What is Commitment Without Entanglement?

I’ve been thinking about commitment a lot recently. What it is, what it means, and how I can ethically incorporate it into my life in a way that aligns with my needs, my values, and my partners’ needs and values.

As a polyamorous person and an ethical slut, commitment matters a lot to me. Does that surprise you? Many people assume that true commitment is impossible in a non-monogamous context. Of course, I don’t agree.

What is commitment, anyway?

Oxford Languages suggests the definition of commitment as “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc”. I think this is actually a pretty okay definition.

We all think we know what commitment means in a relationship, especially as it relates to mononormative culture. People often equate commitment with things like getting married, living together, and raising children together. Our society also strongly equates commitment with exclusivity. (Hands up every polyamorous person who has been asked “when are you going to commit to one person?”)

As a non-monogamous person, I suggest we look at commitment a different way. Instead of asking “what does society tell me a committed relationship looks like?”, ask yourself “what does commitment mean to me?”

Here are five things commitment means to me.

  • Commitment means I will prioritise you highly. This does not necessarily mean I will always put you first, and I will not necessarily prioritise you to the detriment of other important things in my life. But I will always consider you and strive to behave in ways that honour our connection.
  • Commitment means I will attempt to work through problems that arise in our relationship, engaging in good faith and seeking solutions that work for everyone involved.
  • Commitment means that I honour the ways in which you, I, and our relationship will grow and change. I want to grow along with you, not away from you.
  • Commitment means I want you to be in my life for as long as it is a happy and healthy choice for both of us. Ideally that means “for life,” but I accept things change. If our relationship is no longer good for one or both of us, I will let you go.
  • Commitment means that your happiness matters to me. To the best of my ability, and to the extent it doesn’t harm me or anyone else to do so, I will behave in ways that faciliate your happiness.

Your answers may be different. But I encourage you to think about what commitment is to you and maybe write down a “commitment manifesto” like the one I’ve shared above.

What is entanglement?

When I talk about entanglement in a relationship, I’m broadly referring to what is often known within polyamorous communities as “the relationship escalator.” Coined by writer Amy Gahran, the relationship escalator is described thus:

The default set of societal expectations for intimate relationships. Partners follow a progressive set of steps, each with visible markers, toward a clear goal.

The goal at the top of the Escalator is to achieve a permanently monogamous (sexually and romantically exclusive between two people), cohabitating marriage — legally sanctioned if possible. In many cases, buying a house and having kids is also part of the goal. Partners are expected to remain together at the top of the Escalator until death.

The Escalator is the standard by which most people gauge whether a developing intimate relationship is significant, “serious,” good, healthy, committed or worth pursuing or continuing.” (Source.)

The relationship escalator isn’t inherently bad, if it’s something you genuinely want (as opposed to something you’re following because of social, cultural, or familial pressure). But holding up the escalator model as the pinnacle of relationship achievement is deeply damaging to many people.

On or off the escalator?

Even though I strongly identify as non-monogamous, I’ve always valued having a core, deeply entangled relationship in my life. This is what Mr CK and I have. We live together, we share bills and cats and household chores, we are at least somewhat financially entangled. We’re each other’s next of kin at the hospital. We make big decisions together, and we hope to be together for life.

I also do not want all my relationships – or indeed any others – to be this entangled. The beauty of non-monogamy is that relationships don’t have to be all or nothing. If you have great sex but don’t have romantic feelings for one another, you can have a great friends-with-benefits arrangement. If you love each other but don’t want to live together, you can enjoy the connection for what it is without pushing for it to be more. When you have a need one partner can’t or won’t meet, you can get it fulfilled elsewhere.

This means you get to choose whether each relationship is on or off the escalator. It means you get to choose what level of commitment you want, and what that means for you and your partner(s).

You can even decide to take certain steps on the escalator but skip others, if you want to. For example, “we want to live together but no kids,” or “we want to get married, but monogamy isn’t part of our arrangement.”

Commitment without entanglement

When you try to define commitment without the trappings of heteronormative, mononormative, escalator-driven relationships, it gets complicated fast. It also gets really, really diverse.

Here are five things I’ve learned about how to do commitment without entanglement.

Create milestones that matter to you

Every serious relationship has meaningful milestones. What these look like and what they mean to you both/all will be different in each relationship. A few common milestones that don’t necessarily imply entanglement include the first kiss, the first time you say “I love you,” the first time you have sex, and the first night you spend together.

Unromantic milestones matter, too. In my relationship with The Artist, I remember feeling like our relationship had turned a corner the first time we navigated a (non-relational) crisis together. It wasn’t fun at the time, but in the long run it cemented our bond even further. I felt similarly after the first time they saw me in the middle of a major mental health crisis and didn’t run away.

What relationship milestones feel significant to you and your partner(s)? Think about both things you’ve already done (“the first overnight we spent together felt really significant to me”) and things you’d like to do someday (“I really want to introduce you to my best friends.”)

Have each other’s backs

For me, one of the biggest signs of commitment is when someone is by my side through difficult times. I enjoy the sex-with-no-expectations brand of relationship with some people. But I want to know that my inner circle people are there for me.

If you’re around when you want a hot shag but then disappear when I’m sobbing on the sofa because my depression is so bad, I won’t see the relationship as a committed one and will adjust my expectations accordingly.

Having each other’s backs isn’t the same as expecting the other person to drop everything to care for you in every crisis. But it does mean stepping up when you can, being there for the bad times as well as the good, and going out of your way for the other person at least some of the time.

Ask, don’t assume

When was the last time you asked your partner what love and commitment means to them? It’s easy to assume other people define these things in the same ways that we do. But assumptions are the fast-track to hurt feelings and miscommunications.

