could Masturbate Like a Man by Holly Hughes

Today’s guest post comes from Holly Hughes, a writer and intuitive healer based in North Carolina.

I wish I could masturbate like a cis man. I imagine it’s super freeing to be able to lean back and knock out an orgasm. If nothing else, it must be a huge stress reliever. 

I’ve never even considered sitting at my office desk and pleasuring myself. Is it even possible? I mean, the way I need things to be set up – curtains drawn, door closed, pets out of the room, and privacy – there’s no way I believe I could give myself pleasure while seated on a vegan leather office chair. 

I didn’t own a vibrator until I was thirty. Sad but true. There I was, naïve in all things vibrating, and determined to get over it. I asked a friend to come with me to a sex store, so I’d be less intimidated. My friend had firsthand knowledge of the world of pleasure I was about to enter, and I felt safe exploring the black-lit sex shop with him.

As we crossed the threshold, my eyes first went to the cage, the bondage and leather on display. This was all much more daring than my skimpiest Victoria’s Secret lingerie. It was sexual in a way I hadn’t experienced. Some of the devices and apparatus made me giggle, others were appealing, and I wondered how I missed out on so much fun. 

The store’s staff were informative and helpful. I’m sure I looked like a newbie as my eyes ran over everything on display. Fortunately, the staff were happy to ease my nervous curiosities. One employee led me into a room farther back, where various sizes and shapes of vibrators were displayed. She demonstrated how to turn them on and the features that made each one unique. Some were curved, others had ridges, moving internal parts like beads, or multiple controls. She placed each one in my hands, allowing me to feel how hard or soft the silicone was. 

At this point in my life, the only penis that never failed to give me an orgasm (or several) belonged to my ex. When we were together, I used to jokingly plead with him to make a mold, so if we ever broke up, I could still have it. It was just the right length and had the most spectacular curve that never failed to hit my g-spot. Years later, I still wish I got that mold.

Back to the sex shop. After inspecting numerous vibrators of all sizes and shapes, I settled on a lavender rabbit. It had multiple speeds, and the color made it less intimidating. It remained in its box under my bed for months until one night when, alone in my room and feeling frisky, I decided to try it out.

I opened the box, added batteries, shut my cat out of the bedroom, and closed the door. Then I got naked, got under my covers, and turned the vibrator on. I was shocked at how loud it was. I tried muffling it under a pile of blankets. The noise was a complete turn off, and I was sure my neighbors would hear it through my thin apartment walls. Needless to say, there was no orgasm. I packed the rabbit back up and shoved it into my bedside table drawer.

Months later, I tried again. This time I ignored the fear of being heard masturbating and simply enjoyed the experience.

Fast forward a decade or so, and I’ve explored and discovered the type of lover-in-a-drawer that does it for me. Now the biggest hindrance to my ability to enjoy time with it is being a busy entrepreneur, mother, wife, friend, and author. The idea of a little stress relief is always appealing, but I still need to be left alone to enjoy my own devices. I have no doubt my husband doesn’t have the same issue. He’s able to just lean back in his office chair and pleasure himself. 

My typical self-love routine (and I really hate that it’s a routine, but it’s true) starts with digging out my vibrators from the drawer under my bed. I keep them safely hidden beneath an ugly holiday sweater and my old thermal underwear, just in case my daughter ever goes snooping in my belongings. I check to make sure the toys don’t need new batteries. I have one now that needs to be plugged in.

After I make sure I have privacy and a working instrument, I lay back and enjoy a favorite fantasy or two, mostly having to do with Taylor Kitsch or Benjamin Walker. And bam! Stress relief and orgasm are had.

But most times, things don’t go quite that smoothly. Today, for instance, I really wanted to relax before going to get my mammogram. My husband wasn’t home, and I had thirty minutes before I had to leave. So, I broke out my favorite toys. One had no charge, so I had to make do with my backup. I got comfortable and was about to begin when I heard moaning coming from next to the bed. Then I heard the thumping of my dog running up and jumping onto the bed to snuggle next to me. 

