4 Anal Sex Myths You Should Stop Believing

Anal sex is probably one of the most misunderstood sex acts of all. It carries an allure for a lot of people, whether they want to be on the giving end or the receiving end or both. However, it also scares a lot of people. This is, in part, due to incorrect assumptions and beliefs. Anal sex myths can scare people off who might otherwise be interested in trying this type of play. They can also lead people to engage in dangerous behaviours or take unnecessary risks due to a lack of knowledge.

Here at C&K, we’re all about fact-based and non-stigmatising information. So let’s bust some anal sex myths, shall we?

Anal sex always hurts

This is perhaps one of the most harmful anal sex myths, and actually likely leads to more avoidable pain and injuries. After all, if you think anal is supposed to hurt you’ll be more likely to push through pain, which can be dangerous. In fact, though anal can be intense and some mild discomfort can be normal, pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

With proper lubrication, warm-up, enthusiastic consent, and communication with your partner, anal sex does not need to be – and should not be – painful. If something hurts it’s time to adjust, add more lube, or stop for now.

And by the way: those “numbing” or “desensitizing” lubes designed for anal sex? Avoid them at all costs. The ingredients in them can be harmful, they increase your risk of injury, and (frankly) if you have to numb your body to engage in a particular sex act, then you probably shouldn’t be doing that thing at all.

Anal sex isn’t pleasurable for the bottom

This particular myth always strikes me as really sad, particularly when I see questions from people who are trying to grit their teeth and force themselves into anal sex they don’t want to please their partner.

Anal sex isn’t pleasurable for everyone and, if you don’t enjoy it, then you shouldn’t do it! However, if you do want to, it can be just as pleasurable for the bottom (the person being penetrated) as for the top (the person doing the penetrating.) Think about it: if anal sex wasn’t pleasurable for the receptive partner, why would anal sex toys such as butt plugs and prostate massagers be so popular?

One of the reasons that anal sex can feel so pleasurable for cis men and other people assigned male at birth is due to the prostate. Approximately the size and shape of a walnut, this gland is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is responsible for producing some of the fluid in semen and, when stimulated, it is incredibly sensitive.

However, anal sex isn’t all about the prostate, and can be just as pleasurable for receptive partners who do not have one. There are still tonnes of highly sensitive nerve endings in and around the butt, which can feel incredible. And, of course, it is located close to the genitals. According to a 2022 study on (cis) women’s experiences of anal pleasure: “[the anus] contains a dense network of sensory nerves that participate with the genitals in the engorgement, muscular tension and contractions of sexual arousal and orgasm.”

Yes, it’s even possible for some people to have an orgasm from anal sex without any direct stimulation of the genitals! Aren’t bodies awesome?

Anal sex is only for gay men (or: all gay men have anal sex)

Wrong on both counts! Many of the most common anal sex myths centre on sexual orientation, from who engages in it to what it means about your sexuality if you do.

Firstly, anal sex is for anyone who wants to have it. We all have a butt, after all! Liking or not liking anal sex doesn’t imply a single thing about your sexuality. Your sexual orientation is about who you’re attracted to, not which acts you want to do.

Also, not all men who have sex with men (MSM) have anal sex. One 2011 survey of almost 25,000 gay and bisexual men in the US found that only 35% of respondents had had anal sex during their last sexual encounter. Some queer men do it regularly, some do it occasionally, and some never do it at all. All of this is completely normal and awesome.

You can’t get pregnant, so anal sex is safe sex

It’s true, of course, that a person cannot become pregnant from anal sex. This doesn’t mean, though, that anal is a risk-free form of sex.

In fact, when it comes to the transmission of STIs, unprotected anal sex is actually riskier than most other kinds of sexual activity including unprotected vaginal sex. However, it’s easy to mitigate this risk with a few basic precautions.

The best way to protect yourself and your partner(s) is to use a condom every time you have anal sex. If you choose to go barrier-free for anal – which I only recommend in the context of an ongoing relationship with someone you trust – make sure that both you and your partner(s) are having regular sexual health screenings.

You might also want to ask your healthcare provider if pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is suitable for you. PrEP is a daily medication for people at risk of exposure to HIV, whether through sex or through drug use. According to the CDC, it reduces the risk of contracting HIV through sex by about 99% when used as directed.

Have questions about anal sex? Not sure if something you’ve heard is accurate? Let me know and I’ll try to answer them in a future post.

FYI: this post was sponsored. All writing and views are, as always, entirely my own.

What You Need to Know About Sex Toys, Sexual Health, and STIs

Today’s post about sexual health, STIs, and sex toys was chosen by my supporters over on Patreon. If you want to support me and get some cool perks, head on over and join at any level. If you want to vote on future content for the blog, join at the $3 tier or above.

DISCLAIMER: please note that while this post draws on current scientific understanding of sexual health, I am NOT a medical professional and nothing in this post should be construed as medical advice or a substitute for such.

The first time I went to a sexual health clinic for an STI test, I was 19 and had been in a consensually non-monogamous relationship for about six months. When I awkwardly told the practitioner that I had sex with women as well as men (a reductive view of gender, of course, but my knowledge wasn’t anywhere near where it is today!) they cautioned me never to share toys with fellow vagina-owning partners.

