Posts Tagged ‘sex’

  1. Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

    November 16, 2012 by Jenni

    Image from sheknows.com.au

    It’s been a while since I last got any action in the bedroom department and I am definitely starting to feel like I’m missing out. I worked out recently that this is the longest period of time I’ve gone without since I lost my virginity aged 16 and a bit (about 5 and a bit years ago) due to two extremely long term relationships which have stretched over the last 6 years or so. I’ve been single for 7 months now and my heart seems to have gotten over that whole being broken thing quite nicely and has let me start functioning again as an actual human.

    My brain, meanwhile, seems to be living out its own little romantic fiction novel, especially whenever I see a particularly attractive gentleman. (I actually had this thought the other day when a guy dropped his keys in front of me: “Ooh, bend down and pick them up so you can have a romantic moment when your hands meet above them.” It was followed swiftly by the thought “Shut up brain, you wally.”). My vagina though seems to be having a little party of its own. I must be the horniest person in the world at the moment, anything and everything seems to set me off – I feel a bit like a teenage boy who’s just discovered the internet. And while me-parties (‘a party just for one’… alright I might have just made the Muppets Movie horrible there. I’m not sorry.) are fun and all, it’s just really not the same.

    It’s not just the release of orgasm that I’m missing though, it’s the whole sharing the physical intimacy with another person-allowing yourself to be that vulnerable in front of someone and feeling completely comfortable with it is a big part of what makes sex an enjoyable thing for me. I love that sensation of being completely contented with each other and with yourself so that you just lie there naked together and no-one feels compelled to put any clothes on at all, sometimes for days.

    And here’s the thing – I think I’m fairly good at relationship sex. The sex where you know exactly what each other wants and no longer need to tell each other where to put what bit and what to do with it when it’s there, but you just do it automatically, hitting all their buttons because you know what they like and they know what you like. That’s all fine and dandy.

    It’s the thought of getting down and dirty with an unknown person that kinda scares the pants off me a little. It’s the getting naked in front of someone for the first time, knowing they’ll see every little part of you and can never go back to not seeing that. It’s the awkward moments of not quite working in synch with each other and potentially ending up generally sweaty and unsatisfied at the end. It’s the reaction to the first fanny fart (Always an awkward moment. I reckon if they laugh about it with you then you’re all good to carry on!). It’s the fear of telling someone your slightly weirder, less vanilla quirks and having them react by scarpering faster than you can blink, or worse, going all 50 Shades of Grey on you. I’ve never had to tell someone how to get me going before because my previous boyfriends just kinda figured it out, but I would have no idea where to start that conversation. It’s a whole minefield of potentially awkward moments and horrible embarrassment just waiting there for me to put my foot into it. Maybe literally.

    And when exactly do you tell someone you’re a bit of a novice and somewhat nervous about the whole thing? On a first date, casually over dinner, “Oh by the way, I’ve only ever slept with two people before but I’m a keen student and a quick learner.” *over-exaggerated wink*

    I think I might just show my next potential lover this blog post and tell him this is all the things I’m worried about, just so he knows, and hope he doesn’t run for the hills. That’s definitely not weird right?

    I guess when the time comes around to it I’ll just have to jump in with both feet at the deep end (I need to stop making weird feet-sex analogies and over using parentheses) like everyone else does. But fuck me, it’s a scary prospect. No, really; it’s been a while.

    Jenni (@circlethinker) is a science geek, a theatre aficionado (both on and off the stage), and a big fan of socks. She’s in her early twenties and recently finished up a Biomedical Science degree at Sheffield. Jenni has a lovely blog over here (where this post first appeared) and you can find her on Twitter right here.

     


  2. Which Time Is Sexytime?

    September 11, 2012 by J9London

    Image from http://finditmore.info/

    Two things happened this week that made me go “argh!” The first was a friend of mine, male, intelligent, young, mentioning that old, Mad Men style classic, men are biologically designed to be promiscuous and women aren’t. The second was this article, which argues against the concept that women will be happier in relationships if they hold off on the sexing.

    Now, the first one is obvious. Kind of. We have spent the last lots of years and much yelling to claim the right to have sex when and with whom we want to. How many more times to we have to holla before the bros believe us? Sex is great, obviously, we’re allowed to think so too, we’re allowed to be open about it. But the flip side is, we still have the right to  hold off, if that is what we want. Do men?

    I’m the sort of person to wait. It’s involuntary. It takes me a long time to want to get all canoodling features with someone, and I like that about myself. But I don’t think I’m like that because I’m a woman, and I don’t think that my friend isn’t like that because he’s a man. We’re just different people.

    As to the second, it has a point: the idea of waiting is always related to girls. Boys are expected to want to get around. Girls are expected to keep the milk so someone’ll be forced into taking the whole cow. Or something. It’s a skewing of expectation that’s been around forever, and it seems natural because it’s been around forever. I think it’s worth considering that for most of that forever, women weren’t having sex at their own discretion because men were in charge, and they didn’t want us to.

    But no one should feel like they’re supposed to have a lot of sex with a lot of different people, either it’s because they’re a MAN and MEN need to spread their SEED, or because they’re a WOMAN and WOMEN are just as good as MEN and must PROVE IT. If you’re only interested in being that intimate with one person ever, go for it. Wanting to wait until you’ve known someone for a few months before you shag them rotten isn’t abnormal and it’s not reserved for the prudish and repressed.

    I don’t care what used to be the norm. I don’t care what studies are done. I know what I want, who I want, how I want it. It’s not fashionable, but then I’ve never been fashionable. And I’m ok with that.

    Janina is addicted to dark chocolate and peppermint tea. She once made a burger so good she has a picture of the occasion on her bedroom wall. You can find out more about her at myrednotebook.com and follow her on twitter at @J9London.


  3. It’s been One Month since we looked at K Stew and started the crazy ass judging. MAKE IT STOP!

    September 7, 2012 by @NotRollergirl

    Photo from tiptoptens.com

    I am pissed. Pissed in the traditional sense (I have been drinking beer on a sofa all afternoon, in my knickers) but mostly in the American, angry sense. I’m in Brooklyn and drowning in jetlag and 30 degree heat, and it doesn’t take much to irk me – but I’m really fucking irked by the way that the media shitstorm has not calmed down and got reasonable after a MONTH. We’re still talking about the Kristen Stewart thing.

