On the fourth day of Christmas: April 2015

You got turned out, Jade A Waters, April 15th

‘… I was wrapping up one of the most painful breakups of my life. I’ve had many relationships in two decades—some of them waking me in one way or another, others serious enough we nearly ended up engaged, and still others breaking me in ways that required many years of lightness to heal—but this was different. It was heavier somehow, more real, more intense. If I were to describe my past relationships as watercolor paintings, this one was made of oil—dense with color, small details, and texture, and labored over not just with brushes, but with rags and carving tools that molded the canvas of us. It started as a casual fling that should have meant practically nothing, but in the mere nine months we lasted—including four breakups, three standoffs, and two attempted months of silence—the impact still coursed through my blood and transformed me.’

A post about an unorthodox relationship shaping you in unexpected ways? *Of course* I loved this. What struck me most of all is how it brims with positivity and energy about the whole experience – that reference to ‘the impact still coursed through my blood and transformed me’ is a super-empowered statement.

That face fucking look, Girlonthenet, April 22nd

‘It’s the willfulness that makes me hot. His deliberate, hard strokes as he pushes my head against the back of the sofa. I’m not sucking his dick, I’m being fucked. Barely holding myself together as I splutter and gag and angle myself just right to take him all the way down to the base. To feel the head of his swollen cock thumping against the back of my throat.

Face fucking. Not a blow job. Not doing something, but having it deliberately and precisely done to me.’

Because GOTN writes so well, it’s easy to read about stuff that isn’t your kink and find it hot, which means that when she is writing about your kinks … jeez. This captures perfectly the hotness of giving head as a submissive act – it’s not elegant, or pretty, but god, it’s good.

The Case For: Dining Alone, Floraidh Clement, April 23rd

‘So, this isn’t so much of a blog as it is really a dare. I dare you to wake up one day soon, make a conscious decision to get the hell over your worries and then take yourself out for a meal somewhere you’ve always fancied visiting. I dare you to not worry what strangers might think of you when you walk in and ask for a table for one, before ordering your meal as you sit with a book, newspaper or tablet. I dare you to smile afterwards and realise “hey, I guess that wasn’t so bad!” because it just really isn’t. Remember, these are dares, so don’t forfeit the ability to create your own bliss.’

To get as many people as possible to understand the joys of dining out solo is my personal one-woman mission, so I love it when someone gets on board with it. In this post, Floraidh doesn’t just skim over the things people commonly worry about when eating out alone – she tackles them head on; compares them to bigger worries that most of us have faced at one time or another, and ends on the most important note of all – eating out alone is great, but more importantly – be kind to yourself.

Wet and wild, Molly Moore, April 27th

‘On one of my visits to see him, after a night out, he called me into the bathroom, unzipped his fly and told me to hold his cock while he peed. I did as he instructed and at first everything went well but I think it might have been the kissing that distracted me from my task but I discovered that just the smallest movement could have rather alarming consequences. Luckily the hotel bathroom wall was tiled but my ‘license to drive’ (his words, not mine) had been well and truly revoked. (He was also very good about doing the wiping up while I laid on the bed laughing so hard tears ran down my face)’

The complete opposite of the GOTN post above, this is not one of my kinks. What I like about this, though, is less the kink, and more the dynamic it captures between Molly and @Domsigns – the intimacy, the humour, the affection …

What do you do when the Internet hates you?, Dani Shapiro, date unknown

‘Of course, you might say I asked for it. To be a writer—to do anything that involves putting oneself out there—is to invite criticism. And if you write about personal stuff, well, what do you expect? I’ve now spent nearly two decades writing about my family, my history, my fears, my anxieties, my spiritual crises, my sorrows, and my joys. I’ve tried to carve out of my own experience books that will resonate with others.’

I don’t worry that the internet hates me, but I am conscious, the more I write, that every time you put yourself out there, you never quite know what the reaction will be. This is a useful reminder not to take the opinions of strangers too personally – it’s about being wary of projection, of other people’s stuff, and taking the constructive criticism on board while letting the rest wash over you. The closing lines ‘And so I close the door. I write these words. I don’t click over to Google to see what people think. In the silence—in the absence of all those voices—here is where I discover who I am,’ resonated.

