Ten Tips for Getting the Most Out of Fetlife

Ahhhh, Fetlife.

Love it or hate it, the “Facebook of kink” is still the absolute number one place to be on the internet if you’re a kinky person who wants to interact with the BDSM and fetish community outside of your bedroom.

But if you’re not careful, it can be a bit of a cesspit. Here are my top ten tips for getting the most out of Fetlife.

Fill out your profile

You really need to fill out your profile if you want to use Fetlife to help you build a community. You don’t have to post an essay, but “I dunno just ask me” or “I hate talking about myself” do not constitute a profile.

Tell us whatever it is about yourself that you’re happy to share. For starters, try: how long have you been on the scene, what does kink mean to you, what your relationship(s) look like, and what you’re looking for. You could also include an outside-of-kink hobby or interest or two!

Choose your role carefully

There are tonnes of different role options you can choose from. Of course there’s the ubiquitous Dom/Sub/Switch, but there’s also Kinkster, Hedonist, Pet, Brat, Daddy, Princess, and many more. Choose the one that best suits you (and, if you want, say something about what it means to you in your profile!) Remember you can always change it, too, so don’t be afraid to swap things around as you gain experience and change as a kinkster. I wrote a deeply personal post last year about the different role descriptors I’ve used over the years.

Consider your location

The running joke is that there are more kinksters in Antarctica than people, because so many Fetlife users put “Antarctica” as their location to avoid revealing where they really live.

If you need to conceal your location, I’m absolutely not judging. Please do what you need to do in order to be safe! But if you can, consider putting your actual town/city or at least somewhere close to it. (Or a general area, like your state or county.) This makes it easier to connect with people who live near to you, and also means you’ll get event recommendations based on your location. (Not many dungeon parties in Antarctica, funnily enough!)

Say what you’re looking for

In your profile header, you can pick “What I’m Looking For” from a dropdown menu. Options include everything from “a Master/Mistress” to “a lifetime relationship” to “Events” to “Friendship.” You can choose more than one. Consider carefully what it is you’re looking for and be honest here! Saying you’re only looking for friendship or events won’t entirely stop the creepers from messaging you, but it will cut down on it. If you say you’re looking for a romantic, sexual or kinky partner, it’s a really good idea to delve further into what you’re after in your profile (or by using the “Writings” feature.)

Read profiles before messaging!

I really cannot emphasise this enough. Please read someone’s ENTIRE profile before messaging them – and pay attention to what it says. My profile states very clearly that I have no interest in submissive cis men and that they should not under any circumstances message me. I still get an average of one “HeLlO MiStReSs CaN i LiCk YoUr BoOtS?” type message per day. I also say I don’t add strangers as friends, and yet the random friend requests still flood in. Read a damn profile, and heed what it says. You are not the exception.

Message respectfully

So you’ve read someone’s profile and they’ve sparked your interest enough to want to make a connection. The first message can really make or break things here. Don’t go in with sexual content straight away (yes it’s a fetish site, but there are human beings on the other end of your message!) Don’t make demands, make assumptions of roles (this means no calling someone Sir, Mistress, Daddy, slut, slave or any other kinky title without consent!) or ask people to meet straight away. Do at least a cursory check of your spelling and grammar (graduate thesis level perfection is not expected but making an effort is nice.) Don’t wall-of-text. Don’t ask someone to meet straight away. Just… be a friendly, normal, respectful person.

Join groups

There are literally thousands of groups on Fetlife! These operate as discussion forums based around topics. Many are for specific kinks or fetishes (for example, Spanking, Orgasm Control or Needle Play.) Others are based around a specific geographical location, or even a specific event (Attendees of Fetish Fest 2020, for example.) There are even non-kinky groups where you can just discuss a topic of mutual interest! I’m in book groups, health and fitness groups, groups for people who are childfree-by-choice, and many more. Pick a few interests and join groups.

Read and obey group rules

All groups have rules governing the kind of content that is allowed in them. Many, for example, will specify “no personal ads” (cruising for dates/play,) “no advertising” (commercial or business content or advertising your event,) or even be limited to a certain demographic (such as under 35s, women, or LGBTQ folks.) Disregarding group rules is likely to get your posts deleted and may even get you kicked or banned from groups. It also wastes moderators’ time, annoys group members, and makes you look like a dick. Just read the rules and follow them.

Don’t pay too much attention to Kinky & Popular

Ugh, Kinky and Popular. This page highlights posts (photos, videos and writings) which have garnered a lot of attention in a short space of time. No-one is 100% clear how the algorithm works, but that’s the gist of it. The thing is, K&P is mostly full of what can best be described as “vanilla porn” – videos of fairly heteronormative, vanilla sex acts and nude pictures of skinny, young, normatively attractive white girls. Which are fine if these are your thing, but they’re not really what most people go to Fetlife for.

K&P also generally makes people who don’t fit into these narrow beauty standards feel shit about ourselves and our bodies. There are occasional K&P writings that are absolute gems, but you have to weed through a lot of crap to get to them. Just ignore K&P is my advice. Kink isn’t a popularity contest.

Reach out to community leaders and prominent figures

See someone who looks like they’re a leader, event organiser or prominent and respected person in your local community? Reach out to them! Amongst all the crap in my inbox, I love receiving the “I’m new to the scene in [place where I live,] saw you’re pretty active and wondered if you’d be willing to be a friendly face at [the munch next Tuesday/Bob’s party on Friday night/the next Peer Rope workshop] as I’m a bit nervous” type messages. Community leaders become community leaders because we love helping people and helping the scene to thrive. Reach out. Be polite, be respectful of their time, and be specific if you can in what you’re asking.

The Kinky Love Languages: Words of Affirmation

This is the first in a mini-series of posts where I explore the five love languages as they can relate to kink and BDSM. If you don’t know your main love language, take the quiz to find out! Most of us are a mix of several or all of them, but have one that comes out most strongly. The model is somewhat flawed (I think there are more than five languages – two additional ones of mine are co-creation and food, for example) but it’s a useful starting point for exploring how you like to give and receive love. I believe that a lot of problems with one person feeling unloved and unappreciated, in relationships where everyone is acting in good faith and doing their best, come down to a mismatch of love languages and not understanding each other’s.

A piece of paper saying "I love you" with a lipstick kiss, for a post on words of affirmation as a kinky love language

Words of Affirmation

People whose primary love language is words of affirmation like to be told they’re loved. They like to be told explicitly, out loud and in detail that they are valued by their partner(s.) People who understand love via words of affirmation do not ascribe to the adage that words are meaningless and only actions count. Don’t get me wrong though – your actions still need to back up your words!

How to show love to a submissive whose primary language is words of affirmation

Many submissives will tell you that the words “good girl,” “good boy” or similar will just make them melt in their Dominant’s arms. If you have a submissive who will do anything for these nuggets of praise, you might just have a sub whose love language is words of affirmation. Offer them genuinely as often as you can.

