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[Toy Review] Sexy Liberation Lipstick Bullet Vibe

Lipstick Bullet Vibrator

I absolutely love the idea of Sexy Liberation, a company that not only sells sex toys but also offers a small selection for free (for those outside the US, you have to pay shipping, but it’s pretty reasonable.)

They say:

“Many people don’t have access to or haven’t been exposed to the exciting world of sexual exploration, we want to help people, especially women, by being a stepping stone. Personal experimentation with sex aids can help women discover and embrace their own sources of pleasure.  And a woman who knows herself sexually will feel more confident talking honestly with her partner about her needs and desires. If you are woman in a relationship that is having trouble getting off, we are here for you.”

And for that, they are to be applauded.

Unfortunately, for me at least, the toy itself simply didn’t quite measure up. It’s not a bad toy, as such, and I am sure it would work well for plenty of people. But I found it underwhelming. I persevered through several attempts to get myself off with it, with some of my favourite porn for company, but I ended up giving up and using my hand instead.

Plus points: it’s discreet, it’s quiet, it’s ostensibly waterproof, and it was free.

My Ratings (all scores out of 5★)

Price: ★★★★★
(You can’t do better than free on price! Even if you choose to buy it, it’s only $12.99 (about £10.)

Materials: ★★
(Meh. This thing is made of some kind of material simply described on the site as a “firm, non-silicone plastic.” Okay then. The information in the FAQs about toy safety is similarly vague. The toy is waterproof which means the plastic must be non-porous, so there’s that at least. But if you’re going to use a toy and don’t know exactly what it’s made of, I strongly suggest popping a condom over it first.)

Appearance: ★★★
(It looks like a lipstick, which doesn’t really appeal to me personally. I like my toys to either look like sex toys or look like beautiful works of art – the lipstick thing feels a bit ‘gimicky.’ On the other hand, the discreet look might work well for someone who is more nervous than I am about having something that actually looks like a vibrator in her nightstand, so I have to give it a point for that.)

Ease of Use: ★★★
(It’s super light and easy to hold and manipulate, and operates on a simple on-off twist motion. Unfortunately, if you turn it too far in the ‘off’ direction, the battery pops out.)

Ease of care & cleaning: ★★★
(Easy to clean with a sterile wipe available from medical suppliers, or some toy cleaner available from most sex toy shops. It’s waterproof so you don’t need to worry about ruining the motor. However, it’s plastic and not particularly well made so I wouldn’t boil wash or dishwasher it, which is my favourite way of sterilising toys. It’s not the easiest shape in the world to use with a condom, but again I strongly recommend you do as the body safety of the material is not at all clear.)

Versatility:
(This toy has exactly two functions: on and off. The lipstick shape means you have a narrow edge for precision stimulation and a wider side for more general vibrations, but honestly it’s small and weak enough that I couldn’t tell the difference. It is waterproof, so could be taken in the bath or shower.)

Intensity:
(It has to be said that I found this thing pathetically weak. Even right on my clit, it did very little for me. The vibrations are light and buzzy (as opposed to my much preferred ‘rumbly.’ Might be okay for someone with an EXTREMELY sensitive clitoris or someone very nervous about trying vibrators, I suppose.)

Overall Score: ★★
Unfortunately, though I love the idea of this scheme, I cannot recommend this toy.

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“Can You Be Any More Ridiculous?” (Or: “Can You Be Cool?”) – CK Watches You Me Her, S1E2.

gue I live tweeted this damn thing two weeks ago but somehow, writing about anal sex was more appealing than writing it up until now. Alas, I’ve set myself this ridiculous challenge to spare you all from this terrible TV show (and, to be entirely honest, I’m still harbouring a tiny hope it’ll redeem itself,) so here we go.

Episode 2 opens with Jack and Emma pretending that all the ridiculousness they got up to in episode 1 was all a dream. Small mercy that’d be if it was true, but alas, no. They kiss for half a second and then both screw up their faces in horror. These people have been together how long and they can’t cope with morning breath?

We cut to Izzy, she of the ‘college girl escort DEFINITELY NOT A HOOKER’ trope, who is talking to herself in the mirror, then vomiting, then getting text messages from her creepy boyfriend, ‘Andy,’ who is angry that he can’t reach her. A little later, she’s cleaning like mad. Her roommate comes home and accuses Izzy of being in a “death and resurrection cycle,” as if the symbolism needed bashing over our heads any harder.

