Five Ways Not to Invent a Sex Toy

So you want to invent a sex toy? Awesome! The world always has room for people doing cool new things in the adult industry.

But there are a few common pitfalls that people often fall into when they decide they want to do this. Avoid these simple mistakes and you’ll be off to a good start.

Don’t plunge straight in without knowing the first thing about materials and safety

Here’s a hint: if someone tells you that you shouldn’t be making your toy out of jelly, rubber, PVC, or another toxic material, and you have to ask why… you are not ready to invent a sex toy.

Do your research on safe materials before you even start thinking about bringing a pleasure product to market.

Don’t rip off other people’s ideas

You would think this would go without saying. Unfortunately, even some of the biggest players in the industry do this.

Obviously there are only so many variations on things to put on your genitals and there will be crossover in some places, but if you’ve straight-up ripped off another company’s product, we will notice. And we will not be happy.

Don’t claim that your product is revolutionary if it isn’t

You haven’t invented the First True Clitoral Stimulator Ever. The concept of a dildo is not new. Many people before you have created Things To Stick Your Penis In For Pleasure. Your toy doesn’t have to be earth-shatteringly original to be good (and many gimmicky ideas kinda suck in practice.)

Unless you’re doing something really, truly groundbreaking, don’t say that you are. We can see through it. And it makes us not trust you.

Don’t try to make a toy that mimics partnered sex (or claim that it does.)

Your toy does not feel like cunnilingus. Stop claiming that it does. We’ve heard it all before and it pisses us off.

Toys feel like toys, not like perfect replicas of partners. And that’s a good thing.

Don’t crowdfund something you can’t actually make

Okay, so you’ve had this awesome idea. Can you actually make it? Don’t start crowdfunding for something until you know exactly how you can actually make it. Where will you source the materials? How much will they cost? Where will it be made, and by whom? How much is the labour going to cost? What about distribution?

And just because you can make one prototype in your garage doesn’t mean you can mass produce it. Make sure your product is feasible on a large scale before you start asking people to pony up cash based on a neat idea.

Have you ever been tempted to invent a sex toy? I’d love to hear your ideas, no matter how wild and wacky!

If you enjoy my work, I’d love you to buy me a coffee to help me keep doing what I’m doing!

Five Ways to Mix Up Your Masturbation Routine

If, like me, you masturbate regularly, you might sometimes feel like your masturbation routine is getting a bit stale. That just means it’s time to change things up! The good news that there are loads of things you can do to keep your solo sex time interesting.

Try some of these suggestions…

Experiment with different kinds of touch

Do you always touch yourself in much the same way? Try experimenting with touching yourself in different places, in different ways, and at different speeds and levels of pressure.

Don’t just go straight for your genitals. Try touching your nipples, inner thighs, stomach, arms or anywhere else that feels good.

Take your time, and pay attention to your body’s authentic responses.

Read some new erotica or watch some new porn

No judgement if you always gravitate to the same scene or the same story to get yourself off! But trying out some new erotic stimulus can be a great way to keep yourself out of a masturbation rut.

Try joining a feminist porn site or checking out some new sexy erotica. Keep an open mind and you might be surprised what turns you on!

Treat yourself to a new sex toy

Do you always masturbate with your hands or with the same toy? If you can, treat yourself to a new toy that intrigues you. Sex toys are one of the best ways to experience a world of different sensations all by yourself.

Try a powerful wand, a rumbly bullet, a silicone stroker or a prostate massager… or whatever most takes your fancy!

Try a new lube

If you’re not already using lube for your masturbation, give it a go! Lube isn’t just for partnered sex and it isn’t just for people who struggle with dryness. Lube keeps everything slippery wet and friction-free, making for a more fun and pleasurable experience. It can also add different sensations, keeping your masturbation routine varied.

I recommend a high quality water-based lube for beginners, but you can also experiment with silicone lube (don’t use this with silicone toys), oil lube (not latex barrier compatible), or warming and tingling lubes.

Have phone or cyber sex

If you have a lover you don’t live with, this one is easy. But if you’re single and feeling brave, there are chat sites, cam sites and phone sex lines you can use to enjoy sexy chat with another person while you get yourself off.

Remember: tip well if you’re using a paid site, and never give out any personally identifying details!

What have you done to mix up your masturbation routine?

The Masturbation Monday logo, for a post about mixing up your masturbation routine

The Masturbation Monday meme is run by Kayla Lords. Click the logo to see what everyone else is getting off to this week, and please buy me a coffee if you find my work useful! Plus don’t forget it’s #MasturbationMonth and I’m working with Lovehoney to bring you sexy content all month long.

Masturbation Monday: Three Ways to Explore Masturbating With Your Partner

Masturbating together is a hugely underrated sex act, in my opinion. The overwhelming majority of us are our own first, last and only truly lifelong sexual partner, so no-one knows what we like quite like we do!

Despite this, many of us forget that mutual masturbation can be a wonderful way to explore sex with a partner – or consider it “not real sex.” So today I want to give you three possible ways to explore masturbating together, and why you might want to try them.

Show your partner what you like

This works well in newer relationships where you don’t know each other’s bodies well yet, but is equally wonderful for more established relationships – particularly if you feel stuck in a sexual rut or one of you isn’t feeling as satisfied as you’d like.

