Writing is Work

I toyed with the idea of whether or not to publish this writing is work post but I feel things have been said about me that I need to address. I am not naming names, I don’t want people to go look for them and say something in my defence. I do not want them to feel “bullied” because people agree with me. Just as I don’t feel bullied by those who don’t. So here goes…

writing is work

Writing is Work

We live in a capitalist society, there is no getting away from that. Everything costs money, we all have bills to pay. I have to cover rent, household bills, website costs, work costs, food, etc. The same as everyone else does. I would love to not have to worry about money, to live in a place where I could do the work I wanted purely because I wanted to, without having to think about whether I can afford to pay my bills this month. Where I don’t have to weigh up the financial ramifications of accepting a job that I want to do.

As a freelancer, my income comes from a number of streams. My biggest income is from copywriting work I do for other people (both in and outside this industry). This is pretty much 90% companies who have seen my websites and contacted me to commission work on that basis. They want my voice, talking about whatever subject they have in mind. This Writing is work.

My next biggest income is from the advertisers I have. These are companies who pay for an advertising banner on my website sidebar. This income is the one that pays for the content on here. Every post I do (including reviews, erotica, etc) is made possible by advertisers whose support means I can pay my bills and write for HGG. This is a reciprocal arrangement, the more I write (ie, the more fresh content I produce), the more visitors my site gets, and the greater number of people who will see their ad. This writing is work.

Despite doing all this work, I still have months where I am panicking because it’s two days before my direct debits are due out and I don’t have enough money to cover them. You might think, she just needs to learn to budget but it’s hard to budget when your income only just covers your outgoings every month. Maybe you’d say I should save but I have nothing to save. If I have a spare £5 it stays in my account so that next month I might be able to get a little more ahead. However, chances are it won’t happen because freelance doesn’t always mean regular work, it means taking little bit jobs just so you have money to live.

This often means when big events are happening (such as Eroticon or Woodhull), ones that are a good networking opportunity. A chance to connect with companies and writers, and to develop working relationships that might help me generate more income, I sometimes have to ask companies to sponsor my attendance at these events. Contrary to what seems to be the popular belief, when I contact these companies to  ask them if they would be willing to sponsor me to attend an event, I do not expect them to just give me money and get nothing in return. I work hard to come up with a package (blog posts, advertising, social media,etc) that gives them something in return for their sponsorship. It is a reciprocal agreement.I am not asking for a handout. And if they say no, they don’t have the budget, I respect that. It is a business decision, and I understand it may not work for all companies. This writing is work.

This brings me to my last point. I would like to clarify something about being a Sex Toy Reviewer (and this is also why I don’t do as many reviews anymore).

As a reviewer I don’t “accept” free sex toys. These companies choose to send me these toys, and they are sent to me in exchange for a review. When I am reviewing a toy I make sure to do a thorough job, not just in testing for use but in checking materials, stats, taking photographs, etc. I make note of problems and contact the company in case it is a faulty unit. A review takes me at least 10-15hrs of work. That’s 15 hours work spent on a toy that costs a company £50-100. It’s time I’m not spending doing work that will actually pay my bills. Being sent sex toys is great but I can’t pay my bills with sex toys, last I checked Tesco and Asda aren’t accepting them in exchange for shopping. This writing is work.

To redress this balance many sex toy reviewers use affiliate links, and will often only accept items from companies who have affiliate programs or manufacturers whose product can be purchased through a company with an affiliate program. I choose not to use affiliate links because I have an agreement with my advertisers saying I won’t. However, even for bloggers who do this the income isn’t regular or guaranteed. It is this uncertainty that means bloggers have to find other income streams.

 

Womens March – Equality Needs to be a Reality

A Personal Essay on Feminism

On Friday, the World as we know it changed forever. If you follow me on Twitter you will have seen that over the last 48 hours I have been retweeting much more that I usually do. I tried to reign it in but I had so many feelings and I wasn’t managing to process them. So sharing other’s reactions was my way of showing support, solidarity, etc. Friday I was all about the inauguration, today was all about the Womens March. I have never felt more hope or pride than I did today seeing so many images from all over the World of women standing together and saying, “No, this is not okay. We are equal, and we will be treated as such.”

I don’t know if it will make a difference. After all, we have hundreds of years of societal, cultural and religious conditioning to combat. But it is a start. It is setting something in motion. Judging from the social media reactions of the patriarchy it is terrifying them. Maybe they are getting a glimpse into what OUR lives have been. I realised today that this is what the patriarchy are truly afraid of, that if they allow us our equality we will begin to treat them the way they have treated us for centuries.

