‘I have shorts you can borrow’ my mum says.
Ugh. I hate shorts. Why can’t I wear capris, like I do for exercise, or these super cute flamingo pyjama shorts that I’ve wanted for ages (ok, the physio might have laughed at those).
The truth is, it’s probably not the shorts that are bothering me.
I get accused a lot, by some of my real life friends, of being super vain, by which they mean, ‘I saw you just walk past that shop window and check yourself out.’
Except, I’m not checking myself out. Or at least, not in the way they think I am. It’s true, that when passing a mirror, or a window, or any reflective surface, my reflex is to examine myself in it. But I’m not checking to see if I look good. What I’m looking for is threefold:
a) Do I feel passably attractive today?
b) Do I look fat?
c) Am I walking in a way that people will perceive as ‘normal’?
If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know I’m not good at looking away, literally or metaphorically, from the things that upset me and/or make me anxious. You’ll know too, that I don’t like my body and that I believe my disability and my submissiveness are intrinsically linked. But what I don’t think I’ve touched on is that one of the things that fascinates me about submission is how often it’s associated with stillness.
And I’m both drawn in by that, and increasingly interested in inverting it.
I was thinking about it today, at the first serious hospital appointment I’ve attended to assess my hemiplegia in twenty years. As the physio explained how the two hour appointment would work – measuring my legs, testing my strength and dexterity, fitting sensors all over my lower half to track my movements – the same old issue was bothering me.
‘Do I have to see the stuff you’re capturing? I really don’t like video cameras.’
‘Not if you don’t want to. Most people find it interesting, though. Gait is very distinctive and lots of people recognise theirs on screen as soon as they see it.’
Yeah, I thought, that’s exactly what I’m worried about.
As it happened, it wasn’t that bad. It turns out you can walk up and down a room endless times and avoid eye contact with everyone present. It turns out that when you see footage that’s essentially just a series of computer-generated lines and dots for your legs, with a triangle for your pelvis and nothing above it at all, it’s not too hard to disassociate that with the body you’re uneasy living in. It turns out that you can live with the limp the way it looks on screen, even if your left leg does swing through without bending, not unlike the foot in Mousetrap.
It turns out you can leave with a different perception of your disability than the one you went in with- limp not as bad as you thought, but left ankle strength only a 1 out of 5 – and also wondering why you’re not getting to the heart of the way that makes you feel in your fiction.
I wrote a story last year where the FMC shares my condition. In that story, she and her partner invite another man into their bedroom in order that she’ll understand that she’s desirable to men other than the one she’s with in spite of her disability. I’m thrilled it was published, and I’m proud of it, but it fails to engage with the reality of disability and kink as fully as I’d have liked.
Back to the question of being still. When I’m submitting, the act of submission has never been characterised by stillness. I’d freak out if a man wanted to find me waiting for him on my knees. I don’t really see the appeal of rope bondage. I like to be held down, but only if I can struggle against the restraint: I like sex to be rough, out of control, blurry: sufficiently chaotic that neither he nor I can focus on the way my body looks or moves, essentially. Because even kneeling, although it ostensibly means staying still, requires that you can move in a certain way, and I’d want to do it gracefully and independently, not have to lower myself down and haul myself back up by the nearest surface or available hand.
So yeah, I want to write about that, because although it makes me uneasy, anything which makes me uneasy also has the potential for power-dynamic and humiliation play, things which I’m always keen to explore further – and fiction, after all, is a safe space in which to do so. And I want to push it even more – because if I’d be risking humiliation if a guy asked me to drop to my knees, I’d be risking it even more if he asked me to pace the room back and forth while he watched.
I want to play with those ideas of movement and motionlessness in my stories. I want to confront the things that scare me about my disability and that I’d love to overcome through kink, and work them right in there. Keep reminding me. Ask if I’ve written about it yet. Suggest new ways I can approach it. And, if stillness is central to your kink, please consider leaving a comment explaining why it appeals to you. Because, like I said, it fascinates me.
For more Wicked Wednesday, click on the circle…
My bedroom ceiling is low, and he’s short. Not ridiculously so – though you wouldn’t know it from the fuss he’s made about it – but short enough that when he stands on my bed and puts a hand in the air, he can touch it. Or brace himself against it – one hand on the plaster, the other jerking his cock.
I’m not into this. But I’m into sex, that’s who I am, so I’m pretending.