If you’re not sure what your partner needs or wants, ask them! If you’re not sure how they’re feeling, don’t try to guess. Just talk about it.

Learning each other’s love languages can be useful here. People often make the mistake of assuming that everyone gives and receives love the way they do. The love language framework isn’t perfect. But it gives you a way to explore and communicate your needs to your partner and to understand theirs.

Asking isn’t unromantic! Asking someone what they need or want is actually a huge sign of love and respect. Mononormative culture holds that we should be able to read our partner’s mind. This is bullshit. Don’t try. Seriously, I cannot emphasise this enough – just fucking ask.

Stand up for the relationship

When I was with my ex, one of the things that stopped me ever feeling safe was the fact that his wife had veto power. Even after years together, she could have told him to dump me at any time and he would have complied. Even though it was only ever hypothetical, we talked about the possibility at length. One of the things that really hurt was the knowledge that, if push came to shove, he would not stand up for our relationship.

I won’t date anyone with a veto arrangement any more. I believe that longer-term and more entangled partners should absolutely get a say and be able to voice concerns. But I cannot be in a situation where my relationship could be unilaterally ended by someone who isn’t even in it.

If you want to show commitment to your non-entangled partner, that means being willing to stand up for your relationship if you ever need to. This might mean telling your spouse or nesting partner that no, they don’t get to slam a veto down. It might mean speaking up when your friends or family (if you’re out to them) dismiss your non-entangled relationship as not real, not serious, or not important.

Keep the promises you make (and don’t make ones you can’t keep)

To my ex, promises made to me were always breakable if anything better came up (or his wife just had a bad day). This prevented me from ever feeling truly important to him.

In general, if you make a promise or commit to a plan with your partner, you should do everything you can to honour it. Emergencies happen, of course. Part of being in a long-term relationship means being flexible enough to roll with the punches when crises arise. But breaking promises or cancelling plans for minor reasons impedes building a true sense of commitment in a relationship, in my opinion.

The other piece of this is not making promises you can’t keep. My ex used to tell me that we – me, him, and his wife – would all live together and I’d be an equal co-primary someday. I eventually realised this was never going to actually happen. If I’d known that earlier, I could have adjusted my expectations accordingly. Instead, by promising something he never intended to actually follow through on, he deprived me of the ability to make an informed and consensual choice about how much I wanted to commit to that relationship.

If your non-entangled partner is asking for something, it can seem kinder to say “yes, someday” then just keep pushing it off into the distance. But if the real answer is “no, never” or “probably not,” it’s actually much better to tell them that. Hearing “no” to something you want is never fun. But it’s much better than being strung out on a false promise and then being let down again and again.

What does commitment without entanglement mean to you?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’m so curious how other non-monogamous people handle this.

A Love Letter to the Art of Sexting

I don’t know if anyone has done any actual studies on this, but my totally unscientific hypothesis is that people have been sexting more than ever over the last year. With much of the world forced into lockdown (fuck you COVID), we’ve had to resort to virtual methods for everything from our work to our friendships… so why not our sex lives, too?

I’ve said before that I believe that sexting can, in and of itself, constitute a real sexual relationship. It’s one of the first ways that Mr CK and I connected before we ever had physical sex. And it’s certainly one of the ways that The Artist and I have kept our connection alive over the last year of not being able to see each other (again: fuck you, COVID.)

It probably isn’t a surprise to anyone that I am a very wordy person. I am a writer, after all. Words of affirmation are my primary love language. And I fucking love sexting.

I won’t say that it’s as good as in-person sex. It’s not. Nothing can beat the touch and smell and warmth of a lover’s body against mine. But when we can’t have that, for reasons of distance or illness or the plague, it’s the next best thing.

There’s an art to good sexting, though. I’m lucky in that my current partners are amazing at it. But I’ve certainly had more than my fair share of bad sexting in the past. The worst sexting tends to be overly dick-focused, one-sided, and

No, good sexting isn’t as simple as typing a bunch of increasingly flowery euphemisms. Like good physical sex, it’s a conversation, a dance, a push and pull between two (or more) people who are deeply attuned to one another. It involves listening and responding. A good sexter can make me drip without ever touching me. A truly great sexter can make me submit with just words.

At its best, sexting can be a way to explore fantasies and even discover new ones. Many times over the years, a partner has said something to me in a sexting session that has left me like “well I didn’t know I was into that, but oof!” Sexting can build a connection, maintain it over distance and time, and be a deeply intimate bonding experience.

Thanks to technology, virtual sexual connections are easier than ever. We no longer have to stick with just words on a screen (though that can be fun, too.) We can now trade pictures, video chat, and even control a lover’s sex toy over tens or hundreds or thousands of miles.

It’s been hard to be a slut over the last year. So many of the things I love, from regular dates with my secondary partner to outings to sex clubs and dungeons, have been impossible.

(Yes, I know perspective is important and not being able to slut it up on the regular is a very trivial concern compared to *waves wildly at everything.* I’m still allowed to miss it.)

For many of us slutty types, sexting has been one of the things that has kept us at least somewhat connected with our slutty selves. It’s a reminder that the world is still out there, and brimming with sexy adventures waiting to be had when it’s safe to do so. And I think that’s something to celebrate.

“Give me words that make my mind curl before my toes.”
– Rachel Wolchin

Quote Quest badge, for a post about making amends when you fuck up

I wrote this post as part of Quote Quest, a fun blogging meme by Little Switch Bitch. Each week there’s a new quote for inspiration. Click the logo to see what everyone else is writing this week! Oh, and if you enjoy my work, please consider buying me a coffee.

