How Wand Vibrators Helped Me Reclaim My Sexuality When Antidepressants Killed It

I’ve been on antidepressants for the majority of my adult life, in three separate stints (having come off them most recently earlier this year). I’m very pro medication for those who need it which, at the times I was taking it, I absolutely did. I’m not exaggerating when I say that those meds saved my life on more than one occasion.

Wand vibrators - Honey Wand from Honey Play Box
Honey Wand by Honey Play Box

But like any medications, antidepressants often have side effects, which can range in severity from mildly annoying to seriously debilitating. One of the worst side effects I experienced on two out of the three antidepressants I tried was a significant change to my sexuality. This manifested in different ways on each drug.

On Fluoxetine (Prozac), I pretty much lost my sex drive entirely for months. Anything that had been pleasurable just felt like… nothing. This wasn’t limited to sex, either – I also lost my appetite and all ability to derive pleasure from food. On Citalopram, I lost my ability to orgasm while my body adjusted to the meds. While this did have some pleasant results (particularly discovering that I have an orgasm denial kink), it was also upsetting and frustrating. Feeling like I had no control over my body and like I’d lost one of my greatest sources of pleasure was so damaging that I seriously considered coming off the meds that were otherwise helping with my depression.

Trying Sex Toys

The first time antidepressants killed my sex life, I was so thoroughly miserable (both from the depression and from the side effects of the meds) that I wasn’t even interested in reclaiming it. I’m pretty sure I didn’t have sex or masturbate for about nine months at one stage. In hindsight, this probably made things even worse, because my sexuality has always been one of the key ways that I access pleasure and joy. At that time, I didn’t own any sex toys, and any touch from either myself or my partner left me cold.

The second time was a different matter, though. This time, the antidepressants actually took the edge off the worst of the sadness and hopelessness, and I still wanted sex. I just couldn’t orgasm, either with my partner or by myself. Though orgasm is not necessarily the goal of sex, this quickly became frustrating and then enraging. I felt like my body was betraying me. Like I had to choose between having a properly functioning brain and a satisfying sex life.

The turning point came when my then-partner pulled out a wand vibrator after about a month of this issue. That thing finally broke through the orgasm block. And, once that dam broke, it became easier and easier to get there again. I invested in a wand for myself pretty quickly after that, and it became my go-to toy.

Breaking Through the Depression-Haze

Even now, when I’m not currently on any psychiatric medication (though I accept I might be again in the future), I’m most likely to reach for my wand vibes when I’m in the middle of a bad depression funk. Contrary to popular belief, it’s still possible to feel horny at the same time as being depressed. Sad people need pleasure and orgasms, too! There have also been times when I haven’t felt horny, but I knew intellectually that an orgasm would make me feel better.

Sometimes, when I’m very very depressed, I feel as though there’s a kind of fog around me. The fog keeps me at least partly disconnected from everything and everyone around me. At its worst, it creates a sense of being somewhat outside and detached from my own body. In this state, many types of touch that would normally be pleasurable struggle to penetrate the fog. When that happens, I need intense stimulation and lots of it. It’s times like this that I might crave certain BDSM activities even more than usual. It’s also times like this when knock-your-socks-off powerful wand vibes are a Godsend.

The thing with my favourite wand vibes is that ultimately, they can wrench an orgasm from my body with very little active input from me. This has a lot of fun potential (forced orgasm scenes anyone?) It’s also extremely useful during periods of significant depression. If I want to orgasm at my own or a partner’s hand, or with a lower powered toy, it can be fun but often requires significant effort, mentally if not physically. With a powerful enough wand, I basically just put it in the right spot and wait for the orgasm to happen. In this way, I can access pleasure and the positive physical and mental health benefits of orgasm even when I feel so low I don’t want to leave my bed.

Sexual Pleasure Matters

When someone is dealing with severe health issues, either physical or mental, it’s often tempting to see sexual pleasure as trivial. Certainly when I spoke to my doctor about the side effects of my various medications, they dismissed my concerns. Did I want to be able to orgasm or did I want to not be sad? Because I couldn’t have both.

Except I actually could, and I needed and deserved to have both.

If you’re struggling with pleasure or orgasm due to health issues and medication, I want you to hear this: sexual pleasure matters! It’s not trivial and it’s not unimportant. If it’s important to you, then it matters. And you deserve to have what you need to feel sexually satisfied – whether that’s a change of medication, a super powerful vibrator, or just to change up what you’re doing.

Thanks to Honey Play Box for sponsoring this post. All views and experiences are my own!

