I want to talk about fantasy and issues around consent. This blog touches on both of these things. Everything in it is consensual, but if discussions around this upset you or make you uncomfortable, you might prefer not to read it.
Consent is utterly fundamental when you’re having sex. It’s so fundamental, so important, that the vast majority of people wouldn’t even need to hear that stated: you just know. As you know it’s wrong to punch a stranger, sneak meat into vegetarian lasagne, or throw a kitten into a lake.
However, despite knowing these things are wrong, we’re more than happy for them to happen in fiction. We’ll cheer when the baddie gets punched in an action film, smile when Tom gets hit by Jerry, or laugh along when David Mitchell suggests that Robert Webb should kill and eat a cat. We’re perfectly capable of distinguishing fantasy from reality.
‘Bending’ by Greta Christina
I was recently sent a copy of ‘Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More’ by Greta Christina. It’s a thoughtful, sordid, delicious shock of a book. She and I clearly have some very similar fantasies, and when I read it I was frequently torn between shouting “OH JESUS YES” and sneaking off the train for a quick wank in the toilets. They’re mostly BDSM-focused, and an excellent demonstration of just how much variety there is in even that one tiny slice of the sexual spectrum. If you like my blog, and the sort of things I write about, I’d be gobsmacked if you didn’t like at least a few of the stories in this book.
However, some of the stories deal with fantasies that involve non-consent. One or more of the fictional participants is being cajoled, bullied or forced into doing something sexual. They describe sort of activities – like a cat being served up for dinner – that we wouldn’t want to see in real life. But does that stop them being hot? Does that make them unethical? I don’t think so. And although I could waffle on about this until my feline steak goes cold, I couldn’t put it better than Greta Christina herself.
Here is an extract from the book’s introduction that she’s kindly allowed me to publish as part of her blog tour:
These are not nice stories.
These are not “erotica” — except in the sense that “erotica” has become the term of art in publishing for “dirty stories with some vaguely serious literary intent.” These are not tender stories about couples in love making love. (Except for the one that is.) These are not sweet, gentle, happy stories about unicorns fucking rainbows. (Except for the one about the unicorn fucking the rainbow.)
A lot of fucked-up shit happens in a lot of these stories. Stuff happens here that is borderline consensual. Stuff happens that is not at all consensual. Stuff happens in which people manipulate other people into doing sexual things they don’t want to do. Stuff happens in which people do sexual things they’re ashamed of. Stuff happens in these stories that, if they happened in real life, I would be appalled and enraged by.
Stuff happens here that excites me to think about when I whack off.
I apparently have a very fucked-up sexual imagination.
But there is also love in these stories. Some of them, anyway. There is the love of long-term couples; there is the love of newly-discovered lovers; there is the love of friends. There is affection — between lovers, between colleagues, between strangers encountered on the street. There is respect: for love, for desire, for scars, for the complicated places where love and desire and scars overlap.
Above all, there is respect for sex itself. I think — I hope — that this respect underlies every story in this book. Beneath the excitement and the fear, the pain and the shame, the helplessness and the hunger, the danger and the love… there is always the idea that sex matters.
Since most of these stories are kinky, and since some people reading this may not be super-familiar with kink, I want to take a moment to talk about kinky porn.
Some of these stories are about consensual sadomasochism. They’re about negotiated SM scenes between consenting adults, with safewords and limits and attention to safety. There’s conflict in the stories, and mis-steps, and bad decisions… but fundamentally, what happens within those stories is consenting. They are attempts to express, in fiction, some of the things that consensual sadomasochists do.
And some of these stories aren’t. Some of these stories are about force, and violation, and abuse of power. They are attempts to describe, not what consensual sadomasochists do, but some of the things we think about. They are attempts to describe some of the images that come into our minds when we masturbate, or have sex, or engage in consensual SM. They are attempts to describe some of the activities that some of us consensually act out with each other. They are fantasies.
