Casual Sex & Courtesy

photo by Marcello Aquino @ Unsplash

So.

I’ve had a lot of casual sex. Like, a lot – not so much now, because I’m discovering that I’m actually really quite monogamous and currently very into the whole dreamy soft-focus vaseline lens romance thing, not that the two are remotely synonymous…but you get the idea.

I wish I could say that all the casual sex I’ve ever had has been amazing and mutually rewarding, but that’d be the biggest, fattest lie, because I’ve had some monumentally dreadful one night stands. I won’t go into detail, because that’s for another post, but I have got a list of pointers – how to improve your casual sex game, if you will, as a result of all those tragically unsexy situations.

BASIC ETIQUETTE
First point – don’t expect people to want to come straight over to yours, or vice versa. While grabbing a quick coffee together first is obviously not a foolproof way of sussing out if someone’s a serial killer or not, it’s a basic safety measure that’s good for calming nerves (unless you order an espresso, I guess) and establishing chemistry.

Second point – freshen up! Take a good shower, moisturise, scrub under your nails, make sure that your clothes are clean and free of stains – toothpaste, hot chocolate, sauce from those beans you were eating out of the can on your sofa at 3am two days ago. This extends to your place, too, if you’re hosting. Open the windows. Clear things off the floor. Please, please, please change your sheets.

Third point, and I could easily end it here – don’t be awful. No weird body comments, no overstaying your welcome, no offering to order takeout and then asking them for the money, no trying to weasel them into a threesome with your flatmate, no pouting like a petulant child when they reveal that they are – shockingly! – a human being, and not actually a sexbot programmed to fulfil every single one of your desires with no questions asked. Basic human decency. Not a particularly tall order, this one.

CONSENT CONSENT CONSENT
Get consent, and actively respect that consent, because it’s not set in stone forever once it’s given. Making sure that your partner is in agreement about what you’re doing  – or about to be doing – can be as simple as “do you like that?” or “is this okay?”, two phrases that even the most lost for words, anxiety-ridden person on the planet (me) can respond honestly to. Pay attention to body language, and if your partner seems overwhelmed, cagey, or nervous, take a minute to verbally check on them.

BE PREPARED
No excuses! Take condoms and/or other relevant barriers (gloves, dental dams), lube if you think you might need it. If you have a preferred brand, make sure to keep that supply topped up. I’ll concede that taking an entire bottle of lube somewhere isn’t always practical, but because anything is possible on the internet, you can buy individual sachets of the stuff from Luckybloke. You’re welcome.

Taking toys to a one night thing is slightly trickier, and if it’s essential for you to use one to get off, make sure to bring it up beforehand to gauge their opinion. Personally, I take my Vibratex Mystic Wand with me when I know I’m going to get laid because it’s small enough to fit in my bag, isn’t loud or large enough to be deemed intimidating, and I can take the batteries out for travel.

NO PRESSURE
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – or your partner – around lengthy performance or having a stellar orgasm right off the bat.

I’ve slept with multiple people who proclaimed that all they wanted in the world was to make me come and truthfully, declarations like that just make me feel uncomfortable. They make me feel like my orgasm is more of a prize to be won or akin to a steam achievement, something to be checked off the list or stored away later for bragging rights, rather than something you want someone to experience because you genuinely want them to feel good.

In my opinion, good sex is more about intimacy and chemistry than about how many orgasms you have. I can give myself three in ten minutes but I can’t give myself butterflies, you know?

EMOTIONAL SAFETY
Making your intentions clear and being 100% honest is key here. Humans aren’t infallible. We have feelings, and sometimes those feelings are messy and inconvenient and rear their ugly heads when you least expect them to, BUT you can totally mitigate them and make them less tricky to navigate via the twin miracles of open communication and honesty. Magic, right?

BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER
Casual sex should be fun, ideally, and not something that leaves you feeling sticky and vaguely discontent in someone else’s bed. Unfortunately, sexual pleasure isn’t ever guaranteed (no matter what the sex toy industry wants to tell you) and ultimately, it’s up to you to campaign for your own pleasure and comfort.

Learn to advocate for yourself. Get better at confidently reinforcing your own boundaries and respecting other people’s. Hone your communication skills and actively pursue your own pleasure – if someone’s doing something that you’re not actively enjoying, then tell them. Expecting people to be able to read your mind is not a practical basis for a mutually sexually satisfying experience. Accept that what does it for you might not be what does it for someone else – no-one else is ever obliged to indulge your fantasies if they don’t want to, no matter how badly you want it – and incompatibility is just part of the game sometimes.