Masturbating in front of your partner shows them, in intimate detail, how you like to be touched. This could involve them touching you too, mimicing your movements until they get it just right, or just watching and taking mental notes.

Does this sound cold and clinical to you? It doesn’t need to be! Imagine your partner lying back and spreading their legs, their eyes closing in bliss as they give themselves pleasure. Imagine them saying something like, “I like to have my clit rubbed in little circles like this…” or “I really like someone gripping the base of my cock hard. Don’t worry about hurting me, I’m into it.” Super fucking hot, no?

Talking about what you like in bed is hot. Showing your partner what you like can be even better.

Putting on a sexy show

Is there anything hotter than seeing your partner’s pleasure up close and personal? Masturbating for your partner can be an incredibly hot way to put on a sexy show for them.

Some people find it sexy to exaggerate their moans and movements in this context for their partner’s enjoyment. Others like to simply lose themselves in the pleasure and let their partner see them at their most raw and vulnerable. Experiment to see what works for you.

This can also work really well as part of a D/s game. As a submissive, I enjoy being told to touch myself for my partner’s amusement – especially if I’m not allowed to come (or stop) without their express permission. If you’re in a power exchange relationship or enjoy these games, try telling your partner to touch themself for your entertainment. The details are up to you – are they forbidden to come? Instructed to edge a certain number of times? Ordered to bring themself to orgasm within a specific timeframe? Have fun with it!

Exploring a new fantasy together

Masturbating together can be a lower pressure way to explore a new fantasy. Interested in threesomes, bondage or watersports, but nervous to try? Touch yourselves side by side while you talk through a scenario involving your fantasy. (Frankly, even if you’re not exploring something new, masturbating together and talking through a shared fantasy is a really hot way to have lower-energy sex!)

Another way to do this is watch some porn or read some sexy erotic fiction together while you both touch yourselves.

Have you tried masturbating with your partner? Tell me in the comments or tweet me to tell me what you love about it!

The Masturbation Monday logo, for a post about masturbating with your parter

Masturbation Monday is a meme by Kayla Lords. Click the logo to see what everyone is getting off to this week! This week’s prompt image is by Shelbie Rie of House of Eclipse. This post contains affiliate links, which make me a small commission if you purchase through them. You can also buy me a coffee to show your appreciation!

[Kink Product Review] Lovehoney Take Control Bondage Kit

I often groan at the idea – and the reality – of sex toy kits. Too often, they’re lots of cheap and bad quality things shoved together in a pretty box and sold for a premium. If pressed for an opinion, I’ll nearly always tell my readers to forego a kit and spend a bit more on just one or two quality items. However, I try to keep an open mind, and occasionally something surprises me. The Take Control Bondage Kit from Lovehoney pleasantly surprised me.

The Take Control bondage kit box

Through the eyes of a beginner…

I’m practically a kinky veteran at this point. I’ve been practicing BDSM for about a decade and have accrued a sizeable collection of toys – expensive leather floggers, my fabulous vegan leather collar, the gorgeous hand-made whip I gave Mr CK last Christmas, our electro-play kit, and more. So beginner kits are not something I would ever normally buy for myself. Therefore, I am trying to step back in time ten years or so and view this kit through the eyes of someone who is just starting out in their kinky explorations.

The back of the Take Control Bondage Kit boxInviting and Fun Packaging…

The Take Control Bondage Kit comes in one simple box, with all the products clearly displayed on the front so you know exactly what to expect. The packaging is bright and fun, which I suspect is a deliberate choice to make it non-intimidating to the new and nervous.

There’s a LOT of information on the box, too. I really like the way that there’s a brief description on how to use each item on the back, and also that they pay attention to safety and consent! The box reminds you to use safewords, never leave a bound person alone, and have a non-verbal safe signal if someone is gagged. In this regard, I’m really impressed. It’s pretty 101 stuff, but safety/consent 101 is exactly the information that the target market for this kit needs. A+ for that.

Take Control Kit: the unboxing…Various kink items on a wooden floor. For a post about the Take Control bondage kit.

I wasn’t delighted with the way the box was packed – everything was just sort of piled in, each item wrapped in a cellophane wrapper. It would have been nicer to have an inner tray with slots for everything. Some little storage bags for the items would also be a welcome addition. Assuming you don’t want to throw everything back in the box when you’re done playing, it’s not an ideal storage solution.

With that said, I was immediately pretty impressed with what was inside the Take Control kit. Some (many) beginner BDSM kits are filled with things that are dubiously even safe, let alone of good quality.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside, shall we? Just for fun, I’ve included a fun tip or an idea to try with each item in the Take Control kit.

1: Blindfold

A black blindfold. For a post about the Take Control bondage kit.This blindfold is super comfy. It’s nice and thick and padded, and I couldn’t see a thing when it was on. The band is stretchy, too, so it should fit most people comfortably.

Pro kink tip: blindfold your partner and stroke different things across their body – a silk scarf, a piece of velvet, the tails of your flogger – and make them guess what each item is.

