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.

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.

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?

On the eleventh day of Christmas: Remittance Girl

I’ve mentioned a few times recently that I wrote my undergrad dissertation on sex and fantasy in the modern female novel. At the time I had no idea I’d end up blogging and no particular interest in female desire – I just wanted to write about sex. But the more literary criticism I read, the more it fascinated me – and continues to fascinate me – which is why I love Remittance Girl’s blog.

Remittance Girl writes a mix of what I’d term academic writing about sex and dark erotic fiction. I don’t read it and understand it straight off, usually – it’s writing that bubbles in my head for hours and leaves me wishing that I’d had more time at uni to explore these topics in more depth. It’s writing that makes me want to go and read Lacan again, properly, even though people continually tell me that’s a terrible, terrible idea and in my saner moments I’m inclined to agree. Lacan is bloody hard work.

But RG’s blog allows me to dip in and out of this kind of stuff, which is fantastic. So let’s start with a post that includes thoughts on Lacan: Jouissance, Hard Limits & an Ass Covering Culture, in which she explores what Lacan means by jouissance  and looks at in relation to why her own limits with sexual partners remain fluid.

Secondly, I’m going to cheat a bit, and include a post that was written at the end of 2013, because I started reading Remittance Girl’s archives in the wrong direction and loved this before I realised it didn’t fit into my window. The post is called HandSome Devil, and looks, with specific reference, at Peter O’Toole, at how distracting and sexy a man’s hands can be. And frankly, I couldn’t agree more, hence why I’m including it here.

Last, but not at all least, is a piece of erotic fiction, Something More Than You. I don’t think I could ever get off to most of what RG writes; but nor do I think that means it’s not erotic, or that it doesn’t speak to my kinks. It’s bleak and relentless and it really, really does speak to them. And, in a world that seems to classify erotic romance as more about fucking a man with a helicopter than about anything actually erotic, writing like this is a huge relief to me. An extract:

‘He let her go because the room was too close. She could not sleep in his embrace, could not pull enough oxygen from the air he’d breathed. Love pressed on her chest even as her hips arched upwards, tricking his fingers deeper. Until her cunt had eaten his wedding ring and she could taste metal through the bloody membrane of her chewed-up cheeks and swallowed the chalky impossibility of it all.’

You can find Remittance Girl’s homepage here.

On the tenth day of Christmas: Molly Moore

I met Molly a couple of months ago in real life. First at a book launch at Sh! and then I went for dinner with her and the lovely @Domsigns and we ended up chatting for *hours.*

I feel like I’ve said that a lot while writing these posts. ‘I’ve met this person in real life this year. And this person. And this person.’ But fuck, meeting those people has made a difference. It’s not that I don’t believe that friendships that exist only on Twitter don’t count. I totally believe that they do. At the end of 2013 though, even in the early part of 2014, Charlie Powell was just a name I used. She wasn’t a person, she didn’t have a personality, she was just a way of shielding my real identity. And although everyone I’ve met in RL knows my real name, those meetings have brought Charlie to life. They’ve made her *real.*

If this all seems irrelevant, it’s not, really. Because the other thing that brought Charlie to life this year was #SinfulSunday, which is, of course, Molly’s excellent meme. I try to emphasise how good it’s been for me often, but I figure there’s no harm in saying it again now.

I decided not to include any of Molly’s photo posts in this round up, for two reasons. Firstly, because everyone else I’ve written about posts primarily written content, and secondly because it would be damn well impossible to choose. *All* of Molly’s photography is beautiful. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not going to touch on Sinful Sunday at all: my first post of Molly’s is In a New Light, where she writes about taking her friend’s photo for the first time. I wasn’t sure about including this at first, because it’s not all Molly’s words, but to me it’s such a clear and true reflection of the values that underpin Molly’s blogs and memes and made such a difference to my 2014 that I couldn’t *not* include it.