[Toy Review] Clone a Willy

Have you ever wanted a lifesize, silicone replica of your own (or your partner’s) penis? Well, you’re in luck! Clone a Willy is a company that makes kits that allow you to make a replica dick at home. There’s also now a Clone a Pussy, by the way! Lovehoney kindly sent me the Clone a Willy kit for Day 9 of #12DaysofLovehoney, and Mr CK and I had quite the adventure making it.

Clone a Willy Kit
Image credit: Lovehoney

Let’s see how we got on, shall we? Oh, and check out the whole review series here.

What’s in the Clone a Willy Kit?

The Clone a Willy kit comes packaged in a plastic tube, which also serves as the molding tube. Inside, you’ll find:

  • Instruction leaflet
  • Packet of molding power
  • 2 tubs of silicone
  • Mini thermometer
  • Single speed plastic vibrator
  • Stirring stick
Some of the contents of the Clone a Willy Kit

It’s worth noting that the kit doesn’t include every single thing you need. Fortunately, everything else you need is likely something you already have. You’ll need to have to hand:

  • A mixing pot to mix the molding powder (we used a plastic jug to make pouring easier)
  • A large wooden spoon
  • A disposable container to mix the silicone in (we used a well-cleaned plastic takeaway tub)
  • Means of measuring water in precise quantities
  • A way of keeping time (we used the timer function on my smartphone)
  • A square of scrap cardboard
Two pots of liquid silicone mix

How Does it Work?

The process of casting your penis isn’t all that difficult, but it takes a bit of precision and care.

First, you’ll need to cut the tube to size. It should be half an inch longer than your erect penis. Next, you’ll need to measure out 1 3/4 cups (that’s 414ml) of lukewarm water and let it cool to exactly 90F (32C). That’s what the thermometer is for. Be aware that this can take longer than you think!

Once the water is at the right temperature, you mix the molding powder in and stir it for exactly 45 seconds. Pour the mix into the tube, insert your erect penis, and hold it still until the mix starts to set. The instructions say 1-2 minutes, but this wasn’t quite enough. All in, it took around 4 minutes.

Voila, you have a mold! Then all you have to do is mix up the silicone, pour it into the mold, add the vibrator, and leave it to set for 24 hours.

How Hard is It?

The tricksy part of this whole process is the precision – getting the right amount of water, making sure it’s exactly the right temperature, and stirring for the right amount of time. Once the molding power goes in the water you have to act quickly, so make sure the dick being cast is erect and ready to go before you start mixing! (Staying hard is also a challenge when your dick is in lukewarm molding mix, I’m told. Have some porn or a sexy naked partner to hand!)

Mr CK has quite a lot of body hair, so we applied a generous amount of vaseline before we started casting. If you’re on the hairy side, I highly recommend this approach, otherwise you might end up getting an unwanted wax job!

The other thing to bear in mind is that this process can get messy! You have to hold the tube full of liquid against your groin for several minutes in a slightly upward-tilted angle, and some WILL spill out. Put a towel or an old sheet down before you start, and don’t do this in a carpeted area if you can possibly help it.

Clean-up isn’t too difficult. The molding mix washes off skin easily. Pro tip for cleaning your utensils and mixing bowl: wait for the leftover mix to completely dry, and then it will just peel away.

The molding is by far the hardest bit. Once that’s sorted, mixing up and pouring the silicone is a breeze. The one thing to be aware of is that you have to mix the silicone for several minutes (we did about 8 minutes) and then pour it as slowly as possible.

So how did it turn out?

We got a very promising mold from our dick casting! And the silicone is the most gorgeously bright and vibrant colour:

Silicone mix from the Clone a Willy Kit

As per the advice, we decided to leave the mold to set overnight and then pour the silicone the next morning. As such, the final product is currently setting and I’ll add some photos tomorrow. Watch this space!

Clone a Willy Kit in progress setting

The Outcome

Ta-da!

Finished purple silicone dildo made with Clone a Willy Kit

After this adventure, I have a newfound appreciation for folks who make beautiful dildos. This came out pretty well for a first go – its structurally sound, useable, and actually a pretty good likeness to its, erm, source material.

But it’s still a far cry from what the professionals can do. Support your favourite lovely dildo-makers, people!

(But also clone your/your partner’s dick at home with one of these kits, because it’s fun!)

Final Verdict

This whole experience was messy, awkward, and absolutely hilarious. You’ll need a good sense of humour if you want to make a Clone a Willy, but we had tonnes of fun making ours!

The Clone a Willy kit retails for £34.99 from Lovehoney.

I’ll just leave you with this:

Me: “What do you think people do with their cloned dick if they have a really bad breakup?”
Him: (beat) “Will it blend?”

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me this product to review! Views are, as always, my own. Affiliate links appear in this and all my review posts. Want to support the blog? Signing up to my newsletter and buying me a coffee are great ways to do that!

The Love Stories That Weren’t

I don’t believe in “The One”. I’m a hopeless romantic, yes, but I’m also something of a realist. The mere fact that there are nearly seven billion people on this planet makes it absurd to me to think that there is exactly one person designed for everyone to love. I mean…

“It’s just mathematically unlikely that at a university in Perth
I happened to stumble upon the one girl on Earth
Specifically designed for me!”

– Tim Minchin, “If I Didn’t Have You

Aside from the sheer numerical absurdity of the idea, my own experience shows that “The One” just isn’t a meaningful concept. I’ve loved a number of people in my life. Not all of them were healthy for me – some were pretty terrible – but the love I felt? That was real. And it isn’t retroactively less real because I don’t love them any more.