Jack is at work. He works at a high school, and we are treated to close ups of the word INTEGRITY in the motto on the school’s sign. Okay, we get it, you’re telling us what the people in this show lack with more subtle-as-a-brick-to-the-face camera work. There’s a knock at Jack’s office door and Izzy’s voice says, ‘Fred? Are you in there?’ Hahaha, it’s a throwback to ‘Jack not Fred’ in Episode 1. In she comes, and we cut to Emma, who is looking at Izzy on the escort site on her work computer (just to further hammer home the point that these people are A) unhealthily obsessed with this much younger woman who they hired as a PROFESSIONAL, and B) completely lacking in any kind of basic common sense.)

Back in Jack’s office, Izzy is climbing on his desk and telling him all about what a bad girl she is, just as Emma slips her vibrating mobile phone between her legs on her desk chair (true confession: I used to wank that way when I was about 13.) Izzy’s making out with Jack, then – wait, what? – she’s making out with Emma, too, and…. oh, no. It was just a fantasy and Emma has been walked in on, very obviously masturbating in her office, by a young male co-worker. Izzy moans, ‘Jack.’ A male voice says, ‘Jack?’ And our intrepid hero comes back down to earth, dream-Izzy gone, and realises he’s been caught having a lurid sexual fantasy at work by his boss. Emma makes an inappropriate sexual comment to her terrified young comment and then promises to write him an excellent recommendation (in exchange, one assumes, for keeping quiet about catching her mid phone-wank.)

Izzy pseudo-meditates, for some reason while hanging half upside-down off her bed, then Creepy Andy calls and they make a date. Jack is now hanging out with his brother again, (he of the ‘shag an escort to improve your sex life with your wife’ advice) and talking about having great sex with Emma but fantasising about Izzy. This leads the brother to compare women to cars. Fuck off, Jack’s brother.

Meanwhile, Emma does some weirdly orgasmic yoga and comes out with, ‘I’m having some kind of mind-body renaissance.’ What the fuck is this I can’t even. She then tells her yoga friend (remember Neighbour Lady, whose name seems to be Carmen?) about how great she is at hooking up with girls. Carmen refers to Izzy as ‘that hideously deformed grad student.’ God, this show really hates women. To top it off, Carmen goes straight to, ‘if you’re into girls why not me?’ and calls her a ‘big lesbo.’ It hates bisexuals too, apparently.

Next up, Izzy’s date with Creepy Andy, who is clearly mad at her. ‘I’m trying really hard to be patiently submissive here,’ she says while he glowers. Heads up Izzy, if you feel the need to be ‘patiently submissive’ in your relationship and it’s not consensual D/s, you might be being abused.

‘I think you might be my penance,’ he says, and there’s a veiled reference to ‘evil deeds’ in his past. Well, now this reminds me of the time my ex told me I was a curse. Thanks, stupid show. Apparently they’re going on a date because Andy wants romance.

Back in the therapist’s office, Emma tells her bisexual origin story (a totally sweet and normal college romance with a girlfriend, with only a tiny bit of ‘being dared to kiss by a guy’ thrown in) and Jack is pulling out all the biphobic judgement. ‘I’m embarrassed for you even telling this story,’ he says. Fuck you, Jack-Not-Fred. Also, apparently her having dated women in the past (BEFORE THEY MET) is worse than him having sought out an escort and cheated on her (LIKE LAST WEEK.) So there’s that.

Prettied up now, Izzy is back out with Andy. This guy has some serious toxic masculinity issues going on. Apparently he’s ‘hot enough to be a dick,’ which is definitely not a thing. But, again, he wants romance and will even make her breakfast. I hate everybody in this show.

At home, Jack and Emma are lying on the floor for some reason and declaring their love for each other. ‘It wasn’t a thing!’ says Emma of her bisexuality. Emma, having dated four women is definitely a ‘thing.’ Stop erasing your own bisexuality, other people do enough of that for us.

Communicating entirely in eyebrow waggling, they decide they want to have a threesome with Izzy. Next shot, she’s walking up the drive to their house while a neighbour across the street spies out of her window. Then Izzy’s at the door and supremely awkward ‘hi’s are exchanged. She smiles, and…. end scene.

I’m not sure if I’m more depressed that people are calling this a great portrayal of polyamory, or that there are still 10 more episodes for me to get through.

