Guest blog: Orgasm denial and female domination

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She didn’t just have me at ‘hello’, this week’s guest blogger had me at ‘we won’t be needing this pathetic cock…’ Some people seem to have a natural knack and talent for domming, and I can’t help but watch in semi-envious arousal. This is one of those times.

Please welcome @EuclideanPoint, with an intensely hot guest post on orgasm denial…

Filthy-hot orgasm denial sex

It took years to fully understand my partner’s fantasy. At first he was shy to explain, afraid of my reaction or how I would feel about him. I was slow to understand, and as a natural submissive somewhat uncomfortable playing a dominant role. I take joy in my own pain, and can inflict pain on others, but I have never been cruel even as a game and the game we were to play that night required me to deny and frustrate the man I love. It was one of the hottest experiences of my life.

When he returns from the bathroom I’m holding a pair of knickers that we had bought together for him to wear. I kiss him on the lips and he puts his arms around me and grabs my arse. I push his hands away and tell him to take all of his clothes off.

As I help him to step into his knickers, I ask him a question I’ve asked when we practiced, when I’d tried to play this game before. “Whose pleasure is this night about?”

“Yours, miss” he replies. His voice is uncharacteristically timid, and he looks down at the floor as he speaks to me.

I pull his knickers up and he helps me to tuck himself inside. He’s already rock hard.

“So we won’t be needing this pathetic cock then, will we?” I ask.

For the record, I think his cock is perfect and it pains me to be disparaging towards something that brings me so much pleasure, but he doesn’t judge my desire to be caned so I don’t judge this.

I take three strips of paper and a pen from the bedside table, and sit on the edge of the bed, crossing my legs and letting my skirt ride up.

“So, how exactly do you think you’re going to make me come?” I ask.

He holds out his hands and opens his mouth to show me his tongue. In this role he’s too shy to say the words out loud.

“Oh, with your fingers?” I ask. “ I think you could make me come with your fingers inside me and your tongue on my clit.” and as I say this I write it on the first strip of paper. “You can definitely make me come with the Doxy massager” I decide, and that gets written on the second piece of paper. The third piece of paper gets an old favourite of mine ‘Just your tongue’.

I fold all of the pieces of paper and drop them into a bag. I hold the bag out to him with a simple command – “Pick.”

He’s used to me ‘ordering’ him to make me come when we play this game, but its new for him to know exactly how many times and in what ways he must do it.

An hour later I lie back on the bed, breathing heavily after my third orgasm. He has worked hard to make me come, while I’ve been employing all of my efforts to stop each orgasm from taking me over until I feel that he has really earned it. I look down and he is kneeling at my feet, with hope in his eyes for his own release mingled with the calm of knowing that his fate rests completely in my hands. I desperately want to hold him and give him everything his eyes say he wants, but I know that wouldn’t be what he has fantasised about.

I tell him I have a present for him. I open the bedside drawer, reach in and retrieve one last folded piece of paper. I hand it to him and he opens it to read the words ‘Your pathetic cock’. Despite the insult his eyes light up. I slowly pull his knickers down and his cock springs free. He is so hard after making me come repeatedly without any physical stimulation of his own.

I look him in the eye and warn him “Don’t forget, this is about my pleasure.”

He knows as well as I do that after three orgasms I won’t be coming any time soon; by contrast he is pretty desperate now. I can see the concentration in his face as I pull him down onto the bed and we start to fuck.

We kiss and I grab his arse. I can tell he is struggling to hold back from his own orgasm, and he keeps stopping to catch his breath and focus on his task. After a few minutes I ask if he’s OK. He responds shakily “I’m just trying not to come, miss”.

I can hear the struggle in his voice.

“You can keep going a little longer” I whisper.

And he does. I can feel the effort radiating from his body as he continues to fuck me, desperate to give me an orgasm so he can have his own. Whenever we’ve played this game before, by this point I’ve long given up and let him take his pleasure.

Eventually I take pity on him and cradling his head in my hands I bring his ear to my mouth.

“Its OK, you’ve done well. You can come now.” I whisper into his ear.

He starts to thrust rhythmically again but by this point his cock is so sensitive and he is so confused that it takes him a while to come.

When he does come, his whole body spasms violently. He buries his head in the side of my neck and takes deep, hitching breaths. Afterwards he lies on top of me, still twitching, shaking and utterly spent. He has shared this secret, private side of himself with me, and for this and so many other things I have never loved him more.

