Four Post-Pandemic Fears

Very slowly but surely, we’re starting to emerge from the pandemic. At time of writing, over 30 million people in the UK have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is amazing news and all the credit goes to the scientists who developed the vaccines and the amazing healthcare professionals who have been delivering it.

But now that “when all this is over” is starting to look like a real possibility rather than a distant dream, I find myself feeling… scared. Excited, yes. Hopeful, definitely. Relieved in the extreme. But, yes, also scared.

I wanted to share four of my big post-pandemic fears. If you share any of them, or have your own that I haven’t included here, know that you’re not alone. It’s easy to feel as though, among the unbridalled joy at the idea of getting our freedom back, you’re the only one feeling apprehensive. I promise you’re not.

So here’s what I’m afraid of.

Getting COVID

Yes, I’m still going to be nervous about getting COVID (or, worse, passing it to someone more vulnerable.) We know that the vaccines are highly effective but do not provide 100% immunity. Therefore it is still at least theoretically possible to contract the virus.

I know it’s unlikely and that this is largely irrational. The huge drop in infection rates has already proven that the vaccines work. But yeah, I’m still going to be afraid of contracting the virus for a while.

Not Knowing How to People Any More

Lengthy social isolation takes a toll, and it is going to take some time for us to relearn how to be around one another in physical space again. I find myself wondering if I’ll remember how to socialise in a way that doesn’t happen through a screen. If I’ll still know how to chat, how to read body-language, how to flirt.

I’ve got pretty good at being insular over the last year. I think many of us have had to, in order to get through this without losing our minds. But how hard is it going to be to unlearn that again, to become the social butterfly I used to be? I fear it might be very hard.

Touch Remaining Taboo

I’m a tactile person. I like to hug, snuggle, kiss, and share easy physical affection with my loved ones. I’m afraid that casual touch is going to remain taboo in the post-COVID world.

Will I be able to throw my arms around friends when I see them again? Will I be able to dance with strangers, kiss people I’ve just met, hold hands or cuddle casually? Are we ever going to get back to the point where “may I hug you?” is a simple request for consent, not something with potentially life-and-death consequences to consider.

I think it’s going to be some time before we stop flinching at the idea of a person not in our “bubble” getting too close. I just hope we can collectively move past it with time.

My Communities Being Scapegoated

I’m furious at the people who have held large kink events and swing gatherings during COVID. The recklessness, selfishness, and sheer stupidity takes my breath away.

But I’m also afraid that once the restrictions are over, non-monogamous communities are going to become scapegoats when surges in infections inevitably pop up again.

If people go to a regular nightclub, a gig, or the theatre and get infected, that’s unfortunate but ultimately no-one will be scandalised. If someone goes to a swing club or sex party and spreads the virus, though? That’s a fucking Daily Mail headline waiting to happen. Every attendee and community organiser will probably have this reality sitting in the backs of their minds for at least the next couple of years.

What are you afraid of when it comes to life after the pandemic? There are no easy answers to any of this, but at least we can be there for one another and remind ourselves that we are not alone.

5 Best Vibrators Under $45 (North American edition)

I did a UK edition of this post last week, so if you’re looking for the best vibrators on a budget in the UK, check that out. Because different products are available in different places, I thought two versions would make the most sense.

5 of the Best Vibrators Under $45

Let’s dive in. Here some five of the best vibrators you can get in North America for under $40 US. As with the UK edition, everything listed here is a product I’ve actually tried and actually love.

By the way: I picked $45 as the cut-off for the North American version of this post because $45 is around £33, so the actual price-points are very similar.

Lovehoney Humdinger, $29.99

Humdinger vibrator by Lovehoney. External vibe for clit play

It’s the innovative shape that really makes this one, for me. The motor is powerful and rumbly (surprisingly so for a battery-operated toy) and the combo of the clit-hugging hood shape and the hard nub on the back is close to perfection.

Get it here.

Blush Exposed Nocturnal, $33

Blush Exposed Nocturnal bullet vibe for clit play, one of the best vibrators under $45

Ever since I first tried it, I’ve been obsessed with this amazing little bullet vibrator from Blush. It’s massively powerful, rumbly, has amazing battery life, and never fails to get the job done quickly and reliably.