Not Taking It Up the Ass Ruined My Marriage, and Five Other Stories About Anal Sex

[CN: true stories of dubious consent, sexual pressure, cheating, unpleasant early sexual experiences.]
[Note for outside-of-UK readers: 16 is the legal age of consent in my country.]
[If you want the hot ones, skip to #4 and #5.]

Forgive the clickbaity title – inspiration for this piece came from a conversation with Exhibit A in which I said that sentence and I decided it was the perfect intro to a post about anal that I’ve been wanting to write for a bit.

1. I am fifteen and a virgin. My first boyfriend doesn’t want to take my Technical Virginity and comes up with the Amazing Idea that we should do anal – that way, he gets his end away while my “purity” (that’s a rant for another post) remains intact. Exactly what I am supposed to get out of this arrangement remains unclear. I refuse, but his obsession with my butt doesn’t cease until…

2. …I am sixteen and the same boyfriend has taken my Technical Virginity but is still heavily into the idea of doing anal, which does not appeal to me At All. One night, I realise I forgot my birth control pill – my boyfriend hates condoms, so this means we can’t have P-in-V sex. To make it up to him, I agree to try anal. We make it to two fingers. It hurts. We try the head of a cock. It REALLY hurts. I cry and we stop and I let him have unprotected vaginal sex with me. The next morning I realise I’m a fucking idiot, and I panic inside until my period arrives. We don’t do anal again until…

3. …I am nineteen. My relationship (yes, still with Butt Stuff & Virgin Obsessed Boy, who is now my fiance, for fuck’s sake,) is now open and I’m playing with a much older Dom guy. MODG wants me to try an anal plug. So, somewhat nervously, I agree. He goes slowly and uses a lot of lube and does all the right things but the damn thing is Just Too Big. Determined to please, I push myself to take it all. I don’t like it and say I’m not going to do it again. BS&VO Boy is delighted – if I can take one little plug I can take his dick now, right!? My fear of having to do anal sex I don’t want is a major contributing factor, among others, to the time we don’t have sex for six months. Until…

4. …I am twenty and I catch him cheating, which makes No Fucking Sense in a polyamorous relationship. It has been going on for six months. A day after he lets it slip, he’s telling me that his new girlfriend is better than me. When I ask why, he rattles off a list. Amongs the reasons: she’s thinner, she needs him more than I do, and she’ll do sex acts I won’t do, anal chief amongst them. I’ve been replaced. I hang up the phone, sell my engagement ring, remove every trace of myself from his house, and try to pick up the pieces of my life. For a long time, I tell myself that my not taking it up the ass might have ruined my marriage before it started. I write anal off as a hard limit, until…

5. …I am twenty four. We’ve been in love for a while but, for the first time, the man who will become Mr CK is in my bed. Our cyber-and-phone-sex explorations over the preceding weeks have awakened thoughts I never thought I’d have again. I want his fingers, his toys, his cock in my ass. I tell him I want to try it. This first time, all he does is lube up one finger and slowly, slowly, slowly slide it in. He holds my hand, reminds me to breathe through the initial pain, tells me I’m amazing. With his finger in my ass, I rub my clit and am quickly brought to an incredible orgasm. We experiment with fingers and small toys a few times, but I am nervous to try anything bigger (like his definitely above-average cock.) Until…

6. …Last year. We are at one of our favourite kink clubs, locked away upstairs in one of the private play rooms. He throws me down on the massage-table-cum-bed. He tells me he’s going to fuck my ass. There’s no softness this time. He wants me and he is going to take me, but only because he knows – because I have told him – that this is what I really want. I want to be ravished, to be used, to be his anal slut. His cock slides into my ass, an inch at a time, until he’s buried deep in me. And then he’s fucking me hard. I’m not getting any stimulation to my cunt or clit, but I can feel something building within me. I realise a moment before it happens that I am going to come. My ass clenches around him as my muscles spasm in my first anal-only orgasm. Watching me get off this way tips him over the edge too and he tenses, moans, and I feel him come in my ass.

Afterwards, we cuddle. I say, ‘hey, remember when I thought I didn’t like anal sex?’ Turns out all it takes is love, trust, patience, lots of lube and no pressure.

[Book Review] The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory by Dedeker Winston

★★★★★ – five stars.

