Take Your Sweetheart to a Sex Shop

Sex shops feel drastically different depending on whether you’re there alone, with a friend, or with someone you like to bang. Some sex-shop trips are meandering, some are matter-of-fact, and some are mushy as hell. If you want to learn something new about a person in your life, whether they’re just a friend or something more, try taking them to a sex shop (with their consent, of course) – you will see a new side of them, I guarantee it.

Taking romantic partners to sex shops is a unique experience, truly. And it doesn’t have to be as simple as “show up, pick something out together, take it home, and try it out.” There are lots of ways to jazz up this relationship milestone! Here are five suggestions…

Pick out a surprise for each other. I helped a couple do this when I was working in sex toy retail and it was such an adorable joy. They each separately crept around the shop, surreptitiously sleuthing out a secret token of love for the other. Agree on a budget beforehand if you like, try not to peek at what your partner’s picking out, and keep your treats concealed from each other until you arrive home and swap ’em. It’s like Secret Santa, except more specific, special, and sexy!

Attend a workshop. Some sex shops host classes that’ll teach you new sexual skills. I’ve attended local lessons on handjobs, blowjobs, butt stuff, squirting, fisting, and much more. Some classes are specifically designed for couples; some aren’t but offer discounted pricing for pairs. If workshops like this exist in your area, you and your sweetheart should flip through the calendar together and choose a session that excites you both. Go, take notes, ask questions, exchange knowing glances at relevant moments, be cute little astute pupils together, and then go home and try out what you learned.

Make it a date. When my friend Bex was working in sex toy retail, they often recommended that customers buy their partners a gift card rather than a toy, because it’s hard to shop for someone else in this area, even if you think you know their tastes fairly intimately. Throw in another gift card to your partner’s favorite restaurant, and maybe a small indulgence like a massage candle or a good-quality flavored lube, and you’ve got a fun date night on your hands. You and your darlin’ can dress up fancy, go for dinner, drop by the sex shop to pick up a pleasurable new treat, and then go home and debut your new treasure. Fun!

Try on lingerie. When visiting a shop that sells sexy apparel, there are few joys more satisfying than modeling something strappy or revealing for your paramour (or being the audience for such a spectacle). It’s so so sweet to see someone’s eyes light up when you step out of the fitting room looking devilishly divine. And then you can buy whichever ensemble revs your honey’s engine the most, and take it home to try it on again in a more private setting.

“If we had [x], I would [y]…” You don’t actually need to spend money at a sex shop to get an erotic charge out of visiting one. Take a look around a shop with your babe, mentally select a few items you’d love to use on/with them, and then whisper those filthy fantasies in their ear later when the two of you are home and canoodlin’. Injecting freshness into sexual relationships is always a good idea, and there are so many ways to do it!

Have you ever taken a partner to a sex shop? How did it go?

 

This post was sponsored, and as always, all writing and opinions are my own.

Sexy Snaps & Photo Booth Flirtations

Being in a new long-distance relationship has me pondering ways to create intimacy across vast expanses.

I know it’s possible because I’ve felt it. Sometimes partners who lived just a quick streetcar ride from me made me feel distanced, shut out, because their hearts were walled off to me; comparatively, my darling in New York pulls me close to him via texts, images, and filthy phone-sex soliloquies. Intimacy can exist wherever you make space for it, wherever you fight for it.

We’ve been playing with digital intimacy in many forms – salacious sexts, obscene FaceTime calls, adventures with app-controlled vibrators – but I’m also drawn, lately, to combining analog romance with the digital. Photo booths are a prime example of our cultural hearkening-back to the analog: like gifting your partner a vinyl LP or sending them a handwritten love letter, snapping instant photos together in a darkened booth is a hot hit of vintage romance.

Here are 5 sexy, kinky, and/or sweet things I’d like to do involving photo booths…

“Strip” tease. I could be ordered to get as naked as I feasibly could in a photo booth, showing off first my lingerie and then my skin. I’d be respectful, making sure no one walked in or got close enough to see – but I’d have to do it, some way and somehow, because my beau’d told me to. I’d grab the strip from its slot surreptitiously on my way out, and slide it into my purse before anyone could see. Four little naked Kates, arranged so neatly for a suitor’s later consumption.