You can take it a step further, too. Mix in other compliments and words of praise. This can range from “I’m so proud of you” when they accomplish something, to “you look so hot kneeling for me like that” during a scene. Compliments – on their achievements, talents, character and looks – should be given freely. Remember to make sure everything you tell them is genuine and heartfelt. A person who speaks this language can tell when you’re just parroting the lines with no feeling behind them.

A submissive who needs words of affirmation is likely to need regular reassurance, too. They might need to hear that you love them, that you value them, and that they’re not too much or too needy. If you’re in a non-monogamous dynamic, they’re likely to need verbal reassurance sometimes when you’re spending time with others. Tell them explicitly how much they mean to you.

Don’t underestimate the power of written words, too! If you live apart, a “good morning beautiful/handsome” text could brighten their whole day. If you live together, a naughty or affectionate IM while they’re at work will make them smile and keep them thinking of you.

Writing tasks were also made for these submissives! Have them write down fantasies, write in a daily journal, or write down mantras to increase their confidence in themselves or the relationship. You could even set “lines” as a punishment if they misbehave! As with any punishment or protocol, make sure you negotiate fully.

How to love a Dominant whose primary love language is words of affirmation

People tend to forget that Dominants have emotional needs too! Like anyone else, D-types also have ways that they prefer to give and receive love. So if your Dom is into words of affirmation, how can you make sure they feel loved and appreciated consistently?

A Dominant who is into words of affirmation might love to hear lots of verbal feedback during and after play. You don’t have to go overboard or fake it, but a well-timed “mmm, that feels so good” or “this is making me so hard/wet” is likely to go over well. After play, general words of appreciation (“I needed that so much, thank you”) or specific compliments (“the way you handle the whip is so sexy”) are likely to make them glow. Again: whatever words you give, it’s important that they are genuine! Only say things you mean!

It’s amazing how often submissives don’t realise this or forget it, but: COMPLIMENT YOUR DOM! I often say “hey, nice ass” when I see Mr CK walking around naked. (Words isn’t really his language, but it is mine.) Tell him that shirt really suits him. Tell her the way she looks in those boots makes you go weak at the knees. Make sure they know you really appreciate their skills as a… whatever it is they’re good at. Tell them you love their laugh, their random acts of kindness, their devotion to their family. Just pick something and tell them how great they are!

However confident and stoic they seem, Doms can also feel insecure, jealous or wobbly. Regardless of your relationship structure – but especially if you’re non-monogamous – check in with your Dom regularly to see how they’re doing. Be prepared to offer any verbal reassurances they need. Ask them what they need you to remind them of, or pick it up from contextual clues, and tell them that thing. Let them be vulnerable with you and meet that vulnerability with words of love and support.

If your D-type sets you a writing task, take it on promptly and joyfully. Do the best you can with it. In fact, you might even suggest this to them if they haven’t thought of it!

Additional tips that are good for anyone

Don’t be afraid to remind your partner of your confidence, faith and pride in them. As someone who speaks the words of affirmation language, if I have a big interview, presentation or important meeting coming up at work I love nothing more than hearing “good luck, I know you’ll rock it!” from my partners. And if something they aim for doesn’t pan out, be there to pick their spirits up with loving reassurance that it doesn’t mean anything about their ability and that things will go better next time.

Sexting was made for relationships between people who communicate their love in words. Share a filthy fantasy, a sexy dream you had, or spinning an elaborate scene together over text or IM are all great ways to feel more connected… and to gain delicious new ideas of things to try together.

If you live apart (or even if you don’t!) then consider love-letters. These could be emails or actual, old-fashioned pen-and-paper letters. However you do it, they’ll give you something to look back on and cherish for years to come.

Say “I love you.” Seriously. Say it often. No-one who speaks the “words of affirmation” language will get tired of hearing it.

Do you speak “Words of Affirmation” as your love language? How do you like to give and receive love in your kinky relationship?

Do you want to support my work and help me to keep producing content like this? Join me on Patreon (I’m trying to get better about posting on there, I promise!) or just buy me a coffee.

[Wearable Review] Bondage Boutique Rainbow Leather Harness with Collar

Before I tell you about this lovely harness, I feel I should acknowledge that I haven’t blogged since 18th May (and that was a guest post!) and today is 6th July. This is by far the longest blogging break I’ve taken since I started, and I thank you all for bearing with me. I wasn’t sure, for a while, if I was going to come back at all.

My mental health took a serious downturn back in May for a number of reasons, and most of my energy has gone on my recovery. I took some time off work as a result for the first time. I’m not back to 100% yet, but I’m making progress and felt able to start writing again – albeit maybe a little more slowly for a while. With that out of the way, let’s dive in…

Happy Pride, friends!

A bunch of bright multicoloured roses for a review of a leather pride harness

Today is Pride in London. I am, sadly, not there. Aforementioned health issues, plus lack of spoons for travel and huge crowds, means I’ve sat this one out this year. However, in the spirit of celebrating a little bit at home, Pride day felt like the appropriate time to share my review of this rainbow-themed piece with you all.

Whether you’re celebrating in the Capital today or not, I hope you’ve all had a very happy Pride.

Boutique Bondage Gear…

Bondage Boutique is Lovehoney’s in-house range of kink and BDSM gear. With pieces ranging from cuffs to wax play candles, from nipple clamps to rope, they’re a great place to find affordable and entry-level kinky things. In honour of Pride season, they’ve recently added a line of rainbow themed items, one of which I was only too happy to try out!

Rainbows, Leather and Kink: A Few of My Favourite Things

The Bondage Boutique pride rainbow harness laid out on a white sheet

The Bondage Boutique Rainbow and Leather Harness with Collar is a really versatile kinky piece. It’s a unisex design, suitable for any type of body. The aesthetic is fairly androgynous, too, neither particularly femme or particularly masculine. You could totally femme or masc it up depending on what you wore it with!

Perhaps pair it with killer heels and cute stockings… or with some sexy as fuck leather trousers? Or even just throw it on over a t-shirt to add some public-safe queer joy to your Pride ensemble! I love the little rainbow panels, which give an otherwise fairly standard bondage piece a fun and playful edge.

The Bondage Boutique rainbow pride harness laid out on a white sheet

This harness also features two D-rings, one in the front centre of the collar and one in the front centre of the waist band. This means it’s practical for play as well as decorative. You could clip a leash to the collar, use the lower D-ring to tie off a crotch rope, or cuff your submissive’s hands to the harness to restrict their movement.

Materials & Care

This harness is made of real leather. For some this will be a huge advantage, and for others such as vegetarians or vegans it may be a serious downside. I personally love leather (even though I’m a vegetarian – yes, I know, I’m a hypocrite!) The softness, the smell and the undeniable associations of real leather all really do it for me. Leather is also exceptionally durable, and tends to get softer and more supple over time.

An anonymous white female bodied person wearing the Bondage Boutique pride harness and a black sports bra

The small rainbow panels are stitched over the leather. The fastenings are made of metal.