Porn censorship, and the worst kind of ally

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The other day I watched a TV show that contained irritating gender stereotypes. I tutted, turned to the friend I was watching it with and said:

“Bloody hell, mate, this is some godawful sexist shite.”

He replied:

“Oh my CHRIST GOTN, why are you trying to CENSOR ALL OF TELLY?!”

This didn’t happen, of course, that would be ridiculous. But this happened instead:

Porn and censorship

I started following PornPanic on Twitter because they were having interesting discussions around the censorship of adult material, and campaigning against the UK’s utterly ridiculous attempts to take a red pen to half of the internet. I am pro-porn: I do some freelance work for a spanking porn site, I write a hell of a lot of dirty stuff and I have a vested interest in the UK government not implementing sweeping porn filters. I’m sure some of you disagree with me on this stuff – it wouldn’t be a decent world if we all agreed on everything – I just say this so you know that I am very much in the general Down With Porn Censorship camp. Which is why I was a teeny bit surprised to see an organisation that I thought was an ally in the fight against porn censorship saying something that seemed so wholly against their interests. The other day, PornPanic tweeted this:

A bit of discussion opened the can of worms, and we established that this was a reference to feminist critiques of gaming. The account owner is offering a ‘thin end of the wedge’ type argument, and claims that calling out sexism and misogyny is a fine way to sneak in censorship by the back door.

What’s more, @PornPanic seems to believe that – as a direct result of feminism – anti-porn arguments have increased since 1980.

*cracks knuckles* *gets stuck in*

Critical analysis is not censorship

This is a really obvious point, isn’t it? Saying ‘this is misogynist’ is not a euphemism for ‘this should be banned.’ I call shit misogynist all the time, and yet I very rarely support banning anything. As a general rule, where something is a massive and ingrained cultural problem, I think the best solution involves massive and long-term cultural change, which is best achieved by discussion, critique, and generally Making Things Better. I know, right? Pour me a cup of organic tea and knit me a lentil jumper, but that’s just what I believe.

Because of that, it’s screamingly obvious to me that critical analysis is not censorship, or a ‘thin end of the wedge’ towards censorship. As I can turn to my friend and tell him that the programme we’re watching is a load of old shite without demanding that we rip it from the schedule, I can point out that there are massive and systemic issues withing the gaming community, or the porn industry, without at the same time demanding that everyone in it is locked in a soundproofed room forever.

Sure, my ultimate goal is that there will be no more misogyny (hooray!) but that’s literally never going to happen in my lifetime, and it’s certainly not going to be achieved by censoring everything, and giving angry misogynists something genuinely unjust to weep publicly about. By criticising a thing I’m not saying ‘get rid of it’ I’m saying ‘hey, you could do this better. Please can you make more of this, but better?’

It’s not only a cry for improvement, it’s actually a compliment to the form itself…

Critical analysis legitimises certain media

If Banksy had just been a guy with a paintbrush, and no one ever went ‘hey that’s some pretty political artwork I reckon it’s making a comment on the nature of our surveillance culture’ then the dude wouldn’t have had even half the publicity he’s received, and his work would currently languish beneath six layers of other people’s graffiti tags.

Criticism is not only important – it’s vital in order for an art form to survive. I’d argue that video games are (or can be) art in the same way that films and books can. If no one ever discusses the themes and the flaws, video games will only ever be seen as an idle way to pass time until you die, instead of the rich and varied mix of the groundbreaking and the godawful that they actually are.

Humans live off discourse, and word spreads about a particular video, game or blog post because people discuss it. It’s one of the reasons I write a bunch of stuff here – not just erotica. People will share and discuss this far more than a post about a spreader bar, and although this will probably see fewer actual visits (a lot of my traffic comes from searches for dirty stuff), the people who do see it will remember it – whether they agree or not. What’s more, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t occasionally get riled by stuff.

Porn deserves criticism

So there we go. Porn deserves criticism just as any other media does. But my curiosity piqued and my hackles raised by the ‘misogynist’ comments, I took a punt through the rest of PornPanic’s twitter feed to see whether they were engaging in the kind of interesting critiques and thoughtful analysis that will help porn thrive. The answer is: not really. They’ll retweet anything that’s pro-porn, and very little that involves a deeper and more interesting discussion of the porn industry.