Looking back, there were a couple of problems with this. First, “don’t share toys” is both unrealistic and unnecessary advice. The truth is more nuanced and less absolute than that. Second, why did they only offer this- albeit incorrect – advice when I said I was sleeping with women? People of all genders and in all types of relationship configurations use sex toys.

To that end, I thought it was time to bust some myths. So let’s look at the truth about STIs and sexual health when using toys, shall we?

You Can’t Transmit an STI via Sex Toys, Right!?

Sorry to break it to you, but you can. What you cannot do is get an STI spontaneously from using a sex toy alone. That’s impossible.

If a person who has a sexually transmitted infection (STI) uses a toy and then shares it with a non-infected partner, though, that person can contract the infection. This applies to STIs that spread via bodily fluids (such as blood, semen, and vaginal fluid) and those that spread via skin-to-skin contact. If you’re doing anal play, there’s an additional risk for infections that spread through fecal matter such as Hepatitis A, B, and C. It also applies to conditions such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections, by the way, though these aren’t STIs.

Most STIs cannot live for very long outside the body. However, this may still be longer than you think! One study showed that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) was still present on thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) sex toys 24 hours later after cleaning in 40% of cases. Other infections can last anything from minutes to hours or, rarely, days or weeks outside the body. This means that sharing a toy in quick succession is the highest risk activity. However, you’re still potentially at risk if you share an unsterilised toy even some time later.

An aside for the kinksters: if you are using toys that can break the skin (such as whips, floggers, and so on) then be aware that STIs can be transmitted through blood if you are using the toy on more than one person. Once a toy has blood on it, the most sensible thing is to consider it as belonging exclusively to that person. And if you play with rope, ropes that touch naked genitals or get sexual fluids on them should either be washed (if possible) or used exclusively on that person from then on.

Washing Your Toys is Not Enough

I feel like I bang on about this all the time, and especially in my sex toy workshops: washing a sex toy and sterilising it are not the same thing. Remember that HPV study I linked above? Those TPE toys had been washed! On silicone toys, HPV was present immediately after cleaning in 44% of cases. It was not present after 24 hours. This disparity may be due to the fact that TPE is porous and silicone is not.

Washing your toys after each use is a great thing to do, and I encourage it. This applies even if you’re the only person using them. Unclean toys can cause all kinds of problems for your body. However, washing your toy may not be enough to prevent STI transmission if you are sharing it.

The only way to be sure that a non-porous toy is STI-free is to sterilise it. This might include boiling, using a 10% bleach solution, or using a sterile medical wipe. I wrote an in-depth guide to cleaning and sterilising sex toys for Godemiche. Read it here.

One of the biggest problems with porous sex toys, and the reason I do not recommend them, is that they can never be fully sterilised. This means that they can harbour bacteria in the material itself. This is not just an STI transmission risk, but also incredibly unhygienic even if only one person is using the toy. If you must use a porous toy, always use a barrier such as a condom.

So What Can We Do to Stay Safe?

None of this is to say you shouldn’t share toys at all. If you know what you’re doing and take a few basic precautions, it’s actually one of the lower-risk forms of partnered sex. It’s also hot as fuck, obviously.

So what do you need to know in order to protect your own and others’ sexual health? If you’ve been reading my work for some time, you know what I’m going to say.

Go for an STI test regularly (between every 3 months and every year depending on how many partners you have.) Know your status. Talk openly about sexual health with each of your partners. Make agreements on what barriers you will and won’t use for each activity, including when using toys. Approach shared toy use like any other sexual activity. Negotiate it, do not assume it is 100% risk-free, and default to caution if you have any worries.

You can further reduce your risk by understanding how to fully sterilise your sex toys and choosing only non-porous materials (such as silicone, stainless steel, glass, and ABS plastic). Use barriers on shared toys if they are porous or if you have not negotiated that level of fluid exchange with the relevant partner(s.)

If you’re really cautious, it’s fine to just agree that each person will have their own toys for use on them exclusively. The downside of this, of course, is the expense. The most important thing is to educate yourself so that you can make the most sensible decisions for yourself and your partner(s.)

FYI: affiliate links appear in this post.

Why I’m No Longer Using the Term “Fluid Bonding”

Today’s blog topic about why I’m rejecting the term “fluid bonding” was chosen by my patrons over on Patreon! If you’d like to support my work, you can do so for as little as $1 per month. Support at the $3 tier or above, and you’ll get to vote on future content too!

In the decade and a half I’ve been non-monogamous, I’ve had numerous conversations about so-called “fluid bonding.” I’ve negotiated the circumstances under which it is okay, not-okay, and maybe-okay to do it in various relationships. I have discussed the potential risks brought about by myself, my partners, or even my metamours choosing to fluid bond in certain relationships, and how those impacted might protect their sexual health. I’ve had literally hundreds of conversations involving this subject.

And I’m rejecting the term. When I talk about barriers, safer sex practices, and sexual health, I will no longer be using the term “fluid bonding.”