Earlier, he tried to get me off with his knee. Literally wedged it between my legs and rubbed it up and down. Apparently, someone let him whip them one and he’s fascinated by the fact I got flogged the week before, but his idea of playing rough? It’s just, well, rough.
I wrote the above in Hyacinth’s session at the weekend. I haven’t written about sex I’ve had for a long time now – thought I was done with it, in fact – but I’ve been thinking about this for a while, because I think it reflects badly on everybody involved.
When he didn’t text for ten days after our first date, despite telling me repeatedly that I gave ‘the best blow job he’d ever had,’ a friend said, ‘He’s intimidated by you, I reckon.’
I don’t really believe in intimidation in this sense – my view on it is very much in line with this – but equally, I can see that I’m not everybody’s cup of tea. I’m loud, outspoken, not particularly elegant or ladylike, and not everyone wants me to blow them in my kitchen within seconds of walking through the door, right?
In truth, I went down on him because *I* was intimidated. He was the first guy I’d been on a date with for a while who I’d actually fancied, and he’d said by text that he wasn’t looking for anything serious, which was, y’know, fine, even if it wasn’t, really. So, we sat through a date where I felt distinctly more interested in him than he was in me, to the point where I was actually surprised when I said, at the end of the evening, ‘If you want to come back with me, you’d be welcome.’
So, I sucked him, and fucked him, and later that evening he came in my mouth, and then he vanished for 10 days, and then he came back, and I fucked him again, and then he texted me, incessantly, for days, telling me how horny he was, but bailed on actually meeting up.
When I called him out on that, it was indeed that I was ‘intimidating,’ he said, and I was furious, with him and with myself. Furious about the cutesy ‘Oh, I’m not intimidating, it’s just a front I put on,’ text I sent in return, rather than telling him the truth, which was that, actually, I went down on him for the same reason and – guess what – I’d never swallowed spunk before him. Furious that because he was relatively attractive and intelligent I’d marked him as ‘out of my league,’ before we’d even said hello, and had used sex to try and lure him in.
Furious that, after all that, I still fucked him one more time.
And furious that, on my lowest days, I still think this is the best it’s going to get.
Self love. It’s a euphemism, a way of skirting around something that isn’t talked about in polite society, which isn’t really the way I do things. If it’s not something most people would talk about in polite society – sex, masturbation, writing erotica in your spare time – you can pretty much guarantee I’ll be doing it.
I’ve been lucky, I think, when it comes to masturbation – no one has ever tried to make me feel guilty about it, and the shelf crammed with erotica on public display by my bed is just a grown-up update on the pile I hid under Mills & Boon novels as a teen, and which my mum kindly turned a blind eye to.
I’m with Girl on the Net on wanking, though – it’s not something I indulge in in a sensual, lingering manner. I know what works for me and everything about the way I do it, from the toys I use to the times of day I pick – just as I’m on the cusp of sleep, at night, or when I’m already late for work in the morning, conspires to mean that I’m all about an orgasm in under five minutes – often it barely feels like engaging with my body at all.
And I’m okay with that. Sex positivity often suggests, with the best of intentions, I think, that women should understand their bodies – I’m thinking the hand mirror between the legs trick that teenage girls are sometimes told to try in order to be able to identify what’s ‘down there,’ and the assumption that, once you understand your body, liking it will naturally follow. Which is a nice idea, but not necessarily the reality.
Partly, I think what I struggle with is the separation of body and mind. We talk a lot about women’s bodies, and increasingly we acknowledge their minds in so far as women’s desires and fantasies are more recognised now than ever before, but I still think the conversation about self-love in the sense of being mentally healthy and at ease with ourselves has a long way to go.
Luxuries and indulgent products for women are often marketed as being something for use when we escape from the myriad demands put on our time, often by the people who care about us and who we care about – I’m thinking partners, children. Loneliness isn’t something that’s acknowledged (and yes, I see that it’s not an ideal way to sell products!) – women are painted as always trying to grab ten minutes ‘for themselves’ rather than watching the hours stretching out in front of them, filling their time with as many activities as they can, in order to distract themselves from the fact that something feels like it’s missing. Because it can’t just be me, can it?
I’ve mastered masturbation. I understand my body. My mind, not so much. Which is why, for me, self love is as much about learning to sit alone in a cinema and enjoy the experience as it is about wanking.