Bruise archive. In many of my past kinky relationships, part of our protocol – whether informal or more official – was the taking and sending of bruise photos in the days after particularly intense scenes. It’s a way to stretch out the sadomasochistic intimacy of those encounters for days or weeks after they occur. For dominants, I hear it can also be nice to receive confirmation that your submissive not only likes their bruises but is proud of them, wants to show them off, wants to make them last. If I had a photo booth in my neighborhood, perhaps I’d instate a tradition of heading there the day after a good beating – and the week after that, and so on, until the marks had faded – to capture my bruises blooming into glory. What a charming album that’d make.

Cuteness quartet. It’s nice to receive a “traditional” gift, like a DVD I’ve been wanting, a gift certificate to my favorite store, or a soft sweater in my power colors. But I’m even more thrilled by personalized and offbeat gifts. I could see a partner snapping a few photo booth strips of himself for me, making all my fave faces and wearing that shirt that makes his eyes look extra blue. Maybe he’d slide it between the pages of a book he thought I’d like and mail it to me, like the photos were an afterthought, a mere bookmark – but I’d know better. I’d see in the shots how much effort had gone into them, and I’d know that meant he cared. A lot.

Date documentation. I love romantic traditions: these little touchstones we return to again and again, simply because they bring us so much joy. That diner you always go to after all-night fuck-fests; that movie you watch together every year around the holidays; that one alley you can’t walk past without making out in it for old times’ sake. I like the idea of taking photo booth pictures together at meted milestones in your relationship. I’m a sap, so I’d probably tape them into my journal, or have them framed.

Phone sex. A photo booth would be an interesting place to call up a beau and have them breathe hot and heavy in your ear. You could capture your authentic reactions to their words – gasps, blushes, moans – and snap your lapful of photo strips on your smartphone to send them. And hey, not to get crass, but I wonder what happens to photo booth ink when the strips get splattered in cum…!

What sexy/kinky/sweet things would you like to do in a photo booth?

 

This post was sponsored by the lovely folks at Ninja Photo, who will rent you photo booths across Canada and so many other places!

Book Review: Of Sound Mind and Someone Else’s Body

Content note: there are some discussions of nonconsensual sex, transphobia, gender dysphoria, and whorephobia in this post.

Have you ever read the plot summary for a piece of media and immediately thought, “Oh, this is gonna be a shitshow?” That was me when I read the blurb for Of Sound Mind and Someone Else’s Body, by William Quincy Belle.

Picture this: a supernatural body-swap story, à la Freaky Friday or The Hot Chick, with the lead characters being a successful male businessman and a female sex worker.

“This is gonna be transphobic and whorephobic as fuck, right?” I asked a friend when I told them about the plot of the book. They agreed that it would be difficult to navigate the fraught territory this book wanted to tackle without wading into some problematic shit. But nonetheless, I dove in, wanting to see the probable trainwreck for myself.

Of Sound Mind is about Alan Maitland, a nonspecific “businessman” (much like our boy Christian Grey, the exact scope and focus of his work is never quite spelled out), and Hana Toussaint, an escort with ambitions of becoming a sex therapist. The two are strangers at the beginning of the book, but through a neuroscientific mishap explained in somehow simultaneously not enough detail and far more detail than I cared to read, their brains switch bodies one night. Hana’s shrewd, sexy consciousness relocates into Alan’s brawny businessman body, while Alan’s serious, analytical mind flips into Hana’s eye-catching lady-bod. And, as they say, hijinks ensue.

Hilariously – or horribly, depending on what type of person you are – the switch happens while Hana is blowing a client, so Alan finds himself suddenly choking on cock after a lifetime of staunch heterosexuality. I felt conflicted reading this section, because on the one hand, it seemed written for laughs and I got instantly annoyed at Alan’s no-homo bravado in punching the dude in the nads and walking out. But at the same time, gosh, it would sure be traumatic if there was suddenly a dick in your throat when you’d neither consented to that nor ever experienced it before. I couldn’t tell whether I was supposed to laugh at Alan or pity him, which was a frequent feeling for me while reading this book.

Alan and Hana locate each other fairly quickly, figure out what’s happened, and unite in a mission to find the neuroscientist who fucked up and switched their brains. In the process, however, they navigate various challenges, like Hana fielding Alan’s business calls, Alan chatting up Hana’s escorting colleagues, and – all the while – getting used to life in their new, gender-swapped bodies.

I can’t personally speak to what it would feel like to read this book as a trans person. I imagine it wouldn’t feel great. There’s no acknowledgment in the book of transgender identities, which seems a shame, as that would be an interesting take on the somewhat tired body-swap trope.