Many thanks to My Sex Hookups, the free fuck site, for sponsoring this post!

Lust is a virtue

photo by Brooke Lark @ unsplash

I don’t fall in love easily. I don’t even fall in like easily. I’m unwillingly reserved, no social anxiety but still never quite feeling like an active participant in my own social life. Dating is even worse; I secretly fantasise about some pink-hued, 30s screwball idea of love but most of the time I fall in and out of ill-defined ‘things’, partly because I don’t actually know what I want – do I want to date multiple people? Sex With No Strings? One night stands? Romance, with a long, rolled r?

The internet changes that, a little bit. Tinder makes me feel vaguely queasy – swipe left, swipe right, everyone’s a gym lad or a self-proclaimed bad bitch or an art hoe or unable to shut up about their unfortunate facial hair, nightmare – but other places are okay. OkC rings like a catalogue of personals, which I like. There’s a wider range. It’s quieter. That’s where I met them both.

/ / /

After weeks of messaging each other on and off, I’m sitting in his flat on an awkwardly high, hugely expensive cream sofa. Why is it so high? Who designs this stuff? He says he works in the city sometimes but he doesn’t live here, not really; this is “just” his London place, spending most of his time in Toronto. I desperately want to roll my eyes at this and he must see it in my face because he smiles with all his teeth on display, eyes gleaming – “I know, I know”. He gets up to make another coffee and when he sits back down, he reaches out one long arm and pulls my legs onto his lap. I curl up under his shoulder and he continues talking, his thumb making slow circles on my thigh. 

Eventually, we go quiet. He strokes my hair, rolls a lock around a long finger, dips his head to kiss my forehead and eases his thumb into my barely open mouth, pressing it against my teeth. Stands me up and unzips my dress slowly, carefully. Pushes his tongue flat against my cunt through my underwear, teases me until I’m glassy-eyed and pleading, carries me to a vast white bed and fucks me with my legs bent back against my shoulders, pinned under him. I almost don’t come – I pretend, twice – but after he comes messily half-in and half-out of my mouth, he sits me on his face and wraps his arms around my thighs. I couldn’t move away even if I wanted to, which I don’t. 

The insides of my thighs are prickly and raw from his stubble the next morning, and he soothes them after we shower with a cold, damp towel. We look good together. He goes back to Toronto the next day, asking me for my address via text. He likes writing letters, he says. If anyone else had asked me this I would’ve said no, but by this point I’m so thoroughly charmed, I give it to him. I expect nothing.

Two or three days later, I arrive home from work and am promptly dragged into the kitchen by my housemate – “something arrived for you!” she crows. An enormous bouquet, an envelope with scalloped edges. White ribbon. Roses. Peach streaked with pink, creamy eggshell, sunshine yellow, petals slightly bruised from being fondled, the whole thing barely fitting on the countertop. A letter in the envelope, full of filthy words and a long row of kisses blurring into each other.

We see each other every time he’s in the city. One week he bails from work two days early in order to get an earlier flight – he wants to spend more time with me. Work can wait, apparently. He’s clever, handsome, doesn’t expect me to laugh at his terrible jokes, and I am dizzy with lust. It’s unsustainable, of course it is; we are escapism for each other. There are no expectations, and ultimately, there’s no future. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t want it to ever become boring, tarnished by real-life responsibilities, all the ugly, dull things that make us three-dimensional and human. I want something perfect and gleaming. Indulgent. Selfish.

/ / /

She messages me first. She compliments me on my taste in films and it takes me a day to reply – I’m embarrassingly intimidated by her perfectly worded profile – but as soon as I do it snowballs, rapidly. We gel immediately, exchanging numbers and texting non-stop. That weekend, we meet in a tiny, quiet bar for drinks and nachos. I’m nervous but she’s all smiles, smelling like grapefruit and ginger, and the bracelets on her arms clatter together as she reaches out her hands to cup my face, planting a neon kiss on my cheek. She’s warm and pretty and sparkly and magic, her nails long and navy blue. They tap on the side of her glass and I wonder what they’d feel like grazing down the curve of my spine.

