Fun and Sexy Ways to Celebrate Halloween at Home

Like so many other things, Halloween is going to look a little different this year. There won’t be any big parties, club nights, or trips to the dungeon. But there are still lots of ways you can celebrate! Since this is a sex blog, let’s look at a few fun and sexy ways you can have a fabulous Halloween at home.

Create some spooky sexy content

Whether you’re a porn performer, a cam model, or just enjoy getting a bit exhibitionistic online for the fun of it, why not create some Halloween-themed sexy content at home?

How much you want to lean into this is up to you. You could do your usual thing but swap out your regular outfits of choice for some witchy black latex, or you could get really creative and build a whole scene around a spooky scenario. Erotica writers could write some seasonal smut.

Fun fact: In researching this article, I discovered that the keyphrase “halloween porn” gets Google searched 170,000 per month on average. So what I’m saying is that there’s a market for this.

Dress up with your partner

Doing Halloween at home with your lover(s) this year? Spice (or spook) things up with some thematically-appropriate bedroom fancy dress.

Lovehoney have a fun array of inexpensive sexy costumes. I’m pairing the Fierce leather-look body with this wig for a witchy look.

My body in lingerie. For a post about celebrating Halloween at home.

Whether you look devilish in red or let your inner Catwoman out to play, you can tap into the Halloween spirit without ever leaving your bedroom.

Have a hot virtual party

Got a few trusted friends or playmates you’d be partying with if it was safe to do so? You can still get into the Halloween spirit with a fun online party. Get dressed up and show your outfits off to each other on cam, make some suitably ghoulish cocktails/mocktails, and maybe even have a costume contest.

Do something that scares you just a little bit

Have you got a kink you’ve always wanted to try, but been too nervous to actually go for it? The spirit of Halloween is all about playing with fear. So if you’re up for it and you want to, take the opportunity to try that thing that scares you just a little bit.

Naturally, the same rules for trying a new kink apply here. Communicate lots, do it sober, put every viable safety precaution in place, have a safeword, and only try edgy things with someone you feel completely safe with.

Have a virtual horror movie date

Virtual dates have come into their own more than ever before this year. If you’re not physically with your partner or have recently started dating someone new, you could have a virtual Halloween horror movie date.

(Or, you know, any other kind of movie. I hate horror, I’m just trying to keep this post on theme.)

You might not be able to snuggle up and hold their hand at the scary bits, but at least you can keep each other company wherever you are in the world. Looking for some inspiration? Check out this list of the sexiest horror movies.

How are you doing Halloween at home?

I’d love to hear any fun ideas you have to celebrate this year!

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5 Things I Used to Believe About Myself (That I Don’t Believe Any More)

I’m writing this as part of the Smutathon 2020 writing challenge in aid of Endometriosis UK. We’re coming to the end of hour number 10, with two more to go.

This one is inspired by this week’s Quote Quest prompt:

“Change your conception of yourself and you will automatically change the world in which you live. Do not try to change people; they are only messengers telling you who you are. Revalue yourself and they will confirm the change.”
– Neville Goddard

I’ve done a lot of work on changing my perception of myself over the last few years, particularly since leaving my abusive partner just over 5 years ago.

So here are some of the things I used to believe about myself but don’t believe any more.

I have a low sex drive

Turns out I DON’T have a low sex drive – if anything, my libido is on the higher side (depression notwithstanding). I just thought I had a low sex drive for a long time, because I was in relationships where I didn’t feel empowered own my sexuality.

The first two men I had long-term relationships with both conceptualised my sexuality as something they could – should – own. They both placed a high value on “purity” and “innocence”, expecting me to stay a timid, shy creature forever. They wanted my availability, but my actual desire was somewhere between “irrelevant” and “mildly distasteful”.

I don’t have a low libido at all. No – I just need to be with people who value it.

I can’t leave a relationship

This is probably the most toxic and harmful thing I used to believe about myself. I believed this one for years. Prided myself on it, even. However bad things got, I told myself, I wouldn’t be the one to leave.