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On the third day of Christmas: March 2015

On Forgiveness, Love and Moving On, That Pesky Feminist, March 2nd

‘The thing is, though, that at that time, a lot of what I was being fed was a lie. I don’t wish to play a blame game, and I have no interest in dredging up the past, but the behaviour that welcomed me into the second month of my first relationship didn’t end there, by any means. I was tortured, intentionally or not, for months and months to come. At some point a realisation had to be wrought that actually, not everyone is going to treat me the same way. This was hard to swallow. At a point I believed wholeheartedly that every partner I would ever have would be the same, because how could I deserve anything else? Perhaps this is not so. I can’t say for certain, of course, but I am able to make a choice to believe one thing or another and that is what I am doing now. I never thought I would.’

If it was difficult to read about break ups, losing your self confidence in a relationship and worrying that you’d never find love back in March, it’s even more so now, when most of my anxieties centre on the fear that I’ll be alone forever. This is a positive piece overall though: about kindness, time, and learning to forgive.

Sex: Love and fucking, Happy Come Lucky, March 5th

‘In addition to the perceived domesticity of the phrase, there is also the choice of verb in itself. I actually really enjoy making things. I enjoy the process and the product but, and here is the important bit, when I make something, it is external to me. In making something, my actions affect something else and hopefully change it for the better. I get satisfaction when it works, but it is at all times external to me. I do it. I make it the best that I can, but at all times, there is a distance between my soul and what I am making. Sometimes that distance might be very small but there isn’t the direct connection.’

The relationship between kink and craft has always fascinated me, and so I particularly enjoyed the paragraph above in this post, as well as the other insights into problems with the term ‘making love,’ including the domesticity of the phrase. Plus, I totally agree about everything ‘fuck’ has in its favour when being used as a verb.

The Darkness Within, Molly Moore, March 5th

‘The ones I have trouble with sharing seem to be the ones that have not gotten that far. They are often very specific little snippets of a moment that play over and over in my head almost like a .gif image that only stops when they finally make me cum. The detail of those little snapshots are very precise but oddly difficult to put into words when not framed within a wider story or scenario to give them context.’

Molly and I seem to have very similar fantasies, but I completely recognised this description of scenes like gifs, playing over and over, rather than fully-formed stories. This is a fascinating insight into fantasies and sharing them.

Kiss an author, Alison Tyler, March 12th

‘If you’re on Twitter, post a tiny snippet of a story by an author you adore. Hashtag the post with #kissanauthor. I was able to snag some lines by several of my favorite writers yesterday. (I’m a lucky editor who has access to thousands of stories.)

The math trick is that you only have 140 characters to work with. Some of the lines kept spilling out of the box. Which meant I had to be very selective with the words I chose.’

Alison Tyler works seriously hard at promoting authors she’s worked with, and I loved this idea she had back in March, because it reminded me of the difficulty of picking a 140 character quote from anything you’ve read and loved, in order to share it on Twitter. I’m not sure if she’s still running this, but I plan to do it as much as possible in 2016 either way.

I like to watch you flirt, Girl on the net, March 15th

‘Ten years ago, this kind of thing would make me wild with jealousy. It’d have me biting back sarcastic comments or storming out in a huff. I’d be worried that this girl’s lust would demean the lust that I felt for him – that she was stepping into the circle and pushing me out.’

 

I sat on this post for ages, because I knew it would make me uncomfortable, and sure enough, it did. I was (and am, no doubt) stuck in the phase that GOTN describes above, hoping to get to the point she reaches as the post progresses. Because deep down, I think she’s right: flirting is a good thing, not a bad thing, and just as I wouldn’t want anyone to try and stop me flirting if I was in a relationship, I’d like to learn to not feel threatened by a partner doing it, too.

Fucking interrupted, Girl on the net, March 22nd

‘He fumbles to stay upright, one hand on the sink which won’t hold his full weight, another hand rummaging awkwardly down my top. Frustrated, I pull at the cotton and turn down my bra so he can get his hot, sweat-slick fingers on one of my nipples, and moan deeply as the head of his cock hits the back of my throat. I want to go faster. I need him to speed up. After all, we only have four minutes and I need time to straighten my clothes and get back to my seat before he takes his place on stage. And I’m damned if I’ll miss out on the ending – where he spurts warm come down the back of my throat and I get the pleasure of seeing his shellshocked face as I wipe my lips and grin.’

Girl on the net appears three times in this month’s posts, so clearly she was on top form. The post above is hot, pure and simple, and the details – the fingers on her nipple, his hand on the sink – totally make this for me.