Here’s why.

“Fluid Bonding” is Vague

If you ask ten polyamorous people what “fluid bonding” means, most of them will probably tell you something like “having sex without barriers.” In practice, though, the term “fluid bonding” is far more specific in its widely accepted meaning than that. When most people say it, they are referring to the act of having penetrative penis-in-vagina (or, less commonly, penis-in-anus) sex without a condom.

Under this definition, I have only ever “fluid bonded” with two people in my entire life, including my current nesting partner. But that feels like a ridiculous, reductive, and wildly inaccurate assessment of how I have had sex over the years.

Notice I said most people use the term this way. Not all. And I’ve definitely seen instances where people thought they were on the same page about its meaning, leading to hurt and even feelings of violation and betrayal when it turned out they were not.

When we assume we all use a term in the same way, miscommunications are inevitable. Nowadays, if a partner or prospective partner tell me they’re “fluid bonded” with this or that person, or expresses a desire to fluid bond with me, I’m going to be asking far more questions rather than assuming I know what they mean.

“Fluid Bonding” Makes it Harder to Have Accurate Safer Sex Conversations

Here’s the reality: semen is one bodily fluid, but not the only one. And semen going into a vagina is just one way of sharing bodily fluids in a sexual relationship (and one way you can transmit an STI.)

If you’re having oral sex without a condom, dam, or other barrier, you are exhanging fluids. If you are touching your partner and then yourself with your hands (or touching more than one partner’s genitals in one session) without changing gloves or handwashing in between, you are exchanging fluids. Any kind of kink activity involving blood, such as needle play, is a fluid exchange risk. Hell, even saliva is a bodily fluid. So if we’re getting really technical about it, kissing is a form of fluid exchange (a low risk one, but some STIs can be transmitted in this way.) And that’s before we even get into the fact that for some STIs to spread, skin-to-skin contact is all you need.

I’m not telling you any of this to scare you. Quite the opposite, actually. STIs carry a heavy stigma but most of them are also easily avoidable, treatable, or manageable. I’m telling you this because having the correct information is how we can all make better choices to keep ourselves and our lovers safe and healthy. Regular testing, clear and specific negotiations about barrier use or lack thereof, and knowing the facts is how we do that.

I’ve also seen people, particularly non-monogamy newbies and those not clued up on sexual health, assume that if they are not “fluid bonded” (i.e. having unbarriered intercourse with a penis) with any of their partners, then they are free from any sexual health risk and can eschew testing. The reality is that anyone who is sexually active should be testing at least occasionally, if not regularly.

Continuing to use this term makes it harder to have accurate conversations about sexual health. It perpetuates the idea that penetrative sex with a penis is the only form of sex that carries a risk. This belief is simply inaccurate and frankly dangerous. It prevents people from being fully informed and protecting their sexual health accordingly.

“Fluid Bonding” is Heterocentric and Cissexist

Part of rejecting “fluid bonding” is tied to my broader and long-standing desire to completely decentre penetrative sex with a penis as some kind of pinnacle of sexual experience. Penis-in-vagina intercourse is one type of sex. It’s not “full” sex (look out for my rant on that subject, coming soon to a sex blog near you!) It’s not “real” sex. When we centre it above other activities in our discussions about sex, we are perpetuating cisheteronormativity.

When we talk about “fluid bonding”, we are assuming that one partner in the equation has a penis and the other has a vulva. This may or may not be true. Further, even if this does happen to be the combination of bodies we’re working with, penis-in-vagina (or anus) intercourse may or may not be a part of that couple’s sexual relationship.

This is heterocentric. It is also cissexist. In reality, relationships can include any combination of gender identities and genital types that you can think of. In reality, penetrative sex is a part of some sexual relationships but not all. And any sexual relationship likely involves at least some form of fluid exchange unless you’re covering your entire bodies in latex prior to sex and not kissing.

“Fluid Bonding” is Emotionally Loaded

If having unbarriered sex with your partners is emotionally meaningful to you, I’m not going to tell you it shouldn’t be. I also prefer to have unbarriered sex in situations where it feels safe and comfortable to do so! As I said, I’ve only had unbarriered penis-in-vagina sex with two people in my entire life. This should tell you that I do not, personally, consider it trivial.

However, I think we should be very, very careful about applying emotionally loaded terms to conversations about safer sex.

A relationship with Partner A isn’t less emotionally meaningful than a relationship with Partner B just because you use barriers with one partner and not the other. There are so many reasons you could make this choice. Perhaps one partner has much more casual sex outside of your relationship and using barriers makes you feel safer. Maybe you or one of your partners is trying to get pregnant in one relationship but not another. Perhaps one penis-owning person has had a vasectomy and another hasn’t. So many possible reasons, and none of them are “I love this person more than that person.”

With that said, some people do use so-called fluid bonding as a sign of emotional significance in a relationship. Again, I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t do this. The emotional weight you apply to sexual decisions is highly personal and up to you to negotiate with your partner(s.)

