Pleasure and not practice.

There seems to be a growing trend, or maybe I’ve just not noticed it before, which revolves around the idea of sex being something that needs to be practiced. It’s like there is this objective goal – squirting, multiple orgasm, larger toys, longer penetration, in which the sole focus of our sexual experiences revolve around perfecting their objectives.

While I’m all for goal setting and navigating our relationships in particular directions. I’m finding it really hard to get my head around this idea of practicing. We practice the piano. We practice baking macarons. We practice parallel parking. We just don’t need to practice sex. Gaining a better understanding of our bodies and those of our partners and figuring out what comes next for us in the bedroom, is one thing. But using our erotic spaces; masturbation or sex, as a space within which we practice until we obtain an imagined sexual perfection – I can’t wrap my head around the idea. Or where the motivation for this come from.

Sex is not an experience measured in results. Now, I’m sorry if this dints some male ego (okay not really sorry). Sex is, well should be, about us creating physical intimacy that allows us to form connection and explore sensations and pleasure. PLEASURE NOT BLOODY PRACTICE!

What exactly are we supposed to be practicing? And where are women getting their ideas of what to practice? I’m asking because I had an interestingly frustrating conversation with a couple of women who, while telling me that practice is necessary, became, seemingly mortified when I suggested that they grab a printout of what a vagina looks like, a mirror, and for them to start exploring their own bodies. How is it uncomfortable for a woman to explore her own body but it’s assumed normal to use your body to practice until sexually perfect?

And what happens when this perfect doesn’t eventuate? What happens to her self-esteem and her confidence in herself as a capable sexual being? What happens when a woman practices and practices – let’s say masturbating so that she can squirt, and this never happens? Where does she take her body next, if she has failed? If her body just can’t do it.

There is a lot about the common narratives weaved about the female body and sex that needs to be changed. Positioning the male body as the sexual normal and seeing the female body as deviating from that norm, has to be number one. But maybe number two has to be destroying this idea that perfection, be it some sexual behaviour or body experience, as being the reason we have sex or masturbate.

Why can women not fuck for pleasure! Why must our cultural obsession with perfection and achieving the next best thing infest our sex lives? Is this what sexual liberation for us really is? Practicing sex until our bodies perform on command, recite the perfected recital to the applause of our sexual partners?



My consent is not what makes his choices okay!

I’m not here to write passionate arguments defending BDSM. The socially constructed acronym used to umbrella an innumerable number of experiences doesn’t need my few words to argue on its behalf. I don’t feel the need to defend anything that I do nor do I feel the need to explain away the absolute bullshit that others claim as kink that I encounter almost daily. Those who demonise or glamourise BDSM typically lump all and everything into their explorations and conclusions and will never be persuaded by anything that I could say.

But I did try once or twice.

I’ve written a few times here that I started this as a means of adding to the conversations that we have about sex. Something that I’m passionate about. But there’s something that came before this decision. An ‘incident’ so to speak, that made me understand that there is often something missing from the way that we perceive and talk about sex.

And I guess as many other “ah ha” moments, this one began on Facebook. I’d just started connecting with the community of sex writers on social media, I was confident enough to add my 2 cents but not yet sure of my place. I’d managed to toe the party line for a few months, although I had already seen a number of things that confronted and confused me and some that really did offend me. But I’d let them go, choosing to maintain a polite silence rather than question or ask others to question their position.

This one post was on a woman’s page who is a feminist, has been writing for a number of years and has a few hundred followers. She contributes regularly to ‘sex positive’ online publications. She is articulate in her words, she not only writes about sex objectively but she candidly brings her sex life into her space with descriptions, antidotes and pictures. Nothing about her is, really noteworthy, and I’m not going to name her here. We have very different ways of using our own spaces but this is neither here nor there. It just is.

One morning she posted a meme, it was one of those artistically styled black and white ‘tumblr’ posts, with words over the top of the picture. From what I remember it was a typical male dominant, female submissive caricature. The words were simple ‘the difference between kink and abuse is consent’. There were a hundred or so comments all in gushing agreement with the statement and rephrasing it in various ways. Almost all of them were contextualising the statement in a male dominant female submissive relationship and were all assigning consent to her not him. She is the one who gives consent, this was a matter of fact statement. There was this constant theme (and it was/is not only on this one Facebook meme where this occurs, it seems to be quite typical way that consent is positioned in kink) that what she did justifies what he does.

I didn’t get it, I still don’t. How is it that what I do absolves the person I’m having sex with from their choices?

I asked just this. I asked about how intention fits into this, his intentions not mine. I asked what would happen if we began positioning intention rather than consent as the thing, well one of them because there are numerous factors that come together to distinguish my relationship from those where one half of the couple is the victim of domestic violence? I wondered what would happen if, when something goes wrong, we examine the intentions of those who do (allegedly do) harm to others. 

It’s something that I’d been thinking about for a while. And genuinely believed that this was the appropriate time and place to have asked what, for me was a pretty straight forward question.

Boy! Was I wrong!

I was shamed and ridiculed. Not one comment offered me a reason for why my question was wrong. In fact, no one actually directly answered my question or challenged my position that his intention should be more of a concern that my agreement or actions. What did happen were individuals dismissing someone who chose to cross a defined line. Consent is the all and everything. And while I am the first to position the importance of consent I am not prepared to use something that is of such legal and cultural significant to continually justify and defend the actions of those who intend to do harm.

That’s not to say that accidents don’t happen. They’ve happened here and will probably happen again. Nor am I talking about things that are directly asked for, negotiated and that are for the mutual benefit of both partners. But what does not happen here is him intending to hurt, coerce or manipulate me. His intention, going into everything that we do, is to create and facilitate mutually beneficial physical interactions.