‘One of them made me a bone in the shape of a penis; one of them showed me a video of his penis. One of them asked me if I’d like to go upstairs and have sex with him … would I like to have an affair?’
I have a new, unlikely kink, courtesy of the BBC. Smithfield market, trading meat in the centre of London since 1174. (Pretty much) all-male, misogynistic, racist, homophobic – the filth here is as much about the attitudes of the traders as it is about the blood that stains their white coats.
I’ve had a thing about butchers for years now, but this confirmed everything I’d ever suspected to be true, in a way that thrilled and horrified me in equal measure. It starts, as these things always do, with the fact that this is a twilight world. Open from 2 till 8 a.m., it operates to its own codes, its own rules. It is, to quote one trader ‘an oasis from the PC world outside.’
It’s a terrible place to be a woman.
As with all the best filth, it seems, at first, to hide its nastiness well. The traders are old, and jovial, for the most part – they have comedy names, like Biffo – and there’s a flashing plastic santa on one of the counters that opens its coat to flash its pants. Dee, the first woman ever to work as a meat cutter, rather than a cashier, seems to tolerate the ‘banter’ she attracts with a wry smile. Her friends, she says, are proud of her for being the first ever woman in the role – they say it’s ‘girl power.’ Girl power, as you may have guessed, isn’t really respected in this environment. The women who do work as cashiers are, to quote the narrator, ‘cocooned in portacabins,’ locked away from the threats the men present.
These men only respect women in traditional roles. One, asked if he likes Christmas, says no, he hasn’t liked it since his mum died in 1975. ‘Your mum’s your best mate, in’t she?’ he says, turning away from the camera. Another, whose wife has recently died, tears up when asked if he misses her, says ‘Oh, yeah,’ and excuses himself from the interview. Male weakness is a failing, clearly. And, asked about the design of the building, which was redeveloped at some stage, the response is ‘Don’t quote me on this, but I think the new market was designed by a woman, and it shows.’
New male staff don’t get an easy ride of it, either – before they pass their training, they undergo some kind of archaic ‘initiation ceremony,’ where they stand naked in the street aside from a ‘mankini’ while the other traders pelt them with ‘various rotten produce – eggs and blood and offal …’ This is filth in its most traditional, most visceral, most stomach-churning sense. ‘As long as he takes it like a man, we’ll respect him,’ says one of the older guys. Like a man. Of course.
It’s not the kind of thing that should make you horny. The men are old, and unattractive, but that’s not why you wouldn’t want to fuck them. You wouldn’t want to fuck them because they’d treat you worse than the animal carcasses they spend the whole programme chopping up. Take Dee. By the end of the programme, she’s left her job at the market.
‘I think it was the pressure of things happening at home, as well as market life,’ says her former boss.
Dee disagrees. Talking about the men she came into contact with, she says, ‘One of them made me a bone in the shape of a penis; one of them showed me a video of his penis. One of them asked me if I’d like to go upstairs and have sex with him … would I like to have an affair? After a while, it’s just a bit degrading, you know?’
‘That’s Smithfield market, unfortunately,’ says the boss. He doesn’t sound like he thinks it’s particularly unfortunate.
Unlike him, I do know, which is why I’m ashamed to say the whole thing left me vaguely turned on, and not only that – it left me wanting to write …
For Lent this year, I gave you up. It was Girl onthenet’s fault. She gave up her sex power tool, and I consigned you, my little AA powered clit stim, to the drawer for forty days and forty nights.
And I have to say, I didn’t really miss you, though I expected to. Staying in the guest room at a friend’s a week or two before Lent began I had a quiet, shuddering morning orgasm using my fingers only, something I hadn’t done for years and years. It made me remember that the sensations of a non-battery-driven climax are totally different – deeper, slower, more satisfying somehow.
Which is why you and I took a break. I committed not to no orgasms for that period, but to more – two a week, using only my fingers – and God, the reasons behind it were complicated. You were starting to scare me; I was worried I’d lost my ability to come in any reasonable timeframe without you, and that was why he couldn’t make me come either.
Of course, it wasn’t that simple, which was why I didn’t blog about that period right away. I didn’t miss you, because I didn’t miss coming – I was always too tired, too anxious, too indifferent. Me, the girl who used to always wank at least once a day, and often twice.