It would be remiss of me to write such a long diatribe about porn and not add some criticisms of my own, because I genuinely care about the people who make excellent porn, and those who are challenging the industry and coming up with some excellent stuff. So here are a few issues:

  • Performer conditions. When people say ‘the porn industry’ they are often referring to what I’d call the ‘mainstream porn industry’, and I have a lot of problems with that industry. Exploitation of workers, lack of respect for performers, poor pay and conditions – the list goes on. Pandora Blake has written some great stuff on this, so do check out her posts on fairtrade porn.
  • Lack of diversity. Just as I get hacked off with erotica covers that only ever use gym-toned muscle men, so I get annoyed with mainstream porn that depicts a world populated by slim, white, cis, beautiful people. Where anyone who differs from this norm is specifically fetishized for their body type, and often demeaned by it as if they’re no longer a person, they’re a ‘BBW’ or similar.
  • Horrible language. I’m a words person: as a general rule I get more turned on by reading than watching (or sometimes ‘listening to sexy guys read stories about fucking – there needs to be more audio porn, imho). Porn talk is often deeply unsexy, and I hate the way that a lot of porn marketing a) is aimed only guys and b) assumes that guys are slobbering twats. I know straight guys who love creampie videos, and will happily watch something that’s labelled ‘cumsluts’, but would never actually use either of those words: it’s porn shorthand and it can kill arousal, as well as prevent us from using words in beautiful ways. When I write for Dreams of Spanking I sometimes agonise over the perfect word to use for something. Is this a smack, a slap, a whack or a stroke? Words are important. That’s just my personal bugbear, though.

Raising these issues doesn’t make me anti-porn, though, any more than saying ‘I can’t stand Clara’s boyfriend’ makes me anti-Doctor Who. None of this means we should ban porn: it means we can and should make it better. Fight for better pay and conditions for performers. Boycott studios that don’t treat performers fairly. Avoid pirating material that people have put their heart, soul, and sex juices into. Make porn more diverse – more interesting. At the end of this blog post there are some links to performers who I think are doing just that.

The point I’m making is – if what you want is to avoid porn censorship, it’s much more damaging in the long run not to acknowledge problems with the industry, or ways in which great producers are improving performer pay and conditions, diversity and other things. The only industries that will collapse because they get called out on misogyny are industries which are inherently misogynist. By knee-jerking to defend porn against all these criticisms, you weaken your arguments by implying that it cannot possibly stand up to this scrutiny.

Are anti-porn arguments on the rise?

So, what of the claim that anti-porn arguments are on the rise? That since the 1980s there’s been a growing wave of angry feminists being outraged about porn and calling for a ban? Are feminists getting more sneaky, or is there something else going on here? If you thought the answer was a), you’re going to kick yourself. Take a look at this strange device.

Video Cassette Recorder - also known as a Vporn Cdelivery Rdevice

That’s right – it’s a VCR. For those unfamiliar with them, they’re basically a primitive version of Netflix, only they had porn on. Lots and lots of porn. In fact, VCRs were the driver for a massive and significant spike in the porn industry. Before VCRs people either had to go to a porn theatre (and risk getting seen by their mum/coworkers/friends), buy magazines with naked photos in them (they’re a bit like gifs, only they don’t move and the pages get sticky). Desperate times.

So when VCRs came in, and people could rent, buy and swap hardcore movies, suddenly porn was easily accessible and far more common. Of course we saw more anti-porn arguments: we were watching fuckloads more porn! Technology brought material into people’s homes that was previously hard to get hold of without an ID card and a huge dollop of courage. Saying that anti-porn arguments have increased since the 1980s is as meaningless as pointing out that no one called for video-game bans before the NES: there were barely any sodding video games to ban.

So yeah, anti-porn arguments will increase when porn becomes more easily available. We saw a spike in the porn debate when the internet became available in people’s homes, again when torrenting became common, and we’re in the middle of one now because new forms of porn distribution (Tube sites, etc that crucially require no credit card verification) are bringing more porn to the masses. Some of these arguments are based on criticisms of misogyny in the porn industry and material which exploits women. Others (and I’d argue a much more significant proportion) focus on the fact that, with better tech and easier accessibility, children are more likely to find content which is inappropriate.

If you want to say anti-porn arguments are on the increase, that’s fine. But if you want to use that as a means to claim that nasty feminists are getting more insidious in their attempts to ban porn, then you’re on your own, sunshine.

