On sexy pictures, and shame

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a gratuitous picture of girlonthenet's titsYes, these are my tits. Not bad, eh? Or, realistically, nowt special, just your common-or-garden boobs, clad in cheap underwear and shot on a smartphone.

I get that boobs are pretty popular. As far as ‘popularity on the internet’ is concerned, they come second only to cats. Were it possible to combine the two, by placing a tiny kitten in my cleavage, I’d have done so.

Over the course of thirty years on this planet, I have sent fewer than ten naked or vaguely indecent pictures of myself to loved ones. Of those, only one of them included nipples, and one included cunt. I have no regrets about sending most of them – they’re relatively basic, utterly anonymous shots like the one I’ve posted here, and like the others that are scattered sporadically across this site. In short: should any of these turn up on the front page of the Daily Mail I won’t be spitting coffee over my laptop and begging for them to be burned.

But there are a couple I regret.

Sexy pictures I regret

The one I texted to a guy I had no intention of sleeping with again. I was drunk, and in the mood for someone relatively remote and distant. Some flirting, general horny chit chat, an early night with some of his personally-tailored smut and my own right hand. I got the smut, but only in exchange for a blurry, oddly-angled close-up of my fingers deep in my own vagina. The regrets come partly because I’m not 100% sure the guy will have kept it to himself, but mainly because I don’t even wank like that. It’s an inaccurate depiction of my own masturbatory habits, and thus I suspect one of the least sexy pictures I’ve ever taken.

The second one I regret wasn’t taken by me. Halfway through a particularly energetic fuck, in a position the guy clearly loved, he asked if he could take a picture of me. I said yes, and he did. Looking at the picture afterwards gave me a genuine jolt of delight. As one who generally thinks my body is wrong in all the classic ways, this pic surprised me by being a quickfire, candid, naked shot in which I actually felt I looked hot. The morning after I was walking on air: delighted at the slightly sore feeling of satisfaction after a delicious, no-strings fuck, and hugging myself in the knowledge that maybe I was sexy after all.  Four hours later I found out that he hadn’t just shown me the photo – he’d sent it to half the people in his address book.

What am I ashamed of?

When people talk about naked pictures, one of the most common go-to emotions is shame - body shame, slut shame, the shame that comes from feeling like a dirty little fucker who should have known better than to let someone see your private bits. I think I’m so used to hearing about shame when naked pictures or videos are circulated that I find it hard to calculate what my actual feelings are towards the incidents above.

Sure, I’m angry – I’m angry because trust has been broken, or might be broken, or because the significance of my rare pic-giving hasn’t been fully appreciated. There’s perhaps a pinch of self-loathing in there too. Not only am I not the greatest fan of my own body, but smartphones are not the most flattering tool with which to show it off. I’ve often been tempted to send something, but given up after spending half an hour contorting in front of a mirror to make sure that my tits are in shot, my face isn’t, and my knickers sit just right without showing a bikini line shadow or an uncomfortable bulge of hip fat.

Sexy pictures aren’t shameful

I’m cool with feeling these things. They are, after all, my own emotions and mistakes and neuroses. Shame, though? I don’t want to own any shame. Shame isn’t the product of the photo itself, it’s the product of the reaction. Shame – like guilt – is one of those emotions that isn’t always mine. There are many times I’ve beaten myself up about a perceived slight, or an insensitive comment, and wanted to beg forgiveness then be swallowed by the ground forever. There are many more times when I’ve felt I was in the right – that my ‘insensitive’ comment was actually a fair and frank assessment of whether someone or other was an arsehole – but I feel guilt anyway because other people are telling me to. The first kind of guilt I own, because I actually feel it, whether it’s come about by my own navel-gazing or someone else highlighting a genuine fault. The second kind is one which is applied to me even though it baffles me.

Shame is the same. I can be ashamed of that time I got so drunk I could barely walk, and phoned a close friend to tell him I was being chased home by pizza delivery guys (I wasn’t, obviously – they have more important things to do), and although I still blush to think of it, I don’t feel any worse than I realistically deserve to.

Picture shame, though? That’s applied – projected onto us. It comes about because we’re used to people reacting with horror to the idea that we have body parts and desires and (yay technology!) the ability to send them to each other over the internet. The shame applied to sexy pictures isn’t one that comes from my own beliefs about what’s right, it comes from other people’s reactions.

So when people say “what would your mother think?” or “aren’t you worried your future children will be horrified by your sex blog?” what they’re actually saying is “don’t you feel ashamed?” Perhaps my answer should be “I might, but only if you make me.”

