7 top tips for self-pleasure

#1
Review your beliefs about masturbation and self-pleasure… Is it something that only ‘other’ people do? Is it a second choice to sex with another person? Is it something you can only do on your own? Can you only do it if you have a sex toy to play with? Once you’ve identified your beliefs, you can explore them a little bit more: where (or who) did this belief come from? Does it serve you to keep believing it? What might you choose to believe about masturbation and self-pleasure instead?

#2
Include your whole body – not just your genitals – in your pleasure. Experiment with touching parts of your body with different kinds of touch. What feels good? What do you want more of? Touch yourself with the hands of a lover.

#3
Give yourself permission to include self-touch and self-pleasure as part of your wellbeing routine. There are numerous benefits to self-pleasure. Some people find it helps them reduce feelings of stress and sleep better, for others the benefits may include feeling better about their body image or rebuilding feelings of safety around touch. Whatever benefits it brings you, know that you have permission to include this in your life just as you would attending a yoga class, reading a self-development book, or going for a walk in nature.

#4 
Normalise using lubricant for solo (and partnered) sex. Choose one that is body safe, doesn’t contain any parabens or other ingredients that could upset the delicate pH balance and sensitive tissues of your genital area. I recommend Yes Organics and Sutil (both available from JoDivine.com).

#5
Try new things! Don’t get stuck in a masturbation rut – always using the same technique may feel like a reliable way to get yourself off, but we learn more about our body’s pleasure by experimenting with new things. This is especially important as our body changes over time: things that used to feel good may no longer feel that way, and there may be new ways of experiencing pleasure that your body has opened up to.

#6
What happens if you broaden your definition of ‘pleasure’? Think about all the moments in your day when you could pause to notice pleasure: the first sip of morning coffee, waking up to the sound of birdsong, pulling on a favourite pair of comfy pants… We can build our pleasure receptors by noticing and appreciating these everyday moments.

#7 
Involve all your senses. Do you make sounds when you make out with yourself? Have you ever tasted yourself? What about your sixth sense? What does your intuitive self want you to know about how to experience pleasure? (Curious to find the answer to this one? Try my guided meditation: Meet your Sexual Self)

And, finally, if you never feel like masturbating or it’s simply not something you feel you want or need in your life, that’s fine too. You get to choose. Pleasure (in its broadest sense) is important, however, so how else might you include things in your day that light you up and make you feel good?

Would you like to be a Pleasure Seeker?

Midlife can be a time when we review and question *everything*.

It can be a time when we no longer put up with pleasing everyone else – and sacrificing ourselves in the process.

It can be a time of letting go, stepping into the unknown, and discovering new things about ourselves.

It can also be a time of overwhelm, anxiety, and feeling lost and uncertain.

When it comes to your sexual self in midlife, there are plenty of messages ‘out there’ about how you ‘should’ be. We’re told our libido goes, we dry up – physically and in terms of our desires. We’re told sex becomes less important – and we become less desirable. We’re told we should accept our fate or go on HRT to turn back time/stop the clock. We’re told we have to work harder to ‘keep our figure’. We’re told to dye our hair to cover up the greys.

We’re told – as we have been throughout our lives – that our worth (in great part) is dependent on our sexual attractiveness and desirability to others.

And then, when we can’t keep up with all of these expectations and demands, we’re told the only other option is to pack away this part of us – for good – and be content with our hobbies, our children and grandchildren. We’re told we should be grateful, even, that we no longer have to ‘bother with’ all that sex stuff.

But what if you chose to write your own story of midlife sexuality – instead of the one others are telling about you? What would you want your story to say?

What if we question the assumptions and, instead, ask: is this true for *me*?

Has your libido gone? Or do you simply desire something different to before?

Have you been expecting to feel spontaneous desire – like you may have done in your 20s? Or do you know what your responsive desire enjoys responding to – now, as you are, at this time?

When your body feels like a difficult, painful, unpredictable place to inhabit, what happens when you focus on creating an environment of pleasure?

You can choose to avoid pleasure, or to passively notice and consume pleasure when it is offered to you, or to actively seek out and create pleasures (yes, plural) in your life.

What happens if you become a Pleasure-Seeker in perimenopause?