“Shutting down debate”

The final point I’ll make before I fuck utterly off is this: there are a number of different ways to shut down a debate. Censorship is one of them: I can stop you every time you try to make a point. If I’m a government I can put you in a prison. If I’m a politician I can potentially make a law to ban you from spreading whatever your message is.

But if I tell you that I disagree, or that I don’t like your art, or that the way you make videos goes against certain other of my principles, am I really shutting you down? Are your principles so pathetically weak that they’ll crumble if I examine them? Or am I, in fact, giving you the respect that you deserve by treating your work as if it’s worth critiquing?

If you want porn to be accepted and acknowledged as an entertainment or art form, you have to accept that it’ll get critique. The only reason we’d stop talking about porn is if there were no more porn. And you wouldn’t want that now, would you?

As promised, here are some independent porn producers/performers who are doing some interesting and excellent things. This is very far from an exhaustive list: Courtney Trouble, Pandora Blake, Kitty Stryker, James Darling, (Kitty and James are currently promoting Fisting Day as a protest against obscenity laws), Cindy Gallop, Ms Naughty, Jiz Lee, Nimue Allen (Nimue’s just relaunched her website, Nimue’s World, which is well hot). There are many more, and this isn’t a long enough list. It’d be great if @PornPanic could contribute similar recommendations, because just saying ‘all porn is great and if you disagree it’s censorship’ doesn’t quite cut it. 

Pulse by Hot Octopuss or ‘How to wank like Batman’

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Six months ago I wrote a review of the Doxy massager. It did such amazing things to my clit that I nearly fired my right hand, so I have understandably been on the hunt for something that creates similar ‘tear down the walls’ sensations, but for cocks.

To assist me on my quest, Sextoys.co.uk gave me a ‘Pulse’ by Hot Octopuss – a magical dick-massaging device, which I think may well be ‘the one.’ What I really wanted to do was set up a stall in Camden and ask beautiful pierced boys if they’d like me to test it on them, but because I am selfless and giving, I couldn’t in all honesty test a penis-based sex toy myself. So I had it swiftly couriered to a gentleman, and demanded that he use his written eloquence and long-suffering cock to write me a special guest blog.

This is Lewis, and here is his totally unbiased review of the Pulse, by Hot Octopuss. Read it if a) you have a penis and want to find out if this thing is any good or b) you fancy dudes and want to read an intensely hot description of one jerking himself off.

Enjoy.

Review of the Pulse by Hot Octopuss – how to wank like Batman

I get endless joy from touching my cock. I like touching it, I like you touching it, I like jiggling my fucking leg while I’m at work, feeling myself getting harder and more sensitive until I’m straining against my trousers with a cheap desk for dignity and trying to work out whether I can get away with running my nails down the length of it one more time.

It’s a wonder I’ve not been fired, really.

This desperate drive for self pleasure isn’t a new thing – my teenage diaries took less than a week to devolve into a meticulously logged masturbation journal, complete with helpful suggestions like “NB: Bag of ice pressed against balls doesn’t chill spunk – just makes balls cold” and “managed to lick the tip again- more flexibility needed.”

I don’t keep a diary now, of course, thanks to both Twitter and the fact that a twenty eight year old man with a spreadsheet of his wanks is less “horny teenage charm” and more “here is my collection of nail clippings from the last ten years”. I do, however, still take phenomenal delight in wanking, whether it’s a quick functional tug in the toilet or a full-on, Sunday morning session that ends with an arched back and a stomach covered with come.

pulse by hot octopuss - i find even this picture so arousing that i might have to have a lie downNaturally, when GoTN approached me and said “Would you like to review a thing designed to make your cock feel amazing?” my response was calm and measured and definitely not a slobbering desperation to Put My Cock in A Thing.

The object in question was the “Pulse” by Hot Octopuss, a company whose name sounds like a character from a porny version of Metal Gear Solid and whose design ethic seems to be “What if Batman was really keen on touching his junk?”

The Pulse is a hand-sized rubbery business (NB – actually silicone) which envelops your cock like an over friendly stingray. It charges by USB, has several speed settings, and, when you’re not tugging yourself senseless, can rest on your cock so your partner can straddle you to join the fun

I’ll be honest: I was initially apprehensive about reviewing this after GoTN set the bar so fucking high on her Doxy review and those god damn sound files. I’m not particularly vocal when I wank and was desperately worried that all I’d end up with was five minutes of what sounded like a hungry walrus being denied a fish. I’ve also never really used a sex toy specifically designed for wanking before, preferring the god’s honest method of my hand, a bit of spit and maybe something in my arse if I’m feeling decadent.