Sex stories, lies and memory, Girl on the net, March 25th

‘Non-fiction sex stories are as much about that ‘me too’ feeling as they are about the anecdote itself. I don’t just want to talk about the hot things I’ve done, I want to tap into exactly why they’re hot – to make you feel the same sexy shiver that I did.’

Another subject I feel super strongly about – when I’m writing about a particularly encounter, details will stand out to me that might not even have been noticed by someone else. When it comes to writing non-fiction, there is no objective truth, and the truths of the two people involved might vary significantly. In my opinion, that’s not a problem – it simply makes things more interesting.

Hold me tight, Molly Moore, March 30th

‘Everything feels safe in a corset and that tightness creates an intimacy with your own body, you become much more aware of how it moves, how you breath, how you sit and then there is the way it looks. The narrowing of my waist, the lifting my bust, the curve from my waist to hip. A good corset takes my shape and figure and hides away all the bad bits whilst making the most of and displaying perfectly all the best bits. I look at myself in a corset and I see sexy and that is a very powerful thing because when you can see, then you can really own it.’

Underwear is one of my favourite things, and this post made me envious of the fact Molly has someone to lace her into her corset, which is the main reason I don’t own one yet. Plus, the idea of ‘an intimacy with your own body’ sounds like something it would be pretty damn beneficial for me to achieve.

On the second day of Christmas: February 2015

Things I’ve learnt: endings and emotional honesty, Megan Kerr, Feb 3rd

‘The ending is where storytelling and truth go to war. Most emotional crises, of whatever sort your character faces, don’t end with a grand gesture, a revolutionary decision, a pivotal moment: most of our emotions end not with a bang, but a whimper. They peter out slowly, an imperceptible fading or easing from day to numbered day, the broken jaw of our lost kingdoms or a return at last to unheard music hidden in the shrubbery. There’s no decisive battle to win. And most of human reality has that complexity.’

Fear of writing a weak ending is what often keeps me from making progress on my novel. I’m more drawn towards endings that ‘peter out slowly,’ but equally worried I’ll end up writing something with an ending as unsatisfying as many French films. This post is a really interesting insight into how to write a strong ending.

Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not The Point. Stop Being Ableist, Anne Thériault, Feb 5th

‘Autistic people aren’t “gone.” Their brains function differently than neurotypical brains, which often leads to them becoming overwhelmed by outside stimuli in a way that other people might not. So, in a sense, they’re more present than many of us are – they’re bombarded by sights, sounds and smells that neurotypical people can ignore or dismiss. They are very much “here,” trying way harder than most to process what “here” is. So get out of here with your misinformed ideas about autistic people having no light in their eyes or no soul. Get out of here and maybe go meet an actual autistic person.’

When I started reading this, I had mixed feelings because I’m undeniably of the view that life *is* harder for people with disabilities, and so fear of disability makes sense to me. *BUT* it’s absolutely true that the ‘light vanishing from their eyes’ thing that Anne talks about here is absolute scaremongering bullshit which totally needed calling out in the way that this post does brilliantly.

Resist the Erotic Euphemism (A.K.A. Don’t Let Me Plunge Your Coffee Bean), Behind the Chintz Curtain, Feb 11th

‘It was the first time I’d ever heard an anus described in such a way and, let me tell you, the mental picture it conjured (read on for that) was about as far from sexy as you could get. And then I happened to listen to Molly’s latest KissCast with Jade A. Waters and discover that the two of them had also been chatting about erotic metaphors that they, personally, have found to have set their respective sets of teeth on edge. Ah, I thought. The stick figures are a-calling.’

The post that ultimately led to two rounds of the epic #Euphoff, this is worth reading for the stick figure drawings alone…

At my most beautiful, The Shingle Beach, Feb 12th

‘But afterwards – tonight – I look pale and rosy and wild and just fucked.
I look amazing.’

As someone who frequently struggles with what they see in the mirror, but feels improved/more at one with their appearance after sex, this resonated a great deal.

Morning Sex, Absolutely Ruby, Feb 17th

‘I wake up with a silly grin on my face, the way I normally do when he stays over and am pleased to see him smiling back at me before we share a small good morning kiss. Morning sex isn’t really our thing, there normally isn’t time, no one has brushed their teeth and everyone needs a wee. Still, one of my favourite things is seeing his hard cock in the mornings, as though it has woken up just like us, ready for the day. Despite it being the morning and my mouth being a bit dry I still want to get to it. He pulls back the cover showing me his gloriously thick, hard, morning cock and I ask, like a good girl, if I can suck it a little bit before we get up.’