We go back to hers, as it’s closer and her housemates are out. I’m wearing ridiculous shoes and try to take them off and fail repeatedly, almost upending myself, rolling back on the sofa with one leg in the air, hysterical. She collapses into laughter and takes pity on me, kneeling with her head resting on my thigh. Carefully untying them, putting them away in a pair. Women seem more aware of enforced femininity’s trappings in a way men just don’t think about – giving you time to redo your makeup in the morning, not treading all over your clothes. If you rip her tights, offer to replace them. Little, basic, boring things.

She fucks me on her bed, first under the covers and then on top of them. Lights on, lights off. Beckons me into the bathroom and runs a bath – it’s a clawfoot, which I’m enchanted by – and lights a candle, opens the window, lets the jasmine scented water drain out of the tub as I lick her cunt lazily, her left leg hooked around the tap. She shows me how she uses the detachable showerhead and we stumble back to bed, almost sated. Just one more time with her doxy.

She texts me the next day. I’m in my own significantly less spacious bathtub, covered in bubbles, and I hear my phone vibrate and scramble for it, nearly dropping it into the water. She says she had fun, she likes me, would like to see me again if I’m free next week or whenever? No rush, totally fine if I’m busy. Yellow flower emoji. I reread it over and over again. She likes me. She likes me. She likes me. 

We go places together, joined at the hip, arms linked, mirroring each other unconsciously. Split a banh mi in the sunshine, go to the £3 cinema, people watch, pet every cat we come across. Mutual respect for each other’s schedules proves to be important – I work long night shifts and don’t have the relative freedom that she does, and she’ll be free for weeks on end, later knuckling down for days spent working on a project. I begin spending more time at hers, partly out of convenience, partly out of want. I want to be near her, wake up with her hair in my face. Make meals together. Make plans.

It tarnishes, eventually, lasting just into autumn. I think of her often.

/ / / 

Many thanks to sexwithnostrings.com, the no.1 UK dating site, for sponsoring this post.

Review – The Butters Fuck You Pay Me perfume rollerball (no. 21)

A couple of weeks ago I finally caved and placed an order at The Butters, a small brand that’s been on my radar for a little while now. I snagged myself a jar of The Butters signature lube, which I’ve been dying to try out (turns out I love it, so watch out for that review), the honey & calendula oil scar care balm, a lip balm, and a rollerball of Fuck You Pay Me, which I picked up purely for the name and the fact that it costs seven dollars for ~10ml, which is mindblowingly inexpensive even for indie/home studio perfumers. Fun fact: this blog was nearly about perfume instead of sex toys, but as always, my pussy won out.

Fuck You Pay Me is so sweet it’s almost cloying. I’m thinking about eating a stack of dense, soft pancakes drenched in honey and butter, orange blossoms floating outside the window on an uncomfortably hot day at a gas station slash diner somewhere in Jesus country. There’s lily of the valley in there, but it’s not powdery, not talc-like or dusty, it’s fresh sprigs nestled into a bouquet of white roses and heavy, waxy jasmine. It’s a bowl of overripe fruit, sticky and pulpy, honey with the comb in, the orange blossom note almost creamy and kulfi-like thanks to the shea butter and vanilla. Not sexy like “you wanna fuck me? pity” but sexy like “you’re going to fuck me, but not until I’m done messing with you”.

Longevity’s exceptional, as you’d expect from an oil – I can roll this on at midday and wake up with it the next morning, and the sillage borders on excessive, nuking everything in its wake with a wave of syrupy citrusy vanilla that’s amplified by heat. This hasn’t made it into my regular rotation but it’s something I’ll be keeping for humid summer days – it’s too bright, linear and heavy otherwise, comically unsuitable for Britain’s perma-grey skies. A delicate English country garden cologne this ain’t, and caution should be exercised when applying it: too much and you’re liable to induce headaches everywhere you go.

The problem I’m having recommending this one is entirely my own fault – I think it’s lovely, but I also think that comparisons are important, and I can’t compare it to anything for reference purely because I don’t usually even consider scents like this. I like smoky black tea, slutty alcoholic vanillas, eau de fag end, and dry Catholic cardamom-incense-ginger. Medicinal herbals on especially scalding days. I’m decidedly not a flirty, friendly, straight up sensual florals person, but this nails the 1% of the time that I want to feel that way, all bare cocoa-buttered legs and no underwear and big smiles. The softer jasmine and orange blossom notes in the drydown sort of remind me a fraction of Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger, but not really – this is less refined, miles sweeter and infinitely dirtier.

If you want to smell like an especially filthy summertime fantasy, you can purchase Fuck You Pay Me from The Butters for $7.