2. Nipple suckers

I really liked these! They’re a A pair of purple nipple suckers. For a post about the Take Control bondage kit.great gentle introduction to nipple play, and perfect if you want some sensation but without the pain of clamps or clothes pegs. I have pretty small nipples on fairly large breasts, and I found these stayed in place very nicely once I’d suctioned them onto my chest.

If you flick or hit them too hard, they will fly off, but they can withstand some gentle playing and wiggling.

Pro kink tip: tell your partner to fetch you something from another room with these on. They’ll have to move carefully… they’ll be spanked if one falls off!

3. Ball gag

A black ball gag. For a post about the Take Control bondage kit.Full disclosure: I hate ball gags. I fucking hate them. They make my jaw hurt, they make my face contort into an expression that no-one could possibly find attractive, they make me drool, and I can’t kiss my partner when I’m wearing one. I. Hate. Them.

With that said, this is a good one if you like that sort of thing. The holes make it breathable, and being silicone it’s non-porous which makes it hygienic. The holes do make it somewhat of a pain to clean, so take extra care when you’re cleaning it. Warm water and gentle soap is the best way to go here.

I also like how adjustable this gag is. With 9 buckle holes, it will fit most people comfortably.

Pro kink tip: make your submissive try to repeat words back to you (try phrases like “I’m a dirty little slut”) while gagged.

A black flogger. For a post about the Take Control bondage kit.4. Flogger

This is a stingy little bastard! Don’t let the small size fool you, it can pack a wallop. The falls are made of thin rubber, which delivers a vicious sting when you put some force behind it. If pain isn’t your thing, you can drag it sensually across the skin for a gentle tickle. I would have liked the handle to have a bit more width and weight to it.

Pro kink tip: Try – gently – flogging the vulva or penis if your partner is up for it. Remember to clean your flogger thoroughly afterwards.

5. Wrist and ankle cuffs

These were the weakest A woman's hand in a black velcro cuff. For a post about the Take Control bondage kit.part of the kit by far, for me. They’re quite thin and made of nylon, with no padding, which means they chafe if you put any pressure on them at all. They’re fine for exploring the feeling of being restrained, but if you’re into rough play and would be wanting to pull against them, they’re not a good option for that.

Try restraint with these, by all means, to see if you like it. But then ditch them and get some proper cuffs. And I hope it goes without saying that you should never, EVER suspend from wrist or ankle cuffs. These are not designed to take any real weight.

Pro kink tip: Restrain your partner then make them watch you masturbate in front of them.

6. Under-bed restraints

These are great, except for the tiny detail that they don’t fit on our bed! We have a Super King bed (which is the best thing ever, seriously. I always tell Mr CK that my relationship with him and the bed is polyamorous in itself.) Turns out these restraints fit up to King Size. So they’ll be fine for the vast majority of people, but if you have a ridiculous bed like us, they may not fit.

That said, they’re still a great addition to the kit. They’re strong, durable, and easy to set up… and tuck out of sight when you’re done, if you want to. The little clips mean you can easily add different cuffs to them, so when you ditch the rubbish cuffs in this set and get some better ones, you can still use them with this restraint system.

Pro kink tip: when your partner is restrained, run a cube of ice along their body… or drip candle wax onto their skin (read up on how to do wax play safely first, of course!)

7. Silicone suction-cup dildo

Do my eyes deceive me, or… no, it’s actually a body-safe dildo in a BDSM kit! With an insertable length of 6 inches and a diameter of 1.5″, this toy is perfect for vaginal play. It’s possibly a bit ambitious for first-time anal sex or pegging, but most people could easily work up to it with a bit of time and warm-up.

The slight curve makes this dildo feel delicious for G-spot or prostate stimulation, and the silicone is super soft and silky. The suction cup is also a nice addition and makes this toy more versatile.

It’s even got a convenient hollow in the base where you can slip the bullet vibe that comes with this kit to turn your dildo into a G-spot vibrator!

Remember to use water-based lube with your silicone dildo for the best experience.

Pro kink tip: tease your lover’s entrance with just the tip of the dildo. If they want it inside, they have to thrust on to it!

8. Strap-on harness

This is actually the same harness that I bought as part of a pegging kit a few years ago. I’ve used it many, many times to top for both vaginal and anal penetration, and it’s still my favourite harness. It’s comfortable, the dildo stays in place well during thrusting, and the rings are interchangeable so you can use it with any dildo with a flared base.

Pro kink tip: If you have a vulva, put on a wearable vibrator before you put on your harness, so that you get some clitoral pleasure while you fuck your partner.

9. Wired bullet vibrator

This was the biggest surprise in the Take Control kit for me. I was fully expecting it to be awful. While it’s not the strongest vibrator in the world, it’s not a bad little bullet for the size. I was able to orgasm with it quickly and easily. It has a number of patterns as well as steady vibration speeds.

I didn’t love the wire element, but you cannot expect to get a wireless bullet for this price-point. It’s long enough for one partner to comfortably have control of the remote while the other holds the vibrator against their genitals.

Pro kink tip: switch it off just when your lover is on the edge of orgasm. Make them beg for release.

Other things to note if you’re thinking of getting the Take Control kit:

  • The bullet takes 2x AAA batteries, not included.
  • There is no real leather in the Take Control kit, making it entirely vegan-friendly.