    She’s not exactly media friendly. The movie that shot her into the celebrity stratosphere is a movie series beloved by tween and teen girls – not a demographic that is known for supporting and celebrating other women. Especially not women who are dating their most favourite sparkly vampiric porcelain skinned British crush man, R Patz. And she’s notoriously awkward. When I was a baby journo intern and she was a film star to be, I interviewed her and found the whole thing so tricky that I burst into tears immediately afterwards. (I speak a very archaic brand of British English, it was on a fuzzy phone line and she understood none of my questions). But she’s 22. She’s 22 and been with the same dude since she was 18 and she hooked up with an older, married colleague and now everyone hates her. Her boyfriend hates her, her colleague’s wife hates her – apparently even her family hates her. Left leaning liberal friends who are sound in mind and body and only read the Daily Mail side bar of doom in a “wry” way – they hate her too. Even though she’s never made them cry. Can we give the chick a break?

    How can it be that the most reasonable people in the world are falling over themselves to call Kristen a harlot and a homewrecker, when Rupert “married with two kids and nearly twice Kristen’s age” Sands is getting perhaps ten to five per cent of the vitriol? In the first week following Kristen-and-Rupert-In-The-Back-Of-A-Mini-K-I-S-S-I-N-G-gate, I read EIGHT pieces on whether she’ll be able to salvage her career. Prognosis: Doubtful. Less has been written about Chris Brown “salvaging” his career in the last three years. The same Chris Brown who hospitalised his girlfriend. In fact, I think I’ve read more about Rihanna “sending out a bad message to fans” by “taking him back” than I’ve read about Chris Brown and how he should be stopped from making any music that isn’t Jailhouse Rock.

    The ongoing Kristen saga has made me think about how feminism is faltering. I may dress like a WASP punk but I have the heart of a hippy, and I really just want us all to love each other and be kind to each other. Sure, you should yell at people for finishing the cheese and having bad driving manners. It’s fine to hate on people who describe themselves as “crazy and random!” or those who make faces when you reference reality shows and say “I don’t really watch TV. Only BBC4 and documentaries.” But women who hate on other women for “betraying the sisterhood”? NO! THAT IS THE MOST ANTI FEMINIST THING OF ALL!

    I’m going to add to the Kristen conjecture by saying that I think that whatever happened between her and Rupert was born out of passion, not meanness. I think that one of them looked at the other and they both thought “I know this is completely wrong and inappropriate, but if I don’t feel your lips on mine soon my skin will fall off and I shall catch on fire.” I don’t think Kristen ever thought “how can I really upset that nice Liberty Ross and all the teenagers who fancy my boyfriend?”

    We’ve all said we’d never cheat. We’ve probably all also said we’d never smoke a cigarette, have an abortion or bone a guy whose surname we didn’t know. If having and living by lofty principles makes you happy, that’s awesome. If it makes you feel superior to everyone who doesn’t and fails and makes mistakes and does the wrong thing occasionally, you can go and suck a big bag of dicks. I’ve cheated, and I’ve been cheated on, and it always ended up in sadness, hurt and complications – but it was never borne out of any of those things. As long as people fancy each other, people will cheat. It doesn’t make me sad or anxious about humanity.

    You know what does make me sad and anxious about humanity? The way we judge each other. The way we criticize and condemn before we relate and empathise. And that’s what makes me worry about feminism and moving forward. I don’t want to be part of a sisterhood who will go full Hester Prynne on someone who snogs my boyfriend. I want to be part of a joyful, forgiving, broad, gin based kind of feminism that will not throw me out for my fuck ups. If after reading this you’re still going full Judge (that) Dredd (ful Kristen), I urge you to go out and get off with someone who makes you feel like you might catch on fire if you don’t kiss them.

    @NotRollergirl is a freelance funnywoman and writerlady. She’s the women’s editor over on Sabotage Times (where she writes a ridiculously popular column on Made in Chelsea), she writes books, and she knows all the words to ABBA’s entire collection. Follow her on Twitter (recommended for daily giggles).


  4. Sex Education; is it really working?

    August 21, 2012 by Jenni

    Image from communiststudents.org.uk of all places

    For a while I have wondered why if the sex education system in the UK is relatively good (compared to some) we have so many  teenage pregnancies. I’ve always assumed that these kids just haven’t bothered to use any form of protection, rather than simply not knowing enough about it to help.
    Personally, I’ve never felt inadequately prepared after sex education. Perhaps this is because I was a bit of a geek and liked to actually listen to authority figures when they spoke, perhaps it’s because I started thinking about it from a youngish age or perhaps it’s because I had the helpful insights  of  The Period Book’ to introduce me to puberty and all its joys.

    Memories of my sex-ed experience include when we got to chapter 7 (Reproduction!) in the science textbooks we were allowed to move from our boy-girl seating plan and sit where-ever we liked(!) which I’m sure was more interesting than the anatomy of a penis/vagina. I remember the school nurse telling us about how the ‘clinic in town did some lovely passion-fruit flavoured condoms’ and everyone  thinking “EWEWEWEWEW!” at the thought of our slightly overweight middle-aged nurse STILL HAVING SEX. I have a horribly accurate memory of being in college studying reproduction/fertility and having to watch that video where someone thought it would be a good idea to put a camera on some poor woman’s cervix and film her being ejaculated into by, what was at the time, a giant wide-screen penis. This definitely just felt like far too much information. Especially when it also went on to show the same woman giving birth in graphic detail too. I feel so sorry for that kid-teenagers across the country have watched their conception/birth whilst squirming in their seats and trying not to look.

    However, I digress. The sex-ed I got at school certainly gave me enough information to choose what I would like to happen to my own body when I needed contraception myself. I knew the different choices and that some suited other people better than others and, possibly more importantly, that I would never feel safe having sex with only a condom between me and an unwanted pregnancy. Now, of course, I am a lot more clued up, but I did OK then too.

    Having talked to friends and read a couple of blogs on the subject (over at the Vagenda) it seems that this is not the case with everyone. Friends who went to more religious schools than mine were basically taught not to have sex rather than how to protect themselves. Another friend said “If you hadn’t got pregnant by year 8/9 in my school you were in the minority.” This is clearly a MASSIVE FAILING. (And more worryingly still is-1 in 4 pupils apparently still receive little to no sex ed at all.The way people view it also needs to be changed-it’s not stripping kids of their innocence and it’s not more likely to make them go out and start having sex with everything.  Even if it does, they would do so armed with greater knowledge about contraception and keeping themselves safe, how can this be a bad thing?

    Kids need an open and frank discussion about sex because they’re so curious and there’s not a lot of places they can get answers from that aren’t going to potentially do them harm. Kids need to be taught more than just the ins and outs of sex too. They need to be taught that straight, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are all normal, plus all the other inbetweens. They need to know that there is a whole spectrum of relationships they can have and that not all of them boil down to which part goes in who and where. They need to be encouraged to explore the emotions surrounding sex-they need to be told that sex and love often get tangled up in complicated ways (and that’s fine!) but that sex doesn’t always equal love.

