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

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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!

Shoop Shoop

Sometimes, conversations on Twitter rumble on in the background for so long, I forget what the original point was. This was one such conversation and I had to actually go back and retrace it to its roots. Turns out I started it. Colin Firth: would he be good in bed?

Most of Twitter said no. ‘He’d take it *way* too seriously, ‘ seemed to be the most common concern. And from there it spiralled into a conversation about what makes us assume a man will be good in bed. Dancing appeared on the list, as did ‘quiet confidence.’ But kissing? Kissing came up again and again and again.

I make no secret of the fact that that’s a long held belief of mine. Potential partners have lived and died (not literally) by their kiss.

Way back when I was seventeen or so, there was a guy in a nightclub. He may well not have been attractive, but the Smirnoff Ice  had been flowing and when he approached me on the dance floor it didn’t take much to persuade me to snog him.

‘Who was that guy?’ one friend asked, as we stumbled home. ‘He looked like he’d fallen from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.’

Harsh.

But fuck me, he could kiss.

I think he was only the second guy I’d ever kissed, in fact. He was the first to show me that good kissing (and ok, ok, a well-placed thigh between my legs) can make me wet faster than anything else. Kissing makes me want to both rush headlong into full on sex and delay full on sex for as long as possible so that we can just keep on kissing.

Cher had it wrong, sadly. You can’t tell if he loves you so from his kiss – like it or not, that is in the way he acts. God knows good kissers can make you feel like it’s love, though: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said to friends, ‘But how can he kiss like that and not *mean it?*’

With sex, I think if you asked me to rank positions by preference, I could do it pretty easily. Missionary, WoT, Doggy. If you asked me to list my preferences regarding kissing, I’d struggle. Those butterfly-soft kisses all over my face when his cock is deep inside me? The ones that are so punishing they bruise? The first one of the evening, when, for a few moments at least, I get to stop worrying about when I’ll next see him and just get to enjoy it?

How on earth could you ever choose between any of those?

Wicked Wednesday: on snatched sex

One of the best things about sex is being able to take your time over it. Sex that’s made up of endless changes of position, long, languorous bouts of kissing, thrusts that slow to almost nothing before building back up to a frantic rhythm.

But I’m a sucker too for last minute decision sex, sex that’s planned ahead but that has to fit neatly into the slot assigned to it. Sex that’s tight on time, but heavy on sensation.

Last minute decision sex can obviously happen within seconds of the decision being made, but I like it when you have to work at it a bit, when you have to travel a bit further than is strictly reasonable, when you can barely justify it to yourself, let alone other people.

It reminds me a bit of Christmas: it’s ostensibly all about the day itself, but actually everyone knows that the real joy is in the run up and the day after. It’s about how wide my pupils are as I hurriedly brush on mascara in the car’s rearview mirror, about the way my Chanel No. 5 smells when it hasn’t yet had time to mellow on my skin, the way you can lose yourself in the crowd in a busy London pub, the way that first sip of red tastes …

The way he tastes …

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I kissed a Scot (and I liked it)

She wasn’t even a friend.

It was my parents who said I had to go – she was the daughter of one of my mum’s friends, and the family had moved to Aberdeen five years earlier.

I flew from London to Aberdeen on the worst flight I’ve ever taken. This was long before the days of budget airlines and fairly large planes on domestic routes – there were propellors and as we approached the runway at Aberdeen we had to abandon the first attempt at landing because the wind was so strong one wing looked as if it was about to touch the ground.

I was wearing court shoes I could barely walk in. I don’t remember the dress. I didn’t know anyone apart from L, her sisters and her parents.

I was 17 and I’d never been kissed.

Looking back, I think hanging out by the bar was the equivalent of hanging out in the kitchen at grown up parties. Most people were dancing, or gathered around the buffet table. I was perched on a stool, knocking back Smirnoff Ice after Smirnoff Ice.

And there was a boy sat next to me.

I can’t really recall what he looked like. He was skinny, I think, tall, and he wore glasses. We talked about what we hoped to study at uni.

The kissing too, is a bit of a blur. He leaned towards me and we snogged for a few minutes. When I surfaced, L’s mum was staring at me with barely disguised horror. She always was a bit of a judgemental cow.

The boy took my number. L wasn’t impressed, when she found out.

‘He’s a geek, ‘ she said.

Maybe. I still wish he’d texted though.

Good girl

I’m lucky enough to live in a city that gives good date. As the sun goes down, it glints off the golden limestone. The tourists thin out. There are numerous riverside pubs and, well, it’s just bloody pretty, really…

So I was in a fairly buoyant mood as I headed through town earlier this week on my way to one of said pubs. On, get this: an actual date. I haven’t dated for a long, long time. Sure, I play around a bit on OKCupid and Tinder when I’m bored, but the idea of spending an evening messaging a bunch of different guys? Not really my idea of fun.