I say that Mr CK is the love of my life, and that’s true. But that doesn’t mean he’s the only person I’ve ever loved or could ever love. It doesn’t mean I think we were somehow predestined to find each other and be together. It means that in this chaotic world, we did find each other and he’s the person I have chosen to spend my life with – to walk hand-in-hand with along the path of life, hopefully until one of us runs out of heartbeats.

Don’t you think the idea of choice, of choosing each other again and again every day, week, month and year, is more romantic that a notion of some pre-determined fate? I do.

I’m also very aware that, for all the people I’ve loved or been in relationship with in my life, there are others which could have happened, and didn’t for whatever reason. So this is for the almosts, the maybes, the “right person, wrong time”s. The love stories that weren’t.

There was the one who was my first “what if…?” We were seventeen and I was already in a relationship. I didn’t have any kind of language for non-monogamous feelings, so I thought I was bad and wrong because I couldn’t stop thinking about someone while in a relationship with someone else. I don’t think he ever realised his crush on me was reciprocated. We’re friends to this day and he was one of the first people I ever came out to as bisexual.

There was the one who was significantly more fundamentally-monogamous than I am. We knew it had no long-term potential, but we were powerfully drawn to each other anyway. He and I danced around each other, kissing and pseudo-dating and doing kinky play and pretending it was all very casual, for the better part of two years. At one point, we were talking on the phone almost every night. He used to call me Kitten. I used to say “I love you” after he’d hung up.

There was the one I got on a train and traveled six hours, on little more than a whim, to meet. This woman who looked like a 1950s pin-up model and kissed me with lips that tasted of green tea. I was recently out of my first same-sex relationship and exercising the age-old wisdom that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. She was curious, and her husband graciously gave her a one-night pass with me. I just wish I’d known the pass was only for one night.

Then there was the one with whom the chemistry was so intense and so immediate that I felt the zing from across the room. Though ultimately it amounted to little more than a single very hot scene, it’s a memory I cherish.

There was the one who I shared just one incredible date with. I remember looking at him across the table of my favourite Thai restaurant, wishing I could pour the moment into the empty wine bottle, cork it and keep it forever. I never did learn why he ghosted me afterwards. That one hurt for a long time.

I don’t like the concept of “the one who got away”. It has too many weird implications for me – and, again, is too tied into this notion of There Can Be Only One Real Ultimate Love. I prefer to think about it in the sense of how much possibility there is in the world. None of us, even the most polyamorous, could ever possibly explore every single possible love that might theoretically be out there in the world for us.

But isn’t that abundance of possibility just wonderful?

[Toy Review] The Godemiche Offbeat

I’ve been sitting on this one for a long damn time, in part because it took us so long to get to actually testing it. But after giving it a second trial run this morning, I am ready to tell you all about the Offbeat, from Godemiche.

It’s no secret that I fucking love Godemiche. This UK-based team run by husband-and-wife duo Adam and Monika have been making gorgeous, hand-poured silicone dildos for a number of years now… and now they’ve branched out into penis toys as well! (And yes, their marketing copy refers to the Offbeat as a “toy for the penis”, not a “toy for men” – hooray! I wish all companies would go this inclusive route).

The Godemiche Offbeat sitting on a red laptop keyboard.

Let’s go OffBeat…

The OffBeat is a tube-shaped silicone masturbator sleeve. Inside it has a simple bobble texture, while the outside has a gentle ripple. Each one has the company name stamped along the rim at the bottom, and the “G” Godemiche logo on the side. Each OffBeat comes in its own little storage tub – it looks like a miniature poster tube. This useful addition makes for easy and hygienic storage.

The Godemiche Offbeat lying on my desk

Sizes and colours and customising, oh my!

OffBeat comes in two sizes: Grande is 5cm in length, and Venti is 10cm in length. (And those who understand will know why these size names made me laugh!) Both sizes are 3cm in diameter. We received the longer Venti version for review. Even this larger size is compact and lightweight. Easy to throw in your bag for a date or a filthy weekend away!

Which size you pick is up to your preferences. If you prefer plenty of concentrated stimulation around the head of your penis, I suggest going for the smaller Grande. Godemiche point out that the Grande is also a great companion to oral sex. Simply tease the head of the penis for a while, then slide the Grande down the shaft and use it to stimulate the base of the penis while giving your partner head, simulating the feeling of a deeper blowjob. The longer Venti, on the other hand, is ideal if you prefer longer strokes and plenty of up-and-down motion. If you’re looking for something that comes closer to simulating penetration, you definitely want to go for the Venti.

The Godemiche Offbeat on a green carpet

One of my favourite things about Godemiche is the sheer variety of colours and styles on offer. Whatever colour toy you want, they can probably make it for you! I have a one-of-a-kind bi pride Ambit that I bought in a charity auction and it’s one of my favourite toys ever. I also bought a gorgeous red Adam in their last sale and I’m lusting HARD after this turquoise glittery Ambit.

The OffBeat currently comes in 6 standard colours, 8 fabulously bright UV colours, and 12 gorgeous pearlescent colours. Ours is pearlescent gold and it’s absolutely beautiful.

A refreshing body-safe offering

Sex toy options for people with penises are often woefully lacking. This is gradually changing as awesome companies like Hot Octopuss, Fun Factory and now Godemiche start offering brilliant cock toys. Unfortunately, most of the strokers on the market are still made of porous and sometimes toxic materials such as jelly, rubber, PVC, TPE/TPR and the notoriously vague “Realistic Feel”.

So of course I am delighted that the OffBeat is made of 100% silicone. This means it is completely body-safe: non-toxic and non-porous.