On the most popular sex toys (and a sex toy competition)

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Brace yourselves, I’m doing a special thing. Long time readers will know that for the last few months the fantastic Bondara has been supporting me. This has helped pay for hosting and domain stuff, pass a bit of money on to guest bloggers, and hire an amazing illustrator to create pretty images for some of my posts. To say thanks to Bondara and to you for your support, I’m running a sex toy competition to give away a £100 shopping spree at Bondara. You can buy anything – whether you want to wear it, smear it all over yourself, or turn it on and let it buzz deliciously against your sensitive bits. When you get to the bottom of this post, there’s a widget that you can use to enter the competition.

So what’s this post about? Well, I don’t really do toy reviews, but I wanted to do something that gives a bit of an insight into sex blogging, and also appeals to my nerdier sensibilities. So I’ve done some very top-level analysis of the kind of toys people buy via my site. A sort of ‘if you like my blog, you might like some of this stuff too’ – like Amazon does with books, but for fucktoys. The following graphs have been created using anonymised data based on purchases at Bondara via my website.

Which sex toys are the most popular?

I had a look at the percentage of toys sold for different genital uses. As you can see, my readers are generally a big fan of arses, which makes sense given the number of posts I’ve written about butt plugs. Penis and vagina toys sold equally, which I am pleased with, because it shows a delightful sex toy equality in the discerning audience of this blog.

most popular sex toys by 'which genitals they're designed to be used on' at girlonthenet.com

Which sex products are the most popular?

Of course, it’s not just about things you put in/on/up yourself – there are other types of products too. While toys are by far and away the winner, plenty of people have been stocking up on bondage equipment, underwear and accessories too. For this, ‘accessories’ includes things like condoms and lube, as well as sex toy cleaners and things.

most popular sex products by category at girlonthenet.com

Sex toy sales by day of the week

Statisticians, please shield your eyes, because this one’s a fucking mess. I don’t think the data was significant enough to make a guess on the day that sales were most likely – apart from anything else, my traffic’s always higher on Sundays, Wednesdays or Fridays when I post. Still, in case you’re interested, it looks like Friday is officially the least sexy day, with Wednesdays and weekends being far more popular.

which days are most sex toys sold? via Bondara and girlonthenet.com

What are the most popular sex products?

I’d hoped that at least one person would have bought the fucking machine that I have on my sex toy wish list. Sadly not, but if you’re after something new, and you fancy following in the footsteps of other readers, here are some of the most popular products (or product categories) from the last three months:

- Cock rings. A solid and admirable choice.

- Male masturbators. I’m not surprised these are near the top of the list because I am obsessed with them – Tenga eggs came through as a strong favourite, which is handy because I have recently got the hang of using them without breaking them due to overenthusiastic wanking.

- Butt plugs. Again, solid choice,and I hope these hot butt-plug stories helped some people make their decision.

- Coquette knickers. I am 100% sure this came about as a result of this post about the sexiest types of knickers.

- Jessica rabbit vibrator. A classic. Also very cheap. I am impressed with your money-saving expertise.

Sex toy competition – win a £100 Bondara shopping spree!

Now on to the exciting bit – all you need to do is enter the competition using the magical widget below, and you’ll be entered into a draw. The comp will run for exactly two weeks – until midday (UK time) on the 11th of August, with the winner chosen the next day. If you win, you can spend £100 on whatever you like from Bondara. I’m afraid you have to be UK resident and over 18 to take part, but if this is popular, I’ll see if I can run something separate for US-based people so you can have sexy things too.

Best of luck, and thank you again for all your support.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

[Note from GOTN - I have never run a competition like this before, and in all probability I am a bit incompetent at it. I've tried to make it so there are plenty of easy ways to enter, but if you have any feedback or you're not sure how to use it please drop me an email]

On sex with a stranger

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Fucking a stranger is so much more fun when you keep most of your clothes on.

Image by the lovely Stuart F Taylor

Today I want to have sex with a stranger. A quick, no-nonsense fuck with someone whose name I don’t know. Whose name I’ll never know.

I want to feel his hands tightly grasping my hips, run my hands over his body, and not care whether either of us really enjoys the experience. I want a fuck for function, a fuck for the sake of fucking: I want to fuck a stranger.

Sex with strangers

Most of the sex I’ve had has been with people I know. Even the one-offs usually happen with friends: a drunk night, a frantic fumble, a ‘thanks that was ace I’ll see you in the pub on Tuesday’ as I ran to catch the night bus. I love those fucks – the casual ones.

