Flappers, Jazz and Valentino

The Sin in Syncopation - Flappers, Jazz and Valentino

♦ As you may already have heard if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve been published again! Hurrah! This marks the sixth time that’s happened, which I’m pretty certain makes me officially addicted.

The book in question is Flappers, Jazz and Valentino, edited by my friend Jillian Boyd who is amazing. It’s an anthology of erotica set in and inspired by the 1920s, which is one of my favourite decades. Here’s the blurb:

Step back in time to a decade full of glamour, glitz and decadent sin with this collection of erotica set in the Roaring Twenties. With twelve stories, in all shades from romantic and sensual to burning hot, this collection is the perfect appetizer for a night out at the speakeasy. A journalist gets a sexy introduction to the sinful syncopation of jazz music. A three-way tango performance becomes the steamiest ticket in town. The owners of a speakeasy set up a very special audition for their new trumpet boy. All this jazz and more in Flappers, Jazz and Valentino, edited by Jillian Boyd.

See that bit about the journalist getting an introduction to jazz? That’s me! That’s my story! Without giving too much away, The Sin in Syncopation is the story of a challenge between self-professed flapper Mae Porter and Calvin Locke, a journalist who has written an article decrying “immoral” jazz. I think I’ll give you a little snippet from it at the bottom of this post, but until then, why not hear more about the story and how and why I wrote it?

Whilst I’m by no means a massive history buff, I really like the Twenties. The music, the style, the intrigue of a decade whose mythology is filled with speakeasies, flappers and gangsters. Elegant women with androgynous hair and fringed dresses, handsome men in braces and shirt sleeves. All this made me want to write for Flappers, Jazz and Valentino. Besides which, I’d never written historical erotica before and so there was an element of adding another challenge to my publication history, like I had with my zombie tale and my micro-fiction.

It turned out to be quite tricky! Whilst I knew the era in broad brushstrokes, I had to do a lot of research for the story. At one point near the beginning of it, I could barely go a sentence without having to look something up! Did they say that phrase back then (the Internet often mashes 20s and 30s/40s slang together horribly)? Is that right for the time? I notably spent half an hour researching whether ladies’ clothes shops had changing rooms and then changed my mind and decided not to even use that bit. Sigh.

What inspired my story was actually an article I came across during the broad research and brainstorming of the era. I’d of course heard of the idea of jazz as the “devil’s music” and all of the protective, disapproving mumbling about it during the era, but I stumbled on a piece written in 1921 for the Ladies Home Journal entitled “Does Jazz Put the Sin in Syncopation?”. Suddenly the idea for almost fictionalising that came to me. I’d write about a stuffy journalist who authored a similar article condemning jazz and about a willful young flapper who tried to change her mind through charm, knowledge and seduction.

Her mind? Indeed. I started out writing the tale as a lesbian love story with a female journalist, as in the real-world article. I love lesbian erotica, done right, best of all. But I quickly realised it wasn’t working out for me. Lilian “Lil” Locke didn’t fit under the skin of the character I’d created, but, for some reason, Calvin “Cal” Locke did. I try not to give all that much attention to gender, so that’s a weird one to explain to myself.

One of the questions Jillian asked in her little author questionnaire to promote the anthology was “Do you have a favourite jazz tune?” Well, though I love jazz, as well as its later swing and big band counterpart (I’m a big Glenn Miller fan), I have to say that it was one song in particular that was the soundtrack to The Sin in Syncopation. I wrote the entirety (yes, all of it) of the story to the sound of Duke Ellington’s East St. Louis Toodle-Oo.

I don’t work at all well in silence nor do I work well with anything too needy for my attention. What I need, as I mentioned in my blog post about my writing process, is either the fake sound of rain or one piece of instrumental music that isn’t too intrusive but which does fit the mood of what I’m trying to write. On repeat. Forever. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo was just upbeat enough to suit a speakeasy or a rent party, but didn’t have any musical equivalents of “sudden movements”, so it didn’t break my concentration. Plus, it’s a fantastic bit of music.

So, if you need an accompaniment to the following (finally!) extract, just hit play up above. After an evening of getting nothing but the cold shoulder from Cal, and a little straight-talking from a Harlem jazz singer friend, Mae finally snaps:

Elbowing my way through the throng, I strode towards Calvin Locke, face burning, fuming. No more futzing around.

