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. ♦

View From A Blowjob

I took a Sinful Sunday recently that mentioned how I’d gotten both tips and confidence from Molly’s Eroticon 2014 session about photography. I took that photo the very morning after her talk and put her words into practice. But I didn’t tell you yet how that very morning I’d also turned them completely on their head too. We were told, and rightly so, that shots from above down the body tend to be far more flattering than shots from below going up the body. As I say, she’s completely right, especially for curvy (and booby) specimens like myself.

It’s just with Crush it can be a completely different matter.

View From A Blowjob

Look at him. You could barely pinch an inch (except there, obviously), damn him. And I actually find that shots up his body tend to do a little better than shots down it. It’s that lack of wobbly bits, I think. Plus (although it’s not really shown in this picture), when his body is curved slightly, shots up his body show a lovely flex of muscles and tilt of stomach. It just goes to show, not that Molly was teaching it as a hard and fast rule anyway, that there’s an exception to every one.

When I took this picture, I’d just paused mid morning head. It was early on the Sunday of Eroticon and we had a little time to spare in our hotel room before I had to leave for the day. As if being in a hotel wasn’t luxury enough for him, Crush was spending his blowjob alternately moaning softly and playing the boardgame Dominion on his phone. Because who doesn’t deserve boardgames and blowjobs now and then? Sadly, I never quite managed to throw him off, but Sunday morning blowjobs tend to be a lazy affair. He finished the game in relative peace and pleasure before we moved on to some good, old-fashioned hotel room sex. Bliss.

Have you ever had boardgames and blowjobs? Perhaps Carcassonne and cunnilingus? Fluxx and fucks? I bet we’re not the only ones to add some sex to our gaming! ♦
Sinful Sunday

Very Short Stories – If We Hadn’t Had Sex

♦ It seems my Very Short Stories idea has been catching on! When I last told you about them, one other, the lovely Innocent Loverboy, had joined in. Since then, four more have cropped up! So please go and read the wonderful posts by Jilly Boyd, Girl on the Net, Lady Pandorah and Ruby Goodnight.

I am, I have to say, absolutely thrilled and humbled that so many lovely people are joining in! Thank you, all!

For those who’ve missed what this is all about, it’s very simple. I started writing teeny-tiny flash fiction on Post-it notes. First, Covered in Cream, then Prometheus. Want to join in? Here’s how it works: Take a Post-it note, find a prompt word from anywhere you like, write a story no bigger than your sticky note. Then share it with the world and let me know! A link back would be lovely.

In fact, I wrote another, so here’s another example…

image

“Maybe if we hadn’t had sex, I wouldn’t have damp jeans on from not giving the dryer enough time to run. Maybe if we hadn’t had sex, I wouldn’t be out of breath from having to run for the train.

Perhaps, if we hadn’t had sex, I’d have an extra £1.60 in my pocket because I’d have waited for change. Maybe if we hadn’t had sex, my damp jeans and my damp knickers (nothing to do with laundry) wouldn’t be combining unsettlingly. Maybe if we hadn’t had sex, I wouldn’t be grinning. ”

I’m cheating a little, as it’s a sort of literary-ised (totally a word) version of a few real events from my mad dash to my train to get to Eroticon 2014 for the Friday.  But I think it still counts. If not fiction, then fiction-ish.

I managed with smaller writing (made more troublesome by the train I was writing it on, sorry) to make a grand 92 words this time, but it looks like I’d have to write very cramped to manage many more. But that’s fine by me. It’s the dinky aspect of this that appeals to me and I’ll likely try to write bigger next time.

Next time? Oh, yes, I’m certainly keeping these going. In fact, Eroticon gave me several ideas! What about you? Can you write a story on a Post-It? When will the inspiration for your next Very Short Stories hit? ♦

Eroticon 2014 – Sunday, Part 2

Eroticon 2014 Schedule

♦ Soon, Sunday morning at Eroticon 2014 became Sunday afternoon. Deciding that my voice is not made for erotica, I headed to what looked a very interesting session, one by Josephine Myles and Anna Martin called Queer as Fuck: writing convincing gay erotica whatever your gender and sexuality.