It was August that I realised something had changed. I was staying alone in a flat in the South of France and I was horny all the bloody time. I hadn’t felt like that for ages. I’d packed you and I ran down battery after battery that week. I felt triumphant, like I’d found myself again. My sex drive, which had been missing for months (presumably because of anxiety/depression) was finally back. And so, in black, airbrushed ink that smudged the first time I applied sun cream and had to be wiped straight off, I recreated something I’d last done at 20, when I was famed among uni friends for having a dolphin-shaped vibrator: I had sea creatures tattooed on my ankle.
‘It’s the virginity thing,’ one of my best friends says, when I tell her I’m writing the intro to #KOTW and the kink is brutalism and/or concrete, and although they undoubtedly turn me on, I have no idea what’s behind this kink.
And she’s probably right. After all, nearly fifteen years on I still conjure up the vision of my French Connection cotton halter dress round my waist and the smell of metal railings on my hands when I need a fantasy to make me come.
So it’s a kink fuelled by something known, by a memory, but also, I think, fuelled just as much by the unknown, the unfamiliar. The most common concrete structures are, after all, shopping centres, train stations, blocks of flats. I’ve spent most of my life in the countryside, so those things just aren’t part of my everyday life: they’re the geography of fantasy, the landscape of sexual escapism.
Which isn’t to say you can’t combine the known and the unknown. More often than not, when I summon the mental image of the stranger I lost my virginity to, it’s that same car park, those same smells, same noises. But recently, I was on a train, and it sped past a bleak grey high rise, concrete balconies high above the ground. And since then, I dream that instead: a hand in the small of my back and another in my hair. I dream of being forced and the background is almost always concrete.
I’m writing to tell you that I watched Channel 4’s Sex in Class last night, and I kind of hoped that the teenage boys who said the kinds of things in the tweets below would grow up as they, well, grow up.
Having read your article, I’m not so sure. I haven’t bought you for a while, to be honest. I read you in the hairdresser, if it’s a choice between you and Hello, but if Red or Marie Claire, or even Good Housekeeping, are available instead, then that’s what I’ll pick up.
But let’s be honest, The Last Sexual Taboo (…or is it?) is a good strapline. I’ve been walking past you a lot this month wondering what *is* the last sexual taboo. I still wouldn’t have bought you, but I probably would’ve flicked through you in M&S to find out the answer. And then, as luck would have it, you turned up in the seat pocket of the flight I was on last night.
And I thought ‘Surely it’s not anal?’
Spoiler alert: It’s anal.
I could start by saying, Cosmo, that I don’t think anal is the last taboo. I seem to remember years ago reading that 1 in 3 couples had tried it. I like it. I fantasise about it probably more than I fantasise about anything else. The first time I tried it was fucking amazing. It still scares me a bit, sometimes it hurts, and I worry about it being messy/dirty. But I *do* like it, and although it was a guy who proposed it the first time I tried it, it’s been my suggestion nearly every other time since.
Anyway, let’s talk about the article. Shall we start with the subheadings? Here we go:
- Pressure to perform
- ‘Dick slips’
- Remember the vagina?
- Why does he want it?
- An erogenous zone?
Two things strike me about these subheads, Cosmo. They’re very negative, and they’re very male-focused. And the problem with the article is evident from the very start:
“I was never interested,” says Jill. “I didn’t want to do it, and I didn’t want to talk about it. But during sex, he would say “Can I put it in your bum?” every time. It seemed really important to this guy, so Jill finally agreed. […]
“It was not enjoyable at all,” she says. “We used lube and a condom and we tried foreplay. But I could hold on for only two or three minutes before I said “I can’t do it!'”
Prince Charming finished up with some vaginal sex that night, and Jill spoke loudly and often about how awful it had been for her. “But he kept on asking.” Eventually he cheated on her, citing her unwillingness to have anal as one of the reasons. Would it shock you to know they broke up?
I wonder why you included this cautionary tale? You could have done a lot with it. You could have pointed out that if you’re switching from anal to vaginal, you need to use a new condom. You could’ve pointed out explicitly that the guy behaved like a dick, rather than just sarcastically referring to him as ‘Prince Charming.’ I’d even have been on board with you pointing out that it’s not ideal to go from ‘I didn’t want to talk about it’ to ‘[I] spoke loudly and often about how awful it had been.’ At least, I think that’s what you mean. When your sentence is ‘Prince Charming finished up with some vaginal sex that night, and Jill spoke loudly and often about how awful it had been for her,’ it’s not clear which was awful: the anal or the vaginal.