Pleasure, for me, includes:

  • Wearing clothes and colours that delights me.
  • Savouring delicious tea, made in a teapot, and drunk from my favourite mug.
  • Receiving sensual touch – fully allowing myself to receive and enjoy it – from myself and others.
  • Inviting the whole spectrum of orgasms: from quick, tension-releasing ones, through to deep, heart and soul-affirming, full-body-trembling ones.
  • Meeting my needs as best I can – being an exquisite lover and caretaker of my Self.

How about you?

To find out more about my upcoming Pleasure Course, sign up to my email list (and get a free book) HERE.

“Intimacy is everywhere” an Intimate Conversation with Rev Rowan Bombadil

If you are someone who likes to ponder the Big Questions when it comes to intimacy, this conversation is for you! And if you are a writer, I think you’ll find the second half of our conversation particularly fascinating…

Rev Rowan Bombadil is a pyschosexual coach, interfaith minister, queer sex witch, and author of “Igniting Intimacy: Sex Magic Rituals for Living and Loving”. Their work inspires a more radical, creative, and intersectional vision of conscious intimacy.

Rowan and I met several years ago at an Urban Tantra event. I was instantly drawn to their willingness to explore the depths and the heights of intimacy with compassion, humour, and endearing honesty. I love being given glimpses of the world through Rowan’s eyes – both the outer world we inhabit now, and the possibility of what our inner and outer worlds could become.

Listen in as we talk about:

* What intimacy actually is.

* Experiencing life through a relational lens.

* What “Making Love with God” means.

* How the books we need seem to magically find us at the right time.

* What it’s like to be an author and to be in relationship with your own book.

* The subject of Rowan’s new book and how it feels like an intrepid and audacious undertaking.

Connect with Rowan on Facebook

Visit Rowan’s website: Making Love with God

Buy Igniting Intimacy here

4 top tips for writing erotica

I was recently asked what advice I’d give to someone who wanted to start writing erotica. There’s lots to say about this (and you can read more in my free PDF), but here are my 4 top tips…

1) Reading other people’s writing helps you to learn what makes a good story, what language works for you, how to create responses in your readers, and more.

You can find good erotic writing in books and online. I recommend: Readaurore.com , Thegoodbits.com , and publications from CleisPress.com such as Best Women’s Erotica and Best Lesbian Erotica.

You can also find some of my erotic writing here.

2) Sex is an intimate act. You can help your readers get intimate with your characters by helping us to understand their motivations, their desires, and what meaning this encounter has for them.

As a reader, I want to see into your character’s thoughts, feel their inner conflicts and transformations, and get a sense of who they are and what matters to them as a fully-rounded person. I’m less concerned with how they look and more concerned with who they are.

3) Sex is not just a physical act.

Yes, I want to know how it feels from a sensory and bodily perspective, but as a reader, I also care about how it feels from an emotional perspective, how your character experiences lust and desire and wanting, as well as any embarrassment or nervousness or trepidation.

4) Care about your characters.

Make sure there is consent, lubricant, aftercare… Whatever is needed to leave them (and your reader) feeling good.

Do you want to write your own erotic story? Sign up to receive my Erotic Writing Guidebook

“We haven’t got out of bed all weekend…”

Sam Evans is a former nurse and co-founded the online sex toy company, Jo Divine, with her husband Paul, in 2007.

I invited Sam to join me in an Intimate Conversation because I love her passion and enthusiasm, and her inclusive approach, to helping people enjoy a healthy and fulfilling sex life.

As Sam says, “You don’t have to give up on your sex life if there’s a problem or you want to make it better – whatever your age.”

Listen in as we talk about:

* Sam’s personal experiences that led her to setting up Jo Divine and championing only skin safe products and irritant free lubricants.

* Why sex can be the first thing to go in illness and disability and other times in life that halt your sex life (such as childbirth, menopause), and the need for good resources and open conversations about sex and illness, disability, ageing, bereavement, and more.

* The importance of adult sex education, knowing what works for you, what you find desirable, and what helps you become aroused and enjoy sex (whether partnered or solo).

* How to choose (and enjoy using) a sex toy and the special 10% off discount code for viewers of this video.