Overall Verdict: do I recommend it?

On the whole, a very solid kit for the price. I wouldn’t recommend it to folks more experienced in kink and BDSM, but for those of you who are new and looking to explore different sensations and types of power-play, this kit is a great starting point.

The Take Control kit retails for £79.99 ($109.99 US) which is a reasonable price for the quality and variety. As you get more into your kink and discover what you like, I’d encourage you to drop more money on single items if you can – a quality, handcrafted whip or flogger will last you a lifetime, perhaps, or some really high quality natural fibre rope? But to get you started? Look no further.

Thanks to Lovehoney for sending me the Take Control Bondage Kit in exchange for an honest review. If you choose to purchase this or anything else from Lovehoney, please buy through my affiliate links – it supports the blog at no extra cost to you!

Five Fun Ways to Use a Kinky Card Game

Have you ever played a kinky card game!? I hadn’t either, until recently – when the lovely folks at Pain Play: The Game introduced me to their prototype.

A laid out table with Pain Play the Game cardsPain Play is a simple game for lovers of impact play. There are 50 cards divided into 5 decks – 20 “hit cards” (i.e. the number of strokes you will receive, when the two are added together,) 10 “location cards” (where on the body you’ll receive the impact,) 10 “implement cards” (to determine the implement used,) and 10 “modifiers,” which can do anything from doubling or halving your strokes to allowing you to give them to somebody else. You literally draw a card from each deck and then do what the cards say. There are also spare cards, so that you can add your own ideas.

After a devious session of scheming with the creators of the game, I thought it would be fun to share some of the wonderful – and perhaps less obvious – ways of using this delightful little game.

A table laid out with a deck of Pain Play the Game cards
Just one possible permutation…

Obvious disclaimers apply

In the context of the game, as ever, full consent and negotiation is paramount. A safeword or any other withdrawal of consent ALWAYS supersedes the rules of the game. Whether in a group or one-on-one setting, no-one should ever be pressured to take part in anything they don’t want to.

Pro tip: you can remove cards from the deck without affecting the mechanic of the game. So if impact on a particular body part or with a particular implement is a limit (or if you just don’t own/have the skills to use any implement,) you can remove it.

Now let’s look at some ways to have fun with Pain Play: The Game.

1. As humiliation play

Is your masochist complaining about the cards they drew? Well, just tell them they did it to themselves!

I recently discovered I have intense feelings (good ones!) about phrases like “you brought this on yourself…” while a Top is doing deliciously mean things to me. Making your submissive pick the cards and then telling them that they’re just getting what they chose can be super fun for the discerning sadist.

2. As a way for newbie bottoms – and Tops – to explore

So you want to try impact play but you have no idea what implements you want to play with, where on your body you might enjoy it, or how hard? Or are you a nervous new Top, wanting to spank your eager submissive? Playing this game is a wonderful way to try things out – and, frankly, to get a feeling of permission to try things out. Afterwards, you can discuss which “rounds” were your favourite.

3. To get a kinky party going

You know that moment at the party when the snack table has been demolished and the introductions have happened and everyone’s like “so… do we just start playing or what!?” Being the first one out onto the play kit can be nerve-racking. Get a few friends together – or even everyone, if it’s a small party – and play a few rounds of Pain Play to start you off. Everyone will be into their kinky thing before you know it!

4. To start a scene with a new partner

You want to play with that hot person. They want to play with you. Awesome! But how do you actually get from the negotiation chat (you’ve done that, right? If not DO IT NOW) to actually getting a scene going? Well, a round or two of kinky cards can be a great way to transition from negotiation-space to play-space.

5. To demo different toys or techniques

Are you a sex and kink educator, workshop leader, purveyor of fine impact toys, or just the resident spanking guru in your friendship circle? How about using this game as a jumping off point for your next teaching session? Whether you’re showing off different skills to the audience on your own partner, or allowing willing volunteers to have a go at being on the receiving end themselves, structuring a workshop or demo around this game adds an element of fun and surprise!

Okay, Amy, you’ve sold me! How do I get a copy?

Pain Play: The Game is being funded through a Kickstarter project, and there’s only a little time left to get them to target! Mr CK and I have pledged £200 which will get us a copy with custom artwork to at our events and parties. But if you can’t afford that much, never fear! Every pledge of £15 or more gets you your own copy of this fabulously filthy little game, with the standard (gorgeous) art and everything you need to play. We should be supporting creativity and innovative projects by people within our community, so please do support if you can!

This post was kindly sponsored by the creators of Pain Play: The Game. Follow them on Twitter! As ever, all opinions are my own.

Five Quick Steps to Choosing Your Perfect Lingerie

Everyone deserves to feel gorgeous, sexy and desirable. And one way to achieve this is through wearing beautiful lingerie. Long-time fans of the blog will know that, until a few months ago, I didn’t think lingerie – in the traditional sense – was for me. I’m a curvy girl with an hourglass shape, currently a bit on the chubby side, with large boobs. My go-to knickers were less “sex kitten” and more “shapeless”. But after being sent some beautiful pieces to review, I realised that lingerie is just as much for me as for anyone. I’ve learned to love wearing it, and feel amazing when I do.