Care for this harness the way you would with any other leather item. Cleaning after every wear isn’t typically necessary, but clean it occasionally with a special product designed for leather – many leather enthusiasts recommend saddle soap. If it needs a bit of extra shine, use a little gentle leather polish plenty of time before you next want to wear it. (Or have your sub do so – a fun service play task, perhaps?) Store your harness unfastened and as flat as you can. Don’t store or transport it with anything that could scratch the leather.

Remember that leather is a porous material and will therefore absorb traces of sweat, your skin’s natural oils, and any other bodily fluids it comes into contact with – including blood and sexual fluids.

Harness Fit

This harness is adjustable in three places for a versatile and customisable fit. The adjustable parts are the collar, the waist belt, and the strap that runs down the centre of the chest.

A close up of the Bondage Boutique pride harness on an anonymous white female bodied person wearing a black sports bra

Lovehoney’s site conveniently lists the measurement ranges, so you can check this piece will fit you before buying. The collar fits a neck circumference of 13.5 – 18 inches, the waist belt ranges from 26 to 34 inches, and the connecting strap can be anything from 5.5 to 10 inches in length.

I currently have a 34 inch waist (UK size 14) and found this harness comfortable on the loosest setting. As a short person, I really appreciated being able to shorten the connecting strap too.

A close up of the collar of the Bondage Boutique rainbow harness on an anonymous white female bodied person in a black sports bra

Unfortunately, this harness does not currently come in a Plus Size version. Please consider making one, Lovehoney pals!

So do I recommend it?

I love this harness! It’s super cute, relatively comfy, and pretty affordable. I’m always recommending Bondage Boutique to kink newbies, but wherever you are on your journey, grab this piece if you want to add a little rainbow sparkle to your kinky life.

The Bondage Boutique Rainbow and Leather Harness with Collar retails for £39.99.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this piece to review. All opinions are my own. Pictures are by me. This review contains affiliate links!

[Guest Blog] Broken Toys Are More Fun to Play With by Lilith Young

Today’s guest blog is from the fabulous Lilith Young. Lilith describes herself as a “30-something kinky lesbian switch” and blogs at Lilith Young Writes . I absolutely loved this piece and am delighted to be sharing it with you all today.

A woman with her hands tied above her head in cuffs, for a guest post by Lilth Young

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice on how to make kink safe for you. Do your own research. What is safe for me may not be safe for you.

This is my first time writing about how my disability affects my sex life. To be honest, it’s quite terrifying. But, in the end, all the good stuff is just that. Quite terrifying. Maybe that’s just one of the reasons I am into kink – I like the edge that comes with being scared. So in the words of Jenny Lawson, “Be bizarre. Be weird. Be proud of the uniquely beautiful way that you are broken.”

My name is Lilith and I am broken. I am a 30-something kinky lesbian switch, who makes awkward jokes when I am nervous, and I have EDS and POTS. To put it simply: my joints fall out of place and my heart rate often races until I pass out. Sorry fellas, it’s not you making my heart race – it’s my poor circulation. Ladies, on the other hand… well, that’s poor circulation too, but you do make me wet. So that counts for something, right?

That’s all nice, Lilith, but how does this affect kink? I mean, why am I even still reading this post? Perhaps your kink is women who ramble incessantly. In which case, hi! I’m Lilith, and you are?

For me, kink and disability all boils down to negotiation.  It is super important to explain anything that impacts your safety or your partner(s) safety. If someone seems unsure, can’t keep you safe, or dismisses what you are saying, don’t play together. You know the type. The guy that calls himself a master, but doesn’t know what he is talking about and casually dismisses your concerns. Cringe. Red Flag. Run Away! Or make an excuse to go the restroom and call your friend and sneak out a window. Whatever method is easiest for you.

It can feel impossible to say to someone, “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but play with me maybe and… I have lots of medical issues. No, wait, don’t run away – I have a cute butt. I swear.” In reality, a lot of people will not be intimidated by you expressing your needs clearly. In fact, many will appreciate it.

So, you caught the big fish and you found someone to play with. It’s not so hard to quickly get down to playing. Just make sure you discuss anything that can hurt you or others. That’s it. You do not need to share your life story.  Can you stand? Can you sit? Can I hang you upside down? Do you bleed easily?

One time I got one of my many spontaneous nose bleeds at a fashion show in Miami. Gushing. I was in the bathroom for thirty minutes trying to get it to stop, thinking, “Great, now everyone here thinks I am super into cocaine! And where is someone with blood kink when you need them?”

Be specific about your limits and give details. Such as, “I pass out easily. My primary partner knows the signs; listen to them when they call it and don’t freak out if it happens.”  

So what are some big things I personally negotiate

  1. I can’t stand for long periods of time. So don’t ask me to. Lots can be done from a stool or a bench or kneeling on the ground. Oh so much…
  2. I can’t be still either. So again, don’t ask me to. Five minutes of stillness and my joints start to sublax (that’s when they slide in and out of place on their own). I find watching it fun, in a creepy sort of way. But it does hurt (and not the kind of pain I am looking for), so I have to be able to adjust my position at all times. Fullstop. Someone who is super into protocol probably would not want to try to negotiate a night of high protocol with me, but guess what? I make a terrible slave in other ways as well. Literally terrible. The worst. They would never invite me back!
  3. You’re probably thinking: if you can’t sit still, I would tie you up. That is almost always what is said next. Sorry folks. That will just pull my joints all out of place. Plus, now I am still… and in undesired pain. How about you let me tie you up instead? That I can do. I once had a friend run their hand over my spine and my spine moved around in their fingers. I laughed. They freaked out.
  4. I have lots of extra safewords. There is so much debate on safewords – some people argue that a Dom should recognize the signs and know when to stop. Some people argue that you should never play without safewords.  I will not dive down that rabbit hole today. For me, I use colour safewords. This is something almost everyone has experience using and feels comfortable with. Since I need to be constantly checked in on, I like green, yellow, red for that. This way I can pause things with yellow to adjust as needed. “Yellow! I need to move my arm.” I also use purple when playing with long term partners. If something has triggered an anxiety or panic attack that’s unrelated to what we are doing, I will use “purple” to stop play. I wanted something that indicated that we had not crossed an agreed limit, but that something had gone wrong and I needed to stop. Those are deep conversations I don’t have with everyone. With someone casual, I will just red out. Goodness, I can’t unload all my baggage on casual play. And I don’t think I really should.

It took me a considerable amount of time to gain confidence in my play and life surrounding my health. It happened so slowly that I did not realize I had overcome a lot of my fears. Until one day, I started wearing my compression socks out in public, whether or not they made me look like an old lady with stockings on, and no matter how many people made comments on them.

“I’m not looking up your skirt, I’m – are you wearing stockings?” That was my boss. Because at that point, I knew I didn’t give a fuck how it looked to other people. I only cared about how it helped keep me from getting dizzy and blacking out.

So I don’t care if creating a long detailed negotiation is too much for some people. Those are not my people. I care about how I feel when I play.