“No,” I said. “Get out.”

He looked at me with his big brown puppy-dog eyes and refused to move. Now naked, I picked him up and put him on the other side of my closed bedroom door. 

Before I even made it back to enjoy any sensation of pleasure, I heard a meow, meow, meow. Our kitten was on the other side of the door. 

This was the first time I ever wished my vibrator was louder and could say things like, “Don’t pay attention to the cat. You’re so sexy. You feel so good.” But I couldn’t make my mind tune out the cat meowing or the dog scratching, so I yelled, “Shut up!” Nothing like pets to ruin the mood. 

It’s not as if I get this chance for alone time often. And honestly, when I do, I worry about my husband walking in. Not that he’d mind at all, it’s more about wanting to be left alone to enjoy myself without anyone watching or participating. Isn’t that what masturbating is all about? Self-pleasure? I know my man doesn’t have the same needs or issues, or even gives any more thought to masturbating than, yeah, now’s a good time. No need for soft lighting or routine.  I wish I could masturbate like him.

I imagine many cis men can rub one out in a minute or two, but my body doesn’t work like that. And there are times when I know that, no matter what I do, my orgasm won’t come. That even though I know how to pleasure myself, my body won’t cooperate. This happened to me after the birth of my child, and was especially true after my hysterectomy. I felt like Samantha from Sex and the City, wondering if I’d used all my orgasms up.

Thankfully, of course, that wasn’t true. But it did take me longer than I care to admit to enjoy sex again after both of those life-altering events. My insides felt so different. I felt the changes acutely and I was afraid my husband wouldn’t like them and would find me less desirable. I’m thankful to my sex toys for helping me heal and find my pleasure again. 

But there are always days like today when I think it would be nice to sneak off and not have so many obstacles to masturbating. I imagine, like peeing standing up, there are advantages to masturbating while sitting up in an office chair with the lights on and the dog laying by your feet. As for me, I’ll be waiting for a quiet and private moment to pleasure myself with my always ready boyfriend-in-a-drawer.

Holly is a freelance writer and intuitive healer living in North Carolina. When she isn’t working you can find her getting ready for Halloween or dancing. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram!

[Guest Blog] “Open to Trans Girls?” by Velvet Divine

I put out a call for guest blog pitches at the end of July and oh my, you folks delivered! I received some brilliant ideas and would have loved to accept them all. I’m absolutely thrilled to be sharing today’s fantastic piece by a new-to-me writer, Velvet Divine (fae/faer.) You can follow faer on Twitter!

To me, this post really highlights the experience of trans folks and the misconceptions and bigotry that too many cis people still hold. We have a long way to go. I hope that by uplifting trans voices in this space, I can make a very small difference.

– Amy x

Open to Trans Girls?

“Velvet Divine. Fae/Faer. Non-binary. Trans femme. Pan. Aro. Poly. Domme. Targaryen. Actress. Writer. Artist. Vegetarian. Trash fire. Nerd. Gaymer. Goth. For the Horde.” (My dating app bio.)

Due to living in a fairly small, Conservative town and working with clinically vulnerable populations, I am not yet out in my everyday life. I’m sure my identity as a non-binary trans person would compromise not only my employment but also maybe my safety. So, my main method of connecting with people for ventures north of the platonic is via online dating apps.

“Are you open to trans gals?”

Six little monosyllabic words, typed with practiced trepidation or tired resignation, depending on the day. More often than not, this is my first message to women I connect with on dating apps (specifically, cisgender women). Sometimes, it’s the third or the fifth message, following an initial volley of back-and-forth compliments. But it’s always something I feel the need to clarify as soon as possible. Part of it is in the spirit of transparency (pun intended). I like to get it out in the open in the event that it’s any kind of a deal-breaker. But the other part is a visceral fear of coming across as predatory.