And every single story in this book is consensual.
They’re consensual because they’re fiction. They’re consensual because they’re made-up. I consented to write them; you’re consenting to read them. If you don’t want to read this kind of thing, this isn’t the book for you. I encourage you to put it down, and read something else.
It’s funny. When it comes to things that aren’t sex, people seem to understand this distinction. People get that enjoying spy novels doesn’t mean you want to join the CIA; that enjoying murder mysteries doesn’t mean you want to kill people; that enjoying heist thrillers doesn’t mean you want to break into Fort Knox. People understand that it’s fun and exciting to imagine things we wouldn’t actually want to do — even things we think are immoral.
But for some reason, porn often gets held to a different standard. Depicting a fantasy of a sex act is often assumed to be an endorsement of that act. So let me spell it out: I do not endorse sexual force, abuse of power, rape, or any form of violation of sexual consent. I am vehemently opposed to them.
I am, however, unapologetic about the fact that I like to fantasize about them. If we have any freedom at all, it’s the freedom between our ears: the freedom to think about whatever we like. And that includes sex.
And if this has enraged you, I’d genuinely love to know why. What makes sex different? I don’t want to live in a world where we can’t separate fantasy from reality. That means not just comedy, cartoons, and action films but sex as well.
I’m pretty bad at dominance. I enjoy being domme occasionally, and there’s certainly an incredibly satisfying something about making a guy angrily horny and desperate to come, then saying ‘nope’, and walking away while he lies whimpering in a sexy heap. Usually I prefer to be the one doing the whimpering – it’s more fun to tremble in excited anticipation of what might be done to you than to tremble in terror that your “who’s a naughty boy then?” will be met with a snort of derisive laughter. So I was delighted when someone sent me this guest post, in which she provides what I can only very rarely attempt: some super-hot sexy writing with the girl very much on top. From our anonymous Africa correspondent, here’s some female dominance, a hate fuck, and a massive dollop of rage…
I’m an impatient sort of person – more interested in shagging than seduction. But I know I don’t speak for everyone, and I also know that there are disproportionately good pleasures to be had in the little things. When I stand still and keep my knickers on for long enough to enjoy the build up, I occasionally find the build up itself pretty erotic, and occasionally quite charming.
The following blog on the art of kissing was offered to me by a guy who’ll be known as ‘Digger’, who’d like to remain anonymous (hence why there’s no link!) and it’s all about kissing. It’s lovely.
The lost art of the kiss
At about two in the morning the thought struck me. No one kisses any more. Well, that’s a bit harsh, everyone kisses. In fact everyone kisses everyone. That’s part of the problem. Whether it’s the Ladies Who Lunch and their coutured, coiffured air-kissing, bise-trois is de riguer these days, or slebs kissing each other for another pap-snap – Madonna and Britney anyone? – it seems that everyone is at it. A peck on the cheek, a smack on the lips, a tongue thrust here and there.
Let me confess. When the thought struck me I was looking at the most luscious pair of lips imaginable. Jolie-esque in their bee-stung magnificence, this mouth belonged to an improbably proportioned young lady and we had been talking for some time about matters carnal, sharing tips and comparing notes when the thought hit me. Whatever happened to the art of the sensual kiss? That we could have the conversation we were having is just an extreme illustration of the sexualisation of western societies for whom the limits of visual taboos and personal behaviours have been pushed and pushed beyond shock to a new level of desensitised sexuality. We have sex but not romance, we have sexual but not sensual, we act but do not feel.
Let’s bring back the kiss
It’s not a new thing is it? It’s a basic human action with origins that go way back when and that anthropologists can talk about for hours. And hours. And hours. We could take a look at this but let’s not. We could take a look at the physiology of the kiss. You know the thing, the number of muscles used, the number of nerve endings. But again, let’s not because that is to reduce a kiss to mere facts, to a mechanical process that takes us away from the real reason for performing this act: sensation.