However, I believe the term “fluid bonding” automatically confers this emotional weight, whether or not the people in question believe in or experience it. That feeds into problematic (and often heteronormative and mononormative) assumptions about which sex acts do and don’t carry emotional significance.

Sex without a barrier is not inherently more connective (or “bonding”) than sex with one.

So What Am I Using Instead?

My overall goal in rejecting this term is to get far more accurate and specific in my conversations about sexual health. It might seem useful to have a shorthand but, as we’ve seen, that shorthand is so imprecise as to be functionally useless.

So instead, when negotiating sexual health, I’ll talk about what I am actually doing with whom. How many people am I having sex with? What barriers am I using or not using for which activities? How often and in which circumstances do I have casual sex, and what precautions am I taking when I do? How often do I and my partners test, and what were our most recent results? And so on.

Does it take longer? Sure. Is it a little clunkier? Yes. Can it feel more vulnerable, or even embarrassing, to get so specific? Yes. But it’s a hell of a lot more useful for everyone.

FYI: this post contains affiliate links.

[Toy Review] Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration Masturbator

Satisfyer are really churning them out lately, aren’t they? A few weeks after receiving the now-infamous shipment of 7 new toys for vulvas, I received a parcel the other day containing two new penis toys. They seem very similar, so I got rid of one via a Twitter giveaway, and kept the other one to test make Mr CK test. Meet the Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration Masturbator (hereafter ‘Satisfyer Men Heat’).

Keep your gendered marketing

I’m opposed to gendered marketing of sex toys. Not everyone who has a penis is a man, and not all men have penises! Trans and nonbinary people exist! Unnecessarily gendering toys not only makes trans and NB folks feel ignored and sidelined, it’s also just bad business. Why would you want to alienate a part of your potential customer base? So I was already a bit “ugh” about this product just from the name. But I tried to keep an open mind, I really did.

“A stylish playmate for modern guys”

This is how the Satisfyer Men Heat is described in their marketing copy. I mean… okay, I guess? The colour scheme is black and silver, a minimalistic and stereotypically masculine aesthetic. At first glance, the toy looks like a cross between a portable coffee cup and a torch. One end is closed, and the other is a hole where you insert the penis. The outer is made of ABS plastic, and the fuckable end (sorry, I can’t think how else to describe it) is lined with soft, squishy silicone.

Fuck it, describing this toy is hard, here’s a visual.

The Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration on a white sheet

The Satisfyer Men Heat features a heating function, which warms the toy to three possible levels, the highest being 104F (about 40C, or slightly over normal body temperature). This is designed to make the experience “breathtakingly realistic” which, one assumes, means “it feels like a vagina”. Then there’s “like a blowjob… but BETTER!” as the box claims. I’m skeptical to say the least, but let’s move on.

Size-wise, it’s got about 2.75″ of penetrable depth (so if you like really deep penetration, this isn’t going to be for you). It’s about 3″ wide, and the hole that you penetrate is around 1.5″.

Close up of the Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration

The Satisfyer Men Heat is USB rechargeable and fully waterproof.

Settings & controls

The Satisfyer Men Heat has 4 buttons set into a control panel on the front of the toy. The on/off button is at the top and also changes the vibration pattern. Then you have the +/- buttons to change the speed, and lastly the temperature control button. You can set the toy warming without the vibrations being on, so you might want to give it a few minutes to warm up before playing. It starts getting warm very quickly and the instructions say it comes to temperature in five minutes.

This control panel is really where the problems started. The buttons are not raised at all, so you cannot feel for them with your fingers without a visual. They’re also not clearly marked – thin grey markings on a black background! This means it’s basically impossible to see the buttons properly during use unless you’re in very good light and have perfect vision. In low light, forget it. Mr CK also pointed out that this makes the toy really inaccessible to those with any kind of visual impairment.

Additionally, though you are supposed to be able to adjust the heating function, there is no discernible way to tell which heat setting it’s on. You just get the flashing thermometer icon to indicate that the warming function is on.

This toy boasts “70 different vibration combinations”. I’m not sure how the maths works here, given that by my count it has 8 possible speeds and 6 patterns, making a total of 48 possible options. But what do me and my D in GCSE maths know!?

Care and cleaning

About the best thing I can say about this product is that it is body-safe, which is still shockingly rare for penis toys. Standard masturbators like Fleshlights are all made from porous materials such as TPE, which harbour bacteria and are impossible to get completely clean. Fortunately, silicone is non-porous, phthalate-free and 100% safe. At least Satisfyer got THAT right.

As the Satisfyer Men Heat is waterproof, you can clean it with warm water and gentle soap. It’s a bit of a pain to get clean given the shape, but it can be done with a bit of extra care. If you want to share this toy with a non fluid-bonded partner, you can use it while wearing a condom. As always, I recommend water-based lube – and you’re going to need PLENTY of it if you attempt to use this thing.

So how did it work?

The Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration on a white sheet

“Badly” is, unfortunately, the short and sweet answer. Mr CK was able to fit his penis into the toy with the help of plenty of lube, but he found it uncomfortable. Anyone with a larger than average penis, especially if you’re quite girthy, should avoid this product – you just won’t fit or it’ll hurt! Despite the squishyness of the silicone, it doesn’t have much “give” to make extra room – and one side is completely rigid. This is really a “one size” toy, which doesn’t work at all because penises are so infinitely and gloriously varied. It also makes a squelching noise when you penetrate it, which – while giggle-inducing – is not sexy.

Additionally, the vibrations just didn’t measure up. Even at the highest setting, they’re pretty pathetically weak. Mr CK very quickly concluded that there was zero chance of this toy bringing him anywhere near to orgasm.

When the best your partner can manage is a shrug and an “it’s not… unpleasant?” you know you’re not on to a winning toy.

“But does it feel like fucking a vagina?” I asked. “No,” he said.

“And is it better than a blow job?” “No,” he said again. Never one to waste words.

The verdict

Unfortunately we cannot recommend this product. If you have a penis on the smaller side AND enjoy gentle vibrations, you might get something out of this toy – but otherwise we suggest you spend your money elsewhere. Check out the Godemiche OffBeat, the Hot Octopuss Pulse III or the Hummer wand attachment for some of my most often-recommended penis toys.

Sorry, Satisfyer – I still love you (you’ll have my heart for a while for that amazing flower thing) but seriously, please stop churning things out quite so quickly and develop them more rigorously first.

The Satisfyer Men Heat & Vibration Masturbator retails for $59.95.

Thanks to Satisfyer for sending me this product in exchange for an honest review. All views are, as ever, my own. Pictures are by me. Affiliate links contained within this post make me a small commission if you use them to make a purchase.

[Toy Review] Satisfyer Yummy Sunshine

I, along with many other sex bloggers, recently received a package of seven (7) sex toys from Satisfyer, who have branched out from suction-based toys and now make vibrators too. After a little deliberation, I kept two: the Power Flower, and this one – the Yummy Sunshine.

Bright and cheery…

The Satisfyer Yummy Sunshine vibrator on a white sheet

Long-time readers will be aware of my general aversion to the excessive pinkness of sex toys aimed at people with vulvas. Generally, if there’s a choice between pink and any other colour, I will go for the other colour. One of the reasons I gravitated to the Yummy Sunshine when choosing which Satisfyer toys to keep was the sheer novelty and vibrancy of the BRIGHT yellow colour. Yellow isn’t a colour I particularly love, and this toy honestly makes me think of a banana more than sunshine, but… at least it’s not fucking pink.

Sunshine stats…

The Yummy Sunshine is a fairly large G-spot vibrator. It is 8.75″ in total length, of which 6″ is insertable, and 1.5″ in diameter at the widest insertable point. Given the size, it’s very lightweight.

The Yummy Sunshine vibrator on a black pillow

The Yummy Sunshine has a ribbed shaft and a gentle curve for G-spot stimulation. It also sports what seems to be the Satisfyer vibrator line’s signature ring-handle, which I find comfy and ergonomic to hold. The ring is pretty small, so might be less comfortable for someone with bigger hands.

This toy is USB rechargeable via a magnetic charging pin, and is completely waterproof. It retails for $49.99.

Controls and settings

All Satisfyer’s new vibrators seem to have the same basic control system: a vertical three-button interface, with the on/off button in the centre and the up/down setting change buttons above and below it. It’s a simple and intuitive system to use, and the buttons feel well-placed and easy to press.

The control panel on the Satisfyer Yummy Sunshine vibrator

For some reason, the bottom button is the “up” setting and the top button is the “down” setting, which feels counter-intuitive, so that’s something to be aware of.

Yummy Sunshine has 6 constant vibration speeds and 6 patterns.

Materials & care

The Yummy Sunshine is made of super smooth, super silky silicone. Honestly, the softness and suppleness of the silicone might be the best thing about this product! Silicone is non-porous, non-toxic and free of phthalates or other harmful ingredients, making this toy 100% body-safe.

(I keep promising myself that one day I’ll stop writing this in reviews, since I don’t review unsafe toys… but then I remember that this review might be a reader’s first time visiting this blog, and might even be the first time they’ve ever heard that sex toys can sometimes be unsafe. So long-time readers, if it seems repetitive, I’m sorry – I try to review in such a way that it would make sense to a person who has never owned a sex toy or read a toy review before).

Clean your toy between uses with a body-safe sterile wipe (I get mine in bulk from medical suppliers) or some gentle soap and warm water. To sterilise it more thoroughly, use a 10% bleach solution and then rinse thoroughly (more on cleaning your toys here). If you’re sharing this toy, it’s the ideal shape to use with a condom. As ever, water-based lube is recommended – and you’ll want to use plenty of it for a toy this size.

How does it feel? 

I found this toy enjoyable enough to use, but not perhaps for its intended purpose. I do not like internal vibrations at all – I find them uncomfortable at best, sometimes to the point of painful. My G-spot wants to be stroked, fucked, or left alone – not buzzed, ever.

However, I enjoyed the Yummy Sunshine as a dildo. The gentle ribbed shaft provides lovely stimulation and the curve of the tip is just right to hit my G-spot. The silicone is very soft, and it has a nice flexibility so you can angle it just right.