Loyalty and commitments are values I hold very close to my heart and take very seriously. But loyalty and commitment have limits. Eventually, even the most devoted person will be pushed too far. It wasn’t actually a virtue to stay in a relationship with someone who continually harmed me. It was a symbol of a profound degredation of my personal boundaries and self esteem.

Now, I know that if I am not being treated well, I will leave. And as a result, I’m in healthier relationships.

I’m too difficult to love

This was another narrative my abuser put into my head. He convinced me that I was inherently difficult to love because of my mental illness, trauma, and – frankly – my reasonable and sane negative reactions to the ways he treated me.

Another part of the reason I stayed so long? Because he convinced me that no-one else would love me the way he did. That I was “poison” and “cursed” (his words) and that he was doing me a huge favour by putting up with me.

The reality? I’m no more difficult to love than anyone else. We all have our “stuff” and in any long-term, commited relationship it will sometimes feel challenging. But no-one is too difficult to love. Especially not due to things like illness or trauma.

I’m defined by my trauma

It would be a lie to say that my trauma hasn’t changed me. Of course it has. No-one can come out of a long-term abusive relationship unscathed. The fact is that I do not know who I would have been without that experience.

But that doesn’t mean I am defined by my trauma. It is a part of me, but it is not me. I’m many things, and a survivor is one of them – an important one. But not all there is. Not by a long shot.

I’m straight

Lol.

Yeah, this is something I really used to believe about myself at one time. Seems strange now.

If you haven’t donated to Smutathon 2020’s charity yet, please do so now! We’re into the last couple hours and we really need your support. (If you read this in the week or so following the event, the page will still be open).

Sex Tips for Bad Depression Days

Hi, I’m Amy and I have depression. (Plus anxiety, PTSD, and a whole fun laundry list of Brain Stuff! But today we’re focusing on depression).

My depression and I have learned to live with each other over the years. It’s not exactly a good relationship, but we’ve reached an uneasy truce of sorts. One of the biggest challenges for me has been navigating the impact of depression on my sexuality.

To that end, here are some of the things I’ve learned about sex on bad depression days. Take the ones that work for you, discard the rest. We’re all different, and what works for me might not work for you.

It’s okay to not have sex

I feel like this should-be-obvious-but-isn’t point is often missed out of conversations about sex and depression. If you just can’t right now, that’s okay! You’re no less of a partner or a sex-positive person if you sometimes can’t or don’t want to have sex at all.

If you don’t feel like it? Give yourself a break and let your libido return in its own time.

But you’re also allowed to want sex!

There’s a school of thought (that I hate) that says it’s not okay to have sex ith a depressed person. Well if that was the case, I wouldn’t have gotten laid at all since… March?

If you want to have sex, even while you’re depressed, that’s okay! As long as you have capacity to consent, there’s no reason not to go ahead and enjoy having sex if you want to.

One of the worst things past partners have done when I’ve been depressed is decline sex (that they otherwise would have wanted) to “protect me from myself”. A depressed person is still a grown-ass adult capable of making choices, and doesn’t need to be protected from their own desire for sex.

See sex as self care

If you’d like to have sex and think it would make you feel better, why not conceptualise it as being in the same category as drinking a glass of water, going for a walk, or meditating? That is, as an act of self-care.

I find this particularly useful when it comes to masturbation. If I push through the fog and get myself to masturbate, an orgasm will invariably make me feel better… or at least help me sleep (which will make me feel better).

Have low-energy sex

For many people, including me, one of the primary symptoms of depression is debilitating exhaustion. When I’m in that space, four-hour marathon fuck sessions in all kinds of creative positions are just not going to happen.

But lying back while my partner fucks me? Crawling over their lap for a spanking? Pushing a wand vibrator against my junk (possibly through clothing) and just leaving it there until I come? That I can do!

Use the physical to take you out of your head

Lots of people find intense workouts or adrenaline-fuelled challenges comforting when they’re depressed. This is because focusing on something very physical can take your focus away from the dark places your brain is going to.

For me, that intense physical experience is sex and/or kink. If I have highly physical sex, it allows me to focus on something else besides the hell my brain is dragging me through. Whether it’s the thud of body-on-body or the slap of a heavy flogger across my butt, physical sensations take me out of my depression spiral and ground me in the moment.