Get it here.

Noje Mini Wand, $35.99

Noje Mini Wand, one of the best vibrators under $45 in the US

This is the second Blush Novelties toy on this list for good reason. They just produce so many great products at affordable price points! This teeny tiny little wand is not only powerful and well-made, but also pretty af. I love the mint green colour!

Get it here.

Satisfyer Number 2, $40

Satisfyer Number 2 clitoral suction vibrator

This is a battery-powered version of Satisfyer’s best-selling clitoral suction stimulator, making it more affordable. It might be a more basic equivalent but it still features 11 suction intensity levels and a body-safe silicone nozzle.

(I know it’s not technically a vibrator but it still meets the spirit of this list!)

Get it here.

VeDo Izzy, $43

VeDo Izzy, one of the best vibrators under $45 in North America

Izzy by VeDo is a surprisingly powerful and surprisingly affordable clitoral vibe that I absolutely loved. It’s a fairly standard lay-on/pebble shape, but that nub at the top really elevates it for me. It’s amazing for both pinpoint and broader clitoral stimulation.

Get it here.

FYI: this post contains affiliate links.

5 Reasons I Like Pain Play

You absolutely don’t have to like pain to do BDSM. There are plenty of kinky things you can do that don’t involve pain play at all! I don’t have a particularly high pain threshold, but I do like a little bit of ouch with my kink.

Just for fun, I wanted to share a few reasons why.

I like a challenge

Not always, but sometimes I enjoy being pushed close to my limit with pain play. I enjoy the challenge and the sense of accomplishment.

It’s a bit like pushing yourself through the last half-mile of a particularly intense run, only a lot more fun. (I fucking hate running. Pain play scenes are my answer to marathons!)

I like taking pain for someone else

Ultimately, my sexual partners only hurt me in bed because I want them to. (Otherwise, that would be abuse!) But I also enjoy the feeling of taking something to please a dominant partner. That fulfills my service submissive side.

It gets me out of my head

One of the reasons I like sex in general and kink more specifically is because it pulls me out of my head. As a writer, an anxious person, and an overthinker, I am very in my head much of the time. Just the right level of sexy pain can quiet down all the noise in my brain and it’s fucking blissful.

It gets me into a submissive headspace

Physical sensations can help us get into a particular mental zone, and pain inflicted by a dominant partner is one of the best ways to get me into a submissive headspace.

I think this is connected to the above point about getting out of my head. It makes my mind go quiet and helps me tap into feelings of submission and vulnerability.

I literally don’t know, I just do

Sometimes kinks just are what they are. There isn’t always a strong reason I can identify why I like a particular sensation. It just… feels good, gets me wet, and gets me off.

And sometimes that’s enough!

If you’re into pain play, do these reasons speak to you? If not, what questions do you have about the combination of pain and pleasure?

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I wrote this piece as part of Quote Quest, a weekly meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the button to see who else was inspired by this week’s quote! And if today’s piece resonated with you, you can always buy me a coffee to say thanks!

5 Best Vibrators Under £35 (UK edition.)

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get amazing sex toys! In fact, some of my favourite toys are relatively affordable (meanwhile I’ve tried some abusrdly expensive ones that didn’t feel worth the money at all.)

I’ve been pondering this piece for a while and I’ve finally decided I’m going to do a UK edition and a North American edition, because different products are available in different places.

5 of the Best Vibrators Under £35

So without further ado, here some five of the best vibrators under £35 that you can get in the UK. Everything listed here is a product I’ve actually tried and actually love.

Rocks Off Bamboo (£16.99)

Rocks Off Bamboo gold lipstick vibrator for clit stimulation

I love Rocks Off (that’s why they appear on this list twice!) They produce some of the best vibrators at affordable prices that I’ve ever encountered.

The Bamboo is a basic bullet vibrator that pretty much does what it says on the tin. Its tapered lipstick-shaped tip is great for precision clitoral stimulation. It’s not knock-your-socks-off powerful, but for a small battery-powered bullet that’s under £20 it’s pretty damn good.

Buy it here and get 10 off with code coffkink10.

