I’ve got a guest! #03: Kristina Lloyd on Writing on the Body

Kristina last guested for me when her last novel Undone was released. She’s been quiet for a while so I’m incredibly thrilled that she’s just published a collection of her short stories, On My Knees. The collection opens with one of my favourite of Kristina’s shorts, No Sleep, which features some super hot Sharpie action. As writing on the body is a relatively new kink of mine, and one that recurs in Kristina’s work, she kindly offered to write me a guest post on why it’s just so bloody hot…

Writing on the Body 

Pete withdrew his hand from my breast – much too soon – and pressed it to the flat of my chest, telling me to keep still. It was difficult. Passion made my thighs tremble and my head spin.

Then I felt the cool tackiness of Ilya pressing the lipstick to my back.

‘What letter’s this, Beth?’ he asked as the lipstick snaked a winding path from a few inches below one shoulderblade and down almost to waist level.

‘S,’ I whispered.

‘Good girl,’ breathed Ilya. ‘And this?’

As he stroked a lipstick line down my back, the other guy gave my clit a series of tiny circular rubs, the pad of his thumb hard and abrasive.

‘Oh God,’ I cried, my body swaying with delirium. ‘I can’t take it. Please –’

‘Keep still, Beth,’ urged Ilya. ‘What letter was that?’

‘L,’ I gasped. ‘L.’

Pete carried on leering, giving my clitoris the odd teasing flick or two. Ilya continued drawing on my back.

‘And that one?’ said Ilya, quietly demanding.

‘U,’ I said, a hint of weary resignation in my voice.

‘Well done, Beth,’ said Ilya. ‘S-L-U ­– What’s the next letter?’

I could feel all my juices flooding from my pussy on to Pete’s hand. My arousal was more humiliating than being humiliated. 

(from Asking for Trouble, Kristina Lloyd)

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Erotic humiliation features heavily in my fiction, tending towards the psychological rather than the physical. For the most part, the humiliation arises from the woman’s failure to be sexually appropriate and decorous. She might be shamed by being ‘forced’ into acts which debase her, such as cocksucking (because nice girls don’t) or shamed for having sexual desire (because yup, nice girls don’t). In all cases, her worth and status are lowered. Writing on the body is, for me, a quick, powerful means of achieving degradation (that lowering) and eliciting those concomitant hot feelings of shame. In this piece I want to attempt to unpick why that might be; not to offer an insight into my twisted psyche, but because I think it’s super interesting, and often useful, to explore the underpinnings and dynamics of kink, both psychological and socio-cultural.

Humiliation is about falling from grace; about failing to meet or adhere to a social value system. It requires a public, even if it’s just a public of one, who brings that value system to bear on the wayward individual. Where it gets particularly interesting for me is when the humiliatee sets no store by the value system they are deemed to have failed. The public system, or representative of it, must then ramp up their activity so the failure is recognised and, ideally, felt in the gut by the individual who’s attempted to bypass the shared values. The rebel must be shown the error of their ways and brought back into line. They must be punished by being publicly shamed.

In our culture, women are not permitted to have a sexual appetite proportionate to men’s. When we overstep the mark, society has  names for us ­– slut, whore, cumdumpster, skank, tramp, slag and so on – words which all have the same meaning: you are having a lot of sex. In this context, ‘ a lot’, of course, means ‘too much for our liking’.

If, as the accused woman, your response is ‘Hey, I am having a lot of sex, thanks, isn’t that awesome?’, it’s still hard to escape the pejorative sting of words intended to shame, of words which carry the values one has tried to ignore or evade.

Words such as slut, whore, tramp etc, are layered with meaning and inference. They equate to ‘lots of sex’ which, for many people, is cool because lots of sex is exciting. The words also, for me, carry the thrill of shame which taps right into my personal submissive desires. The process of being shamed means, for the duration, the humiliatee is exposed for being outside the value system, be it the value system of a society or a house of kink in the countryside. The disobedient person is made lesser by their outsider status and their failure to conform. They need to be taught a lesson so they’ll think twice before straying again. During the lesson, they have no right to reply. They are being shown their failure and are being taken deeper, lower, closer to a place that is beyond culture or rules in order to then be brought back. (The word ‘humiliate’ has its etymological roots in the Latin ‘humus’, meaning ground or earth.) As punishment, they are being reduced by being done to by a greater power.