Honour where your body is at

Sometimes, depression can mess with physical arousal. In other words, the brain might be willing, but the body has other ideas. For people with penises, this might result in difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. People with vulvas might struggle with a lack of natural lubrication.

The best way to have great sex on bad depression days is to honour where your body is and meet it there. That means staying curious, staying adaptable, and trying not to get frustrated or cast blame.

If you can, see it as an opportunity for learning and experimentation. If you want to have sex but your penis just isn’t getting hard today, why not pleasure your partner with your hand, your mouth, or a toy? And if genital stimulation is difficult right now, you could trade massages, experiment with kink, or just hold your partner and whisper filth in their ear while they jerk off.

Use the tools that help

Sex toys are amazing any time, but they really come into their own for me on bad depression days. If a partner’s bio-dick isn’t getting hard (or they don’t feel like using it), they can use a dildo on me. If I’m not up for penetration, clitoral vibes can provide tonnes of pleasure.

Then of course there’s probably my favourite depression-sex tool of all time: lube! When I’m sad, I can be mentally turned on but my body might not have the physical response to match. Tonnes of lube keeps things painless and fun.

So there you have it – my sex-and-depression tips. I’d love to know if any of these work for you, or if you have any favourite strategies I’ve not thought of!

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This post is part of my #SexEdSeptember series. If you find my work useful, you can help me keep doing this by buying me a coffee! This post contains affiliate links.

How to Actively Unlearn Toxic Beliefs About Sex

“So many things to unlearn…”
– The Other Me

Our beliefs and ideas about sex, relationships, love, and life don’t happen in a vacuum. We are, all of us, steeped in a culture that is sex-negative, sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and body-negative. Unless you grew up with parents who had unusually radical ideas, most of us reach adulthood with at least some baggage to unpack, some toxic beliefs to unlearn.

But how do you do it?

I believe unlearning is an active process. None of us can grow, change, and learn to do better without, well, doing. Sitting back and waiting for enlightenment never helped anyone, and it certainly never made any progress towards dismantling the broken system.

So you want to actively unlearn some of the toxic beliefs that are holding you back? Great! Buckle in and let’s go.

Be prepared to be uncomfortable

Unlearning is hard sometimes. If you expect it to be simple and comfortable, you’re not going to be able to engage fully with the process.

Accept it’s going to be uncomfortable. Acknowledge that, and welcome it if you can. Just like a little bit of muscular soreness after hitting the gym means you’re getting stronger, a little bit of mental discomfort means you’re expanding your worldview and opening yourself up to new ideas.

Interrogate why you think something

Why do you believe what you believe? Okay, interrogate that. Drill deeper. “I just do” isn’t a good enough reason. “It’s just a feeling” doesn’t count.

If you hold beliefs that you think might be toxic or not serving you any longer, ask yourself why you hold them. You might find that they’re what you were taught at home or in church or at school, but that they don’t represent your beliefs any more.

You’re allowed to change your views. In fact, as you unlearn the toxic thing you were taught, you probably will.

Confession time: when I was in my late teens and very early 20s, I was anti sex work. Not really in an active way, I just kinda passively believed it was by definition harmful to women. As I got older and started consuming more sex-positive media, I started to question this belief. I realised that I held it because I’d been told that sex work was inherently unfeminist, and as a baby proto-feminist I hadn’t thought to interrogate that any further.

When I held those beliefs up to the light and really looked at them, the logic fell apart. When I started listening to sex workers’ voices and reading more about the subject, I realised those views were actually out of sync with my feminism and my politics. So I changed them.

Don’t be (too) ashamed of what you thought before

As you learn and grow, you’ll inevitably at some point find yourself feeling ashamed. Perhaps you used to have a toxic or bigoted view that you don’t hold any more. Perhaps you are just suddenly very aware of how much you didn’t know.

Here’s the thing, though: none of us come into this world knowing this stuff. Our opinions, views, and politics develop over our lifetimes. That’s a good thing!