So here’s some top tips I’ve internalised that always help me to choose the perfect piece.

Know your measurements and aim for a perfect fit

If you wear bras, it’s really important to get properly fitted! Wearing something that fits you perfectly will make it look and feel so much better. For corsetry, you’ll need your waist measurement. Sizes vary between brands, of course, so don’t be afraid to go up or down from your usual size if you need to.

Also, all good stores will have a size chart. Pay attention to this, and if in doubt you can always email or phone customer services for help. They want to help you get the perfect piece!

Shop for the occasion

That babydoll might be perfect for wowing your lover in the bedroom, but it won’t work so well under your business suit for secret everyday glamour. Consider where and when you’re going to wear the pieces you’re buying, and shop accordingly. You’ll shop differently if you’re looking for the perfect wedding lingerie than if you’re after a showstopper for a night out at the BDSM club.

And don’t be afraid to ask for advice! Whether online or in person, store staff will be delighted to assist.

Shop smart online

Shopping in person is great if possible, but brick-and-mortar stores aren’t available in all areas and may not carry all lines. I buy the vast majority of my lingerie online and have never had an issue.

Begin by simply browsing catalogues for inspiration. Of course, looking at a picture doesn’t tell you how something will look or feel on you, but knowing what you’re drawn to is a great start. Bookmark the pieces you like and come back to them later with fresh eyes before you make your choice. Reputable shops will also have a solid and transparent returns policy so if something doesn’t fit right or doesn’t quite work for you, you can swap it for something that will.

But don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone

Don’t discount trying something that you would never normally choose! Pick up something risque, daring or different, or even just try a colour that you wouldn’t usually go for. You might surprise yourself!

Try this fun game: ask your partner, friend or personal shopper to pick something out for you, and try it on – whatever it is. You never know what you might discover.

Seek a second opinion

Taking a partner or lover with you to a store, or browsing online catalogues together, can make for a wonderfully sexy shopping experience! I love trying on pieces that make me feel a million dollars and then showing them to my partner and watching his expression change. If you’re single, shopping with a trusted friend is also a fun option.

You could even consider a private shopping experience. Baby Jane Lingerie offer a personal shopping VIP experience where you have a staff member’s undivided attention as they help you find the perfect look for you in a no-pressure, body-positive environment.

This week: tweet or comment and tell me about your favourite lingerie!

The Baby Jane Lingerie logo for a sponsored postThis post was kindly sponsored by Baby Jane Lingerie, a new women-owned store who are committed to helping you find the perfect lingerie. Check out their extensive lines for all bodies and all occasions. All opinions, as ever, my own.

Ask Amy #7: “Respectful Flirting for Queer Women”

Today’s advice question comes from one of my wonderful Patreon supporters, who has been very patient in waiting for me to get to it. I’ve also, I must admit, been sitting on this one a bit because knowing how to answer it was tricky.

The reader in question is a woman, in case that wasn’t clear from context. Let’s go…

Two women drinking coffee at an outside table. Only their arms are visible. For a post on flirting as a queer woman.“Hey Amy,

I like girls but am very nervous about flirting, in part because they’re so cute my brain melts, and in part because I want to be polite and respectful.

What are your tips on approaching cute humans in public places (cafes, bookshops, etc.) in a respectful way, to tell them their shirt is nerdy and cool, and to maybe indicate I want to start flirting with them?”

Oof. My dear reader, if I knew the definitive answer to this one, I’d date a lot more girls. But I will do my best, writing from the perspective of a woman who likes women and is maybe open to being flirted with by them.

A cool thing I learned about flirting a long time ago, which has always served me well, is to consider treating it as an end in and of itself. Flirting is a joyful activity as long as both parties are fully on board with it, and it does not necessarily need to lead to sex/a date/a relationship in order to be “successful”. This mindset will both help to guard you against crushing disappointment if that cutie you’re chatting to turns out to not be interested in taking things further, and helps to prevent you coming across as “creepy” or having an “agenda”.

To approach or not to approach?

When it comes to deciding whether to approach someone in public, it’s important to look for visual clues as to whether they may be open to being approached or not. If they’ve got headphones in, for example, or are hiding away in a corner behind a book or laptop, they’re probably either super busy or wanting to be left alone. Body language and general demeanor are important too. Does she look sad, stressed out, pissed off? That person is unlikely to be in the mood to chat. But someone who seems chilled out, happy or content is more likely to be open to meeting new people.

What to say?

A good way to approach someone and gauge if they’re interested in chatting to you is to offer an opener that they can either pick up and run with, or answer quickly then get back to whatever they were doing.

“I love your shirt! Where did you get it?” is a great one, especially if they’re wearing something that reflects a shared interest. You can also substitute “shirt” for bag, item of jewellery, shoes, cute notebook, etc. etc. Anything that clearly reflects an interest or personality trait. The key is to be genuine in your compliment. That way, if she’s not interested she can say thanks and you’ll have made someone smile. If she is open to more conversation, you’ve got a perfect first thing to talk about.

“Oh, I love [Author Name]” is also a good one if, say, you’re browsing the bookstore and see a cutie checking out one of your favourites.