Morning sex isn’t really my thing, either, but this post perfectly captures why, when it’s good, it’s so good…

On Being a Trans Woman and Crossing the Bathroom Line, Xeph Kalma, 20th Feb

‘If you ever run into someone who might not visually match the gender of the washroom you’ve found them in, just chill. They are probably way, way, way more scared of you, than you of them. Scared of losing their job, scared of not being able to find employment again, scared of losing housing, scared of having to even look someone in the eye/talk to them. Don’t say anything; just leave us be. We’ll be on our way in no time.’

As a cis-woman, there are some things that barely cross my mind. I can talk about the fear and anxiety that go hand in hand with MH issues, or physical disability, but nothing about the fears associated with being trans. This guest post for Anne Thériault was a hugely interesting look at trans issues in the workplace.

Fishnets and buttsex and all the right noises, Girlonthenet, Feb 25th

‘He touches me. Rubs his hands all over my thighs, my arse, my cunt. Rubs fingers into the warmth of my crotch and makes a dark moaning sound at the back of his throat. I want him to pull them down. I picture him pulling down my fishnets and pushing his cock up against me, and until that moment it’s been all I’ve really wanted since the tedious evening began. All the way through the speeches and the chat and the token efforts to dance, I know I’ve been waiting for the moment when he pulls down the tights, pulls my knickers to the side, and slides his dick into my tight wet cunt.’

This is Girlonthenet at her finest and filthiest. It has all the good stuff – ripped tights, anal, and that beautiful way GOTN has of writing sex where she gives you just enough detail to allow you to picture the scene, but also room to totally project your own fantasies onto it too. Bloody brilliant.

On the first day of Christmas: January 2015

Round ups and review posts are some of the hardest to write, I find. In 2014, over the twelve days of Christmas, I featured a blogger a day, and my favourite three posts they’d written over the course of the year.

This year I’m doing it slightly differently.

I’ve been bookmarking all of my favourite posts, on all kinds of topics – sex, feminism, disability, food, mental health – and from now until January 6th, I’ll cover a month of 2015 a day, featuring the best things I read.

The number of posts I bookmarked varies, and obviously, some bloggers recur often – I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any favourites. But there should be a variety, and I hope you enjoy. With any luck, this could become an annual tradition.

Anyway, January 2015…

WARNING: “Crunchy” Roads Ahead, Sommer Marsden, Jan 2nd

‘I am a newly hatched widow, single mother of two, who can often be found standing in the middle of some random room at any given time, wondering what the fuck now? And who the fuck am I now?’

This blog post may well break your heart, as you’ve probably realised from the quote above. But I really admired the honesty, candour and bravery with which Sommer approached such a massive life change, and I hope life is a little easier with each day that passes.

Resolutions for a (Mentally) Healthier New Year, Anne Thériault, Jan 2nd

‘I’ve seen a lot of promises to bike to work, to eat healthier, to get a gym membership, and so on and so forth. I used to make resolutions like these, although mine were almost always unhealthy and centred around weight loss. I would frame them as “feeling better in my body,” but really what I meant was, “exercise and withhold foods I love until my body is a size that makes me feel good about myself.”’

Mental health emerges as a theme of the posts I bookmarked in January, which is unsurprising, given that a) New Year is bloody tough and b) I was having a pretty rough time in January last year. This list of 10 resolutions for better mental health is worth rereading from time to time, especially number 10. Essentially: be as kind to yourself as you’d be to other people.

This girl can’t, not yet, Miss Smidge, Jan 15th

‘Lets repeat what I just said above, yes I was uncoordinated, yes I kept messing up, but I was doing it with a massive grin on my face. Thanks to some clumsy language from the instructor – that massive grin – was gone. For the next 30 minutes any co-ordination I did have totally disappeared, along any enjoyment of the class I’d been having. There were others in the class just as uncoordinated as me – maybe she thought I could take it as the smile I had on my face looked like confidence. It wasn’t.’

2015 was the year I was lucky enough to find a really good Zumba class, but the sentiments in this post really resonated with me, because I’ve felt them so many times in the past. A great reminder of the importance of finding a form of exercise you enjoy, but also an instructor who makes you feel safe, comfortable and accepted.