    They need to be shown that it’s not about gaining notches in the bedpost but a shared experience between two consenting people that they should only enter into when their emotions are ready as well as their bodies. They need to be told that wanking won’t make you go blind and yes, girls can get in on the action too. The need to know that they shouldn’t have a baby without being emotionally, financially and physically ready for it, and that if they’re not any of those things they should be given advice on abortion and why it doesn’t make you a murderer or any less of a person if that’s your decision. They should be told that if you choose to sleep with lots of people it doesn’t make you a “slag” or a “stud” and that everyone’s sexual experiences are different and that is definitely OK. And they should be given details on all types of contraception as a mandatory thing. These kids can be in charge of their own futures but only if they’re given all the information to begin with.

    It’s obvious kids need more information to get a proper handle on the big issues of SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS and it’s obvious that not many people who are in charge seem to care about this. Television shows like Channel 4′s The Sex Education Show have been trying to make people more aware about these issues and it’s a start, albeit a slow one. I’ve signed this petition because I think every little bit helps.

    Let’s encourage our kids to grow up to enjoy sex, but enjoy it responsibly with a full grasp of all the things they need to know about it first.

    It’s time to stand up for Sex Education, who’s with me?

    Jenni (@circlethinker) is a science geek, a theatre aficionado (both on and off the stage), and a big fan of socks. She’s in her early twenties and recently finished up a Biomedical Science degree at Sheffield. Jenni has a lovely blog over here (where this post first appeared) and you can find her on Twitter right here


  5. Bye, sexuality!

    August 3, 2012 by JenClaude

    Image from iberalpugilist.com

    ‘Hello, I am a bisexual woman.’

    Amount of years I have known this to be a truth: many.

    Amount of times, to my knowledge, I have used this sentence out loud: zero.

    When asked if I am gay/straight/pan/bisexual/any other category that exists on the sexual spectrum, I tend to just say ‘yes’ in the hope that I will not be greeted with a look of consternation and we can get back to the real topic of conversation (cake, vodka, ginger kittens) with as much haste as possible. Sexuality is an uncomfortable place for me, and this is why.

    Even now, in the supposedly sexually liberated 21st century western world, biphobia is huge, and it is not going away. We are faced with an onslaught of intolerance not only from the heterosexual world, but in an intra-group manner, from the LGBTQ community itself. This has been highlighted by this awful article by the self-confessed ‘lesbian feminist’ Julie Bindel. The very fact that something so one-sided and intolerant made its way into the public domain utterly baffles me, but it did, and it hit me. Hard.

    The sexual spectrum is just that, a spectrum. It is not binary, it is huge, it is diverse and it is downright bloody beautiful.

    Knowing that one is definitely gay is as difficult as knowing one is definitely straight. The idea that sexuality is so clearly black and white is unfathomable. I once overheard a girlfriend of mine saying ‘I could never be a lesbian, vaginas make me queasy’ – this is the kind of clarity that I, and I imagine many bisexual people alike, yearn for. But, I’m sorry Julie Bindel, it is just not that simple. You may think you have made an active choice to be a lesbian (the flaws in this argument are endless, hormone levels and finger ratios lay science against you…) but you do not represent the rest of the LGBTQ society, and you certainly do not represent me. I am my own person, and I refuse to be put down by your jaded, cynical approach to the world as a whole. I can’t help but be the one to point out that your arguments against the ‘tyranny of sexism’ make you nothing but a tyrant yourself.

    Yes, for some people bisexuality is an understandable gateway into ‘full homosexuality’. A stepping-stone, if you like, in a similar fashion to drinking 1% milk when trying to wean yourself off dairy products (failed vegan, if you couldn’t tell). Coming out is a hard process, and sometimes a buffer does make it a little easier. I would never begrudge a person this. At the same time, it does not make it a truth for us all.

    Sexualities are different, but they are equal and they stem from the exact same principles. People are gay because they like people of the same sex, people are straight because they like people of the opposite sex, I like to think I am bisexual because I like people without regard to their sex.

    There is no hierarchy, there is no better sexuality and I am very willing to dismiss Julie Bindel’s allegations as fallacies.

    I don’t like men and women because it’s ‘à la mode’ or because I’m a ‘lesbian tourist’ or simply to get attention from both ends of the spectrum, and I sure as hell don’t do it to maximise my chances of a cheeky late-night fumble. I have been nothing but hindered by my sexuality in that sense – people generally don’t like maximised competition, I guess it’s primitive. It is no more likely that bisexual people will have sex with more people in their lifetime than people of any other sexuality. It doesn’t even necessarily mean they have a bigger pool of fish to choose from. It just means that all their partners won’t have the same junk in their trunk. Ends.

    Now, in contrast to my sexuality, I am both extremely firm and open about my politics, and about being a feminist. A big one. One that will go to great lengths to fight symbols of patriarchal repression.  That does not, however, include actively re-thinking my sexuality – something I never chose to be and could not change if I tried. I am certain that I would be bisexual whatever my political leanings were, and the notion that my sexuality, something entirely pre-programmed within me, de-legitimises my politics is just absurd.

    I’ll admit, there remain to be many things that are uncertain about my sexuality but this is not one of them – I am not bisexual to try and placate anyone, least of all The Man. I don’t have sex with men to psychologically ease the burden of my fondness for women, nor to satisfy any external heteronormative pressures. Yes, such pressures exists and are heavily laden upon us all, but I’ve never been one to do something Because I Should and this matter is no different.

    We are supposed to be at the helm of the equal rights movement, setting an example for the next generation of both straight and LGBTQ young people. We should be showing them that EVERYONE is the same, no matter who they choose to love, and that everyone should be treated equally. Yet this is a movement that is still clearly riddled with anti-equalist, seperatist views and weakened by the internal hierarchy that serves only to perpetuate the us vs. them mentality of the straight vs. queer communities.

    The idea that people are bisexual because they are ‘bowing down to the patriarchy’ does nothing but undermine an entire group of people in society, and is just as corrupt and offensive as the misogyny it is trying to fight.

    Please, let’s all stop all this fighting and factionalism. The only way we’re going to battle sexual and gender inequality is together.

    @JenClaude is lovely. She’s a student (future doctor), writer, and orchid enthusiast. You can find her excellent blog at jenclaude.wordpress.com and you can follow Jen on Twitter.