Then, if she seems open and receptive, you can maybe tell her your name and ask hers, and see if you can get a conversation going. Ask if she wants to sit with you, or if she’s up for company at her table or would prefer to be alone. If you’re scared of backing her into a situation where she feels unable to say no, try the ball-in-her-court approach: “I’ve got to go meet my friend, but I’m [Name] on Facebook if you fancy looking me up. I’d love to get coffee and geek out over [shared interest] with you sometime”.

The “is she even into girls?” problem

Of course, you can’t usually tell by looking at someone if they’re queer or interested in your gender. There’s no easy way around this unless they “flag” in some way. Many people prefer not to be openly queer until they know they’re in a safe space to do so. This is particularly true in small or conservative communities.

There’s not a super easy way around it. Often, you’ll find out if someone is queer or available in the course of conversation and getting to know them. But one way to show that you’re a safe person to be open around is to flag queer in public, however subtly or overtly you’re comfortable with. This also makes it more likely that other queer folks who think you’re cute will approach YOU! Consider a rainbow bracelet, a “queer” or F/F symbol pin badge, a bi pride necklace, a risque phone case, or an LGBTQ/sex-positive tee.

Other ways to meet people

It’s probably also a really good idea, if you don’t already, to try to join some activities where people like you will congregate. Is there a feminist book club, a queer women’s social, an LGBTQ+ film group, a board game geeks’ night, anywhere near where you live? Go along and make friends, not with the specific intent of getting a date, but with the intent of meeting other people who share your interests and making friends. One of these people could be the next love of your life! Or they could invite you to a party, where one of their friends will turn out to be the cutie your heart desires.

In these environments, you’ve got a huge advantage over just meeting people in public. Everyone is, presumably, there to socialise and meet others to a certain extent. Not to mention you’ve got a ready-made thing to talk about! If you’re nervous, “I’m new, how long have you been coming?” is a fine opening gambit.

Most importantly: give yourself credit

Meeting people is hard. Saying hi to someone in public is even harder. This is all amplified by a thousand when you’re a queer person trying to get by in a heterocentric world. So if you say hi to someone cute, congratulate yourself! Maybe you’ll get knocked back, maybe you’ll make a friend, maybe you’ll get a date. The result isn’t the only point. The point is you put yourself out there. Confidence, coupled with a healthy respect for other people’s boundaries and comfort, is sexy as hell. So go you!

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Ask Amy #6: “The Care and Feeding of Your Unicorn”

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Whew, it’s been a while since I had an advice question from a lovely reader. This one, I must confess, has been sitting in my inbox for a while. Thanks to the person who sent it in, both for the excellent question and for waiting so patiently for an answer.

An artistic drawing of a sitting unicornNOTE: For those who don’t know, a “unicorn” is a person (usually a woman or AFAB person, though not always) who gets into some kind of relationship with an existing couple. So called because this type of person is almost as rare, precious and highly sought-after as the mythical horned horse. “Unicorn hunter” couples get a bad rep because so many of them approach this type of relationship from a fantasy-fulfillment perspective without due regard for the third person’s feelings, needs or, well, humanity.

Let’s dive in…

Hey Amy,

So my primary and I have suddenly and quite unexpectedly acquired a unicorn! We love them so much (we’ve been friends with them for years). So far we are all three having a delightful time. We are, as much as possible, using our polyamory skills to continue this state of affairs.

But I am nervous. Obviously being a unicorn is a terribly vulnerable position and so many unicorns end up really hurt. So: can you give me some tips from your own experience on making sure we keep our unicorn as gloriously happy and safe and secure as they deserve, while also making sure that we look after our own needs too? Because, my goodness, they deserve all that is good and wonderful.

Dear Nervous Unicorn Handler,

Okay, first of all, I LOVE this one. Not only because you say you are all having a wonderful time in your newfound triad, but because you are obviously as invested in your new partner’s happiness as you are in your own and your Primary’s. So, yay for you! You’re already way ahead of the curve here.

You’re also doing the right thing in realising that being a unicorn is a vulnerable position. Your unicorn has a certain level of advantage in that they’ve been your friend for a long time, but you and your Primary will still have tonnes of shared history, intimacy and knowledge that your unicorn has not been privy to.

I find myself wondering if you’ve talked to them explicitly about this? Even something as simple as “hey, we understand that being a unicorn can be a really vulnerable position, and we want you to know that we love and value you so much and are really invested in your happiness in this relationship. Please don’t be afraid to tell us what you need and let us know if something doesn’t work for you” can go a really long way. Then, obviously, follow through on that with actions such as listening actively, consulting them on things that affect them, and not getting upset with them for expressing needs or emotions.

Balancing multiple people’s needs is tricky in any relationship. It does, of course, become somewhat more difficult the more people are involved. However, there’s no reason you can’t keep all of you safe, secure and happy for a long time to come!

Communication, as ever, is key. It sounds like you’re well aware of that and all making efforts to communicate well. Keep doing that!

I also advise, in so far as it’s possible, each of you having one-on-one time with your third partner sometimes as well. Just as the two of you need alone time together in order for your relationship to flourish, your relationship with your unicorn and your partner’s relationship with them needs the same to a certain extent. But, of course, lots of lovely all-three time is also really important to schedule and prioritise.

