5 Sexy New Year’s Resolutions I’m Making

Belated happy 2022, folks! I completely failed to mark the occasion, but 31 December 2021 was the fifth anniversary of Coffee & Kink. What started out as a little passion project ended up completely changing my life. So whether you’ve been here since the beginning or you’re just joining me now, thank you so much for reading.

With the beginning of the year comes new challenges, new adventures, and – yes – new year’s resolutions. I don’t really believe in the “typical” resolutions, because I think they’re mostly built on false premises and values I don’t subscribe to. 

What I do believe in, though, is taking any opportunity to focus on and improve our sex lives! Whether you’re planning to buy a vibrator for the first time, switch to eco-friendly sex toys (more on why this is one of mine in a minute!), or talk to your partner about trying BDSM, I hope you’ll take time for yourself and your pleasure this year. 

To that end, here are five sexy new year’s resolutions I’m making in 2022.

Become a More Conscious Consumer

Love Not War Koi eco friendly vibrator

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my impact on the planet. I stopped eating meat several years ago, but I’ve started incorporating more vegan foods into my diet, buying locally where possible, and generally trying to approach food in a more sustainable way. I don’t have periods at the moment (praise Mirena!) but, if I start having them again, I’ve promised myself that I’ll try reuseable menstrual cups instead of pads or tampons. Of course, no-one is perfect and it’s impossible to completely mitigate one’s environmental footprint, but if we all make small steps they really can make a big difference.

One way to become a more conscious consumer, and one that is often forgotten, is in the realm of sexuality. And one of the most fun ways to do that? Buy eco-friendly sex toys!

I recently tried the Koi vibrator from Love Not War. Love Not War vibrators are made using as few materials as possible, and are constructed from silicone and recycled aluminium. There is no single-use plastic and the small amount of plastic that is necessary is recycled within the factory. It arrives in eco-friendly, brown cardboard packaging, and even the little storage pouch for your toy is made from environmentally friendly bamboo fabric. Best of all? The electronics unit works with all the interchangeable heads, which you can buy separately. So you can try lots of different sensations without needing to buy a new battery unit for each one.

Love Not War Koi sustainable vibrator

Oh, and it’s a damn good vibrator, too. The Love Not War Koi is powerful, rumbly, and has a fabulous wide head for all-over vulva stimulation.

Other ways to make your sex life more environmentally friendly include switching to ethically-made lubricants with organic ingredients, buying lingerie made from sustainable and recycled fabrics, and avoiding products with tonnes of single-use plastic packaging. Buying glass, silicone, or stainless steel toys instead of hard plastic is another great option, as is choosing rechargeable toys rather than those powered by disposable batteries. Some manufacturers, such as Lovehoney, will also recycle old sex toys so they don’t end up in landfill.

Remember to Masturbate for Fun!

“So, what, you get paid to masturbate?” people say when I tell them I test and review sex toys for a living. And… yes, kind of, but not really. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I’m incredibly lucky that I get paid to try out some awesome and innovative sex toys. But it’s far more than just “being paid to masturbate”.

For every toy review that appears on this site, there are hours of testing, taking notes, and sometimes discussing the product with my partner. Then there’s writing it up, proofreading and editing, taking and editing photos, creating a header image, adding tags and categories, and then promoting the post on social media once it’s live.

I love my job, but it’s still my job. This year, I want to remember that self-pleasure is supposed to be about, well, pleasure. This means taking the time to masturbate just for fun, with the toys (or lack thereof) that I feel like using, without the pressure to write about it afterwards. 

Start Dating Again

This one might be a little trickier, what with that ongoing pandemic thing, but I’m an optimist and I’m going to do my best!

Many of you may remember that I went through a truly terrible break-up in late 2021. As a result, I decided to take a long break from dating anyone except my nesting partner. This was unquestionably the right decision, as I needed time to process and heal from what happened. But I’m starting to feel like dating again might be a good thing for me.