     


  6. SEX FOR EVERYONE

    July 10, 2012 by @NotRollergirl

    Gorma is 9 months pregnant. She was 12 years old when she became pregnant. (photo from Save the Children)

    Oh, sex. You’re everywhere. From first thing in the morning when I check Twitter and retweet someone’s bumming joke, to last thing at night when, if I’m very lucky, I get to get it on. I can spend my day Googling Kate Upton, thinking about Ryan Phillipe, writing about wanking and watching old Benny Hill clips as I whistle along to Salt ‘n’ Pepa and Marvin Gaye. (This isn’t hyperbole, this is how I spend quite a lot of my free time.) I can go on a chemist crawl and by a gross of condoms before teatime with nothing to stop me but my overdraft limit. I can pay a stranger to de-fluff the contents of my knickers and if anything in my pants is giving me cause for concern I can have it looked at, gratis. And those pants might be turquoise satin burlesque-esque giddy knickers, or the stretchy bobbled boy shorts I found in my stocking last Christmas. I love having sex, and I love talking about it, and I think I’ve got a right to do both.

    Last night I attended a dinner hosted by Save The Children and discovered that many women in the world don’t get that right. I heard from the astonishingly brave Aselefe, who, at 17, decided to become a peer educator and spread the word about women’s rights and contraception after her best friend became pregnant and was abandoned by her family and boyfriend. Aselefe called a helpline to find out more about contraception and sexual health, and the operator refused to advise her because she “sounded young”. We heard of girls as young as 12 becoming mothers, who barely knew sex and pregnancy were connected. Girls giving birth whose mothers are in their mid twenties. And girls dying, because your body isn’t ready to support a baby when you’re still a child yourself. And these aren’t women who know they’re ready for sex. In developing countries, sex is often something that just happens to you. Something that has the power to destroy your future, or even kill you.

    On Wednesday 11 July, there will be a Family Planning summit backed by the Gates Foundation, UNFPA, charities, campaigners and attended by governments from across the globe. Potentially, it could save millions of lives. If you think every woman deserves the right to own her own body and control what happens to it – and I hope you do – please sign the petition here and paste this link all over Twitter and Facebook.

    http://givegirlspower.savethechildren.org.uk/action1.html

    Sex is awesome. It can be hot or sweet or filthy or funny, but it should be a force for good. And a happy, worry free sex life should be a right – not a privilege.

    @NotRollergirl is a freelance funnywoman and writerlady. She’s the women’s editor over on Sabotage Times (where she writes a ridiculously popular column on Made in Chelsea), she writes books, and she knows all the words to ABBA’s entire collection. Follow her on Twitter (recommended for daily giggles).


  7. Chicks with sticks and glasses; does ‘disabled’ mean undateable?

    June 20, 2012 by Thimbelina

    Image from someecards, via eyeofthe-needle.tumblr.com

    As I alluded to the last time I blogged for Team AWOT, I’m currently a single gal. My last relationship ended two years ago, almost to the day. Time heals all wounds, it’s true, and I confess that the idea of sharing my life with someone once more has a certain appeal.

    (I have not been ‘anti-men’ or anti-a-relationship in the intervening period; it’s just that I’ve taken the dreary, faux-noble, insufferable step of wanting to work on myself, regain myself, first before relaunching fully into The Fray…)

    Even when I was twenty, clubs, pubs, bars and night-clubs were never my thing; now I’m twice that age they hold even less of an appeal.

    Add to that, I now have a chronic health condition (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or ME, if you’re curious), which means I use a walking stick and, for distances beyond the minimum (which I’m unable to walk), a wheelchair. So, forget dancing round my handbag, dancing around my walking stick, more like; the ultimate in low-rent pole-dancing.  Huzzah.

    So, on the face of it, online dating is the perfect way for the somewhat-less-than-entirely-mobile to meet future partners. No awkward moments while I laugh off my walking stick; no worry that a guy will feel intrinsically repelled by the slowness of my gait, or being hit on by someone ‘disabled’.

    With the written word I can entertain, enthrall and explain; my dating profiles are part pirouette, part pyrotechnic – a feast of verbal fun and fancy. Even the part where I explain the (God’s-damn, natty) walking stick.

    So how many dates have I gone on, since I tentatively uploaded my profiles (and by ‘date’, am I allowed to include ‘had a brief coffee with’)?

    Even with a generous interpretation of the term by anyone’s standards, I’m struggling to count more than three; and even they were more about ‘meeting a new potential friend’ than ‘golly gee, this fella has the very whiff of romance about him’…

    This isn’t to say that my profiles haven’t drawn interest – on a couple of sites an embarrassing avalanche of interest was experienced (almost entirely communicated by incoherent, hormonally-driven text-speak), but it was rapidly clear that the guys were responding to my photograph; to the promise of tits, not wits.

    (My photos are fastidiously demure and covered-up, I hasten to add…)

    My experiences tend to be keyboard bound, and nary shift into the real world. Guys suggest meeting up and ‘walking up from the river’ without reading my profile – as soon as I explain my limited walking radius, silence. I exchange messages, they say they’ve read The Spoon Theory link I give; yet expect me to drive over an hour to meet them. They say it doesn’t matter, and then are unable to meet. Or disappear. Or both.

    (Mostly both.)

    I have learnt, the hard way, to ensure any Instant Messenger facility is switched off; the moment I joined one site, the first message I received was, ‘Can I ask you a question? How does CFS affect your sex life?’

    (Oddly, I declined his invitation to explain…)

    So; what is a girl to do? Worse than that: an allegedly grown woman?

    I venture out on my own to live music events and am sat next to tedious, grey-haired men by the host in the hope (it would appear) that we ‘hit it off’ (and if we don’t, the host offers to help me ‘get laid’ the next time I visit; seriously, is there a social convention in place for handling such a conversation??)

    I flirt with folks via the power of social media, but flirtation is merely the currency on which such entities exist.

    I join forums and create relationships with others who are somewhat similar, and thus have their own particular barriers to meeting up.

    I smile and talk to guys when I stop off at a coffee shop, but I hardly think many male fantasies revolve around the idea of a woman on a Shopmobility scooter.

    (Sidebar; are the disabled and chronically ill automatically desexualised?  I still consider myself  ’recovering from and only temporarily disabled by chronic illness’ rather than plain ‘disabled’, but is it in the eye of the potential beholder?  Should I be looking to a specialist dating agency, as covered by the now defunct Filament Magazine here?)

    I know it must be possible. I know lots of people with chronic health conditions, with disability, with far greater challenges than I possess; they are married, in relationships, in love.

    But as the lyrics of the old song have it: “They’re writing songs of love .. but not for me…” ..  and part of me is starting to wonder, with a certain self-protective grace, if they ever will be.  Regardless of how strongly I may still appreciate myself.

    Peace out.