His intentions matters. And while my consent matters, they are two very different elements of our relationship. His intention most certainly influences what I consent to and my consent frames what he intends to do. But what he ultimately does comes from his intentions not from my consent.

Positioning his actions as a direct consequence of my consent renders his decision making process and his accountability almost invisible. As if what comes after my agreement (consent) is void, inconsequential. When in fact he and he alone creates the decisions that manifest in his actions.

We can also bring this into efforts to dismantle rape culture. If, instead of centring the consent of the victim as the core element of distinguishing rape from sex, we then are able to actively interrogate the actions of the accused based solely on what they chose to do. What did they intend? What we the mental process that he went through in his mind to assess the entirety of the situation and judge his next action as being right? When he did whatever it is that he is accused of what was his aim? Did he intend to contribute to a mutually agreed upon sexual interaction, something that would create mutual satisfaction – however that plays out. Or did he intend to take what he thought was his, intestinally rejecting part or the entirely of what was agreed?

Does this give us an exceptionally objective measure enabling us to clearly differentiate between sex and rape or BDSM and abuse? No. the complexity of the crime is such that one element is not (or should not) be the crux of a prosecution. However, focusing on intention and examining the decision making process used by an accused to lead him to believe what he was doing was the right thing would dramatically shit the currency that victim blaming has in rape. If it is more about him than her blaming her can’t be so central to a defence can it?

Reflecting back on the way the idea was responded to in my social media interaction mentioned previously still doesn’t make any sense. Here I was being ‘blacklisted’ and blocked, prohibited from commenting all because I wanted to take the responsibility for someone else’s choices away from me and put it squarely on them. Because I want consent to reflect the ability for me to be able to form a sex life that works for me not as something that defends the actions of him.

So let me ask, why is it that my voluntary agreement is the only this that distinguished BDSM from intimate partner violence?

Do not validate my feminism.

By now we’ve all had the pleasure of reading David Hon’s piece explaining (or is that mansplaining) why he won’t date a feminist.

At first I was like most of the commenters, I read his words, laughed and thought ‘thank god men like him will never want to date me’ and reminded myself to remember that I’m supposed to hate men. But then I looked beyond his simplistic rewording, straw-man positions and an intentional rejection of women’s subjective realities and tried to (I really did) understand what his objecting to dating women who are feminists really is all about.

But I couldn’t!

He states that he couldn’t date someone who saw his genitals as giving him advantage that he doesn’t actually have, because believing in privilege takes romance from a partnership to a power struggle. Which I’m assuming creates one of the complex advantages for women that don’t exist for men – because rape culture doesn’t exist. These advantages are “deeply personal” as opposed to political issues. I think he’s trying to play the “personal is political” mantra of feminism but using in it create the illusion that, what he calls “anti-male or anti-female”, are not as we claim the complex result of social inequity and oppression, but rhetoric rooted in a previous bad experience that are also cultural opinions that reflect our own world views.

He concludes by stating that “Maybe one day, men and women will stop trying to eliminate the lines between us and realize it’s the differences between the sexes that make romance, family and love an enjoyable experience”.

And I have no idea what on earth his actual complaint against dating a feminist actually is. If we take his premise that feminism (anti-male rhetoric) is just a consequence of bad experiences, then don’t we have to apply the same to his anti-feminism (anti-female rhetoric) is just a consequence of his own bad experiences?

But the more I sat with this and stopped laughing at what I see as a pathetic argument from a man who can’t date women who are feminists because they create bad experiences for him, I realised what was a much larger issue for me.

I’m not concerned by his choice not to date feminists (although I do have an issue with him being given such a public platform to share this), there wouldn’t be many women who are feminists who would want to date men with his world view.

My problem with the way that this piece comes across is that his rejection of feminism is important.

The assumption that feminists need their feminism validated by outsiders; especially men. I can’t quite put my finger on why this one piece made me connect to this, but something in the way he positions feminism as an obstacle to authentic and functioning romantic relationships between men and women. An obstacle to be overcome or used as a means to reject women. If we are wanting to be seen as desirable/datable/fuckable then we have to accept that our feminism – however that may manifest itself must be put up to interrogation.

Here’s the thing. I don’t need my feminism and the perspectives of the world it gives me validated by any man. Be that my husband. My father. My brother. My boss. A total stranger writing a poorly thought out, click bait opinion piece.

I know that there is a wage gap. Not just because statistics tell me. But because women tell me they experience a wage gap. And I believe them. I know there is a culture in which the complexity and criminality of sexual assault is routinely minimised – on campus and elsewhere. Not just because research and anecdotal evidence tells me. But because women tell me of their own experiences of rape culture. And I believe them. I know that the systematic and structural expectations, assumptions and rules that come together; created by and for a very particular demographic – men, is real. Not because I’ve read generations of sociological theory and quantitative data that demonstrates a difference between the ways in which males and females experience and/or are punished by the world. Not because I’ve listen and responded to the experiences of other women in this system. But because I’ve experienced it myself!

My personal and my political are one in the same. My political position influences almost all of my everyday decisions. And yes, my feminism has and does influence the decisions I make in my intimate and domestic spaces which will disqualify me from a male gaze centred ideal of desirability. I understand that.

But what I do not understand is this need for men to be seen as some kind of  gatekeepers of our feminism. That if they accept and respect what it is that creates our feminist worldview then we are more valid and valued than others – especially when it comes to sex.

Sex advice is abhorrent and why it’s not okay.

It doesn’t take much for me to find fault with a lot of what is considered sex education/advice these days. There is still a lot of retrograde male bodied entitlement and rejection of female autonomy and pleasure underlying our common understandings of sex. This is so common, so expected that, even in something as left of centre and progressive as The Guardian it can still be found.