Mumblecore: Whispers of a feminist revolution?, The Cocktail Hour, Jan 15th

‘Over the past couple of years, I have watched a lot of indie ‘mumblecore’ fayre. Mumblecore itself is arguably a pejorative term, and a label that the filmmakers themselves would not necessarily favour. Most films that do appear to fall under that banner are woven together by common thematic and stylistic threads. They are typified by loose plots, minimal camerawork and deal with the minutiae of daily life: slackerdom, 20/30 something ennui, navigating social norms and responsibilities. So far, so familiar, but it recently dawned on me that there is something more exciting happening beneath the scruffy surface.’

I had no idea what mumblecore was when I stumbled upon this post, and I’m still not sure I could define it, but I do like art house film, and I think I probably tagged it as a reminder to go and see Obvious Child (which is great, btw). This interests me on the same level that anti-heroines interest me in literature – I like things that don’t tread well worn grooves when it comes to female characters, and that applies to film just as much as it does to books.

Reclaiming my wheelchair through sexy lift snogs, Desire on Wheels, Jan 30th

‘There would just be space for him to stand behind my wheelchair, so I would tip my head back, he would lean over me, and we would kiss until we felt the jolt of the lift stopping again.  You can’t do much like that, just lips touching and perhaps hands on faces, trying not to let the wheelchair run away if we were too intent on kissing to remember to put the brakes on.  There’s something delicious about being limited in that way, with your throat exposed and no idea whether someone’s watching disapprovingly on a security camera.’

This is a guest post for Girlonthenet, and it’s great for a number of reasons. First, because it tackles disability and desire, something which is definitely not written enough about, secondly because it talks about disability and shame, which is super real to me, and thirdly because it’s a reminder of a universal truth: some guys are shits, but many are not, and the relationship between the post author and her partner is enviable, to say the least.

Why not accepting anorgasmia doesn’t mean wanting orgasms all the time, The Shingle Beach, Jan 30th

‘Getting my sex drive back – then getting my orgasms back – did as much for my mental health, my general wellbeing, my ability to deal with the rest of life, as did treating the mental symptoms and getting good counselling.’

I love this post because TSB so clearly understands both herself and the power of good sex. I’m totally with her (though more so on sex than orgasms), because touch is powerful, and calming, and easy to forget about. For anyone struggling with mental health issues and anorgasmia, it’s worth not only reading this but also the multitude of other great blog posts it links to.

My Erotica Library Top Five: Bites, Bruises and BDSM

‘I still had a pair of tights in my hand, weightless, soft and black. I pulled them taut between my hands, lifted them so she could see what I was doing – winding them around my fists and stretching until I had a strong rope.
I brought it down. Lowered it gently, covered her breasts like a bandeau. I pressed down, my hands on either side of her, binding her tightly. Under the nylon her breasts spilled over, and I began squeezing those beautiful tits. Hard. Until she gasped. I bit the nipples and moved down, dragging at her skin, roughing it a little, pulling the nylon over her curves and hollows.’

Nikki Magennis, Bearers

‘Sol took the belt in both hands. I almost forgot to breathe as he hooked the leather length over my head and positioned the strap across my back. He threaded the end through the brass buckle and pulled the belt tight below my breasts, trapping my arms by my side. The tug of the restraint forced a low grunt of need from me. Jeez, it gets me every time that subtle impression of dominance. It might be the press of bondage, the hint of bossiness in bed, the fist gripping my hair as we kiss goodnight in the street.’

Kristina Lloyd, Undone

‘When he stood up to fit the wrist cuff his breathing was as loud and ragged as my own and I noticed that his hands were trembling. He bent down to pick up the rest of the knives then got up and walked away. He turned round to face me and I instantly saw that he had an erection. ‘Your cock’s hard,’ I said.’

Mae Nixon,  Under the Big Top

‘”Ow!” I’m not used to this, and I’m shocked. I feel completely helpless, and small. He smacks me again and the side of my face stings. Before I can even analyse my reaction, I start to cry. Wet, lonely tears run from my eyes and he wipes them away-and smacks my face again, lazily.
“What?”
I’m spread open, and within a few minutes, he’s put me in a place I could never access by myself.’