OK, so in the next paragraph you are explicit about the guys who have ‘dick slips’ being ‘true assholes.’ This paragraph is a bit better, tbh – it actually begins to tackle the issue of consent responsibly. Still not what I was expecting from what you put on the cover, though. And then you really go and ruin it again.
So when did the vagina stop being the holy grail? When I was growing up it was a treasure to be saved for special occasions with special people.
Honestly, you make a mockery of the newsagent in the town where I went to school, who wanted proof of age before he’d sell you, Cosmo. You had such an opportunity here to inform women about something that can be really hot. Instead, you slipped the tale of the woman who genuinely likes it under the subheading Why does he want it? You picked a married women who said ‘We love it,’ and you phrased her reasoning thus: ‘Rachel likes it because she likes to please her husband, but also because it feels good to her.’ Because god forbid you pick a woman who does it *just* because it feels good to her.
Finally, two paragraphs from the end, you get to the point I think you should have been making all along (although you could’ve dropped the ‘in relationships’ bit):
Women in relationships who mutually decided with their partner to have anal sex talked about a profound experience.
I see what you did here. You commissioned the article from someone who’s thinking about trying anal for the first time because you thought that would make for a more approachable, less intimidating article, right? I disagree. I think the author’s attitude to anal is fearful enough here to actually be off-putting. And maybe I’m a humourless bitch, but I don’t find the ‘thinking of taking a trip to Brownton Abbey‘ line funny, either, especially in the context of an article that seems to suggest that anal goes hand in hand with problematic, immature communication.
You’re getting a new editor next month. And god, I hope for your sake that she brings a fresh approach to mainstream sex writing.
On Thursday nights, every other week, I teach English to foreign workers. A few weeks back, with the rest of the class absorbed in a pretty basic exercise, I found myself perched on the desk of a Spanish student whose level of English is well above that of the average student in the lower-level group.
‘I thought we talked about this a few weeks ago,’ I said. ‘You were going to try the higher group, remember?’
This particular student is a real sweetheart. We’d talked previously about whether her grammar was good enough for her to move up a level – I was adament she was, her argument to the contrary was that she occasionally makes mistakes with her tenses. Of course, she could stay in the lower group – it doesn’t make a huge difference to me – but the more I thought about it, and I did think about it a lot, on my way home, the following morning, the more I realised that what makes me sad about it is that she’s letting her fear hold her back.
As soon as I decided I wanted to be good at French, I got good, pretty much. In class, at least. On a holiday to Australia aged 16 I took a grammar workbook which I realised later was aimed at university students. There were no explanations or examples, so I worked through it to the best of my ability, only to find that more often than not I was getting the answers wrong and I had no idea why. I couldn’t recognise how far I’d come in a couple of years, only that I wasn’t yet where I wanted to be.
And I made my life, and a lot of other people’s, an absolute misery.
For two years running, my best friend won the end-of-year French prize and it seemed so bloody unfair, even though, looking back, I can see exactly why that was the case. She was a meek, obedient, disciplined student, good across all four skills, while I, despite being the one with the offer of a place at Oxbridge and the one who spent all her free periods reading French novels, applied myself only to the things I was comfortable with, namely Reading, Writing and Listening. Not speaking. God, no.
It wasn’t all my fault. I had a filthy temper, which I could now tell you was born of anxiety, but at the time I, and everyone else, just assumed meant I was a stroppy, difficult bitch. My French teacher, with whom I thought I was desperately in love, believed that speaking skills were improved by filming class discussion or debating activities and then playing them back to us, so we could identify our errors. I know a bit about language teaching now, and it’s not a terrible method, but his major failing was not recognising just how much it didn’t work for me, and mixing it up a bit.
We had an agreement: I knew that what bothered me was seeing myself move on camera; the jerky movements that to me screamed ‘disability,’ so I sat out of shot. You could hear me, but not see me. And still I hated it. It made me cry, it made me shout, it made me anxious as fuck in the run up to lessons where I knew we’d be being filmed. I know now that disability has coloured my views about every aspect of my body – I don’t like seeing myself move, hearing my voice, still photos that I can’t control … the list goes on. I wish I’d been able to tell him that calmly.
I owe the change to my Cambridge interviewer, who recognised I was too young and too lacking in confidence to be able to handle the challenge of a Cambridge degree straight after leaving school. My gap year was obligatory. Learning to speak French was not. Not for them, at least, but my mum wouldn’t let me get away with just working my summer call centre job for another year.