From the headline alone of this advice column one could assume that the realm of sex is dictated to us by our male counterparts and, us poor female folk are relegated to the world of fantasy and unrequited romance. Which is bad enough. Until you get to the actual advice that is being dished out.

Our 20 something protagonist is dissatisfied with her boyfriend. She doesn’t enjoy sex with her boyfriend at all and can mealy fantasie about intimacy and romance because he “doesn’t like vanilla sex”. The only other piece of information we are offered is her medical diagnosis of vaginismus now classified as genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder (DSM5) which is characterised as significant distress (75 to 100% of the time and for a period of time exceeding 6 moths) due to the “difficulty in vaginal penetration, marked vulvovaginal or pelvic pain during penetration or attempt at penetration, fear or anxiety about pain in anticipation of, during, or after penetration, and tightening or tensing of pelvic floor muscles during attempted penetration.”[1].I’m not going to broach the issue of female sexual dysfunction. It’s something that deserves a piece all of its own.

We all have our own unique sexual peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. That’s what makes us unique in the ways that we humans experience sex. It is an act for pleasure more so than one for procreation. The spectrum and diversity of the array of desires and behaviours that come together to form the umbrella of sex is, as far as I’m concerned, immeasurable. Chances are if you have thought of it someone, somewhere has or is doing it.

The irregularity is the distribution of sexual pleasure within heterosexual intimate relationships is just another way in which ingrained sexism manifests in the lives of women in 2016. And Pamela Stephenson Connolly; our in resident sex guru at The Guardian has given a fantastic example of just this.

She writes “female notions of intimacy and romance are commonly alien and mysterious to men. One should never expect a man to automatically know what those fantasies of yours are, or even to consider them important” Now we don’t actually know what these particular fantasies are of the woman posing the question here, beyond that they are centered in romance and intimacy.

Are the ideas of romance and intimacy truly alien to men? Are we women who desire romance and intimacy truly that mysterious to those who we (as heterosexual women) actively desire and seek out as sexual partners?

Connolly makes reference to two specific actions that she considers to be romance/intimacy – holding hands and kissing at the cinema and (supposedly the more challenging notion) looking into the eyes of the person you are with while having sex. Physical touch and eye contact – alien and mysterious!

A woman writes in asking for help, a woman who cannot enjoy the sex that her boyfriend is expecting of her, and the only advice that is available to her is to, essentially beg, for him to kiss her, outside of the bedroom and to look at her when having sex. I just cannot imagine how “help me bring intimacy into my sex life” became “hold hands at the cinema”.

This has really frustrated me, and going by the comments that have been left on the piece itself and the conversations about the piece I’ve seen on social media I am not the only one frustrated for what has been considered appropriate sex/relationship advice here!

My first frustration is this continuation myth that being into kink is an automatic aversion to romance or intimacy. We’re not talking Hollywood or viral marriage proposal so called romance here. We are talking about affection and intimacy. You can be in a mutually satisfying romantic relationship in which kinky sex happens.

Kink – which is what I am assuming is being referred to as non-vanilla/rough sex, is not synonymous with not being able or willing to satisfy your sexual partner. It just isn’t! Kink is a means to mutual sexual satisfaction between two people who both want what is occurring. Ignoring the way that your partner is experiencing sex with you isn’t kink, it’s being a selfish prat who is choosing to not satisfy the person you are in a sexual relationship with.

What kink is NOT is heterosexual men using the ideas and behaviours commonly associated with it as a means of justifying their adversity or inability to satisfy their sexual partners.

The first time I read through the advice given here I was instantly hit with this idea that there is something inherently wrong with the “female” need for intimacy. That expecting intimacy is so far out of the realm of normal within heterosexual relationships that A, we cannot expect it without explicitly educating the other person as to how romance is to be and B, that “when he gets it right, reward him with something he especially likes”. Now I do agree that we do need to fill or sexual partners in when it comes to the more peculiarities of what we do in our boudoir. Communication is the only way that we can ensure that we are able to get what it is we want from our intimate lives. And maybe I’ve just gotten lucky when it comes to my sexual partners that sex and intimacy just have always gone hand in hand. But I really cannot accept that in 2016 I would have to tell my boyfriend (not a random one-night stand) that looking me in the eyes when having sex with me would be a good thing and rewarding him for it when he does.

Which brings me to my biggest problem with this advice. It treats sex as transactional – that in order to get what I want (intimacy) I have to do what you want – even though it is clearly stated that there is no sexual pleasure for her.

Giving of sexual pleasure to our partner without the expectation of something in return can be a really healthy act. If, and only if, it is not the constant way of having sex. Same goes with expecting a reward for the giving of sexual pleasure. We have sex with our partners to have sex with them, the whole of them. Be it a quick fuck in the shower before work in the morning or a romantic weekend away with lots of sex happening. Sex is something we do with another person, that’s why it’s not masturbation.

There is zero mutuality in either the relationship in the original question or within the advice given. That is there is no empathy for her sexual needs nor any attempt to understand let alone meet her needs. Clearly it is assumed that women are not only the gatekeepers of sex but also carry the entire burden of adjusting our sexual behaviours and expectations to align with men.

“I do not enjoy sex at all and my boyfriend is quite rough with me as he doesn’t like “vanilla sex”. I fantasise about intimacy and romance every day, but it always stays as a fantasy” (emphasis mine) says our letter writer. And all she can do is consider her fantasies so alien that she must reward her sexual partner for his effort in trying to understand them.

When did sex become all about one partner taking what they want while ignoring the entirety of their partner’s sexual pleasure? And when did “non-vanilla” sex become another term for not being able to satisfy your girlfriend?