I found a small gap in the crowd just in front of him and planted myself firmly, feet apart, right where he could see me. He looked either puzzled or intrigued, I couldn’t tell. His lips moved, but I couldn’t hear him over the blare of the trumpet. It didn’t matter.

Lunging, I took his collar in one hand and pulled, bringing his head down and levering myself up to almost his height. My other hand tangled in his hair at the neck and I brought my lips to bear on his, pressing into a kiss, giving him the best damn smooch I’m sure I ever managed.

He was stiff as a stone. I thought it was all over.

But then, before I had time to break away or even know what was happening, he melted. He softened. I found his lips starting to move against mine. I found his hands at my hips, nestling among the beads of my shift dress. I found a murmur of pleasure that I felt against my mouth more than heard, because all I could hear, still, was the wail of the band and the stomp of feet.

His hands brought my body in closer and now there was no mistaking what I was unsure of earlier: a stiffness below his belt prodded my belly. I purred into him and swayed my hips.

I’m sure if this had been the pictures – had a kiss like this even been allowed in the pictures – we’d have pulled apart to find an awed hush, an audience and a general fuss about our “licentious” behaviour. This being The Chapel at the top of the night, we separated at last to find, as expected, that no-one had even paid us any heed. The band played on, the dancers got hot and, all in all, the Twenties continued to roar all around us.

I exhaled and looked Cal in the eyes. Now they were finally meeting mine, I didn’t want to look anywhere else. He was grinning like a panther, though panthers didn’t usually wind up smeared with ruby lipstick.

“Come on,” he said. “I know somewhere we can go.”

If that tickled your fancy, or if the thought of oodles of jazz-era erotica does it for you in general, head over to get your copy of Flappers, Jazz and Valentino right now in eBook (US here) or in paperback (US here)!

Seawank

Good news, everyone! Not only are you now reading this in Professor Farnsworth‘s voice, but also my computer is working again! You may not have realised that it wasn’t working, but of course it’s hard to tell you on here that I can’t really make any blog posts when I can’t really make any blog posts. Sure, technically I could blog from my phone, but ew, no.

Anyway, I’m back, though honestly still likely to be intermittent as this summer has really caught me in a hands-off sort of mood.

Although, that’s not always the case.

You see, at the weekend I went to the beach. There were a bunch of us, Crush included of course, and we had a great time being ridiculous and summery. We swam, we bought fish and chips, we doused ourselves in sun cream, we ribbed each other, we built sandcastles, we collected the world’s tiniest shells (that aren’t outright sand, clever clogs) and we dug a giant hole.

In the process of building said giant hole, I became absolutely head to toe covered in sand. There’s probably a fetish for that, because there’s a fetish for everything. In any case, there was no way I could get changed back into my clothes like that, so I headed for the waves for the third time that day.

This time, because it was getting late, none of my friends would come with me. Fine, I thought. I’ll enjoy myself anyway. The sunshine was starting to cool and the lifeguards (what luxury!) had just headed back indoors. The only people even in the sea besides me were paddling and that just doesn’t count.

At my depth, just deep enough that I could comfortably but my feet down if I wanted, I was alone. The people in the breaking waves were far away, the people on the beach even further. Suddenly, a naughty thought overcame me. No-one could see what I was up to. It’d be ages before I was back in the sea again and even then I wouldn’t be alone.

Fuck it, I thought, I’m trying a seawank.

Why not? A bit odd, maybe. The sea was cold and British and not the most romantic of notions. I’d come from a group of my friends and would be going back right after. People could see me, though not what I was up to with the water so dark and deep, and I could see people. But why not? It’d be interesting, exciting, adventurous, though probably not much of a success.

So I slipped my Special-K-red swimming costume aside and found my clitoris with my right hand, the other one keeping me vertically afloat and just bobbing off the bottom now and then. To onlookers, I was just having a very lazy swim.