    Thimbelina  blogs here, a site which was conceived to house her occasional thoughts about sewing and CFS/ME, but which has subsequently collapsed into the incoherent chaos about life, love and relationships that it is today.  She also hands out hugs and cups of tea to complete strangers via Twitter here, as restraining orders have yet to be invented for the Virtual World she almost entirely inhabits.


  8. Forget slutwalk – we need smut talk

    May 31, 2012 by Jamie

    (photo by Michael Negus)

    There’s an undeniable, if rather surprising, sexual undercurrent to the recently-released texts between Jeremy Hunt and Fred Michel. Hunt resorted to French, lest we forget the language of love, to repeatedly thank the News International lawyer, and at one point even called him ‘papa’.

    Whether this level of coy flirtation was appropriate between a Secretary of State and a key contact in an organisation he had to rule on is not for me to say. But it does revive the always interesting debate over the words we use when we’re on the pull – or in the act.

    Hunt might think ‘papa’ makes Michel feel powerful and in control, but the idea of someone who wants to know me Biblically implying they’re my child makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Insinuations of incest don’t do it for me. When you call me ‘daddy’, I don’t feel like an alpha male ready to ravish – I think of my dad. Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry but your face doesn’t set me up for a night of high passion. That’s probably how we both prefer it.

    It’s not just confined to roles, however. Remarkably few words for any relevant areas can be said without at least a bit of hesitation over how they’ll sound to you, or be received by your would-be lover. Some just sound too clinical (penis, vagina, breasts), too crude or commonplace (twat), or just can’t be said without stifling a giggle (boobs, nipples). And let’s not beat around the bush (arf): how do you refer to the clitoris? The full word’s too technical to be sexy, but if you shorten it it sounds almost matey, and you start to feel like those people who nickname their genitals.

    It’s maybe no surprise that most of these are words for womanly parts. After all, I’m a straight guy; these are the dilemmas I grapple with. But I wonder whether women (or gay men) think the same. Those first nights with someone new can be a nightmare of awkwardness, especially when it comes to directions or desires. It’s good to talk, but how far do you go? Do you go all guns blazing, or tentatively work up from limp euphemisms until you get to the hard stuff (ahem)? I once knew someone who insisted on using a particular term that she clearly thought I’d find exciting. I didn’t quite have the heart to tell her I winced every time she said it.

    But whatever the difficulty of in-person sex chat, it’s got nothing on the excruciating agonies when talk’s all you’ve got. Phone sex is sometimes the only option, especially if you’re in a long-distance relationship, but the ers, ums, and pauses (oh God, the pauses) are enough to turn even the most self-confident stud into a cringing, crimson-faced asexual.

    Still, let’s leave phone sex to one side and ask why there’s this tendency to talk dirty. After all, there’s not necessarily any need for it. Porn surely has to shoulder some of the blame with its unashamed exhortations – but porn’s fantasy. Remove the buffer of knowing it’s all make-believe and you risk sounding hollow and desperate. As Arab Strap’s Aidan Moffat once put it: “’Do you want to suck my cunt?’ in real life just sounds naff.”

    Maybe it’s just the thrill of being able to give voice to the world inside your head, the one that only you and Chrome’s incognito mode are usually privy to. In that case perhaps we should cast off our inhibitions (and clothes) and get our filthy mouths to work. Forget slutwalk, we need smut talk.

    Or maybe, to relieve some of this very English insecurity in a very English way, we could all just sit down with a cuppa and agree on acceptable terms. So, ladies and gentlemen, what are your words of choice in bed – and what makes you reach for the nearest good book instead?

    Jamie is a journalist (currently doing a bit with The Observer) and PhD student (researching investigative journalism). He also has the coolest name in the world. Wait for it… Jamie. Dance. Thunder.
    Yep.
    You can can find Jamie on Twitter, or you can check out his blog, 
    http://www.thethunderer.org.uk/. He’s also doing the Royal Parks half marathon later this year for Bliss (premature babies). You can sponsor him here


  9. In which I consider sex

    May 21, 2012 by Ashley

    Screengrab from Blokely.com

    A couple of days ago, I read a piece on Blokely* (a man-website which I am quite fond of), which left me feeling a little cold. ‘I can teach you how to get a woman into bed’ tells the story of Kezia Noble, a 28-year-old pick up artist (PUA), whose career is based around teaching men how to “have one night stands, bed strippers and blag threesomes”.

    The phrasing is deliberately provocative – it begs you to jump up on a feminist soapbox and decry misogyny. Indeed the first line of the piece is “many women may hate the fact I teach men the tricks of getting women into bed but I don’t care”. Oh, sweetie.

    She claims to be the only female PUA, a fact which she emphasises through her constant reiteration that women hate what she does. She’s inviting angry blogs from women. She wants the publicity for her business. Anyone will read a headline if it contains something juicy. It’s horribly deliberate. But I also imagine her own insecurities play a role in this over-confident peacocking – the constant reminder that she is the cool, edgy, sexy girl that will get you laid. By the time she brags that her book, 15 Steps to Becoming a Master Seducer (*snorts*) has been quoted as being “The book women do not want men to read and I know women will hate,” her whole act is just starting to feel… desperate.

    But the funny thing is, I don’t hate Kezia for what she does for a living. I don’t care that she teaches men how to approach women. Let’s face it, some men (and indeed some women) really do need the help – even if it’s just to boost their confidence. I am not a prude – sex is great fun, whether it’s a fleeting one night stand, that amazing few weeks when you’ve just started seeing someone new, or with someone you’ve been married to for 20 years. I am definitely pro sex. And hey, if you want to go out and shag someone new every night of the week, that’s your prerogative. I will toast to your multiple orgasms and mad sexual adventures with gusto.

    The thing that irritated me is that she’s put women in a box. Not only does she earmark strippers as a particular sexual target (more on that later), she seems to think that the key to getting women into bed is to trick them into it. The ‘push/pull’ method of being nice and then cold to a woman apparently has a very high success rate. She knows this because her sulky ex-boyfriend made her really horny with his moodiness. “If my ex tried it on and I said I wasn’t in the mood, instead of trying to convince me, he would freeze me out and just turn on the TV. I suddenly felt rejected and not sexy enough to keep him interested. Before I knew it I was climbing all over him, desperate to prove to him that I was hot and horny!” What a brilliant message.

    I’m sure in this instance it was all very playful, and that the anecdote is something that shouldn’t be read into, but she finishes the story with this: “If a woman feels rejected, she’ll try her hardest to prove herself – and in this case, she’s very likely to jump into bed with the man in question.” The treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen routine is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but when taught as an actual step, it just seems a little… sinister. It’s essential that you jeopardise her self-esteem so she has to prove her self-worth by sleeping with you! Bravo, chaps. Tally ho!