[1]IsHak, W. W., & Tobia, G. (2013). DSM-5 changes in diagnostic criteria of sexual dysfunctions. Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders, 2013.



I’m submissive and I say no.

There is this common trope within BDSM that, while worded in various ways, conveys the message that “no” is a down and out no-go for any submissive. That to be submissive – or obtain some kind of deeper level of submission, one must yield completely and without hesitation. And while for some this may express a genuine carte blanche statement for others, like myself it does not, in anyway represent me or my experiences of or need for submission. The word “no” nor the message it conveys to him has no power in our relationship. It is not something that is outlawed or rejected. It is, purely and simply a word. So I wanted to spend some time writing, what I guess you’d call the opposite statement and to show how the word no can become just another communication tool within a relationship.

But I want to make two points before I do.

First, keeping my ability to say no is a very personal and very political choice, that has nothing to do with him.

There are just under 50 countries throughout the world where a woman does not have the right not be raped by her husband.

20 countries do not have laws protecting women from domestic violence.

Dozens of women every year are murdered in an archaic attempt at restoring family honour.

1 in 6 women in my country will encounter some form of sexualised violence in her lifetime.

To me, giving up something that is so often rejected or just non-existent in so many women’s lives feels wrong. That’s not to say that other women are wrong when they make the choice to do so, it just means that for me, doing so would feel so wrong.

Second, let me make something very clear. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens here that has not been asked for or agreed to. Our sex life, no matter how kinky, is absolutely something that is mutually beneficial and satisfying. I want this. Not is some obscure ‘she asked for it’ kind of way. But in a genuine, this relationship is sexually satisfying for me.

When I say no to him, there is something going on for me. Something that he didn’t notice or forgot about. Usually it is a response to uncertainty – I’m confused about what he is asking of me, or it is a reaction caused through fear. Not of him, but of the process or consequence of what he is planning on doing. Sometimes for me the only response I can give him is no. Anything else would be a lie and me lying to him, hiding the truth or ignoring the reactions going on within me is going to, eventually hurts me in a way that saying no doesn’t.

Because let me be completely honest here. Saying no to him hurts. I don’t want to say it. I want to surrender – that’s why I asked for a relationship founded in dominance and submission. That’s why I agreed to the way things are here. Sometimes no to him is an obvious reaction to what he is saying or doing. He may be my master but he is one heck of a human being, and sometimes he misses something that is relevant to his choice or he just doesn’t see what I do. Other times just saying those two little letters can be an excruciating experience for me. I go through this ridiculous inner negotiation with myself, where I will try and bargain with myself to try and get out of saying the word. Even though I know I need to say it. Even though I know I am going to say it and that saying it is the right things to do, I still try and get out of it. Why? No idea! I wish I could figure it out because that conversation I have with myself has, once or twice, lead me down that negative self-talk spiral and, as I’m sure some of you know, that never ends well.

No, here, is the beginning of a conversation, one that is more often than not a very long and ongoing one. Never once has no meant yes – and if anyone ever tries to tell you otherwise give them a miss. Getting me from a no to a yes is not manipulation or coercion. It is a process that we work through, together. He has an idea and it’s up to the both of us to get me, or us, to that place. Sometimes it’s a simple as him walking through things with me so I understand what it is exactly that he wants of me. Sometimes it’s been one step, stop, talk about my reaction or what I need to get to the next one. Other times it’s taken me several, sometimes very difficult conversations, to get me to even think about giving what he wants a try.

And sometimes the no remains a no. No matter how many steps forward and backwards we take, no matter how much we talk through things, no matter how much I might want to surrender; what he wants just doesn’t happen.

And that is okay.

No doesn’t have to be the end, as it is with us, it can be the beginning of something that, more often than not, turns into something amazing. But even when it doesn’t end that way, when whatever it is he wants is and stays a no, the fact that no is my response is still okay without justification.




Pity sex with hubby shouldn’t be something that goes viral…

But it seems that in 2016 it is something that we should all be reading about.

I want to preface this by saying that I started this piece before Mel released her YouTube video. What Mel has read about herself is horrifying and such a vivid picture of the current reality of being a woman online in 2016. I don’t know of one woman; myself included who has not had to deal with the deluge of comments that come with occupying any space online. The first time it happened to me I was devastated, consumed by this overwhelming grief- like cloud. It was isolating – everyone I tried to talk about it with told me to get over it, it’s only online. Confronting – those words are in your face and not things you hear in your normal day to day. Humiliating – other people are reading these things about me and I’ve got nothing that can stop them from believing every single one of them.

When I watched Mel’s video this morning I seriously considered deleting this piece, not because I think there is anything wrong with what I’ve written. I was just concerned that it would come across as another piece attacking Mel and her post. I’ve sat with this for a few hours weighing up my choices and decided that, while sticking to the overall premise of my piece, I will change the tone of it.

Mel more than likely will not read what I’ve written, and that’s okay. But someone who has something that she wants to say will. Someone who thinks, at best, that what she has to say couldn’t be important or at worst, who is afraid that the words she uses will become the next play thing for trolls. Please write it! Write the things that come to you, the things that you want said and heard. It’s tough and there is nothing you can do to stop those who choose to troll from doing what they do. But there will be someone, somewhere who will read what you have to say and it will be exactly what they needed to hear – just as so many women connected with what Mel had originally written.

