Eroticon 2019: Virtual Meet & Greet

I can hardly believe it’s almost Eroticon time again! This will be my third year going to this amazing conference and I’m so excited. Let’s dive in to another Meet & Greet, shall we?

NAME (and Twitter if you have one)

Amy Norton (CoffeeAndKink on Twitter)

Tell us 3 things you are most looking forward to at Eroticon 2019

  1. Bringing Mr CK along for the first time and getting to introduce him to so many of my sex blogging friends.
  2. Presenting my first workshop! (Once I’ve actually got around to writing it).
  3. All the new things I’m sure to learn over the weekend. I never come away from Eroticon without a head full of new information and new ideas.

We are creating a play list of songs for the Friday Night Meet and Greet. Nominate one song that you would like us to add to the play list and tell us why you picked that song.

You’ve Been Written by The Vocal Few. Because it’s a gorgeous love-song and is sort of about writing, too.

I write everything down that I like
and you’ve been written into the songs of my life,
and I like the songs that we write…

The pages filled, recording wars and victories that we’ve been given,
like altars built, preserving all our history, yes we’ve been written
in the melodies you gave to me.”

What is your favorite item or book you’ve purchased so far this year?

Jillian Keenan’s Sex With Shakespeare. “Extraordinary” doesn’t even cover it. (Yes, I will be writing a proper review soon). But seriously. Read this book.

You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what is it? Sushi? Scotch Tape?

Self-esteem, since lack of it is the thing that most often holds me back.

What is your favourite quote from a movie?

“Can you see what we’ve done here, by coming together all of us? We made history!” – Pride (2014

What is your word suggestion to next years Eroticon anthology?

Memory

Complete the sentence:

I feel… as though 2019 is the year I will crack myself open, break apart into tiny pieces and eventually put myself back together again.

Can’t wait to see you all there!

Interview: Francesca from The Pleasure Garden

You all surely know by now that I absolutely love feminist, inclusive sex shops? That’s why I was so pleased to partner with The Pleasure Garden, a UK based online company selling only body-safe pleasure products. I’ve reviewed products for them (and have more in the pipeline!) and I’m in their affiliate programme (so, full disclosure, if you make a purchase through one of my links I make a small commission.) Today I’m really pleased to introduce you to Francesca, the brains behind and owner of The Pleasure Garden.

Amy x

A banner for The Pleasure Garden shop for an interview with Francesca

Tell us a little bit about you and the work you do? 

My name is Francesca (she/her) and I own and operate The Pleasure Garden – a UK based inclusive sex shop. Its been up and running for about a year now and it has been an exciting ride so far!
 
At the moment it’s a one man band, so I do almost everything on the site including fulfilling orders, copywriting, social media and managing the website. It can be a lot! I love to work with talented specialists, who make some amazing contributions to things like design and providing expert knowledge, when I get the chance!


What made you want to start an online sex shop?

For a long time I had been interested in starting my own business but I never found the right idea or inspiration. Then I started to read the fabulous Oh Joy Sex Toy which in turn introduced my to a load of other sex blogs as well as the world of ethical feminist sex toy retail. I felt that I had spotted a gap in the UK market for this type of shop.
 
At this point I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue in my current career. When I discussed my options with a friend they told me that I just lit up when I started talking about the shop and nothing else seemed to inspire that kind of passion! So I worked for a year to build the site, identify the products I wanted to stock and do all the other things that you need to do to start a business (talk to me about business bank accounts. I dare you!) I did all this while working full time before taking the plunge and pressing go with the shop.
 
The long term plan is to open a bricks and mortar store as well (or maybe a few!) so keep your eyes peeled for future developments!
 


How would you describe the ethos and values of The Pleasure Garden?

The number one priority of The Pleasure Garden is to be inclusive. For me this touches on being inclusive of all gender identities and sexualities, but in particular relates to disability. In the UK approximately 1 in 11 people have some form of disability. Yet disabled people are consistently excluded from almost everything to do with sex. In emphasising inclusivity I hope to provide a space which is as accessible as possible and provides the expertise to help anyone find a sex toy that will work for them. This is as opposed to making something specialist – which in the end just others and separates people.
 