Still. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The Pulse proudly states that it is the first toy of its ilk that can be used flaccid or erect, as well as being fun with or without lube, so like the pioneers of old, I popped my unerect cock in a thing to see what would happen.

The vibrations are deep even at the lowest setting – a bass rumble that builds into an electrifying buzz as you increase the power – and within a couple of minutes I went from “vaguely horny but nothing special” to “cock straining against the Pulse fuck me this feels good more more more”.

I spent most of my first go in a hands-off way, simply enjoying the new and powerful feelings as the weight of the Pulse pressed my cock against my stomach, the relentless vibrations making me twitch and whimper until I couldn’t stand it any more. Holding the Pulse tight I gave myself quick, hard strokes until I was just on the edge of orgasm. It took a Herculean effort of willpower to let go then, but I wanted the Pulse to carry me over.

Fuck me it did.

I was harder than I had been in weeks. My entire body twitching and desperate. Slowly, achingly, I felt myself get closer. For a man who is normally very quiet when wanking, it was a hell of a shock to find myself panting “Oh god” over and over again as I finally came, covering my stomach in spunk and collapsing into a heap on the bed.

I’m not going to tell you that you should buy the Pulse, but I will say is that I’m going to use it tonight while my partner sucks me off.

I can’t fucking wait.

Thanks Lewis, you have put some filthy-hot images in my head that I will only be able to exorcise with a strenuous wank of my own. I hope that now you’ve read his review, you understand what a massive wrench it was for me to give this toy away, and why even I – a person who is offered free sex toys on an hourly basis – am going to fork out actual cash money to get me one of these. What better way to express my love than by running excitedly into the living room and shouting ‘I’m going to wank you off with Batman’s jizz-extractor!’

They usually sell for about £69.99, but if you want to buy one, you can get 10% off if you use the code GOTN10 and buy it from SexToys, because they’re bloody nice like that. If you want to find out more about it, visit the Pulse website, where you can also see some dirty hot pictures of a beautiful tattooed guy, like this one:

hot guy with tattoos and snake - omg please take me immediately i don't care how or where

What happens when you combine sex and anxiety?

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just make sure you don't knock over my oh fuck who cares it's only a career

Picture by the awesome Stuart F Taylor

The hardest thing about using words to make a living is that they’re so pathetically small. The bigger the thing you’re trying to describe, the smaller the words feel when you select them. Describing sex is pretty easy, because it’s so intensely personal. While the word ‘dick’ might mean little to you, when combined with a few more everyday words to create the sentence ‘I spat on his dick‘ – to me it becomes intensely special and deeply arousing. Sex is easy.

Love on the other hand is much, much harder. While I profess to detest overly-sentimental, romantic shit there’s something to be said for a well-placed ‘wind beneath my wings’ or ‘sugar to my coffee’.

They don’t come close to describing the swelling, hair-pulling, scream-into-a-pillow magnitude of the sensation of being in love, but they exist to show us just how hard it is to adequately describe the feeling you have when you’d happily take a bullet for someone at the same time as calling them a ‘dickhead.’

Sex and anxiety

It’s four pm and I’m shaking with panic. A five pm deadline and two for first-thing tomorrow. For the first time ever, one deadline has whizzed past, and now it stares at me from two days ago whispering: “everything you love will crumble, and you, my friend, will fail.”

It cackles.

I sit at my desk ignoring the piles of washing, clutter of papers and an inbox that screams ME! PICK ME!

I breathe quickly and shake, as I stare at the mounting tower of ‘oh God where the hell do I start?’ and worry that I’ve fucked up my life.

So far, so desperately unsexy.

The truth is that much of my life isn’t sexy. I’m sure most of you realise that I don’t spend 90% of my time wanking, with only quick breaks to stock up on cheese sandwiches to give me the energy for my next angry fuck. There are clearly some with that misconception, though it’s mostly dudes who send me dick pics at 8:30 am on a weekday then a follow-up at lunchtime saying ‘r u wet yet?’

Most of the time I’m boring. A lot of the time I’m anxious. And some of the time I’m so busy twitching that I can’t even think about fucking.