I get off on scenarios of women being done to; of women being rendered so insignificant and worthless that her male adversaries needn’t behave decently out of respect for her personhood or her femaleness. And I like (the idea of) unrestrained (archetypal) masculinity because it trashes all those notions that say women aren’t really into sex; that they need to be approached at an oblique angle, seduced into ‘surrender’, then gently made love to on a bearskin rug by the fireside.

Submission and being shamed for having sexual hunger is often a way for me (or my characters) to say ‘Have at me, big boy! I like it just as bad as you.’

What does all this have to do with writing on the body? Language is a social phenomenon. Words require a reader. A person wearing signage intended to shame comes with a ready-made implied and disapproving audience.  A few years ago in the States, a deeply unpleasant trend arose for parents disciplining their kids by forcing them to wear placards listing their domestic misdemeanors. Fortunately, the practice was short-lived but it spawned the internet meme we see now where pets are shamed by signs, the joke being that animals can’t read (so woof, no harm done).

Shaming someone with written words emphasises the viewing, reading public, making it a very efficient means of humiliation. With just a few strokes of ink, it states the crime and shames the criminal. Bring this practice into the erotic arena and skin becomes a canvas, the naked body the signboard. The implied audience doesn’t just read the words, they see the person stripped bare, exposed, powerless and vulnerable. Add text to a bare body and, thanks to that implied audience, the inscribed person becomes so much more naked;  there’s potentially a whole bunch of ‘outside’ eyes on them, those metaphorically clothed representatives of the disregarded value system.

When it is written on, the body becomes an object. The living, breathing individual, with their protective ego and their dignity, is diminished. I don’t have space here to delve in to the liberating pleasure many submissive-identifying folk derive from being stripped of the attributes comprising our social selves, of becoming de-civilised. But if language and literacy are one of the hallmarks of an advanced society, it’s easy to see why being turned into a tool that facilitates an expression of that advancement highlights the power disparity between the writer and the written upon, between dom and sub, between being a person and being parchment.

Top all those factors off with the speed, convenience and spontaneity a writing implement affords, and you have a neat and nasty means of erotic humiliation at a dominant’s disposal. While many people kink for elaborate, ritualised forms of punishment, my own preference is for shabbier, less structured expressions of powerplay. When Ilya from my second book, Asking for Trouble, makes a cameo appearance in my fifth book, Undone, he asks Lana, ‘I assume you have a lipstick in your bag? May I?’

He doesn’t need any kit to humiliate and horrify Lana; just a tube of colour and her skin. He doesn’t need to be prepared and that lack of forethought again implies a de-valuing of the person to be punished. And yet speed also implies value: the feelings she stirs in him are so powerful and immediate, that he, the dominant or punisher, is going to act on them right now. (In RL, I don’t believe men are beasts with uncontrollable urges but that dubious stereotype is a hot line to pursue in the realm of consensual play, fantasy and fiction.) Similarly, in ‘No Sleep’, the opening story of my newly released short story collection, On My Knees, the dominant guy rejects an available bag of cuffs, gags, blindfolds etc in favour of a sudden idea inspired by a Sharpie he finds in his pocket. ‘It was a testament to his dark imagination he could reduce her to a sobbing wreck with so little equipment.’

Writing on the body of the shamed, submissive woman encapsulates and condenses so many facets of my own desire. I like a lot of kinky stuff but this small act carries a big erotic charge. In today’s popular culture, sexual submission is frequently represented by the external trappings of that red room of pain, by equipment and fancy stuff that costs time and money. And while all that gear can be awesome, when we look behind those easy media depictions, we can start to see a sexuality that’s often complex, paradoxical, slippery, unsettling, and is rooted in both the personal and the political. I’ve used an awful lot of words here to fumble my way towards some kind of point. As the saying goes, ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. And of course, each to her own, but for me the pen, the lipstick, the literate badges of shame, are far mightier than the tawse, paddle or fully equipped dungeon.