    Back to the stripper thing. There’s a whole paragraph about bedding strippers. Strippers, it seems, are not women. Not really. They are literally stripped of all other characteristics and are defined solely by their sexual characteristics. They are not mothers, or daughters, or sisters, or wives (more of this in our super  blog from earlier this year). Stripping has reduced them to a state of walking sex – the available yet unavailable conquest. So naturally, Kezia suggests “heightening their insecurities”. That way, you can “go home with the stripper of your choice”. Oh em gee. Who knew it was that simple! Had I known that, I would have picked up two strippers last week with my Tesco shop! I’ve known some strippers in my time, and most of them would eat you alive. Their business is horny men – do you really think the cheap backhand compliment is going to get you laid? Oh, Kezia. I almost want to hug you.

    And the funniest thing of all is that sex is so much better than she makes out. She talks about getting laid and having one night stands, but she doesn’t seem to really get it. Through all her rules and tricks, she implies that women don’t actually want to have sex. They must be cajoled and persuaded and manipulated. God forbid a woman might actually want to get laid. Woman has no agenda – she is a passive barfly, waiting for you to insult her into bed with you.

    Part of the fun of sex (in my opinion, anyway) is that there are no rules. We are all as weird as each other. Every single one of us has sexual hang ups, fantasies, fetishes, and skeletons under the bed (perhaps literally, if that’s what you’re into). Kezia reduces sex into a quick and dirty night with a stranger you’ve manipulated into bed. Is the woman who is sleeping with you to prove she’s sexy going to be the best shag of your life? Probably not. Is the stripper you’ve miraculously taken home going to rock your world? Not if she’s been straddling 15 other desperate wankers that night. Nope, sex should be a LOT more organic than that. It’s supposed to be fun. You can’t create that sort of spontaneity through a set of rules. And if you’re looking for something more long-term, you probably aren’t going to be creating solid foundations if you’ve had to make her cry first.

    So, Kezia, I salute you. You are a lady pioneer in the field of pick up artistry. It is always good to see a woman making her way in a male-dominated environment. And good for you for running a successful business. But please keep your douchebag puppets out of my knickers. I don’t have anything to prove.

    Ashley is the editor of teamawot.com and thus is not used to writing her own bylines. As well as working in communications, Ashley runs a little food blog, called Peach Trees and Bumblebees. You can also find her other, oft-neglected blog here, where she muses on issues ranging from Nectar cards to wanking. Usually not in the same post. She’s also on Twitter

    * Dear Blokely, I still love you guys. This post has nothing against you. xx


  10. An X.Y. view on S.E.X.

    May 3, 2012 by Mr_Fitzgerald

    Image from ndtv.com

    For context, I wrote a shorter version of the below in response to this (worth a read, as well as the rest of her stuff).

    -

    There are few more gender-divisive topics than that of The Old In-Out. I therefore write the following fully aware of the risk I may be taking – of opening myself up to the wrath of any women scorned.

    So in order to keep the AWOT wolves from the door, I’ll earn my right to comment on this topic. At the ripe (don’t-you-dare-say-it) age of 26, I have experienced nigh-on every point along the ‘waiting’ sliding scale. I have also had more than my fair share of sexual experiences and partners. One night stands, first date flings, friend-with-benefits, first-base ‘things’… hell, I’ve even found time to fall in love a couple of times. The outstanding common bedroom theme? Freedom, to do only what both of us were comfortable with at that moment in time.

    There should not be a hard and fast “rule” governing when to jump into bed, the point being that readiness to put out means different things to different people at different times. There should be no shame and no steadfast time-limit constraining sex if both parties are sure, and if both are careful – careful with their choice of partner, situation, and contraception. Done well, knocking boots is healthy, fun, and gives a buzz greater than many more dangerous pursuits. Not every liaison need lead to a long-term relationship, sometimes that feeling of intimacy is the goal. And there is nothing wrong with that, for men or women. Curious experimentation is a wonderful thing if stopped short of recklessness, in any walk of life. But despite knowing this, many are shamed into waiting for waiting’s sake, putting more pressure on themselves further down the line – I don’t think it’s too much of a generalisation to say that it’s the girls who feel this pressure to wait, with boys feeling equal pressure not to. Having sex is one of the most personal choices in a person’s life. Nobody else has a say in it if ownership of that choice is taken.

    One apparent external factor is the mistaken fear that timing is important to the long term. Come off it kids, unlike going to Homebase, getting to home base too early or too late can not on its own kill a relationship, even if long term is the endgame. With the right person, the timing of going to the next level is irrelevant when the nature of that change is right: mutual, responsible and with care for the other’s feelings – in deciding together, you’ll almost certainly grow closer as a couple. I’ve never experienced, nor have I seen, a solid relationship break down solely because the couple jumped the gun by jumping in the sack, or wither away because one half wouldn’t put out. There are always bigger problems. But sex (or lack of it) is the easiest to blame.

    Intimacy is at its very best when both parties are completely comfortable with and aware of the situation. When there is no pressure to say yes to every desire, but you both do because if feels right for that very moment. That moment could be half-way through the first date, or 6 months into a relationship. Which is why, when asked recently at the end of a second date whether I wanted to go all the way, my response was honest – yes, of course, but only if the feeling is mutual. I fancied the pants off her, had felt an immediate connection and felt immensely comfortable with her… my answer was obvious. Those feelings would not disappear if she said no because she wasn’t ready. As it turned out, it wasn’t right for her at that time, the resulting notch being one to the anticipation, not to my bedpost. In every way, waiting was the right decision – not because it was “only our second date”, but because it wasn’t the right time.

    Conversely, one of the worst situations from a male point of view is feeling like your partner is in bed with you out of pressure not to be ‘boring’, or out of a sense of some strange, timely duty, as opposed to actually wanting to sleep with you. It’s a situation caused solely by neither party being open about what they want. That amount of openness might seem scary, especially if it’s early on. But however short a time you’ve known them for, if you can’t talk about sex with your partner, you shouldn’t be having it either.

    My attitude is, if it feels right, do it. Responsibly, considerately, and openly. If it works for me, it can work for just about anyone.

    Jack is a boy. But he’s quite nice, so we’ll let that slide. He writes a wonderful blog about London life (check out The London Lad here) and can often be found in cocktail bars, violently defending his right to both be a straight man and drink daiquiris (though this does not include raspberry daiquiris*). You can find Jack propped up somewhere in SW6, on Twitter, or stealing salad from the giant conglomerate where he works. Hero. 

    *Foolish mistake

     


  11. Stripping Q&A

    February 17, 2012 by Ashley

    Following yesterday’s blog post, ‘Stripping: The Naked Truth’, our anonymous writer answers your questions about her experiences working as a stripper.