Imagine, for a moment, close your eyes if you want to (and as long as someone else is reading this to you), that you are about to kiss someone. Just hold that thought.
First, think about the word: kiss. A hard start and soft finish. Kiss. Your lips are forced apart as you make the sound, your tongue is pushed forward to the teeth: the very word should make you lick your lips and want to pucker up. Think about the word ‘lips’. Say it, softly, to yourself and feel your tongue flick down before your mouth closes and opens again and leaves you again with that soft lingering ending. Even words like ‘lingering’ can be played with in the same way, rolled around the tongue, teeth and lips to produce a moment where the word is the thought is the act is the feeling. How are you feeling now? Ready?
How to kiss – properly
A good kiss, a proper sensual smacker, starts slowly almost hesitatingly by not touching. The first of the senses to be engaged is sight. If anyone tells you that you shut your eyes to kiss tell them they’re doing it wrong. You must start with your eyes open. Look at your partner, look into their eyes, look at their face, the nose, the mouth, the shape of the lips, their colour. Enjoy this calm observation and appreciate this beautiful sight. Up close you can read the eyes and the mouth as they make the tiniest of movements, little dances of encouragement.
And now use your sense of smell. Come as close as you can. Do not touch. Not yet. Your eyes will close a little as you focus on the scent of your partner. You want to channel everything into the pathway that leads directly to the brain, directly to that primitive core that drives memory. This smell, this scent will ignite your memory and you must savour the moment. Smell the hair, the face, the neck and notice the way in which each is subtly different. Your eyes will be shut as you lose yourself completely in this moment. This is anticipation.
Now you touch. It might be the tenderest of movements, you might brush the lips of your partner, you might land butterfly-like and take off again to return a moment later. But you do touch and all at once you both relax. You are inside the kiss now. You have begun and this is now a shared act of mutual tender, sensual, touch.
You cannot kiss with a closed mouth. Your lips will be half open, teasing, inviting, anticipating. When you come together, both welcoming each other, you explore not just the kiss, the mouth, the physical but the sensation that is now firing through your mind and body. Keep it slow, keep it firm yet giving, tender yet definite. Move together, explore together, and respond to the responses. And keep your tongue under control.
Why do people want to push their tongue down someone’s throat at the earliest opportunity? What a waste of anticipation. Just wait. Patience is the greatest virtue in matters of the flesh. Wait and you will be rewarded. We haven’t got to the tongue yet.
As with the mouth so with the body. Standing, sitting, laying your body should echo the kiss. Your body should be tender yet firm, responsive but calm. Less is always always more. Slow is good.
The result of all this? A long lingering delight of the senses where sight, sound, smell, touch and taste are all engaged at the same time in a moment that fills the mind and body with such pleasure that makes time stand still and the world disappear. Now that is worth saving.
It’s all very well for internet arseholes like me to tell you to be confident, own the world, and generally stamp around with a level of self-assurance that most people would struggle with on a good day. I know that, despite my hippy-esque assurances that you should love yourself no matter what, genuinely being happy with yourself is one of the hardest things to be.
Your rational mind can look in the mirror and go “well, I’m sort of average shape, quite tall, and reasonably tidy-looking” while your emotional mind, ignoring evidence to the contrary, goes “I’m so fucking UGLY.” Even the most confident, beautiful, almost-perfect people get these flashes. But some get it harder than others, and some have to fight it every single day.
It’s all very well assuring people that ‘you’re totally fine. You’re beautiful. Don’t be ridiculous’ when they let their insecurity out, but often the problem is so much deeper than just a simple desire for reassurance. Knowing that helps us understand people a bit better, and dodge the flippancy that I’m certainly guilty of a lot of the time.
The following guest blog is by Madison, who is a very new blogger writing excellent things over at Madisonwritessht. She got in touch to ask if she could write a guest blog on recovering from an eating disorder. And fuck me, can she write.