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You can read the entirety of my short story ‘No Sleep’ via Amazon’s preview of On My Knees or by downloading a sample to your Kindle. And if you’re up for some lipstick-related fun, please check out my competition, Match the Writer to the Lipstick, and Charlie’s accompanying flash fiction lippy comp. One of the prizes on offer for each competition is a paperback of On My Knees. Charlie and I are both donating a pound per fiction-comp entrant to Refuge, the charity supporting victims of domestic violence. Closing dates are 11th October. Go!

PS: You can buy Kristina’s new anthology and her novels Asking for Trouble (my fave!) and Undone by clicking on the links below:

Asking for Trouble

Undone

On My Knees

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Lippie Entry: Cockney, by @19syllables

The story below is an entry for my Lippie competition, by the lovely @19syllables. You can find her on Twitter here.

Cockney

His voice is direct when he addresses me. I can’t write his accent, because I can’t speak the accent. It comes from within him, visceral and connected, as if he grew out of the ground on which he stands, and it is laced with lilt and twinkle that I can only marvel at. My reply jars in comparison. My voice is schooled, not grown in nature but perfected and corrected, glass-house propagated until each vowel is tight and clipped, no word left abandoned by its final consonant, the last of which tucks every sentence neatly in.

I skootch in under the awning to avoid the curtain of water cascading from the tarpaulin behind me. It keeps me closer than I’m comfortable, so I buy time with flustering of my umbrella, and the noises and bustle that English people make to convey their managing in wet weather. He stands calm until our familiar charade begins.

“Please may I have six figs.”

“Ripe now, or ready in a couple of days?”

“Ripe now”

He assembles his wide right hand and its squared-off fingers into a delicate bird’s head shape and tenderly pinches the top of each fig, feeling for just the correct amount of yield. He moves methodically from fruit to fruit. I breathe in long slow breaths, in and out, to fill the time in which I have no words.  The time in which I become aware of my breasts, warm inside my wet outer clothes, my nipples tightening as he moves between each pointed fleshy apex, our silence heavy around us. I’m unable to look away of his deliberate manipulation.

“…and I’d like 4 pears please. Are they good? Sometimes they can be so disappointing”

You see? I’ve used conversation, to diffuse the situation.  I have brought it back out, out from my warm clothes, and from my erect nipples ticking in my bra.  Back into the street in the rain, back to the safety of groceries and quality and value.

“Mine are always good. Have one.”

He passes me a pear, and takes one for himself. It’s a moment of shared appraisal so we stand, facing each other like wine tasters.

There isn’t a polite, disinterested way to eat a good pear, and this is a really good pear. We both sink our mouths into the flesh and quickly the whole fruit is wet and soft. It is so good that we don’t want to waste a single drop, of which there are many. They roll down our chins, our hands too wet to effectively address it.  There is only the sound of lips and sucking wetness.

To sidestep I decide to convey my positive review before I’ve finished. I use words like MmmMmmm, and Uuuungh and produce a sort of frown/smile to show that it is seriously good. He just eats and watches, a half smile on his face and his head tilted a little in observation. He seems in no hurry to get to the part where he puts fruit in a bag.

It is always like this. Soon I will leave with my fruit and vegetables, out from under the awning back into the rain. My skin charged and ignited by his touch when he gives me my change, (one giant, gnarly hand cupped lingeringly under mine to catch wayward coins). I will politely say “goodbye”, and “thank you” in my chiming Kensington tone, with perhaps, a jaunty observation about the weather. But as I walk away I’m still thinking about his pinching, cupping hands, them sliding up my dress to my soft and yielding flesh. Up my legs, to the softest skin between my thighs and to the apexes of my breasts. I think too about juice dripping. In my head he is tender and efficient, arrogant strength metred out with deliberation, knowledge and care. The muscles in my thighs and back feel tense and watery at the thought of it. I picture how he leaned forward to reach the furthest fruit, and I’m imagining myself bent at the waist beneath him, pressed into the vegetables, a frown/smile on my face and saying “MmmMmmm” and “Uuuungh” into the apples and pears.