As a long-time listener of the Multiamory Podcast, I was seriously excited when Dedeker Winston (one third of the hosting team, along with her partner Jase and former partner Emily) announced she was writing a book. She and her co-hosts are funny, wise, insightful and down to Earth on the podcast, so I had high hopes for The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy and Alternative Love  – a fresh take on the polyamory advice book, with women and female experience front and centre.

The book is grouped into chapters, which are clustered into four sections: Polyamory 101, Pre Reqs, Mastering Non-Monogamy, and Out of the Classroom, Into the World. I read it cover to cover, but you could just as easily dip in and out, picking and choosing the sections that feel most relevant to you.

Polyamory 101 covers what polyamory is (and what it isn’t,) some of the different forms that ethical non monogamy can take, and an absolutely fascinating chapter on the socio-cultural and anthropological history of non-monogamy. Dedeker also talks us through some of the common objections to polyamory, from family and friends or from society at large, and possible ways to counter them.

Pre-Reqs deals with self-knowledge, really interrogating who you are, what you want and what makes you tick, as well as the skills required to live a happy and healthy non-monomous life (it goes beyond just “communicate,” y’all!)

Mastering Non-Monogamy was the real meat of this book, for me. There’s the expected chapter on jealousy, a whole chapter on sex and the various issues surrounding it, advice on crafting positive and healthy relationship rules/agreements, and more.

Finally, Out of the Classroom, Into the World attemtps to take the theories discussed in previous chapters and apply them in real-world situations. Dedeker discusses poly dating, finding community, coming out of (or choosing to stay in!) the closet and how polyamory can intersect with a range of marginalised identities and liberation movements.

This book is not easy reading at times. Dedeker approaches difficult topics with a light touch and a healthy dose of humour, but there are parts that are unavoidably difficult reading. Though she doesn’t actually use the A-word, she candidly describes behaviour by a former partner that can only be labelled as abusive. It’s not all sunshine and light – she gives us the bad, the scary and the unshiny parts of polyamory as unflinchingly as she gives us the love and the joy. And she challenges us repeatedly to be brave, to be unfalteringly honest with ourselves and our loved ones, to do the hard work required to be stronger and better and more compassionate versions of ourselves.

What sets this book apart from the others I’ve read is that women are centred throughout. Dedeker shares her experience on the unique struggles of a polyamorous, queer, sex-positive woman and tackles those challenges head on, and encourages other women to battle outdated gender stereotypes, sex-negativity, slut shaming, rape culture and the myriad other issues that disproportionately affect women and those read as women in trying to live a non-monogamous life. But despite this female focus, the book is consistently inclusive – it makes no assumptions about age, sexuality, gender identity or relationship style. For this reason, I really think anyone interested in polyamory should read it.

Dedeker is also refreshingly non-judgemental. She shares her experiences and wisdom about what tends to work well and what doesn’t, without preaching her way as the only (or even the best!) way. She seems to intuitively understand that everyone’s experience is different and that different relationship styles will work for people, while offering principles (including self knowledge, strong communication, compassion, honesty, good boundaries) that apply in making just about any style of relationship a success.

In a landscape of non-monogamy where current trends carry a hefty dose of “you have to be a relationship anarchist or you’re DOIN’ IT RONG,” I can’t tell you how refreshing this is. [1]

I really hope this book takes its place alongside The Ethical Slut, More Than Two and Opening Up as polyamorous required reading, because it deserves to. In my view, Dedeker Winston has written quite simply the best guide book on polyamory on the market today.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

[1] I have zero problem with people who practice RA. I do have a problem with anyone – poly, monogamous, RA, swinger, whatever – preaching their way as the only correct way to be.

How to Find a Sex Positive Therapist

Mr CK and I have officially The Best Therapist In The World (According to Us.) We really landed on our feet – when we decided to explore joint counselling as a way to ease the transition to living together and deal with some past traumas, we thought it would be really difficult to find someone who would accept us in all our poly, kinky weirdness. Instead, the first person we contacted turned out to be the perfect therapist for us (and has an office a minute from our house, which doesn’t hurt.)

Most people, however, are not so lucky when trying to find a therapist – and the more ‘out of the mainstream’ traits one possesses, the harder it is. So I thought I’d put together a quick guide to help you find a therapist who’s a good fit for you.