Once you begin to accept yourself, a whole world opens up. You never know what may happen. I even found a pair of bondage cuffs that allowed enough movement for me, and I am pretty sure that moment is exactly the same feeling people get when they climb Mount Everest. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating. A little. What can I say? Kink is all about letting your imagination run wild.

So, jump in and start playing.

Thanks to Lilith for sharing her story so generously with us. Don’t forget to check out her blog and give her a follow on the Twitter!

Ten Things a Collar Can Mean (But Doesn’t Have To)

Mr CK and I recently had a discussion about collars – specifically, whether there was any context in which either of us using a collar in kink play with somebody else would ever be okay. (This is, and currently remains, one of my absolute bottom-line boundaries – seriously, that limit is so hard you could etch it on a diamond).

A black collar lying on a white bed, for a post about collars sponsored by Taboo Brighton

After a while of unproductive discussion, we realised we were talking past each other for a simple reason:

We both understood what we were talking about in completely different ways!

To him, a collar essentially means very little. He considers it a piece of equipment, no more inherently meaningful than a length of rope or a paddle – useful as a way to, say, move someone around or immobilise their hands by tying them to it, but that’s about as far as it goes.

To me, a collar means everything. I don’t do 24/7 D/s dynamics any more (for good reasons) but wearing a collar for someone is still a profound display of love, trust, vulnerability and – yes, even for a limited amount of time – giving myself to them completely. For me, my primary partner collaring someone else would be a betrayal akin to putting an engagement ring on someone else.

We were elightened by this realisation, but remain unable to completely reconcile our massively different views on this topic.

But it got me thinking about all the different things collars can mean, and not mean. A simple band of leather (or stainless steel, or faux leather, or whatever) can take on so many different significances. Here are some I thought of, though I am sure there are many more.

A lifetime commitment

This is perhaps the closest to the “a collar is an alternative to a wedding ring” school of thought, to which many kinksters ascribe. For people who feel this way, a collaring – whether with a formal ceremony or not – is as significant as a marriage. I very much felt this way when I was collared to my ex.

Permanent ownership

Not everyone who wears or gives a collar views it as a symbol of ownership or ascribes to an “owner/property” dynamic, but many people do. In this kind of permanent D/s relationship – which may also be romantic or not – the collar can serve as a symbol, marking the submissive out as property of the Dominant. Many people in these types of relationships will use collars that lock and cannot be removed without the key. (If you do this, please, please give your submissive a spare key in case of emergency!) Some even go as far as to get a body modification, such as a tattoo or piercing, in place of or as well as a more traditional collar.

Remember: ownership (of whatever kind) does not necessarily imply monogamy. Polyamory can absolutely be a part of a D/s dynamic.

Temporary ownership

This is perhaps closest to the way in which I think of collars these days. I do not wish to be permanently owned by anyone – but I find enormous comfort, meaning, and hotness in giving “ownership” over me to my partner for a limited amount of time (usually a scene, sometimes an afternoon or day, occasionally up to a weekend). In this type of non-24/7 D/s dynamic, the collar serves as a symbol of going into and then back out of that headspace. When it goes on, I am his property. When it comes off, I am me again.

Connection and closeness

I heard this one a lot from people in long-distance relationships when I threw this question out on Twitter. Wearing a collar can symbolise closeness and connection to your partner, and even a sense of being “with” them while apart.

Consideration or training

There’s a certain school of thought on collaring that has submissives wear a “training collar” or “collar of consideration” for a period of time before being formally taken on as a submissive (at which time they would receive a permanent collar). Many people who view collars in this way describe a collar of consideration as the D/s equivalent of an engagement ring, and the permanent collar as the wedding ring.

A way to get into a headspace

When Mr CK and I go to an event together where I’ll be in the submissive role, often one of the first things he’ll do on arrival is put my collar on me. Kneeling in front of him (or even standing with my head bowed and moving my hair out of the way) while he puts it on is an almost instant subspace trigger for me. This seems to be a pretty common experience – with the collar, you also “put on” a certain role or headspace. Similarly, a pet play enthusiast on Twitter told me that putting on their collar is how they quickly access their “pup” headspace.

Leave me alone, I’m taken!

When I was in a 24/7 D/s relationship, my partner rarely came to events with me. As such, I was usually attending with friends without a partner in tow. Often, I’d be the only person not visibly partnered in our group. So wearing my collar was an easy way to signal “not available!” It worked… sort of. I definitely got significantly less unwanted attention when wearing it (and yes, I did an experiment). Unfortunately, it also led to some comments implying that if he wasn’t physically with me, I was available for any random Dom who took a fancy to me.

Nothing, it’s a tool like any other!

This is the version Mr CK most closely ascribes to. In this schema, a collar is there for what it can do rather than what it means. For example, he’s had me wear an anal hook to an event and then fastened this with rope to the back of my collar. He’s also clipped my cuffed hands to the ring at the front of my collar to immobilise me. There are dozens of ways that a collar can simply be of practical use as part of a bigger scene.

Nothing, it’s just for decoration!

Collars look pretty! I have one that, though I adore it, doesn’t have any particular meaning as part of a relationship (it was given to me as a freebie to review). I sometimes wear it out and about, just because I think it looks pretty, complements my outfit, or subtly flags me as kinky. Which brings me on to…

Flagging kinky in public

“Flagging” originates from the “hanky code” of the 1970s US gay and bi male scene, where coloured handkerchiefs placed in certain positions indicated interest in various sexual practices. Thus, it refers to using outward symbols to subtly indicate your proclivities to other interested parties. There are any number of events where it’s safe to assume many of the participants will also be kinky, but not all of them will be. (Think gay and bisexual community events, goth clubs, geek/sci-fi events, Renaissance Fairs and so on). For me, wearing my collar signals that I am a kinkster and invites other kinksters to come and make friends.

Do you wear a collar, or does your partner? What does it mean to you? Comment below or tweet me – this topic is so fascinating to me in sheer variety alone.

The Taboo Brighton Logo

This post was sponsored by the good folks at Taboo Brighton. Taboo launched in 2003 and has established itself as a genre-defining Brighton retail experience, winner of the “Best Sex Shop in the UK” at the Erotic Trade Awards and once described in The Guardian as the “Dolce and Gabbana of Sex Shops”. It has also featured on many TV shows including C4’s Sugar Rush, The Sex Inspectors and the forthcoming documentary The Family Sex Shop Business. I love checking out Taboo whenever I make it down to Brighton, but you can browse and shop their whole extensive collection online. All views are, as always, my own. 

[Guest Blog] How Sex Writing and Kink is Rebuilding My Body Image by Violet Grey

I’m thrilled to be featuring a guest post by Violet Grey for the second time. Violet is an amazing writer and, as I discovered when I met her in person at Eroticon, an absolute sweetheart of a person as well. Please note this piece includes frank discussion of body image and body shaming, so please take care of yourselves if these topics are difficult for you. Enjoy this piece – maybe make a cup of coffee and savour this one, as there’s a lot of brilliant stuff here. – Amy x

A woman in a purple top looking in a mirror and applying mascara. For a guest blog on body image by Violet Grey.