He seemed a nice guy, but then, the signs had been good from the start. He’d bothered to read my profile before he messaged me, he thought this was a good idea and he didn’t write as though grammar was an optional extra. In the flesh, he was tall, attractive and as intelligent as his messages had suggested. I asked for a glass of wine, he ordered a bottle. Apparently I pay even less attention to the One Drink Bailout than the guys who read my profile.

He asked as many questions as he answered. He didn’t make me laugh, but he did make me smile a couple of times. When I nipped to the loo and asked myself whether I’d consider a second date, I was leaning towards yes. 

When I later told him I didn’t want to see him again, I gave what happened at the very end of the date as my sole reason. Looking back, I was a bit uneasy even before that. As long as we were talking about his MBA, his background or his hobbies, everything was fine. When he talked about women? Not so much.

I could, of course, be completely wrong about this. He might have been recounting his experiences exactly as they happened. His last long-term relationship was true love. Her family didn’t think he was good enough, and they split. He would always love her, and she him, and if anything went wrong in her life, he’d still ‘do anything for her.’ 

Since then, he’d been out with a handful of women he’d met on OKC. And these women, he seemed to be saying, were invariably a bit crazy. One just wanted him for sex and wasn’t afraid to say so. Another, when he told her he didn’t want to see her anymore, started sending him abusive messages. Wow, I thought: of the guys I’ve met online, mostly it’s just a lack of chemistry or stuff in common that stops me going back for more. There’s not normally, y’know, drama.

We finished the wine. He asked if I wanted more. I said I was ok, but I was happy to get him a glass and keep chatting for a bit longer. He turned down my offer, and bought another bottle himself. Hmm. Rightly or wrongly, I let him pour me a bit more. I went to the bathroom again. When I got back, he’d moved our stuff to a table nearer the river. More romantic, I presume.

It got to 11:30, and I wanted to make the last bus. I was still undecided about that second date, but I figured I’d think about it on the way home. He offered to walk me the bus stop. As we rounded the corner of the pub, he cornered me up against a wall and moved in for the kiss.

I’m a sucker for a snog, and I think it’s a good indicator of chemistry, so we kissed for a while. Ultimately, I pulled away. It wasn’t that great, and I still had time to get to the bus stop. And that’s when he pulled a condom from his back pocket and asked if I was ‘sure I was a good girl?’

I should have told him that I’m neither good nor bad. I mean, when I got home that night, my knickers were damp. I have a history of one nighters. Briefly, the flash of that silver foil packet made my heart beat faster, made me crave something different, something one off. 

The rest of me didn’t feel sufficiently at ease to want to fuck him. I hadn’t decided. I wanted more time. All things that have nothing to do with whether I’m good or bad. 

‘Good girl,’ has a place in the bedroom, definitely. I’m less sure it has a place on a first date.

Girl crush

A week or two ago, Alison Tyler posted this, about potentially wanting pieces for a sex and coffee themed anthology, and it got me thinking.

When you think sex and coffee, I think it’s normal to imagine inviting someone back for coffee, the strong, dark stuff that you drink at the end of an evening, and where that might lead. Less sexy, perhaps, is that first coffee of the day – the one that wakes you up, puts you in a position to face the day ahead.

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The things that make us who we are …

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what it is that’s stopping me from going after what I really want when it comes to love. Sure, I’ve dabbled with internet dating, but I hate it. And recently, I’ve realised that, unlike many people who hate it because it can be depressing and it takes up precious time, I hate it because it means confronting my biggest fear: that no one will want me.

As ever, no melodrama intended – that’s just my honest world view. One of the things that has surprised me most since setting up this blog is the followers I feel I have most in common with are not the sex bloggers, but the relationship bloggers. That’s not to say that there aren’t some fab and supportive sex and erotica bloggers out there (if you haven’t read Kristina Lloyd or Alison Tyler you really, really should), but the girls who write about their search for Mr Right have been kinder and more interested in what I’m doing here than I could ever have hoped for.

Because relationships are my greatest hang up. Technically, I’ve never had one. How did that happen? Well, it’s a pretty long story….

Why do you walk like that?

I’ve touched on some of the issues in this post before. My very first post was about my slight disability and the way complete strangers react to it, but it’s not always complete strangers. The first person I ever felt wasn’t able to accept that my body wasn’t normal was my mum.