I also tried it as a clitoral vibrator, which I found fine but not earth-shattering. The vibrations were really neither rumbly enough nor powerful enough for my tastes. I can orgasm with the Yummy Sunshine, but it wouldn’t ever be high up on the list of toys I’d reach for.

The one way in which this toy did really come into its own was when I tried masturbating in a face-down position and grinding on it. The ridges and ripples of the shaft sliding along my vulva felt great.

Do I recommend it?

Overall, I had fun using the Yummy Sunshine, but I was left with the overwhelming impression of a toy that is… just okay. There’s nothing egregiously wrong with it, but it’s nothing to write home about either.

If you’re looking for a mid-price, mid-intensity, ribbed G-spot vibe, this might do the trick for you. But honestly overall I think you can get better toys for your money.

Thanks to Satisfyer for sending me a shipment of toys including the Yummy Sunshine for review. All view are my own. Pics are by me. Affiliate links are used within this post.

What Happens When You Go for an STI Test

Yesterday I went for my quarterly sexual health check-up. This is an important part of my life as a non-monogamous person and it’s now a really normal, routine, “no-big-deal” thing. But that wasn’t always the case! When I went for my first STI check-up at age 19, I was shaking like the proverbial leaf and had no idea what to expect.

So let’s answer some common questions, shall we? Please bear in mind that my experiences are entirely based in the UK, so if you live in a different country your experience may vary somewhat.

Where do I even go for a test?

There are sexual health clinics or “GUM” (genito-urinary medicine) clinics at most major hospitals and at some smaller practices too. Just Google “sexual health test + [your town]”.

Some clinics have “walk in” times where you just turn up and wait to be seen. Bear in mind these tend to be VERY busy – I arrived 15 minutes before the clinic time officially started for my test, and still waited about an hour. Get there early, bring a book, and don’t expect to be seen in five minutes. Alternatively, some clinics have bookable appointments, where you ring up and book like any other medical appointment. Again, these services are very busy and in-demand so you might need to wait a couple of weeks to be seen. If you have symptoms, explain this at the clinic or on the phone and you may be seen sooner.

Do I have to pay?

Nope! In the UK, all sexual health services including testing and contraception are free of charge. Praise the NHS.

If I’m under 16, will they tell my parents?

No! As long as you’re over 13, you’re entitled to the same medical confidentiality as anyone. If your provider feels that there is a serious risk to your safety going on, such as sexual abuse, they may need to tell someone in order to keep you safe, but according to NHS guidelines “the risk would need to be serious and this would usually be discussed with you first”.

Also, if you’re under 18, get off my blog. This is not the space for you. Get yourself to Scarleteen.

Do I have to answer questions about my sex life?

Your provider will ask questions about your sexual practices so they can make sure they’re giving you all the tests and advice you need. You don’t HAVE to answer anything you don’t want to, of course, but it’s important to be as honest and thorough as you possibly can to make sure you get the best care. Everything you say is in strict confidence. Questions may include:

  • When was your most recent sexual encounter?
  • What is the sex of that partner? (They may assume opposite binary sex unless you tell them otherwise. It’s bad practice but heteronormativity is strong).
  • Is that partner your regular/only partner?
  • Have you ever injected drugs or knowingly had sex with someone who injects drugs?
  • Do you have reason to believe you might have come into contact with HIV?
  • Have you been raped or sexually assaulted? (If you indicate yes, they’ll ask if you need any support or resources).
  • Have you ever paid for, or been paid for, sex?
  • Have you had sex with someone born outside of the UK?
  • When was your last sexual health screening?
  • Are you pregnant or do you think you might be pregnant?

Once you’ve gone through these preliminary questions, it’s time for your test.

How is a test carried out?

There are slight variations depending on the clinic but here’s how it normally goes:

For folks with a vulva, you’ll swab the inside of your vagina and possibly provide a urine sample.

For folks with a penis, you’ll provide a urine sample and may also swab just inside your urethra.

If you engage in receptive anal sex, you will swab just inside your anus.

If you engage in oral sex, the health care provider will swab the back of your throat.

Unfortunately, anal and oral swabs are not always offered as a matter of course. You may need to prompt your provider for these. I strongly advise you do so, as infections can grow in these areas of the body without being present in the genitals.

The provider will then do a blood test to check for blood-borne STIs such as HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis. (You can get a vaccination against Hepatitis B and if you haven’t had the vaccine, I recommend you ask your provider for it. This is most commonly offered to men who have sex with men, or women who have sex with bisexual men, but I really believe everyone should get it if possible).

You do the vaginal and rectal swabs yourself in private, either behind a curtain in the consulting room or in the bathroom. Your provider will give clear instructions on correct insertion of the swabs. There is not usually a need for a genital examination unless you have any symptoms such as genital warts, a rash or pain.

Does the test hurt?

Not really. Throat, anal and vaginal swabs aren’t exactly comfortable but shouldn’t be painful either, and they only take a couple of seconds. Some men do find the urethral swab slightly painful but, again, you only need to go very slightly inside and it only takes a few seconds.