But stranger sex has been much rarer for me. Of course it’s often dangerous, and there have been times when I’ve reluctantly turned down an offer because I couldn’t quite guarantee that I’d make it home afterwards. On a couple of occasions, though, I’ve had that delicious knowledge that – even as we’re fucking – we both know that when we come it will be the end of whatever we’ve had.

Sex with people I love

Every day I get to fuck someone I love, which makes me lucky. Incredibly so. The easy curve of his hand around my arse, the exact pressure on my spine, pushing me to arch my back just right to feel the exact girth of him slipping into me: fitting. That’s valuable, and I love it.

But just because I’m enjoying my shower, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate how fun it was to be dirty - sometimes I dream about sex with strangers.

Fucking a stranger

I imagine sitting on a stool at a bar somewhere (America, probably, sitting at the bar in England often gets you weird looks) when a miserable-looking guy sits near me. He’s wearing a suit, he’s dark and handsome, he’s a bundle of all the clichés I don’t normally go for. He wears a watch and it accentuates the strength of his arms.

I look at his wrists and imagine him wanking. Jerking himself off into the toilet: neat, functional, aggressively grunting throughout. I imagine the ‘unngh’ as he comes into the toilet bowl, thinking of me staring at him and wondering if I would.

I would.

I’d watch him drinking but we wouldn’t talk. Occasionally I’d catch his eye and do the flirting that I’ve read about in advice books. Well, a more exaggerated version, anyway – leaning over the bar to show him a bit more of my tits, crossing and uncrossing my legs until my skirt rides up so far he can’t help but think of my cunt.

Shooting him the raised-eyebrows-how-about-it look, and mouthing ‘fuck me’ just before I head to the bathroom.

In the cubicle, I pull up my skirt and lean against the cold tile with one hand down my knickers. I’m thinking about this total stranger – this no-named guy – and how desperately I want him to follow me. How rough I want his hands on my cunt, how I don’t want him to look at me as he fucks me: head over my shoulder, staring straight at the wall and grimacing with determination to come.

He comes in.

He rushes at me with a kind of blank need – no recognition or ‘I see you’ve been staring’, just straight in with a rough kiss. No tongues, no movement, just a hard, three-second stamp on my lips, as if to check I’m not going to object.

I don’t, of course. I whisper ‘fuck me’ and he nods.

I lock the door while he fumbles with my shirt – unbuttoning and pulling apart and ripping down my bra so my tits spill out and he can press his chest against them.

“Yeah,” he whispers quietly to himself as he squeezes me against him. I go to unbuckle his trousers and he slaps my hand away, taking a step back to stare at me – exposed in my hitched-up skirt and open shirt. His eyes are blank, as I wanted.

He never looks at my face.

One quick movement and his trousers are down just far enough to pull out his cock. I don’t care what his dick is like – make that bit up yourself. It’s just a cock, that’s all I care about. It’s hard and he wants it touched, and he needs to empty it into me.

He grits his teeth and grabs my legs, wrapping them round his waist as he fucks tight pain into me.

“Ungh.” Grunting, rasping, punctuating each fuckstroke with a kind of ‘that’s it’ approval. “Ungh”: sounds like “yes”. Sounds like “that’s it.” Sounds like the kind of self-comforting sounds he’d make to himself when he’s masturbating.

As if I’m not there.

I make no sounds at all, just feeling him shoving himself inside me is all I wanted – that and not knowing his name, of course. He’s pushed the crotch of my knickers to one side and I can feel the fabric getting damp as I drip lust down the shaft of his dick and onto the inside of my thighs. I grip him tighter and he shudders.

“Ye… eaaah,” a harder thrust – pushing deeper into me than he has before, and a long pause as his cock twitches. He rests his head on my shoulder, briefly, enjoying the feeling of being spent.

He pulls himself out of me, adjusts his clothes, and with a final glance at my tits, he unlocks the door.

“Thanks, stranger.”

And he’s gone.

Someone else’s story: open relationships and kink

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I have a huge amount of admiration (and, OK, a dash of envy) for people who can do open relationships well. I’ve tried, and failed, to come up with a long-term open solution that works for me, and have come to the conclusion that I’m perhaps not sensitive or competent enough to do openness well.

Which is why I love hearing from people who do – who have found a good balance of communication, enjoyment and honesty that allows them to balance the feelings of a few different parties. If anyone says it’s easy I struggle to comprehend, because for me it’s always been a mountain I couldn’t hope to climb. So above all I love hearing from people who’ve recognised the obstacles, worked through the difficult bits, and come up with something pretty damn special. This week’s guest blog is from Jenny, who’s got a story about open relationships and kink, as well as some great advice for those who might be struggling with similar worries.