Bigoted people have long been pushing a narrative that trans women and trans femme people are predatory, using their transition to gain access to vulnerable women and female spaces in order to sexually harass or assault women. A lot of us have, unfortunately, internalized a lot of this transmisogyny. When you combine that with my hyperawareness of how masculine I still present, you get a knot of anxiety at being perceived as the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

I had my first taste of this in college, soon after breaking my egg (trans lingo for “coming out” or realizing one is trans). I began attending the LGBT+ Center’s Women’s Group. The second of the two sessions I attended consisted of the facilitators addressing “concerns” that some were there for the wrong reasons. Cue all eyes on me. I was the only trans feminine person and, more importantly, I did not look the part yet.

They went around the circle, asking everyone to share why they were in the group and what they hoped to gain from it. I don’t recall my answer verbatim, but it was something along the lines of wanting to connect with other LGBTQ+ women and femme-aligned folks. I looked around for some measure of commiseration or solidarity, but met only silence and a crowded room of women who wouldn’t look me in the eye.

So I never went back to the group. After a few times, the facilitators stopped asking me when I would come back whenever we ran into one another. Maybe the others thought that I was there trying to pick up a date and took my lack of feminine clothing and makeup as admission to this perceived grift. Maybe I just projected my own insecurities and completely misinterpreted the situation. Regardless, that pit in my stomach never left me. I continue to feel the need to question whether or not I am intruding upon a space that isn’t for me, or offering my company to someone who is merely tolerating it.

I ask women who match with me if they’re cool with or open to trans girls and they’ll reassure me, many vociferously and graciously, with “trans women are women” or “I love ALL girls”. Others will make a crack about how it’d be silly if they weren’t, considering it’s plastered all over my profile and hard to miss.

I will continue to ask them if they’re comfortable. I will ask them when we plan a date and I explain that I will not be dolled up because I’ll be coming from work or getting a ride from a relative. I’ll ask them again if the subject of sex comes up and we discuss desires and boundaries. I’ll ask them again during the act itself.

“I am Non-binary and trans-feminine. At the current moment, I am unable to access HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) due to my housing and economic situation. I’m on the chubby side and I still have my bio dildo. If any of those are an issue, feel free to exit stage left.”

That’s what my usual “disclaimer” looks like on my profiles. I add these because, again, I want to lay my cards on the table. Because I’m afraid that otherwise, people will feel misled somehow. Logically, I don’t imagine that these disclaimers are anything but obvious. I’m thick and, even if cis women thought I was just butch, the mention of being trans and the bio dildo euphemism would make it clear. (I used to use the expression “fleshy strap-on” but that kept going over people’s heads). But you’d be surprised. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that cis Sapphics also often feel like they need to “disclose” that they’re on the thicker side up-front. Solidarity, sisters.

Even among the LGBTQIA+ community, there is a staggering amount of ignorance regarding the trans experience on the part of cisgender folks. I’ve had many people mix up trans women and trans men. Most recently, I had a woman ghost me after I corrected her misconception by reiterating the fact that I have a “bio dildo” and explaining the euphemism. Some of my favorites, though, are the ones who think that being trans is like a Magical Girl transformation and that by shouting that I’m trans into the ether, a la Greyskull, I will immediately undergo years of HRT and surgeries. I wish that were the case.

Though these hiccups are more common than I’d like, I’m grateful that they tend to come from places of ignorance and misunderstanding rather than malice. I’ve been using these apps for years and can count on one hand the number of times that women have been intentionally rude or hateful towards me (men are a whole other story). Women are always a treasure to connect with. Even people for whom the bio dildo and transition were deal breakers have generally been perfectly respectful about it.

I want to thank Velvet again for sharing faer insights in this fantastic post. 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 support the blog.

Pride Month Guest Post: Wrapped in Rainbows by The Barefoot Sub

I’m delighted to be ending my Pride Month guest post series with this personal story from C&K newcomer, The Barefoot Sub. As a fellow queer woman who struggled to know how to define her sexuality, this one resonated with me deeply.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, which also featured pieces from Violet Grey and Quenby, and that you’ve all had a safe and happy Pride Month.