Some of the gender-based difficulties Hana and Alan encounter seem overblown for comic effect – like Alan struggling to put on a bra, or Hana getting her dick caught in her pants zipper. (She’s a sex worker. There’s no way she doesn’t know her way around a fly.) But though Alan is sometimes incompetent at his coercively-adopted womanhood, overall I get the feeling that he thinks men would make better women than women do, and that women’s “petty” concerns would be easily solved with a small dose of “male” assertiveness. In a couple different scenes, Alan (in Hana’s femme little body) confronts catcallers and subway masturbators, shaming them publicly, and the book seems to suggest that this is the best way to deal with these altercations – completely ignoring the reality that marginalized folks standing up to creeps often results in violence, which is why we don’t do it more often. Duh.

The book is peppered with monologues from Hana about the stigma and oppression faced by women, sex workers, and people who dare to be publicly sexual. While I think these soliloquies are designed to paint Hana as a three-dimensional character, she ultimately comes across as someone who doesn’t so much have a personality as a series of staunch opinions. The effect is Manic Pixie Dream Girl-esque; her narrative function is to open Alan’s eyes and change his life, and she doesn’t seem to have much of an inner emotional life beyond that mission. Further, her impassioned rants are fairly 101-level stuff; anyone who’s familiar with feminism and social justice concepts, even from afar, is likely to read these and go, “Yeah, of course.” I know there are still many people out there who would benefit from basic explanations of gender bias, sex stigma, and whorephobia, but are those people really gonna read this book, let alone learn from it?

The other weird thing about Hana is that she spends almost the entire book flirting with Alan, fawning over him, and trying to fuck him. This is a pretty classic thing for a male author to do: ignite desire in his female protagonist for wish-fulfilment purposes, even if it doesn’t make sense for the characters. We’re shown no reasons why Hana would be attracted to Alan, other than (maybe) the physical attractiveness of his body, which she is in. He doesn’t come across as particularly smart, kind, funny, or interesting – so why does this babely, ambitious, clever woman pursue him relentlessly for the entire book? It doesn’t ring true to me.

The author tries to paint a compassionate picture of sex workers, unpacking some of the stigma they face. But we’re reminded again and again that Hana is educated, volunteers her time for philanthropic causes, and could easily do something else with her life but has chosen sex work. There is nothing wrong with this by itself, but depicting Hana as a “good” sex worker for possessing these qualities feels icky to me. Sex workers are still perfectly legitimate and acceptable even if they don’t have a formal education and/or have chosen sex work for survival reasons.

As a piece of literature, I felt similarly about Of Sound Mind to how I felt about the Fifty Shades books: the writing is okay but the plot is at least fast-paced and interesting enough to keep my attention. It’s often hard to tell characters apart when quotes aren’t attributed because their voices are so similar, and the dialogue is consistently stilted and awkward. (“Man, did I enjoy my orgasm! I love ejaculating,” Hana exclaims after one ostensibly sexy scene. “God, I love a good fuck pounding!”)

I think the premise of this story is fascinating, and could’ve been a good jumping-off point for discussions of gender politics, privilege, and empathy. The author does address this stuff but it’s all fairly surface-level; I would love to read a deeply feminist, nuanced, “woke” take on this story trope. Likewise, I was curious to see how the author would handle sex scenes between two characters inhabiting different bodies than they’re used to – but the writer breezes through the one sex scene in a hurry, without delving at all into what that type of sex would feel like, physically or emotionally. I felt a bit cheated that one of the most interesting questions the book poses was never answered.

If you want something light and silly to read that might prompt some reactionary feminist thoughts, give Of Sound Mind and Someone Else’s Body a try. I didn’t hate it, and it gave me lots to think about – including the question, “Why is this making me roll my eyes so hard?!” There are worse things you could read. Like – by a small but decisive margin – any of the Fifty Shades books.

 

If you like, you can buy this book on Amazon (in Kindle edition or paperback). Feel free to check out the author’s website if you want to learn more! FYI: This review was sponsored, meaning that I was paid to write an honest (not necessarily positive) review.

3 Hot Fantasies I Have About Sex Dolls

Eerie voyeur. Sir is kissing me, and peeling off my clothes, when suddenly… “Hang on, I forgot something important,” he breathes against my lips. My eyes drift open and I watch him stand up, grab the sex doll sitting on her chair, and wheel her around to face us. Her cold eyes catch mine; in them, the slightest hint of undead mirth.

