Ten Tips for Getting the Most Out of Fetlife

Ahhhh, Fetlife.

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

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

Fill out your profile

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

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

Choose your role carefully

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

Consider your location

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

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

Say what you’re looking for

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

Read profiles before messaging!

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

Message respectfully

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

Join groups

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

Read and obey group rules

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

Don’t pay too much attention to Kinky & Popular

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

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

Reach out to community leaders and prominent figures

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

The Kinky Love Languages: Words of Affirmation

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

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

Words of Affirmation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional tips that are good for anyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Wearable Review] Bondage Boutique Rainbow Leather Harness with Collar

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

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

Happy Pride, friends!

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

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

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

Boutique Bondage Gear…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Materials & Care

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

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

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

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

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

Harness Fit

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

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

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

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

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

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

So do I recommend it?

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

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

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

[Interview] Kayla Lords, Smutlancer Extraordinaire and Editor-in-Chief of The Big Fling

I used to joke that I would know I’d “made it” as a writer when I had a column. Well now I have one! (Though I’m not sure I actually feel I’ve “made it” after all.) My wonderful friend Kayla is now Editor in Chief of The Big Fling, “a community of writers using sex positivity and good info to fight toxic masculinity in dating, hookups, and relationships”. I pitched and was commissioned to write an article on polyamory earlier this year. Shortly after that, Kayla approached me and asked me to write a monthly column all about consensual non-monogamy in its many forms. I was only too happy to say “hell yes!” So when I started my most recent interview series, I was thrilled to chat to Kayla once again about her work at TBF and beyond.

A picture of Kayla Lords cuddling a big teddy bear

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

While I’ve been a sex blogger since 2012 and a kinky podcaster since 2015, I’ve worked with adult brands and companies for the past several years as well. These days I’m also the editor in chief of The Big Fling which means my job is content! In the beginning I wrote content, and now we’re able to invite writers to pitch their ideas and contribute to the website. My job is to work with writers, look over their pitches, ask questions and give feedback when appropriate, and publish good sex-positive writing.

So what’s this Big Fling all about and how did you come to be involved?

When I was approached about working with The Big Fling, they had big dreams. For years, they’ve been a site where (primarily) cishet guys go to learn about dating apps, phone chat lines, and chat sites for hookups. But an opportunity was being missed in the process — to help the people who visit the site have better, healthier experiences.

Not everyone wants to be in a long-term relationship, but the toxicity of interactions that some guys have is scary, and born from not enough good sex education. The Big Fling decided it wasn’t enough to point them in the direction of where to find a date or hookup, but to teach people how to do it all in a better, more sex-positive way. They reached out to me and asked me to write for them. Over several weeks, they began to share their larger vision with me, of becoming a community of writers, and I was excited to help them execute the plan.

How is The Big Fling different from other adult-oriented sites out there?

Having written for many different relationship, dating, and sexuality sites over the years, what I find to be different about The Big Fling is that we know we’re talking to guys who might only be thinking of the sex they want to have… but we do it in a way that speaks to them where they’re at and says, “You’re smart enough to know better, and here’s what you need to know to be better.”

We don’t assume our readers all want to get married or have long-term relationships, but we don’t assume they’re being led around by their penis (or other sexual organs) either. So instead of the “typical” cishet-oriented site that only shows mostly naked women or assumes they’re all out to hit-it-and-quit-it, we talk to them like we’d talk to our friends. We also never assume we know the sexuality, tastes, desires, or identity of anyone who lands on our site.  

What would you say is the main ethos of the site?

We want to combat toxic masculinity in the world of dating, sex, and relationships by letting the average cishet male reader know that their desires are okay, their feelings are okay, and that there’s another way to exist in the world beyond what society taught them. We know we can’t fix toxic masculinity on our own, but we can do our small part to build a more sex-positive world.

I love that! If authors want to get involved with writing for you, how do they do so?

Pitch me, but read over the guidelines first. As a writer, I know how hard it is to pitch, and not a lot of sites tell you what they want which is frustrating. Hopefully I’m the least intimidating editor you’ll ever meet, but I also expect writers to read and follow the guidelines given. So do that, then pitch

I can vouch for you being the kindest and least intimidating editor! So you’ve published loads of great writers, but who would be your dream guest contributor, if money was no object?