As I say, it was cold, though it was the warmest water of the day. It was also unusual and even a little uncomfortable, so it took a little while to get my engines going, as it were. I could try and make it sound erotic (and in a way, it was). Heck, I’ve made zombie sex sound erotic, so I’m convinced I could do it. But, though there’s something erotic about daring and, even uncomfortable, adventure, it was more fun. Frivolous. A bit of (not so) innocent fun.

Why not wank in the sea? A guy might leave unwanted substances in the water for the other (zero) swimmers, but my juices would be there whether I was coming, ahem, or going. No harm done. I came to a satisfying, though not mindblowing, orgasm and I felt incredibly content with myself. Like a child with a secret. A secret they tell everyone on the Internet.

Once I’d adjusted my cozzie, I tipped myself back and floated for a while. With my friends around earlier there’d been too much horseplay just to float, eyes closed. I’d have ended up with a dunking or a face full of seaweed. But now I could float and slowly drift, with the sun beating through my closed eyelids, turning my world into one of peachy-yellow warmth and weightlessness.

I grew up by the sea and I’m too wise not to open my eyes every now and again and check I wasn’t drifting out, but in the minutes at a time that I floated there, I felt supremely peaceful. I felt my body stretch and relax and revelled in my senses much more than during the supposedly more sensual bit of self-pleasure. By the time I decided to come back to the shore, it was like a beautiful non-religious religious experience. I was appreciating life.

I came out of the water feeling powerful, free, peaceful. I wish I could say it was the seawank that did it, but I think it certainly helped set me up for it. The daring, the childish glee, that laid the basis. It’s something I’d never have done if I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t disturb anyone, but I’m glad I had the opportunity. I recommend it, if you’re careful and you go in with no expectations.

Plus, that’s another masturbation location to add to my (short) list. Dear diary, things I’ve done: had a wank in the sea. ♦

Nerding Out

♦ Have I mentioned how much I love phone cameras? Man, I love phone cameras. It’s amazing how you can get quite decent and quite sexy shots without needing, or certainly getting, professional quality. I don’t know about you, but I grew up with dial-up, so I’m used to my porn not being the most HD you can get.

Like my recent Very Short Stories, it’s all about fitting blogging in where I can at the moment. Time is at a premium.

Nerding Out

Nerding Out 2

In any case, here are some hopefully sexy, and yet everyday, photos of yours truly just nerding out. A geeky t-shirt and jeans is practically my uniform. Here it’s my Wolverine t-shirt, which was an awesome find in the men’s section of Primark. Oh, my do I love the men’s section. That’s where you find all the good geek stuff, because obviously women hate that shit. Duh. Wolverine isn’t my favourite X-Man (that’d be Gambit), but he’s still really cool, especially in his 90s cartoon incarnation.

Speaking of 90s cartoons, those are my Teenage Mutant Hero (because Brits are allergic to Ninjas) Turtles manpants. Another reason to love the men’s section of Primark, in fact. Manpants might not be sexy to some (I think they are, because yay androgyny), but they sure as hell are awesome and comfy.

Got a favourite X-Man or Turtle (mine’s Raphael, because I had/have a thing for arrogant hot heads)? I’d love to know which! ♦

Sinful Sunday

Very Short Stories – Take Me

♦ It’s time for another of my Very Short Stories! If you haven’t read any of mine yet, I encourage you to go and check out Covered in Cream, Prometheus, If We Hadn’t Had Sex and The Quoit, if you have time. And they each fit on a single Post-It note, so I’m thinking you definitely have time.

And since we’ve established that time is a thing you have, here’s another one!

Very Short Stories - Take Me

Just in case you can’t (or don’t want to) read my handwriting:

I’m too wise to give myself away. Take me. Possess me. Grab your compass and carve your initials into me. Invade me; let me be your spoils of war. I am not a gift for you. I want to be stolen. Snatch fistfuls of me and stuff me into your pockets. You just can’t have me. But take me all the same.

The prompt for this one was very strange indeed. It’s not the title phrase. It’s not even mentioned in the “story”. Heck, it hasn’t even got anything to do with the story! I tried to get inspiration by hitting “Random Card” on Magic: the Gathering card database Gatherer and this is what I found: Master Transmuter.