And, to cut a long story short, in a bakery in Switzerland I really learned to speak French. I doubt, even when I was pretty much fluent, that I was ever grammatically perfect. But I was revelling in the language, really enjoying it in a well rounded manner for the first time ever. I got a job abroad because they needed someone to speak English with the tourists: I spent most of the Winter letting the Brits struggle on in pidgin French before switching to English once they’d reached maximum fluster.
I was so immersed in the language that when things went wrong ‘Putain!” was more instinctive than ‘Fuck!’ I delighted in the fact that the French for ‘pussy’ is ‘chatte’ and that I could drive my boss crazy by answering with a slangy, drawn-out ‘Ouais,’ rather than the crisp and polite ‘Oui, Madame’ that she expected. All stuff that I picked up by just throwing myself into the language, and not overthinking it.
I’d love to say that that was the last time I feared throwing myself in at the deep end, but of course, it wasn’t. I never worked in Italy, or found an equivalent way to immerse myself in the Italian language and as a result the Italian I picked up during my degree has pretty much wilted and died. And I certainly haven’t lost that fear when it comes to sex – even when I’m doing something I love, like giving head, I still worry that my technique could be better. There’s a balance to be achieved here somewhere: if I love the act despite my worries I’m not letting it hold me back. And technique, like grammar, has a place in sex, certainly, which is why I’m always sorely tempted to go and do this.
The girl that I teach moved herself into the higher group after we had that chat. I’m pleased for her, because I think she’ll be having more fun. And fuck, just like sex, when language is fun, it’s *really* fun.
To read more Wicked Wednesday, click below.
*I realised halfway through this, that it’s kind of an extension of/development of the thoughts behind this post. That’s ok though, right?
I don’t watch porn. Really. I mean, I watched the odd soft core movie, rented from Blockbuster and accompanied by cheap wine from the college bar, when I was at uni, a lot more on Channel 5 when I was babysitting as a teen for the crap families who didn’t have Sky, a few hardcore clips the boys on my corridor downloaded onto my laptop, and a full length hardcore film three weeks ago in a hotel in Paris, out of sheer curiosity. And because it was free. That’s honestly the full extent of my porn watching. I’ve wanked to porn perhaps once. Because I discovered good erotica pretty young and because I’ve only ever seen porn with terrible and distracting plot lines, I’ve never really felt the need to seek it out.
That doesn’t mean that I’m not bothered by the new UK porn regulations. I’m very much with Myles Jackman, the obscenity lawyer quoted in this wonderful post by Girlonthenet, who said “Pornography is the canary in the coalmine of free speech: it is the first freedom to die. If this assault on liberty is allowed to go unchallenged, other freedoms will fall as a consequence.”
Plus, even the Independent is citing the anti-feminist argument (“More worryingly, the amendment seems to take issue with acts from which women more traditionally derive pleasure than men,”) so I think it’s safe to say that being pretty fucked off at this is not overreacting.
Lots of people will write about a lot of the acts on the banned list a lot more knowledgeably than I possibly could, so I’m not going to go there, much as my initial dismay was caused by the fact that bruising is no longer allowed. Instead I’m going to write again about something I’ve written on before: female ejaculation.
I stand by my original take on it. Personally, I don’t like it. That’s if I’ve even ever done it properly. I’ve certainly got very, very wet during penetrative sex, wet enough to soak my clothes and the bed underneath me. For me, that counts. For others, it may not. Either way, I don’t the sloshing noises my cunt makes when he fucks me that way, even though he seems to. I don’t like the feeling of being uncontrollably wet, I don’t feel *lady-like.* And therein lies my problem with banning squirting in porn. It’s not that squirting *isn’t* lady-like, that’s just my perception of it. Which might be partly down to personal preference, but also, I think, has a whole lot to do with the way society polices women’s bodies and the fluids they produce.
Lets go way, way back to when I was eleven. I got pretty good sex-ed at school. My parents had been open and honest about puberty. I was staying with a kind-of friend, the daughter of one of my mum’s mates. I was on a thin mattress on the floor and aside from anything else, I remember being unable to sleep because I was fucking freezing. And then I woke up properly in the early hours of the morning, soaked. In blood.