So if you’re a little bit ashamed of what you used to think or believe, that can be a useful tool for growth. But don’t let yourself swim in it. That isn’t good for you or for anyone else.

Remember: when you know better, you can do better. Growth and moving forward is the goal.

Have nuanced discussions with friends who have different experiences

I am not, of course, suggesting you put yourself in the path of people who wish you harm. Queer folks don’t owe it to homophobes to patiently educate them. Trans people don’t have to debate cis bigots to earn their humanity. And so on. But if you’re trying to interrogate your views about sex (or anything else), spending time with people whose experiences differ from yours can be surprisingly eye-opening.

One of the things I treasure about my friendship with Christine of Light in Grey Places is that we come from very different backgrounds and had/have wildly different experiences of sex and relationships. Yet we’ve always been able to have respectful discussions that have, I think, led both of us to learn some things from the other.

We also found we had way more in common than not – yes, we come at it from different angles, but ultimately we both value consent, agency, and equality.

Take the time to have nuanced discussions with friends you feel safe discussing these issues with. It’s one of the many reasons why sex-positive friends are such a gift.

Expand the media you consume

Expanding the things you read, watch, listen to, and consume is one of the best ways to expose yourself to more views and experiences. Start listening to sex-positive podcasts, add queer stories to your Netflix queue and to-be-read pile. Flood your social media feeds with the kinds of educators you want to learn from. Soak up their words and read the resources they share.

Expanding the media you consume can include porn and erotica if you’re into those things, too. Do you always watch porn with thin, white bodies? If so, try searching out a greater diversity of performers. Do you exclusively consume erotica featuring young, cis, able-bodied characters? If so, why not challenge yourself to check out content written by and for queer folks, trans folks, older folks, disabled folks? Simply expanding your horizons of what you consider “sexy” is a great step to take.

As you unlearn your toxic beliefs about sex, relationships, bodies, and more, you’ll probably find that you naturally start gravitating to a more diverse range of media.

Step away from environments that reinforce the problematic narratives

This isn’t always possible or easy, of course, and I don’t want to diminish the very real struggles – and dangers – that can come with separating yourself from toxic environments.

But if it’s safe and possible to do so, can you step away from spaces that reinforce the toxic beliefs you’re trying to shed? Can you see your bigoted family members less often, find a more open-minded church to attend, stop hanging out with that one friend who makes “edgy” jokes that are actually just offensive?

It’s hard to unlearn beliefs that are being reinforced every step of the way by people desperate to hold you back from learning and doing better.

But with a little effort and intention, we can all start to unlearn the toxic things we were taught.

The Quote Quest badge for a post on how to unlearn toxic beliefs about sex.

Today’s post is my submission for this week’s Quote Quest, a weekly meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing about this week. This post is ALSO part of my #SexEdSeptember series! Want to support my work? You can do that by sharing this post, signing up for my newsletter, or buying me a coffee!

What is Consent? 10 Fundamentals Everyone Needs to Understand

Most of us think we know what consent is. But when you start to look at it more closely, the “what is consent?” question becomes murkier and far more complex.

Today I want to share ten basic but essential fundamentals that I wish everybody understood.

Content note: this one contains discussion of sexual violence and a reference to murder.

It’s not just about sex

Consent is vital when it comes to sex, of course. But if we only apply consent to sex, we’re missing out a whole bunch of really vital steps.

Instead, I’d like us to conceptualise consent as something we apply in all areas of our lives. If your child doesn’t want to hug or kiss a relative, don’t make them. When your partner tells you they HATE being tickled, don’t take it as a challenge. If your friend has decided to quit alcohol, don’t push them to drink. And so on and so on.

If we normalise respecting people’s choices and autonomy in all areas of life, it becomes easier to normalise informed consent as a minimum standard for sex.

It’s contextual

Consent to something in one context doesn’t imply consent to it in another. I might love my partner casually grabbing my ass in the kitchen while we’re cooking dinner. It doesn’t mean I want them to do it when I’m on a work call!

Never assume that consent in Context A implies consent in Context B. Always ask if you’re not sure.