The Godemiche Offbeat on a purple dildo sticking to some black bathroom wall tiles
Featured Stunt Dildo is the Lovehoney 7 Inch Suction Cup Silicone Dildo

To clean your OffBeat after use, turn it inside out and wash it thoroughly with warm water and gentle soap. Take extra care to ensure that no fluids remain trapped between the bobbles. You can also sterilise your stroker by sticking it in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes, or running it through the dishwasher in the top rack.

If you want to share the toy with a non fluid-bonded partner, it’s easy to give it a wash between uses or you can just wear a condom, which shouldn’t impede the toy’s performance in any way.

For maximum comfort and pleasure, use a good quality water-based lube. I recommend slathering plenty of lube inside the stroker and also putting some directly on your penis.

So how does it feel?

Now, obviously I don’t have a dick, so I turned to my trusty stunt-cock Mr CK to help me out with this one. His reaction when I lubed up the toy and slid it onto his cock was instantaneous. Apparently the bobbles on the inside of the toy provided a good amount of friction and sensation without needing to grip very hard at all. This may make it a good choice for people who find gripping hard during masturbation difficult, such as those who suffer from pain in their hands. I certainly found it made pleasuring him for a decent length of time easier.

The Godemiche Offbeat on the side of a bath, around a purple dildo

Mr CK also explained that one of the things he likes about this toy is that it is so simple but really makes masturbation feel substantially different from usual. He likened it to the difference between wanking with your dominant vs non-dominant hand, or the difference between masturbating yourself and having someone else do it for you. Basically, if you’re looking to change up your usual masturbation routine, grab yourself one of these!

The gentle ripple shape of the outside of the sleeve means it sits comfortably in the hand, a finger in each dip. We also tried the toy with me pleasuring him with it, and found this was equally true whichever of us was doing the work.

Size-wise, this is a flexible toy. It stretches well and then “hugs” the penis once it’s inside, so would suit a wide variety of penis lengths and girths.

An absolute hit. I think this one is going to live in the “easy access basket” for things we use all the time.

(The Easy Access Basket just needs its own damn post, doesn’t it?)

Do we recommend it?

We really like this toy! It’s simple, highly effective, body-safe, affordable and should suit a wide range of bodies.

OffBeat retails for £25 for the Venti size directly from Godemiche. The smaller Grande size is £20.

Thanks to Godemiche for sending us the OffBeat in exchange for an honest review. All views in this post are our own and images were taken by me. This post contains a couple of affiliate links, which send a small commission my way when you buy from them. Links to Godemiche are non-affiliated.

[Toy Review] Satisfyer Power Flower

I came home from my holiday a couple weeks ago to several parcels. One of which was an unexpected treasure-trove from Satisfyer, containing not one, not two, but SEVEN (7) new vibrators. My cup, or something, runneth over. Anyhow. It seems Satisfyer have moved on from just creating suction-based toys, and are now doing a line of more classic vibrators too.

Given the lackluster nature of Satisfyer’s other recent offering (I say lackluster as if I myself didn’t refer to this product as “the worst designed sex toy I have ever had the misfortune to encounter,”) I wasn’t altogether hopeful when it came to testing these out.

That’s why the Power Flower, the first one I pulled out to test on account of its interesting shape, was SUCH a surprise.

This toy is fucking awesome, folks.

Let’s back up a bit and look at some specifics…

The Power Flower is a red silicone vibrator, with a split tip that divides into three “petals”. Like a flower, get it? These petals “flutter” when the vibe is turned on.

The Satisfyer Power Flower viewed from above.

The Power Flower boasts an ergonomic loop-style handle, which fits really well with my small hands. The loop size is 1″ x 1.3″, and I can comfortably fit 2 fingers through it. The toy is 7.5″ in total length (4.75″ insertable, should you choose to do that), and 1.5″ wide at the widest point. It’s fully waterproof and USB rechargeable.

It operates on a simple three-button interface: On/Off, Up, Down. There are six levels of intensity and six different patterns. The buttons are easy to press and the interface is intuitive. The ability to click up or down through settings (rather than having to loop all the way around) is very much appreciated.

The buttons of the Satisfyer Power Flower

Keeping things clean & safe…

This toy is, of course, completely body-safe. The shaft and petals are made entirely of smooth, phthalate-free, non-porous silicone, and part of the handle is made of ABS plastic (also a body-safe material).

The one downside of this shape is the difficulty that cleaning it can present. Bodily fluids and bacteria can easily get trapped between the petals or in the little “dip” between them. So take extra care when cleaning your Flower! This toy is waterproof, so you can either dunk it in a 10% bleach solution or use a sterile medical wipe, followed by warm water and gentle soap, to get it clean.

Due to its shape, you also can’t really effectively use a barrier with this toy. So if you’re sharing it with a non fluid-bonded partner, please make sure it gets a really thorough clean between uses!

The Power Flower in use…

I honestly cannot overstate how much I loved this toy!

I was a bit intimidated to use it with no warm-up (my clit is picky and easily over-stimulated!) So I warmed up with a standard vibrator (a lovely offering from Rocks Off, since I know you were wondering – review coming soon!) and then got down to business with the Power Flower.

Friends, I orgasmed in less than a minute and immediately took to Twitter to be like “FUCKING HELL BUY THIS TOY.”

Okay, let’s back up a bit and talk about how it actually felt. Remember that “Nuzzle Tip” attachment I gushed about months ago? Well, this is sort of like a somewhat gentler version of that. The petals surround your clitoris and, well, flutter against it as they vibrate. As someone who finds direct and very pinpoint clitoral contact uncomfortable (hence why I didn’t like the famed Zumio,) this was an incredible sensation for me. Because it gets the hood, sides and whole area surrounding the clit, it basically encases the whole area in pleasure.