I don’t usually pay attention to what goes viral. Sure some of it is funny and my teenager is always showing me the next must watch video. But when the post by Mel Watts; blogger at The Modern Mumma titled “Did we just have a quickie?” popped up for the fourth time in my Facebook feed I stopped and read it. I got a laugh and could sympathise with Mel about the perils of balancing motherhood with some sort of intimate relationship with your partner/spouse. I filed it the “remember to write something about motherhood and sex” and got on with everything else I needed to do for the day. But there was something that just kept coming back to me about her piece, specifically her line

“I’m not normally your day time quickie kinda person but today I thought the amount of effort he has put into every sexual advance it would just be plain mean of me.”

I was struck by this image of a woman who, after what seemed like days, of badgering and passive aggressive attempts at seduction, was motivated by obligation, guilt and the thought of being able to sleep “without dick jabbed in my back” was having, well pity sex with her husband.

We often think of pity sex as something that happens to younger men and teenagers. Those who are deemed of little sexual currency but who, for some reason outside of genuine sexual motivation, deserve to be fucked.

I’m not saying that this is the case with Mel, she writes her experience as something very different from what I’ve imagined. But it’s very hard for me to see this and not think about some of my first steps into sex as a teenager and young woman. Where I believed that if he (whoever he was) played this flirtation game or put time into me then I was somehow (I still don’t know why) I was obligated to have sex otherwise I’d be mean. I now see it for what it really was – sexual harassment and manipulation, but as a 19-year-old who thought she was in love for the first time, it seemed funny, cute, sexy even romantic!

What made me think about this part of my sexual history was the assumption that Mel’s husband brought into their sex life. That his arousal, his charm, his dad sex jokes were the only things necessary to have sex. There was nothing about her arousal, her sexual charm nor did she use any words – jokes or otherwise, to communicate her desire or intentions. In fact, she’s just the vessel that accepts all of this, addresses his sexual need and then goes on with her day grateful that his hardon won’t be pressed into her back that night.

Don’t get me wrong I love spontaneous sex with my husband. We both look for any excuse to connect on that sexual level, heck we’ve given our teenage daughter money to go clothes shopping just so we can have the house to ourselves. But it’s something that we both desire. Those quick found moments are something that satisfies the both of us equally.

But there are times where sex is the last thing that I have wanted, and sure, he will ask (we don’t do passive hinting here) but no is just as much an acceptable answer as yes please. Sex, regardless of our dynamic, is not for him, and I have no obligation to have sex with him in order to fend off cheesy dad jokes and his hardon. I won’t have pity sex with my husband!

Rape culture is rape culture. Please do not for a second think I am accusing this man of raping his wife. While the narrative created around this has got me thinking, this is nothing more than consensual sex. Those cultural messages of female availability rather than agency exist within our own intimate relationships, even in marriage.

Mutuality is not a constant and this has to change! Women, yes even us married ones, are entitled to genuine body and sexual autonomy and sexual pleasure free from obligation and coercion.

Wouldn’t it be great if one day soon, while I’m scrolling through my Facebook feed, drinking my morning coffee and I come across a viral post about a woman having a mutually desired and pleasurable quickie with her husband while to kids were sleeping and with the neighbours?



Saftey is never an acronym – no matter how convincing they may seem.

Risk aware, personal responsibility or safe and sane? Spend any time in any kink space; online or in real time, and the inevitable safety debate will emerge. Safe, sane and consensual might be tried and true but the SS and the C are too literal and/or limiting – depending who is on the soapbox. Risk aware makes us know (although who tells us what it is we need to know is still not settled) what needs to be known. And personal responsibility is victim blaming – ooops I mean making sure you own your own shit, even when you didn’t create this shit in the first place.

Look, I don’t give a shit – personal responsibility or otherwise, which bunch of letters you claim, it’s actually quite irrelevant to the bigger picture of what it is that kink is. And dare I say it a smoke screen used to stifle any deeper conversations about the practicalities of safety.

The desire to feel safe is not imagined nor is it exaggerated. Those of us who do this thing called kink, just as every other human being, need to feel safe. To feel safe is to be able to walk into something with the understanding that, as far as I can tell any potential undesired outcomes will be minimised and any unknown outcomes will be address in the most effective way possible.

To be safe, not just to be aware of risk of harm, but to have a genuine feeling of safety is only achievable through action. It’s through the choices that we make that we are best able to remove and respond effectively to the outcomes of what we do. In all reality we cannot remove every possibility of encountering harm. We all have seat belts in our cars, we don’t drive while intoxicated, we drive to the speed limits and we stop at red lights. Yet you could be as sober as the day you were born, wear your seat belt and drive to the conditions within the letter of the law and you can still be killed in a car accident, Accidents do really happen.

Safe is not awareness. It’s not researching on line, it’s not buying a book written by a self or community proclaimed expert, it’s not a workshop or a munch. Awareness is more than knowledge. Yes, knowledge is a must. But knowledge is not understanding. Understanding comes into the equation when you take what you know and apply it to the what it. You take all that you know and you put it into practice.

How is this going to actually affect me?

What do I need to do to ensure that, if the consequences of my/our choices are undesired what is the next step?

What do I know about myself – through past experiences or expectations that could create something that we need to address?

I love being flogged – give me a long, slow flogging on my back and I will sleep like a baby, and just between you and me the last time he flogged me I fell asleep. What I didn’t know was that I can’t play first thing in the morning. I need to, at the very least, drink water before he does anything to me. How did I come to know this? I fainted. He woke up in the mood and something went wrong with my blood pressure, I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything for 10 maybe 11 hours. Nothing could have changed what had happened. I fainted. He made sure I was safe, wrapped me in a blanket, got some water and toast. And then when I felt up to it got me to my GP’s office to make sure it wasn’t anything else. At each point of this experience I felt nothing but safe. Even though I was not aware of the risk of harm his choice had, even though I was on the receiving end of something that was unwanted and unpleasant I was safe

We have been together four years, know each other intimately. Have great communication, and there was nothing to show me that the outcome of what has been done to my body dozens and dozens of times would be any different this time. Unfamiliar or undesired outcomes – including harm, can happen no matter how aware we are of ourselves and what it is we are doing.