I got a bit of a disappointment when the session started, learning that it was to focus almost wholly on male/male erotica as opposed to a selection from the LGBT+ spectrum. The speakers did say that they’d try to include some information on it, but that their expertise was in M/M writing. For a girl like me who’s coming each time closer to believing it’s personally easier and hotter to write about two women than anything else, that was a bit of a blow.

Still, although I neither read nor write a lot of M/M fiction, I resolved to learn more about it. After all, just because I haven’t yet, doesn’t mean I can’t. We learnt about how writers of different genders are perceived and some of the stereotypes and marginalisation (mostly of effeminate male characters) in gay fiction itself. Plus, there were some tips on masculine language that were interesting, even if me with my “we’re not so different, you and I” approach couldn’t fully endorse them.

Further, to add to my mope, we were told that gay male erotic novels are by far the biggest chunk of the LGBT+ market and that trans* and lesfic have the smallest share. At the end of the session I went up and asked Anna what she thought of why F/F erotica is so small considering same sex experiences are so high in the lists of top women’s fantasies. My own theory is that, given the amount of non-LGBT-specific calls for submission I’ve seen that want mostly hetero stories but will happily take a few lesbian stories, perhaps the market for girl on girl is getting subsumed and fulfilled by the generic erotica market.

Either way, it’s a subject very close to my own heart and I’m desperate to find out more and write a proper post about it, so do leave a comment if you’ve anything to say about it.

At some point in the day, I was gifted a very thoughtful copy of the sexy boardgame Tie and Tease (a BDSM version of the game Tease that was doing the blogger rounds a little while back) by DomSigns and Molly because they knew I loved three things: dice, games and kink. Thank you, both! I’m sure it’ll be something to write about once Crush and I have given it a few goes…

The final education session of the day saw me heading to Molly’s Powerful Post Writing: Writing & Editing for better blog content for a few always useful content tips, countless of which I’m probably breaking throughout these write-ups! But, as Molly herself told us, “Do what you do, not what I say.”

There was a lovely balance of considering the reader and considering SEO. You should know your most popular topics and write more about them, but you shouldn’t narrow down too much just to boost your stats. Stats, at the end of the day, are only so much and they don’t always want what readers want.

We were given tips on hooking the reader in and making them want more which actually mirrored a lot of advice I’ve heard before about fiction writing, so it was interesting to see the common threads.  Perhaps the best advice we could have been given, though, was give something of yourself and be honest, warts an’ all. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog and, although I try each post to stick to it, I’m sure there’s more I can do. I’m looking forward to trying.

The day drew to a close with High Tea and Erotica Readings, of which there was a generally awesome selection along with a few I didn’t personally care for. It ranged from deadly serious to supremely silly with everything in between. Plus, there was cake. Of course, each word drew us closer to the close of the day and the breaking of the spell. I said my goodbyes to those remaining (a fair few had had to leave for trains and the like during the readings) and made my way back to reality and Cardiff. And, happily, Crush.

While the sessions, being structured, are clear in my mind, I can’t remember well enough all the little moments I wish I could share with you: meeting personal heroes and new awesome people, gossip, hearing kind words, sharing thoughts, revelling in the commonality of sex writers, inside jokes, stolen chats and even just feeling comfortably silent and at home in a room of your peers.

I am beyond sad that there won’t be a UK Eroticon next year. I’ve come to need it. But I feel absolutely sure that if there’s a community that can pull together and arrange something, even just a social meet-up, it’s this one. If there are any efforts in that vein, I’d love to lend a hand. And if any Eroticon or sex writer folks are ever near my neck of the woods, just get in touch. I’m shy, but I’ve learnt one major thing over the years at Eroticon: meeting other sex writers is amazing and together we can do amazing things. ♦

Eroticon 2014 – Sunday, Part 1

♦ The previous day at Eroticon 2014 had ended with a cocktail party to which I’d managed to buy Crush a ticket. After train shenanigans, he showed up shipshape and Bristol fashion and we headed to the bar. It was a great evening and I’m glad he was there as he got to say hello to old friends and meet exciting new ones and I frankly enjoy dragging him into my sex-based social world. He did so well there, too! The sheer amount of secret geeks he caught with his top was impressive.