It’s not transferable

Consent is inherently person-specific. In other words, consenting to something with one person doesn’t mean you’ll agree to it with someone else. This one should really be self-evident. Unfortunately, in a world where prior consensual sexual activity with someone else is still widely used to discredit survivors of sexual violence, it still needs reiterating.

It’s reversible

Consent is not meaningful if it cannot be revoked. In other words, all parties must be able to stop the activity at any point. That might mean ending an interaction, changing up the activity, or even walking away from a relationship entirely.

I don’t care if you’re the most Twue Real D/s Couple that ever existed. Consent is never, ever, ever irreversible. If it can’t be revoked, you don’t have a relationship, you have a hostage situation.

It must be informed

Consent without all pertinent information isn’t really consent.

Years ago, a friend of mine agreed to engage in a knife play scene with a Dominant who said they had years of experience. My friend found out later that the person had lied – they had hardly any experience at all. This rendered the consent she’d given meaningless, because it was given under false pretences.

In other words, lying or deliberately omitting information in order to obtain someone’s consent makes it meaningless.

It’s specific

Consent to Activity A doesn’t imply consent to Activity B. If I’ve consented to kiss you, that doesn’t mean you can stick your hand down my pants without asking. If I say you can tie me up, that doesn’t mean you also get to spank me unless I say you can. And so on.

Never assume that someone is up for something based on their having consented to something different. If there’s any doubt, ask or check in.

It’s about much more than just “not saying no”

Sadly, I still hear “but she/he/they didn’t say no” as a defence when consent has been violated. Here’s the thing: consent is about much more than just the absence of a “no”.

Is the other person actively engaged in what you’re doing together? Are they responding positively? If not, pause and check in. If they shrug, say something non-committal, or otherwise seem uncomfortable, stop.

It’s everyone’s responsibility

As I wrote about in this week’s Coffee Date, sex education is too often based on a “boys push, girls say no” model. But this is a gross over-simplification of what consent is and how it works.

Bottom line? It’s everyone’s responsibility. Never make assumptions about what someone might be “up for” based on their gender or any other characteristic.

It has limits

As a general rule, I’m a proponent of allowing informed, consenting adults to make the best decisions for themselves. However, this principle has its limits. Following the murder of Grace Millane, the UK outlawed use of the so-called “rough sex defence” in murder trials.

Here’s a great article from my friend Franki Cookney on why the rough sex defence is an antithesis to what consensual kink is all about. The bottom line? Fun, consensual kink play doesn’t cause serious harm. People cannot consent to GBH or death.

You’ll mess it up sometimes

This is the hardest one to swallow, and yet the most essential. We are, all of us, human and imperfect. I’ve made consent mistakes in the past, and I’m sure you have too.

Here’s the thing: making a mistake or fucking up in good faith doesn’t make you a garbage person. It makes you human. Apologise, change your behaviour, and learn from the incident so you don’t cause the same harm again.

What we can do is to do our best in all circumstances. This way, when we make a mistake it’s likely to be relatively minor, rather than an enormous violation that will cause someone else untold damage.

Consent is complicated!

What do you wish someone had taught you about consent?

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This post is part of my Sex Ed September series, where I’ll be sharing educational content all month long. If you find my work valuable, buying me a coffee help keeps the lights on at C&K HQ.

6 Important Things to Consider When You Choose Your First Sex Toy

If there’s one question I wish people would stop asking me, it’s “what’s the best sex toy?” I understand the reasoning behind this question, of course. When someone’s trying to choose their first sex toy, the options can be overwhelming.

Problem is, it’s the wrong question. Because the best sex toy for me won’t be the best toy for you!

To that end, here’s a quick guide to some of the important factors you should consider when you go toy shopping.

Choosing Your First Sex Toy

Buying a sex toy for the first time can be thrilling and nervewracking in equal measure. If you’ve never bought one before, how do you know if you’ll like something or not?

Unfortunately, there are no foolproof ways. But asking yourself these questions will help.

What kind of stimulation do you like?

Even if you’ve never used a toy before, you might have some idea of what kinds of stimulation you enjoy during partnered or solo sex.