The core values of the business are also centred around pleasure – it is right there in the name! I think so many people seek out sex toys because they are struggling to find pleasure in an act which society says should knock your socks off every time, whilst also being a source of shame and embarrassment. I want to provide people with opportunities to explore pleasure. This underpins everything – from my choice of products and my stance on stocking only body safe toys, to customer service and promoting the work of excellent sex educators.
 


What was/is the most challenging thing about setting up your shop or running it? 

Oh, where to start! Before I started the shop I had never worked in retail, run a business or designed a website. So I had a very steep learning curve. It has been an amazing experience and I am adding skills every day. But it is definitely a process and sometimes it can get overwhelming. It is frustrating when I can’t seem to get the vision of something I have in my head to work in reality because I just don’t have the right set of skills. I am getting better at knowing when to call on outside help! Striking the right balance between the social mission of the business and the actual business part is also a challenge. There are so many things I want to do – but it also needs to keep the lights on!
 


What about the most rewarding thing? 

Getting to spend every day doing something that I love is pretty awesome! I really enjoy being challenged and learning new things, so launching a sex shop has been a blast. I learn about new things all the time – from the impact of diabetes on erectile dysfunction and how silicone dildos are made, to the ins and outs of Google analytics and financial software.
 


What’s the best selling toy in your shop? Why do you think that is? 

One of the most popular products I sell is actually the SpareParts Joque Harness. It is a really high quality harness which is pretty beloved by a lot of reviewers, but there aren’t a huge number of places stocking it in the UK. So I jumped at the chance to get it in the shop and it has deservedly done really well.


What’s something that people always misunderstand about your work? 

That is a tricky question! I actually think I am super lucky. I’m surrounded by a lot or really awesome friends and family members who really get what I am trying to do (including my mum, who has on occasion been pulled in to package and post things for me when I have been in a bind!) I think the one slightly annoying thing is the repeated asking of, “So have you tried out everything you sell?” I know people are just trying to be funny, but it gets old!


Who inspires you personally and professionally? 

Professionally I tend to draw inspiration from anyone who has the bottle to take a risk and start something for themselves. It is a lot of hard work, and knowing that other people have made it work gives me hope! There are also some amazing people who are doing epic work in the world of disability and sexuality, such as Tuppy Owens who founded the Outsiders Club, and Gill Leno, a sex educator who works with young people with learning disabilities.


Who’s your favourite sex educator and why? 

There are loads of amazing sex educators out there that I really admire but probably the two at the top are –
 
Erika Moen and Matt Nolan who create Oh Joy Sex Toy. OJST was my first intro to sex blogging and it really opened my eyes. I absolutely love they way they include a massive range of body types including disabilities, different genders and different sexualities in the comics.
 
Also, Emily Nagoski – I think Come As You Are should be handed to everyone at age 18! Her work is exceptional, empathetic and engaging.


What’s something you used to believe – about sex, sex toys or relationships – that you don’t believe any more? 

What a great question! I used to believe that I may never find sex satisfying and that that was okay. When my first sexual experiences really didn’t match up with the messages I had from the media and (what amounted to) sex education at school, I just thought that maybe sex would just not be that great for me. It took some time learning about myself, a few sex toys and finding how to communicate (seriously, everyone should read Come as You Are) to find as much pleasure in sex and intimacy as I do now.


And just for fun because it is “Coffee and Kink” – do you like coffee? How do you take it?

Hah! I don’t drink coffee… or tea… or hot chocolate. The only hot beverage I enjoy is a hot Ribena (at it has to be brand name – no ASDA own brand rubbish!)
 
Thanks so much to Francesca for taking the time to speak to us. Check out The Pleasure Garden – we need to be supporting women-owned, feminist businesses! Banner image is property of The Pleasure Garden and used with permission. 

[Podcast Review] The Ersties

A cartoon cover image from The Ersties podcastAnyone who knows me will know that I love podcasts. I drive a lot for my day job, so listening to podcasts (and the occasional audiobook) is how I entertain myself and make the most of my driving time. I have learned so much from the various shows I listen to, and I’m always looking for new ones. So I was thrilled when the lovely folks at The Ersties Podcast reached out to me and asked me to work together.

Ethical Porn and Fascinating Women

Ersties is an ethical, feminist porn site. They describe their work as a “…natural exhibition of our sexuality; all natural girls in all natural situations with no scripts, demands or expectations!” Run by women, they are committed to respectful treatment of their performers, fair payment and genuine passion in their scenes.