If you’re into very pinpoint stimulation, this toy may not do it for you. But if something a little more indirect is your jam, get your hands (and bits) on one of these!

Great for cocks too!

This toy came out for a second go during a play session with Mr CK. (Having your partner use this toy on your clit during penetrative play – recommend!) He had the bright idea to see how it worked on a cock.

He literally placed the end of the toy over the head of his penis so that the petals were surrounding the head (they’re quite flexible so you can do this!) The reaction when he turned the toy on was… intense and immediate. So, though this toy is designed for vulvas, it’s also a great option if vibrations around the head of your penis are a pleasurable thing for you.

Mr CK did not orgasm from this toy on this occasion but says he feels as though he probably could, with sufficient warm-up.

So do I recommend it?

Oh my god, yes. This toy has gained one of the rare and coveted “basically lives by my bed” spots.

The Power Flower retails for $49.99 and is available from Peepshow Toys or SheVibe. I have not yet found a UK-based company stocking it.

Thanks to Satisfyer for sending me this toy to review. All opinions are, as ever, my own. Please use the affiliate links contained in this post, which sends a small commission my way at no extra cost to you!

Sexting is a Real Sexual Relationship

When I was seventeen and we had not long moved in together, I caught my then-boyfriend sexting online with a random woman he’d met on the internet. We were, at the time, in a monogamous arrangement – and to say I was livid doesn’t cover it. I absolutely considered it to be cheating. (This is to say nothing of the fact that they’d been planning to meet and have sex, and only didn’t because I found out before that happened.) But the point is that I considered the online sexual relationship – in and of itself – to be a sexual relationship, and therefore a violation of the boundaries of a monogamous relationship. Of course, every relationship is different and if both parties agree a little digital flirtation is okay, more power to them. But there are certain things that are assumed to be off-limits in a monogamous commitment, unless very explicitly negotiated otherwise.

I stand by my assessment (of those activities as cheating) to this day, some decade and change later. This is because I completely believe that sexting, cyber-sexing and other forms of exchanging sexually explicit content online is a form of sexual relationship. It might not involve physically being in the same room or rubbing genitals together, but it is sex nonetheless.

My relationship with Mr CK began primarily online, as we lived 100 miles from each other. As we tried to work out what we felt for each other and what it meant, we texted day after day and sexted, cyber-sexed and exchanged filthy pictures and videos by night, until we reached the point that we simply had to see each other in person. But by the time we took it “real life,” not only were we already in love but we already had a pretty decent understanding of each others’ likes, dislikes, kinks and curiosities. Such is the power of digital sexuality.

“It’s only online!” I hear this all the time. I hear it from people in ostensibly monogamous relationships who have been caught having illicit cyber-sex behind their partner’s back. I’ve heard it from people who are trying to convince themselves they’re not really into that person they have been swapping naughty messages with every day for weeks. I even said it myself, when I was trying to deny the fact that I was fast falling in both love and lust with the man who blew up my phone with sexy texts multiple times a day.

We live in a digital world. There’s no getting away from it. Whether you’re keeping in touch with your long-distance sweetie via naughty Skype chats, booking private shows with your favourite cam models on Chaturbate, or using sites such as freesextingsites.com to find sexy chat partners, the vast majority of us have engaged with our sexuality online in some form or another. I would venture to suggest that the vast majority of adults around my age have nude pictures – their own or someone else’s – lurking on their phones.

Personally, I think sexting and cyber-sex are brilliant. Many of us have partners who live a good distance away from us – a different city or a different country – which makes regular in-person sex impossible. Online sexting is an amazing way to keep the spark alive in those relationships.

But it has benefits for those of us with more local partners too – even partners we live with. Have you ever received a steamy sext from your partner in the middle of the day, and then just wanted to go home and rip their clothes off their body for the rest of the day? Exactly. And if you’re very busy, or one of you has an illness or injury that is making a physical sexual relationship difficult or impossible, a virtual one can be just as satisfying.

Crucially, I think we need to move away from viewing sexting or cyber-sexing as less “real” sex. There are infinite ways to have sex, and as sex positive people we’re trying desperately to move away from the narrative that sex only “counts” if a penis goes into a vagina. I propose that we also move away from the idea that virtual expressions of sexuality are less valid, less real, or count less than in-person encounters. Let’s stop devaluing sexting and embrace it as one of the infinite possible ways to express delicious, hot, consensual human sexuality.

FYI: this post was sponsored. All views are, and will always be, my own.

[Kink Product Review] The Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit

Electro play has been an interest of mine ever since I first encountered a restored violet wand at a fetish fair. (Have you seen them? They’re *gorgeous*. They’re also expensive as hell.) Mr CK and I have a friend who has an amazing electro set-up in his home dungeon (yes, we have the kind of friends who have home dungeons) which we love playing with when we get the opportunity to visit.

But until now, exploring electro-play at home has been difficult for us. In large part, this is because it’s such a pricey kink to get into if you want decent kit. A cheap knock-off neon wand set from Amazon was fine for a while, but we found ourselves craving something more. Enter the Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit, which was very kindly sent by Stockroom for us to review.

A word of safety warning: do not, for the love of all that is holy and good in the world, buy a knock-off neon wand from Amazon or Aliexpress or the like. We were lucky that ours (which I bought when I was young and uneducated!) has stayed in one piece and been reasonably safe, but there are all kinds of horror stories such as this one from Ella Scandal: “...when I plugged it in and switched it on, the socket smoked, banged and flashed, then the upstairs electrics tripped out.” Please, please, please buy your electro-sex gear from a reputable sex toy/BDSM gear supplier.

Let’s go back a step: what is a neon wand?