Lovehoney Humdinger (£24.99)

Humdinger vibrator by Lovehoney. External vibe for clit play

This one was a real surprise to me. Many of Lovehoney’s own-brand basic vibrators use surprisingly decent and rumbly motors, but it’s the shape of the Humdinger that really blew me away.

The cup-shaped head surrounds your clit, spreading stimulation across the whole area.

Buy it here and get 10% off with code coffkink10.

Blush Exposed Noctural (£26.99)

The Exposed Nocturnal lipstick buillet vibrator

This is simply the best bullet vibrator I have ever tried. It pretty much lives by my bed and is never out of charge. It’s unbelievably powerful and rumbly, and has the rare honour of having patterns I actually like.

As a bonus, the battery life lasts ages even on full power.

Buy it here and get 10% off with code coffeeandkink, or here.

Lovehoney Ignite Bullet

Lovehoney Ignite bullet vibrator, one of the best vibrators at an affordable price

When I reviewed this toy, I said it had amongst the best motors I had felt in a toy at this price point. I stand by that assessment now! It is a great body-safe basic with 20 different settings and patterns. Ideal for figuring out what you like or just getting lots of different sensations out of one toy!

Buy it here and get 10% off with code coffkink10.

Rocks Off Chaiamo (£33.99)

The Rocks Off Chaiamo vibrator in black, one of the best vibrators under £30

Rocks Off’s second entry on this list is a versatile vibe that can work well for the clit or the G-spot. The Chaiamo is either a large bullet or a smallish internal vibe, depending on which way you look at it. Either way, it packs a power punch and is pleasantly rumbly.

Buy it here.

FYI: this post contains affiliate links.

Things That Matter More to Me Than Looks

I won’t pretend that looks are completely unimportant to me in a relationship. There does need to be a level of physical attraction – I need to be physically into my partners and have them be physically into me. But looks only get you so far and they’re so much less important than a great many other things.

I have met people I was physically attracted to, only to have that attraction greatly diminish or completely switch off due to some other trait in the person. At least a couple of crushes have been snuffed out when the hot person turned out to be an asshole.

So here are a few things that are ultimately way more important than looks.

Kindness

When it comes to dating someone or having them as a close person in my life, this is probably the single most important attribute they can possess. If someone isn’t kind, I’m unlikely to want to get close to them.

Even if I’m not immediately physically attracted to someone, kindness is one of the most reliable indicators that attraction could grow.

Things in Common

Obviously, no two people have everything in common. And separate interests and activities can be healthy in a relationship. But if we don’t have enough in common that we can share at least some hobbies and enjoy doing some things together, that’s unlikely to be a good fit for anything more than a very casual fling.

Matching Goals for the Relationship

I’ve been in relationships before where we wanted wildly different things out of it, and this is its own special kind of hell. While some things are open for negotiation, our core hopes and goals for the relationship should match. If one person wants a very serious, entangled relationship and the other wants friendship with casual sex, that’s likely to lead to resentment and frustration on both sides.

Compatible Kinks

Sex is important! If I’m going to have a romantic relationship with someone, chances are that sex and kink are going to be a part of it. That means that compatible kinks matter.

Again, no two people will have 100% crossover. Kinks and preferences are far too unique and nuanced for that. But there needs to be a pretty significant overlap for things to work.

I’m primarily a submissive, so while I enjoy dating switches, dating someone who wanted to bottom a lot of the time wouldn’t work for me. Likewise, dating someone whose main kink is my hard limit is unlikely to end well for either of us.

Similar Politics

Some people believe you can have very different or even opposite politics and still have a relationship. I do not believe that. I need someone whose politics are broadly aligned with mine if we’re going to be partners, lovers, or even close friends.

We don’t need to agree on everything. I think nuanced discussion and learning things from each other can be a wonderful part of a trusting relationship. But realistically, no-one who is right of centre is ever going to be a good match for me. We need to be on the same page about the important stuff.

What matters more to you than looks? Let me know in the comments.

Quote Quest post about things that matter more than looks

I wrote this piece as part of Quote Quest, a weekly meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the button to see who else was inspired by this week’s quote! And if today’s piece resonated with you, you can always buy me a coffee to say thanks!