  1. Use an appropriate directory

There are directories of kink-aware (etc.) professionals. Try the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (multiple countries, somewhat US centric,) the Open List (US only) or Pink Therapy (mainly UK,) or even just do a Google search with some keywords and see what comes up. If you can find someone who is already versed in working with sexual minorities, you’ll be on much better footing right from the beginning. But if this isn’t possible or you can’t find someone suitable from these resources…

  1. Put everything on the table upfront.

By ‘upfront,’ I mean ‘ideally before the first appointment.’ Chances are you’ll talk to a potential therapist on the phone, or at least by email, before setting up your first appointment.

I listened hesitantly as Mr CK laid everything out on the phone to our potential therapist a year ago. Queerness? Check. Polyamory? Not an eyelash batted. Surely BDSM would be too much for her to deal with? Nope. (‘Consensual sadomasochism? Oh yes I know what that is.’) It was a difficult conversation to have with a total stranger we were potentially going to entrust with our innermost traumas and strains, but it was so, so worth having. Because when we walked into her office, we knew that none of the many facets of our unconventional sexual identities were used against us.

  1. Make it clear your identities aren’t the problem.

The other piece of our success was making it clear that ‘we’re queer, polyamorous and kinky… and none of those things are at all problematic for us.’ It was context, not a statement that these things needed fixing. If your therapist pathologises your sexual identities or tries to convince you they need to change, fire them immediately and go to someone better.

  1. Be unapologetic.

This applies in your initial disclosure of your identities and also any subsequent discussion in case they come up. If you act like your identities are something to be ashamed of, your therapist is more likely to react in kind or to perceive them as some kind of problem. If you’re matter of fact and unapologetic, they’re more likely to take the information on board as nothing more than useful background knowledge.

Say this: ‘Just so you know, for context, I’m queer, polyamorous and practice BDSM. Do you know what those things are?’

Not this: ‘Um, I know it’s weird, but… I do some unusual sexual stuff. Please don’t think I’m a freak but…’

  1. Expect them to educate themselves

Unless you’re unbelievably lucky, your therapist will probably not be an expert on all the different facets of your identity. Educating them is not your job. Of course, you will need to talk about what words like ‘polyamorous’ or ‘kink’ or ‘sex positive’ mean to you, but you’re paying them to help you, and that includes educating themselves. If they’re asking you basic or 101 questions, suggest some resources and move the conversation on. If they make no effort to learn, they’re not a good therapist.

  1. Don’t be afraid to steer the conversation

If things come back to aspects of your identity that aren’t relevant to the subject at hand, don’t feel afraid to steer the conversation back in the direction you want it to go. ‘I don’t think X is relevant here’ is a useful phrase. Again, if they insist that an aspect of your sexuality is a problem when it isn’t problematic for you, think about moving on. If they use any expression resembling, ‘you wouldn’t have this problem if you were [monogamous/vanilla/whatever,]’ I strongly suggest ditching them straight away.

  1. Remember you deserve top quality care.

You’re probably paying a lot of money for therapy, but whether you are or not, you deserve the best care from your therapist. They work for you. You can end the therapist/client relationship any time you choose and there are amazing therapists out there, so please don’t settle for someone who doesn’t treat you – all facets of you – with the respect you deserve.

How has your experience of therapy been as a sex-positive, LGBTQ+, non-monogamous or kinky person? Tell me about it in the comments or drop me a line.

“Bad Writing and Clunky Dialogue and Crap” (or: “Cigarettes and Funions and Crap”) – CK Watches You Me Her, S1E1.

Contains Spoilers.

I have set myself this ridiculous challenge of watching and reviewing new Netflix drama You Me Her so that you don’t have to. I was really, really hoping to have more nice things to say but as it is, I think I’m going to have to get through this by making fun of it mercilessly. You can follow what I think as I’m watching at #CKWatchesYouMeHer.

The premise is simple: a married couple invite a young college student, who also happens to be an escort, into their relationship. Things go about as well as can be expected.

Episode 1 – Cigarettes and Funions and Crap – opens with suburban white married couple, Jack and Emma, at what we assume is a couple’s counselling session, bemoaning the fact that they don’t have kids yet and lying about how often they have sex. Cliche the first. We meet their equally boring and suburban neighbours in two minutes of screen time that serve absoluely no purpose whatsoever except to illustrate that Emma is friends with the wife of the couple next door. Okie-dokie then.