* The joy of hearing a customer celebrating with the words “we haven’t got out of bed all weekend!”

As Sam says: “Sex is meant to be noisy, messy, embarrassing, consensual, pleasurable, and – most of all – fun!”

Special discount: get 10% off at Jo Divine

Use code PLEASURE2021 at checkout.

Minimum spend £15 (not including p+p). Valid from 8 October 2021 to 8 November 2021.

Are you ready to Get In Touch with Yourself? Find out all about my new co-created course here!

As the sexual health and pleasure expert at Jo Divine, Sam writes practical articles about enjoying sexual intimacy and pleasure for their blog and the media, gives talks to healthcare professionals and at events, and has featured on radio and TV, most recently on Channel 4 Sex, Myths and the Menopause with Davina McCall. In addition to giving advice about choosing and using skin safe sex toys and irritant free lubricants, she also helps those who experience sexual health issues including vaginal dryness and atrophy, painful sex, vaginal tightness, recurrent bladder issues, post op scarring, post hysterectomy, post childbirth, post cancer treatment, decreased sexual sensation, erectile issues and low libido.

Connect with Sam on Instagram

Who was your first crush?

I was 17 and working a Saturday job in between studying for my A Levels and making new friends at the small-town Technical College I’d just transferred to. Before that, I’d spent a year at a city centre Sixth Form College. I was missing my friends and my old, cosmopolitan life. My new setting didn’t seem to hold much joy for me and I felt like I was going through the motions of life instead of fully living it. I was also feeling lonely. Everyone else seemed to have already paired off into girlfriend-boyfriend couples. I never met a boy I fancied, though, and it was only me and a few other odd bods who were still single.

One Saturday, after work, I switched on the TV while I was waiting for dinner.

This was back in 1990 and TV in the UK consisted of four whole channels. Channel 4 was the newest on the block and my mum frowned upon it for being too avant garde and controversial.

She was occupied in the kitchen so I switched the TV onto Channel 4. There was a music show playing – a country music show. I half-listened and watched the singer, reflecting on my day and wondering how I’d spend my Sunday.

The host of the show announced the next singer and a tall figure dressed in a sparkly blue cowboy suit strode onto the stage. I saw a spiky quiff and smouldering eyes that would have made Elvis envious. And then the song began…

Oh, that voice! Rich, dripping in emotion, seductive… And matched with looks to the camera that said “come hither”.

I hithererd.

In fact, I knelt in front of the TV screen, leaning in to get as close as I could to this vision of loveliness.

As I watched in awe, one thought kept going through my mind:

I don’t know if you are a boy or a girl, but you are what I want.

The song ended. The singer waved and walked away. The show host’s voice said, “Thank you kd lang!”

kd lang. Is that the name of a boy or a girl? I was none the wiser. This was way before we had the internet so I had to sit with my unanswered questions and unexpected feelings.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t had crushes on girls before. I had. I’d had a crush on my best friend, my English teacher, the girl in the year below me who played the trombone… I’d even shared a kiss with a girl. But I’d never met someone so androgynous and so seemingly confident in their sexuality as kd lang.

A trip to the music store that week saw me spending my Saturday paycheque on my first kd lang LP and discovering that she was indeed a she and that I was truly and totally in love.

At 17, I knew I wasn’t in love with the actual kd lang – but I was in love with what she represented. We just didn’t have butch, androgynous, confident, sexy lesbians in the media in the 80s and 90s. At least, none that I had come across before.

I wanted her and I wanted to be her.

I wanted to know that I could create my own way of being a sexual woman – a way that didn’t have to involve high heels, eyeshadow, and putting up with boys’ farting jokes. I was only 17 and at a pivotal point in my blossoming sexuality. kd lang was the sunshine and the rain that helped me to grow. From that first encounter, worshipping her on my knees in front of the TV screen, I learned what my sexual attraction felt like – I learned what my sexual desire felt like.

A few years later, having made it out of the small town and to university in Edinburgh, I was in a café bar (the Filmhouse) and, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a figure stride towards the bar. Blonde hair – not dark like kd – and wearing a black leather jacket and blue denim jeans – not a rhinestone covered cowboy suit. Despite the lack of visual similarity, I instantly recognised the same androgynous sexual confidence I’d watched that day on Channel 4.

