I think I’m meant to do a yearly wrap-up post. Unfortunately right now I’m a bit grumpy and can’t remember much, so this is constructed purely from me going through my Twitter archive and picking some things that stood out. They’re not the ‘best’ things of 2015, just some things I noticed, tweeted about, and which subsequently showed up on my ‘top tweets’ list.
Some are sexy, some are newsy, and some are downright bizarre.
A sex-ed teacher who was banned from doing condom demonstrations found an ingenious way to get around the ridiculous rules.
Pandora Blake and Nimue Allen started an Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund cane strokes – in protest against the UK porn laws. They absolutely smashed their target.
Blogger decided to ban adult images, and then swiftly changed its mind. The reversal of its decision was a pretty good thing, but it doesn’t mean adult bloggers are safe using the Google platform. Ultimately as long as there are bums on the internet, there’ll be some tedious moralist killjoys banging on about why we should take bums off the internet.
In more celebratory news, many of you will remember 2015 as the year of Daniel Barker’s birthday. Daniel Barker’s actual birthday happened in January, but it continued over the course of a few months, and grew into a hilarious dystopian nightmare involving leopards and clowns. The guy who kicked it off has now written an excellent book.
This year I’ve noticed a dramatic rise in the online shaming of dating site douchebags. Is this because there are more douchebags around these days, or are we just less tolerant of their shit? A question for the ages. Thanks to this stuff, though, I have discovered one of my favourite pastimes: showing straight male friends some of the appalling shit posted on sites like Bye Felipe, and watching their jaws drop straight through the floorboards and into the centre of the earth.
Election time! Wasn’t it fun? Well, no. It was heartbreaking for lefties like me, and downright enraging for anyone who didn’t want to see Nigel Farage popping up on every current affairs show to barf middle-England racism into our living rooms. Still, it did give us the leaders’ debates, which were interesting:
— Girl on the Net (@girlonthenet) April 2, 2015
In other political news, in April we celebrated a victory for men’s rights in the changes to parental leave – although many men’s rights groups seemed to ignore it completely.
Dave Pickering conducted a fascinating survey this year, asking men for their opinions on the patriarchy – does it exist? If so, how does it affect you? So many interesting responses – which he released in May on his website. He also wrote a guest blog explaining the results.
Also in May, Dumb Domme explained why ‘sex positive’ is not always the right term, and Goddess Deeva wrote an absolutely storming post on kink shaming and rape apology.
Thanks to Orange Is The New Black, knicker-sniffing suddenly got really popular, there was a BBC radio documentary on sugar dating, and the Furiosa comic came out – significantly less impressive than the film Mad Max: Fury Road, and that link is a storming explanation as to why.
A guest blogger wrote a gorgeous post for me about having sex to try and conceive, which gets a special mention because he was kind enough to pop back a few months later to tell us they’d had a baby boy. Aww.
Personal highlight of June: I got to spend a day on a porn set with some amazing people. Yes my job is so hard.
Macy Gray wrote a song about her vibrator. I don’t know why this wasn’t on every single episode of The News in July, because it’s an amazing song and Macy Gray is awesome.
Thanks to Channel 4’s Humans, robot sex was back on the agenda, and later in the year some appalling arseholes set up the Campaign Against Sex Robots. Took me far too long to realise they weren’t joking.
Other people who are also, apparently, not joking: ATVOD. The Association for TV on Demand, who have been on the warpath against online porn. In July, Pandora Blake got a notice from ATVOD saying they were going to censor her site. She has now had to take the whole site offline.
August saw not only the Ashley Madison hack, but a bunch of people being shockingly callous about those affected by the Ashley Madison hack.
On a personal level: I went to Eroticon and did a talk, and I did not collapse halfway through the talk from panic, or vomit on people in the front row. Well done me. I also met lots of awesome sex bloggers – please click the link to see who and visit their blogs and all that.
I learned TONNES from Dangerous Lilly’s debunking of sex toy myths. That blog post is like Snopes for sex toy bullshit, and it’s awesome. I also learned that there’s a porn parody of Gogglebox, because of course there is.
Lindy West wrote a brilliant response to the appalling Nicole Arbour fat-shaming video, The Toast explained why your flight is delayed, and some random person tried to persuade me that dating was actually very simple if you reduce men and women to nymphs and satyrs.
I finished writing a book. I hope you like it when it comes out in March 2016. Or if you don’t like it, I hope you pretend you do so as to avoid hurting my feelings, because it took me ages.
The Bloggess wrote this gorgeous post on mental health: just because you can’t see a problem doesn’t mean it’s not real. The ever-awesome Bridget Minamore wrote about gentrification for The Debrief. And a group of writers hit their crowdfunding target for a book on bisexuality, which looks like it will be awesome.
We also had loads of discussions about writers being asked to work for free. I think it started with Will Wheaton, and included a pretty genius idea from Jane Fae, who suggested we all pitch IndyVoices (who don’t pay their writers) about the ethics of unpaid work. If you’re a writer and you keep getting asked to work for free, I put together a practical guide to responses over at WriteSexRight.
Tech writer Holly Brockwell got a whole load of abuse from people because she said she doesn’t want children, and is looking to get sterilised. This pulled on all of my heartstrings because, although I’m not planning on getting sterilised, I don’t want to have kids either and I’m frequently gobsmacked to discover that other people seem to think it’s their business. Luckily, Dean Burnett was there to tell us the exact number of children to have in order to stop other people criticising your life choices.
I also loved Bethany Rutter’s definitive article on why plus-sized fashion is getting it wrong. And Julia Serano’s amazing guide on how to write a ‘political correctness run amok’ article.
Back to the porn laws again – in December Pandora Blake explained the link between criticising the porn laws and getting targeted for censorship. The censorship of her site is appalling, but in better news this year she won the sexual freedom award for Publicist of the Year. Also nominated: the amazing @waitingirl13, who was kind enough to write a super-hot guest post for me.
More sad news: in the wake of the James Deen allegations, a company purportedly ‘by and for women’ accused women of ‘crying rape.’ More on this coming soon.
Blog things that were awesome: Cara Sutra wrote a neat guide for sex bloggers on how to set up advertising (and how much to charge). Malin James brought one of my favourite fantasies to life in an awesomely hot threesome story.
2015 in summary
As I have discovered over the course of the last three hours, these kinds of posts take a fuck of a long time to create. They also don’t make much sense, and will probably only be of interest to a few of you. Still, this post, much like 2015, is almost done now. I will leave you with a couple of other recommendations of things to follow/check out on the off-chance that you’re still reading:
Media Diversified has been awesome this year, and will no doubt continue to be awesome in 2016.
Sex Worker Open University is doing some amazing stuff campaigning for sex worker’s rights.
The Guyliner blog covers all the bases from utterly hilarious to heartbreakingly touching and I can’t pick just one post to put here so please read all of it.
Backlash is an organisation fighting porn censorship in the UK. Well worth following and supporting where you can.
The blogroll on the right (or at the bottom of the page if you’re reading on mobile) includes some links to other great blogs. If you think yours should be on my list to read in 2016, just drop me an email or comment here.
And, God, loads more. I suck at doing lists like this. I have left off so many amazing people and I will be feeling sick with guilt for at least the next 24 hours. Still, I hope there’s enough here to get stuck into, and as ever I endeavour to be less rubbish in 2016. And as ever, I will probably fail.
Happy New Year. x