4 New Years Resolutions Not to Make for 2021

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Make it a good one.”
– Brad Paisley

Well, friends, here we are! 2020 is finally over, and not a moment too soon. This is my first post of 2021, and so I thought it would be good to look at the popular-but-divisive topic of new years resolutions.

I’m generally not a big fan of “resolutions” – they’ve always felt like a lot of pressure, very “all-or-nothing.” Not to mention that January is the most depressing month of the year.

With that said, I do like taking the time during the new year period to look back over the last year, take stock of where I am and how I’m doing, and commit or recommit to my goals. My new year present to myself was an Ink and Volt Goal Planner and a bunch of fun, colourful stickers to use in it, and I spent a fun and satisfying few hours working out how to get where I want to go this year.

Whether you love resolutions or hate them, here are four that I think you absolutely SHOULDN’T make this year.

Go on a diet

Diets, of the type that start on January 1 and have weight loss as their driving goal, are unlikely to succeed. That’s because they tend to be punishing, starvation-based, and unsustainable. They’re also based on forcing our bodies to conform to an ideal that is patriarchal, oppressive, and not even possible for most people.

If you want to lose weight, I’m not going to tell you not to. Our relationships with our bodies are very personal, and only you know what’s right for you. But whether you want to gain, lose, maintain, or ignore the number on the scale entirely, focus on eating foods that make you feel good and moving your body in a way that feels nourishing and joyful.

Just don’t go on a new years diet. Please.

Get a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner

The reason I think “get into a relationship” is a new years resolution to avoid is this: it’s not entirely within your control. Naturally, you can do things that make it more likely you’ll meet your dream person or people (more on that in a minute.) But so many factors – whether the people you fancy are available, whether they fancy you back, whether your wants and needs are compatible – aren’t within your direct control. Not to mention, you know, the ongoing pandemic that is making dating challenging at best.

If you want to date more, or meet more new people, set that as your goal instead! These are perfectly fine goals that are actually within your control. You can get on the dating apps, dust off that old OKCupid profile, join a group or club for one of your interests (maybe virtually right now…) or ask your friends to facilitate introductions to any of their friends they think you’d hit it off with.

But resolutions like “by December 31, 2021, I will have a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner” is a recipe for pressure, frustration, and resentment. None of which actually lead to conducive dating.

Be more positive

There is little I find more eye-rollingly infuriating than toxic positivity, except possibly toxic positivity that comes from a place of unexamined privilege (and is presented in easily-digestible, pseudo-motivational quotes attached to pretty pictures on Instagram.)

I’m not saying we should all be relentlessly negative, of course. That doesn’t help or serve anyone. But I’m a big proponent of the power of appropriate and well-placed negativity.

2020 pretty much sucked. Not entirely, of course. Some good things – some great things – happened. But when there’s a pandemic raging, your government is killing people with their actions or inactions, you’ve lost your job, you can’t see your family and friends, and your mental health is tanking… well, the last thing I want to hear in that instance is “positive thinking is the cure to all your woes!” No it isn’t. The cure for our woes would be a competent government, mass vaccination, adequate and accessible mental health care, and necessities provided for everyone. (I’ll write a whole post on this soon.)

Instead of making resolutions like “be more positive”, what would happen if you decided to honour all your emotions this year? Feel both your sadness and your joy. Allow anger in and sit with it. There’s no such thing as a bad emotion – what matters is how we act on them. Sometimes, negativity is appropriate. Sometimes it’s okay to say “yeah everything is pretty much shit right now.”

Say yes

This is another of those pseudo-deep life advice things: say yes to everything! Embrace opportunity! It sounds great, except… it isn’t.

I’ve gone through phases of saying yes to pretty much everything people asked of me, both the fun and the not-so-fun. You know what happened? I ended up burned out and pissed off.

Saying yes to blowing off work to spend the day in bed with your partner might be great, or it might lead to serious professional repercussions. Saying yes to a spontaneous trip might be a fun adventure, or it might spell disaster for your finances. And saying yes to dessert when you don’t really want it might lead to you enjoying a tasty slice of cake, or it might end up with a sugar crash that leaves you feeling like crap.