Empty Spaces

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I recently ended my relationship with the person I referred to as The Artist. As with the ending of any long-term relationship, the reasons were complex and I won’t be going into them here. Please respect my/our privacy and don’t ask me to spill details, because I won’t. Please don’t make assumptions or demonise them, even under the guise of being supportive.

When you end a relationship, especially a long-term relationship, it inevitably leaves empty spaces behind. People think that us polyamorous folks can just brush off a breakup. “You have other partners, right? So what’s the big deal?” they ask. To that, I want to say this: if you lose a dear friend, do you just shrug it off because you still have other friends? Of course you don’t.

Yes, I’m in the fortunate position of not being alone. Yes, Mr CK has been an absolute fucking rockstar in all this, supporting me through making an incredibly difficult decision and caring for me through my heartbreak. But you know what? I broke up with someone I loved. It still hurt like absolute fuck.

When you love an artist, you inevitably accumulate a collection of their work over the years. The choker-definitely-not-a-collar they made for me is still hanging on the back of my office door as I write this, wondering what the hell to do with it now. There are empty picture hooks on my wall where the paintings they did for me used to hang. I took them down and packed them away because looking at them was a visceral reminder of the loss and grief in the immediate aftermath. Memories shoved into a closed drawer, maybe to be revisited someday when the pain is less immediate. Empty spaces, a fitting metaphor for the total obliteration of everything we had.

After I finished taking the paintings down, I automatically picked up my phone and scrolled through messages, my fingers tingling with unsaid words. That little green bubble by their name showing they’re online, and the do-it-don’t-do-it battle not to send the message. I still love you. I’m sorry. I wish I’d had any other choice. Typing and untyping, writing and deleting, imagining them seeing the little dot-dot-dot next to my name, all the things we both said and didn’t say and probably should have said and definitely shouldn’t.

I have had a tendency, in the past, to jump from one serious relationship directly into another. Though this hasn’t always gone badly (Mr CK and I hooked up very soon after I left my abuser, after all,), I don’t think it is a healthy pattern overall. The result is that I end up basing my worth and my sense of self on my romantic relationships.

That’s why, in the wake of this most recent breakup, I decided to take a long break from dating new people. I don’t know yet quite how long this break will last or what it will look like. At the moment, I’m tentatively considering getting back on the dating apps after the new year. But right now, even thinking about it is exhausting. The idea of sitting across the table from a stranger and trying to figure out if there is any chance of us fitting together, the idea of having to disclose that I’m a survivor and have a history of mental illness and oh by the way I have a sex blog, fills me with dread.

So I’m hitting the pause button.

As a polyamorous ethical slut, there’s sometimes an internalised sense that I should always be dating new people or at least open to dating new people. Isn’t closing myself off to new connections just a holdover from monogamous culture? Well, no.

I need to get to know these empty spaces inside me that I have filled or attempted to fill with one relationship after another after another since I was fourteen.

I’m still a polyamorous person. Just having the one serious partner (as well as a couple of casual or not-sure-yet-it’s-early-days connections) doesn’t negate that part of my identity. Just like being bi isn’t dependent on the gender of my partners, being polyam isn’t dependent on the number of them there are.

I’m just doing things differently this time. Instead of trying to fill the empty spaces with another new relationship that is probably not a great fit in the long run, I’m filling them with other things that nourish me. With hobbies and friends, with self-work and self-compassion, with therapy and writing and fitness and literally anything else.

I’m lucky to be able to do this from the position of having a secure, stable nesting relationship as a base, and I am immeasurably grateful to Mr CK for providing that base. But the ending of any relationship still leaves empty spaces behind, and I am both excited and terrified to explore those spaces and see what I want to fill them with next.

I’ll think about dating again when doing so fills me with excitement.

This post was written as part of Smutathon 2021! You can check out all our work and learn more about the challenge on the Smutathon website. Please consider donating to this year’s charities, Gendered Intelligence and Trans Lifeline.

Reunion

Have you ever just fallen into someone and held onto them as if you would drown if you let go? That’s how it felt to me when I saw my secondary partner[1] for the first time in sixteen months this last weekend. Throughout the 30 hours or so we spent together, I had to keep touching them just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

The last year has not been kind to many people, including us. We’ve survived many things in the four and a half years we’ve been together, from a terrifying car accident to my mental breakdown in 2019. But a pandemic that separated us for almost a year and a half was a different beast entirely.

Of course, our relationship wasn’t on hold during all this time. We couldn’t see each other physically, but we kept in touch with Skype calls and sexting and app-controlled sex toys and online theatre and movie dates. But it’s not the same. Sometimes I wanted to hug them so badly it hurt. Often, actually.