For me, I don’t have a guest contributor. My dream, if money was no object, would be to publish as many great writers as possible and to accept every good idea that I receive. That’s the dream. I want to put out as much interesting, high quality sex-positive content as possible, to publish more writers, and to reach as many readers as possible.

What’s one thing you really wish people would STOP asking you?

I get two questions that I’d love to never hear again:

1) “How do you do it all?” I hate this partly because I’m well aware of what I’m NOT doing, so when someone asks how I do it all, my anxiety spikes as my brain imagines everything I should be doing. Plus, I love what I do (okay, maybe not the tedious parts of my work, but I love most of what I do), and so it’s not a burden or strain to work a little longer or give up my free time to work on my blogs or do freelance work. But I do have to be careful not to overwork or I’ll make myself sick or trigger my mental illnesses (I have generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and bipolar disorder — that’s about as fun as you might imagine, especially when deadlines loom).

2) “How do I have a relationship like the one you have with John Brownstone?” I really don’t mind the question. It’s seeing the look in people’s eyes when I give the answer (their eyes tend to glaze over). We met online and connected from the beginning, but it wasn’t love or lust at first sight. I fought my feelings for him every step of the way, refusing to believe that I deserved him. So when I say take the time to develop trust between you and be willing to say difficult things, I mean that.

Without those two factors, I couldn’t have let go of most of my baggage to be with him. I had to be willing to do as much work as he was willing to do. Our love and respect are mutual, and we fought our own individual battles to be together. A lot of people want quick and easy, and in my experience, quick and easy rarely work. The things that matter take time and patience. So the answer to that question tends to be boring, not at all romantic, and generally unsatisfying to the person who asks…

Oh, fuck. I think the next question on my list is sort of a variation on “how do you do it all?” You do so many things – between Loving BDSM, Smutlancer, your personal website and now Big Fling! What’s your key time management strategy?

Two things: prioritizing my goals, which has always been a struggle because everything feels important all the time, and time blocking (sometimes called calendar blocking). Every single thing in my day (including taking a shower and going to bed) has a slot in my calendar. I block out the time I need to do my day job and be a responsible member of my home, and whatever’s left, I block out for blogging and other projects — with time left for mindless scrolling through social media and other things that don’t count as “work.”

If you could impart one piece of wisdom about sex to everyone in the world, what would it be?

There is no right kind of sex to have, but you’ll never have the right kind of sex for YOU if you aren’t willing to talk about it with your partner. Both partners have to be willing to communicate, and you might have to be the one to speak up first, but the best sex happens when you’ve talked about what you want, what you don’t want, what you’ll do, and what you won’t do. 

Who’s your favourite sex toy manufacturer and why?

It’s always hard to pick just one, but for overall marketing inclusivity and quality of product, I’d say Hot Octopuss. Everything I or my partner, John Brownstone, have tried has been amazing. Really great people work for the company — watch them online, read their blog post, or talk to them in person, and you know they really care about what they do. 

Oh, I love them too! What’s something you used to believe about sex or relationships that you don’t believe any more?

I think I used to believe that only certain people had great sex or relationships. I didn’t know who those certain people were, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t one of them. As the years go by, I continue to learn more and more about what I like and don’t like and what kind of sex and relationships I need and don’t need.

And there is no “type” who gets to have great sex or a solid relationship. Like anything else, it takes hard work and communication, but regardless of our size, age, gender, sexuality, skin color, we are all capable of having whatever kind of sex or relationship we want. It might not be easy (it most definitely isn’t) but if you’re able to find the right person/people, it can be worth it. But part of it begins and ends with embracing who you are as an individual — what you like and what you don’t like, what you need, and what you want. 

And just for fun because it is “Coffee and Kink” – what’s your usual order at Starbucks?

My usual order is a Venti Iced Coffee with four stevia and extra heavy whipping cream — it’s how I get my coffee fix and stick to a Keto diet/lifestyle.

The Big Fling logo for an interview with Kayla Lords

Thanks to Kayla for giving her time to impart her amazing and hard-earned wisdom to us all! Check out all her various projects and give her a follow on Twitter!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Sexual Happiness Means to Me

This week is Sexual Happiness Week! I think that’s a sentiment we can all get behind, no? (If not, why are you reading this blog?) My pals at Lovehoney asked me in an email “what does sexual happiness mean to you?” and, of course, it got me thinking.