Amy x

TW: this piece contains discussion of coerced sex and homophobic emotional abuse. Look after yourselves, loves.

Wrapped in Rainbows

It is my understanding that many people know where they lie on the sexuality spectrum from a young age, even if they didn’t always understand exactly what it meant. For some of us, though, it isn’t such a simple path to follow, and I would like to share the journey of how I came to be 37 years old and celebrating my first Pride wrapped up in rainbows.

As a child I was always encouraged to be myself. 

Being a tomboy meant I had the freedom to follow my brother. I was never a “girly girl” and gender never seemed to have much to do with anything. As I grew-up, I didn’t experiment with sexuality ike my peers. Make up and push up bras, short skirts and heels – these were all things I didn’t really understand.

This was part nature, but also nurture, as my mum was far from sex-positive and actively chose to protect me from the grown up world of lust and deviance. To this day she holds very conservative views on sex and relationships. As an adult I am now able to have gentle discussions with her on relationship styles, but in those formative years you can imagine how little I was able to learn. 

I had been bullied by girls at primary school, for being different.

Though I made friends through secondary school, I walked a fine line within those groups because I still didn’t fit the mould. I was the short-haired, flat-chested rugby player who spent too much time hanging around in mud with her older brother and his friends and I… didn’t even shave my legs! Yes, I was the “butch” one in my year. I didn’t even join in games like “pass the ice pole” with my girlfriends for fear of being classified as the “dyke,” which I was fairly certain I wasn’t. 

But what if they were right?

When I first discovered sex, I was only interested in men. When I stumbled across my brother’s secret porn stash I turned a blind eye to the images of beautiful women, choosing instead to read the stories or fuck myself along with the couples. I denied any curiosity as dirty and wrong.

Though I spent a lot of nights out in the gay bars while at University, I only went for the haven they provided, brushing off any attention I received from women. Considering the plentiful experiences I had in my late teens, it is curious that same sex hookups were the one thing that I turned my nose up at. If someone saw me with a woman… what would they think? 

It was all too alarming!

The disgrace of my (mostly) liberated sexuality caught up with me after a number of years and I met a man who said he loved me. We married 8 months after meeting, but the insidious slut-shaming began within weeks of us getting together. A mixture of love-bombing and loathing created a dependency on him which I only began to understand two years after we separated. He had quite the knack for eating away at my self-worth, and as such my libido was almost entirely eroded. He was very good at nagging me until I gave in and let him have sex with me, but on the occasions that I refused and wouldn’t be made to feel guilty the name calling would start. It was always around my worst insecurity. “You don’t want to have sex with me because you’re a lesbian” he would say, without fail. And the comments would continue for days afterwards until I relented because, well, I thought I should probably just shut him up. It stopped the taunting. 

Until the next time he wanted sex, and then it would start all over again.

After eleven years I was at my wits end and, while I was searching online for a better life, I met someone who would enable me to become my best me. Not that I knew this at the time, of course. I was able to open up to him and, in amongst the fantasies and daydreams, I was able to find the words. I shared what had been in my mind since watching my school friends pass those ice poles: “I’m curious about whether I’m bi-curious.”

He knew how hard that was for me to tell him and the background to my fears. As is his way, he helped me to understand that there would be nothing wrong with me if I did discover I preferred women, and it did not matter what anyone else thought either. It was also ok if I experimented and didn’t enjoy myself. 

What was important was for me to be myself. 

After a while, he started to test my curiosity by setting me little tasks. They seem little now, but at the time they felt huge and they were a big stretch. Flirting, a kiss, a touch… I had his support in the background, but he gave me the space to learn if the path was right for me.

When work took him away I continued to delve deeper into this new side of me. No tasks this time, just finding my feet and following my heart. There were some less-than-wonderful trials and some incredible liaisons. For the first couple of years I didn’t have much confidence in meeting new people, regardless of their gender. I had no idea how to engage with women as I had shut myself off for so long, in fear of the name calling that would follow a developing friendship.