20 things all men should know about sex

I know, I know, I’m not Buzzfeed. But bear with me. Someone asked if I would guest write a post about 25 things all men should know about sex and I turned them down. Which, retrospectively, was probably an error. It was a good opportunity. But a) I don’t think list posts are generally that interesting and b) I wasn’t that keen on the ‘all men’ part, so instead I asked Twitter what answer they’d give to that question. Three bloggers (if you count Bangs & Whimpers as a unit) kindly offered to contribute their top 5 and here they are, along with mine.

Horny Geek Girl

While everything HGG has to say here is a great point, I’m particularly with her on point #3. Just because someone says yes to something on one occasion doesn’t mean they’d say yes tonight. Check in – regularly. And check out Horny Geek Girl if you like sex blogging, food porn, geekery or great tits. You’ll find her here and here.

1) Sex isn’t just about penetration. It’s not about getting us wet enough that you can ‘slip’ inside. Lots of ladies can’t come from penetration alone. Sex is about mutual pleasure. Which leads nicely to my next point.

2) Sex doesn’t have to stop just because YOU came. As I said before, it’s about mutual pleasure – ladies can multiple orgasm much more easily than you men, and for some even if they don’t come it’s still a pleasure. Communicate with your partner, is she enjoying it? Is she wanting more?

3) Just because a woman has shared her body with you doesn’t mean you now own it. I don’t care where your cock, hands, tongue etc. have been, my body is MINE. Yesterday, today and forever. I may choose to share it with you again, multiple times, or exclusively, this still doesn’t mean you own it. It is MINE.

4) Yes, women can enjoy sex, yes, we can enjoy multiple partners, yes, we can sleep with whoever we want whenever we want. No this doesn’t mean you can call us slut, slag, easy, tramp, etc. unless we ask you to. Mutual respect. If you get a high five for ‘banging’ the hot chick from the bar, I want one for fucking the hot guy from the gym.

5) Sex is messy. If you’re getting busy and there’s blood, please don’t freak out. This can mean we’re on our period but often it just means you were a bit enthusiastic and your nail scratched the delicate tissue and it’s bleeding a lot because when we’re aroused blood cause the area to ‘engorge’ and swell. A rinse with cool water usually fixes it. Freaking out over it makes things awkward. Please don’t freak.

Bangs & Whimpers

Bangs & Whimpers write lots of seriously hot little vignettes about their escapades on their Tumblr, which comes highly recommended. You can also find them on Twitter. Here are their top 5:

1) It isn’t a race
Sex shouldn’t be rushed. The quicker you thrust the less likely the person you’re fucking is going to relax. Yes, okay, thrusting quickly IS going to give someone an orgasm but you need to vary the pace, switch things around a little. Slow, long, deep strokes varied with quick ones. We’re not saying quickies aren’t great and don’t have their place – we are saying you have to have variation. Speed isn’t sexy. Sex should be viewed as a good meal with at least three courses – starter, main and dessert. Not a KFC or McDonalds.

2) Communicate
We aren’t saying talk all the goddamn way through with a running commentary. Or indulge in ridiculous clichéd sexy talk. Or even anywhere in between the two. Letting the person know what she’s doing is feeling good and you’re about to come is always useful. Generally encouragement on either side is great, although we said earlier it isn’t a race, cheering each other on is just lovely.

3) Make sure you’re clean
It sounds obvious but the woman you are about to fuck has probably a) shaved her legs b) trimmed her bush c) moisturised, buffed, trimmed and perfumed herself in anticipation of this moment. We aren’t saying you need to do exactly the same but decorum dictates your dong should be clean. We’re probably going to put it in our mouth so make sure it doesn’t smell like days old washing (yes, this did happen to one of us)

4) Saying you don’t wear condoms just isn’t cool.
There is no exception here. You just can’t be too careful. Even if your partner is on birth control you are both at risk of STIs etc. it sounds boring and oh yes it feels different and better without one – sorry sunshine – no bag no shag.