It is 2017 we should not still be having this conversation but we are. We are still prisoners because of the idea some one came up with long ago that men are somehow inherently superior purely because they are men. Because of an accident of birth they are somehow stronger, smarter, better than we are. But I’ve never cried and threatened murder because some stranger (of the opposite sex) on the internet dared to have an opinion about a video game that I disagreed with.

IT HAS TO STOP. THE TIME HAS COME.

We need to speak out. We need to fight. We need to start holding the policy makers accountable. We need to be united. Our differences don’t matter. We need to stand together. We need to stop tearing each other down. We are women. We need to support each other, to support ALL women. The march today has shown no matter where we are in the World we all believe that we should be treated equally.

The Womens March

This morning some bloke decided to ask why “women” in England were protesting. What did we think it would achieve. Do we think America’s Government care what women in other countries think of them. I believe his exact words were:

“Utter pathetic! What the hell has the US president got to do with Leeds. #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #Brexit”

Delightful, right?

A very lovely lady replied explaining that it wasn’t just about the USA it was about women’s equality, she asked the original tweeter if he’d heard the way Trump speaks about women. His response is somewhat typical of the kind of men who live in denial of rape culture, and the reality of what women deal with on a daily basis.

womens march

Yes, he really does say “People choose to take offence, others don’t give offence. If something offends you that’s your problem.”  He boils the entire womens march principle down to us being offended. You can see my response in the photo but just in case you can’t what I point out is that the way Trump talks about women doesn’t offend me it terrifies me.

The way Trump talks about women is not only disrespectful it is a symptom of the patriarchy. He is normalising the belief some men have that women are just there for their gratification. That men’s sexual pleasure is more important than women’s autonomy. They feel justified in policing our bodies. They can do what they want with them but heaven forbid we use them ourselves. Let us not forget that the man who is now the President of the United States once said:

“I did try and fuck her. She was married. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look. I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

This is not okay. This is NOT normal, and it should NEVER be treated as if it is. We are NOT chattel, we never were. Someone just decided to treat us that way because it was the only way to exert some form of control.

It is time to say no more. We will not be under your control any longer. We will speak up. We will speak out. We will use our words, our voices, and we will make things different. The womens march is only the start. You will see how far we can go.

 

We are the creatives, the writers, the artists, the musicians…..we are the revolution.

Patreon – Can You Help Support my Writing Work?

Hey All

I’ve got a special announcement that I want to let you in on. I just joined Patreon.

patreon

Patreon

In case you’re wondering, Patreon is a simple way for my fans to contribute to my writing every month, and get great rewards in return. I have a few different reward levels available. Anything you can pledge to give each month will help me. I am working as hard as I can to get more jobs that pay me but this means my true passion, fiction has to take a backseat. By contributing to my campaign you are helping provide me with the support I need to truly live my passion.

I wanted to share the link with you, if you can’t help now I will be putting a banner on my side bar, so you can help laterif you want to. You can check my Patreon page out here.

Also, if you have any suggestions for other rewards I could offer then please drop me a note (no I will not be offering nudes as part of this deal). 

Please feel free to share to share this post, and/or the campaign.

Female Orgasms – Addressing Women’s Sexuality

Women’s Sexuality

This morning my attention was drawn to a tweet someone shared on twitter about female orgasms. The original post had been retweeted by MissRavenRubies with a good dose of incredulity, understandably so.  The original tweet was from a (female) self-confessed sex researcher and educator, who stated “I don’t believe women have a sex drive – that does not mean that they are not sexual. Women’s responses are primarily emotional.”  Yes, she really did say that. She also said “Cunnilingus does not cause female orgasm. Partly because a woman is not aroused with a lover. But it’s also the wrong stimulation.” So according to her we (as women) can’t orgasm from just physical stimulation (not anywhere), we have to have some sort of emotional or psychological stimulation. And we cannot orgasm from oral because that is wrong stimulations. That may be the case for some women but for others it will not be even vaguely true.

female orgasms

This woman tweeted at Chris (QuietlyKinky) “So where are these women IN THE GENERAL POPULATION who can confirm all these beliefs? Why are they so silent?”  When many female sex bloggers responded to this explaining clearly that they DID orgasm from physical stimulation, etc. She responded not by engaging, and discussing these alternate experiences but by blocking everyone who disagreed with her. Yeah, she’s very “Open ears.”

Female Orgasms

I am going to talk very specifically about myself now, about MY orgasms, MY sexuality, how I come. Just because this is how I come doesn’t mean it is how YOU will come. We are all individuals, who will like different things, and that is totally okay. I am also a CIS woman so my point-of-view will be skewed in that direction.

I used to be quite self-conscious about my orgasms. An ex once described me orgasming as being caught in an earthquake, he also told me he’d never been with someone who orgasmed like me before. What I heard was; “you’re weird in the way you come, your orgasms aren’t normal.”  This made me really anxious about it for a long time. However, I realised that not all women have the same kind of orgasms, and one women can orgasm in many different ways. I should also say I come really easily, and I mean really easily, something I find quite funny because I am such a power queen when it comes to vibrations.