And inspire me it did! The beautiful hair, the cool blues, the filigree body… Filigree, is there a way I could use that? Perhaps writing on skin? Or the filigree look of fine hair? No, wait go back to that last thing. Suddenly I had the idea of writing on skin, which lead to possession, which lead to… this.

Which is one reason it irks me to see people saying that the form for Very Short Stories is to take a one-word prompt which then becomes your title, or things like that. Not so! In fact, I don’t give a fuck what inspires you. One word, two, ten, a picture, a mood, a smell… Just get inspired! And when you do, write what you’re inspired to write on just one side of a Post-It note. That’s all.

Give it a title. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. This “meme” (I never quite intended a meme, but people seem to be calling it such, which is awfully flattering) is just about getting writing onto the (very tiny) page. About the challenge of a tiny creative space juxtaposed with the ease of fitting the short writing time into your schedule.

Time that, hey, we’ve established you’ve got when it comes to reading a couple of these. So maybe read some more? Since my last one of these, there have been new Very Short Stories posted on Cammies on the Floor, as well as by Valery North and by F Leonora Solomon. Check them out.

If you have time left over when you’re done, why not write your own? All it needs is you, a writing implement, a Post-It note and whatever your imagination gives you. And if your imagination is too wise to give things away? Take them all the same. ♦

My Writing Process

I’ve been tagged in a meme-style thing that’s going around at the moment by SheBoppin. And it was really fun to do! I definitely enjoyed writing about writing, even if my writing at the moment is a bit different to how it might be normally.

I believe I’m supposed to tag people at the end to carry on the meme, but frankly I’ve no idea who hasn’t already done one and I’ve also always hated singling people out for stuff like this in case I leave someone out and upset them. So, if you’re reading this blog post and you haven’t done it yourself yet, consider yourself tagged!

Without further ado…

First Off: What am I working on?

I’m not! Or rather I’ve just finished something, so I’m actually between writing projects at the moment. The future, of course, holds more reviews, more Very Short Stories, more posts in general and more submissions to erotica anthologies. In fact, that’s what I’ve just finished. I’ve been a busy bee over the last week or so doing research, plotting, writing and self-editing for an anthology of historical erotica, specifically set in the 1920s.

It was hard! Not only has it been a little while since I’ve written erotic fiction of any real length but I’ve never done historical before. And I may never do so again! I very much enjoyed all my initial research (I’m quite a fan of the ’20s already, which helps), but I found myself researching a lot more during the actual story itself than I’d expected. At some points nearly every sentence required a Google search! Notably, I wasted at least half an hour trying to work out what 1920s department store changing rooms, if any, were like. Then I scrapped that bit entirely anyway. Yay.

In any case, the story’s been accepted, so watch this space for news on the anthology!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, that depends which of “my work” we’re talking about. when it comes to reviews, I think I probably go into a little more detail than most, which leaves my reviews thorough but perhaps a little lengthy. I’d love to be snappier and punchier with them, like some of my favourite reviewers, but I just can’t bring myself to leave anything out, just in case someone finds it helpful. I also don’t sugar the pill. I’ve seen some reviewers reviewing products that I just can’t believe they’ve actually enjoyed. Sure, people are different, but I sometimes wonder if they’re just much less critical than me.

When it comes to general sex blogging, I think I’m still a rambly but it’s more because of a sort of conversational tone than any thoroughness. Clearly I just can’t shut up. I also like to spatter the blog with geeky references, but, hey, that’s just my life. Full of nerd.

As for erotica, I actually don’t feel I’m really qualified to answer! I’d love to know! And, heck, if you think you know any distinctive features of my erotica, I’d love to know what you think they are. I won’t bite. For some of my erotica, especially my flash fiction, I’ve noticed a bit of a tendency to try to evoke and use nostalgia. I like that and I hope it works well.

Why do I like what I do?

Again, it depends. I’m not actually sure why I like reviews except that I love sex toys, I love having Very Important Opinions and I think I don’t actually suck at reviewing, which is nice. Plus, I enjoy setting up the photos of the toys too.

For writing about my actual sex life, well… I’m not actually sure I do any more. Yeah. Awkward. It’s not that Crush and I don’t have good sex any more, we totally do (and we also have sex which is just “fine”, because that’s relationships), it’s just that I don’t really think I’m interested in blogging about it any more. And I have no idea why. It’s something I’ve not really come to any decision on yet, sort of hoping to avoid it, but it shouldn’t stop me writing the blog.