“Is she going to watch us?” I ask uneasily, and Sir nods, before climbing back on top of me and pressing me into the bed with his body.

As long melty minutes tick by between kisses and caresses, I can almost forget the doll is there. That is, until Sir mutters in my ear, “Look at her.”

By then he’s got his fingers in me. I’m self-conscious about my moans, my twisted grimace of pleasure, my wetness seeping onto his hand. And it all seems so much more pronounced when there are two people watching me – even if one of them isn’t actually alive.

“Keep looking at her,” he continues, darkly, his fingers pushing into me in exactly the way I like. He’s going to make me come like this. My face flushes hot. My thighs tremble. The doll’s eyes stare unflinchingly. I’m uncertain. I’m uncomfortable. I’m coming.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. As my breathing slows, I realize my eyes are closed. And there’s Sir, in my ear again. “Didn’t I tell you to look at her?” he warns. I know I’m in trouble, and I can’t stop smiling, and the doll’s still there looking placid and placated.

Learning vulva tricks. “Babygirl, you’re gonna learn something new today,” Sir says, gently pressing me forward over the bedroom threshold, and my heart judders at the sight of a silicone love doll on the bed. She’s spread-eagled, hair pooled beneath her like a yellow-gold puddle, and she looks like she knows what’s up.

“You keep saying you don’t know how to eat pussy,” he continues, and he’s right; this comes up whenever we flirt about threesomes, my incessant fear I wouldn’t know what to do with another vulva if it looked me square in the face. “So daddy’s gonna teach you.”

He pushes me down onto the bed gently, next to her, and pulls up a high-backed chair for a good view. My lesson begins with gentle warm-up – “Kiss her thighs” – before progressing to more insistent teasing – “Lick along her pretty pink lips” – and then to full-on giving her what she wants: “Suck on her clit, little one.”

I melt under his words, eyes sliding shut as I press my face further into this soft silicone vulva. I can almost hear the noises she’d be making if she were alive. I can almost feel like I’m giving someone real pleasure. And when I glance over at Sir, and see the way he’s biting his lip, I know that I am.

Hands off. I’m in trouble, because I made a bratty comment at dinner. I can tell from the stormclouds in Sir’s eyes that I am in for a punishment tonight – but I never quite know what it’s going to be. That mystery itself is part of the punishment.

He shoves me through the doorway, shuts the door, and slams me up against a wall. Instinctively, I reach for him, pining for kisses and warmth, but he pins my wrists over my head and growls, “No. No touching tonight.” I whimper reflexively. No touching? But how?

Guiding me to a chair with firm tugs on my dress, he deposits me where he wants me and then loosens his necktie while I watch. His strong hands guide it over his head and then he’s wrapping it around my wrists and the arms of the chair in quick loops and knots, so fast my eyes can’t keep up, like a con man playing three-card Monte. Find the lady, find the lady. Am I the lady?

No. There’s another lady. Sir pulls the doll from the closet and tosses her on the bed. He climbs on top of her, the way I like. He kisses her lips and then her throat, the way I like. He grazes one hand along the swell of her breast, the way I like.

I don’t like this. And also I do.

Sir makes me watch for long minutes as he bites and smacks his little proxy-me, drags his fingernails along her ribs and hips, presses her thighs apart with his. I like when he treats me like his little fuckdoll. This is not that. This is something else entirely.

He tugs his shirt off over his head and throws it at me, so it lands on my face, obscuring my vision. I’m torn between leaving it there so I can inhale his scent and shaking it off me like a dog so I can see him again. Eventually the latter option wins when I hear him unzip his jeans. If I can’t have that cock inside me tonight then I at least want to see it.

I extricate myself from his fragrant tee just in time to see him pushing two lubed fingers inside his doll, warming her up with slow and deep strokes that make my cunt clench sympathetically. And then he’s pulling his hand out of her and replacing it with his cock, one steady slide all the way inside her. He quirks an eyebrow in my direction, and I realize I’m drooling, quivering, whimpering. Who knows how long I’ve been this way? (Sir does. Sir always knows.)

Eventually, he comes inside her, panting and grunting, and I’m so desperately jealous that there are red welts on my arms from where I’ve struggled to break free of this divine and devious torture.

 

This post was graciously sponsored by the folks at OVDoll, and as always, all opinions and words are my own.