My Orgasms

For me I think there are three types of female orgasms THAT I HAVE;

  • Small clit orgasms – these tend to be the ones I have when I have having a quick speed wank, and just want to….let some steam out of the pot. These usually happen from direct clit stimulation, either the sucking of my Satisfyer Pro 2, or the vibrations of my Doxy or We-Vibe touch. My clit prefers a broader stimulation when it comes to vibrations, nothing too pin point. This type of orgasm usually happens very quickly, I don’t tend to have time to fantasise, it’s a 30-90 second thing.
  • Main orgasms – For me this is a sensation that comes in waves. I literally feel it roll in and crest, and roll in and crest, and roll in and crest, and…..well you get the idea. This is the sort of orgasm that if I am having penetrative sex with an actual cock the person attached will be able to feel me contracting around them. This is the earthquake sensation my ex described. I can do this for hours, at least 10 orgasms isn’t unusual for me. I can have this type of orgasm from both internal and external stimulation. Receiving oral sex generally gives me a combination of this type of orgasm and the small clit orgasms.
  • Squirting orgasms – These are the most intense orgasm I have ever experienced. Everything suddenly becomes very sharply focussed, and then goes very very floaty. When I have this type of orgasm, I become very sensitive to touch afterwards, almost painfully so. I also get very dry, all my natural lubrication disappears for about ten minutes. Squirting usually happens after all the other types of orgasms have happened, and afterwards I need at least ten minutes to ‘come back down’.  It is the closest I’ve ever come to passing out from an orgasm. Fucking amazing.

 

Female Sexuality

On her website the “sex researcher and educator” makes this statement:

The very first time I had sex I knew that something was up. I thought I knew what I could expect to happen. But I felt absolutely zip, zero, nothing. I almost couldn’t believe it. I had already been masturbating myself to orgasm for a year by that time. The two experiences had nothing in common. But over the following months and years, intercourse continued to be non-erotic. I felt like a prostitute acting out a mechanical part: just stimulating a man until he ejaculated. I concluded the whole thing was a hoax. I wasn’t the first woman to be disappointed by the reality of sex.

There is something very sad about this paragraph. I had initially dismissed her a crazy kook, who was peddling a harmful (religiously motivated) agenda. I still think she has an agenda, and I still think her form of ‘sex education’ is harmful, not just to women who will read it . But also to the men who will read it and believe that every woman they’ve had sex with was lying because there is no way they CAN be a good lover and give a woman an orgasm. I think the real tragedy here is that this woman knew how to make her body work but was unable to communicate that need to her sexual partner, and was therefore left disappointed and wanting.

In my experience (and maybe I’ve been very lucky) once you start verbalising to your sexual partner what you want or need, they will happily do their best to please you. Yes, I have had partners that weren’t interested and didn’t care about my pleasure but they were bad partners, there wasn’t anything wrong with me.

The lovely Dawn said this:

female orgasms

This made me start to wonder about the ‘sex educator’. Reading many articles on her site, especially ones about arousal and rape makes me wonder exactly what has happened in this woman’s life that has left her feeling like this. If she truly isn’t aroused by men, could she possibly be aroused by women, or (because she mentions finding all genitalia unarousing) could she be asexual?

Conclusion

A good sex educator needs to be willing to look at experiences other than their own, to give a balanced view on sexuality and sex. This woman seems to only be addressing a heteronormative personal experience and applying it to everyone. Because she couldn’t come using a vibrator, no woman can. because she can’t come from penetrative sex no woman can. Because she can’t come from oral sex no woman can. I have to wonder what exactly she can bring to the discussion.

Ladies however you are having sex, whether you are orgasming or not, if you are enjoying it then it is totally okay. Gents (and ladies) if you are concerned your woman isn’t enjoying sex as much as you’d like her to, talk to her, communicate, find out what else you could be doing. It’s good to ask

LELO HEX’d – Have LELO Lost The Plot

A Decision

I’ve been agonising over writing about the LELO HEX for the last few weeks. I knew writing it would mean I could no longer accept new review items, or promotional items from LELO. I feel bad about this decision because the people I have worked with during my contact with LELO have been great. However, this is about LELO management, the people at the highest level. They continually disregard the people who buy and use their products, proving they just don’t care about the consumer.