Vida Bailey, One A.M. Girl’s Night Out

‘He wrote the words across her chest in black ink: FREE WHORE. She held still, swaying only slightly.
“Arms folded behind your back,” he said. He pushed her bra straps down, lifted her breasts free and grabbed her by the hair. Holding her head firm, he drove into her mouth, increasing his reach until her throat was opening to clasp the last inch of him, so warm and tight. She gazed up obediently, her lips around his root, her eyes watering. Her makeup ran, making her tears as black as the words on her chest.’

Kristina Lloyd, No Sleep

My Erotica Library Top Five: Kisses

‘I rolled the condom down, my hands trembling just a bit. He wrapped a hand around my neck, kissing me roughly. I moaned into his mouth as he entered me, his thick cock spreading me open. He stayed still for a few moments, our eyes meeting,  before he started to pull back out.’

Heidi Champa, Chasing Jared

‘Danny leaned down and kissed me with a tenderness that lightened my heart and stoked my lust. All of that gentle sweetness was even more alluring because of the promise of a kink-filled finale.’

Sophia Valenti, From the Bottom of My Heart

‘His lips came down on mine very suddenly, as though he’d battled with himself and lost. It didn’t matter to me whether he had or not – all I wanted was a few dirty minutes of his time.’

Liza, London, Anonymous Sex

‘She yanked on his hand again, and this time, he let her lead him around the corner of the building to a narrow alleyway, which seemed uninhabited by either dossiers or rats. Julia stopped and he was on her, pressing her back against the unforgiving wall, his mouth ravaging hers, his body even through all the layers of clothing a hard, persistent presence she wanted to wrap her legs around and climb.’

Kate Pearce, Nine P.M. Victoria Coach Station

‘Perverse bastard that he is, he made me go back to the Three Kings with him for a drink. I had to sit on the steps in my rumpled, sweat-patched, dirty dress. There was a dead leaf in my hair, my make-up was melted to fuck and my legs bore definite tree-bark patterns. This time, though, I enjoyed the attention. I enjoyed the thought that anyone looking at me could see I’d just been firmly and thoroughly shagged by the ordinary-almost-even-ugly bloke sitting with his arm around me, fingers playing idly with the hem of my skirt. We kissed like swooning lovers until dark fell and we took the last train home together, parting at the station.’

Justine Elyot, Thames Link

My Erotica Library Top 5: An Introduction

IMG_4438I spent most of May 2007 hidden away in one of the reading rooms of the university library. It was the year of my finals, and the year I finally learnt how to revise. It turns out, if you’re reading literary criticism, revision doesn’t have to mean reading the same stuff you covered earlier in the year all over again. You can read new stuff, which is way more exciting, and copy out quote after quote onto A4 lined paper.

I’ve been a sucker for snippets of text ever since. Or maybe even prior to that, I’m not sure. When I read Kristina Lloyd’s Undone last summer, I wished I’d had a pencil to hand and that I’d underlined the bits that tapped straight into both kink and cunt. There were lots of them.

But I don’t read erotica that way. I don’t often read it two-handed at all, actually. But I do mentally file it that way: which is the story with the guy in the hoodie, the one where the description of the bar makes me weak at the knees, the one where the word snog seems perfect, not incongruous?

And I’ve been wanting to put something together on this for ages and ages, pretty much since I wrote this post and Kristina Lloyd said she enjoyed it and she’d like to see more like it. I’m not good at reviewing erotica, because it’s so rare for me to enjoy a story because character and plot and voice all come together. More often it’s because a single line connects with something fleeting and shadowy inside me, but you can’t guarantee that the same line will cater exactly to someone else’s kinks.

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In the end, I remembered something I did as a teen, and decided to try and kind of recreate it. At the time, I was reading a lot of Mills & Boon, and saving for a copy of Romance Writing for Dummies. In the meantime, I bought something great terrible great: The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book. And it truly is both great and terrible all at the same time. It’s basically a reference book of what it refers to as ‘tags’ or ‘short, one-line descriptions so skilfully tucked into dialogue and laced through the narrative that they usually escape notice.’ And given that the skill in writing category romance is being able to write to a tight brief and match reader expectations with very few surprises, it knows exactly what it’s doing. It contains such gems as ‘she tingled as he said her name’ and ‘her eyes held a gleam that no makeup could improve’ (always one of my favourites). My best friend and I used it to improve what could only really be described as fan fiction about our crushes at the time. Pity my GCSE French teacher, who was once described with the line ‘the smile in his eyes contained a sensuous flame.’