By acknowledging that sometimes things really do just happen. By accepting that safe comes from more than awareness. When we remove the acronyms and focus on creating genuine safety I think we can begin to offer some more practical strategies into our understanding of safe kink.

I’m starting to learn that changing behaviours and attitudes don’t come from how to, step by step guides and checklists. They are too simplistic and can’t address the intricate difference and needs that come with the nuance of human sexuality.

So the next time you’re thinking about trying something new I want you to do one thing.

Put the entirety of yourself into the interaction and ask yourself this

Is this going to cause me death?

Is this going to cause me disability?

Is this going to cause me disease?

Is this going to cause me distress?

The 5 D’s are something that we use in health care provision to measure the outcomes of the choices that need to be made for our clients.

Death and disability are pretty obvious – and please no arm lobbing strawman arguments!

Disease – not just STI’s. While the common safe sex message is still relevant to kink, we need to take this a little deeper within our physical and mental health. Is something that I want to do going to interfere with any illnesses or medication? What about skin irritation or infection? A UTI? Food poisoning or an allergic reaction? Sunburn? Is this going to affect your mental wellbeing?

Distress – Is the thing that I want going to, in anyway, interfere with the way I need to live my everyday? Stop you from going to work or affect your ability to do your job? Pay your bills? Having healthy relationships with the other people in your life?

These questions allow us to understand our realities within the expectations that we have and to step back and address or change anything that may be relevant to the situation. I believe that if we stopped focusing on acronyms and arguing the measure of safe and sane (which by the way has nothing to do with our mental health and everything to do with our legal competency) and started merging what it is we want with who we are as individuals then we can truly have healthy, safe and satisfying sex lives and relationships.

The tools we use and the intensity with which we use them are irrelevant here. Whether you are using a knife or handcuffs, a latex hood or a blindfold brought from Kmart, if you are able to walk into something with the understanding that, as far as you can tell any potential undesired outcomes will be minimised and any unknown outcomes will be address in the most effective way possible than you are actively; through your actions rather than an acronym, trying to keep your sex life as safe as possible. And as accidents can and will happen this is the best that we can achieve.


#What is – Limits

We all have wants, needs and desires, just as we all have boundaries, levels of comfort.  and what I like to call the fuck off zone.

Here I want to go through the concept of limits. There are dozens of ways to approach ones’ limits, just Goggle “BDSM limits” to check out how others have done it. Again, there is nothing in this that is a ‘you must do’. This isn’t a one size fits all solution & probably won’t make much sense to those who see sex and relationships differently to what I do. I’m coming into this as an individual who sees intimate relationships as an erotic space for meeting the needs of myself and my partner. It’s a mutually satisfying, healthy space. I also see limits in term of ours and not mine and his. It’s our relationship, our sex life and it’s our responsibility to come into this honestly and with the intention of creating a safe sex life that works for both of us.

 While we all do things in our own way, I think there are a few common truths that can be accepted as just being the way that things need to be in order for them to work. And if there was one thing, one question that I think needs to be at the centre of our sex lives it would be this:

 If you don’t know what is okay you cannot possibly know what isn’t. How can you have unwanted without wanted?


It might seem strange starting a post about limits looking at what is rather than what isn’t, but the process of recognising and setting out the limits of our relationships has to being with recognising and setting out what is needed from the relationship. Both of you have to know and understand not only what you need from your partner but what your partner needs from you.

I don’t think it’s possible to see limits outside of needs. How can you say no if there is no yes? This reframing enables us to bring consent into a positive model based on the ‘yes’ rather than something that is centred on just a ‘no’.

 What I’ve put here may seem simplistic, and in many ways it is. I had a job a few years back where I had to teach budgeting to teenagers. I had to come up with a really simplistic way to convey not only the importance of budgeting but the practical ways of how to budget I came up with a way that used different coloured envelopes in order to demonstrate a way to spend money based on importance and need. I’ve taken the idea of colours and turned them from envelopes into boxes – metaphorical boxes.

 I’m a very visual learner and need to see what I’m playing with (sorry about that bad pun), I have to be able to see the differences in ideas and where things fit in the big picture. Something like this allows me to see and separate wanted from unwanted. It gave me a way to bring in what he wanted and didn’t want so that I could see what lined up and  those things that I’m not quite sure about and need a little more thinking or talking about.

 And finally, it gives me something at the end that is easy to read at a glance. I can see the results of the conversations about what is and isn’t needed in our relationship.

Keep in mind that for this to work these boxes need to be realistic and fluid. They will change as the relationship evolves. What ends up in the green box can be moved into the red, and vice versa. New ideas and needs can be added at anytime.

 The reason I feel this way of contextualising and seeing limits is so important is this. Consent is free agreement. For something to go into the green box both people have to freely agree to it. Until that point of free agreement is reached it does not go into the green box – it is, a limit. It’s a way of seeing the needs, desires and boundaries of yourself and your partner clearly. It enables you both to acknowledge each other’s needs – including the ones you don’t like. It allows you to really understand what the words you are both using really mean. It’s all well and good to say “I want pain play” or to tick a box on a downloaded checklist but what does that really mean? Are you both on the same page when it comes to what exactly pain play is and how it will fit into your kink play? Words really are just letters that are ordered in a way that we are able to recognise until we add meaning to them.

 As always this is just one way of seeing the complexity of need in sexual relationships. I don’t want this to be seen as the only way or the must do way. Ignore it completely, laugh at it and stick with what you’ve done, take something but leave everything else. Use this however you need to in order to have to tools you need to create the safe, nurturing, healthy, functioning relationships and sex life you need to be you.