How to Flag as Kinky

Adorable impact play pin and spanking patch by Kinktionary!

Since realizing I was well-and-truly kinky a few years ago, one of the foremost problems I’ve faced is: how do I find other kinksters to play with?

True, kinky folks are everywhere. They’re on the internet. They’re in sex clubs and dungeons. They’re at regular-ass cafés and bookstores and bars. They’re lurking around every corner (oooh, spooky!). But it’s not usually appropriate to straight-up ask a stranger, “Hey, are you kinky?” or, more specifically, “Hey, are you into [this particular kink I’m into], and if so, would you like to play?”

This difficulty exists whether you’re out in vanilla-land or at a kink-focused event or playspace. Kinky locales sometimes have flagging systems in place, but not always. And even if they do, you might still want a little fun flair to set yourself apart and express your delightful perviness to the world.

With that in mind, here are a few ways you can “flag as kinky,” whether you’re headed to a coffee shop, a conference, or a cock-and-ball-torture class. (Hey, I don’t know your life.)

The hanky code

Dating back to the mid-20th century, the handkerchief code originated in gay male spaces, but is understood and employed by many different types of queers to this day. It’s a subtle way to show your true colors, so to speak, and looks fly as hell even if no one knows what you’re flagging. (But if you’re around culturally savvy queer folks, it’s likely at least some of them will.)

Here’s the deal with the hanky code: different colors correspond to different specific sex acts, from the relatively tame (light blue for cocksucking) to the more extreme (yellow for piss play). You wear the hanky on your right side if you’re a bottom/receiver for that particular act (traditionally in the back pocket of your pants, but feel free to mix things up as needed), or on the left side if you’re a top/giver. If you’re into multiple things (and most of us are), you can flag for multiple things. Fun!

The basic building blocks of the hanky code allow for plenty of creativity, so you can typically slot it into whatever kind of vibe you want your outfit to achieve. I’ve sometimes worn a light blue bandana tied around my left wrist (“I like sucking cock”), a flower hair clip fashioned from a light pink bandana on the right side of my head (“I like getting fucked with dildos”), or a red bandana tied around my head Rosie the Riveter-style with the knot placed to the right side (“I want to be fisted”). Some femmey types even incorporate hanky colors into their nail art. There’s so much fun to be had with the hanky code!

Pins and patches

Use your discretion with this one – like, for example, maybe don’t wear that “Fist Me, Daddy” pin to your family reunion – but clip-on and iron-on pieces of flair can communicate a lot!

I have, for instance, a little nametag that says “Princess” which I would like to wear to a kinky event sometime. It doesn’t spell out my kinks in detail, but it gives onlookers a clue as to what I might be into, and it can open up a conversation. (“Are you a dommy Princess, or a subby princess?”)

I’m also in love with the pins and patches from Kinktionary, an art project centered around hedonism, sex, and body-positivity. Their spanking patch and impact play pin swiftly communicate an interest in hittin’ or bein’ hit. I’m also into the playful, not-so-subtle subtlety of their “lick” pin, rope bondage patch, and biting patch. These designs are artistic and beautiful enough that you could rock them in polite company (within reason), but they could also easily open up a dialogue with a potential play partner at a kinky event. Swoon!

(Don’t even get me started on the “Sir” patch. I would have A Whole Lot of Feelings if I saw a domly-looking masc person with this sewed to the sleeve of their leather jacket.)

Kink accessories as fashion accessories

Here’s another trick in the “subtle, yet not subtle at all” camp: wear your kinky apparel as if it was just regular apparel.

Obviously, this won’t work with everything. You probably don’t wanna sport your leather chaps to church (unless your church is really fucking cool), and please don’t make a TSA agent pry your bondage cuffs off you, silly goose. But some kinky items are inconspicuous enough that they might go unnoticed in vanilla environments.

A leather waist-cinching belt with bondage-ready D-rings looks glorious over a cocktail dress, for example. Skinny bondage cuffs can look super cute as bracelets, particularly if they’re specifically designed to be wearable as such. Nipple clamps make brilliant cardigan clips. Even a well-shined pair of leather boots can communicate a certain kinky je ne sais quoi to the kind of person who would notice such things.

 

How do you like “flag as kinky”?

 

This post was graciously sponsored by the folks at Kinktionary, and as always, all writing and opinions are my own. Read up on their stunning art project, and then peruse their pins and patches!