My body says ‘you know what would really help you to calm down? A nice relaxing wank’, which sounds lovely but then my brain chips in with ‘but what about all these things? Look at them! Teetering in a huge pile that will one day collapse around you!’ So my body replies ‘OK you’ve got a really good point. Give me ten minutes to hyperventilate and curl in a ball on the floor while I consider this.’

After ten minutes of ball-curling and ragged breaths, just as I’m back in the zone of the functional, the phone will ring and the whole mess starts all over again.

If someone else told me this I’d offer to help them. But if someone offers to help me then my brain gives me more of its pesky chatter and I’m left spinning:

Don’t help me. Your help takes up time. I have no time. NO TIME. The time I am going to spend being helped by you is time taken away from the allocated time I have to do the things and there is NO TIME and one day I will have used up all the time and I’ll be dead and what help will you be then? Hmm?

This is all well and good when it’s my Mum on the phone but when it’s Amazon customer services the whole thing gets a bit awkward.

This long-winded build-up is here to show that when I say I’m stressed, I’m not talking about some mild worries or a couple of nagging concerns at the back of my mind. I mean full-blown, heart-hammering panic which prevents me from reading any text, email or tweet without a kind of swelling nausea because oh God I’ll have to say something now and what if what I say is hopelessly wrong?

It isn’t easily cast aside, overcome, or subject to the kind of help offered by well-meaning friends.

But it can be dampened, and it can – very occasionally – be swept to one side.

Like when he comes home from work and I’m ill and tired and my eyes are brim-full of desperate tears. He says ‘how was your day?’ and I shout ‘FINE!’ over my shoulder, because if I take my eyes off the screen then I’ll have failed and another deadline will fall by the wayside.

So he disappears. And then later, when I’m ragged and miserable and slouching with the weight of everything, he pops back in and says ‘how are you?’ And I say ‘fine’ like I’m not really sure if I am, and I stare at the piles of paper.

He doesn’t ask if he can help – he knows he can’t help any more than he can remove my head and stir around inside it to fix me. So he squeezes me with his massive arms, and lets me bury my face in his neck. It smells horny and masculine and all the things I want to fuck.

Sometimes it doesn’t work – the closeness makes me feel trapped and the idea of pausing even for a five-minute shag sets my heart back to hammering. But sometimes it works, and he strips off my knickers. And as he pulls them off – at just the right moment – I can rip off the terror and anxiety and throw myself into just… wanting.

Feeling the rush of arousal and wanting him to fuck me.

In the middle of a pile of paper. In a tangled ball on the floor. In a mishmash of trembling limbs across my messy desk. It’s a delicious and rare relief – to push out the worry about working and replace it with a desire for him to take me across his knee, belt hard sharp smacks across my arse until it’s glowing red, dip his fingers in my cunt and call me a dirty girl, then flip me over and fuck me while I cry with shaking desire.

It’s not need – it’s so much better than need. I ‘need’ food, and money. Without these things I’d struggle to survive, so reaching out to grab them is instinctive: like sneezing when something tickles your nose.

I don’t need him: I want him. And here’s where I bring it back to how inadequate words are. Just as they’re pitifully bad at conjuring the exact nature of a full-blown anxiety attack, so they limp pathetically across the page when I try to conjure the chest-aching love that I have for this man. Not because he stops me from panicking, but because he doesn’t try to. He doesn’t push or question or offer solutions: he just is. There. Solid and warm and patient and oh-so-deliciously ready to put his swollen cock in me at exactly the moment I want it the most.

It’s a want rather than a need because he doesn’t ‘fix’ me or ‘save’ me: I’d survive/cope/live/work without him. If he weren’t there the panic would still be around – washing over me one minute and fucking off suspiciously the next, leaving me worrying when it’d come back and contemplating whether it’d be all the stronger for having had a short break and… damn. There it is again. It’s been twenty minutes since I started writing this and where does the fucking time go? I didn’t even get to tell you how he… never mind. I’ve got shit to be getting on with.

Here’s the obligatory link to Mind.org, which you have to include on anything that references mental health. And if you think you might have anxiety problems, and you’re thinking ‘ah but I’m just a naturally stressy person though and I’m just so busy and shit’ then here’s a thing I wrote for The Cocktail Hour which might be useful. Or might not. I don’t know. Oh God sorry I’m such a twat. And here’s a thing by Dean Burnett in the Guardian about social anxiety, which is sparked by slightly different things but no less tremblingly awful.