The place to start is with me. Call it the me box.

 In this box i want you to put all the things you know you can do, you have done, you want to do and that you like the idea of.

I want you to name it. Don’t just put a word that you’ve heard or read about. Name the action that you want to try or the need you have in a way that means something to you.

I want you to describe it. Describe exactly what this word is and how you see this working for you.

I want you to put a boundary about it. Where does this action/need begin and end? How do you know if it’s working or not? How are you going to know when to stop, rethink or remove it entirely?

 This could include things like

 Monogamy or polyamory

Language – will the submissive call their dominant sir? Is the words slut and bitch okay to use?

Physical needs – what is it that you need in order to become sexually aroused or orgasm?

Giving – what is it that you are prepared to give to the other person?

Love – do you need romantic love to be able to submit to another?

Control – do you need to feel control just in the bedroom? Are you looking to expand this into other areas of life?


The second box is the you box – it’s all about the other person.


In this box the other person puts all of the things that want to do, thinks they might like or has done. Same rules apply as for the purple box.

Name it

Describe it

Define the boundary


 The third box is the red box or what I call the fuck off box (seriously this is what it’s called here!)I often say “I’m putting that one in the fuck off box” when he decides to show me things that make me want to run away and hide).

In this box I want you to put all the things that are a no, the things that are no go areas.

 Again name it, describe it and define the boundary. But I also want you to be confident enough to be able to place something in here without justifying it. We can say no, just no, without feeling like we have to defend that decision. Some things are just not for us and that’s okay.

But please do not fill this with things like ‘taking off my limbs’ or murder. If you have to define the rape of children as a limit with a potential sex partner then you should stop now, turn around and walk away! Genuine communication is realistic and focused. It’s about two human coming together to create something that works for them. Leave the over the top romanticism and tall tales of worst case scenario for the fiction writers.

 This can also include things that could turn into a maybe but aren’t there right now. I don’t like using the idea of “soft” and “hard” limits. Something is either agreed to or it isn’t. Remember what is in here today can be put into the green box tomorrow.

 This could include things like:

Physical limitations – as obvious as they might be, it can help to still write them down. I can’t wear heels (one too many broken ankles) but he loves high heels especially ballet boots. So heels one of my limits.

 Monogamy or polyamory – is a non-monogamous relationship a no go for you?

Sex – Is anal sex something that you just won’t consider?

Pain threshold – do you know where that limit is? Where pain jumps from pleasure to distress? Do you know which implement just doesn’t work for you?

Language – is calling you a slut just off the table?

 The next box is the green box. It’s the us box. It’s also the tricky one.

 What I want you to do is sit down with your partner and go through both the me and you boxes. I want you to add into this green box all of the things out of the me and you box that you can both agree belong in your relationship. Nothing that is not agreed upon by the both of you is allowed in the green box.

 This is where negotiation comes into it.

 Negotiation is a process of communication that is goal orientated. In order to meet the goal (filling the green box with all the awesome kinky stuff that’s going to happen) you are going to have to talk about what is in the me and you boxes!

 Negotiation is complex and there are many ideas and theories as to what makes someone good at negotiation or what makes negotiation a success. Here are a few tips to help get things moving.

 Commonality – you both want the same thing. Remember that goal and let that be the common meeting point when things get a bit heated.

 Discussion – this is a conversation. It’s not a debate, you are not trying to persuade each other to see things your way. You are discussing the green box; what’s going in there, how it could work and what it is you need to do in order to get things in the green box.

 Acknowledge conflict (when it arises) – some things are going to get into the green box pretty fast. For you to even be at this point in a relationship there has to be common ground, something that brought you together. But there are often things that need a little bit more work. Conflict is going to come up and when it does you need to acknowledge that this (whatever this is) is causing a problem. Put it aside for now and come back to it later.

 Identify points of compromise – now I know some people see compromise as a no go (especially dominants for some reason).  Remember this is all about the green box; the thing that you want the most. Why else would you be doing this if you didn’t want what’s going to end up in the green box? See compromise as giving what you are prepared to in order to get what you want more. This doesn’t mean you give in or give up. It doesn’t mean that the other person can control or coerce. Every decision made has to come from a place of free will and end in free agreement.

 And finally, the maybe box

In this box you put in anything that is left over from the me and you box, the stuff that didn’t make it into the green and red. What is in this maybe box cannot be moved into the green box without both of you agreeing to it. If you find there is something which you just cannot come to agreement about, or there are things that need a bit more time to discuss, put it in here.

What is in here are just the things that need a bit more discussion. Maybe you need to rethink how it’s going to fit into your relationship. Maybe one person doesn’t quite understand what the other is trying to describe. Maybe this is something that one wants but the other isn’t quite ready to try it yet. Maybe there needs to be a little bit more talk about the boundaries.

The things in the maybe box are not limits; as in not going to happen, but they aren’t the things that are okay –yet. Sometimes it can take a bit for you to get your head around an idea, or work out how something is actually going to work. Sometimes the conflict is becoming the talking point and not the idea itself. And sometimes you just need to come back to something.

Like I said this seems really simple, and it is. It’s a way of taking something that can be quite overwhelming – like talking about your sexual desires and how an intimate relationship is going to work, and breaking it down into smaller pieces. Something like this allows both of you to have the space to figure out your own wants and do not wants and then to be able to come together set the start of what will hopefully a mutually satisfying intimate relationship. By taking mine and yours and making them ours the boundaries of a relationship fit and allow for a much safer erotic space

This is free agreement. This is consent. This just makes sense!

Questioning authenticity .