Even so, I went into our reunion not really knowing how it would go. So much has changed in the last year. Life is not the same. I am not the same. I’ve changed not just my hair and my body, but also my career and my relationship with myself in the past year. In some ways, I am far better. My self-esteem and my relationship to my work are both hugely improved. But in other ways, I am carrying the inevitable scars of the last year. I am jumpy and scared of things I was never scared of before. I don’t always know how to people any more, after almost a year in such isolation.

So no, I wasn’t sure if we would still fit. Because when people and circumstances change, relationships do, too. I think it’s fair to say they were more sure than I was, but I think they also had their doubts. How could we not, after all this time?

The doubt dissolved the moment I saw them, the moment we clung to each other and I buried my face in their shoulder and I remembered all the ways we fit together. Every time I looked at them, I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. Because yes, it still works. The love is still there. Our connection was tested but never severed. Our hearts and our bodies remember each other, and that matters more than days or months or distance.

Sometimes, in the sea of everything changing, you just need something that still feels right. You just need someone who will hold you as though they felt every damn second of all the months you were apart.

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[1] We use “secondary” as a descriptive term, not as any kind of pejorative, and we love each other deeply and fiercely despite not being on the relationship escalator with each other.

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).

Masturbation Monday: Re-learning How to Masturbate with My Fingers

It seems strange to me, now, to think back to a time before I owned sex toys (or when I’d only tried bad or ineffective ones.) Up until Mr CK bought me my Doxy and then a few months later I started this blog, the vast majority of my masturbation was done with my fingers.

Over the last few years, as this blog has grown and I’ve tested more and more sex toys and found a growing number that I really love, I just… stopped masturbating by hand. It was never a conscious decision. But when you have toys to test and write about, you use them. And after a while, it becomes a habit, and then the new normal.

Now, I still love my sex toys, of course! (Some more than others.) But I recently re-remembered just why I used to enjoy masturbating using nothing but my fingers.

It started because I’d forgotten to charge any of my usual go-to toys. I didn’t have time to stick one on charge and wait an hour or two, because I was ready for bed and just wanting a quick orgasm to help me sleep. So I decided to see if I could still get myself off with nothing but my hands.

Something I really enjoy doing is working myself up by watching porn or reading erotica, and seeing how long I can go before I simply have to touch myself. This is partly a way to indulge my denial kink by myself, partly a way to make masturbation more comfortable by ensuring my body is really ready for it, and partly a way to make my eventual orgasm really explosive. So I pulled up some erotica and started reading.

I found a really, really hot story which spoke to my kinks perfectly, and it wasn’t long before my cunt was dripping onto the bed. I dipped my fingers in and spread my wetness all over my labia, circling my clit but avoiding touching it directly. Making myself really desperate. Stroking and teasing my inner thighs, pulling gently on my outer and inner labia, thinking about having a hot sadistic Dominant making me beg to be allowed one little touch where I most needed it.

Flipping to the next chapter in the filthy smutty story, I finally allowed my fingers to drift to my aching clit, rubbing it oh-so-gently at first. I’m very quiet when I’m masturbating – a habit learned from years of living first at home and then in shared housing – but if I’d been playing with another person, this is the point where I would start barely-coherently pleading for them to rub harder, faster, stop teasing me (and yet sort of hoping they continued to tease for just a bit longer.) As it was, I couldn’t help thrusting against my own hand, torn between my body’s need for more friction and my desire to hold back and enjoy the clenching, frustrated ache.

When I couldn’t stand it any longer, I allowed my fingers to move faster, rubbing my clit in circles. It brought me to the edge ridiculously quickly. I pulled my hand away and this time a little needy whimper did escape. My hand grasped at a handful of the bedsheet as I spread my legs wide and forced myself to wait, counting thirty seconds to allow my cunt to calm down and come back from the edge.

I edged myself again and again and then again, sucking my own wetness off my fingers in between each one. Every time I pulled my fingers away just before tumbling over into orgasm, I thought of that same sadistic Dominant, speaking to me in a level, measured tone in perfect contrast to my increasingly frantic whimpers and pleas. “Not yet, Kitten. You can wait just a little bit longer, can’t you? I know it hurts but you want to be a good girl, don’t you?”

I seriously considered not allowing myself to come at all, and going to sleep wet and needy. But I was worried about my ability to sleep, so decided to save that particular self-inflicted torture for another occasion.

Allowing my fingers to drift back to my clit, I focused on circling it slowly and deliberately, bringing myself back to the edge. By this time I was so aroused that even the most feather-light touches were enough to get me close.