A cock ring, a bottle of lube, a mini wand vibrator, a pot of orgasm balm and a bath bomb, all from Lovehoney. For a post on Sexual Happiness week.
Being a sex blogger is pretty great when you get presents like this!

My initial reaction was to give my working definition of sex positivity: “supporting the right of all consenting adults to have sex, or not, in whatever ways work best for them, free from stigma or shame”.

And while I stand by that, I think sexual happiness is something a little different. So I started making a list of some of the things that make up “sexual happiness” for me. It’s different for everyone, so your mileage may vary. Why not tell me in the comments what YOUR definition of sexual happiness is?

1. Feeling in harmony with my body

My body and I have… an uneasy relationship. We haven’t always been friends and honestly, we sometimes still aren’t. Feeling good about my body is something I am mostly struggling to access right now, but in order to experience sexual happiness I do at least need to feel comfortable – neutral, if you will – about it.

I can’t have good sex if all I can think about is how much I hate my stomach and how my thighs are too big. But I can get to a happy place sexually if I can turn off all that noise and, if I cannot love how my body looks, at least appreciate it for the things it can do and the sensations it can feel.

2. Having partners I can really trust

You cannot have really good sex without trust. This is something I firmly believe. For me, trust is more complex than just “you’ll do what you say you’re going to do”. Trust means that I know you’ll show up for me if I need you, outside of a purely sexual space. It means I can be vulnerable with you and know that you will hold space for that and not use it to harm me. It means I can rely on you to show up and keep your commitments to me, not because I force you to but because you want to.

My bar for ongoing sexual partners is now much higher. We might or might not fall in Capital L Love with one another, but if I don’t trust you, we have nothing – not even a casual something.

3. A frequency that works

I’m a very highly sexual person much of the time (duh, you all think as you read my sex blog). This means that, much of the time, I’d like to be having quite a lot of sex. Much as I joke about liking my sex like I like my coffee (“hot and several times a day,”) my actual ideal frequency for sex tends to fall around the 4 – 5 times a week mark, a little more when I’m not busy. (LOL, as if there’s ever a time I’m not busy.)

But the key to sexual happiness for me is a frequency of sex that works with where my life is at that time, and works for the relationship I have with that partner. Right now I probably have sex with The Artist about once a month, but that’s… most of the times we see each other. Whereas with Mr CK, it probably averages out to once or twice a week – but we live together and see each other every day unless one of us is away, so we have days when we’re together but don’t have sex much more often. The key to happiness is a frequency that works for everyone.

4. Exploration and new experiences

At my heart, I am a curious creature with a lust for new experiences and plenty of adventure. Sexually, this can mean a lot of things. New partners, yes – sexual variety is one of the reasons I practice consensual non-monogamy. But also trying a new kink act, a new toy (my job as a sex writer blesses me with the ability to do this frequently!), a new position, or a new sex party or club all fall under the umbrella of “variety”.

Basically I want to try shit out. Being with a person for a long period of time and keeping a sexual spark alive comes quite easily to me, as long as there are plenty of adventures to be shared.

5. Plenty of attention given to my pleasure

I nearly wrote “orgasms!” for this one, but, well… I have an orgasm denial fetish. So I’ve amended it to needing a partner to give plenty of attention to my pleasure, in whatever way that looks. It might mean making sure I come, of course. But it might also include teasing me in the way I like, or spanking me in just the right way, or honestly just regularly checking in to make sure I’m having fun and getting what I want out of the scene. Nothing will turn me off faster than a partner who treats me like a sex toy. (Unless that’s a specific roleplay we’ve negotiated… in which case I’m getting something out of it too, so the point still stands).

Today’s post is brought to you by Lovehoney’s Sexual Happiness Week. Check out the great deals on offer. If you buy through any of my affiliate links, I make a small commission.

Masturbation Monday Guest Blog: Date Night by Mr CK

Today’s Masturbation Monday is a very special guest post written by none other than…

(drumroll please)

…Mr CK! Yes, that’s right, after nearly two years of blogging I have finally persuaded my sweetheart to write some smut for you all. And he’s produced a fantasy kinky scene that I’m sure you’ll all agree is simply delicious. This piece came without a title so I’ve called it “Date Night” because, well, I think this sounds like my perfect date.

A woman's bottom, legs and hands. She is wearing black leather cuffs. For "Masturbation Monday - Date Night" by Mr CK

Date Night by Mr CK

On arrival, he tells you to remove your shoes and coat and then go upstairs and into the bedroom. There’s no hint of malice in the tone of his voice, but it’s also clear that it would be best for you to be an obedient sub and do as he says. That’s confirmed when he says those words as you walk into the bedroom, him two paces behind you. “Good girl.”