At “worst”, the focus will shift even more onto reviews, erotica and stuff about sex rather than me going on about me having sex. Because I’m not actually sure what the point of that is any more. I started the blog to be sexual when I felt “real life” wasn’t fit for that. These days, well, I’m a fucking adult, I can talk about sex all I like in real life and anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell. Not so much need for a specific space for it any more.

As for erotica, well, I’ve always loved to write creatively. I wanted to be an author for quite a chunk of my childhood. And now, whilst I’m not making a living off it (or really trying to at the moment), I guess an author is what I am. Which… still feels a bit fraudulent to say, but, hey, Amazon agrees with me. Writing creatively about sex, incidentally, still absolutely grabs me. I think I might be channelling all my energy for writing erotically about sex into fiction rather than fact, perhaps.

How does my writing process work?

Reviews are easy. During periodic testing, I first jot down anything that leaps out at me about the toy. It all goes into a draft post as it comes out of my head. I rearrange that to suit the flow of a review and then see what else I can mention about the toy when I sit and think about it. I then look back at a previous review of mine and follow that same rough structure, using my notes and adding more details where necessary. Then it’s a quick proofread and post. Done.

For fiction, it’s harder. Er, panic? If the theme of the story needs research (like my latest ’20s one), I research. I think over hooks and ideas for what the plot could be or what my angle on the theme might be. I make notes of snippets or inspirations that appeal to me. I try to find a story that grabs me. I can usually feel whether or not I can make an idea work.

Once I’ve got an idea, I try to hash out a vague order of events or scenes and then I just start writing, beginning to end. Rainy Mood is essential, because silence cripples my creative thought process (but not my other ones). If I’m on a topic that suits music (jazz for the ’20s or tango for Take Your Partner), I can work with one non-intrusive instrumental piece on repeat. No new stimuli.

When I’ve finally finished (I get quicker the further in I go), I get Crush to read over it for typos and inconsistencies. Then I send it to a beta-reader (or two) who is usually the divine and intensely skilled Lady Pandorah. If she likes it, I know it’s not crap. I work on any feedback or clarifications needed and then send it off!

Purple Worm

♦ Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve participated in Toy With Me Tuesday, hasn’t it? I love good pictures of good sex toys and I have plenty lying around that I’d love to post as well as ideas for several more in my head. But I have, you may be surprised to learn, a relaxed schedule for this blog and whilst that includes minimum posts per time (ideally one a week, one a fortnight as an absolute low if I can’t help it), it also includes maximum posts per time. Whilst I don’t have a set number for this, I start to feel a little spammy if I post more than 2-3 times a week. I know I don’t have the time to read blog posts that regularly, so why should I assume that others do?

So I don’t join in every week, or even every other week, with memes because there are so many that I like that I’d soon end up with posts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday alone without even considering any of my posts that don’t fit into memes. And I certainly don’t want this blog to become just memes (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But I should start contributing more to them here and there, so here’s a little picture for TWMT.

Purple Wurm

I couldn’t call this anything other than “Purple Worm”. The Tantus Purr is almost segmented just like a worm, curves like a worm and its colour, Purple Haze, is undeniably in the lilac camp of Team Purple. Even the background is a purple glitter paradise and I love the contrast between the sharp, in focus glitter in the foreground and the blurry bokeh at the back.

Of course, as a massive geek, Purple Worm is a phrase that brings an entirely different image than this one to mind.

D&D Purple WormYes, rather than an incredibly good textured dildo that I for some reason compared to Rattata, the thing that leaps into my head (dear God, I hope not literally) is the 80 feet long, 40,000lb, entirely made-up Dungeons & Dragons monster. Does that seem like something I want to put near my vagina? Let me quote, “In battle, a purple worm forms into a coil 20 feet in diameter, biting and stinging anything within reach.” So… NOPE.