I’m trying to keep my resolutions for 2022 squarely in the realm of “things I can actually control”. So I’m not going to promise to go on 15 dates this year, or have a girlfriend by December (if only…). But I am going to get myself back on some dating apps, flirt with some pretty humans, and maybe ask someone out if they seem like a good fit.

Take More Sexy Selfies

My body image has been a little all over the place recently. Perhaps unsurprising in these ongoing Covid times. As a result, I haven’t been taking many sexy pics recently except when I need them for lingerie reviews. I always get a good reaction when I do take them and send them to a lover, play partner, or long distance crush… and honestly, even if I don’t send them to anyone, taking them and looking at them makes me feel hot and desirable.

2022 shall be the year of the nude selfie!

Try a New Kink

What will that new kink be? I don’t know yet! But I recently read Kate Sloan’s fabulous book, 101 Kinky Things Even You Can Do, and it’s given me more than a few ideas.

One of the things I love the most about sexuality is its infinite variety. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I come across a new kink or fetish I’ve never even heard of. So maybe this year I’ll try something that’s been on my bucket list for years, or maybe I’ll end up trying a kink I don’t even know exists yet. The point is less about the specific act itself, and more about committing to a state of ongoing openness, curiosity, and adventure.

What’s on your 2022 sexy resolutions list, lovelies?

This post was sponsored by the good folks at Love Not War, an eco-conscious and sustainable toy company that also happens to make gorgeous, powerful vibrators in a range of interesting shapes and styles. All opinions are, as always, completely my own. Images are by Love Not War and used with permission.

[Lingerie Review] Lovehoney Hourglass Open-Cup Crotchless Body

If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you’ll know that my biggest complaint when it comes to lingerie is often that my G-cup boobs simply won’t fit in the garment properly. One of the ways around that problem? Open-cup lingerie! I recently received the Lovehoney Hourglass Open-Cup Crotchless Body to review. Did it live up to expectations? Let’s find out…

Lovehoney Hourglass Open-Cup Crotchless Body

The Lovehoney Hourglass Body is a one piece bodysuit made of black floral lace and microfibre. It features removeable straps, which frame your breasts as well as helping the garment stay up (though the top is elasticy enough that it stays up fairly well without them). It also features removeable suspender straps.

The Lovehoney Hourglass Body opens at the crotch and is adorned in the centre of the microfibre section with the Lovehoney heart insignia.

First impressions were positive. The piece looks well-made, the fabrics are soft and stretchy, and the aesthetic is sexy.

Fit and Comfort

The Lovehoney Hourglass Body is designed to be wearable either on its own or under clothing as “shapewear”. This means that comfort and fit are of paramount importance – this is something you could potentially wear all night under a dress, not just slip into for bedroom wear.

This piece is super comfy, as lingerie goes, as it’s pleasingly stretchy and feels super soft against the skin. The straps are fully adjustable, so you can set them to suit your body (or remove them entirely, if you prefer). I’m not much of a stockings person but if you are, thigh-highs and killer heels would be a great way to complete the look.

Fit wise, the Lovehoney Hourglass Body runs pretty true to size. I received a Medium and it fits my size 12 frame well. If you’re between sizes, I’d recommend going a size down rather than up, since this piece is stretchy and is supposed to cling snugly.

Since this piece is open cup, you don’t need to worry about cup sizes! (A godsend for people like me who are well-endowed in the chest department). You can easily wear it either by itself or with a bra.

The Lovehoney Hourglass Body is available for all sizes from UK6 to UK28.

Look and Wearability

(This section discussed body confidence and body image issues. Skip to the next header if that’s not something you want to engage with today!)

This is one of those pieces that I’ll wear again and again because it makes me feel confident and sexy as hell.

Despite striving to be body-positive and doing continual work on my self-image, there are still parts of my own body that I struggle with. Most notably, my stomach. So pieces that hide the bits of my body I’m less confident about, while emphasising the bits I do love (waist, boobs), are basically the holy grail of lingerie to me. I’m also really into the way the lace panels cling to the curve of my hips.