The bedroom is warm. Lying on the bed are various items, which he gives you time to look at; to sink into your consciousness. A spreader bar. Various leather cuffs. Some rope and safety shears. Two floggers (one large, one small). A leather paddle. A glass dildo and a large, mains-powered wand — the type that gives very deep and rumbly vibrations. You suspect this isn’t going to be a simple cuddle session!

“Remove all of your clothes except your knickers.” Again, the tone leaves little room for disobedience. Somewhat shyly and a little bit nervously, but also full of that kitty curiosity that you know he loves so much, you strip whilst he watches you; admiring your body.

One hand under your chin, he leans in to kiss you on your lips, the other hand removing your hair-tie and then tracing a single finger from the back of your head, all the way down your spine to your knicker-line. With a smile, he reaches onto the bed and picks up a pair of cuffs.

“Yes — I’m going to restrain you. And then tease you. A lot. I’m not going to touch your cunt at all; at least, not until I think you’ve pleaded enough for me to do so and then I will tease it, spank it and, if you’re very lucky, even give you an orgasm.”

Cuffs go onto your wrists and then onto your ankles. He leads you around the other side of the bed and stands you looking into the full-length mirror, him standing behind you. You watch as he explores your body with his hands, tracing the lines of the inked serpents decorating your curves, a mixture of gentle caresses, light scritches, heavier scratches and a whole bunch of surprise pinches and small slaps that make you catch your breath. He doesn’t touch your cunt. At all.

He turns you around and pushes you onto the bed, face down, cuffs clasped behind your back. The exploration continues. He’s clearly enjoying it — enjoying you — if the noises of delight he’s making at your reactions are anything to go by. More of the mixed-sensation touching, with harder spanks on your bum and thighs, some much harder. You feel his breath on your back, the sensation of his mouth and tongue kissing and licking you. Random bites setting your skin ablaze. And then a pause.

He reaches for something else from the bed. You’re not sure what as he has grasped handfuls of your hair and buried your face in the bed as he did so. Something solid on your back. Cool. The paddle. He uses it on your butt. Once. Gauging your response and asking what kind of pain level that was at. Adjusting, he strikes you again.

“I’m going to give you 8 of these. You’re going to count them, one by one. If you lose count, we start again. Understood?”

You say yes. He hears the trepidation in your voice. “It’s okay — you are a brave girl and you can take this for me. I will look after you.”

The first three strikes were no harder then the test strikes. But only the first three. Gradually, they get harder. He knows your tricks. As you clench your buttocks and try to get away from the paddle, he pulls your head back with the hair he still grasps, forcing your back to arch, making you more vulnerable. The continued strikes are not too hard that you are out of your depth, but hard enough that you are glad there are only 8 of them. You don’t lose count. You feel he must be pleased with you!

“You’re such a good and brave girl!” A calming hand on your back, gentle kisses on your neck. “Turn over — let me kiss your lips.” More kisses and a big hug.

“Now, I’m not finished with you, yet. You’re nowhere near to pleading for me to touch your cunt, so there’s much more teasing to be done!”

To be continued…

Editor’s note 09/03/19: Oops! Mr CK sent me the *earlier* edit of this by mistake. It has now been updated to the final version.

Do we want part two? I think we do!

This piece is shared as part of Masturbation Monday, a meme owned and run by Kayla Lords. Click here to see what everyone else is getting off to this week!

Image from Pixabay.

Interview: Porn Researcher Rosie Hodsdon

I was thrilled when Rosie Hodsdon reached out to volunteer to be an interview subject. I’ve known her through the UK kink scene for a while and she’s totally lovely as well as ridiculously smart. Here, we chat sex and relationships, academic porn research, and why the Digital Economy Bill sucks. 

A picture of Rosie Hodsdon, a white woman in her 20s with shoulder length brown hair. She is wearing a blue jacket and smiling at the camera. There are flowers in the background.

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

I am currently working towards my PhD at Northumbria University, looking at the regulation of online pornography in the UK and how this affects the people who produce it. 

What made you want to get into porn research?