Some people (hi, I’m one of them) find blood tests make them feel a bit sick and lightheaded. If this is you, tell your provider and they’ll let you lie down and should check on you at every stage. The actual test feels like a brief quick scratch, nothing more.

Will my provider judge me for the things I tell them?

They really shouldn’t. I’ve been getting STI tests regularly for 10 years and only a couple of times encountered a judgemental provider. And yes, I always tell them I’m a polyamorous swinger and exactly how many partners I’ve had since my last test.

Your provider’s job is to help ensure your health and safety, not to judge you. If you feel that they are overly judgemental or they make inappropriate comments about the things you tell them, you should report this to the hospital or practice.

Again: this is really rare. Most sexual health professionals are absolutely lovely. Comments I’ve had on explaining my lifestyle range from “sounds like you have lots of fun!” to “it’s great to see you’re being responsible and taking care of everyone’s sexual health”.

Even the judgy comments were hardly “you’re a filthy slut and you’re going to hell”. They were more along the lines of, “you need to be aware that you’re at high risk for STIs and unwanted pregnancy” (“no I’m not, because I take precautions and know the facts”, I did not say but wanted to).

How and when will I get my results?

Many clinics operate a “no news is good news” policy, meaning that if you don’t hear from them within two weeks you can assume everything is fine. But they should also give you a card or phone number with details on how to check your results if you want to be sure. I always recommend you phone, as it is rare but possible for a clinic to lose your samples. This happened to my partner once, and they didn’t call to let him know he needed to be re-screened until after the two week window had passed.

Other clinics may text or email you (usually something simple like “your tests or all fine”) or, less commonly, ring you to let you know you’re in the clear.

What if I do have something?

If you do have an infection, they will ring you to let you know. Then you’ll make an appointment to go back to the clinic and make a plan for treatment. For most of the common STIs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, treatment is a simple course of antibiotics.

For more serious STIs it’s more complicated (if you have HIV, for example, you’ll be on medication for the rest of your life – but you can still live a totally normal, long and fulfilling life). STIs are not a death sentence. They are not a source of shame. They’re things that humans sometimes contract in the course of doing normal human activities like having sex – and it’s much better to know so that you can get the most effective treatment quickly.

Bear in mind that HSV (herpes) and HPV (human papillomavirus) are EXTREMELY common – most of us are carrying one, the other or both and may never even know it! – and are not picked up on standard screenings unless you have symptoms such as warts. HPV can also be picked up on cervical screenings, so if you have a vagina make sure you go for your smear tests.

But STI testing is just for sluts!

Nope! Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be getting tests. Stigma like this, that people who go for tests are inherently slutty (and that being slutty is bad) contribute to the misinformation and fear-mongering that are already far too ubiquitous in our culture.

How often should I get a screening? 

That really depends.

My partner and I go every three months because we are non-monogamous and quite promiscuous. Three months is also about the longest incubation period for any of the known STIs, so this schedule means that if we do contract something we are unlikely to have it for long without finding out.

If you’re a swinger, polyamorous or have a lot of casual sex, I really recommend the three-monthly schedule. At an absolute, absolute minimum, please try to go every six months.

Even if you’re in a monogamous relationship, it’s wise to test every now and then if there’s ANY possibility that either of you has had sex outside of your relationship at any point. Unfortunately, cheating is rife and many people have caught STIs this way and not known they had them for months or years.

Whatever your relationship style, I recommend a test before every new sexual partner where possible.

Anything else I need to know?

Many clinics offer free condoms and, less commonly, dams (for oral sex on vulvas). Don’t be afraid to ask for supplies or take them if they’re offered to you. Using barriers is the best way to protect yourself and your partners from STIs.

When did you last get tested? If it’s been a while, go and book one in!

Five Meaningful Things To Do for World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day. The AIDS epidemic, at its height in the 1980s and early 1990s, is still in many ways ongoing and has claimed over 35 million lives in the last ~40 years. Check out this fact sheet to learn more.

From the World AIDS Day website:

[World AIDS Day is] an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

Many of us, especially LGBTQ+ people, feel helpless in the face of something this huge. It scares the shit out of lots of us – and it should. AIDS was and is one of the most destructive pandemics in human history. But there is hope, too. UNAIDS have a hugely ambitious treatment plan which, if it works, will see 90% of HIV-positive people knowing their status, 90% of these on antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of these with a viral load declared “undetectable” – all by 2020.

So today I wanted to share some small but meaningful things you can do to make a difference this World AIDS Day.

1. Donate if you can

Donate to a charity that’s doing important work in the areas of HIV and AIDS. I suggest amfAR who are pioneering research into a cure, Terrence Higgins Trust who campaign and provide services connected to HIV and sexual health, or the National AIDs Trust who fight for change and champion the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

2. Get a test and know your status

When was your last full sexual health screening? Go book one in now! If you’re sexually active, you really should be getting a test every six months at a minimum – and more often if you have multiple partners, practice unprotected sex, or regularly have anal sex. I’m fairly slutty and I have a full screening every 3 months. Knowing your status is the best way to protect yourself and your partners.