Luckily, while the D&D Purple Worm has an attack which swallows you whole, this purple worm is instead often subject to an attack that swallows it whole… Ladies. Dear God, why do they let me have a blog again? ♦

Toy with me Tuesday

Very Short Stories – The Quoit

♦ It’s been a little while since we’ve had any Very Short Stories. Not content with the three linked just there, I’ve written another. And I’m not the only one! Please do check out these Very Short Stories by F Leonora Solomon, Cammies on the Floor and Adriana. They’re great!

If you’re still not sure how to get involved yourself, it’s easy: find a word or two (or really anything) to use as a prompt, get inspired, then write a teeny-tiny story on only one side of a post-it note. Hotel stationery works well too! When you’re done, let me know where it is so I can link to you. A link back would be nice too.

And write as many as you like! I find these a great little exercise to get your creative juices dripping or to just let out some writing in a way you perhaps don’t always have time for. I’ve even written one of these on public transport.

Anyway, here’s my latest:

Very Short Stories - The Quoit

“Down by the quoit we met and fucked. Your eyes, pricked by pollen, streamed as you came. Shallow white scrapes furrowed my shoulder blades; the granite had held me as hard as you had. That Indian summer couldn’t last. But I still carry the sound of still air peppered by your grunts, the thrill of something so vital perched panting on the dry rocks of the dead, the pressed gorse in my wallet from your hastily gathered bouquet.”

For those of you who don’t know what a quoit is, you may know them better by the name dolmen. Where I’m from, we call them quoits. In any case, they’re (mostly) neolithic tombs made from big-ass rocks. They’re pretty cool and we have quite a few notable ones in Cornwall.

Today’s Very Short Story is, I have to say, rather Cornish-tinged. Quoits, granite in general, gorse, all are vivid parts of my background, though I sadly never had sex up against one. I suppose there’s still time?

In any case, given that today is the day that we the Cornish have finally been recognised as a national minority group (for which I’m ecstatic) with the same rights and protections as the Welsh, Irish and Scots, I thought a bit of nostalgia for the land of my fathers (bro goth agan tasow) was apt. I hope you enjoyed it!

What would a Very Short Story tinged with your cultural heritage be like? I’d love to see some! ♦

e[lust] #57

Elust #57 Cammies on the Floor Image
Photo courtesy of Cammies on the Floor

Welcome to Elust #57 -

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #58? Start with the rules, come back May 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

I’ve Got 99 Problems

Vasectomy Blues

I’ve always wanted to call myself queer.

 

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Aoyama Yuki and My Very First Times

I don’t know how to be happy

 

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

Sex News,Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Prostitution Laundering
That Body-safe Sex Toy Could Make You Sick
“Nice Shoes. Wanna Fuck?” — On Pick Up Lines
Rape prevention
Life of a Sheltered Child: Sex Toys (Part II)
A Tour of Fucking Sculptures Sex Toy Studio
Bashing Belle Knox: Because You GET Porn
Would You Pay $133 to See Midori Eat Fruit?

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Heart of Glass
Talking BDSM: Are safewords really necessary?
45 Seconds
I want
Whispered Words
Aftercare: In Kink and Erotica
Ariel Castro: The Man in the Mirror?
We Are Ethical
Apology tokens, punishments, and forgiveness

Erotic Fiction

Very Short Stories – If We Hadn’t Had Sex
Billy
Larry Knew Better
Lasting Impressions
The Boys
Sounds of a Kitten
Chemical (se)X
Shopping Together
Enjoy Being Seduced on the South Bank
Room 6
Caught In The Act
Packing Light
For your thighs only (007 Parody)

Erotic Non-Fiction

Dental Torture
My hand around your throat
Conversations With My Owner
Cuming Without You.
On My Knees Again
It Always Starts With A Kiss
World Champion, Yes, I Can!
Omne Trium Perfectum
When Good Sex Tapes Go Bad
Submission: An Initiation (Part Four)

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Hidden No More
Female condoms are fucking awesome!
Female Ejaculation and How to Achieve It
Mommy Doesn’t Want Sex
How To Train Your Vagina
Camp Dildo
Being slut shamed made me want more sex
Don’t say my name

Blogging

“Hidden” memes
A Brief History of Sex Blogging

Writing About Writing

Openings and Grabbing Your Reader

Poetry

Sense Memory – a Lusty Limerick

 

ELust Site Badge

Consent, Kink and Community

♦ I mentioned recently that I’d been to the Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair and had a few qualms with the compering of the event. Now (especially as the compère himself left a comment and seems like a really nice guy), I don’t want to badmouth what must be a very hard job that I likely couldn’t do, but I want to set out what it was I had a problem with and why.