The neon wand, a modern and cheaper alternative to the violet wand (a turn-of-the-century quack “medical” device) is a popular BDSM toy that discharges electricity across the surface of the skin, creating a sensation that can range from a gentle, warming tickle to a sharp, scratchy pain. I’m informed that the sensation is somewhat similar to getting tattooed, but having inkless skin (for now) I couldn’t testify as to the accuracy of this claim.

I don’t know enough about electrics to go into the detailed science of how it works (sorry!) but a neon wand is what’s known as a “solid state device” (no moving parts). This makes it durable and easy to move around without interruption to the flow of electricity. It also means that modern solid-state devices are likely to be more durable and last longer.

Essentially, a neon wand consists of the main wand handle, and various attachments called electrodes which are made of glass or conductive silicone. You plug your electrode into the wand, and then touch it to the body to transmit electricity across the skin. When switched on, the inside of the clear glass electrodes glows red or purple. How cool is that!? This video is a good visual if you want to see it in action (and hear the sound it makes!)

Why would anyone want to do that!?

There are lots of reasons people might enjoy electro play (sometimes called e-stim, electro-stim or electro-sex). For some, the sensation is relaxing or even meditative. Others are masochists and get off on the more painful end of the spectrum. For some people, these devices play into a medical kink. And for others again, i’s about conquering a fear or seeing how much they can take. The motivations are many and varied – as with most kinks. The only way to know why it makes a particular person tick is to ask them.

Let’s take a closer look at the Obsidian kit…

The Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit is a bundle put together by the good folks at Stockroom (purveyors of kinky goodness extraordinaire) and it’s an electro play lover’s dream! It consists of the neon wand and two attachments – the Electro-Whip and the Flex Capacitor, both made from conductive silicone.

All of this comes attractively packaged in a handy leather zip-up case, branded with the Stockroom logo (yes, it’s real leather, I checked).

Be aware that this kit does NOT come with any glass attachments, so if you want those you’ll need to buy them separately – but they are all available from Stockroom at very reasonable prices. I particularly recommend the comb, the probe, or – for the romantics amongst you – the heart.The neon wand has an 8 foot power cable. A word of warning for my non-US readers: it is a US plug, so you’ll need an appropriate step-down converter to use it safely in your country. Thankfully, I already have one for purposes of using my Magic Wand! The user interface couldn’t be simpler: there’s a single dial control to control the power and intensity.

How did we get on?

When we get a new kink item to try that we’re not experienced with, we try it in a non-scene headspace. (We call it “lab time” because we’re dorks). So that’s what we did with the Neon Wand Obsidian Kit. Problem is, it’s very hard for me to stay in an analytical mode when I’m giggling and thrashing and squirming, which is what this toy had me doing within seconds.

I experience electro-play on a spectrum that ranges from tickle to sting. At the lower ends, it reminds me somewhat of the sensation of having a Wartenberg wheel drawn across my skin. On the higher settings, it’s a sharp and stingy pain. If you’re a thud lover and totally hate stingy sensations, neon wand play is unlikely to be for you.

I love the sensation of electricity, so I totally adored this product. I think we’ll be playing with it a lot more, and we’ll be investing in some extra electrodes to have even more fun with it.

Mr CK’s feedback on this product can best be described as “sadistic giggling”

Let’s meet our electrodes…

The Electro-Whip is actually a small flogger, with ten falls made of conductive silicone. You are not supposed to hit hard with it! Despite the name and design, this “whip” is more designed for dragging across the body, leaving a trail of sparks wherever it goes. You can strike with it gently, but again, think “stroke” rather than “whack”. If you want to hit someone hard, get out an ordinary flogger.

It’s a stingy fucker! The high number of contact points on the body all at once and their small surface area means this one delivers a lot of bite.

The Flex Capacitor is described by Stockroom as the most intense of all neon wand electrodes, and it’s an apt description! The two-pronged tip sends a powerful shock to wherever it touches. The Flex is best for short, sharp bursts of pain. I couldn’t stand this one on any but the lowest settings – it’s THAT intense.

Some quick safety notes

Electro play, done with the proper kit and a bit of common sense, is actually fairly low risk! But of course, like any BDSM activities, there are some risks and knowledge is your first and greatest line of defense. This is not an exhaustive list (I Am Not A Doctor!) and you must always do your research, but as a starting point here are some of the major safety points you need to be aware of:

  • Again, for the love of god, buy a genuine device from a reputable supplier!
  • Check your cords before play. If any of them are frayed or look damaged, do not use the device.
  • Store your device in a dry place and never, ever get it wet or use it in a damp environment such as a bathroom. Make sure your skin is completely dry before you begin playing. Come on guys, we all know water and electricity aren’t friends, don’t we!?
  • Check the voltage/ampage and make sure you are using an appropriate converter for your country’s outlets, if relevant.
  • Do not leave your device plugged in when you’re not using it.
  • Read the instruction manual and follow it.
  • Do not do electro play if you have a pacemaker. Always check before playing with a new partner. Do not assume your partner knows that pacemakers and electro play are a bad combination.
  • Do not do electro play if you have any kind of inbuilt/non-removable medical device in your body (such as, for example, an insulin pump). The electricity can damage your device, putting you at risk.
  • Do not do electro play if you have a heart defect.
  • Don’t do electro play if you experience seizures.
  • Do not do electro play if you are pregnant.
  • Do not hold the device on one spot on the body for more than a second or two. Keep it moving. This will greatly reduce the risk of burns or skin damage.
  • If you experience bad pain or any sensation that worries you, stop immediately.
  • Do not use the device on the face or head, especially near the eyes or mouth.
  • Start out at a low setting, build up slowly, and listen to your body.

Where on the body can you use it?