When I sat down to write this I thought I’d be able to sit at the computer Google a few words, get a meaning and just write. I mean, there are thousands of us who use the internet as their medium to write about sex; some of them had to come up with a genuine definition of the authentic sexual self right? But no. Although if someone can find something about living an authentic sexual self for the self I’d love to read it.

Realising this wasn’t going to be as easy as I first thought (I’m learning this lesson a lot lately) I decided to go to the master of authentic self Abraham Maslow.

“Whereas the average individuals “often have not the slightest idea of what they are, of what they want, of what their own opinions are,” self-actualizing individuals have “superior awareness of their own impulses, desires, opinions, and subjective reactions in general”

Maslow tells us that we are all capable of wanting more. That when our most human of needs are meet we are motivated to go after what it is that will satisfy us more. As with every psychological theory (theory being the why of human not the what is human) there are supporters and detractors. I can see both sides and as I continue my psychology education I can rationalise the strengths and weaknesses of Maslow’s hierarchy.

But the one thing I can both subjectively and objectively agree with is the theory that to be fully human rather than to exist as a human we need to allow ourselves to become in tune with our bodies. This is something that a lot of us will never be able to achieve; our social and culture realities and lived experiences will always deny us this space. But for some it is a possibility – maybe not a complete one; again we cannot distance ourselves from the culture we exist in.

Sexually; I see this as the end point of my sexuality. Sometimes I think I’m going to reach it & then my body tells me otherwise. Sometimes I feel that super awareness of my desires and then I realise there is more to it than I first thought. I have an evolving sexuality. It’s something that has high peaks and deep deep troughs. My sexuality is messy, confusing, confronting and sometimes I want to run from it. But it’s mine. It’s taken me 30 something years to get to where I am with my body and to a place where I am comfortable with using my body as a means of taking sexual pleasure. I became somewhat of an expert in using my body to give, but using it to take took me a little longer to master.  I choose to use my body in a way that I know works for me. I’ve taken time to explore various sensations and responses to listen to my body and to adjust what I’m doing to give it what it needs. I trust my body to tell me when it’s had enough or when it needs more. I trust myself unconditionally and without hesitation.

Does this mean I don’t trust the man I am with? No. I respect and trust him. I respect and trust the empathetic, mutually respectful and satisfying erotic space we’ve created, that we use to satisfy ourselves and each other. I just trust myself too.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading lately; blogs and personal accounts written by women. These pieces centre around their sexuality and sexual performance, and while not wanting to dismiss their words and experiences entirely I am getting bored of them. There seems to be this dominant theme running through a great number of them whereby they were somehow incapable or unwilling to understand their reality as a sexual being until their knight in shining armour stepped into their picture. It was the other persona and not themselves who awoken this waiting inner “slut” in them. But someone who actually defines their sexual self as this inner slut often centres it as theirs/his (I mostly see this in hetero couples). It’s not hers it’s his. It is only through him and by aligning their sense of self with him that this inner slut can exist. Not thrive but merely exist.

I get the desire to satisfy your partner. It’s a unique experience to know that you hold the power and knowledge to bring about such intense, satisfying and wanted pleasure in another. But can one genuinely sustain their entire sexuality through abdicating everything about their body and desires to another? It is an authentic space to exist in when everything about it is about one out of the two persons involved? Is it safe when the only way you can be with and/or satisfy your partner is by removing everything about you?



15 weird and wonderful sex things.



Only women have an organ that is only ever used for sexual stimulation!

The penis only has about 4000 sensory nerve endings while the clitoris has 8000!!

& yet there are still people who think men have reason to be hornier & need more sex than women HUH??

The clitoris really is just like a penis – well kind of. It has glans, a foreskin, erectile tissue and a shaft just like the male penis.


The world record (as of 2012) for the most weight lifted with a vagina is held by Tatiana Kozhevnikova. She lifted 14 kilograms/ 31 pounds!


The “average” vagina is 3-4 inches long but can expand up to 200%.


The United States Centre for Disease Control published statistics on 2009 that showed 36& of women have had or are having anal sex! Women who are university educated are most likely to have anal!


The “average” penis is 5-7 inches long.


New and exciting research using MRI scanning has shown that up to 30 areas of the brain are activated during the sex response cycle!


Whales have the honour of having the biggest penes in the animal kingdom. A Killer Whale’s penis can measure up to 25 meters/8 foot!


The female black-widow spider can mate with up to 20 male spider’s everyday – & then she eats them!



Female ferrets will reportedly die if they go more than a year without sex!


Adults on “average” will spend 336 hours snogging their love interests. That’s 2 weeks of kissing!


Unfortunately the rates of STI infections are on the rise in Australia. The age demographic where the largest rise in rates occurs is older people! STI rates for people aged 40-85 for chlamydia have risen 17% and for gonorrhoea 44%. Theories behind why this increase is occurring vary but one view is that people in this age demographic didn’t grow up with the safe sex message as younger generations did; so they are not use to dating (after divorce) in a the world of STI’s. Another popular theory is that women who are peri or post-menopausal are not at risk of an unintended pregnancy so don’t use forms of hormonal birth control; ignoring the risk of STI’s


80% of women who identify as straight have sexual fantasies involving same sex experiences! What does that say about how we think of sexual attraction & orientation!


Women are up to 10 times more sensitive to touch! So not only does a massage feel good it will arouse you too!


The “average” human adult who is sexually active can have sex up to 103 times per year!


Women have wet dreams!

Wet dreams or spontaneous orgasm in your sleep is where the body perceives it is being sexually aroused and the vagina becomes wet. The friction of the sheets or your underwear and the subconscious squeezing of vaginal muscles can cause up to 37% of women to orgasm when they are not fully conscious!