My research interests float around sexualities more broadly, and this stems from the failure that was my school’s sex education! I felt incredibly alienated from everything we were taught and had to find the information that I felt I needed out for myself, and was very lucky to be able to do this at a time when the internet made this a little easier! I knew that I never wanted people to feel as alienated as I did growing up, and wanted to be someone who helped others to learn about the range of sexualities out there in a safe and supportive way.

To me, porn forms just one part of that much wider sphere of things, and I have worked, or would love to work, on projects concerning kink, polyamory and sex work as well. [My work is] about dispelling misconceptions surrounding sexuality more broadly and wanting to work towards a society where these things are free from stigma and judgement. 

What’s your background and how did you break into this work?

Almost by accident, really! I did my first degree in Anthropology and Sociology and I knew as soon as I started that I wanted to focus on sexualities research. Towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I had a guest lecture on my Sociology of Gender and Sexuality module from Professor Clarissa Smith on extreme pornography, which I found fascinating. At the same time, the AVMS regulations had been passed, so pornography was at the forefront of my mind. However, the more I tried to read into academic research on the porn industry, the more I noticed that the voices of those who worked in the industry were rather absent, so when I got an email in my inbox asking for PhD proposals relating to law and sexuality, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. 

What’s the most challenging thing about your work?

There’s a few things that spring to mind, which all cover somewhat different aspects of what I do!

The first problem is somewhat inherent to academia, which is that I can’t ever really escape my work – I can’t go home at the end of a work day and forget about it, because it’s always going to be in my mind and if it’s in my mind, then I’m thinking on it and working!

The second is how frustrating it can be. There’s something very futile about trying to work for a better understanding of sexuality and sex work in a society where everything seems to be pushing back against it – everything from the Digital Economy Act to FOSTA/SESTA. Even in the few days that I’ve been working on this interview, Tumblr has announced its porn ban and Facebook has tightened their control over what language you can use.

The third is that the work itself can be pretty misunderstood and stigmatised. I’m very wary of saying so, because the stigma attached to this academic work really can’t be compared to the stigma attached to actually making porn, and I wouldn’t want to ignore that. But I have had a lot of judgement myself because of what I do, from strangers on the internet all the way to previous partners. Shout-out to my ex specifically, who told me that no one else would ever love me because of what I do. Look at me now, dickbag!

What about the most rewarding thing?

I get to meet some incredible people who are doing some fantastic work, both as producers and as activists. And sometimes I get to be considered amongst them as well! Feeling like I have the ability to change people’s viewpoints or give them a new perspective on things is both very powerful and very humbling, and I feel a huge responsibility with it, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. 

Who’s your favourite porn performer and why? What about your favourite production company? 

I have to pick just one? I’m not going to play by these rules! [Spoken like a true polyamorist! – Amy] There are some amazing performers who represent the industry in such a positive way, both in the US and the UK.

Stoya was the first person I encountered who combined porn with activism, and I’ve appreciated her work ever since. I’m also a huge fan of Pandora/Blake, who works tirelessly to support sexual freedom. Jiz Lee has done some amazing work, and their book, Coming Out Like a Porn Star, has been hugely influential to me in its approach to centering performer voices.

As for my favourite company, it has to be Crash Pad Series! It’s radical, queer, kinky, feminist-grounded porn which focuses on a fair production process and has the inimitable Shine Louise Houston at its helm, also fighting for new approaches to sexuality in society more broadly. And it’s hot. 

There’s been a lot in the news recently about the incoming age verification regulations to access online porn in the UK. What’s your take? 

Where do I start!? The whole thing is a tangled mess of clusterfuck. I could spend hours ranting about this, so I’ll do what I can to condense why the entire thing is a terrible idea. It’s time for some bullet points.