Because (although I didn’t like his style anyway) it isn’t about personal taste, though it may be about personal ethics. It’s about something which I feel has big implications for the kink community and the people, whether part of that community or not, who were there. And because, though not everyone may agree with me, hopefully raising these qualms might get people to examine these issues.

The compère had what seemed like a pretty tough job to get the crowd going (I myself am practically allergic to audience participation), but I wasn’t that impressed. I mentioned “cheap “saucy” humour, being patronising, and displaying a seeming ignorance of informed consent” in my earlier post and it seems I even cleverly put them in order of importance too!

Though I didn’t like the humour and tone, that’s just my taste. Just because I don’t really like the “Phwoar! I love a bit of cock!” sort of attitude to sex, doesn’t mean much (though I do wonder to what extent the “saucy postcard” mentality might hold back wider acceptance of sexuality, but that’s a topic for another time) and no-one need pander to me more than anyone else. I also personally don’t think than audience really needs to be told to applaud when a woman takes her clothes off. Isn’t that second nature? But again, it’s likely a rhetorical trick that just didn’t land well with me.

No, it’s the consent stuff that really bothers me.

The early parts involved saying hello to people you didn’t know next to you and paying them a forced compliment (already too un-British for me). The problems, though, started with getting everyone to stand up (I was hovering near the seating area at the time) and turn to face to their right. Then the compère instructed the audience to give the person in front of them a small spank. Now, from my poor vantage point (and the fact I was quite busy cringing), I couldn’t tell you how many people did this, but that’s not the point. Did anyone know what they were getting into when they stood up?

Look, I’m not trying to sound the prude here. Nothing wrong with spanking, nothing wrong with public spanking. I like both myself (and got a twinge just writing the latter). But none of these people consented (or rather communicated consent: for all I know they were fine with it, but consent has to be communicated somehow) to even being touched, let alone being spanked. As I said to Crush at the time, my response to the person behind me would have been “You fucking touch me…”.

Later (by this time my friends and I were at a table), we were told that each table should get someone up onto it on hands and knees. No-one at our table, even the hardened kinksters, were having any of it and it’s at least good to see that, general cajoling to everyone aside, when only about three tables produced participants, no issue was made of it. We were then told that the aim was to spank the volunteers as a table and whichever table produced the most moaning (oh, so hard to fake) would get a prize.  Again, none of the volunteers OR the people supposed to spank them knew this when they were called to be involved. Sure, I suspect no fuss would have been made of anyone backing out, but that’s not really how healthy consent works.

Now, this might not seem like a lot to get angry about, but consent is paramount in all things, especially in the realm of kink. And consent isn’t just volunteering. No. To be true consent, consent must be informed. To be good kink, kink must be negotiated. It doesn’t have to be long and involved and stuffy, but people (whether being done to or doing to or both) should know what they’re getting into, boundaries should be made clear and consent should be given enthusiastically with clear ways to withdraw that consent (such as safe words).

A hypothetical person in that line of unknowing spankees had no way in the circumstances to be informed, give enthusiastic consent to what could be a complete stranger, or indeed withdraw that consent in the time between the instruction and the incoming spank. Am I the only one that thinks this dodgy?

Not only this, but this was a mixed fetish and non-fetish event. They carefully made sure to split the fetish stalls off from the alternative/burlesque ones, so some concern for the muggles must have been in the planning somewhere. But there was no mention of any fetish play, no matter how light and innocent, in the programme of events as far as I saw. Surely it’s people’s right to decide what they see and don’t see?

What sort of message are we giving off to non-kinksters, who thanks to bad press and bad books might have a warped idea of BDSM anyway, of public play among complete strangers with no communication and no consent? These spaces are a perhaps rare opportunity for our kinky community to speak for itself to people who might otherwise not get to hear us (and to teach good kink practice), shouldn’t we be a little more careful about how we use that voice?