How not to be a sex blogger

alexcurve

If there were a retrospective award for Worst Sex Toy Reviewer 2016, I would win it hands down. Like, how do any of you even remember who I am? I barely remember who I am! I don’t post for months at a time, I fall asleep mid-review, I am haunted by the ghosts of vibrators I lost and never covered, and I can’t write intros to save my life. SO. I’m giving you all my top five tips on how not to be a sex toy reviewer, because I want you to learn from my mistakes and do better. I might be incapable, but I know that the hundreds of aspiring dildo critics out there aren’t, and you all have the potential to create great, sticky things.

1. DON’T BE CONSISTENT (I’M BUSY)

I am BAD at this whole being timely thing. I’ve barely posted at all for a good year and a half, mainly because I was sick as a dog, but also because I was busy! Really busy! Really busy doing really important things, like working 65 hour weeks in order to, y’know, live, but also things like seeing how much coke it takes to fell a 55 year old city property developer and spending three days doing nothing but watching conspiracy documentaries and ignoring the growing pile of brand new sex toys that desperately needed reviewing three+ weeks ago.

It takes me approximately one and a bit space nazi documentaries to bang out a mediocre review, and sometimes – 85% of the time – slightly sub-par content is better than no content. Doesn’t matter how clever, funny, charming or modest I am if I’m not actually producing anything to showcase that or fulfilling my half of the contract. Most companies’ll understand that you have a life outside of dildo blogging, and it’s absolutely fine to have a hobby and treat it as such, but it’s not fair to take on things you know you can’t handle or string some poor marketing intern along on a never-ending trail of “oh I’ve just been busy, it’ll be up by next week”. Not being consistent has also made me nigh-on unsponsorable, which leads me to my next point –

2. CONTACTS? WHAT CONTACTS?

I respond to maybe 1 email in 10 and make only minimal effort to retain relationships with companies I’ve already worked with, let alone reaching out and attempting to forge bonds with new ones. I’m shit at twitter. I am not particularly friendly or open, and this is fine for me until I need something, like, for example, a small amount of some delicious hard cash to get myself to Woodhull in order to hobnob with a few of the finest faces in sex toy blogging and go to IHOP. This has quickly become next to impossible because a) where’s your written work? and b) er, who are you? Oh, right, you’re the one we emailed four times about a sponsored post three months ago and you studiously ignored all our emails. We’ll pass. Moral of the story: don’t be me.

3. LIVE LIKE A FILTH-WIZARD

If you’re a burgeoning dildo blogger, I beseech thee – please get yourself a nice new notebook or a wall calendar and one of those nifty multi-drawer setups from Ikea, or a couple of stackable crates, or one of those over-the-door shoe racks, because all the toys you’re going to accumulate are quickly going to spiral out of control and you won’t be able to keep track. I used to have a couple of vintage suitcases to keep them in, all pretty and organised, and then I moved and now I have 6 feet of sex toy soup living under my bed. Where’s my Doxy Don? My Lelo Siri? My Vixskin Raquel? Fuck knows mate, best to just rummage through with your eyes shut and go by touch.

4. WAIT, WHO ARE YOU?

I don’t have a niche, unless taking pictures of vibrators against 70s deadstock and being snotty is a niche in itself. This is something I’m comfortable with – I’m not particularly eager to bring in elements of my irl interests due to privacy concerns, but being memorable in one way or another is usually only ever a good thing in such a rapidly expanding blogosphere. Having said that, don’t try too hard to think something up immediately because it’ll usually come to you fairly naturally as you continue to blog and find out what makes you tick in more detailed terms.

5. BE AN ENTITLED LITTLE SHIT

Right, so – I’m frosty, I’m lazy, I’ve a poor work ethic, I’m forgettable, my ego’s the size of a hot air balloon and I don’t care to bond with my community, but am I entitled? Nah. Nope. Nobody owes me sex toys just because I make it my business to write about them, and they probably don’t owe you sex toys either, unless you already paid for them or signed a contract.

I will tell you a story: once upon a time, I ran a little online shop where I sold vintage and collectables, and stuff I produced myself, zines and stickers and prints. And it was good, and I was happy – I still needed my day job, but it just about paid for my nails and lashes and weed. And every so often I’d wake up and I’d check my emails and I’d have piles of messages from sub-par lifestyle bloggers who’d demand that I send them something from my shop so they could “showcase” it on their blog or insta or whatever in return for “brand exposure”. I don’t run that shop anymore – not because I got bored of fending off aspiring influencers, because I moved and my circumstances changed, but christ on rollerskates did sifting through those messages get draining quickly. Maria of Fucking Sculptures also wrote a little bit about how this feels for a shop owner and how to request product in regards to sex toy reviewing, and it’s a good and useful read.