Secondly, the post she wrote for my anti-clickbait competition: Sniffy. I completely get what Molly’s talking about here, and sure, I’ve done/do it too, but would I have had the guts to write this unabashedly about it? No way. So this is the piece that makes me want to continue to push out of my comfort zone when blogging in 2015.

And finally, a piece that I ended up sharing a few times on Twitter, Stripping Away the Shadows, where what stuck with me the most was how Molly talks about using her blog as a positive communication tool within her relationship. I read a lot more about the dangers of blogging about a partner, blogging about your sex life, about the ethics, the pitfalls, the breaking of trust. It was just so refreshing to read something that looked at the whole issue from a totally different angle, and if it isn’t something to aspire to, I don’t know what is. Here’s an extract:

‘I have always stated that I primarily write my blog for myself and that is true but if there is a perceived audience within my head then for the most part it is @domsigns. He is clearly not the only audience, but much of what I have written and posted here has in some way or other been an extended love letter to him. Sometimes they are desires and fantasies, sometimes they are a lust filled retelling of things we have done together, sometimes a thank you, often a declaration of wants and needs, and nearly always an expression of love.’

You can find Molly’s homepage here.

On the ninth day of Christmas: Malin James

I like to think that I’m pretty brave in my writing, but am I as brave in my reading? Perhaps not. In life, I’ve tended to shy away from things that challenge me, even though I’m coming to realise, largely via my RL female friendships, that people/things that stretch you and encourage you to raise your game are a good thing, not a bad thing.

Because excellent writing can be intimidating. Tamsin Flowers wrote brilliantly about self-doubt and writer envy here, and I get that a bit with Malin’s writing. I want to be that good. I want the discipline, the commitment to the written word, the feel for what makes beautiful prose, and beautiful sex writing especially. And on good days, I think that in time I could be. On bad days? Yeah, not so much.

Malin also has enviable poise and seems, from her blog posts, to be comfortable in her own skin and with her sexuality. I’m still very much climbing that hill, and as I said when I wrote my post on Exhibit A, I don’t always find it easy to read stuff that’s straightforward and positive about sex. Ah. I nearly wrote ‘uncomplicated,’ there, and then I took it out. Because, if we’re moving on to the good stuff, and why I admire Malin’s writing so damn much, it’s because she’s not afraid to acknowledge that relationships are complicated learning curves – she doesn’t gloss her own life and make it seem like it’s always been easy.

Anyway. Top three. There isn’t much I can say about my first choice, On Hang Ups, other than that it embodies everything that I’ve said above. While I’m here saying I wish I could write about sex with anything like the grace that Malin does, this post shows her on a very similar journey.

Secondly, a very recent post, In Praise of Quiet, which is all about New Year’s Eve. I share Malin’s love of spending NYE peacefully and from now on I might try and use it as an evening for champagne and writing, inspired not only by this, but also by Ella Dawson, who does the same. It just seems like a very sane, serene way to enter the chaos of a new year.

And lastly, We Don’t Do That: On Vulnerability, which was also one of the top posts on last month’s e[lust]. This post is all at once heartbreaking and beautiful – the pain of past events shines through, but the prose is so good I keep coming back to it. Here’s an extract:

‘“We don’t do that,” he says, looking around, as if his girlfriend had just walked in. She hasn’t, of course. She’s in Oregon. She trusts him. She told him so.

My face is burning as if I’ve been slapped. My lungs hurt. There’s too much sharp, sudden hurt. I hurt too much to cry.

We don’t do that. We don’t do that.

“We don’t do what,” I ask.

He gives me a look, like I should know better. And the reality is that I should.

“Never mind.” I say. “Forget it. Thanks for the drink.”

I look away, into the grimy mirror behind the bar. My face is sharp and my mouth is hard. I look cold and dangerous. That isn’t my face. Except that now it is.’

You can find Malin’s homepage here.