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Good erotica doesn’t work like category romance. There are no guidelines about the hero’s expected income, the heroine’s sexual inexperience or a requirement to have a slick, big city setting. You can have a list of requirements in your head (e.g. cunt = good, pussy = bad, fuck = good, shag = bad) and you’ll almost always find examples that force you to reconsider. There’s no room for a dictionary of accepted, surefire phrases here, right?

Hmm, kind of. There are three things that I often stall on when I’m writing: kissing and orgasms, both his and hers. If a description doesn’t sound like it’s been used a thousand times before, I might like it for a day or two only to reread the draft a few weeks later and think ‘Jesus, what *was* I thinking?’ So what I needed was a reference bank that I could go to when doubting my own voice – a reminder that different authors describe these things in all kinds of ways and that words can work in ways you would never have even dreamed of.

It seemed to make sense to tie this post in with Erotic World Book Day. Because I only remembered this fairly late on, I’ve had to sweep through my collection of erotica slightly more briskly than I originally hoped. What I’ve come up with is three separate posts, each containing my top five descriptions of the following: kisses, male orgasm, female orgasm. Eventually, I might add a BDSM one and potentially others in the future. The plan is to update them as I read new stuff; these are not fixed lists of favourites, and stuff will be removed and replaced as I encounter more great erotica in the months ahead.

Doing this has been an interesting activity: yes, I’m open to a variety of writing styles and situations, but my kinks shine through in my choices. Semen features heavily in the male orgasm list; women who aren’t ashamed of how they sound when they come or are changed by the sex they’re having appear several times in the female one. The kisses vary much more than the other two lists – there’s a bit of everything from soft and gentle to hard and bitey, with some beautiful juxtaposition of ‘kissing like swooning lovers’ and fucking a near stranger. It’s an eclectic mix, hopefully.

I want it to serve a number of purposes. Inspiration, when my words dry up. A thank you, to all the great authors who continue writing in what I see as increasingly challenging market conditions. And a forum for recommending excellent reads to one another – please do share your favourite lines from what you’re reading in the comments section, either here, or on the posts themselves. I can’t wait to see what you pick!

My Erotica Library Top 5: Male Orgasms

‘Her sex was soaked with their come and she felt it trickle down her legs. She slowly pulled up her trousers and retied the cord. Sofina did not want to wipe away the memory of their brief time together. It prolonged the pleasure to so intimately carry him about with her. She held on to anything of him that she could. These were stolen meetings.’

S.M. Taylor, Forbidden

‘There’s hair in my mouth and I try to spit it out, which seems to make my pussy clamp down on Clark’s dick. Who knew?

“Yeah, Becky.” He’s whining against my ear, so hot, wet. His words are everywhere. “Fuck yeah, Beck.”

Giselle Renarde, If You Know Where to Look

‘He hurt her some more, fucked her some more, sank into her throat, then came on her tits. He dragged her to the mirror so she could see what a whore she was.’

Kristina Lloyd,  No Sleep

‘He didn’t ask if I wanted to swallow. He just tightened his painful grip on my hair, shoved his cock deep and shot into my mouth. Come poured down my throat, overflowed past my lips and dribbled down my chin. I sucked and swallowed as fast as I could, drinking in his pungent, briny semen. Nothing existed for me but the sound of his coarse words and the feel of him as he jerked and came.’

Lydia Hill,  Tryst of Fate

‘He curses, groans and then pulls out. The splatter of his come lands on my ass and he whines like a wounded creature and collapses against my back. I shiver, find his hands and pull them more tightly around me.’

Laila Blake, More Light

My Erotica Library Top 5: Female Orgasms

‘My fingers rub his cock through the thin and magical membrane that separates my two holes, and he makes a dark and secret noise that sets me off. I can’t catch myself before I’m coming and chanting, “Oh, Jason. Oh, baby. Oh, God. I mi-”

– Sommer Marsden, Smokehouse

”I’m coming,’ I gasped, right on the edge.

‘Go on,’ he said. ‘Come on me. Come on my cock.’

I whimpered.

‘Little slut,’ he breathed. ‘Come on me.’

– Kristina Lloyd, Split

‘Head back, legs spread, I come hard, screaming like a talon-gutted rabbit, thighs quivering. My boy lifts his face from my wet crotch, his lips and the tip of his nose shiny with my juice.’