“This is all the stimulation you’re getting,” my imaginary sadist told me, as I resisted rubbing harder. “If you really need to come, this will be enough.”

That’s what was in my head when I let myself fall over the edge, my toes curling and legs shaking with one of the most intense and satisfying orgasms I’d had in a very long time.

Sex toys are brilliant, but sometimes I need to be reminded that my fingers were my clit’s best friends for a long time for a reason.

The Masturbation Monday logo


Masturbation Monday is a blogging meme owned and run by Kayla Lords, where tonnes of amazing writers share smutty fiction, true life stories, and essays about wanking! Click the logo to see who else is having fun this week! If you enjoyed this filthy little true story, please buy me a coffee to show your appreciation!

Masturbation Monday: “Blue Dress”

A mostly-true story for Smutathon 2018: Smut for Choice edition. There’s still time to donate and enter the raffle!

“No, keep your dress on.”

The order is sharp. His voice is low – our hosts are asleep in just the next room, after all – but there’s no mistaking the do-as-you’re-told, no-arguments tone. I pause from unzipping the side of my blue silk dress.

“Bend over the bed and keep quiet.”

I lean over the bed, my face buried in the duvet, the wooden frame digging in to the front of my thighs. He lifts the hem of my dress, flipping it up over my back, and runs a hand over my ass. He saw me put on the red knickers I know he likes this morning, and I’m sure he’s been thinking about them ever since as we’ve been terribly well behaved at the family wedding. He’s pulling them down until they sit around my ankles. I’m still wearing my sparkly dancing shoes, and my hair is still somehow, unbelievably, tamed into the impossible style that took the miracle-worker at the salon an hour and a half this morning.

I’m not really completely ready for him when he starts to push his hard cock into me. I wasn’t expecting this and we didn’t bring lube with us. But the humiliating position and the feeling of him fucking me with my dress still on are getting to me. It hurts just a little bit, but I like that. My gasp spurs him on and he buries the full length of his cock in me.

“Keep quiet,” he tells me. I bite my lip and bury my face further into the bed. The sensation of being used is unbearably erotic and I can already feel myself edging closer to orgasm. Perhaps he can feel my telltale spasms, because he says, “come for me. Just do it quietly.” The order is enough to push me over the edge and I come hard around his cock. In response, he thrusts harder.

When I come a second time, it pushes him over the edge too. He releases into me with a low groan.

My beautiful hairstyle is ruined, my makeup smudged and my best knickers stained with his come. The perfect end to the night.

True story, by the way!

The Masturbation Monday logoMasturbation Monday is created and owned by Kayla Lords. Click the logo to see what’s getting everyone off this week. (I’m the prompt!)

I Had My First Smear Test and…. It Was a Complete Non-Event

I am in my late twenties. In my country, people with cervixes are offered cervical smear tests (often called “Pap Smears” in the USA) every three years from the time they turn 25. These tests detect abnormal cells on the cervix and act as an early screening for cervical cancer or warning signs thereof. Until this week, I’d never had one, despite being several years overdue.

Two medical swabs face down on a surface. For a post on cervical smear tests.

The reasons for this are varied, but there are two main ones. The first is practical: I moved house a lot prior to moving in with Mr CK (11 times in 9 years by my count) and as such had to register with a lot of different doctors in different cities. I’m not sure one of the letters inviting me to book in for a smear even found its way to me until I was at least 27. The second reason is that I was scared. I had a horrible experience when I got my IUD put in about 3 years ago – pain that rendered me entirely unable to function for three days and very much struggling for over two weeks. Therefore, understandably, the idea of anything going near my cervix elicited a strong and visceral NOPE reaction from me. So I just kept putting it off.

What eventually pushed me into going for one was a person in my extended poly/swing network having something flag up on their screening. I realised that by not knowing my status, I am not only putting myself at risk (and there is some history of cancer striking young in my family) but also putting my lovers at risk. And I couldn’t do that. I made the appointment.

On the morning of, I asked Twitter how much pain I should expect. Answers ranged from “none” to “maybe a bit but it’s over quickly” to “you probably wanna book the day off work”. (It was a little late for that, of course). I popped a couple of ibuprofen, just to be sure. Had I not been driving, I might have gone straight for the codeine, which my doctor gave me for the severe pain when my IUD acts up.

So what happened?

I went in and the lovely nurse introduced herself and asked if I was happy to have a student nurse present for the test. I said I’d rather not as it was my first time, and they were both fine about that. She asked about my STI testing history. I said we test every three months and had in fact been the week before. She asked if I knew about HPV, and I said yes.