The look is a kind of femme soft-bondage, especially with the straps left on. It creates a sexy hourglass (hence the name) silhouette. The floral lace is pretty, and I really love the little diamond detailing around the edges.

Simply gorgeous!

Verdict

Yes – an absolute winner! If you’re looking for something to wear under your clothes and surprise your lover with, or just to feel fabulous in the bedoom (/sex club), look no further.

The Lovehoney Hourglass Open-Cup Crotchless Body retails for £32.99 ($39.99 US).

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this piece to review. All views, as always, are my own. Buying through the affiliate links in this post helps to keep the blog going!

4 New Years Resolutions Not to Make for 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Go on a diet

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

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

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

Get a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner

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

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

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

Be more positive

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

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

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

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

Say yes

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

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

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

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

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

Are you making or breaking up with resolutions this year?

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

Quote Quest badge for a post about new years resolutions not to make

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

How Lockdown has Impacted my Body Image

I’ve given up, friends – after seven months of this shit, I’m making a COVID times post. So yeah, let’s talk about this clusterfuck of a year as it pertains to body image.

TW: Body struggles, weight (no numbers), fitness, mental health, COVID-19 lockdown, calorie counting (no numbers)

Did any of us think, back in February and early March, that this pandemic was going to impact pretty much every aspect of our lives? Yet here we are. October, and still no end to any of this in sight.

A lot of things in my life have changed this year, most of them directly or tangentially COVID-influenced. And in a world where a lot of things are complicated right now, one of the things that is consistently complicated is my relationship with my body image.

Based on what I’ve read, I’m far from the only person struggling with this. I speak only for myself, but if any of this resonates with you, I want you to know you’re not alone.

The COVID weight gain

My relationship with my weight and body size is a very uneven and complicated thing. I say this with the awareness that I possess rather a lot of thin privilege compared to many folks in larger bodies. Still, I’ve also noticed a drastic change in the way the world responds to me in this body, than the way it responded to me in the (far smaller) body I had in my early 20s.

Prior to COVID hitting, I’d lost a pretty significant amount of weight and was feeling great about it. I’ve put back on…. well, not all of it, but a significant amount. And I know this is Bad Feminist and Not Body Positive of me, but I’m not really okay with it.

The reasons are obvious. No longer walking miles every day across a sprawling University campus. No pole (more on that in a minute). Comfort eating and comfort drinking and honestly, probably just the sheer body-altering impacts of living under chronic stress and low-key terror for seven months.

Breaking up with monitoring

Prior to COVID, I spent c. 4 years dipping in and out of obsessive monitoring phases where I’d track my exercise, my food, my calories, forever chasing the damned green line that said my intake/output balance was “right” that day.

I’ve completely stopped that since lockdown began. I haven’t charged my fitness tracker in months (honestly I’m not even sure where it is at this point). I no longer weigh my food

Strangely, I’ve started to find my way back to a place of equilibrium. I came into lockdown monitoring and tracking and counting, which wasn’t good for me. That gave way to comfort-consuming what food and alcohol gave me a momentary break from the SHEER FUCKING HORROR of it all. Thing is, that approach wasn’t good for me either.

Cake tastes better when I eat it because I actually want it, rather than because I’ve barely slept in three days and a jolt of sugar might help me keep going. I like a G&T as much as the next person, but drinking alone night after night after night in front of a screen doesn’t make you miss your friends and your family and your hobbies and your community and your fucking life any less. It just makes the loneliness worse when the inevitable crash sets in.

Through all this, I seem to have – almost accidentally – hit something approaching balance. I definitely eat more of the things I want than I did when I was counting and tracking everything. And I think that’s a good thing. But I also eat what I actually want and what my body is craving, rather than using sugar and alcohol as a coping strategy.