5) Oral sex is the gateway to an orgasm
Well, it is in our book anyway. So its worth spending a little time down ‘there’ even if its to get a small precursor of what is to come. Likewise, she will want to spend some time getting to know your cock, after all you’re going to put it inside her, right? And if you can make her come with your tongue you are in for a really good time. Hell, she might want to marry you!

Any Girl Friday

Em, aka Any Girl Friday, writes a beautifully fun, thoughtful and discursive blog. She was also good enough not only to contribute her top 5, but to expand on her thoughts here. You can find her on Twitter, too:

1) Wet, wet, wet. Nothing is worse than a guy thinking that a quick nipple flick and some half hearted neck nuzzling is enough to get the engine running. It’s not. Guys who rush straight in, fingers ready, like horny 14 year olds, need to know that we probably won’t appreciate the friction burns. Lube it up, suck your fingers first or get her to suck them before you start exploring.

2) A WOMAN IS MORE THAN JUST HER BOOBS. Sure, it feels awesome when you treat them to some time but other parts exist bro; don’t ignore her shoulders, collar bone, back, inner thighs, neck or stomach. Also, that area above the knicker line feels incredible when lightly kissed or if you run your fingertips across it.

3) Kissing – this is my number one bugbear. As teens, snogging for hours was the hobby of choice but as we’ve gotten older it seems to have fallen by the wayside. Now, a bit of kissing at the start is the most you can expect. Nothing is hotter than kissing combined with some heavy petting though so don’t rush past this step. Kiss her lots!

4) TEASE. Good foreplay and build up will do wonders for the get her wet situation. This includes oral, clit play, kissing, exploring each other’s bodies and spending the time it takes for her to be turned on.

5) Don’t buy into the media bullshit about women and sex. Our orgasm isn’t an elusive holy grail that is only possible on the third Tuesday of a leap year, so don’t believe for a second that leaving her hanging is acceptable. A women is entitled to sexual pleasure, to enjoy sex and to do what she wants in the bedroom without being judged or being held accountable to society’s warped standards of femininity.

And here are mine:

1) Trust is paramount, and not just in the bedroom. The sex, and the general mood, will be a hell of a lot better if you’re reliable, make cancelling on me a once in a blue moon exception rather than the rule, and are honest about stuff from the get-go, even if it might upset me. If you’re seeing multiple people, I deserve to know that – only then can I make an informed decision about whether I want to sleep with you or not.

2) Intimacy is best served as a sandwich – even if you’re absolutely amazing at making me feel like I have your full attention before the act: not checking your phone, asking interesting questions, lots of kissing and slow build up, it’s a waste if as soon as we’ve fucked you’re up and off the bed disposing of the condom and generally not letting me savour the moment. Cuddles aren’t obligatory: lying with me for a bit while I bask in the glow is.

3) Don’t forget to tell me that you think I’m beautiful/hot. I feel like this gets lost sometimes, especially when you’ve been fucking someone for a while, but it makes my day to hear you say it.

4) Don’t be afraid to suggest trying new stuff. Obviously, no means no, but if I say ‘maybe,’ or my current favourite, ‘No… Er, yes?’ it means I probably am up for trying what you’re proposing, I’m just nervous about it and might need some coaxing. Point #1 above should help with this.

5) It’s not all about my clit. I suspect this is a little bit my wildcard, and some (many?) women might disagree with me, but I’m not a huge fan of you rubbing my clit when you’re fucking me. It’s true that I probably won’t come from penetration alone – it’s happened a few times, but it’s the exception rather than the rule – but penetration is a pleasure in its own right and playing with my clit, whether it’s me or you doing it, just makes me feel like I’m trying to pat my head and rub my tummy all at the same time. I’d rather just focus on that wonderful sense of fullness, if it’s all the same to you…

So there we have it – 20 things all men should know about sex. If you disagree or think there are other key ones we’ve missed, feel free to add them in the comments.