I went behind the curtain, took my knickers and jeans off, and got comfortable on the bed thing. (I’ve never understood the point of a privacy curtain when they’re literally about to look at your insides, but there you go). The nurse explained that she would open my vagina with a speculum and do a quick swab of my cervix. She said I might feel some pressure, but it shouldn’t hurt.

Having one’s vagina opened with a plastic speculum is never comfortable. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing. Which I actually am when it’s with a sexual partner in a roleplay scenario. But dear god, fun medical play is a MILLION MILES from an actual medical exam). I winced a bit but remembered to breathe. I braced myself for severe pain.

“There you go, we’re done”. And the nurse was removing the speculum from my vagina and taking off her gloves.

“What, that’s it?” I could hardly believe it.

“Yep!”

Wow, I thought. That really was nothing.

The whole thing took less than five minutes. I felt no pain and only the mildest discomfort. A tiny price to pay indeed for knowing my status, protecting myself and my sexual partners, and possibly avoiding cervical cancer in the future.

So why am I telling you this non-story?

Honestly, I was fully expecting to have to tell you a horror story involving immense pain, shitty judgemental clinic staff, an unplanned day off work or all three. But none of this happened.

So instead I thought I’d share this story in the hopes that, if you’re afraid of getting your cervical smear, this will put you at ease. The staff should be kind and understanding. You shouldn’t feel any pain – even if your cervix is extremely sensitive and grumpy, as mine is.

Please – if you have a cervix, get your test. It takes five minutes, it doesn’t hurt, and it’s a tiny thing that could potentially save your life. Just go. I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t go three years ago!

If this post was helpful to you, please consider buying me a coffee to say thanks!

Image from Pixabay.

Me and My Fur: All About Body Hair

I have all my natural body hair. The last time I shaved any part of my body was over three years ago.

A green razor on a brown surface. For a post about body hair

The pressure to be hairless begins early.

I first shaved my legs at the age of 11, because a girl at a sleepover told me that no boy would want me if I had hairy legs. I didn’t even like boys at the time! But somehow, even to an 11 year old who had privately decided she was either gay or asexual (not that I had the actual language for either concept then,) the notion of boys thinking I was ugly was impossible to shrug off. Less than a year later, my mum gave me an electric shaver and told me to keep my armpits free from hair at all times. She wasn’t trying to body-shame me – she is, after all, surrounded by the exact same toxic culture that I am. I think she just didn’t want me to get bullied any more than I already did.

I held out on shaving my pubic hair until I was 19. My boyfriend had been increasing the pressure for several years. After we went to an event where he saw naked women apart from me in the flesh for the first time, it became apparent it wasn’t an option to keep my hair any more. So I dutifully got rid of it and for the next five years, I pretty much kept my entire body smooth and hair-free. Whether I actually liked it that way didn’t really enter into the picture. It was just part of the package of having been assigned female, like periods and casual sexism.

Realising I had a choice

It was Mr CK who woke me up to the idea that I actually had a choice about my body hair. He has made it clear from the beginning of our relationship that he finds body hair beautiful and erotic (spot the boy who came of age in the era of 7os porn!) But he also emphasised that I had to do what felt right for ME, and that he had no more say over my personal grooming than the people who had pushed me into shaving in the first place.

So I tried going au naturel for a while. Just as an experiment, to see if I liked it. That was three years ago and I have not picked up a razor since. I credit my beloved for reminding me I did have a choice, but the choice I actually made was all mine.

Learning to love my hair

I love keeping my body hair for a number of reasons. The time and money it saves me is not insignificant. My skin is much happier since being free of razors and shaving balms and post-shave rash and ingrowing hairs. And I just fucking love how it looks. When I look at my naked body in the mirror, I love the look of my little patch of pubic hair over my cunt. When I wear my favourite sexy knickers, I like seeing the little wisps poking out. I love lifting my arms and seeing the shadow of my reddish-brown underarm hair. I love how soft and fuzzy my legs are.

If I’m honest, I also enjoy the implicit things it tells people about me. For better or worse, body hair on women is heavily coded “feminist” – because making a choice about how to groom our bodies cannot just be a choice, it has to be a political statement. Thwarting societal beauty norms feels like a simple way to wear my politics on my body.

I have to acknowledge I have a level of privilege here in that my leg hair, at least, is very fine and blonde (my pubic and underarm hair is much coarser, darker and more obvious). Would I feel different if my leg hair was thicker and darker? If I grew hair on other parts of my body? I don’t know. I suspect I might struggle if it was growing on my face, for example, but I cannot say with any certainty as this is not my experience.