I can’t tell if I’m getting fatter or if my mind is getting sicker.
I have never had a positive body image. I remember panicking when we had to go swimming in primary school, and being jealous of my younger sister for having a smaller body than me. I was six, and I was sick. I thought that the only way anyone would love me would be if my bones were visible and I was blemish free. Unfortunately, I still do.
It’s difficult to explain how you feel about your body with a mouthful of pizza and friends saying they want to look like you. It’s not that I ever thought I was obese, or even fat. ‘Fat’ doesn’t have the same meaning to someone suffering from an eating disorder as it does to others. Fat means disgusting, it means failure. It means you can’t get anything right, and as long as the numbers on the scale are creeping higher, you’ll never be a success.
Personally, food is a comfort. I don’t remember the last time I was actually hungry, I eat when I’m sad, bored or lonely. Food is so tightly connected with emotions that every moment of my time is spent counting calories, or searching for happiness in a bar of chocolate like a Wonka ticket. So, as a pre-teen, I did what I thought would make me look ‘normal’. I drank a litre of salted water and stuck a toothbrush down my throat. I didn’t care what anyone thought, as long as there were other people out there skinnier than me, I was fat. I’d cry myself to sleep and, for a long time, I wished I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, so I didn’t have to deal with myself. There was nothing I could do to stop puberty or my developing body, but the success in stopping my periods spurred me on. But I never lost much weight and the constant act of bingeing and purging simply left my weight fluctuating and my body wrecked. It wasn’t until I was sent to therapy as a teenager for other issues that I was able to stop the voices for a while, and put them to one side.
After accidentally losing a lot of weight during summer a year or so ago, starting at university was torture. The drinking and fast food, coupled with a new unrestricted environment caused my recovery to go downhill. I bulk bought laxatives, taking 30 pills in one go, went days without eating and exercised like a fanatic in my bedroom. I knew I was being irrational, but an eating disorder is an addiction, and I didn’t see a way out. I just wanted to be confident, and to like something about myself. For a short while I had a boyfriend, and after he broke up with me for stupidly arbitrary reasons I didn’t sleep for two days, bingeing, convinced that he would have stayed with me if I’d been thinner.
These days, I’m in recovery. Or at least I’m trying. I’m trying so hard to regulate my eating pattern and think about myself positively. I’m scared about disappointing people if I let myself fall again, but even making myself a bowl of pasta is terrifying. The worst part is, I’m almost 20 and I feel like I’m broken. I’m just looking forward to the day when someone will tell me ‘you’re beautiful’ and the voice inside me won’t erase their words.
Despite occasionally behaving as if I know everything there is to know about sex, there are loads of questions to which I am desperate to know the answers. Usually these are questions like ‘how does it feel for guys when they get a boner in their jeans and it gets all trapped and swollen-looking?’ or ‘does your own jizz taste better than other people’s?’ and, frequently, ‘how does it feel to be the dude who plays Jesse off of Breaking Bad sitting naked in front of a mirror, frantically masturbating onto one of the pictures of my tits that you have politely requested I stop sending you?’
In short: questions to which there is no right or wrong answer, just a fascinating insight into how one other individual feels about sex. The best thing about doing the sex-blogging thing, apart from the vast sums of cash*, is that sometimes I get my questions answered.
*that has so far failed to materialise
I recently got an email from Jo, a sex worker who said she might fancy blogging herself. This was an excellent opportunity to ask one of the questions I always want to ask sex workers when I meet them: do you ever fancy your clients? Do any of them do good (by which I mean sexyhot) things for you?
Below is a super-hot story, by way of introduction, and her own response to that question. Over to Jo…
I felt like a dirty, brazen, wanton little whore.
Which I am, of course, but that’s hardly the point right now.
His name was John. Or he said his name was John, anyway. He walked in the door exactly 7 minutes and 34 seconds before he walked right back out of it again, £80 and one load of hot, foul cum lighter.