The morning wake up was full of sleepy sex and sneakily snapped Sinful Sundays, making me only just on time for the first session and only managing a breakfast of yesterday’s sausage rolls as I left Crush lying in. But never mind! It was a lovely sunny morning to spend all day inside talking smut.

Again, I was conflicted. The flash fiction workshop sounded right up my street, but in the end I decided I could already kinda do flash fiction and so I should probably focus on an area where I need more help. So I took a seat in Kay Jaybee and Lucy Felthouse‘s Step up: making the move from short stories to novels. I’d met them both before a couple of times, notably at the awesome Kinky World Book Night held in Cardiff last year (which I briefly wrote some NaPoWriMo poems about), and they’re lovely guys, so friendly and encouraging. It was a bit of a shame that their self-introductions were so long as I already knew a bit about them and it took a fair bit of time out of the bulk of the session, but when we got to the crux of it, it was full of helpful advice. Short stories are a  brilliant apprenticeship, we were told, for novels and Kay and Lucy even thoguht they were harder to write!

I’m not sure I agree, but I haven’t written a novel yet, so perhaps I will when I have. In fact, we were told to write down a reason or two that we hadn’t yet written a novel so that we could discuss them. Time was a big factor for me and we were advised to set aside time every day or at least in a routine so that it becomes a part of everyday life. My other main problem is that I’m just not sure I can write enough content, specifically plot and “stuff happening” to fill a novel. Plus, I feel like it’s OK for a short story to be a glimpse, a mood, an idea, a narrative where we know we’re not getting the full picture, a flavour. Whereas I feel like novels are the whole story, a fullness, you need a complete story with all the trimmings and not just a flavour or a feeling.

Whilst those points were not directly addressed as such and I still came away a little unclear on them (running out of time was a major factor of the session, again leaving me wishing for less, admittedly pleasant, introductions),  I did come away feeling more confident. Do things that scare you, we were told, and also told that writing a novel still scares these novelists every time.

The next two short sessions didn’t really grab me. Sex toy reviews are a big interest for me, but I’d be assured that the session was more for beginners than for me. While anonymity obviously interests me, the idea of writing anonymity guidelines in-session really put me off. Luckily I met a few people from Kristina Lloyd‘s aforementioned Fiction in a Flash long workshop in the break who assured me that she’d welcome people in for the second half.

I nipped in and scribbled down some notes still left on the Powerpoint before the session restarted in earnest. Based on the previous ideas of starting in media res, of implied plot between the lines and behind the story, of a key image or visual heart, of yearning, of the twist or turn and of sexual specificity in describing what makes the encounter meaningful, we were given a very unusual collection of writing aids.

Eroticon Flash Fiction Workshop Prompts

The idea was to look through these nail varnishes and wall colours and find a name that evoked something and that we could use to prompt a piece of flash fiction. With names like Ruby Pumps, Savage Ground, It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere and Cat’s Paw, there were a lot of wonderful images that sprang to mind. I’m definitely going to be looking at these sources for inspiration in the future! It’s interesting in that when I was thinking of where to find prompts for my Very Short Stories, I’d actually stumbled on the idea of hitting “random” on Gatherer to find Magic the Gathering cards that might work as they often have evocative names. It’s a similar idea that I’m glad to see actual proper writers doing too!

We then used our selected names, I picked “Down Pipe”, to decide what elements based on that would appear in our proposed story. I had images of rain, brickwork and vertical space, of blow jobs and tumbling down the rabbit hole. The harder task was to pick some things that would certainly not happen. I struggled, but managed that they don’t leave the room and it doesn’t stop raining, as well as a few other things. Before the end of the session, we were asked, which of these might actually happen anyway? It was a fantastic session and I’m quite sad to have missed the first half, especially as I enjoyed Kristina’s session so much last year too.