On the eighth day of Christmas: @Juniper3Glasgow

I never know quite how to refer to Juniper (or other bloggers with a first name only pseudonym) when I mention her in posts. Maybe we should pretend her surname is Glasgow, which would stop me having to refer to her by her Twitter handle as though I’ve only just stumbled across her.

Because I’ve not. I stumbled upon her right at the very beginning of blogging, or rather she stumbled across me, I think – probably via the guest post I wrote for Girlonthenet.

I like to think of her as my Twitter bestie: I love her writing, I love her Twitter feed (her referendum day #HotScots being a particular highlight) and her quiet, calm sanity and dry sense of humour have been a massive support at many times during 2014. I met her for real in the summer, too, and can confirm that she’s just as lovely in person.

Anyway, on to my top Juniper posts of the year. First is the story she wrote for my #Polished competition, Marrakech. It’s woven through (excuse the pun) with beautiful little touches of humour and I love that she has a beautiful way of picking up on the less obvious stuff that makes men attractive – here it’s the shopkeeper’s arms, in the story she wrote more recently for Exhibit A, it was a freckle on the main character’s cock. She’s a detail girl, and it works brilliantly.

Secondly, Wedding. Sometimes when I write posts which focus on the build up, the anticipation, I get comments asking if I’m going to blog what happened next. This is a great example of why sometimes the anticipation is the best bit of the story.

And finally, Lanes. God, this is a hot little piece. I’ll admit that it caters to all my kinks (dark alleyways, strangers, new places…) but it’s also romantic as hell. Here’s your extract:

‘An affair, perhaps? Were they stealing a half hour in each other’s company? Is he whispering to her, ‘I really want to take you home, and fuck your brains out, but I can’t’? Are they tugging at each other clothes, is he running his fingers around the waistband of her jeans, wishing it could go further, but knowing that today, it will only be a moment in a lane.’

You can find Juniper’s homepage here.

On the seventh day of Christmas: Jilly Boyd

Damn, I wanted to do all of the ‘J’ posts today. Or yesterday, in fact. I fell over in a very muddy way, instead, but that’s a whole other blog post. Today, the spotlight is on the beautiful Jilly Boyd, who blogs at ladylaidbare.com.

I’ve met her, very briefly, in person, and I hope to get to know her better this year, because she seems lovely. But I’ve only really been reading her blog on a regular basis since she entered both my Polished and ‘Don’t read clickbait, read this instead’ competitions, and I realised I wanted to read much much more of her writing.

As is becoming the predominant theme of these posts, when I read back through her archives there were more than three posts that I really wanted to feature: six, in fact, in Jilly’s case. But I’m limited to three, and these are the three I went with:

Firstly, a post on a subject very close to my heart at the moment: Sex, depression and me. This is brave for two reasons – not only because writing about mental health is a hard thing to do, especially when it’s your own mental health, but also because it makes it clear just how much Jilly values a healthy sex life – she’s not at all willing to just sit back and accept that antidepressants are a fucking nightmare for your sex drive.

Secondly, Real, which is sex writing in a form I’ve never seen it before. I love the poetic quality of the way this is written and how accurately it evokes the fragmented thoughts that really do occur during sex.

Finally, Home is like the dust in a wine cellar, which I got the feeling was a post that Jilly herself wasn’t that keen on (do correct me if I’m wrong, Jilly!), because she’s inserted a jump into this post before you can read the main body of it. She says it’s a ‘long vent about things,’ – I’d argue that it’s much more than that.

I’ve mentioned a few times how much place and sense of place fascinates me, and this conjured up what little of Brussels I know as soon as I read it. It’s beautifully self-aware on personal development, too. Here’s my favourite paragraph:

‘The feeling was already creeping over me as I waited for my train to my home town, having just come out of an extended edition of a Eurostar journey. I was pretty much alone on what seemed like a never ending platform. In front of me lay the angular, almost Brutalist and grey architecture of Brussels, a shower of rain clouding it with an even bigger sense of post-apocalyptic darkness than it usually had emanating from it.’