The impact on my sex life

Having body hair has definitely impacted my sex life. Mr CK and I swing together, and a large number of swingers will not have anything to do with people who do not shave every inch of their bodies. Pubic hair, in particular, gets us rejected a lot. (Insert hi-fucking-larious joke about flossing during oral sex here).

It’s been less of an issue in my one-on-one sex life, surprisingly. I don’t actually play with new people by myself that often, to be honest, and when I do the barrier to entry is pretty fucking high. I remember when The Artist and I had first established that we wanted to date, asking them nervously how they felt about women with body hair. The giant smiley face emoji they replied with… well, that was the moment I let out a huge breath I hadn’t realised I had been holding. Until I asked, there was a sense of I really like this person… and I think they really like me too… but are they going to be disgusted by my body when I take my clothes off?

For this reason, I tend to disclose it to potential lovers before the clothes come off. I feel more relaxed if I know they’re cool with it rather than waiting for the reaction. I hate that I have to do this. I’d much rather it not be a big deal. I wish I didn’t have to feel like it was something I needed to disclose. But mentioning it to sex partners before we get to the sex feels preferable to how devastated I’d be if a lover said something disparaging about my body when we were already in a sexual situation.

And it’s a surprisingly good screening device, actually. Misogynists tend to self-select out of my dating pool pretty fast when they realise I’m hairy.  To be honest, pissing off sexist men is one of life’s simple pleasures for me. Having hair is an easy way to do that.

The thing I’ve actually found most helpful is sleeping with lovers who actively like body hair. I currently have four lovers who I know are extremely into it. The way they look at me when I take my clothes off,the way they run their fingers through my fur or bury their faces in it, reminds me that I can be beautiful and desirable like this. They’re not settling or putting up with it. They actually like it, and me!

Fear of judgement… and sometimes actual judgement

Sure, I’ve been judged for being hairy. I’ve had gaggles of girl whisper and point and take pictures on the Tube because I had the nerve to get my legs out in public in 30 degree heat. I’ve had disgusted, sidelong glances thrown at me in the gym locker room. When I was regularly nude modelling and dared to go on camera with body hair on display, my picture comments went from “beautiful!” to “nice body but please shave that fur”. (No longer wanting to put myself through things like this is one of the many reasons I quit modelling not long after I stopped shaving).

I’ve had couples cancel dates with me and Mr CK at the eleventh hour because they had assumed that of course I was going to shave, and then realised I actually wasn’t. I’ve had guys comment on my pictures on Fetlife, saying “if you were mine you’d shave!” (Good job I’m never going to be yours then, isn’t it, dickbag?) The implication is there that Mr CK is somehow less of a Dom for allowing his sub to go unshaven.

The fear of judgement used to go with me everywhere. Sometimes it still does. When we start messaging a new person or a new couple on the swinger dating sites we use, I worry they’re going to pull out the “ew, pubes are gross” schtick. When we go to new clubs and I run around naked or in lingerie, I’m bracing myself for the “you’d be so pretty if you’d shave!”

Every summer, I weigh up the choice between being unbearably overheated in my oven of an office, or the daily fear of being pulled into a manager’s office and told that my natural leg hair is unprofessional. I sit there quietly while a female colleague bemoans being a woman and having to shave your legs every day in summer. I do not shout “YOU HAVE A CHOICE YOU KNOW!” even though I want to. It’s a constant fucking balancing act between asserting my right to exist in the world with my natural body, and just being tired of it all.

I don’t think I’m good at responding to the judgement yet, when it happens. I usually just want to cry or shrivel up in shame. I’m trying to be better about not letting it get to me, but as someone who grew up bullied, brushing it off is really hard.

Amazingly, no-one has ever actually shamed me – to my face, anyway – in a sex club or kink event. But I’m waiting for it. I’m always waiting for it. Because at most events, I’m the only one – and I see the looks I sometimes get. I see the “ooh, hot girl, nice boobs… oh, never mind” eye-swoop over my body.

I know what you’re probably thinking. “If the judgement bothers you, just shave!” But if you’re thinking that you’ve missed the whole point of what I’m trying to say. The problem doesn’t lie with me. I’m not doing something hugely out there and subversive and wild just by having my body on display in its natural state. I should not have to change it. Nor should I have to constantly defend my choice not to change it.

I like my body like this. The world does not get a say.

Femme identity and body hair

My relationship to femininity has been fraught and complex over the years, but I now sit fairly happily with my femme identity. It’s been a healing way for me to play with my aesthetic and my presentation. To find ways that reflect who I am as both a woman and a queer person. However, for a while I wrestled with the question: can I be femme if I don’t remove my body hair?