With the pause for lunch comes a pause in my writing! I’ll have my post about Sunday afternoon at Eroticon 2014 up soon, though, so don’t go away! ♦

Eroticon 2014 – Saturday, Part 2

♦ After a busy morning, lunch was quickly eaten with friends old and new, tweets were duly caught up on and retweeted and then it was on to the afternoon. Much as I think the speakers are fantastic, there was no way I was going to the talk about sex and spirituality. As an atheist and as someone who tries to be rational, spirituality of any kind is just not something that applies to me. Even the closest I’ve got to writing about a sexual and spiritual experience was definitely not a spiritual experience.

Instead I headed over to the Photography workshop, which was being run by Molly after the original speaker had come up against urgent family problems. I have to say, I was very impressed by Molly’s ability to pull a very good session out of thin air!  Of course, when you know that much about your topic I suppose all you have to do is tell people it, but if you’d told me it had been planned all along, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

We got to see the impressive Lightroom program at work (I’m really going to have to get it), we learnt that essential self-photography items like tripods and triggers needn’t be expensive and I learnt perhaps my most valuable technical tip of the weekend: don’t upload photos bigger than 900 x 600 to WordPress and just use the WordPress photo percentages to resize them. Photos that big aren’t needed (for screen use, anyway) and using that method can make your site very slow indeed. It was sort of obvious once DomSigns said it, but it’d never occurred to me before and I do that all the time. Looks like I’m going to be going back through all my photos to resize them properly (and add watermarks) soon!

At the end of the session, Molly mentioned her photo idea of getting a bunch of attendees in a row, back to the camera and bare-arsed. The room figured now was as good a time as any to do it! I so, so, so nearly joined in, but nervousness just won out. It was a tough decision, on the one hand it would be an awesome, bond-forming and empowering thing to be part of and I’d get a great picture with me in for my efforts. On the other hand, I was shy and nervous and I felt it was a rare occasion that my arse looks good on camera. I didn’t want to hate the shot. Getting my bum out in a room full of people seemed scary but also thrilling, but there were so many people already volunteering and I took so long deciding that I chickened out despite geting myself 95% of the way to going “Fuck it!” and joining in.

It was probably a good decision, though, as I’d have had to have spent ages awkwardly easing up my tights way after everyone else had already re-robed and plus the final picture shows a lot more possibly-identifying clothes, body shape and back of head than I’d really be comfy with. Next year, though, if the opportunity arises, fuck it, I’m in. Someone make me if necessary.

The next session was a big toss up: do I indulge my tinkerer side and go for tech talk or my creative side and go for tension and conflict in erotica? Well, in the end I’d been to plenty of techy ones in previous years and conflict in writing is really something I’d like to get a better handle on, so I headed to Mirren Baxter and Judith Watts‘s Building tension: conflict and consent in erotic fiction.

I’m so glad I did, as it turned out to be my favourite session of the whole weekend. At first it was a little hard to see where the speakers were going. We were asked to list all of the reasons we could think of that someone, whether from this reality or another, might have sex. Here’s what we as a group got (click to embiggen):

Eroticon Conflict and Consent Reasons 1Eroticon Conflict and Consent Reasons 2

I managed almost twenty myself and felt like I’d pretty much exhausted the options, so it was amazing to see another 30 or so ideas pop out of other people’s heads.

The bulk of erotica, we were told, tends to unfortunately focus on only the first two of these reasons: love and lust. How boring! Here’s where the session started to turn, for me, revolutionary and yet so simple. Pick something else. Anything else! Any of these other reasons to have sex is much more interesting than love or lust in terms of narrative and any of these other reasons comes prepacked with conflict, whether it’s against the self, another character, society or nature. Just try it and you’ll agree. This is the wonderful method I learned for this session: pick a reason for a character to have sex, ask yourself “What type of conflict can arise from that reason? What stands in this character’s way?”. Boom, instant conflict, instant tension, instant narrative.