The Ersties podcast, hosting conversations about all aspects of sexuality, sex positivity and the adult industry, is an obvious progression of this ethos. The four co-hosts are Paulita Pappel, Lina Bembe, Olivia and Pandora. Each of them has extensive experience in various areas of the adult industry including performing, directing, producing, editing ad more. Each of the four women brings their unique lived experiences and voice to the show. The chemistry between the team is a huge part of what makes it all work so well. They’re friendly, funny and open. Really, it’s like sitting down for coffee with four of your best sex positive friends!

What it’s all about…

Most episodes contain a mix of general chat about their lives and adventures in the world of feminist porn, and discussion around a specific topic of the month. Occasionally, there are also listener questions. The second episode, for example, featured a fascinating discussion inspired by a reader question on sex positivity (or lack thereof) in the communities the presenters grew up in – they all live in Germany now, but come from a diverse mix of backgrounds.

A new episode comes out on the first Friday of each month. Topics covered so far include BDSM, polyamory, why you should pay for your porn, and censorship in the UK. The team obviously have a well-connected network of experts to call upon, and these voices add nicely to the conversations. I particularly enjoyed Censorship Part 1 (The Great British Firewall) where they interviewed “Obscenity Lawyer” extraordinaire, Myles Jackman, and the amazing Blake of Dreams of Spanking. I’m really excited to see what they come out with next and which other experts they talk to.

Give it a listen!

The world needs more open, honest conversations about sex. It also desperately needs more ethical, feminist porn. The Ersties Podcast team are doing their bit to address these needs and to further the conversation on sex positivity, porn literacy, sexual freedom, anti-censorship and more. I can’t wait to see what this fantastic team of women do next!

This post was kindly sponsored by The Ersties Podcast. All views are, and will always be, my own. If you sign up to a membership using my affiliate link, I will make a small commission – and you’ll be supporting ethical porn, which is so important in the age of free tube sites and censorship. You can listen to The Ersties podcast for free wherever you get your podcasts. Image is property of The Ersties Podcast.

#SoSS 24 March 2018: Eroticon Edition

#SoSS or #ShareOurShitSaturday comes from a call to action by the fabulous Girl on the Net, calling on all those who love the work of sex-positive creators (writers, bloggers, photographers, artists, educators) to share our work (“share our shit”) far and wide. This is particularly important in the wake of Facebook deleting accounts, Twitter shadow-banning, and Instagram shutting down anything with “BDSM” or “sex” in the name.

For a lot of us, this work is both our passion and the way we make our living. We show up day in, day out, often for peanuts in terms of financial reward, because we believe in the content we make and we know the content we put out into the world has a positive impact on our readers.

Of course, supporting us with your £££ is amazing if you can, but sharing our shit is a way that you can support us without it costing you a penny. So, in the spirit of #SoSS, here’s an Eroticon-themed roundup of some of my favourite content from across the blogosphere this week…

1. A Pub Gang -Bang by Tits & Test Tubes

This post-Eroticon fantasy scene has got it all – group sex, humiliation, spanking and more. It’s so, so good… and makes me even happier because I’m kinda in it. (No, I’m not telling you which character I am, you can use your imagination). Jadis is a serious up-and-coming talent in the sex blog-o-sphere.

2. I Lost My Sexuality for a Year by Miss Eve E

This is a stunning, personal and powerful account of Eve’s last year of pain and illness, and how that affected her sexual desire. Her experience really shows how so much of the medical world doesn’t take sexuality – or sexual side-effects of pain and medication – seriously. But it’s untimately a story of hope, as she talks about how Eroticon helped her to reclaim her sexuality and she will continue to do so in 2018. Really important.

3. What I Took Home from Eroticon by John Brownstone

A lovely piece on the nature and importance of community. I loved meeting JB, who together with his wife Kayla makes up the powerhouse duo behind Loving BDSM. He’s just as warm, friendly and fun in person as he is on the podcast, and this piece really speaks to me as someone who felt very alone until I finally found my community and my people.

4. Eroticon 2018: Ten Things… by The Other Livvy

A great piece from Livvy about the things she took away from Eroticon this year. Features a Star Wars joke, a lovely comment on my ridiculous Saturday night outfit, a hot-as-fuck vac bed picture, some lovely quotes, and a #SinfulSunday picture that I took.