Do you like intense clitoral stimulation? If so, a wand might do it for you. Do you like your sensations very pinpoint, very broad, or somewhere in between? Do you like deep penetration or shallow? Are you into length, girth, or both? And so on.

Use what you already know about your body to guide your choice.

What body part(s) do you want to use it on?

Most toys are designed with specific body parts in mind, but many can also be repurposed and used in different ways. Still, knowing which part(s) you’d like to stimulate will help you make a good choice.

Are you looking for internal (vaginal) stimulation, clitoral, or both? At the same time or separately? Do you want something to use on your penis? How do you feel about anal play? And so on.

If you’re not sure, choose a versatile toy. Many vibrators can be used both internally and externally. Dildos with a flared base are anal-safe as well as vaginal-safe.

What kind of play will it be used for?

I think you all know by now how I feel about the concept of “sex toys for couples”. (There’s no such thing! Anything is a couples’ toy if you use it with your partner!)

However, the kind of play you’ll use your toys for will have some bearing on what you choose. I absolutely love my wands. But I rarely use them during penetrative sex, because they’re just so hefty and it’s hard to fit them between bodies. If I want clitoral stimulation during vaginal or anal sex, I’m more likely to reach for my favourite bullet.

You might choose something different if you’re after a toy for solo play versus something to use with your partner. Again, you might not – but bear this in mind.

A selection of drawings of sex toys, for a post on choosing your first sex toy
Original artwork for Coffee & Kink by Charlotte Willcox

Where and when will you be using it?

Do you have children or roommates at home who you’re worried about disturbing? Does your house have thin walls? Discretion matters a great deal to some people, and not at all to others. Consider your living situation and privacy needs when you select a toy.

Do you like to masturbate in the bath or shower? If so, choose a waterproof toy. Will you be wanting to take your toy with you when you travel? In that case, something smaller or portable is a good bet. Do you regularly play in places like sex clubs where there might not be easy access to a power outlet? If so, rechargeable or battery powered is probably better than mains-powered.

What’s your budget?

This is the first question I ask people when they ask me for a sex toy recommendation, because toys vary wildly in price.

Fortunately, you can get good quality toys on a budget. So don’t let anyone tell you that you have to settle for unsafe crap if you can’t afford to drop three figures on a sex toy! This is simply not true and there are loads of manufacturers making awesome products that won’t break the bank.

Have a maximum budget, or at least a range, in mind before you go shopping.

Do aesthetics matter to you?

Some people have strong aesthetic preferences for their toys. For example, some are super turned on by a hyper-realistic dildo, while others find it offputting. Some like their toys in bright, vibrant colours. Some hate pink. Cuteness is appealing to some and cringy to others. And so on.

Do you have strong feelings on how you’d like your toy to look? You might not, and that’s okay! But if you do, pay attention to what you feel drawn to.

What next?

It’s literally impossible to recommend someone a sex toy without knowing quite a lot about their needs and preferences. The best advice I can give you is to do your research, read reviews, and get to know your body.

Then experiment and have fun!

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This post is part of my Sex Ed September series, where I’ll be sharing educational content all month long. Post contains affiliate links. All views, as always, are my own. If you find my work valuable, buying me a coffee help keeps the lights on at C&K HQ.

Three Presents I Bought Myself During Lockdown

CW: spending money on non-essential things

I love giving presents. Though gifts isn’t my top love language, it’s definitely one I enjoy indulging every now and then. Finding something that is perfect for someone and seeing their eyes light up when I give it to them is a treat. And just occasionally, I also enjoy buying presents for myself.

So just for fun today, I thought it’d be fun to tell you guys about three presents I’ve bought myself since lockdown started in March, and the stories behind them.

Unicorn pole shoes

I started pole dancing in early 2019 and it changed my life. The studio is closed right now and classes on indefinite hiaitus, and I absolutely miss it like hell. I miss the physicality of it, the urge to push my body just one step further and the pain that feels so fucking good. I miss being half-naked in a room of body-positive babes of all shapes and sizes, celebrating what our bodies can do rather than how they look.