From there on in, it got worse. I was pretty scared of my mum’s friend, who wasn’t exactly warm and approachable. In fact, based on a later incident where my sister got drunk on cooking wine on a camping holiday and vomited everywhere, I’d say she’s a judgemental bitch. Anyway. My clothes for the next day involved cream jodhpurs (don’t ask). I didn’t dare tell her my periods had started, so I wore the cream jodhpurs and did my best to fashion an impromptu sanitary towel from loo roll. You can imagine the state of me, and the state I was in, by the time I got home.
And so it continued. Later the same year, someone in my class had the famous swimming party at the local pool, complete with massive inflatable for climbing on. Yep, you’ve guessed it, I had my period. My mum gave me a tampon, explained how they worked, and left me to get on with it. The swimming party lasted an hour. Nobody told me you need to change a tampon immediately after you swim. By the time I did change it, an hour or so after the party, it had leaked, staining the beautifully 90s body-with-poppers-between-the-legs (also in cream) that I was wearing. For the second time in less than a year, I was mortified by my body. I’d also learnt a lot about not wearing pale colours during my period.
At 30, I’m obviously much less bothered by my menstrual cycle, except it’s more irregular than ever, and in some ways, more disruptive. The problems of being a woman on her period don’t go away: I keep tampons in my desk drawer at work, but do I then slip one into my handbag and take that with me or do I clutch one in my fist and hope that no one stops me on the way to the toilets? If I sleep with someone who’s happy to fuck me while I’m on my period, I still hate that moment when you have to slip away to take your tampon out. Even if the guy in question *is* happy to fuck me at that point in the month, it’s undeniably less messy to avoid blood during sex, which means I back-to-back packets of the pill way more often than I intend to.
We’re no more open-minded about urination and I don’t mean in a watersports sense. Or UTIs for that matter. I don’t get cystitis often, thank god, but every time I do, it’s a battle to get the doctor to accept that I’ve tried the over-the-counter salts and they haven’t worked, and I need antibiotics. On one particularly memorable (for all the wrong reasons) occasion, I paced the floor of the emergency GP surgery to try to distract my bladder as he wrote me a prescription, on another I thought my entire birthday trip to Latitude festival was ruined because I was bleeding every time I peed and couldn’t get more than a metre from the toilet block before the stinging desperation forced me back again. For some reason, you can order antibiotics for cystitis online via Lloyds pharmacy, but can you do the same in a physical store? Of course not.
Likewise, when I looked briefly at Mumsnet earlier, to see what they had to say about squirting, there were lots of *hilarious* gags about how they could pass off urination caused by a weak post-partum pelvic floor as ejaculation. Very few women seemed to have anything positive to say about female ejaculation in its own right. How did we get like this as a society, and why can’t we be more like the French, who offer pelvic re-education as standard after having a baby? I could go on, because there are still more things about women and their need to piss going unrecognised that bug me, including the fact that city centres often now have pop up urinals for men who’ve been drinking. Is anything similar supplied for women? No, love, we don’t want to think about the fact you piss, so go and crouch behind a wall somewhere where we can’t see you.
And lastly, there’s the stuff that *never* gets talked about, or certainly never did when I was younger – like the fact that vaginal discharge is acidic and can therefore bleach the crotch of your black knickers to a garish shade of orange over time. It took me years to figure out that that wasn’t just me.
I have no idea why female ejaculation has been banned in UK poem – this post is an educated guess, at best. When I read the Independent article, it made me think of this passage, from Kristina Lloyd’s Thrill Seeker:
‘You’ve got to really work it.’ Liam slammed his middle fingers into the pad of my G, his elbow shunting as if he were trying to tug something from me. ‘It can look quite violent.’
‘Ach, I dinnae mind that,’ said Baxter.
I wailed as the pressure swelled within me. All too soon, my walls loosened and I was slushy around Liam’s pounding fingers. I slumped in Baxter’s supporting arms, crying out as liquid rushed from me in a hot, unstoppable fountain.
If squirting’s been banned because the censors associate it with fisting, something which they, insanely, consider to be ‘life-endangering,’ I can almost see the twisted logic behind the decision, much as I still disagree with it. If it’s been banned because someone objected to women’s bodies behaving in that way – well, angry doesn’t begin to cover it.
*The title of this post is a music-related riddle. I think Girlonthenet once used to send her readers a Twix as a small prize for getting questions like this right, and I liked that, so if you’re the first person to guess the link between the title and the post topic, I’ll send you something chocolatey.