Open relationships and kink

Communication in a relationship can be tricky at the best of times, and things only get more difficult when one of you is kinky. Asking for something in bed can be tough. Asking for something outside of your relationship feels impossible.

If you don’t ask for what you want, you might never get it.

I wanted to share my story because it’s a positive example of an open, kinky relationship which I am very proud of.

I’m happily coupled up with an incredible woman. We were friends before we started dating and are closing in on our first year together. On top of all the stresses of a new relationship, I had the added concern of telling her about the other important person in my life: my very close friend who happens to be my dominant.

He has a girlfriend too and they’ve been together for years. After much discussion about sex, BDSM and our respective love lives, we came to the conclusion that we’d like to explore our kinky bucket lists together. His girlfriend wasn’t into submission and I prefer being topped by men, even though I’m a lesbian. We get on and find each other attractive, but we’ve no romantic chemistry at all. We were confident it wasn’t going to get awkward or messy: we knew what we wanted from each other right from the start.

With this in mind we set about asking for our partners’ permission to get together every month or so and indulge ourselves in play.

It was a scary thing for both of us: his relationship is long established and he didn’t want to jeopardise their future together, while I‘d just started dating my girlfriend and didn’t want to scare her away. It was something we both wanted, however, and we didn’t want to impose our niches on partners who weren’t into it. Equally, we didn’t want to do without for the rest of our lives. So we asked them.

I wanted to be completely honest in starting our relationship. I told my girlfriend that I’d spent our first few dates secretly hoping she was kinky, which was a disservice to her. I wanted to appreciate her for who she was, and she is truly fantastic. I’m a firm believer that it’s very tough to get everything from one person. It’s too much pressure. So I wanted to have a romantic relationship with her and be kinky with someone who wanted it as much as I did. She was understanding and patient and after hearing all she needed to hear from me, gave me the permission I had asked for.

In return she is allowed to know as much or as little as she likes about our scenes, and to request certain acts are off limits. The same goes for my dominant’s girlfriend, who also gave her permission a few days before.

We got permission about nine months ago, but it wasn’t a case of getting an “ok” and then skipping off to the dungeon whenever we feel like. My girlfriend and I are in constant communication about our arrangement. Each time I schedule a scene I check in with my girlfriend, that she’s still ok for this to happen and each time I come home we spend time together as a couple and check in again. I remind her that I love her and if she wants me to stop, I will. She tells me she loves me and trusts me to remember her even when I’m with someone else.

Part of the agreement is that if either his partner or mine gets uncomfortable and asks for us to stop playing, we will without question. We enjoy playing and exploring our niches, but our commitment is to our girlfriends. We appreciate that what we’ve been given is something special, something that strengthens our relationship with our partners all the more.

Juggling both romantic and kinky relationships is tough – and not just practically. Scheduling a scene when we’re both off work, both our partners are busy or out of town and when one of our houses is free is almost impossible.

We have to keep talking about the arrangement all the time. Everyone has to be clear and what they do and do not want and how to communicate that. We are each responsible for our own thresholds and protecting them. We also have to trust that everyone else is aware of their own limits and will communicate them clearly.

None of us have been in an open relationship before so we’re working it out as we go. The two of us have never been in a Dominant/submissive relationship either. There’s a lot of chat involved every which way. It’s hard work but it is worth it.

The one thing I’ve found the hardest is asserting my needs when it comes to negotiating between romantic and kinky relationships. I have no intention of being prioritised over my dominant’s girlfriend, but during D/s scenes, the circumstances are altered slightly.

In one of our earlier scenes my dominant received a phone call from his girlfriend, which he took. The feeling of abandonment was compounded by my already vulnerable state in the scene and I was incredibly hurt. I did not feel empowered in the scene to ask that he not take the call. After thinking about it, and even discussing it with my girlfriend and getting her opinion, I asked for us to turn our phones off when playing. Now, when our partners call on a day we’re playing, if they get answer machines they know why they can’t get through and that we’ll contact them as soon as we turn our phones back on. This rule makes me feel more secure when I’m being submissive.

Having rules like this does not mean we love our girlfriends any less, but it is part of the responsibility we have to each other as play partners. Both relationships are significant and require communication and effort. Neither can be taken for granted.

As previously mentioned, I often involve my girlfriend in my D/s relationship. If something is playing on my mind it shows and she is gracious enough to ask if I want to talk about it. This shows a great deal of trust and patience, which is a beautiful quality in the woman I want to spend my life with.

By some miracle, the four of us now socialise as well. We don’t discuss the arrangement, but it isn’t ignored. The fact that we can share a meal together and enjoy each other’s company as two couples is something that’s very precious to me. There’s no tension or jealousy; we all know where we belong.