And that is what I absolutely loved about the session. So simple, but so inspiring, such a new way of looking at how to create a narrative. And so creative. That room was abuzz with energy, you could tell. I was so impressed that I went straight down to the Eroticon bookstore and picked up their Mirren and Judith’s book Get Started in Writing Erotic Fiction (also available for Kindle), because frankly if the rest of the book has even anything like that in it, it’ll be worth it.

Finally for the day, we headed in to watch A Place of Power – the exquisite grace of deep surrender, a demonstration of ecstatic BDSM by London Faerie and his partner Marti. I won’t go into too much as my clarity of detail fades the further from it I get and as I feel you really had to be there for it to have the same meaning. Faerie and Marti, though, are captivating, both as individuals and as couples. And their play together was beautiful to watch. Although I understood the significance of the head-shaving, it didn’t really resonate with me and left me a little cold, but the rest of the session certainly connected. I find myself jealous of their wonderful skill and connection in BDSM! The majority of the session was breathtaking, beautiful and even made me a little shy in places. I dearly wished I’d got a chance to talk to them after the day ended, but they were rightly very popular and I was feeling a little too nervous to approach. Next time!

Speaking of next time, do “tune in” then to hear a little about Saturday night and a lot about Sunday’s great sessions! ♦

Eroticon 2014 – Saturday, Part 1

Blacksilk at Eroticon 2014

♦ So, you’ve heard about the social side of Friday at Eroticon, but now on to the main event: the conference itself. The room Lady Pandorah had booked was wonderfully close to the conference venue, so it was a leisurely walk in the early morning. We picked up our goody bags and nametags and went into the room containing three important Eroticon features: tea, stalls and loitering-with-intent-to-network.

After having mingled a little (can you tell the exact details of the event are sadly evaporating?), it was time for the grand opening from Ruby Kiddell, conference organiser and wonder woman. After a welcome, the keynote session Censorship: from on-line to print how censorship affects you began in earnest.

Zak Jane Keir lead with what quickly became one of my favourite utterances of the conference: “If censorship is the answer, then it was a fucking stupid question.” She led us through ideas of censorship, power and class that really resonated with the room and echoed throughout the session. Myles Jackman, perhaps more well-known as The Obscenity Lawyer, gave us a hell-for-leather ride through censorship and the law, focusing on the complete piece of bullshit that is the Obscene Publications Act. If you’re in the UK and that’s something you’re not familiar with, do go and get informed. Finally, Pandora Blake gave us a more personal approach in talking about her trials with censorship in her work as a pornographer. The session left me riled up about censorship, not that it takes much, but definitely energised to get on with the day.

The next slot was a hard choice between enjoyment and usefulness. The session on dealing with the press was perhaps more information-based, but I thought that the session by Molly Moore and Harper Elliot entitled Using Words: making labels work for you might be more interesting. It was a friendly and relaxed session, almost more like a chat with friends than a conference, which made it very welcoming. All the better considering Molly and Harper were recording the session for a sneaky podcast later.

Labels were presented as a convenient shorthand, but one which tends to box us in. We were told that instead of labels being the be-all and end-all, we should use them as springboard for discussion about what those labels mean to us. Labels fluctuate and you can even make up your own if you can’t find ones that fit. Molly and Harper shared with us their own created label “Significant Third” and asked the audience if we had anything similar. It’s at that point that I accidentally found myself in a podcast. Eep! It was lovely to have a say, though, to feel like people were interested in that say and to feel able to let my voice get out despite being an anonymous blogger.

I’ll be writing a post soon, I hope, about my own created label “Blue Moon Dom” (which I’ve used here before), so keep an eye out for both that post and the podcast.

My coffee break was spent talking to the fantastic guys at LELO (who sponsored Eroticon) about some fascinating sex toy facts, especially regarding colours of toys and sales based on colour. I’m definitely going to be getting in touch with them and writing something about sex toy colours soon.