This isn’t some kind of attempt to pass the blame for all my insecurities back to my parents – they’re fantastic, and I adore them. In fact, when I first went to therapy, the first thing I said was that I had no interest in trying to pass the buck back to them for how I got so fucked up. But my mum hasn’t always got it right. She walks at 100mph, for example, and I’ve always been expected to keep up. My dad is generally better at recognising that this is tricky for me but when I was a kid, we got taken into his office every Christmas Eve and every year I fell over on the walk from the station and ended up in awful emergency Sock Shop tartan tights.

Not only do I have to keep up though: I have to walk properly. I’ve got much better at this – until very recently I was becoming more agile, not less. She’d say things like ‘You’re walking badly today – are you tired/not concentrating/wearing uncomfortable shoes?’ Often, yes, one of the above – but who isn’t one of those things much of the time. When I paid close attention to every step, I walked better but at the expense of becoming massively self-conscious. It’s never gone away.

No one wants to kiss me

All through primary school, no one noticed that I wasn’t as co-ordinated as every else. Then, when I started secondary school, all that changed. Not only was there a fair amount of teasing, there was also the hell of school discos and under-18s club nights. All the other girls would spend most of the evening with some boy’s tongue down their throat while I hovered on the edge of the group, desperate for the evening to end. Did my disability mean that I was a terrible dancer? Actually, I have no idea – I’m a pretty cautious dancer, but I don’t know if that’s because my body won’t let me be otherwise, or just because I’ve never had the guts to properly throw some shapes. In the end, I was 17 before I had my first kiss and then, irony of all ironies, 17 and a half when I lost my virginity. In a nightclub.

Older men

When the boys your age aren’t interested, you’ll turn elsewhere for male attention in the end. I have a lot more to say about crushes on teachers, so I’ll write about it in more detail later, but let’s just say that most of the years from 15-18 I wasn’t interested in anyone who didn’t take a register. Wanting to impress helped me to get into one of the best universities in the country, but the opportunities for sex there were far and few between too. Plus ca change …

Just good friends

My first grad job was in the middle of nowhere, and my first good friend in that job was senior to me, but behaved at least five years younger than I was. He was a terrible flirt, and he had a Geordie accent that left me weak at the knees. We spent increasing amounts of time together until he decided to tackle the fact that I clearly fancied him head on. He wasn’t ‘in a good place for a relationship,’ which turned out to mean that he’d been in love with his girlfriend’s twin sister for nearly seven years and the idea of moving on was completely alien to him.

That rang true with me. I started seeing a therapist about a year later and one of the first things she asked me was why I thought I continued to be drawn to him despite the fact that we didn’t want the same things. My answer: he doesn’t want to sleep with me.

Now, looking back, that seems odd, even to me. I’m unapologetic about how much I love sex – chasing it, talking about it, having it. But I didn’t want to have sex with anyone I really cared about – I couldn’t face the fact that the morning after they’d inevitably wake up knowing that I’m bad in bed and liking me less because of it. But I stuck with it nonetheless, increasingly unhappy. For two whole years.

What ended it? He met someone, obviously. Someone younger, stick thin, and with no tits to speak of. It’s rare that I don’t love my cleavage, but we had a rough few weeks around that time.

Friends with benefits

Of course, looking back I can see that he didn’t end up with someone else purely because my body was a disappointment to him. It probably wasn’t a disappointment at all – it was probably just that he didn’t fancy me. Or that he wanted someone who was less emotional, less of a drama queen. And that’s ok. Well, ok to an extent – we’ve never salvaged the friendship, but he collects stuffed meerkats now, so I consider myself to have had a lucky escape.

Hopefully all of the above makes it clearer why I consider the current boy  (wow, nearly wrote relationship there!) to be something of a break through. The first time I slept with him I honestly expected that I would never see him again – I certainly never imagined that two years on, despite huge ups and downs, we’d still be fucking, or that I’d be comfortable enough with him to not need to pull my clothes back on straight after sex or to always need a few drinks beforehand.

Of course, the things that don’t work in this arrangement have been well-documented over the last few days – I’m reluctant to lose what we do have, but I know that if I stay, I’ll be giving up a massive chunk of my dreams. I can argue until I’m blue in the face that I’d rather have a baby by myself, but honestly? It’s self-defensive bullshit. I would have one by myself, absolutely, if I don’t find anyone to have one with. But would I rather find someone to raise my children with, someone to slob in front of the telly with, someone who loves my body and who wants to be my friend? Well, obviously. Who wouldn’t?

The things he’s taught me to love …

Rough week with the current boy in my life this week – lots of misunderstandings and anger, compounded by the fact that we’re communicating virtually, not face to face. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why we’re still bothering to keep in contact at all, so, in bed one night I made a list of the top 3 things he’s taught me to love.

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