God knows I am still far from fixing my broken relationship with food. I don’t want to imply for a second that I’ve hit some magical end point. To be honest, I suspect this will be a lifelong journey. All of us, especially women and AFAB people, live in a world that polices our bodies and our food constantly. Finding balance amidst all that? Well, it’s not just a battle you win once.

I’m trying to learn to be more gentle with myself over it all. To accept that I’ll have days when I deal with food guilt and start to slide back into my old obsessive ways. To accept that I’ll also have days where my depression tells me to just lie on the couch and eat my body weight in candy. Both are okay. Both are things I can learn to recognise and work with.

Finding ways to keep fit that feel good

When I found pole dancing in early 2019, I knew I’d finally found a means of exercise that was not only bearable, but brought me joy every time I did it. Of course, I haven’t been able to go dancing since early March (the studio only reopened a couple weeks ago, and my partner and I both feel it’s not sufficiently COVID-safe right now.)

In a world where I can’t do that, I kind of lost motivation to keep fit. It took me a while to even want to do anything else. I tried a few online workouts and didn’t really get on with any of them. The wrong level, absurdly punishing even when labelled as “for beginners”, or just accompanied by too much casual body-shaming commentary.

I was perhaps the last trying-to-keep-fit-on-the-internet person in the entire world to discover Yoga with Adriene. I’ve been working my way through her 30 day challenge for beginners. I’m certainly not going to become a “yoga fixes all things” devotee anytime soon, but I definitely feel physically stronger and mentally more grounded after doing sessions most days for the last few weeks.

What I like about Adriene is the way that she totally decouples the practice of yoga from being about changing your body. Her catchphrase/rallying cry is “find what feels good”. Even her “Yoga for Weight Loss,” which I will admit is how I first found her channel, isn’t really about weight loss.

I also stumbled across a Youtube video that convinced me of the joys of hula-hooping. I bought a hoop and have been doing 15 minutes a day in front of the TV. It’s silly and it’s playful and it’s easy to work up a sweat and feel awesome while my mind is focused on something else (in this case, reruns of Crazy Ex Girlfriend.)

All this to say that finding ways to keep fit in lockdown has been challenging, frustrating, but ultimately pretty rewarding.

Though I’ll still be much happier when I can hang upside down from a pole in just my underwear surrounded by badass women again.

Not having to get dressed up is a mixed blessing

Clothing and appearance and dressing up has always been a bit of a minefield for me. As a queer femme, I love all things fancy and glittery and just that little bit extra. However, the combination of not having a body shape that mainstream fashion really understands, coupled with eclectic tastes and being basically perpetually broke until I was 26, means that shopping for clothes has always been… complex, at best.

Honestly, not having to think so much about what I’m going to wear every day has been freeing. I have pretty much worked in some combination of pyjamas, yoga pants, and oversized t-shirts every day since March, and I’m not sorry. Being able to prioritise comfort over dressing “acceptably” has been a blessing during an incredibly stressful time.

On the other hand, not having any real opportunity to get dressed up and sparkle has made me realise how much I miss it. Sure, I could don glitter at home, but it’s not worth the effort if it’s for no occasion. I’ve thought about wearing the catsuit on a Zoom call, but it just doesn’t feel joyful in the same way when it’s just me, my home office, and a grainy camera. I could put on a tight skirt, but where’s the fun if I can’t flirt with a stranger?

I like valuing my body and physicality as far more than a decoration… but sometimes I want to be fucking decorative, damnit! I’ve been kinda dealing with this by playing with nudes and taking more lingerie selfies.

One of the little but powerful self-care rituals I’ve cultivated in lockdown has been to start dying my hair again. For the last several years in jobs in which any non-natural colour was considered “unprofessional,” I’d often look in the mirror and long for my luscious purple locks of old. When I finally did it again, watching the gorgeous, vibrant colour emerge in all its glory as I blow-dried my hair, I felt like me again.

We have to find small joys and small ways to love ourselves in these times. It just happens that one of my small joys lives in a bottle of violet hair dye. I might not love my shape or my fitness level right now, but at least I can love this one little thing.