Ultimately, I approached this from the same angle as the question about whether you can be femme without wearing, say, lipstick or high heels. There are many trappings that are culturally coded feminine, and femme is about reclaiming these things (which society has often deemed frivolous) and playing with them, making them our own. For me, femme is a way to pick and choose the pieces of feminine presentation I want to embody. A way to escape the rigid codes society enforces about “what a woman should do/be”. To say “in order to be femme you must do X, Y and Z” is just trading one kind of oppressively strict standard for another. Femme is about fun and happiness within your own skin, not following the rules.

For a while, I jokingly referred to myself as “#lazyfemme” for not shaving and for sometimes going out without makeup on. I stopped this, though, because I realised it’s actually playing into the patriarchy to continue coding myself (and by implication other women) who choose not to do these things as “lazy”. As I once furiously ranted online “I have worked sixty fucking hours this week, but sure, I’m LAZY because I’m not wearing lipstick.”

So yes. I am a happy #sparklefemme who chooses the aspects of feminine presentation that work for her, and has decided that shaving is not her thing.

So do I think women who shave are just pawns of the patriarchy?

No! I believe in the absolute right to bodily autonomy for everybody. That includes the choice to shave/wax/tattoo/pierce/adorn/decorate your body in whatever ways you like, or not.

What I wish is that it was a more free choice. I wish there wasn’t such immense societal pressure on women and AFAB people to present themselves in a certain way. That razor companies weren’t constantly trying to sell us the solution to a problem they’ve convinced us we have. That wider representations of beauty were common in our media.  I wish, to be honest, that shaving or not shaving wasn’t such a politically loaded and socially fraught choice.

And I wish we were not teaching little girls at 11 that the most important thing in the world is whether or not boys find their bodies aesthetically acceptable.

Oof – that was a long one with a lot of emotional energy behind it! If you enjoyed it, please consider buying me a virtual coffee!

My Scene Went Wrong, What Now? – A Guide to Getting Back on Track

Sometimes, play sessions or scenes will go wrong. Mishaps, mistakes, and even the occasional genuine crisis can happen to all of us. It’s an unfortunate fact of this thing we call kink, sex or play, and we would all do well to learn better how to handle it when they do. Anyone who has been playing for any length of time and tells you they’ve never had a scene go wrong is either astoundingly lucky or lying.

A woman turned away from the camera looking upset. For a post about scenes going wrongI’ve had three scenes go wrong in relatively quick succession (a period of about 3 weeks). The first time, the equipment we were using at the club malfunctioned and dropped me. Thanks to Mr CK’s quick reflexes, we were both shaken but there were no injuries. The second time, there was somebody else at the party who I hadn’t expected to see, and who makes me feel profoundly unsafe. I tried to play in the main party space anyway, thinking I shouldn’t let him ruin my good time, but unfortunately I badly misjudged my own mental state. The third time, I let my head convince me that a situation that was actually most likely completely safe wasn’t.

To be clear, none of these was a disaster (though the first could have resulted in much more serious consequences than it did). Even so, they were all unpleasant and left both of us rattled. The after-effects could be felt for the next few days, both individually and in our interactions together. Luckily, we managed to have a spectacular play session a few days ago and I feel much better about it all as a result.

So let’s look at some techniques to get things back on the rails after something goes wrong.

In the immediate aftermath

I’m assuming that, at this point, you’ve moved away from the play area to somewhere safe if possible, and that anyone who is injured has received appropriate medical attention. I am also assuming good faith from all parties and that there were no malicious intentions or consent violations.

First of all, both/all players involved are likely to be shaken up. This is a really good time to be very kind and gentle to both yourself and each other. Sit somewhere comfy. Drink a glass of water, cup of hot tea or other comforting beverage. Maybe have a snack to get your blood sugar back up. Have a massive fucking cuddle, if you’re in the kind of relationship where you cuddle.

Don’t beat yourself up. If the problem was because of a mistake you made, you can and should apologise, but one genuine apology is much better than self-flagellation. This should go without saying, but if there was fault on the other person’s side, don’t be mean to them about it! You can absolutely say what you perceive happened and what you wish they’d done differently, but don’t harp on it more than is necessary and try to gracefully accept an apology, if one is offered. Again: be kind. This is a great time to reaffirm that you still love/like/fancy the pants off each other.

Don’t feel the need to discuss what happened in depth there and then if you don’t want to. You can, if you’re both up for it, but it’s often better to focus on caring for yourselves and each other initially. The debrief is often more productive if it comes an hour or two later, or even the next day.