I was just idly sat there thinking I could really do with a half-way decent fuck when he called. “I saw your ad, what do you do?” he gruffed down the phone at me. “Anything but hardsports and kissing,” I replied. He asked if I could be ready in 20 minutes and I said I would be.
When he arrived, he asked if he could use the bathroom… I heard him piss and flush, whereupon he immediately came out. I asked him for the money and straight away his hands were roughly in my pants, before awkwardly trying to wrench my top off one-handed. When he saw my tits, he was like a man possessed… he shoved me to my knees and barely grated out “do you swallow?” before his thick load was filling the back of my throat.
And then he left.
And I still need a fuck.
Behind the Scenes
So, you’ve just finished and have entered that awkward stage where you’re not sure whether to chat, or to dress and leave. You settle for a compromise… you talk while you’re cleaning up. “Do you enjoy this?” you ask as you’re wiping your cock and trying not to look me in the eye while doing it. “Yes, of course I do,” I answer with a smile, as I always do.
I know what you really mean when you ask if I enjoy it… your question is more complicated than that, as is my answer. You want to know if I actually wanted the sex I had with you, whether I fancy you and whether I enjoyed the things you wanted to do… if you’re the very rare and particularly sensitive man I get once in a while, you’re probably curious about how my needs and desires fit with this line of work, too.
Well, here are the answers I’ll never give you to the questions you’ll never ask.
My sex drive is a bit of an odd one, in all fairness. Most of the time, it’s rather dormant and then all of a sudden, BOOM! I’m so horny I’m rubbing myself against a door frame. I’m sure you can appreciate that this doesn’t always marry up very well with when you want to see me, or when I’m available to see you. I’m fortunate enough to have a live-in boyfriend and a lover or two scattered about the place to take me in hand when this happens.
It’s infrequent I see a guy who’s so hot that the very sight of him makes me weak at the knees – those guys very rarely have need of my services, I’m sure they’re busy throwing smouldering looks at women in bars and scooping them up as they swoon into their arms. For me to really fancy you, I need to be attracted to your mind… closely followed by your scent, with your looks trailing in at a limp third, at best. Unless you’re rather well off, it’s unlikely I’ve spent enough time with you to genuinely fancy you, but, trust me; you’re at least acceptable enough for me to smile and enjoy our time together. After all, you’re only going to be here for an hour or two… sometimes lying back and thinking of England is a necessary part of any job.
After all this, you might be wondering why exactly I enjoy sex work at all! Whilst I do generally identify more as a dominant than a submissive, I do experience an enormous amount of pleasure from pleasing others and a visceral sense of satisfaction when sucking your cock. There’s something about having a man’s cock in my mouth, hearing their breathing deepen and feeling their thighs tense and twitch under my hands that transcends any attraction I do or don’t feel towards you. Your cock is in my mouth and you are helpless in my power. To blow my own trumpet a little (after I’m finished blowing yours), anyone who’s had one of my blowjobs will testify to their awesomeness and that makes me very proud.
Also, being a bit old and jaded at the grand old age of 24 (well, that’s how old I’ve told you I am, anyway), I’ve tried everything I know I want to try and experimented to a greater or lesser degree with all the things I’ve fantasised about. There’s no particular one, or even several, sexual acts that really really gets me going. These days, I mostly get my chills and thrills from fulfilling your fantasies and making you writhe and groan with pleasure…
So, in answer to your question, yes, of course I enjoy it. Not always in the way you might think, but on so many levels you’d probably never even want to hear about.
As I’m sure you’ll agree, that was amazing. I (and Jo) would love to get your thoughts in the comments below, especially if you’re a sex worker or a client. As ever, though, any comments/thoughts/unanswered sex questions of your own are especially welcome and encouraged on a guest blog, to make guest bloggers feel at home and show them how genuinely lovely the people who comment on my blog are.