So, in honour of pole and all it’s given me and how excited I am to get back upside down as soon as it’s safe to do so, here are the utterly bonkers and utterly perfect shoes I bought myself for my birthday in June:

Doxy Die Cast

This is a sex blog, so this list wouldn’t be complete without at least one mention of a sex toy, would it?

When I saw that my friend Little Switch Bitch was having a clear-out of some sex toys, I couldn’t resist purchasing the beautiful purple Doxy Die Cast. Just look at it! Is it not the most gorgeous sex toy you have ever seen?

The Die Cast is not just a pretty face, either. This beast of a toy is all power, all rumble, and my clit’s new best friend.

Check out my full review here.

The Doxy Die Cast, a deep purple wand vibrator with a large black silicone head.
Image: Lovehoney

Stationery Subscription Box

Anyone who has spent a lot of time with me knows about my stationery addiction. I can’t resist buying gorgeous notebooks, fancy pens, journals, stickers, and all manner of paper bits and bobs, even when I don’t need them.

So when I spotted a special deal on Papergang subscription boxes by Ohh Deer, I figured I’d try it out. I expected to just get one and then cancel, but I loved them so much that I’ve kept my subscription. The fun, quirky designs are by a different independent artist each month and they’ve been brightening up my home office no end.

Papergang box being pushed through a letterbox. For a post about presents I bought myself in lockdown.
Image: Papergang by Ohh Deer

So there you have it: three of the presents I bought myself during lockdown that have been bringing me joy. Have you treated yourself to anything lovely recently?

This piece contains an affiliate link. All views, as always, are my own. If you enjoy my work, please subscribe to “Coffee Date,” my biweekly newsletter!

Five of the Best Virtual Date Ideas

I resisted writing this post for some time, because it felt too close to the whole “moving our entire lives online during COVID” theme I was trying to avoid. However, there are many reasons beyond lockdown restrictions and public health fears why people might need – or even want – to go on digital dates. Long-distance relationships, limited funds, and illness are just a few of the ones I can think of.

So I wanted to share five of my best virtual date ideas with you guys today. I hope you find something here to inspire you. And, of course, you’re always welcome to share your own in the comments.

Movie night

You can use an app like Watch Party to share a virtual movie night, but it’s just as easy to sync up and hit “play” on your Netflix or DVD player at the same time… or even both watch the same movie as it’s being shown on TV.

You can video, voice or text-chat while you watch, if you wish, or just call each other afterwards and talk about the movie.

Get some popcorn and dim the lights for the full cinematic experience!

Looking for movie recs? Check out my friend Livvy’s blog, Sex Love and Videotape, for some inspiration!

Virtual museum tour

Did you know that museums all over the world have virtual tours of their galleries and exhibitions available online? Meet online to explore a virtual museum and video or voice-chat while you wander around.

The Albertina in Vienna, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the London’s Natural History Museum are just some of the world-renowned museums offering online tours right now.

Night at the theatre

Prior to the last few months, many of us could only access live theatre if we could get to a major city and afford the exhorbitant ticket prices (or get to one of the handful of cinemas that showed live-streamed versions.) Since March, however, tonnes of productions have gone online.

Pick a show, sync up, and hit play. Bonuses of the virtual theatre: you can wear your pyjamas if you want to, your bed is probably comfier than an actual theatre seat, and the drinks are cheaper!

Timeout‘s theatre sections have listings that refresh every couple of days!

Cheese and wine party

If you’re feeling fancy, why not share an online cheese and wine tasting? Get some interesting cheeses on your next trip to the supermarket (or order them online.) Pick up a bottle of wine (or two.) Enjoy them and compare notes on your favourites while you video-chat.

To take it up a notch, dress in your most over-the-top fabulous outfits.

Hot virtual sex date

Of course I wouldn’t be me without saying that some hot online sex is one of the best virtual date ideas of all!

Set aside the time to completely focus on each other, and get lost in some deliciously hot phone sex, sexting, or cyber-sex. An app-controlled sex toy can put your pleasure in your partner’s hands, no matter where in the world they are.