Instead, consider your decisions carefully. Say yes when you really want to say yes and when it’s a good decision for you. Otherwise? Learn how to say no more often and more freely.

“No” doesn’t mean you’re closed off to opportunity, a bad friend or partner or employee, or not spontaneous enough. “No” means that you prioritise yourself, know where your boundaries are, and hold them without apology. And I think that’s far more beautiful and beneficial than agreeing to everything until you feel completely out of control.

Are you making or breaking up with resolutions this year?

Let me know why you love resolutions or why you hate them – and any that you’re determined to never make again!

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This piece was written for Quote Quest, a weekly meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the button to see who else was inspired by this week’s quote! And if today’s piece resonated with you, you can always buy me a coffee to say thanks!

How to Maintain Balance When Everything is On Fire

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
– Albert Einstein

Balance, however you define it, is important. But it’s also really hard when everything feels overwhelming. And oh my goodness, everything does feel overwhelming right now, doesn’t it?

As of right now, the UK is in what has been not-so-affectionately dubbed “Lockdown 2.0”. After completely failing to take care of my health in any reasonable way during Lockdown The First, I’m trying really hard to maintain balance and a modicum of self-care practice this time.

To that end, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite tips for staying balanced and grounded when things are hard everything is on fucking fire.

Rest

I put this first on the list because it’s by far the one I’m worst at. It can be so, so hard to switch off, unplug, and decide to do nothing for a while. But rest is absolutely vital. Without it, your health will suffer and you’ll hit burnout before you know it.

Here’s a hack that works for me: put time for yourself in your calendar, like a date you’d make with someone else, and stick to it. Then use that time to binge that Netflix show you’ve been saving, read for pleasure, take a bubble bath, or just take a nap/go to bed early.

Rest isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Eat something

When did you last eat? If it’s been more than a few hours or if you feel hungry right now, go and eat something! I recommend something with complex carbs and protein, rather than something that will give you a sugar high and then make you crash an hour later. But hey, if a sugary treat is what sounds good right now, have at it!

The trick is to listen to your body. It knows what it needs.

Move your body

I don’t mean “go out for a ten mile run” (though if that’s what makes you feel balanced and centered, knock yourself out.) Just move your body in whatever way feels good. That might look like hitting the gym and working up a sweat, or it might look like practicing some gentle yoga, or it might look like dancing to some music in your bedroom, or it might look like just doing a few stretches without even getting out of bed.

When I’m feeling sad or stressed out, I find getting on my yoga mat or having a play with my hula-hoop really helps me to regain and maintain balance.

Say no

If you’re feeling stressed, stretched, and overwhelmed, it might be because there are too many demands on your time and energy right now. Practice saying no.

If a client wants you to take on some extra work last minute? Sorry, no. Yet another Zoom happy hour? Pass if you don’t feel like it. Colleague wants you to pick up their shift? No can do!

If it doesn’t serve you or make you happy and it can possibly be avoided, just say no. Saying no firmly but politely doesn’t make you a jerk, it makes you a person with good boundaries.

Masturbate

I had to throw this one in the mix – this is supposed to be a sex blog, after all! Seriously though, masturbation is amazing. It not only feels good, it has so many benefits for your physical and mental health. Need to get out of your head and into your body for a while? Grab some porn or erotica and your favourite vibrator/stroker/hand, and give yourself some love.

Ask for help

The idea that we are all supposed to be self-reliant is so, so toxic. You know what’s a sign of strength? Asking for help when you need it. So if you’re struggling, reach out to someone. Talk to your partner or a friend, call a helpline like Samaritans, make an appointment with your doctor or therapist. Whatever it is you need to help you ground and maintain balance, you can ask for it.

You don’t have to do this alone.

You’ve got this.

It’s going to be okay.

Quote Quest badge, for a post about how to maintain balance when everything is on fire

This piece was written for Quote Quest, a weekly meme by Little Switch Bitch. Click the button to see who else was inspired by this week’s quote! And if today’s piece resonated with you, you can always buy me a coffee to say thanks!

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!

This post contains affiliate links. All views, as always, are my own. Want to support my work? Buy me a coffee and check out my free newsletter.

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 with 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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