I think it’s safe to say at some point, we’ve all felt crap about our bodies. We wish our tummies were flatter, biceps bulkier, thighs thinner, dicks bigger, boobs perkier, the works.

With social media playing a growing part in many aspects of our life and work, the discussion around body image has evolved all the more. “#BodyPositive” is a common hashtag, and backlash around the unattainable beauty standards we see in the media is now commonplace. That being said, this is a relatively small counter when compared to the billboards, photoshopping and websites that encourage disordered eating – not to mention the horrendous amounts of trolling we see online.

Seriously, it’s like something out of Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill, which parallels the very toxicity of people (particularly impressionable teenagers finding their feet) judging someone purely by their looks. The idea that if we are not ‘perfect’ we are deserving of such ridicule. It’s scary.

If I’m being candid, my body image isn’t great. In fact, it’s not really even that good but I’m working on it. My body has gone through quite a few changes in the last 18 months. Expanding, shrinking, filling out, more stretch marks, all parts of being a woman and human being.

During these changes I freaked out, put myself down and catastrophised in my own mind that no one would ever find me attractive now I no longer sport a 26-inch waist and got a little thicker in frame – least of all myself. It goes to show that falling into the trap of placing a good dollop of your worth on trying to pigeon-hole yourself is all too easy.

Especially so if you, like me, hail from a performance background, where there’s a prevalent culture of being taught that you will land more work if you look a certain way. While for the most part it’s based on ability and on embodying the role in all ways, sadly it’s not uncommon for people to be told by certain schools, directors, companies etc. that they won’t make it as an actor/performer because they are ‘too fat’ or have some form of physical trait that individual personally deems undesirable.

So when it came to my writing about sexy stuff on the internet, I was pleasantly surprised by what I’ve come across in the community. I’ve admired fellow bloggers who share pictures of themselves on their websites, expressing themselves, clothed or otherwise, in memes such as Boob Day and Sinful Sunday. One of the many things I adore about the sex writing community, is just how inclusive and welcoming it has been for me and others so far.

Most if not all of us have had our own struggles with body image. No matter your size or shape, feeling comfortable in your own skin is not an easy task.

For those who are comfortable posting pictures in these memes or just because, I commend their confidence to do so in a culture that is so hell-bent in having us tear each other down. I see the positive comments, telling each other how beautiful they are (which you are!) and it’s so lovely to see such positivity being spread for all genders and body types. It certainly makes a nice change from the vapid comments you see because of a trivial eyebrow shape or the shape of someone’s arse (*cough cough* Instagram!)

With learning more about the BDSM, kink and fetish communities, I’ve interacted with people from all walks of life who – like all communities – share a common interest. Yes, every community has its politics and the aforementioned are no exception. However, compared to others, a constant I have seen online and in real life is the appreciation of the human form, in all its forms.

From Shibari photography to online social networks for kinky people, it’s been really refreshing to be in an environment that is more inclusive and encouraging of positive body image, regardless of one’s shape or size. It’s refreshing to see different forms of expression, from colourful hair and piercings to androgyny, to bondage art, leather and latex, all celebrated rather than derided. And as a woman, it’s nice to see the female form in all their forms being told they are beautiful, and genuinely so.

Seeing such wonderful people with such confidence has and is helping me to rebuild a better, healthier perception of myself. That I am in fact, only human and that being happy and healthy is more important than ‘fitting in’, and that not only is beauty in the eye of the beholder, but that everyone has their own unique beauty, inside and out. My job is making sure I remember that when I feel shit about myself.

Don’t forget to check out Violet’s blog and give her a follow on Twitter. If YOU would like to guest write for me, you can pitch me during my open reading periods. Also, joining me on Patreon or shopping with my affiliates helps me to keep paying occasional guest bloggers.

Great Reasons to Try Chastity Play

What do we mean by chastity play? Broadly speaking, it’s a form of kink play where the submissive abstains from orgasm – and sometimes from any form of sexual contact – for a period of time as determined by their Dominant. If you’re not currently in a relationship, you can also play with it by yourself, of course. This might or might not include the use of a physical chastity device such as a cock cage or chastity belt. It’s also sometimes referred to as orgasm denial, orgasm control, no-touch, and other variations.

A chastity device for a penis. For a post on chastity play.

So what are some great reasons to give it a go?

It’s a great way to enhance your submission/Dominance

Giving someone control over your sexual release is, in some ways, the ultimate surrender. Whether this involves handing over the keys to your chastity device to a “keyholder”[1] or simply pledging not to touch yourself until given permission, needing someone’s say-so to experience pleasure and orgasm is likely to make you feel submissive to that person really quickly! And for the Dominants amongst you, having someone’s release at your mercy is awesome. Hearing them beg for it is a hell of a power rush.

The eventual pleasure is so much better

When I’ve been denied for a period of time, the eventual orgasm is just so much stronger and more satisfying. A bit like that first bite of your favourite meal when you’re starving hungry, an orgasm after a period of chastity is like no other orgasm you’ll ever experience.

It keeps your mind on your service even as you do other things

Going about your day to day life and feeling your chastity device under your clothes or just remembering you’re not allowed to touch is a great way to feel connected to your Dominant and to your feelings of submission, even when you’re not actually playing.

It’s really fun for long-distance relationships

If you’re long distance, you might wish to implement a rule such as that the submissive is always in chastity when not with the Dominant. A less extreme but still fun version is only allowing your submissive to masturbate and orgasm when on the phone with you. Or you could play edging games on the phone, only to lock your poor submissive up again without release at the end. The possibilities are endless, and playing with chastity is a great way to feel close when you’re apart.

Pleasure can act as a motivator

Are you trying to train your submissive and instill desirable behaviours (or break problematic ones)? Chastity can be a great motivator! Perhaps they only get to touch themselves if they drank their 8 glasses of water today. Maybe you’ll only let them orgasm after they’ve got all their writing done. Or perhaps they get an extra day in the belt for every day they forget to eat breakfast. I’m a big proponent of using kink as a tool for self-improvement. Release-as-reward is one fun way to play with this.

Do you play with chastity? What do you love about it? Tweet me or comment below!

[1] A word of safety caution: ALWAYS keep a spare key where the wearer can access it if they need to. You never know when a medical emergency or similar may crop up.

 

[Kink Product Review] The Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit

Electro play has been an interest of mine ever since I first encountered a restored violet wand at a fetish fair. (Have you seen them? They’re *gorgeous*. They’re also expensive as hell.) Mr CK and I have a friend who has an amazing electro set-up in his home dungeon (yes, we have the kind of friends who have home dungeons) which we love playing with when we get the opportunity to visit.

But until now, exploring electro-play at home has been difficult for us. In large part, this is because it’s such a pricey kink to get into if you want decent kit. A cheap knock-off neon wand set from Amazon was fine for a while, but we found ourselves craving something more. Enter the Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit, which was very kindly sent by Stockroom for us to review.