What I’m trying to say is… it’s complicated

It’s complicated and it’s many-faceted and it’s a work in progress. I have mostly come to terms, at this point, with the idea that it’s probably always going to be kind of complicated, and it’s always going to be a work in progress.

I can’t wake up one morning like “wahey, I love my body now!” If only it were that simple. Instead, it’s more likely to be a lifetime of steps forward and slips back, of progress and challenges, of days where it feels easy and days where it feels hard.

If lockdown taught me one thing about body image, it’s that body image isn’t static and it isn’t a one way journey.

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[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

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, 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.

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 C&K, 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. If you buy through any of my affiliate links, I make a small commission.

[Wearable Review] Lovehoney Elixir Luxury Lingerie Set

[Update 30/01/20: the Elixir lingerie ranges have now been discontinued. I have removed dead links but this post is left up for reference.]

Has anyone else noticed that Lovehoney are on fire with their awesome lingerie offerings lately? I’m not surprised after meeting their wonderful and skilled designer at the recent blogger day – she makes it her mission to find the most beautiful fabrics and use them to create gorgeous pieces for all bodies.

I originally asked for this set in black, but they didn’t have any black sets left for review. Bright red and gold feels a bit much for me, being the shy retiring creature that I am [1]. Still, it’s good to get out of one’s comfort zone, isn’t it? So red it was.

[1] Except when the catsuit of joy comes out.

There’s a lot of pieces to this one…

The Elixir set is four separate pieces:

  • A long-line bra, with padded cups and velvety straps and framing detail.
  • Crotchless knickers.
  • A suspender belt with four velvety suspender straps.
  • Wrist cuffs joined with a delicate gold chain.

Note that stockings are not included, so you’ll need to buy those separately. I recommend these red thigh-highs. Perhaps pair with killer heels to complete the look?

Glamour and luxury

I was put off red lingerie years ago because so much of what’s out there is just so… tacky? This is not that.

The fabric is a bright, luscious red and shot through with flecks of gold. The gold just makes the whole set feel so luxurious and high-end – it really feels like it should be much more expensive than it is. Each piece is also adorned with a cute little charm in the shape of the Lovehoney heart logo.

I also love the slightly kinky aesthetic that comes from the cuffs. They are purely for decoration – the chain is extremely thin and the lace is delicate. Don’t try to pull against them or use them for restraint as you’ll damage them.

How does it fit?

Fit is always a bit difficult when it comes to lingerie, because we all have such different proportions. Lovehoney provide handy sizing charts on all their lingerie so you can work out which size is best for you. And if you’re, say, a medium on top but a large on bottom, just get in touch and they’ll help you out if they can.

The Elixir set is available in S/M/L and also in Plus Size, so will fit anyone from size 6 to 24.

I’m currently wearing a UK 14/16 (and occasionally 18, it’s a bit brand-dependent) so after some deliberation I got the Large. The fit is not perfect but pretty good. The bra covers my 38DD boobs pretty well, and the knickers are a great fit. The suspender belt was a bit small on me and didn’t sit properly on my body as a result, but I’m an hourglass shape with big hips so this makes sense.

A question of comfort

I mean, it’s sexy lingerie. It’s not particularly supposed to be comfortable! That said, this set is designed with maximum possible comfort as well as aesthetic in mind. The lace is super soft – not scratchy at all. So though I wouldn’t wear it all day, it’s surprisingly comfortable when compared to other, similar items on the market. I could happily spend an evening out at the club – or in with my partner – wearing it!

Making you feel great

I struggle with body-image. In short, I really struggle to feel good about my body or to feel sexy – and a lot of the time, I hide behind jeans and jumpers and baggy loose clothes. I avoided lingerie for a long time out of the vague feeling that it’s not really for me or my overweight body.