Obviously reaching out to an industry heavyweight like We-Vibe or Lelo is significantly different to targeting small-time etsy store owners and/or artists with day jobs, but my point is – don’t be fucking rude. Be polite. Be professional. Don’t get stroppy if they don’t want to send you product for whatever reason. Don’t use the squirty emoji, or the aubergine, or the abysmal tongue out winky face. And please don’t copy & paste a generic product request email and forget to customise it – although a remarkable amount of companies still seem to struggle with this one, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

Review – Eroscillator 2 Top Deluxe

eroscillator3

The eroscillator isn’t just ugly; it looks downright suspect. It looks something you’d find advertised in the very back of a gentleman’s mag from 1973, or a baffling electric face massager seen on QVC at 3am. It’s aged badly, coming onto the market in 1996 and not changing all that much since then, and the heinous satin-finish purple they slapped onto it at some point in the last two or three years (it was previously copper) takes me back to 2004 in all the wrong ways. It reminds me of so many eras and so many things, none of them good.

And yet. AND YET. Since buying the eroscillator I’ve had next to no need for any of my other, infinitely prettier vibrators. Even my hitachi’s getting lonely. It might be ugly as sin, but the eroscillator has one job and one job only, and that’s getting me off. And it does it bloody well.

The eroscillator’s main selling point is the fact that it doesn’t merely vibrate – this hideous bastard oscillates, and it does so silently. It also backed by Dr Ruth, who I had to google, and it comes with a bunch of different attachments, nearly all of which are entirely irrelevant – the delightfully plush marshmallow/soft tip is the only one that truly matters, but I’ll allow the gentle golden spoon when I fancy a change. I ask you: who brainstormed the idea of an attachment that comes with sharp, bristly hair protruding from either side and deemed it saleable? I swear to god.

For something that plugs in to a wall and measures almost the length of my forearm, the eroscillator is surprisingly manageable; it’s not particularly heavy even with an attachment, and the push-up 1-2-3 speed slider is so much more practical than fiddling with stupid tiny buttons. The neck between the body and the attachments also means that juggling an internal toy with it isn’t the rage-inducing palaver it usually is – the neck gives you more breathing room, so to speak.

Truthfully, the eroscillator doesn’t feel that much different to traditional vibrators. I realise this is a confusing post to slog through with many tangents and changes in direction, but listen: I remember having read so much about how life-changing and unique the vibrations – sorry, oscillations – felt that when mine turned up I initially wondered if it was faulty and rotated through every single attachment to see how they all felt individually. It’s best described as a purr, not buzzy, not shallow, and with the marshmallow tip on it feels almost massage-like, but the vibrations themselves aren’t what I expected – they do feel different, but not by much.

What IS different, though, is the fact that the orgasms I have with the eroscillator are just so, so much better. Like, eyes in the back of my head, goosebumps, bloody half moons in the palm of my hand, speaking in tongues, back risen off the bed, bright pink flush every. Single. Time. I’m frightened to use it with someone else because I think I might boot them in the face. Plus I don’t go numb nearly as easily, which is nice because less recovery time = more orgasms.

Is it worth it? Uuuunnnnhhhh. Yes. It pains me to say it because it’s SO EXPENSIVE, and if it were rechargeable I’d say no because rechargeables will inevitably die some day and sooner if you leave them uncharged for too long, but plug-ins maintain an illusion of invincibility. Speaking of plug ins: if you’re in the uk you’ll have to buy an adaptor as it comes with either a us or eu plug as default, which is frankly pathetic on eroscillator’s part. You’ll sell your product to uk vendors but won’t manufacture one with a uk plug? C’mon.

The eroscillator’s really, really ugly. It also has a website that reminds me of a women’s health clinic, and I hate that it doesn’t come with a uk plug as standard, and the price makes me sick in my mouth a little bit. But it consistently delivers on the orgasm front in a way that no other vibrator I own does. I don’t give a rat’s arsehole that it’s as antiquated looking as it is – I can’t see shit with my eyes rolled all the way back, anyway.

I bought the eroscillator myself from Lovehoney.

Where to buy – Lovehoney (UK/intl) / Shevibe (US/intl)

1 2 3 4 16