Looking after your own needs is vital in any relationship. So, try to keep a good handle on where you’re at internally. Ask your partners to look out for themselves similarly. Have you considered a periodic check-in meeting for all three of you? This can be by Skype or phone if you live far apart, or around the kitchen table over coffee, or even snuggled up in bed together. It doesn’t have to be serious. It can just be, “how are we all doing? Anyone got any issues they want to raise?”  Then if anything comes up, you talk about it. If it doesn’t, you carry on doing the snuggling/coffee drinking/kinky fuckery. Obviously, you can react to things as they arise. But don’t underestimate how useful it is to have a designated time to check in with everyone and focus on your three-way relationship.

Beyond this, the things that spring to mind seem obvious and I’m sure you’re doing them/not doing them already:

  • Don’t try to control/limit who your unicorn can date. Having a secondary relationship with them while being in a primary relationship with your existing partner is A-okay, but don’t try to make them be exclusive to you or make it difficult/impossible for them to date others.
  • Discuss, with your Primary AND all three of you together, what will happen if someone feels jealous or left out. “We’ll close down the relationship and kick the unicorn out” is not a valid answer to this.
  • Keep your promises and honour your commitments. Emergencies happen, of course, and a degree of flexibility is important. But your partner should feel that the two of you are reliable and will do what you say you’ll do.
  • Related to the above, don’t make promises you may not be able to keep.
  • Never, ever, for the love of all that is sexy and good in the world, throw your unicorn in the middle when you and your Primary have a disagreement.
  • Try not to set rules on who is supposed to feel what for whom. This is a recipe for disaster because the heart doesn’t obey rules. Expecting your new partner to feel exactly the same way about each of you, for example, is unrealistic at best and straight-up coercive at worst.

I just want to finish by saying this seems like a really positive, healthy relationship. I’m not getting any of the red flags I so often see in a couple+unicorn situation. You’re doing everything write, Letter Writer, and I wish you all the best for a long, loving and wonderful relationship.

Again, please submit your questions to me for an anonymous answer on the blog. Patreon supporters get priority!

Top Sexting Tips

I’ve been doing a lot of sexting recently, and it’s pretty awesome. Being one of those ridiculous “surgically attached to my phone” millennials and also having a tendency to crush on attractive humans who live far away from me, it’s a pretty ideal way to keep sexual connections going – and spark new ones – amidst my busy life.

Close ups of two peoples hands as they type on their phones. For a post about sexting.

I think – based on feedback and the high rate of return customers (as it were) – that I am a pretty good sexter. This was not always the case. My second long-term boyfriend was the first person I sexted with, and back then I couldn’t muster much more than “*moan*” or “mmm”. Which, you know, are fine… but they’re not really enough.

So, based on a good amount of experience, trial and error, here are my top tips for good sexting.

1. Pay attention

This is actually probably the single biggest tip for sex in general, but it’s particularly important when someone’s words are all you have to go on. With sexting, there are no body-language or tone or breathing cues. So watch what they’re saying and now they’re responding.

Are you getting a lot of positive feedback? Are they virtual-moaning in response, telling you it’s making them wet/hard/distracted, adding their own bits to the sexy narrative you’re building together? If you’re getting one-word, vague or noncommittal responses, it’s probably a good time to pause and check in if this is working for them. They might need a change of direction for the chat, or it might be a bad time to sext entirely.

Pay. Attention.

2. Mirror their words back to them

What terms do they use? Are there particular phrases that come up again and again?

This is particularly relevant when it comes to things like what to call body parts. Real talk: I hate the word pussy. Fucking hate it. I refer to my genitals as my cunt or my vulva (or occasionally my “vag” or “foof” if I’m being silly). If I repeatedly use the words I like, and you keep coming back at me with the ones I hate, I’ll assume you’re either not paying attention (see point 1) or deliberately disregarding my preferences. Either way, it’s not a good look and won’t lead to happy sexty times.

This is also particularly relevant when it comes to kink dynamics. Many people have very strong associations with certain words, good or bad. If they describe themselves as a “filthy little slut,” that’s probably something they’d be into it if you said to them. Listen, and mirror their language and style of speech back to them… as well as demonstrating your own preferences and interests for them to mirror back to you!

3. Keep it simple

Sexting is not a good time for flowery prose. (For real, there is no good time for flowery prose in my opinion). Others’ mileage may vary, but if you’re sexting with me at least, don’t use 50 words where 5 will do.

“I’m gonna eat your cunt then fuck you until I’m satisfied” is much better than “I will stick my tongue into your sweet honeypot and devour your delicious nectar until your orgasms burst forth like flowers in bloom, and then I will probe the depths of your mysterious caverns with my semi-moist treat stick…”

(Unless you want your sexts to become an entry in #EuphOff, that is).

4. Don’t be afraid to explore new territory…

Text is a great and low-pressure, relatively low-risk way to test out new kinks and fantasies that you might not be sure about. This could be anything from mentioning an interest to a partner for the first time if you’d be too nervous to say it in person, to trying out a new honorific or a new form of humiliation play that you’re not 100% sure about.