Sex blogging has forced me to dip a toe in to trying lingerie – can’t easily write about it if I don’t try it, now can I? And Lovehoney’s pieces consistently make me feel gorgeous when I put them on. The designs work for a wide range of bodies, not just the proportions of a mainstream lingerie model, and they make a wide range of women and femme folks feel look and feel beautiful.

A great sexy gift?

Christmas is coming up! (As if you’d forgotten). Could this set be a lovely gift for the special femme in your life? Or just a special treat for yourself? The colour scheme is delightfully festive.

The entire Elixir range is currently on sale at 20% off, so you can pick up this gorgeous set for just £35.99. And, if you order before the end of 21 December, there’s still time for delivery before Christmas!

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the red Elixir luxury lingerie set to review. All views my own. All pictures by me. If you make a purchase, please use my affiliate links and send some commission my way at no extra cost to you. 

Plus-Size Lingerie and Body Love [A Review, of Sorts]

Update 02/03/22: Belle Amour and Rendezvous now been discontinued but you can check out Lovehoney’s extensive and growing plus-size lingerie lines here.

This post contains frank descriptions of body image issues and weight loss (no numbers) and discusses external and internalised fatphobia. Please look after yourselves and skip this one if this is likely to be difficult for you. This one is quite vulnerable for me – please be kind. Thank you.

A pretty curvy woman in the Rendezvous plus-size lingerie set from Lovehoney

I am currently fatter than I have ever been in my life. And I am not, truth be told, okay with this.

To be honest, I feel bad even writing that. I don’t know if I am allowed to complain that I experience fatphobia at this size – where I never have before. Plenty of people who are bigger than me experience far worse. But there we are. These things exist on a spectrum. And many people, from men who might want to fuck me to service staff, treat me noticeably worse now than they did 50lb ago.

A pretty curvy woman in the Belle Amour plus-size lingerie bra set from Lovehoney

Even though I’m frequently attracted to gorgeous babes of all sizes, fat and thin and everywhere in between, I really struggle with seeing my body like this. I have to be in a lot of photos at my day job, and I’ve often ended up going to the loos to have a sneaky cry after seeing a photo of myself. It’s probably fair to say I currently hate my body most of the time.

I’m on a long journey right now of getting back to the weight where I felt good about my body, while also trying to love it as it is on the way. Part of the problem is that a lot of my clothes, and especially a lot of the clothes I used to feel good in, don’t fit me at the moment. This includes all the gorgeous lingerie I’ve accrued in two years of sex blogging. (Small mercies, I can still get into the catsuit of joy, but just barely.)

So when my pals at Lovehoney announced they were launching two new lines of plus-size lingerie, I agreed to try it out. Still at a place of being reluctant to call myself “plus-size,” I nervously selected a couple of pieces and waited for them to arrive. They then sat on the sofa for several days, staring at me. Making me feel guilty for not trying them and scared to try them in equal measure. What if they looked awful? If they didn’t fit? If I ended up just hating my body even more?

Eventually I did try them, when I was alone in the house and there was no-one but me and the mirror to judge me. (Not that my sweethearts would ever negatively judge me, but internalised fatphobia is strong, y’all).

Meet Belle Amour & Rendezvous

Belle Amour and Rendezvous are Lovehoney’s two new lines of plus-size lingerie. Unlike their other offerings, these ranges are exclusive to Plus and cover sizes 18-28 (that’s UK sizes).

“Belle Amour” is a red-themed range (two of the sets also have black accents) which is bright, bold and sexy as hell. The two “Rendezvous” pieces are inspired by fetishwear and characterised by black fabrics, gold studded collar and belt, and fishnet lace. Woof.

The pieces I chose & my experience

I decided to go for one basque and one bra set, to get the best overall sense of the range. I chose the Rendezvous Studded Fishnet Basque and the Belle Amour Longline Bra Set.

When I first got lingerie from Lovehoney, I was really pleasantly surprised at the quality. Unlike what you get from a lot of sex shops and online retailers, this stuff is fantastically made and uses real high-quality materials. These pieces were no exception. The satin looks anything but cheap, and the lace is unbelievably soft.