Next, despite promise of a plastic pelvis model elsewhere, I headed off to Cara Sutra‘s Professional copy writing in an adult arena as I’d absolutely love to get into working in the sex field and I find hearing about people who do it fascinating. Cara started by telling us that “words are a form of magic we can all see and understand” and giving us an introduction to the world of adult copywriting. We learnt how to get noticed, how to build a portfolio and work off our current reputation as adult writers, how to price ourselves and how to comport ourselves.

By the end, I found myself feeling like it’s a job I could do, but I admit to being a little concerned about professional vs private voice. I think I’d have to be quite picky about who I worked for, because otherwise I might shoot myself in the foot with not wanting to mute my personal blog and opinions. I’d never let that slip through on the professional side, but I’m not going to stop talking my opinions in a personal capacity and some companies may not like that.

To read about the rest of the day’s fascinating Eroticon sessions, including my favourite of the weekend on conflict in fiction, watch this space! ♦

Eroticon 2014 – Friday

♦ How on Earth am I supposed to write about Eroticon 2014, hmm? What a weekend. To give myself a starting point, I decided to look back at my post about Eroticon 2012 (I didn’t write one in 2013 because I was still feeling miserable at spending my conference poorly and petrified and feeling like I’d wasted it). What I see when I read it, is some who’s clearly nervous and faltering and new. I say I felt at home, and I feel I did, but that’s nothing compared to this year. This year was sublime.

I think it’s a mix of having done this a few years now and of knowing some faces along with generally feeling more confident and at ease at talking to people in this environment. People who know me through my geeky social life can’t believe that I’m shy and horribly awkward, because I’ve been there long enough that I’m awfully comfy. Bold and even brash. I think the same is happening in the sex writer world. I’m becoming part of the furniture and it’s fantastic.

Anyway, good health combined with it not being my first rodeo certainly helped this year’s Eroticon be the best one yet, but of course what makes it are the sessions and, above all, the people. And I had an amazing time.

At first I’d planned to come up early on the Saturday morning as Bristol is just a hop over the border, but that would have meant missing out on Friday evening’s meet & greet. Luckily, my wonderfully kind blogging BFF Lady Pandorah offered me a share of her double bed (the offer that launched a thousand ‘ships!) and so Cinderella did go to the ball. Seeing Lady P, Innocent Loverboy, Jilly, Rose and Molly and DomSigns again was a smush of hugs and excitement and smiles. I’ve really missed these people! I resolve that it won’t be this long again before next time.

We chatted away happily as the room filled with more fantastic people and I felt the urge to mingle with new folk. I spotted first-timers Vanessa and AM Harding looking a little nervous (actually I’m fairly certain Vanessa never looks anything other than bubbly as all get-out, but that’s besides the point) and I felt entirely brave and comfortable enough to introduce myself – all by myself! – and start chatting to these lovely people. That alone was something I’d never have been able to do before and it was wonderful.

At some point someone introduced me to, essentially, sex blog celebrities. Pandora Blake, who is lovely and impossibly sharp, really knows what she’s talking about, and Girl on the Net exudes an easy, friendly sort of coolness. The addition of Zak Jane Keir to the conversation did not help me feel any less rather out of my depth, but was definitely bloody brilliant. What was perhaps, selfishly, the shiniest thing was seeing how pleased Girl on the Net seemed to be to meet me after she’d hopped on board my Very Short Stories thingummy. To see someone who I’d never met before so keen on an idea I’d chanced on for an erotica writing challenge was immensely awesome. I really got a feel for how my writing almost has a life of its own separate from me!

I spent a fair part of the evening talking to CJ Forrest who is a very likeable character indeed, as well as accidentally shaking hands with people with a wrist adorned in a Sainsbury’s bag, being bought a (rejected) drink by a complete stranger, having my QR code scanned and even receiving some very kindly donated Magic the Gathering cards from John D Stories. I love it when sex and geek spheres overlap.

After more things and more people I’ve undoubtedly missed, we toddled off to the hotel room to try and get some sleep for the big day ahead. And what a day it was! ♦