5. Learning Post #Eroticon by Cara Thereon

Some beautiful words from Cara about the things she learned and took away from Eroticon. I loved meeting Cara – she’s lovely, smart and insightful and the piece she read out on Sunday was hot as fuck. She talks about learning about herself, facing her fears, and becoming more enmeshed in the community. I look forward to whatever she does next!

And that’s it for this week, folks. There were so many brilliant post-‘Con pieces that really spoke to me and you can read them all here. This is just a small selection of my personal favourites.

Have a great week, and don’t forget: if you like our work, SHARE IT!

Eroticon 2018: Meet ‘n’ Greet

Hard to believe it’s been about a year since I first did one of these! I’m even more excited for Eroticon this year now I know what an amazing, affirming, and occasionally life-changing experience it can be.

So, without further ado, here’s my virtual getting-to-know-you…

NAME (and Twitter if you have one)

You can call me Amy. (I’ll also answer to CK or Coffee&Kink). CoffeeAndKink on Twitter.

What are you most looking forward to about Eroticon 2018?

The people. There are so many people I’m looking forward to seeing again (some of whom I haven’t seen since last year) and I’m always excited to make new friends!

We are creating a play list of songs for the Friday Night Meet and Greet. Nominate one song that you would like us to add to the play list and tell us why you picked that song

All Over Me by Lindsey Harper, because to me it’s just the most perfect love song.

What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?

Something involving horses. Sometimes I wanted to run a riding school, sometimes I wanted to set up a rescue sanctuary, and sometimes I wanted to be a competitive eventer.

Weirdest place you’ve ever gotten up to mischief (define ‘mischief’ however you like…)

I fucked in a bluebell wood that one time…

Tell us two truths and a lie about yourself?

In no particular order:
– At time of writing, I have had sex with a total of 30 people.
– Despite the obsession/addiction I’m known for, I didn’t actually like coffee until I was 22.
– I got up to Grade 8 in piano when I was a teenager.

Complete the sentence: I want…

…unlimited time, a wealthy patron and to never get sick? With all these in place, I might have time to do at least a fair percentage of the writing I want to do.

See you at Eroticon!

“Is That a Vagina Joke?” (or: “Check a Box”) – Amy Watches You Me Her, S1E4

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, for I watched episode 4 of this travesty three weeks ago and have only just gathered enough fucks to write it up.

Episode 4 begins with Jack and Emma fucking. Jack says, as they finish, “it feels like we just gave orgasms to everyone within a two-mile radius!” Um. What? The pillowtalk that follows consists entirely of them congratulating themselves on how sexy their performance was. [Spoiler: it wasn’t.] Emma reveals she used to feel relieved after sex was over (poor woman!) and wonders if this new spark is “all Izzy.”

Jack goes jogging with Emma’s friend Carmen’s husband, Neighbour Dude. [Edit: his name is Dave!) Dave is interrogating Jack in a “he blatantly knows” kind of way. Not one to mince his words, he tells Jack “I think you’re a fucking moron” and lectures him on keeping fantasy as fantasy, then admits he’s jealous and asks how the rules work.

Also this just in: when two women have sex, apparently their vulvas just “smoosh together.” Well then.

Jack admits he thinks he has “never found a fucking G-spot in my life.” I have two comments on this:

  1. This is literally 5 minutes after “OH EM GEE WE JUST REINVENTED SEX.”
  2. It’s, like, a couple of inches inside and on the front wall in most vaginas. It’s not hiding!

Dave mentions that Carmen thinks Emma is in love with Izzy. No she isn’t, they barely know each other. She’s infatuated at best.

Next scene, Jack is at work (he works in a school, remember.) A teenage girl comes in who turns out to be Lori’s daughter (Lori is their nosy neighbour, who is also the Dean of the school and therefore in charge of basically Jack’s entire career.)

Lori’s Kid: “Who was that chick at your house?”
Jack: “Why do I have to tell you that?”
Me: “You don’t, Jack! You’re the fucking teacher here! Tell the brat to mind her own business and throw her out of your office stat!”

Lori’s kid is acting inappropriately sexual and Jack tells her to stop with the “Lolita act.” Ew. (Also LOLITA WAS A FUCKING TWELVE YEAR OLD ABUSE VICTIM, READ THE FUCKING BOOK FOR FUCKING FUCK’S SAKE.)