    Image from Tumblr

    Do you consider yourself a feminist?

    Yes, absolutely. I’ve always been a feminist and it’s something I believe in whole heartedly. I think a lot of feminists are uncomfortable with the idea of stripping – it’s not easy territory to navigate. Is it powerful to own your sexuality and use it to your advantage? Or is it an archaic activity that puts the women’s movement back several decades? I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that one. But yes, I am absolutely a feminist.

    Do you feel like you were paid enough? It doesn’t seem worth it.

    Yes and no. Dances are worked on a sliding scale. The cheapest dance was £100 and that was only a 20 minute one in a non-private room, and you’d only get £50 of that. But on a good night you’re earning upwards of £100 an hour, which can be very lucrative. The private rooms are much more expensive (upwards of £1000 for an hour). At the end of the night you can be holding £50 or £500 or even £1,000 – the good nights feel worth it. The bad nights don’t. You just have to be careful not to tie your own self worth up in the money you’re making. That’s one of the real challenges.

    Didn’t stripping make you feel dirty or ashamed?

    No, it didn’t. I enjoyed it some of the time. Some of the weirder customers would say things that might be a bit… off. But you’re playing a part, much like an actor. You just switch off. Which is why I almost pity the men who go to the clubs. The women dancing for them are running through the next day’s shopping list in their head while they writhe and moan. It’s completely artificial.

    Does it annoy you that strippers are reviled and burlesque dancers are celebrated? 

    It doesn’t annoy me exactly. Burlesque is certainly more tasteful and more artfully done, but it’s the same principle. You’re still trading on your naked body. It’s just less… visceral. It’s arguably something of a double standard. Naked dancing is ok if you camp it up and wear red lipstick, but it’s not ok if you’re in a barely there evening gown? There’s no doubt that people are more comfortable with burlesque, but I don’t think a woman should be looked down on because she chooses one side of the coin and not the other. Burlesque is a perhaps a more respected option because it’s more about the tease than the cheap thrill of a naked woman in your lap.

    Was it 100% dancing, no time-filler chat? Did men feel bored/tired/spent/awkward during a 1hr private dance?

    Well if it was an hour then you’d usually try and draw out the small talk bit at the beginning. Men are funny – they ask you all these questions about your life as if they expect honest answers. But all the customers were different – some didn’t want you to dance at all and would just hug you. Others would just want to talk to you while holding your hand. Sometimes you’d feel more like a therapist. A therapist with their breasts hanging out. Some guys would even ask you to keep your clothes on. But for the most part, it would be 10 mins of talking, then you’d be doing the lap dance for 50 mins. But the lap dancing isn’t all aerobic all the time (though it is quite tiring). You’re mostly straddling them and waving your boobs in their face. When I got tired I would lie across them and they loved it. Where I worked, they could touch everything apart from your actual crotch. They were usually pretty happy for you to take a break as long as they were touching you.

    Did you ever feel sick doing it?

    Yes, sometimes.

    Do all the strippers get along?

    It’s like any group of women. There are friendships and rivalries. But for the most part, the women I knew were all very friendly with each other. You’d know you’d made a friend if they told you their real name. The rest of us just called each other by our stage names.

    Were you ever offered paid-for sex? And if so, were you tempted? Is there really much of difference between stripping and prostitution? 

    Yes, you quite often get propositioned for sex. It’s understandable when you’re in the sex industry. But no, I was never even remotely tempted. It’s one thing to entertain someone else’s fantasy – but as a personal choice, I wouldn’t have wanted to sleep with any of the clients. Most of them were just sort of sad. And while I would never judge a woman for being a prostitute, it’s not something I have ever considered. I feel some things should be left sacred.

    What was your worst moment as a stripper?

    The hardest part of the act is pretending you’re really into someone who’s a complete turn off. The upstairs rooms where the dances took place all smelt of sweat and sex, so stripping can be a really ugly business when you’ve got a nightmare client. The most demoralising part of stripping is when you’re chatting someone up and they don’t want to buy a dance. But the one moment where I really thought ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ was during the middle song of a stage dance. I was dancing on my own at the beginning of the night, so the club was still pretty empty. ‘My Neck My Back’ came on and I was attempting to dance sexily while a man rubbed his crotch at me 10 feet away. I had to laugh at the ridiculousness of it. It was that moment when I knew I had to quit.

    Why did you quit? 

    I quit because I didn’t need to do it anymore. I never saw it as a career – it was a way of getting some quick cash. I think it can be dangerous to stay in the business in the long term. Some of the girls were quite damaged by it. You have to be careful with it.

    Was stripping really your last alternative? You couldn’t have gotten a job in McDonalds?

    Yes, at the time it felt like the only light in a really dark storm. I needed cash in hand and I needed it within a couple of days. It was stripping or giving erotic massages to businessmen on Craigslist. But it was also something I wanted to try just to see if I actually could do it. It was like I dared myself into it. But I didn’t do it for very long at all.

    If you’re not ashamed of stripping, why post anonymously?

    I wrote the post anonymously because stripping is a huge taboo, even for modern, free thinking women. When people find out you’ve been a stripper, they put you in a box marked ‘stripper’, which is synonymous with lots of negative attitudes. You cease to be a woman, a girlfriend, a wife, a mother – you’re just a stripper. Stripping is a job – it’s not who you are. A couple of my close friends know about it and they don’t judge me. But I suspect most of my friends wouldn’t be able to look at me the same way again.

    Would you ever encourage someone to try stripping?

    I wouldn’t outwardly recommend it, no. I don’t regret it, but it’s definitely made an impact on me, in both positive and negative ways. But as with all experiences, you really have to try these things to know how you’re going to feel about them. But would I tell someone to become a stripper? No, I wouldn’t.

    Did you ever get turned on by a customer?

    I would be lying if I said no.

    What’s the biggest myth about stripping?

    That all strippers are gorgeous, skinny blondes with daddy issues. I’m not gorgeous, skinny or blonde and I sure as hell don’t have daddy issues. The girls I worked with are all attractive in their own way, but most of them don’t look much like Heidi Klum or Miranda Kerr. A big part of being sexy is confidence – I’ve seen size 18 girls take to the pole and go home with more money than God. They’re just people. Women. They also own onesies, eat whole pots of Ben and Jerrys, and know Bridget Jones off by heart.

    Any final words on the subject?

    Just wanted to say thank you to the people who’ve shared the blog. Ashley passed on some wonderful compliments that came my way and I really appreciate the kind words and support.

    If you have a story you would like to share anonymously, please email anonawot@gmail.com or DM me on Twitter for the anon account log in details. Thank you.