  • The rationale behind the law is to “protect children”, and this is based on fundamentally flawed evidence. The study which forms the basis of the legislation, carried out by the NSPCC, has since been discredited by 37 academics for poor methods and conclusions which stretched far beyond the scope of the study. This is no basis for legislation.
  • Furthermore, what are we protecting children from? Of course no one should have to see porn without wanting to, but this does not just apply to children. There is no evidence which proves that children are harmed en masse by watching pornography. In studies which have explored young people’s motivations for viewing such material, the overwhelming theme is that pornography allows them to explore their sexuality and learn about sex in a way that they otherwise do not have access to. Pornography should not be a substitute for sex education, and this can only be solved with a drastic overhaul of the SRE curriculum. Porn should form a part of this, but so should issues of queer identity, pleasure and safe sex practices. All of these are currently very much lacking in the UK (and in most other places!). 
  • The laws are also almost certainly going to have the least impact on young people, given that they are generally far more technologically literate than a lot of adults. Anyone, including young people, can just get around these restrictions through the use of a VPN.  On a practical level, it won’t work.
  • So what will it do? For the consumer, it will place their private personal information in the hands of companies who are not required to enforce stringent protections of this data. As much as I would like to live in a world where people are not shamed for their sexual desires and preferences, this is not currently the case. We can see in countless examples how information about people’s non-normative sexual preferences has had major real-world consequences, such as losing their jobs or custody of their children. A database which stores information about what porn people watch? Hackers are going to have a field day.
  • Finally – given that this is where my research lies! – it’s going to decimate the porn industry. The financial impact is likely to be significant, particularly for smaller companies with more niche audiences, who are likely to struggle to implement AV systems from an economic standpoint. These are often the studios which produce explicitly ethical, feminist, queer, kink pornography so to lose these would make the industry even more homogeneous and less diverse. There’s also the emotional impact of the regulations to consider – people are fearing for their jobs and businesses. The government is telling people that their work is actively harmful for society. Their own sexualities are being delegitimised. And when you consider further that people with a significant background in porn may well find it harder to find “square” work due to the stigma attached to sex work more broadly, people are very worried about their future. 

Ultimately, the AV laws are like trying to fill in the Gran Canyon with a bucket and spade. I’m going to actually be rather lazy here and take a quote from my own response from the BBFC consultation of which I am rather proud:

Age verification seems to be merely an ineffective, unsubstantiated patch-up for a much wider social issue with regards to how we inform young people about sex and our wider sexual culture– including pornography. Young people are desperate for accurate, inclusive, informed sex education, which produces greater positive outcomes for their sexual, emotional and relationship wellbeing. Focusing on age verification serves to mask that problem rather than confront it, and may instead be detrimental to the development of sexual knowledge if not supported by compulsory and comprehensive sex education. This would be a much more effective use of government resources.”

They rest on fundamentally-flawed foundations of research and are likely to cause a significant amount of social harm.

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

People think that I sit around just watching porn all day. They’re not wrong, but I then have to write about it afterwards. People seem to find that part much less sexy. 

What do you really wish everyone understood about pornography?

Ooh, this is a really interesting one! There’s a lot I could say here, so I’ll break it down into some more bullet points:

  • That (most) porn costs money to make, and all of it takes work. Pay for your damn porn. Or, at least, access it for free only directly from creators, not through any pirated means.
  • That porn performers (and producers) are human! There’s a narrative in anti-porn discourse which tends to paint performers particularly as being nothing more than vapid, blow-up fuckdolls, which not only removes their agency and autonomy, but also reduces them to their having sex. We live in an age now where it’s easier than ever to move past this image – we have performers doing some amazing activist work or simply engaging with their fans on social media, and the image that persists of people, particularly women, in porn as being either a mindless set of holes or an exploited victim, denies them their personhood,
  • That it’s not a public health danger. There is no research out there which proves that porn is inherently harmful, and while I would never want to belittle any individual issues that pornography has caused (because yes, people can have issues with it and people who do need appropriate support), it does not do this on a large scale.
  • That pornography can be massively positive. Emerging research is starting to show that porn isn’t just used by consumers to get off, though that’s part of it too. It’s a way to explore their sexuality and identity, a way to connect with others (if you’ve never shared the Lemon Stealing Whores introduction with your friends, I recommend it), an education resource, a method of stress relief, and much more. 
  • Finally, that it’s okay not to like pornography! Whether that’s a particular type or the genre as a whole – as much as I’m positive about what pornography is, what it can do and who makes it, I don’t expect everyone to like it. All I want is for it to be respected as a form of labour and as a creative product, and for the freedom of others to be able to access it and make it should they choose to. 

Who inspires you personally and professionally?

On a professional level, there are so many people I want to name here! First of all, I have to note the amazing things that my participants have shared with me over the course of my research, and their openness and trust with me is massively motivating.

Secondly, my PhD supervisory team – Chris Ashford, Tony Ward and Laura Graham – who continue to blow my mind and push me to succeed, even when I want to give up, and whose research has paved the way for someone like me to do something like this.