A word of warning: do not, for the love of all that is holy and good in the world, buy a knock-off neon wand from Amazon or Aliexpress or the like. We were lucky that ours (which I bought when I was young and uneducated!) has stayed in one piece and been reasonably safe, but there are all kinds of horror stories such as this one from Ella Scandal: “...when I plugged it in and switched it on, the socket smoked, banged and flashed, then the upstairs electrics tripped out.” Please, please, please buy your electro-sex gear from a reputable sex toy/BDSM gear supplier.

Let’s go back a step: what is a neon wand?

The neon wand, a modern and cheaper alternative to the violet wand (a turn-of-the-century quack “medical” device) is a popular BDSM toy that discharges electricity across the surface of the skin, creating a sensation that can range from a gentle, warming tickle to a sharp, scratchy pain. I’m informed that the sensation is somewhat similar to getting tattooed, but having inkless skin (for now) I couldn’t testify as to the accuracy of this claim.

I don’t know enough about electrics to go into the detailed science of how it works (sorry!) but a neon wand is what’s known as a “solid state device” (no moving parts). This makes it durable and easy to move around without interruption to the flow of electricity. It also means that modern solid-state devices are likely to be more durable and last longer.

Essentially, a neon wand consists of the main wand handle, and various attachments called electrodes which are made of glass or conductive silicone. You plug your electrode into the wand, and then touch it to the body to transmit electricity across the skin. When switched on, the inside of the clear glass electrodes glows red or purple. How cool is that!? This video is a good visual if you want to see it in action (and hear the sound it makes!)

Why would anyone want to do that!?

There are lots of reasons people might enjoy electro play (sometimes called e-stim, electro-stim or electro-sex). For some, the sensation is relaxing or even meditative. Others are masochists and get off on the more painful end of the spectrum. For some people, these devices play into a medical kink. And for others again, i’s about conquering a fear or seeing how much they can take. The motivations are many and varied – as with most kinks. The only way to know why it makes a particular person tick is to ask them.

Let’s take a closer look at the Obsidian kit…

The Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit is a bundle put together by the good folks at Stockroom (purveyors of kinky goodness extraordinaire) and it’s an electro play lover’s dream! It consists of the neon wand and two attachments – the Electro-Whip and the Flex Capacitor, both made from conductive silicone.

All of this comes attractively packaged in a handy leather zip-up case, branded with the Stockroom logo (yes, it’s real leather, I checked).

Be aware that this kit does NOT come with any glass attachments, so if you want those you’ll need to buy them separately – but they are all available from Stockroom at very reasonable prices. I particularly recommend the comb, the probe, or – for the romantics amongst you – the heart.The neon wand has an 8 foot power cable. A word of warning for my non-US readers: it is a US plug, so you’ll need an appropriate step-down converter to use it safely in your country. Thankfully, I already have one for purposes of using my Magic Wand! The user interface couldn’t be simpler: there’s a single dial control to control the power and intensity.

How did we get on?

When we get a new kink item to try that we’re not experienced with, we try it in a non-scene headspace. (We call it “lab time” because we’re dorks). So that’s what we did with the Neon Wand Obsidian Kit. Problem is, it’s very hard for me to stay in an analytical mode when I’m giggling and thrashing and squirming, which is what this toy had me doing within seconds.

I experience electro-play on a spectrum that ranges from tickle to sting. At the lower ends, it reminds me somewhat of the sensation of having a Wartenberg wheel drawn across my skin. On the higher settings, it’s a sharp and stingy pain. If you’re a thud lover and totally hate stingy sensations, neon wand play is unlikely to be for you.

I love the sensation of electricity, so I totally adored this product. I think we’ll be playing with it a lot more, and we’ll be investing in some extra electrodes to have even more fun with it.

Mr CK’s feedback on this product can best be described as “sadistic giggling”

Let’s meet our electrodes…

The Electro-Whip is actually a small flogger, with ten falls made of conductive silicone. You are not supposed to hit hard with it! Despite the name and design, this “whip” is more designed for dragging across the body, leaving a trail of sparks wherever it goes. You can strike with it gently, but again, think “stroke” rather than “whack”. If you want to hit someone hard, get out an ordinary flogger.

It’s a stingy fucker! The high number of contact points on the body all at once and their small surface area means this one delivers a lot of bite.

The Flex Capacitor is described by Stockroom as the most intense of all neon wand electrodes, and it’s an apt description! The two-pronged tip sends a powerful shock to wherever it touches. The Flex is best for short, sharp bursts of pain. I couldn’t stand this one on any but the lowest settings – it’s THAT intense.

Some quick safety notes

Electro play, done with the proper kit and a bit of common sense, is actually fairly low risk! But of course, like any BDSM activities, there are some risks and knowledge is your first and greatest line of defense. This is not an exhaustive list (I Am Not A Doctor!) and you must always do your research, but as a starting point here are some of the major safety points you need to be aware of:

  • Again, for the love of god, buy a genuine device from a reputable supplier!
  • Check your cords before play. If any of them are frayed or look damaged, do not use the device.
  • Store your device in a dry place and never, ever get it wet or use it in a damp environment such as a bathroom. Make sure your skin is completely dry before you begin playing. Come on guys, we all know water and electricity aren’t friends, don’t we!?
  • Check the voltage/ampage and make sure you are using an appropriate converter for your country’s outlets, if relevant.
  • Do not leave your device plugged in when you’re not using it.
  • Read the instruction manual and follow it.
  • Do not do electro play if you have a pacemaker. Always check before playing with a new partner. Do not assume your partner knows that pacemakers and electro play are a bad combination.
  • Do not do electro play if you have any kind of inbuilt/non-removable medical device in your body (such as, for example, an insulin pump). The electricity can damage your device, putting you at risk.
  • Do not do electro play if you have a heart defect.
  • Don’t do electro play if you experience seizures.
  • Do not do electro play if you are pregnant.
  • Do not hold the device on one spot on the body for more than a second or two. Keep it moving. This will greatly reduce the risk of burns or skin damage.
  • If you experience bad pain or any sensation that worries you, stop immediately.
  • Do not use the device on the face or head, especially near the eyes or mouth.
  • Start out at a low setting, build up slowly, and listen to your body.

Where on the body can you use it?

Most places are fine – I recommend starting out with fleshy areas such as the butt or upper thighs. Upper back, inner thighs, tops of arms and stomach are a little more intense for most people, but fun if you’re up for it. If you’re feeling brave, try the nipples, labia, shaft of the penis, or soles of the feet (go very, very carefully in these areas and start on a low setting.) Again, never use your electro play device near the head or face. You should also never insert it into the vagina, anus or mouth.

So do we recommend it?

Definitely! Though with the caveat that I think this is a kit for more advanced players, or those who know they like a little more intensity to their play. If you’re completely new and nervous about electro play, I’d suggest starting with the standard neon wand kit. The glass electrodes don’t pack quite such a punch as the Whip and Flex Capacitor.

But for electro afficionados looking for something a bit more, this kit is a great investment and will be a fabulous addition to your kitbag.

The Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit retails for $188 (about £145).

Thank you to Stockroom for sending us this product to review. If you buy through one of my affiliate links, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are, as ever, my own. All pictures are by me – do not steal them, thanks!

Yes, I Have a Problem with Fifty Shades… But It’s Not What You Think

It’s actually more accurate to say I have several problems with Fifty Shades of Grey, the infamous erotic trilogy (plus rewrites-with-the-pronouns-flipped) about the kinky-ish love between naive college student Anastasia Steele and young handsome billionaire  Christian Grey.

A block of grey paint samples in reference to Fifty Shades of GreyYes, I’ve read the first book, and enough of the second and third to get the gist. I’ve also read Cliff Pervocracy and Jenny Trout’s recaps (which are hilarious, by the way). Make no mistake: these books are horribly written and I did not find them erotic in the slightest. The sex depicted in them is either boringly vanilla, dubiously consensual (or straight up rapey), or both. The main characters are both awful people and the dialogue is about as sexy as a root canal. As a kinkster, I hate that people think this is what we’re about. As a writer, I think it’s a travesty that Ms James has made more money than anyone ever needs in a lifetime, while genuinely talented artists are underpaid and undervalued every day.

So yes. I have issues with this book. But they’re not that it’s an unrealistic kinky romance between a virginal college student and a vampire billionaire.

“But it’s fantasy!” fans cry.

And yes. It is. Look, I’ll be the last person to tell you that you can’t have your fantasies, even your problematic ones. Fantasy is not reality and fantasy exists to enable us to escape from the real world for a while. And nowhere is that more true than in sexual fantasy.

A huge part of the reason that erotica and porn should only be accessed by adults is that adults, typically, understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Jaime Mortimer wrote a really good post on this recently.

I’m not going to infantilise everyone who reads Fifty Shades or any other problematic book and tell you that it’s going to turn you into a rapist or make you leave your husband for an emotionally stunted billionare (or a vampire in a Volvo). I read plenty of erotic fiction and plenty of it has themes that would be super problematic if they were real – doctor/patient scenarios, professor/student scenarios, consensual-non-consent roleplay, voyeurism and exhibitionism, public sex and more are just some of the themes I’ve enjoyed in my sexy fiction.

Guess what? Fantasy. And again: adults, overall, have the capability to understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

So enjoy Fifty Shades, if it’s your thing, as a fantasy about a naive young woman being seduced by an dude with more money than God and pants that hang from his hips (yes, this is an actual line in the book). Enjoy the light BDSM, the sexy  helicopter rides, the grumpy, brooding, damaged male lead if you want to. I’ll be the last person to judge you for enjoying some silly escapism or some improbable erotica if that’s what gets you off.

My problem with Fifty Shades is actually in the social and cultural narrative surrounding Fifty Shades.

Because this is not a great love story. This is not something to which young women should aspire! And the problem is that it’s being sold that way.

There is tonnes of erotica (and straight romantic fiction) out there that relies on problematic tropes and scenarios that are hot in fiction but would be a terrible idea in reality. That’s fine. Again: fantasy is cool, y’all!

But none of that has the marketing power behind it that Fifty Shades does. Ms James and her publishing team have made their collective fortunes not on selling Fifty Shades as fluffy erotic fantasy, but on selling Fifty Shades as a style of relationship to which we should all aspire.

And that is what is dangerous about this book. Not the fantasy it depicts, but the marketing power that sells that fantasy as genuinely aspirational. Because make no mistake, the relationship between Christian and Ana is very often abusive.

How many young women do you think have watched this movie, and decided that if this is romance, my boyfriend obviously only super jealous and controlling because he loves me? Or, Ana loves Christian out of abusing her, so if only I behaved better my husband would stop hitting me? Maybe not in quite so literal terms, but make no mistake – these messages are out there, and victims of abuse are listening and absorbing.

You might think this is hyperbole, but it’s not. This is the kind of power that massive marketing budgets, ingrained cultural narratives about love, and a total lack of sensible sex-and-relationships education has.

I don’t blame Fifty Shades for my own experience in an abusive D/s relationship, of course. But I do partly blame growing up surrounded by the idea that if a man hurt me, my job was to heal him so he could love me properly in the end.

Fifty Shades is far from the only story to suffer from this phenomenon

We have always built collective cultural narratives around these deeply problematic stories. I am reasonably confident in saying I doubt that Shakespeare intended Romeo & Juliet to be considered the greatest love story of all time. If you read it as a love story and analyse it for more than three seconds, it’s a ridiculous play. If you reread it as a satire about “love at first sight” and teenage stupidity, though, it becomes utterly brilliant. (While we’re at it, Wuthering Heights isn’t a great love story either. And Christian Grey bears a passing resemblence to Heathcliff in a variety of ways.)

Despite being for children, even Disney movies sell us some pretty horrible messages about relationships. Think about it: marriage is the ultimate goal for any girl. Once a man chooses you, you’ll live happily ever after.  Cinderella tells us to be good and subservient and pretty until a man rescues us; The Little Mermaid tells us that what we have to say is the least valuable thing about us; Sleeping Beauty suggests that kissing a sleeping stranger is totes a sensible and romantic thing to do… and so it goes on. We’re drip-fed these messages from earliest childhood, so is it really any wonder that so many of us grow up with totally screwed up ideas about what relationships are actually supposed to look like?

Don’t ban – educate

In closing: I don’t support the banning of Fifty Shades or other problematic stories. Fantasy is important and something we should all be able to have access to. Instead, we need a greater cultural understanding and greater education around separating fantasy from reality, and understanding what healthy relationships actually are.

I’d be much happier with the thousands and thousands of twenty-something women enjoying Fifty Shades as sexy, escapist fantasy if they weren’t already surrounded by a culture that teaches them if he hits you, it’s your job to be better so he can heal from his fucked up past.

[Kink Product Review] Lovehoney Take Control Bondage Kit

I often groan at the idea – and the reality – of sex toy kits. Too often, they’re lots of cheap and bad quality things shoved together in a pretty box and sold for a premium. If pressed for an opinion, I’ll nearly always tell my readers to forego a kit and spend a bit more on just one or two quality items. However, I try to keep an open mind, and occasionally something surprises me. The Take Control Bondage Kit from Lovehoney pleasantly surprised me.

Through the eyes of a beginner…

I’m practically a kinky veteran at this point. I’ve been practicing BDSM for about a decade and have accrued a sizeable collection of toys – expensive leather floggers, my fabulous vegan leather collar, the gorgeous hand-made whip I gave Mr CK last Christmas, our electro-play kit, and more. So beginner kits are not something I would ever normally buy for myself. Therefore, I am trying to step back in time ten years or so and view this kit through the eyes of someone who is just starting out in their kinky explorations.

Inviting and Fun Packaging…

The Take Control Bondage Kit comes in one simple box, with all the products clearly displayed on the front so you know exactly what to expect. The packaging is bright and fun, which I suspect is a deliberate choice to make it non-intimidating to the new and nervous.