3. Smash the stigma and share factual information

See people talking shit about people with HIV, AIDS or STIs? Tired of false information? Engage in some stigma-smashing by challenging them to rethink their views and sharing some facts. People living with HIV are not dirty, sluts, immoral or stupid. HIV cannot be transmitted except via infected blood or sexual fluids (or to infants via breast milk). It cannot be passed on through kissing, skin-to-skin contact, sharing food or drinks, water fountains, toilet seats, mosquitoes, saliva, sweat, or modern blood transfusions. This handy guide is useful to share.

4. Stock up on sexual health supplies

As many people as possible practicing safer sex is one of our greatest weapons against HIV/AIDS. Make sure you’re well-stocked with condoms, dams and gloves, as appropriate to the types of sex you have. If you can’t afford to buy supplies, ask your doctor or sexual health provider where you can access them for free. Remember to check your condoms and dams before using to make sure they’re still in date!

Pro tip: Gay bars/clubs and sexuality-focused events often give out safer sex supplies as freebies. If you go to any of these, don’t be scared to claim some for yourself! I used to go out to gay bars so often I don’t think I paid for condoms until I was 24.

5. Wear your red ribbon

The red ribbon is the internationally-recognised symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness and advocacy.

What are you doing to support World AIDS Day and show solidarity with people affected by HIV all over the world?

This post contains affiliate links.

It IS [Mostly] All About the Sex

For today’s #KinkMonth post, it’s all about SEX! As you’ll have gathered (unless this is your first visit, in which case – welcome!) I’m doing posts inspired by Kayla Lords’ 30 Days of D/s. Today, Kayla asks:

Have you ever considered D/s without a sexual component? Would you be interested in something like it? How important is sex to your current or future D/s relationship?

So when it comes to me and kink, there is one fundamental thing you need to understand:

I do it because it gets me off.

For some reason, it seems to be a thing to deny that BDSM is mostly, or entirely, about sex. And for some people, this is probably true. But, if I’m completely honest, I’m a bit sick of it.

For me, kink and BDSM are, and always have been, overwhelmingly about sex. Yes, they’re means of connecting with people I love. They’re sometimes spiritual. But for fuck’s sake, the vast majority of the time, I do this stuff because it makes my cunt wet and gets me off.

People have tried to divorce BDSM entirely from sex. I am willing to entertain that there are some people – folks at the far end of the Ace spectrum, for example – for whom this is the case. But at its core, I do believe it’s fundamentally a sexual or sex-adjacent practice 99% of the time.

I don’t fuck everyone I scene with, but I do get turned on during pretty much any good kink interaction. It’s part of my pre-negotiation with new partners: “you don’t have to do anything about it, but you need to be okay with the fact that if we have a good scene, I WILL be aroused.”

What’s wrong with sex anyway?

We live in a world where it’s pretty hard to admit that something we do is mainly or entirely about sex. Sex is not seen as a good enough reason to do something – there has to be a higher purpose, a better reason.

Confession I’m seriously not proud of time: pre-20, I was really judgy about people who have casual sex. “I only have sex when I’m in LOVE,” I proclaimed loudly, as if it made me better than other people. Thankfully, I 1) grew the fuck up and stopped being a judgemental bitch, 2) learned the awesomeness that is good casual sex.

A lot of polyamorous people – and yes, I used to be one of them, much to my embarrassment – go around saying “it’s about LOVE, not SEX!” This often goes hand in hand with, “we’re not SWINGERS!” The problem with this is that it implies being a swinger is a bad thing, that love is inherently superior to sex, and it neglects the fact that sex is a hugely important part of romantic love for a lot of us. In this way, people who are ostensibly part of the sex-positive community fall into sex-negative and sex-shaming patterns.

It’s easy to do and I sympathise with it. We’re taught, more or less from birth, that sex is bad. Dirty. Gross. That sex is only “when mummy and daddy love each other very much and want to have a baby.” A huge part of sex-positivity and the sex-posi movement, in my view, is about unlearning these toxic narratives and trying to do better.

Real talk: I don’t have an IUD to control my period (though that’s a nice side effect.) I have it for birth control.

For evidence of pervasive anti-sex sentiment, see also: “I use birth control for reasons that have nothing to do with sex, like controlling my painful periods.” Again, for a lot of people with uteruses (uteri?), this is entirely true and it’s completely valid.

However, lots of us DO use birth control for sex, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Saying that it should be freely available BECAUSE it has uses that aren’t sexual is really problematic. It should be freely available because it’s a normal part of healthcare, and lots of people like sex while also liking not being pregnant.

Let’s all just admit that some things ARE about sex

My challenge to you, and to myself: next time you find yourself wanting to defend a part of your life or identity with “it’s not about sex!” …Stop. Think about it. And resist the temptation to jump to this defense. Because sometimes, it is about sex. And there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from the great Oscar Wilde: “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”

Kinky item of the day: Condoms! If you engage in penetrative sex or share toys in non fluid-bonded relationships, you need condoms to keep things sexy and safe. Buy 2 packs for 20% off.

Heads up: this post contains affiliate links.