Thirdly, the tireless activism of Pandora/Blake and Myles Jackman. I’m so in awe of the both of them that even now, having met both multiple times, they still scare me slightly!

Fourth (and finally, for this part of the question), the awesome communities that my research has allowed me to become immersed in – academics, sex work activists, porn producers and creators – who are all doing such amazing things themselves!

On a personal level, I am very lucky to be surrounded by some incredible people. My partner, Lewis; my boyfriend, Willtom; and my girlfriend, Tiggy, have all provided me with invaluable support and happiness. They push me to keep going even when I just want to throw my thesis in a fire! (They’re also hella cute). I also have an amazing family, who have dealt with trying to explain my PhD topic to far too many people! I hate feeling like I’m “lucky” to have their support, because it should be a given. But I know that that’s not always the case and that I am grateful that they’ve not disowned me yet. And I can’t not also mention the lovely people of the Durham, Leeds and Reading kink scenes, who are unfailingly wonderful and who have also supported me along the way. 

Who’s your favourite sex educator and why?

So much of my inspiration to enter sexualities education (in a sense) myself came from Scarleteen, so I’d like to say their entire website! Also, my entire Twitter feed has been improved since introducing Alix Fox into its mix. She combines some spectacular puns with activism and awareness work, and I’m always impressed by her willingness to reach out and continue learning from others. [We love Alex here at C&K! – Amy]

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

I feel like there’s a tendency to put romantic love on a pedestal, and as has probably been demonstrated in this interview, there are so many other forms of relationships that can be just as wonderful, supportive and fulfilling.

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

…I don’t. Unless *insert enema joke here*? 

(Please don’t hate me!)

Thank you so much to Rosie for her time and for the awesome work she’s doing, which will undoubtedly benefit all of us – when porn and sex work are destigmatised, all of us gain greater sexual freedom. You can keep up with Rosie via her Twitter, and as ever if YOU are doing something awesome in the field of sex or relationships and would like to be featured on the blog, hit me up.


[Guest Blog] The Thirst of “Femmes d’un Certain Age” by Evelyn Archer

When I started out on this quest to publish a select few guest bloggers on my site (and pay them for it, of course!) part of my mission was to share the stories I cannot tell. The experiences I have not had. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited by this piece by Evelyn Archer. Here, we’re talking Sex After 40! I’m in my late 20s. The myths about sex stopping is one of the things I’m very afraid of about growing older. But here, Evelyn tells us that not only can sex after 40 be amazing – it might just be the best ever. She’s also sharing some wisdom she’s learned along the way. Over to her…

Amy x

A 40th birthday cake, for a guest post on sex after 40 by Evelyn ArcherThe Thirst of “Femmes d’un Certain Age” by Evelyn Archer

Some doctors call it “The Surge”. I call it “The Going Out of Business Sale”.

Here’s the truth: in my late 30s through mid-40s, I’d done without sex for a long time. In a long, otherwise happy marriage – between medication side effects, interpersonal issues and plain old fear – we’d been Not Having Sex for longer than I like to admit. I told myself that everyone gets to define these things for themselves (still true), but there was also another message that I was getting and internalizing without really realizing it. A woman over 40 with a sex drive is a joke. A grotesque joke. Either played for laughs or an object of scorn and pity – we’re Stifler’s Mom from American Pie, Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company (Google it, my sweet babies).

I had no model for what my sex life after 40 was “supposed” to look like. It was “supposed” to Go Away. In fact, cursory Googling revealed a stark, depressing story of “sexless marriages”, of couples living with resentment and disappointment, or at best as friendly roommates, co-owners in the Business of Our Life. A sexual life was something I used to have, someone I used to be, and it looked like I would have to find a way to live without it.

But through hard work in therapy and a bunch of other stuff we came together again.

And now we can’t stop boning each other. But as an essentially cishet (I mean, het-ish, but that’s another post) monogamous couple, in order to truly get back on track, we had to take our cues from outside the cishet community (which is unsurprisingly UNHELPFUL in terms of sex positive information). Instead we turned to queer folks and trans folks and polyamorous folks.

If my partner and I were struggling, for whatever reason, with penetrative P-in-V sex, why was this the “end of sex” for us? Would we say that what our queer friends, our trans pals did in bed wasn’t “really sex”? Of course not! That doesn’t even make sense! So why did it have to be that way for us? Once we stopped putting P-in-V sex at the center of our sex lives, once we stopped seeing “everything else” (oral and manual and toys and everything) as a “lead up to the main event” our entire sex lives transformed. All of a sudden, “fucking” was whatever we decided it was.