Coming home late from a night out, Emma walks in on Jack masturbating and things get weirdly sex-shamey. Yes, he’s a grown man who likes to masturbate. Deal with it. (On a completely unrelated aside, can the notion that people in relationships don’t/shouldn’t masturbate just die in a fire already?) They have some weird, aggressive and totally unsexy sex wherein she tries to get him to spank her and he doesn’t seem keen.

Eight minutes in, I tweet “this is about as romantic as a root canal.” Also, weren’t jokes about married couples not liking sex any more fresh and edgy in about… 1842?

Jack is advised to cheat on his wife with an escort, in order to save their marriage/sex life, by his brother. For some inexplicable reason, he goes for it straight away and we are subjected to his excruciating date with young escort ‘Izzy’ (inexplicably her real name. Nothing about this show makes any sense.) For our next cliche here, we have “college students who are also escorts to pay the rent.” (“But we’re ESCORTS, not h**kers, which is totally different because sex work stigma or something, no-one seems to have a convincing argument for this…?”)

The dialogue throughout this show is so badly written it’s painful. Jack comes out with such gems as “you are also unhideous,” to which Izzy replies “that’s cool. D’you wanna make out?” SEXY. The writers do, however, get in a ‘unicorn’ quip, for which I have nothing but respect.

He rips her shirt. They make out for like two minutes and then he realises he “CAN’T DO THIS” and right on cue Emma calls and Izzy just leaves. That’s like three cliches in one, yes? Actually, this probably some nice foreshadowing for what’s to come when a horribly dysfunctional triad inevitably materialises out of this mess. At home, Jack confesses to Emma and she’s understandably pissed. Sadly, this mainly comes out as anti-sex work rhetoric and her wanting to see pictures of Izzy. Because “does she have nicer skin than me?” (something Emma worries about in the next scene) is totally a bigger issue than her husband having massively and deliberately violated her trust.

We cut to, presumably, a day or two later. Emma is out with her friend Neighbour Lady (I need to look up the character’s name even though she serves no actual purpose thus far) and telling her about Jack’s tryst with Izzy. Neighbour Lady asks Emma what she’s going to do… and then poof! Izzy appears in a puff of unicorn glitter (okay, not quite) and asks for “Lola.” Because the totally sane thing to do when your husband cheats on you with an escort is hire the same escort yourself.

We’re seventeen minutes in and I’m tweeting, “this show is 1000% ludicrous.”

Izzy is drunk because she’s never been on a date with a woman before, and she awkwardly toe-fucks Emma under the table. Only the tablecloth isn’t even very long, so everyone in the restaurant can see their drunken, extremely unsexy toe sex. These two have less than zero chemistry and their subsequent kiss in the bathroom a few minutes later (after Emma confesses who she is and grabs Izzy in a way that totally bypasses even the most cursory consideration for consent) reminds me of all the worst bits of The L Word mashed together into one. And it’s about as realistic.

Emma confesses to Jack what she’s done and he seems surprisingly fine with it. She also drops in here that she’s been with women before. How can you be married to someone for many years and not tell them a huge detail like that you’re bisexual!? The fact that she’s cheated is glossed over, because it’s not really cheating when it’s between two women, is it? (Spoiler alert: it is.)

We’re twenty-one minutes in and I’m getting a bit angry.

In the next scene, Jack hangs around outside Izzy’s building and presses the buzzer repeatedly until she comes along and talks to him. Can anyone say STALKER ALERT? Seriously, this behaviour is creepy as hell and not okay. He then goes home to Emma and goes down on her on the kitchen floor (without removing or even moving her dress at all, because that’s how TV Sex works) while Izzy goes home and cries because she’s sick of getting caught up in other people’s bullshit and wants to quit escorting.

This show has all the hallmarks of “cute young bi women exist to save failing cishet marriages” and, by the time the credits roll on episode 1, I’m thoroughly unimpressed and possibly even a bit depressed.

A ridiculous premise. Characters I am totally incapable of caring about. Plot holes out the wazoo. Sex-negativity, sex worker stigma and gross stereotypes. Literally the only thing this show has going for it is the fact that it’s brought something that might, kinda, vaguely resemble polyamory (if you squint hard) to mainstream TV screens.

[Offsite] Pegging with Coffee&Kink and Exhibit A

I can’t believe I forgot to link to this one! Exhibit A and I co-authored a piece on everything you need to know about pegging (and probably a few things you didn’t!)