I tried on the Rendezvous set first. I’m a big fan of fishnet and I love the floral pattern interspersed with the netting – it gives the set a gorgeous kinky/femme edge. The studded belt is my favourite part, though. I love how it accentuates the curve of my waist.

Sexy lingerie, including plus-size lingerie, is not designed for comfort, so I won’t pretend it was the most comfy thing in the world. But the material is soft and non-scratchy enough that I could wear it for a few hours at an event without too much trouble.

I think this one is coming out at the next kink event we go to…

Next up was the Belle Amour set. I was initially less sure about this one. For starters, it shows off my stomach which isn’t a part of my body I am particularly fond of.

But the longer I wore it, the more I loved the shape it gives to my breasts and the way the garter belt hugs the curve of my hips. I also think the long line bra style, which hits just at the top of my waist, is a super flattering cut for me. The whole aesthetic is delightfully femme.

This is definitely the more comfortable of the two – again, I cannot overestimate how soft this lace is!

Now I just need to get me some wonderful stockings to complete the look…!

Some reactions:

I think it’s safe to say the reactions from my partners and sexy friends were overwhelmingly positive.

“Woof!” – anonymous friend

“*heart eyes emoji*” – other anonymous friend

“So ridiculously hot.” – the Artist

*Drags me into the bedroom for immediate sex* – Mr CK

A note on sizing

As ever, femme clothing sizing continues to be a mystery. Lovehoney’s plus-size lingerie comes in three sizes: 18/20, 22/24, and 26/28. However, each basque and bra has three rows of hooks-and-eyes and some stretch, making them adjustable to a reasonable degree.

Regardless of what size I’ve been at, I have always had disproportionately large boobs compared to the rest of my body. I don’t normally do bras so I haven’t had a measurement done in years. But at a guess I’m probably an E or F cup right now. This means I often have to go a size up in tops and anything with a built-in bra.

I requested these pieces in size 18/20. I’m wearing a 16 in most things at the moment, occasionally an 18 on top thanks to the aforementioned tits. However, on the tightest hook setting these pieces fitted like a dream. Even the cups were a perfect size and actually covered my nipples properly! All the straps are adjustable, from the bra straps to the pieces that attach the collar to the basque. The collar, though not adjustable, is stretchy enough that I can pull it over my head so it will fit the vast majority of neck sizes.

The knickers on both pieces were very, very slightly big on me but really nowhere near enough as to be problematic.

Care and Cleaning

Unfortunately, these pieces – as with most sexy lingerie – are hand-wash only. We actually do put them through the washing machine, in a net bag on the most gentle cycle and they’ve been absolutely fine, but your mileage may vary.

The Verdict

I love both of these sets, and these whole ranges! Interestingly, both my partners agreed that the red set was their favourite, but the black feels like more “me” when I wear them. Perhaps I’m just not very used to bright colours! Black feels much more comfortable, much more… safe?

More than anything, I want to emphasise how goddamn sexy I feel in these pieces. I cried when I’d finished trying them. The whole experience reminded me how it feels to love what I see in the mirror. That’s been… a while.

So what now?

Whatever size you are, if you’re struggling with how you see your body, I recommend getting something to wear that you feel absolutely gorgeous in. This might be lingerie or it might not – what makes us feel good is very personal.

This experience has not cured my body-image issues by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not sure that’s entirely possible. Body image is more complex than the availability of plus-size lingerie. We live in a society that hates fat bodies, that encourages women to hate themselves, and that profits off insecurities and imperfections the media has convinced us we have.

But putting on this this gorgeous plus-size lingerie, taking photos and letting my lovers tell me how sexy I am, has reminded me that my body can still be hot and desirable and perfect, exactly as it is right now. And that has to be worth something.