5. …But move carefully and with consent. 

Don’t pull a sudden extreme turn in the conversation without your partner’s input and consent! If you want to try something new, introduce it gently. Try a phrase like one of these:

“I wonder how you’d react if I…”

“I kinda want to call you…”

“How do you feel about…?”

“I’ve been fantasising a lot about…”

Judge their reaction. Proceed accordingly. I’ve had loads of sexting conversations where someone has suggested something the other person isn’t into, and as long as you’re receptive to that, things can recover and carry on just fine.

Example:
I’d really like to tie you up.
“I’m not okay with full restraint, but you could pin me down.”
Ooh! My hands on your wrists…

6. Approach it as a collaboration, not a performance.

Actually, again, this is good “sex in general” advice. Sexting is all about building a hot, steamy scenario together with your partner(s). It’s not a monologue or a one-man show. It’s best to go in without a super specific idea of where you want the chat to go, and allow it to grow organically as you both have your input and follow the energy wherever it leads.

And those are my tips. What are your top guidelines for sexy sexting?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter – there’s bonus smut every single Tuesday and other fun additional content too.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Stop the Drop: 25 Things to Do When Subdrop Feels Overwhelming

Subdrop is real. As Kayla says in today’s 30 Days of D/s prompt, what goes up must come down. Subspace is a kind of high, fueled by adrenaline and endorphins and all kinds of happy-fuzzy brain chemicals.

Subdrop is what can happen when those chemicals wear off and reality sets back in. For some, it can be as soon as the subspace high has ended, while for others it can hit a day or even several days later. A lucky few may not experience it at all. Everyone is different. I most often drop somewhere between 12 and 24 hours after an intense play session, though it has been known to be quicker.

Drop looks different for everyone. You might feel sad or depressed. You might cry a lot. Some people report feeling really listless or now on energy/”spoons“. When you’re in the middle of it, it can be overwhelming and completely horrible.

Not everything on this list will work for everyone. Pick out just one or two that speak to you and try them. Here’s 25 things you can do to help when you’re dropping.

Amy’s Top 25 Subdrop Remedies

  1. Cuddle someone/something! Your partner, a friend, a stuffed toy, your pet.
  2. Make your favourite hot drink and sip it slowly, noticing how it tastes and letting the cup warm your hands.
  3. Eat some chocolate or whatever your favourite sweet treat is. Not enough to make you feel sick, just enough to give you those feel-good chemicals.
  4. Cook yourself a simple, healthy meal and enjoy eating it slowly. Something with protein and vegetables.
  5. Watch your favourite film or an episode of your favourite Netflix show. Something lighthearted is better.
  6. Write in your journal.
  7. Post to your blog, if you have one.
  8. Share how you’re feeling on your kinky social media of choice. Sympathy and virtual cuddles from friends who get it can be surprisingly cathartic.
  9. Listen to a comedy podcast or watch some stand-up. Laugh until your tummy hurts.
  10. Curl up under a cozy duvet with a good book or a magazine.
  11. Meditate. There are thousands of free guided meditations on Youtube, or try the Insight Timer app.
  12. Masturbate! Orgasm can perk you up no end.
  13. Go for a walk. Preferably somewhere out in nature, but to the shop at the end of the street and back will work in a pinch.
  14. Sit in your garden, if you have one, or a nearby park. Fresh air is important.
  15. Buy yourself something, if you can afford to. This could be as elaborate as that dress you’ve been lusting after for months, or as simple as a fancy coffee.
  16. Tidy up your room or work space. I always feel better and more clear-headed when my safe spaces are neat and tidy.
  17. Take a bath or shower. Spend as long as you like luxuriating in the hot water. Use your most decadent shower gel or that fancy bath bomb you’ve been saving.
  18. Play loud, upbeat music. Optional extras: sing along loudly, dance around your room for the length of a song or two.
  19. Call someone you miss. Your mum. A grandparent. Your best friend in another city. Just pick up the phone, say hi and catch up.
  20. Create something. Whatever your creative talent is, use it. Play your instrument, bake a cake, write a page of your novel, knit a few rows of your latest project.
  21. Take a nap. Even an hour of shut-eye will help recharge you a little.
  22. Exercise. Hit the gym, go for a run, or do some yoga. Moving your body releases tension and clears your mind.
  23. Get your hair cut or your nails done. No drastic changes! But a bit of pampering can really raise your mood and make you feel good about yourself.
  24. Just sit with the feeling. This is a mindfulness technique. Sit, feel, and think: I am feeling rotten right now because I am subdropping, but I know this feeling will soon pass and I will be okay.
  25. Do something for someone else. Whether it’s a chore that’s normally your partner’s but they’re super busy today, or getting shopping for an elderly neighbour, caring for others takes you out of your own head.

I hope some of these techniques are helpful to you, dear readers. How do you banish the dreaded subdrop when it hits?

Kinky item of the day: Bondage candles! Ever tried wax play? It’s one of my favourites and it doesn’t have to be painful – it can be really sensual. Please only buy candles designed for this purpose, as regular household candles can burn much hotter – especially if they have dyes or scents added. Remember to take fire safety precautions and start slowly if you’re new to wax play.

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