Here’s the teaser

EA: Right, ok! So pegging. It might be useful to start with a bit of context here. At Eroticon, we discussed the possibility of you writing a guest post for me, and a few days later you suggested pegging as a potential topic. Can you explain a bit about why you landed on that, and what you had in mind?

CK: I thought of it while writing a post for my blog on my top 5 favourite sex toys (GOD it was hard to limit that to five!) and ended up picking my strap-on as one of them. I’m bi but tend to end up dating more male-bodied people (just a symptom of there being more straight men than queer women around I guess!) and pegging is something I’ve quite recently discovered but really fallen in love with. Beyond the act itself I’m also interested in the power dynamics and the questions around gender roles that it throws up.

Read it all here.

[Offsite] Guest blog for Kayla Lords

I was honoured to be asked by the amazing Kayla to guest blog for her site. After sharing some of my story with her, the topic became obvious.

Here’s the teaser of ‘Abuse, D/s, and the Art of Knowing the Difference’:

We’ve all seen the lists. The ‘if your partner ticks more than five of these behaviours then you’re being abused’ lists, that is. There are many of them available online, so I’ve pulled out the one that helped me to leave my last abuser for the examples used here. Anything listed is far from exhaustive and ultimately, if your relationship makes you feel unhappy or unsafe, you should start thinking about making a plan to leave.

Read the whole post here.

I’m Looking for Baggage that Goes with Mine

Roger: “I’ve been trying, I’m not lying, no-one’s perfect, I’ve got baggage…”
Mimi: “Life’s too short babe, time is flying, I’m looking for baggage that goes with mine!”

[If you don’t know what this quote is from, go and educate yourself immediately. Go on. I’ll wait.]

How often do you see dating site profiles and personals ads staying the owner is looking for someone “low drama” or with “no baggage?” Whenever I see this, I smirk wryly to myself, close the ad and move on to the next one.

Look, I hate unnecessary drama as much as the next person (though not as much as I hate people who use “drama” as a stand in for “has opinions” or “doesn’t tolerate my shit.”) But I’ve got baggage. And, I’m willing to bet, so do most of the people reading this post, to a greater or lesser extent. And you know what else? So, I am sure, do most of the people writing that they want to date someone with “no baggage.”

Unless we’re supremely lucky as well as immensely socially privileged, very few of us make it to adulthood with no baggage at all. With an estimated one in 4 women and one in 6 men suffering some kind of abuse in their lifetimes, and approximately one in 4 adults suffering from some kind of mental health condition at any one time, the odds of any given person having “baggage” of some description is high to say the least.

When I got together with Mr CK, he knew about some of mine and I knew about some of his, and more came out as we fell in love and learned to trust each other. With every turn, one or the other of us feared that the other would decide our baggage was too much to handle, turn tail and run. So why didn’t we? Lots of reasons, but one of the fundamental ones for me was simply this: he gets me. We can relate to each other’s experience, and we can speak to each other on a level that says, I understand.

I can’t relate to people who’ve had everything easy. I can’t relate to people with no baggage, no trauma, no scars. I relate to survivors, to people who have had difficult times, to people with their own struggles and hang-ups and anxieties and brain weasels.

I keep telling my newish sweetie, The Artist, that they’re dating Ms. Trust Issues. They are supremely kind and supportive about this while also not in any way denying or downplaying that my trust issues are, in fact, very real. Because I am more than my baggage and, for now at least, they’ve decided my baggage is not beyond their ability or desire to handle.

There are people with baggage which would absolutely not go with mine. Think about (not an example from my life) this situation: a survivor of childhood abuse due to an alcoholic parent, and someone who struggles with substance dependency issues. These two people should almost certainly not be in a relationship, because their respective baggage clashes in such a way that it will likely just amplify the issues for both people and make them thoroughly unhappy.

I’m learning to recognise the things I simply cannot deal with in another person. Someone with anger management issues, for example, should absolutely not ever be in a relationship with me, a girl who has a panic attack at yelling and shouting. Having baggage that is incompatible with mine does not make someone a bad person, too fucked up, or any other gross judgement you can think of. It simply means we will not be good for each other and one or both of us may be harmed more if we try to have an intimate relationship.

So, Well Meaning Person on a Dating Site who wants a relationship with as little unnecessary angst and conflict as possible: you’re not actually looking for someone with no baggage, unless you’re looking for someone who’s barely into adulthood (ugh, I hope not) or you’re looking for a robot.

What you’re looking for is someone whose baggage is compatible with yours.