It is scary to ask for something you really want, but if you’re ready to have an honest conversation about it, and keep having those conversations, there is always a chance that it can work out.

Sometimes, better than you’d hoped.

On sex excuses

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I’ve got a headache. I genuinely have – my head’s throbbing and for once it’s not because I drank too much last night. It’s because I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time growing steadily angry about the husband who detailed his wife’s ‘sex excuses’, and then sent her the spreadsheet.

Long story short: he compiled a spreadsheet logging the times he’d tried to initiate sex, and her responses, including the reasons she’d given for saying ‘no’. These included such things as ‘you’re too drunk’ and ‘I have to be up early.’

Excuses for not having sex

Here’s a list of excuses for not having sex that I have given my partner (or he has given me) in the last couple of months.

  • It’s late, I’m knackered.
  • I smell super gross.
  • I’m not actually that horny right now.
  • It’s too hot.
  • I just came about five minutes ago.
  • I’ve got a cold that makes it tricky for me to breathe through any of my face holes.

What do all of these excuses have in common? That’s right – they’re all things that happen to humans quite regularly. They’re also not really ‘excuses’ – an ‘excuse’ is something you use to ‘get out’ of something that you otherwise would be obliged to do. These, on the other hand, are just explanations of some stuff that’s happening (extreme tiredness, snot dripping out of someone’s face) that is causing that person to be unkeen on sex.

Why do we give sex ‘excuses’?

Here’s the thing: no one ever has a right to sex. Not your partner, not the person who’s spent twenty minutes going down on you, no one. Therefore you are never compelled to give a reason for not sleeping with someone. If you say ‘no’, that should be the end of the discussion. Maybe you have a nice cuddle instead, maybe you hop onto the night bus and go home, whatever.

But if I were to turn round to my partner and say ‘no’, then wander off, that would sound a bit odd. Sure, I don’t owe him a reason, but I like to explain lest he feel his ardour is wasted and I have suddenly decided I just don’t fancy him. So I say ‘argh, headache’ or ‘I stink like the bottom of the laundry basket’ and he is reassured that my lust for him remains strong – the mind is willing, but the flesh is… stinky and sweaty and not in the mood.

So, the reason I am pissed off by the spreadsheet compiled by this arsehole is not just because it displays a terrifying sense of entitlement towards sex, nor because it’s a cruel thing to send your partner along with the explanation ‘this is why I won’t miss you when you’re away on your trip’ – although it is both of these things. The main reason I’m angry is because he’s taken her reasons – those little nods towards making one’s partner feel better, softening the blow of the rejection – and turned them back round on her. Sneering as if her reasons are lies, and making her feel like not only is her lack of desire for sex a moral failing, but that her attempts to soften the blow are manipulative and wrong.

But you’ve got to have sympathy for the guy… no?

When I had a rant about this stuff on Twitter, I got a few people telling me that ‘you’ve got to feel sorry for the guy.’ In fact, I get this quite a lot – when I write about men who believe they are stuck in an imaginary Friend Zone, or men who struggle to chat up women, I am pretty much guaranteed a comment or two that says ‘well, you have to admit that it’s sad to not get any sex. Let’s get more guys laid and bad things won’t happen any more.’

Here’s how far I’m willing to go: I do feel sorry for people who want sex but can’t get it. I do. I have a hell of a lot of sympathy for people who are horny and lonely and struggling to find someone to share their life, their bed, or even just a sweaty five minutes in a pub toilet somewhere. I’ve been that person, and it was shit for me.

But no matter how shit it is, I do not have sympathy for those who try to coerce or guilt-trip a fuck out of someone. Being sad that you’re not getting laid is perfectly natural – using that sadness to manipulate is unacceptably cruel. So no – I don’t feel sorry for the guy who made the spreadsheet, at all. Any ounce of pity I had for him evaporated when he painted his lack of sex as a failing of his wife. Had he spoken to her properly and tried to work out whether there was a wider problem, all under the understanding that he didn’t have a right to sex an arbitrary number of times each week or month, then I would be cheering him on and wishing them future happiness.

As it is, by making a spreadsheet of her ‘excuses’ he has implied not only that she doesn’t have the right to refuse sex (which she does, obviously, as does he, as does anyone), but that her reasons for refusal are ‘mean’ – she is a horrible wife who isn’t doing what she should, and doesn’t have the decency to make up good enough reasons for not doing it.

Maybe next time he tries sex with her, she’ll hit him with a new reason:

  • I can’t fancy you while you’re trying to manipulate me.