Guest blog: sexual hypochondria

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If I had a quid for every time I’ve taken a pregnancy test even though I’m 99% sure I couldn’t possibly be pregnant, I’d have enough money to babyproof my house.

This week’s guest blogger is Liz, and she’s going to talk to you about her feelings on sexual health. Or, more accurately, what she’s nicknamed ‘sexual hypochondria’: the line between sensible worry and terrible panic, and the fact that when you’re worried about your sexual health it can be hard to tell the difference. If you like her writing do go and check out her Tumblr – Beaux Bisous.

As with any blog about health, I would be a total arse if I didn’t point out up front that I am not a doctor. Neither is Liz. Therefore this isn’t a blog about how to treat STIs, the best ways to test for STIs, or even the best way to avoid STIs. For all those you need to visit your actual doctor. But for a post that evokes the panic of not knowing, and the relief when you find out you’re clean? Well, I’ll hand you over to Liz…

Sexual Hypochondria

I think most people have slight hypochondriac tendencies, even without realising. Feeling crap, remembering an odd-tasting glass of water the evening before, and subsequently spending the rest of the day entertaining the possibility of having contracted cholera is probably a fairly normal tangent for the human mind. But what is, in my opinion, even more normal, is sexual hypochondria. Anxiety to keep our bodies healthy is one thing, but genitalia is definitely a whole different ball game (no pun intended). With more and more contraceptive products and statistics to differentiate between, and seemingly endless consequences to not having immaculately safe sex, it’s no wonder that we get easily worried.

Or is it? As Mean Girls’ Coach Carr helpfully pointed out: “Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die.” Ignoring the fact that dying is a fact of life, and thanks to the miracle of pregnancy you’re actually reading this, there’s actually a fairly sound point in that sentence. The only way to guarantee lifelong perfect sexual health is just to avoid sex altogether – sorry, where’s the fun in that? Fun and risks go hand in hand. And if you’re never going to prevent occasional sexual health issues, then the fear of what’s going to happen and when is a normal occurrence. It’s akin to praying that you don’t suddenly end up with the flu in your busiest week of work. I’m not trying to make a poorly disguised attack on services like the NHS, because I do believe there is by far enough information out there. I suppose the point of this post is to remind people that being hyperconscious of sexual health is definitely better than having no awareness whatsoever.

I certainly fall into the hyperconscious camp. Despite the fact that I’ve now been on the pill for six months, the only sexual partner I’ve had in that time is my current boyfriend, and the whole concept of not using condoms was a new experience for me. So in the two months we’ve been together, that hasn’t stopped me googling horror stories of the negligible percentage who have managed to get pregnant, and despite the fact that we’re both clean of STDs, I found myself ordering a pregnancy test and an STD self-test kit just for peace of mind.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve taken the morning after pill a few times, got myself antibiotics for a UTI with the explanation of “I think my vagina’s on fire”, and sternly watched one guy reapply four condoms before we were both satisfied that he’d put it on properly. Sexy? I think not. I’ve definitely improved, minus the cautious tests, to the point where I’ve even managed to ignore various websites’ warnings of warts (ugh) and tearing (please, no) and actually engage in anal sex.

Whatever kind of sex you’re having – genital, oral, anal – you don’t need me to tell you that there are risks. But the kind of relief that comes with regularly checking, depending on your sex life, is not one to pass up. I reckon the amusing fixation with sexual health is definitely more critical than general health because it is our livelihood. And what’s more, people like me can order as many self-test kits as they like, but if I’m clean, I’m clean. That’s not going to do anything to the rising number of STDs and unwanted pregnancies, much as I wish I could single-handedly change the actions of numerous people. Feel free to laugh at me, I do. But the point of sharing my slightly ridiculous means of maintaining good sexual health is to normalise this sexual hypochondria that we all have. All it takes is a free test kit through the post, a cheap pregnancy test from your local pharmacy, or an appointment with your doctor to reassure or solve your worries.

I may be inwardly dancing with glee at having written about a topic that even GOTN “cringed” about, and I do realise that even the title itself could seem far less interesting than posts on bondage, feminism and erotica, but this is something very real. Go forth and enact your own erotica, but please, leave pubic lice out of it.

Sincerely, Little Miss Safety

If you’d like to read more of Liz’s stuff, head to her Tumblr blog. She writes some beautiful and touching personal posts, and I’m delighted to have her here.

If you have the same tendencies as Liz (and I) when it comes to sexual health, and you want to learn more, then you know exactly who to visit.