The LELO HEX controversy is just the latest incident in LELO’s dive off the deep end. It has been addressed by people much more eloquent than myself but I still felt like I had something to say. I have endorsed their products on HornyGeekGirl in the past, and therefore feel I have a responsibility to say something. I will be leaving those reviews up but they will now include a link to this post.  The people I have seen writing about this are: Sarah at MarvelousDarling who was the first I saw responding on Tuesday. Lilly at DangerousLilly talked about it on Wednesday. FormidableFemme covered it from an abuse survivors’ perspective on Thursday. This issue has also been covered in blog posts by countless other people; CaraSutra, DailyBeast, Dizzygirl, Shawna at Sexsiopa, Molly, ShWomen store, NinjaSexology, . (I will add to this list as and when I see new posts). also wrote a review covering the ‘safety’ aspect of the HEX.

lelo hex

The Decline

When I first started reviewing sex toys LELO were one of the brands I really coveted. To me they were one of the top luxury brands. They cared about their customers, and about making innovative products that would speak to women. Unfortunately, over the last few years LELO seems to have become completely removed from that image. They use gimmicks to create a buzz but forget about creating an actual viable product.

The ‘Bankers only’ Pino Cock Ring, that came packaged with cuff-links and a money clip. What on earth were they thinking? HeyEpiphora did a great post about it. Then there was the scented Lily 2. A gimmick that seemed to have no place in reality. The vibrator itself was adequate but what was the point of the scent. I found I couldn’t smell it unless the Lily 2 was directly under my nose, and after a few washes even that had gone. I would rather have had more power than the pointless scent. Most recently there was the Penis Tuxedo. They created a (dry-clean only) Tux to fit a cock. No, I don’t know either. It’s like three or so years ago management at LELO all had brain transplants. Out went sex-positive, female driven design, and in came douche-bro marketing and design. Which leads us to the LELO HEX.

When LELO first announced the HEX it was unclear whether or not it was supposed to be an April Fool’s joke……I still think it’s unclear. It feels like the whole thing might be a prank that has just gotten out of hand, and no-one is prepared to yell stop.

LELO HEX

First there was all the mystery marketing. Where they talked in very vague terms about their new condom. Saying it was revolutionary, and innovative. That it completely redesigned the condom from the ground up.  Then things got a bit more detailed, which is where confusion set in. Their ‘revolutionary and innovative’ LELO HEX condom was still made of latex. The only difference I could see was that it had a slightly different structure…..or rather a very pretty pattern.  They were touting it as ‘safer’ because the honeycomb structure was stronger. That it would hold together even when pricked by a pin. Which sounds good in theory but in practice I want to know if my condom has a hole in it. I want to know as soon as the hole forms. I want to be able to stop and replace the broken condom before I end up with any unwanted consequences.

A condom that holds together after being pricked by a pin isn’t going in my toy box. Cells are microscopic, millions of them could get through a pin prick hole. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe LELO had tested thoroughly, and would have reams of data on how their condom held up…….they didn’t. When ‘scientists’* at the launch were asked about this, they seemed confused. When the query was clarified and they were asked for specific data, “what is the transmission rate, if one of these fails?”. They had a small meeting and their response was “well we won’t know that until people have been using them for a while.” Yeah, you heard that correctly. They are selling a product on a benefit that they haven’t tested. Letting people believe it’s much safer, even though they don’t know.

I am desperately hoping this is just a case of the staff at the launch not being properly prepared for real questions. If not, this seems like a massive judgement lapse on the part of LELO. One which is sure to have an unhappy ending.

HEX Spokesman

They seem to be all about lapses in judgement at the moment. Not just in describing a fairly standard (if not potentially more dangerous) condom as revolutionary but in choosing their spokesman for the campaign. To some degree I do understand why his name may have first been suggested, however it should have been vetoed immediately. You do NOT want someone representing your (supposedly women friendly, sex positive) company who has a history of domestic violence. Who ‘allegedly’ had unprotected sex with sex workers without disclosing his HIV+ status. Nothing about Charlie Sheen says safe, responsible sex. It feels like they just found a celebrity who was willing to work with them, and grabbed with both hands.

At the launch Charlie Sheen gave a speech about being chosen as the LELO HEX spokesman. He actually said “I am here to make the condom cool”, and then talked about his influence on young people. I think (or rather hope) he was overstating his influence here. If most young people know him as anything more than a coke-addicted, actor with a history of abusing his domestic partners I will be very surprised. The idea that this man could have a positive influence on young people is truly laughable.

Overall

I just cannot continue to recommend or support a company who have shown such complete disregard for ethical practice. I believe there were much better qualified people who LELO could have chosen to work with. I believe they could have just sold their condom without all the hyperbolic advertising. Should people use condoms? Yes. Should it be the LELO HEX? No. Choose condoms with a proven track record, don’t buy into the hype and spin that LELO are spreading here.

 

 

*Strong suspicion the ‘Scientists’ at the launch were actually just PR people dressed in white coats.