Jack says Izzy is his niece, leading Lori’s kid to say he must be “old as shit.” Okay why isn’t this kid in detention yet? Jack finally gets rid of her, gets Emma on the phone, and they decide no more Izzy at the house. Lori comes by and Jack goes into full-on Kiss Ass mode, and invites her to a party. Smooth, Jack-Not-Fred. Very smooth.

We cut to Emma and Carmen, who are drinking juice on a pier. Carmen is giving Emma a much-needed reality check re. Lori and the future of Jack’s career. She lectures Emma about ruining her life with the “Izzy” situation and the spectre of waking up one day “with saggy tits, wondering where your awesome life went.” Nice. She steals Emma’s phone and threatens to dump Izzy for her if Emma won’t do it herself. Emma grabs the phone back and runs off.

Meanwhile, Creepy Pseudo-Boyfriend Andy is pissed that Izzy has been booty-calling him and breaking dates for 3 months. Fair. Izzy is vegging out on the sofa in jeans, comfy booties and… a lacy bra!? Fuck me sideways, I don’t even wear lacy bras to go out in, never mind on the sofa at home. There’s a knock on the door and…

…surprise! It’s Jack! Izzy scolds him for coming round unannounced. He points out she did the same a couple episodes back. I guess mutual stalking is okay?

Jack: “Why aren’t you dressed? It’s like 12:30.”
Me: “STUDENTS, Jack. Students.”

He makes a show of dumping her – apparently they won’t be “requiring [her] services any longer.” These people have no fucking clue if this is a sex-worker/client or a love relationship and they really need to make their minds up. Izzy calls his bluff, stating that Emma had no part in this decision and he’s unilaterally decided to duck out. Yeah, no shit.

He tells her to keep away from his wife. She calls him a “misogynistic dickbag.” I suddenly like her a lot more! She makes a bet he’d call her again within 2 weeks. He says, “stop acting like you’re irresistible.” “You don’t think about me?” she asks, taunting him. They make out. Her shirt is off. They crash into a lamp.

“This counts as our date, right?” he asks amidst the making out. Then right on cue, Izzy’s roommate walks in. Roomie is pissed – apparently the lamp was her grandmother’s and is an antique, and also Izzy broke the eminently sensible “Rule #1” – never tell clients where they live. She calls Jack “Clark Griswold,” a reference which is lost on me.

Roomie asks if Jack is a client or “something else.” I’m glad I am not the only one wondering this. Izzy goes, “umm…” and we fade to black.

Goddamn, even for this show, that episode was inane.

Please for the love of God buy me a gin if you want me to keep doing this.

Eroticon 2017 – Virtual Meet & Greet

You guys! I’m going to my first Eroticon in London next week (OMG!) I’m also tying (heh) in a visit to my best friend and a date with my FWB in the same trip. I haven’t even booked my hotel yet, so please bear with me if I’m a gibbering wreck by the time I make it to Arlington House.

Without further ado, Molly (the wonderful Eroticon Director of Ops) has organised a lovely Eroticon virtual meet-and-greet. Here’s mine.

NAME (and Twitter if you have one?)|
Coffee & Kink or CK. @CoffeeAndKink on Twitter.

What are you hoping to get out of Eroticon 2017?
Mainly to make some friends and learn some stuff. I’ve been feeling somewhat isolated recently so I really want to meet other like-minded people and geek out about the glorious intersection of writing and sexuality.

This year’s schedule at Eroticon is pretty full on, but which 4 sessions do you already have marked down as ones you want to attend?
– Sex Blogging as Feminism & Social Justice
– Myles Jackman talking about the law (I am a fully paid up member of the Myles Jackman Fangirl Club – and you should be too!)
– Pitching 101
– Blogging 201

Tell us one thing about yourself that not many people know?
I learned how to have orgasms at the age of 14 after hearing some older girls at a sleepover talking about the “clit” and, being the curious creature I was, setting out to find this mysterious button. Happy times. (What!? It’s a sex blog!)

If you made the papers, what would the headline be?
Unicorn Spotted; Makes Daring Escape from Hunters

If you could have one skill for free (i.e. without practice/time/effort) what would it be?
Singing.

Complete the sentence: I love it when…
…I wake up late on the weekend next to the love of my life, and we make pancakes and have coffee and all is right with the world.

I can’t wait to meet you all!