As I started to make friends through the local fetish and swinging scenes, I found a circle of people who liked me because of me. With my D/s relationship and the acceptance of these communities, my confidence grew and I was able to ask for what I wanted, share my stories, and upgrade my experiences with some truly amazing people from all over the gender spectrum.

Before I stopped being afraid of what my sexuality meant to other people, I had no idea that there could be so much pleasure, fun, and laughter outside of heterosexual relations. A person’s beauty and desirability isn’t necessarily linked to their gender identity or genitalia.

With the support and guidance of Sir, the generosity of spirit that my wonderful friends have showered me with, and a little bravery to conquer my fears, I have learnt that I was right all along. I am not lesbian. But I’m not straight either. 

This year marks the fifth pride month since my explorations began, and I am proud to say I am confidently queer and celebrating!

The Barefoot Sub can be found over at A Leap of Faith reminiscing about her self-discovery through kink while also sharing smut that is yet to happen. You can find her over at Twitter, usually getting distracted by the filthy GIFs, and occasionally on Instagram, where she is almost always covered in rope.

Pride Month Guest Post: Euphoric Erotica by Quenby

For the second guest post in my Pride Month series, I’m delighted to be hosting Quenby for the second time (they previously wrote an utterly charming piece about lessons in boundaries from a cat!)

I loved today’s piece about exploring gender identity and creating gender euphoric feelings through the possibilities which exist in fiction but aren’t available to us in the real world. I hope you guys enjoy it as much.

This post deals with gender dysphoria, so please take care of yourself if that’s likely to be difficult for you.

Amy x

Euphoric Erotica

This Pride Month, I’ve been thinking about how erotica can allow trans people like me to navigate the at times strained relationships with our bodies.

For most of my tenure as an erotica writer, I have generally kept my work realistic. The experiences are edited and simplified to bring a narrative to those sweaty, gloriously chaotic moments when we give ourselves over to intense sensation. But I prefer to keep things as close to my real life experiences as possible.

There are a couple reasons for this. Firstly, I want to encourage more inclusive beauty standards and write about real bodies. I want big bellies and asymmetric tits, sweat drips and positions which don’t require gymnastics training.

The other reason is that, by sticking to things I have personally experienced, I know how they feel. My aim when writing erotica is to immerse the reader in the experience, to allow them to imagine what it would feel like to be degraded in public, to be fisted, or to be spanked until they cry. To do that, I need to know what that feels like to begin with.

Recently, though, I’ve started making an exception to this rule. Why should I bind the trans people I write about to a body that feels wrong to them? In prose I can grant a body denied by nature and the medical system, one which affirms and meshes with their gender identity.

In a recently published piece of erotica I imagined my boyfriend with a flat chest and a factory installed dick, and I saw the joy that imagery brought to hir. From now on, I will not be bound by painful accuracy. Let’s use this as a way to imagine trans bodies freed from dysphoria, immersed in gender euphoria which blends with and amplifies arousal.

When we are freed from the constraints of accuracy, we can explore options which would be impossible in the real world. Wish your genitals could shift between cunt and cock as easily as your identity shifts between masc and femme? Me too! I can definitely write about that. Wish you had an androgynous gentacle rather than conventional genitals? I can write about that! (Also you should really check out some hentai.) Wish you transcended the mundane and had a 6 dimensional vortex between your legs? I love the way your filthy mind works you brilliant queerdo, and I can (try to) write about that!

For all the issues that plague the world (including the sex writing industry,) erotica can serve as a glorious escape, a way to imagine experiences and connections shared with others. So let’s use that escapism to help trans people explore their identity and imagine bodies in which they feel more at home.

Quenby is a queer perfomer, writer, and activist. If you liked this post you can check out their blog, or follow them on FB and Twitter @QuenbyCreatives.