Most places are fine – I recommend starting out with fleshy areas such as the butt or upper thighs. Upper back, inner thighs, tops of arms and stomach are a little more intense for most people, but fun if you’re up for it. If you’re feeling brave, try the nipples, labia, shaft of the penis, or soles of the feet (go very, very carefully in these areas and start on a low setting.) Again, never use your electro play device near the head or face. You should also never insert it into the vagina, anus or mouth.

So do we recommend it?

Definitely! Though with the caveat that I think this is a kit for more advanced players, or those who know they like a little more intensity to their play. If you’re completely new and nervous about electro play, I’d suggest starting with the standard neon wand kit. The glass electrodes don’t pack quite such a punch as the Whip and Flex Capacitor.

But for electro afficionados looking for something a bit more, this kit is a great investment and will be a fabulous addition to your kitbag.

The Obsidian Neon Wand Intensity Kit retails for $188 (about £145).

Thank you to Stockroom for sending us this product to review. If you buy through one of my affiliate links, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are, as ever, my own. All pictures are by me except the header image, which is property of Stockroom and reproduced with permission.

Masturbation Monday: “Blue Dress”

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

“No, keep your dress on.”

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

“Bend over the bed and keep quiet.”

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

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

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

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

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

True story, by the way!

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

[Toy Review] Mantric Rechargeable Vibrating Penis Masturbator

I’ve discussed before how difficult it is to find toys for people with penises which use truly body-safe materials. There’s a lot of TPE/TPR and other porous materials out there, including the extremely popular and well-rated Tenga and Fleshlight products. This means that they will harbour bacteria, degrade over time, and ultimately not last all that long. So I was really pleased to see that, like the whole Mantric range, this penis masturbator offering from Lovehoney is made entirely of silicone.

The Mantric penis masturbator on a white bed sheet.Let’s take a look…

The Mantric penis masturbator is cylindrical, open at one end and closed at the other. The outside is black and features a subtle geometric pattern. Inside, the silicone is the dark pinkish-red that characterises the Mantric range, and is gently ribbed – presumably, to enhance pleasure. On one side of the internal wall is a small hump. This is where the motor sits and the vibrations are concentrated. The total internal length is only about 3 inches. This toy is very light and sits comfortably even in my very small hand.

The Mantric masturbator is USB rechargeable, with a use time of about 90 minutes for a 100 minute charge. It retails for £49.99 at Lovehoney UK ($64.99 in the US.)

Buttons & Settings

The Mantric masturbator has an extremely simple The Mantric penis masturbator on a light wooden floor.one-button interface. You press the button once to switch one, then again to cycle through the settings, and you hold it down for two seconds to switch off. The simplicity of this type of interface is, as always, undermined by the annoyance of only being able to scroll through the settings on one direction. Up/down buttons on toys, people – please!

There are five settings in total – constant vibration and four different patterns. The other cool feature this toy has is a travel-lock. So you don’t need to worry about it switching on in your bag!

The Mantric penis masturbator from above.Care and Cleaning

I was worried about how difficult it might be to clean this product. Thankfully, it’s fully waterproof and submersible. This means cleaning it is… if not the easiest, at least much easier than I expected. I used warm water, a clean cloth and my index and middle fingers to clean the inside thoroughly, and then left it out to dry thoroughly. For a quick in-between clean, wiping it out with a sterile medical wipe should be fine. Being silicone, you can be assured of a full clean and not worry about it going moldy or holding on to any yucky bacteria.

In Use

I was really excited to use this product. Mr CK very much enjoys vibrations on his penis, so I thought it would be a great toy for him. Unfortunately, it really fell down in practice.

I can’t tell you this without it coming across as an #explanabrag, but it is honest-to-God true – his cock didn’t really fit! The diameter of the inside canal is only about 1.5″. This is far too narrow for anyone who is even slightly above average in the penis department.

We used a metric fuck-tonne of lube, both on his cock and inside the toy, but he had to really force to get even part way inside. An extremely tight squeeze is not, contrary to what ridiculous virginity-fetishists would have you believe, conducive to a fun or sexy time! He described it as uncomfortable-to-painful.

The other thing, and I’m giggling remembering this as I write the review, is that whenever he tried to insert his cock into this toy it made… um, a rude-sounding noise. Yeah, it sounded like a super loud fart noise. A+ for making us fall about laughing, but significantly less points for actual functionality.

This toy might work for people with cocks on the smaller side (which there is absolutely nothing wrong with!) But if you’re even slightly above average, there’s a decent chance your penis simply won’t fit inside it properly.

Our other complaint was that the vibrations are not very strong. Now, it’s possible that Mr CK has been spoiled by my using the Doxy on his cock, but penis shafts have less nerve endings than clitorises (and they’re less concentrated) so many penis-owners find stronger vibrations are better. Even if he’d been able to get his cock in properly, the vibrations are too weak to lead to orgasm.

Overall, a great concept and I absolutely applaud Lovehoney for making a penis toy out of pure silicone. Unfortunately, the functionality just isn’t quite there yet.

What should you buy instead?

I really wanted to recommend this product. There are so few silicone penis masturbators on the market that to negatively review one feels awful. Unfortunately, for most people I cannot recommend this toy. If you’re after a vibrating toy for your penis, try the Hot Octopuss Pulse III, which is extraordinary – or get a wand vibrator and a penis wand attachment. We really like the Hummer attachment (which comes with a wand in this great-value set!) – though we wish it was silicone, as the TPE is porous and will degrade over time. The O-Wand O-Gasm attachment is the only good silicone option I know of.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the Mantric masturbator in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are, as ever, entirely my own. I have used affiliate links in this post, and all images are by me and not for use without permission.