  12. Stripping: The Naked Truth

    February 16, 2012 by Anon

    Image from http://lifeasastripper.tumblr.com/

    I am a perfectly ordinary woman. I’m fairly average looking, I’m not hugely body confident and I have a curvy figure (and when I say curvy, I don’t mean the Heat magazine version of Kelly Brooke – I mean the more delicate way of saying slightly fat). I have a pretty ordinary job, I have typical hobbies (cross stitch, cocktails and cooking Italian) and I refuse to wear a bikini on the beach. I’m ordinary in every way, except for the fact that for a short time in my life, I was a stripper.

    It’s funny even typing that, because I’m the last person you would imagine taking their clothes off night after night for a living. And yet for a short period of time not so long ago, I made my money giving lap dances in the back room of a strip club. And I should point out now that it doesn’t all look like this.

    Stripping is a strange business, mostly because being naked suddenly becomes completely ordinary. I took up stripping for the classic reason: I was broke. I was down to the last hundred of my overdraft, about to be two weeks late on my rent and barely able to afford food. A girl I knew through a friend had taken up dancing a few months previous, and had encouraged me to meet the manager at the club where she worked. I laughed it off for a good month before I finally went down there. You never imagine when you audition to be a stripper that they’ll say yes. Before I knew it, it was my first night and I was downing my second vodka.

    I can’t speak for all strip clubs, but at the one I worked at, money was worked out based on how far you were willing to go. Women don’t get paid to dance on the stage – that bit is seen as your showcase to invite punters to buy a private dance. If you get completely naked on stage, you earn significantly more than if you stay in your pants. The same goes for the private dances. A 45 minute dance would cost £150. If you took everything off you got 50% of that. If you took everything but panties off, you got 30%. It’s a harsh system that knows how to make its money. And they would pay you at the end of the next shift, so you had to keep going back to get the previous night’s money. When I look back, I can’t believe they can honestly get away with it.

    But anyway. Back to the stripping. I wanted to discuss what stripping actually feels like, because I’m guessing for the most part that people don’t really know. Strippers have a terrible reputation for being stupid, easy or dirty, but I can honestly say that most of that is bullshit. The best strippers I worked with were professional saleswomen through and through. The most successful strippers know that the game is to sell themselves. When a new customer walks in, someone will immediately engage him in conversation. If she cannot secure a private dance within three minutes, she will move on. The next woman will chat him up. If she can’t persuade him to go upstairs, she will also move on. The customers like to shop around. You learn not to take rejection personally – sexuality becomes a business matter and nothing else.

    And of course, all men fancy something different. We all wore the same black dress – slit to the navel and up both thighs – but everyone looked different in it. There were tiny Asian girls with childlike figures, statuesque blondes with supermodel good looks, tattooed goth girls with multiple piercings and the bigger girls, with their roly poly humour and generous cleavages. Needless to say the dress looked ridiculous on anyone with large breasts. It was less ‘cleavage’ and more ‘boobs on display for all to see’, but you learn to own what you’ve got pretty quickly, and it’s amazing how quickly you stop comparing yourself to the other girls.

    The easiest way to make money is to dance on stage – that way the men could see what they’d be paying for ahead of time. The rule was dance for three songs. In the first song, you’d take off the black dress. In the second song you’d dance in your knickers. And in the final song, you would take off your pants and dance fully nude. There were girls who could do full gymnastics on the pole and girls who would just dance around it (me). The only rule was that you didn’t do ‘open leg work’ on stage (aka, you don’t open your legs to show your goodies to the crowd – that is saved by the private dances and it’s up to you if you do that). The first thing I found surprising about stripping was how much fun it was. I did my first stage dance with a similar sized girl, and we had a brilliant time teasing the crowd (even high-fiving half way through!). We got a standing ovation and I was booked for an hour’s dance (£180) straight away.

    The first man that paid for me was short with dark hair, and he smelled of beer and desperation. I couldn’t believe that he had paid nearly £200 for just an hour of my time. The euphoria of dancing naked on stage to loud cheers hadn’t worn off and I was turned on by the thrill of it. Ten minutes in, you realise an hour is a very long time to be in the company of a stranger. Twenty minutes in, you’re trying to remember what happened on last week’s 90210 while he tells you that he’s never been this hard. I can’t say that the first time wasn’t a bit of a rush. I was getting off on the taboo of it all, and I knew I’d have a crispy cheque to pick up the following evening. But after he told me he could ‘smell my wetness’, (gross!) the thrill of it died, and I was suddenly just a stripper, taking my clothes off for the first man that would pay for it.

    Stripping is a strange balance of power. When you’re on that stage, you own the room. Every single person is a captive audience, staring with lust and admiration at your body. But the moment you’re out of the limelight, the glamour is gone. You’re just a sales person, draping yourself over the next new punter, hoping that he might choose you. A successful night can bring in up to a grand. An unsuccessful night can bring in £50, or nothing, if you’re really unlucky. It’s a harsh game and you’ve got to be tough enough to stick it. And you’ve got to believe in what you’re selling. You are the fantasy and it’s your job to perform for the highest bidder.

    Some of the time, you feel on top of the world. The rest of the time, you feel like a cheap commodity. At least, that’s how it was for me. There’s a dimension to stripping that is extremely sexy, and there’s another dimension that feels like you’re worth as much as a Greggs sausage roll at the end of a night out. Stripping let me feel truly sexy for the first time, but it also made it feel like a vagina/tits combo on stilts. I was just the next thrill for anyone with a generously sized wallet.

    Stripping is not something I will ever regret, though it’s not something I ever talk about either. For me it was a private experience that is over now, and I don’t dwell on it. I don’t even remember the faces of the men who bought me, and I’m sure they wouldn’t remember mine. I met some incredible women through stripping and it has deepened my understanding of my own sexuality. At the same time, it has made me understand sexuality as a currency, which pervades more relationships than you would care to know. Stripping has also lent me an incredibly open mind – I am quite certain I would never judge anyone for anything sexual.

    Would I do it again? Sure. But only the dancing-on-stage bit. The thrill of performing for an audience is still there. And do I love my naked body? Sure I do. Stripping made me see the power of it more than any sexual partner. But lap dancing is not for me. I would happily dance for a room of 150 men, but the one on one thing just doesn’t do it for me. The fun bit is the tease – once you’re straddled naked over a Japanese man that won’t stop pinching your nipples, the illusion is well and truly gone. Perhaps a career in burlesque beckons…? Either way, I would say that stripping as a career can’t truly be judged until you’ve tried it yourself. You never know – you might surprise yourself.

    If you have a story you would like to share anonymously, please email anonawot@gmail.com or DM me on Twitter for the anon account log in details. Thank you.