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Five Ways Not to Invent a Sex Toy

So you want to invent a sex toy? Awesome! The world always has room for people doing cool new things in the adult industry.

But there are a few common pitfalls that people often fall into when they decide they want to do this. Avoid these simple mistakes and you’ll be off to a good start.

Don’t plunge straight in without knowing the first thing about materials and safety

Here’s a hint: if someone tells you that you shouldn’t be making your toy out of jelly, rubber, PVC, or another toxic material, and you have to ask why… you are not ready to invent a sex toy.

Do your research on safe materials before you even start thinking about bringing a pleasure product to market.

Don’t rip off other people’s ideas

You would think this would go without saying. Unfortunately, even some of the biggest players in the industry do this.

Obviously there are only so many variations on things to put on your genitals and there will be crossover in some places, but if you’ve straight-up ripped off another company’s product, we will notice. And we will not be happy.

Don’t claim that your product is revolutionary if it isn’t

You haven’t invented the First True Clitoral Stimulator Ever. The concept of a dildo is not new. Many people before you have created Things To Stick Your Penis In For Pleasure. Your toy doesn’t have to be earth-shatteringly original to be good (and many gimmicky ideas kinda suck in practice.)

Unless you’re doing something really, truly groundbreaking, don’t say that you are. We can see through it. And it makes us not trust you.

Don’t try to make a toy that mimics partnered sex (or claim that it does.)

Your toy does not feel like cunnilingus. Stop claiming that it does. We’ve heard it all before and it pisses us off.

Toys feel like toys, not like perfect replicas of partners. And that’s a good thing.

Don’t crowdfund something you can’t actually make

Okay, so you’ve had this awesome idea. Can you actually make it? Don’t start crowdfunding for something until you know exactly how you can actually make it. Where will you source the materials? How much will they cost? Where will it be made, and by whom? How much is the labour going to cost? What about distribution?

And just because you can make one prototype in your garage doesn’t mean you can mass produce it. Make sure your product is feasible on a large scale before you start asking people to pony up cash based on a neat idea.

Have you ever been tempted to invent a sex toy? I’d love to hear your ideas, no matter how wild and wacky!

If you enjoy my work, I’d love you to buy me a coffee to help me keep doing what I’m doing!

How to Have Sex When It’s Too Damn Hot

Fucking hell, it’s hot right now isn’t it!? I don’t know about you guys, but I really struggle with having sex in hot weather. Somehow, when I’m already hot and sweaty, getting hotter and sweatier just isn’t appealing.

Just for fun I thought I’d share some of my top tips for getting it on when it’s hotter than hell outside.

Try ice play

Ice play is a form of sensation play that involves running a piece of ice over your lover’s body (or letting the ice melt in your hand and dripping the cold water all over them.)

It’s super fun as part of a kink game, because the cold is INTENSE. Some people even describe it as a kind of pain. But ice play can be a different kind of fun in the hot weather, as it can actually cool you down enough to be ready to fuck.

Play with mutual masturbation instead

If you’re both feeling horny and wanting to get off, but the idea of fucking in this heat just makes you want to melt into a puddle, try playing with mutual masturbation instead.

Wanking together allows you to enjoy a sexual connection without the exertion – or shared body heat – that comes with fucking. Mix things up by watching porn together, reading erotica aloud to each other, or dirty-talking through some of your favourite fantasies.

Put a glass dildo in the fridge

Whenever I review glass sex toys, I’m always banging on about their temperature play possibilities! But seriously, if you haven’t tried this, you really should.

Pop your glass dildo in the fridge for 15 minutes before you start playing, and you’ll be able to cool down while things heat up.

Take a cool shower together

I’m not necessarily an advocate of actually fucking in the shower, as it can be a little logistically problematic unless you’re very flexible and/or have very good balance. But taking a cool shower together can be a great sexy activity in and of itself, or can be a nice way to cool off enough to have sex.

If you are going to do any kind of genital play in the shower, remember to use plenty of lube. Silicone-based is best for this. The water washes away your natural lubrication!

How do you keep things sexy in hot weather, babes?

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