– Gina Marie, Seasonal Affected Disorder

‘I’m quickly overtaken by my own orgasm, pulsating and spreading out from my cunt all the way up my spine and into the base of my brain via delightful vibrations that echo out into my fingers and toes. I clumsily fall back onto the linoleum, staring at the tiled ceiling until I hear the creak of his desk chair.’

– Rachel Woe, The Art Teacher

‘She would come, violently, with more guttural sounds than she’d ever made before, the scream of an animal being torn from familiar territory and flung high and hard. Her body was loosening, unravelling, fucking itself into the strange cold night with a man she’d never met before. It was like discovering a whole new city, there under the bridge.’

– Nikki Magennis, A Whole New City

On the twelfth day of Christmas: Anne Thériault

I knew there would be two problems when it came to writing this post: the first is a problem I’ve had with many of the blogs that I’ve spotlighted in this series – Anne wrote so much great stuff in 2014 that picking three posts was bloody hard work. The second problem was much more mundane. As you may have noticed, there’s an acute accent in Anne’s surname and I still have no idea what the keyboard shortcuts are for accents on a Macbook. So, if anyone can help with that… (I copied and pasted from Google to get in the post title).

Anne is, in my opinion, the best kind of feminist blogger/tweeter. Her posts are thoughtful, intelligent and cover a huge range of subjects and her Twitter feed is both interesting and funny, the humour often coming courtesy of her three year old. i can’t remember how or at what point in the year I discovered this blog, but god, it fast became one of my favourites.

As with many of the bloggers I read, one of my favourite posts here was a depression/anxiety piece called Life Goes On And Other Garbage, about how frustrating it can be when you’re not coping with life and people tell that ‘life goes on,’ in a way that’s intended to comfort. We don’t all look forward to tomorrow, we don’t all enjoy weekends. In this post, Anne reflects how it can be hard that life moves on not only when things are bad, but when they’re good, as well – that even the best moments have to end. I promise it’s not as depressing as it sounds though, and it ends on a great note, and a feeling I share: that sometimes, when things are really bad, just knowing that people take the time to read your stuff helps.

My second favourite post was about death. God, I’m not doing a great job on the hardsell here, am I? For Alicia, though, is beautiful, in every sense. It’s a tribute, and one that notices details that a formal eulogy might never do: ‘She loved words – scratch that, she lived for words. She wielded them with an economy and precision that made me deeply envious,’ but it’s also a musing on the peculiarities and the fragility of the human body, a fantastic example of being in the moment and being aware of tiny, seemingly inconsequential details, of how sometimes the things that seem too flimsy to blog about – funeral wear, for example, can really make a piece of writing, and lastly, on that weird feeling of both being a grown up and being endlessly surprised by that fact.

My favourite favourite post was “You Know I Love You A Lot Too Even If I Sometimes Get Impatient” – god, how this resonated! I tell the people I love that I love them a lot, and yes, it’s as much about seeking reassurance as it is about making them feel loved, much as it makes me cringe to admit it. I want everyone to like me, impossible though that is, and the fear that they don’t makes me anxious, and the anxiety makes me bitchy. It’s a vicious circle. I cannot possibly summarise everything I love about this post, so here’s an extract instead:

‘I have a hard time understanding that I can still have conflict with people that I love. In my head, it seems so black and white: either you love me or you don’t. And if you’re angry at me, or frustrated with me, or hurt by something that I’ve done, then you don’t love me. And if you don’t love me, it’s almost certainly because of something I’ve done, some way in which I’ve fucked up. If you don’t love me, I probably deserve it.

And so I melt down into that sobbing, gibbering mess and feel like I can’t breathe and feel like the world is ending and feel like I am not worthy of anyone’s love. Like it’s somehow just a weird trick of fate that I have a husband and a son and lots and lots of friends. I feel as if when I have any kind of conflict with someone, it’s because they’re finally seeing the real me, the bad me, and now that the jig is up they’ll never love me again.’

You’ll find Anne’s homepage here.

That’s it for this series – this year I’ll try to do a better job of recording my favourite reads so that I can be more organised about these posts come the end of 2015.

PS Yes. I know. The twelfth day of Christmas has long gone. In my defence, my local bakery is still selling Galette des rois, so I figure I’m fine.

PPS The clever dicks among you may have noticed that Anne, being ‘A,’ should’ve been the first post in the series, not the last. In my defence, her blog is called ‘The Belle Jar,’ which is why she came last in the alphabetical list. I just fucked up the titling of the post, ok?