Later that day/the next day

Check in with the other person. Ask them how they’re doing and be prepared to offer what comfort or support you can. Be honest about how you’re doing and ask for their support in return.

This can be a great time to have the debrief conversation: you’re over the initial shock/upset, but still close enough to the incident to analyse it effectively. Discuss what went wrong, your respective headspaces (and physical states, if relevant) at the time, the factors that contributed, and what controls you’ll put in place to try to mitigate the risk of a similar incident next time. This is also a good time to discuss what you need in the aftermath: do you need some cuddle time, verbal reassurance, some hot sex? Or just some alone time to process? Ask for it! If you can, give your partner what they ask for.

When it comes to processing, if you’re struggling with difficult feelings following the experience, this is a great time to consult a kink-friendly therapist, reach out to other kinky friends, or write in your journal.

It’s also worth remembering that you might experience sub-drop or Dom-drop. Even though you didn’t finish your scene, when something goes wrong you’re yanked out of your headspace very quickly and abruptly, which can actually be worse. Check out my list of self-care tips to try if drop, depression or anxiety hits.

Try to view a scene gone wrong as a learning experience. It doesn’t need to spell disaster for your relationship, your future as a kinkster, or even necessarily your night/day/week!

Next time you play

Re-acclimating to your partner and your play together after a scene gone wrong can be a challenge. It’s a good idea, before you next play, to touch base with regards to where you’re both at emotionally and physically following your incident. It can also be wise to negotiate your next scene or two very explicitly in advance, especially if miscommunication or misunderstanding contributed to the problem. This also applies in very long term relationships where you know each other incredibly well. It’s not a failure to spell things out upfront if relying on your knowledge of each other and nonverbal cues doesn’t feel safe right now.

Sometimes, verbally affirming consent can be really reassuring the next time you play, too. Our first really good scene after the string of issues started with Mr CK asking me to very explicitly state my consent to what we were going to do.

You can also ease back in slowly! You don’t have to go straight to a 10 on the intensity scale if a 4 feels more comfortable right now. Even if you were hanging upside down from the rafters when something went awry, you can dial it back to a gentle spanking next time you play. The only thing that matters is that you play at a level that’s comfortable for you both. A less intense scene isn’t a failed scene. The only criteria for success is that you are both safe, gave free and enthusiastic consent, and had fun.

Final thoughts

There are basically three main things I want you to take away from this post. When a scene goes wrong, remember:

  1. Practice kindness, patience and forgiveness. To yourself as well as to your partner.
  2. It happens to everyone sometimes and does not mean you failed as a kinkster, Dom, sub or partner.
  3. You CAN move past it, learn from it, and use the experience to strengthen both your skills and your relationship.

And if you’re reading this because you went Googling in a panic after your scene went wrong? You’ve got this. I believe in you. It’s okay.

Masturbation Monday: “Vanilla”

I don’t often write about vanilla sex. Let’s see how this goes…

A women wearing black knickers straddling a nude man, for a Masturbation Monday post about vanilla sexSometimes I don’t need pain. Sometimes I don’t need a hand on my throat, threats whispered in my ear, or to be called the kinds of horrible names that make me drip. I love all those things, of course. But sometimes, I don’t need an imbalance of power between us.

Sometimes all I want is your lips on mine. In these moments, all it takes to make me gasp and tremble is the softest stroke of a hand across the small of my back. All it takes to send me soaring is the grounding, anchoring reality of the feel of your skin, the smell of your body spray, the desire blossoming out from the point where our tongues meet and entwine.

I grind my cunt against your thigh, a gesture that says, I am yours. My hands circle your hips and pull you closer, a gesture that says, you are mine. When you push your cock inside of me, it’s because we have reached the silent understanding that we can no longer bear to have a breath of space between us. My body takes you in, warm, inviting, holding you tightly at the point where we meet. You swallow my gasp, which escapes unbidden as you touch that place deep inside me that needs you so much. I am undone. Lost. When I pull back from your lips long enough to look into your face, your eyes wear that expression, the one where you communicate your love without saying a word.

I kiss you as though I will drown. I kiss you as though we are the only two people in the world. Because for right now, we are. Here and now, you are everything. You fuck me as though making me come is the only thing that matters.

Sometimes, afterwards, I cry. Not because I am unhappy; no. But because this intimacy cracks me open, exposing every vulnerability and every place that is scared and small and hurts. Making love to you pulls me apart and puts me back together, a little more whole than before.

Masturbation Monday is created and owned by Kayla Lords. Click the link to see what’s getting everyone off this week.