There’s a LOT of information on the box, too. I really like the way that there’s a brief description on how to use each item on the back, and also that they pay attention to safety and consent! The box reminds you to use safewords, never leave a bound person alone, and have a non-verbal safe signal if someone is gagged. In this regard, I’m really impressed. It’s pretty 101 stuff, but safety/consent 101 is exactly the information that the target market for this kit needs. A+ for that.

The unboxing…

I wasn’t delighted with the way the box was packed – everything was just sort of piled in, each item wrapped in a cellophane wrapper. It would have been nicer to have an inner tray with slots for everything. Some little storage bags for the items would also be a welcome addition. Assuming you don’t want to throw everything back in the box when you’re done playing, it’s not an ideal storage solution.

With that said, I was immediately pretty impressed with what was inside. Some (many) beginner BDSM kits are filled with things that are dubiously even safe, let alone of good quality.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside, shall we? Just for fun, I’ve included a fun tip or an idea to try with each item.

1: Blindfold

This blindfold is super comfy. It’s nice and thick and padded, and I couldn’t see a thing when it was on. The band is stretchy, too, so it should fit most people comfortably.

Pro kink tip: blindfold your partner and stroke different things across their body – a silk scarf, a piece of velvet, the tails of your flogger – and make them guess what each item is.

2. Nipple suckers

I really liked these! They’re a great gentle introduction to nipple play, and perfect if you want some sensation but without the pain of clamps or clothes pegs. I have pretty small nipples on fairly large breasts, and I found these stayed in place very nicely once I’d suctioned them onto my chest.

If you flick or hit them too hard, they will fly off, but they can withstand some gentle playing and wiggling.

Pro kink tip: tell your partner to fetch you something from another room with these on. They’ll have to move carefully… they’ll be spanked if one falls off!

3. Ball gag

Full disclosure: I hate ball gags. I fucking hate them. They make my jaw hurt, they make my face contort into an expression that no-one could possibly find attractive, they make me drool, and I can’t kiss my partner when I’m wearing one. I. Hate. Them.

With that said, this is a good one if you like that sort of thing. The holes make it breathable, and being silicone it’s non-porous which makes it hygienic. The holes do make it somewhat of a pain to clean, so take extra care when you’re cleaning it. Warm water and gentle soap is the best way to go here.

I also like how adjustable this gag is. With 9 buckle holes, it will fit most people comfortably.

Pro kink tip: make your submissive try to repeat words back to you (try phrases like “I’m a dirty little slut”) while gagged.

4. Flogger

This is a stingy little bastard! Don’t let the small size fool you, it can pack a wallop. The falls are made of thin rubber, which delivers a vicious sting when you put some force behind it. If pain isn’t your thing, you can drag it sensually across the skin for a gentle tickle. I would have liked the handle to have a bit more width and weight to it.

Pro kink tip: Try – gently – flogging the vulva or penis if your partner is up for it. Remember to clean your flogger thoroughly afterwards.

5. Wrist and ankle cuffs

These were the weakest part of the kit by far, for me. They’re quite thin and made of nylon, with no padding, which means they chafe if you put any pressure on them at all. They’re fine for exploring the feeling of being restrained, but if you’re into rough play and would be wanting to pull against them, they’re not a good option for that.

Try restraint with these, by all means, to see if you like it. But then ditch them and get some proper cuffs. And I hope it goes without saying that you should never, EVER suspend from wrist or ankle cuffs. These are not designed to take any real weight.

Pro kink tip: Restrain your partner then make them watch you masturbate in front of them.

6. Under-bed restraints

These are great, except for the tiny detail that they don’t fit on our bed! We have a Super King bed (which is the best thing ever, seriously. I always tell Mr CK that my relationship with him and the bed is polyamorous in itself.) Turns out these restraints fit up to King Size. So they’ll be fine for the vast majority of people, but if you have a ridiculous bed like us, they may not fit.

That said, they’re still a great addition to the kit. They’re strong, durable, and easy to set up… and tuck out of sight when you’re done, if you want to. The little clips mean you can easily add different cuffs to them, so when you ditch the rubbish cuffs in this set and get some better ones, you can still use them with this restraint system.

Pro kink tip: when your partner is restrained, run a cube of ice along their body… or drip candle wax onto their skin (read up on how to do wax play safely first, of course!)

7. Silicone suction-cup dildo

Do my eyes deceive me, or… no, it’s actually a body-safe dildo in a BDSM kit! With an insertable length of 6 inches and a diameter of 1.5″, it’s perfect for vaginal play. It’s possibly a bit ambitious for first-time anal sex or pegging, but most people could easily work up to it with a bit of time and warm-up.

The slight curve makes this dildo feel delicious for G-spot or prostate stimulation, and the silicone is super soft and silky. The suction cup is also a nice addition and makes this toy more versatile.

It’s even got a convenient hollow in the base where you can slip the bullet vibe that comes with this kit to turn your dildo into a G-spot vibrator!

Remember to use water-based lube with your silicone dildo for the best experience.

Pro kink tip: tease your lover’s entrance with just the tip of the dildo. If they want it inside, they have to thrust on to it!

8. Strap-on harness

This is actually the same harness that I bought as part of a pegging kit a few years ago. I’ve used it many, many times to top for both vaginal and anal penetration, and it’s still my favourite harness. It’s comfortable, the dildo stays in place well during thrusting, and the rings are interchangeable so you can use it with any dildo with a flared base.

Pro kink tip: If you have a vulva, put on a wearable vibrator before you put on your harness, so that you get some clitoral pleasure while you fuck your partner.

9. Wired bullet vibrator

This was the biggest surprise in the kit for me. I was fully expecting it to be awful. While it’s not the strongest vibrator in the world, it’s not a bad little bullet for the size. I was able to orgasm with it quickly and easily. It has a number of patterns as well as steady vibration speeds.

I didn’t love the wire element, but you cannot expect to get a wireless bullet for this price-point. It’s long enough for one partner to comfortably have control of the remote while the other holds the vibrator against their genitals.

Pro kink tip: switch it off just when your lover is on the edge of orgasm. Make them beg for release.

Other things to note

  • The bullet takes 2x AAA batteries, not included.
  • There is no real leather in this kit, making it entirely vegan-friendly.

Overall Verdict: do I recommend it?

On the whole, a very solid kit for the price. I wouldn’t recommend it to folks more experienced in kink and BDSM, but for those of you who are new and looking to explore different sensations and types of power-play, this kit is a great starting point.

The Take Control kit retails for £79.99 ($109.99 US) which is a reasonable price for the quality and variety. As you get more into your kink and discover what you like, I’d encourage you to drop more money on single items if you can – a quality, handcrafted whip or flogger will last you a lifetime, perhaps, or some really high quality natural fibre rope? But to get you started? Look no further.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the Take Control Bondage Kit in exchange for an honest review. If you choose to purchase this or anything else from Lovehoney, please buy through my affiliate links – it supports the blog at no extra cost to you!