I’d certainly love to know your thoughts on this, kinky or not. ♦

Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair

♦ Last Saturday I, plus Crush and Alt, decided to pop over to Bristol (it’s been too long!) for the Heresy n Heelz Alternative and Burlesque Fair, which also covers fetish and steampunk stuffs. We found our way there, helped in part by my sense of direction, in part by big orange posters on the Bristol Bierkellar and in in part by the staff clearly knowing how to spot one of their own and waving us inside.

There was a bar in front of some seating and a main stage with fetish stalls on the far side of the stage and alternative/burlesque stalls on the near side. I liked that set-up as it meant people who came more for the vanilla side, didn’t have to see collars and cocks if they didn’t want to. I did want to, of course, but we decided to look at the closer stalls first.

There was a lot more variety than I expected: from top hats and dresses to jewellery and knick-knacks. One stall in particular, Madams Pinups, seemed made for me and I happily bought a sexy lady tie and a couple of art prints whilst only just managing not to pick up sexy dishcloths at the same time. Sexy dishcloths! I also bought gothic jewellery from The Dark Attic, a metallic papier maché skull from Jesta Streets and a lovely rockabilly dress.

I was of a mind to pick up a men’s shirt from Rafflesia Designs too. They had one with a lovely subtly-coloured sexy mermaid design, but I baulked at the absolutely extortionate price. Frankly, I just don’t care how much you try to tell me it’s handmade, I’m not paying £60 for one shirt. Such a shame.

My favourite stall of the day, though I didn’t buy anything from it because I’ve no idea where I’d wear it was Beautiful Brastards. Just look at how awesome this is:

Beautiful Brastards

I have to say that for me the fetish side of the stalls was a little personally disappointing. There was a flogger stall, but only one of the floggers interested me and in the end I decided I already have too many I don’t play with enough. One stall sold cheap little colourful candles for wax play, so I bought a blue one to try out. Another sold sex toys and the sorts of kink toys you can get on sex toy sites anyway. And for cheaper.

The only particular stalls of interest fetish-wise were one selling new violet wands, of which Alt bought one that I’m probably going to end up throttling him for (take note, police officers!), and a stall of various discounted kink things. I tried on one of those lovely metal ring collars there, but sadly it was a little too small to fit properly.

I go to fetish fairs not for Fetish Fantasy and LELO, but for handmade kink and small-business smut. It was just a bit lacking.

But the Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair wasn’t just stalls, oh no. There were performances too. The two pole dancers were gravity-defying and the burlesque was, on the whole, splendid, if a little devoid of actual stripping. That’s not to say the dancers didn’t, to put it crudely, “get enough out”, but more that they generally started not wearing very much to begin with! I’m used to my burlesque routines going from full outfit to a breeze and a whisper rather than starting fairly skimpy in the first place.

Havana Hurricane’s act was good, but a little generic for my liking. I’m more easily impressed by burlesque with a strong theme, so the other two acts were amazing. First Lou Leigh Blue performed an act called Dystopia.

Lou Leigh Blue - Dystopia

Photo by Fenris Oswin.

You can’t see it here, but there’s a silver BAFTAs-like mask on the back of her head and she at first only “faces” the audience with this, making for a creepy eroticism. It was, in essence, a fan dance with billowing silver wings instead of fans, but I absolutely loved the classic sci-fi look and sound of the performance. Plus, sexy.

Then there was a performance from Angelique Dominique, whose routine looked like this:

Her sexy Blade Runner routine as Pris was very sensual and used sound from the film itself. Again, another piece with an original idea and, I have to say, wonderful geek appeal.

Thankfully, all the acts were very good as the compère was completely abysmal. You could see he was trying to get the crowd more vocal, but sadly his methods consisted of cheap “saucy” humour, being patronising, and displaying a seeming ignorance of informed consent. These sections were, I think, so potentially damaging to the kink scene in terms of impression (given it was a mixed kinky/non-kinky event) and to the concept of consent, that I plan to write a rant. So keep your eyes peeled for that one.

Overall, though, it was a very fun day with good friends and great swag, even though my kinky side was a little disappointed and deprived. Would I recommend the Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair? As long as you’re not expecting too much and you can stand the compère, I probably would. I may even go again myself. ♦