Thanks to Lovehoney for providing me with these pieces to try. As ever, all opinions are my own. If you purchase through my affiliate links, you send a small commission my way at no extra cost to you. Professional product photos are property of Lovehoney and used with permission.

I Won’t Apologise For My Body Any More

Those of us who are socialised as women are taught to hate our bodies more or less from the day we’re born. If you think I’m wrong, consider that someone thought this onesie for a baby girl was a good idea. Consider that pretty much every Disney movie ever holds up “pretty” (for the value of “pretty” that equates to thin, white, young, able bodied and virginal) as the most important thing a girl can be. Consider that 40% of 10-and-11-year-old girls think they need to lose weight.

Make no mistake: self-loathing and body hatred is heaped upon us from infancy. Is there any wonder that so many of us make it to adulthood with a totally fucked up relationship with food, exercise, our bodies and our looks?

This stuff is so completely internalised and normalised that for most of us, becoming aware of it and then beginning to undo it is probably going to be a lifelong journey. We cannot love ourselves and cast off all our worries overnight. What we can do, though? What we can do, though, is stop apologising.

I will not apologise for my weight.

Spoiler for those who haven’t met me: I don’t weigh 90lb. A year and a half ago, I weighed double that number. I’ve since lost ~30lb, but that’s not what matters. I was an awesome badass with many great qualities then, and I am an awesome badass with many great qualities now.

Humans come in many shapes and sizes, and the idea that skinnier is automatically better is a great pile of steaming bullshit.

“Sorry, I used to be thinner and I’m trying to get back there” will never again fall out of my mouth when I take my clothes off in front of a lover.

I will not apologise for my scars.

My scars are part of me. They tell a story, and the ending of that story is fuck you, I survived.

If you ask nicely, I might tell you the stories behind each one. If you ask really nicely, I might even let you touch them. But don’t tell me they’re ugly, don’t pity me, don’t tell me I’d be so much prettier if only my skin were unblemished. I’m scarred because I’ve lived. Deal with it.

I will not apologise for my body hair.

If I had a pound for every person who has told me body hair is disgusting… well, I could probably quit my job and just write about sex on the internet for the rest of my life. Real talk time: body hair is natural. The notion that one must remove it all in order to be beautiful is entirely socially constructed. The idea that women must be hairless originated with razor companies trying to branch out into new markets. It’s literally the epitome of “convince us there’s something wrong with us, then sell us the cure.”

Never again will I sheepishly ask a sexual partner if they’re willing to overlook my natural hair and fuck me anyway. Never again will I apologise when someone asks me to shave it off and I tell them no.

I’m fucking beautiful and if my natural body bothers you, well… that seems like a you problem.

I will not apologise for my physical limitations.

I’m not an exercise-bunny and I’m not particularly physically strong. I have come to accept these things about myself. My body does most of the things I want it to do, most of the time.

I’ll take walks with you, but if you want a chick to scale mountains with? I’m not your girl. I’ll jog for the bus if I have to, but if you want a partner in marathons? Not me.

Similarly, my body has certain needs now, including the ones it didn’t have when I was younger. I won’t apologise for needing to sleep and no longer being able to run on fumes. I won’t apologise for needing you to maybe not fuck me as deep as you possibly can. That shit hurts. I am allowed to prioritise my own pleasure. I am entitled to not be in pain.

I will not apologise for the ways my body experiences pleasure.

I’ve probably apologised thousands of times to lovers for how hard it can be to get me off, or for the fact that my body doesn’t always perform pleasure in the most reliable and/or visually appealing and/or ego-stroking manner.

I’m not going to fake an orgasm when you ineptly go down on me for three minutes.  I’m not going to apologise when I still don’t come when you go down on me expertly for half an hour. I’ll tell you what I like and don’t like, and I’ll react in a way that feels authentic. But I’m not going to apologise if it doesn’t work in the way you think it should.

I’m done apologising for my body. My body carries me through the world and gives me – and the people who are lucky enough to share in it – astonishing pleasure. My body fucking rocks.

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