So we started fucking all the time.

We can’t seem to stop. He comes home early from work just for banging. We send dirty gifs to each other. We keep a Sex Toy Wish List on Lovehoney. And we haven’t seen our friends on a Saturday night in months because we’re so tired from banging all afternoon, all we can do is eat spaghetti and watch cartoons.
And it was from polyamorous folks writing about relationships and intimacy that we learned that we have to TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. We have to find ways to talk about stuff we don’t want to talk about. How to sit in uncomfortable feelings like disappointment and jealousy, and still hold space for each other.

It never occurred to us to actually have a conversation about what we WANTED to do
specifically, only what we DIDN’T want to do. From the BDSM community that we learned that we can just talk out whatever is “on the table” for fucky stuff and instead of all that talking “ruining the moment” (or whatever) it leads to a more fun and satisfying play-time.

The power of just listening

But let me be clear: all these terrific queer, trans, poly sex positive folks (bloggers, Twitterers, Instagram folks) are not giving this information to US. Their work is not necessarily FOR us, it’s for themselves and for each other. But by shutting up, and by watching and listening closely, I learned a new way to look at and talk about sex. As these folks process and manage their own sex positive liberation, it shows me a different way of inhabiting my own sexuality, shows me ways to question and ways to talk. It’s not one person in particular, but this chorus of voices, and quietly immersing myself in what they have to say has utterly changed my marriage, my relationship to sex, and the way I see myself.

But still, my high levels of desire seemed to be out of sync with public opinion and popular culture. There’s still the Google-able stuff about The End of Sex, but dig a little deeper and there’s something called “The Surge”. The way I understand it (and I am a writer not a doctor, so do your own research!) is that here at the End of my Childbearing Years my body knows that each egg it releases could be its last. So it releases a surge of hormones telling me “YOU BETTER BANG EVERYTHING BECAUSE THIS COULD BE YOUR LAST CHANCE”. But there’s SO little information on this (and most of it anecdotal) it reminds me of how monstrous our culture sees Femmes d’un Certain Age whose sex drives are still strong. We’re still a joke, still grotesque. Still Mrs. Roper, still Stifler’s mom.

Dawn Sera and Tristan Taoromino have talked about it on their podcasts a couple of times, but there’s little in popular culture for me to look to. Even looking for women over forty in romance novels came up thin, even thinner if you want something a little hotter than “sweet” and “tender”.

So…where ARE we?

WHY is no one talking about this? Why is the only talk of women and
middle age and desire about our thinning hair, our drying and atrophying vaginas, our hormone therapy, our inevitable march to a dry and sexless grave?

Well, I’m not having it. I’ve decided to embrace my monstrousness (if indeed that’s what it is). And I’m leaving you with some resources that really helped me. (These may Old News to you Sex Positive Veterans, but they were news to me).

Resources

  • Tristan Taoromino’s podcast “Sex Out Loud” (available wherever fine podcasts are uploaded). She has more talk of kink and gender and queer politics so this was right up my alley.
  • Dawn Serra’s “Sex Gets Real” (available wherever fine podcasts are uploaded). She has a softer, more relationshippy slant. There’s also lots of good stuff about the intersection of fat positivity and sex positivity. (Be prepared to hear the word “yummy” a lot.
  • Oh Joy, Sex Toy is a web comic by husband and wife team Erika Moen and Matt Nolan. I went there just for sex toy reviews and what I got was SO much more. The illustrations are really sweet, with lots and lots of body diversity (which I don’t see everywhere).
  • Come As You Are: the Surprising New Science that will Transform your Sex Life, by Emily Nagoski. The research here on how desire can work for some folks was a revelation to me. (Also Erika Moen does the illustrations!) Not so science-y that it’s dry, yet doesn’t read like a self-help manual. She is a scientist and a sex educator and this book is great.

Author photo of Evelyn ArcherEvelyn Archer is an author living in New England. You can find her books here and you can sign up for her super fun newsletter, “The Strange Files” here. She also writes erotic shorts as “Madeline Moon”. You can find them here, or here.

 

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Great Reasons to Try Chastity Play

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

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

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

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

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

The eventual pleasure is so much better

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

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

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

It’s really fun for long-distance relationships

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

Pleasure can act as a motivator

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

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

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