Through a series of events that were part synchronicity and part deliberately manufactured by me, we ended up in my bedroom.

My delight in her butch androgyny was matched by her delight in having someone who appreciated and was attracted to the real her. She kissed me firmly, her chin bruising up against mine, as one hand snaked around to unclip my bra. “That’s better,” she said, as my large breasts swung free for her to fondle while we smooched.

Her breasts were tiny in comparison, and she never wore a bra, but she welcomed me playing with her nipples too.

It wasn’t my first time making out with a woman but it was my first time making out with a woman quite like her. My first time being with someone whose self-confidence and self-assurance when it came to fully inhabiting their authentic sexual self, meant that I could take the risk and inhabit mine fully as well. I wasn’t trying to keep up – I was being carried, effortlessly, on the wave of mutual attraction, lust, and appreciation.

Up until then, sex had always felt like a bit of a performance to me. I’d been a spectator in my sexual encounters, worrying about how I looked, worrying about taking too long to orgasm (or faking it because I convinced myself I couldn’t come). But this time I surrendered all of those worries. Even though our bodies were so very different, her confidence in hers allowed me to feel more confident in mine.

The sex wasn’t perfect but it didn’t have to be. It was real, passionate, messy (at times), and ultimately set me on a path of enjoying my sexuality my way.

I still have a soft spot for androgynous butch women. Several decades on, we have new language and understanding of the spectrums and rainbows of gender and sexuality, and I define myself as queer. For now, that seems like the best way to encapsulate my range of sexual attractions, and how it feels to inhabit an ever-changing body. It also gives me space to allow my sexuality to continue to grow in other ways.

The first album I bought of kd lang’s was ‘Absolute Torch and Twang’. The cover shows an image of her wearing blue denim and holding a cowboy hat, standing in a grain field, with a bright and expansive sky overhead. She’s gazing confidently into the distance. She taught me to embrace who I am, to be expansive, and to be confident. Thank you, kd lang.

Do you want to have a go at writing your stories? Access my free Erotic Writing Guidebook here and stay tuned for more writing opportunities and events!

“I needed to hear those stories”

Join storyteller Marie Louise Cochrane of Red Velvet Revelry and me as we talk about the importance of hearing women’s happy stories about sex and sexuality.

And find out how you can get involved in a radical new project…

Marie Louise is a professional storyteller who is passionate about writing, collecting and sharing real life stories from women, as a way of celebrating the sexual aspects of life.

Listen in as we talk about:

* How midlife and other times of change can be the perfect opportunity to revisit your beliefs about sexuality.

* What happened when Marie Louise needed to hear women’s happy stories about sex and sexuality – but couldn’t find any.

* Why all women’s stories have value – those that are similar to our own and those that are wildly different.

* What Marie Louise’s 82-year-old mother said when she heard her daughter was going to be talking on stage to an audience about sex.

* What is ‘Red Velvet Revelry’ and how you can join in.

Connect with Marie Louise:

Red Velvet Revelry website

Red Velvet Revelry on Instagram

Red Velvet Revelry on Facebook

Read my happy sex story…coming soon!

Her Desire

CONTENT NOTE: this post contains erotic and explicit writing

She made eye contact with me the moment I entered the pub. It wasn’t fate; it was design. Her text messages had been specific and compelling. I arrived at precisely 10pm, she gestured to a seat at the bar and I waited there while she served her customer. Then I followed her to the door marked ‘Private’ and slipped in behind her.

We stood facing each other for a moment until I remembered her instructions and dropped my gaze. I focused on the toes of her black ballet pumps: they were scuffed and worn from too many busy shifts. I knew we had only a little time now: ten minutes at the most until she was expected to be back, pulling pints and measuring shots.

I watched her feet as she stepped out of her skirt and moved towards an armchair. I sat on the chair, my hands firmly pinned underneath the weight of my thighs. I dared a glance up at her. She wore a suspender belt but no stockings. Instead, the clasps of the belt were attached to a square of latex, held snuggly against her cunt. So, she really did mean ‘no touching’.

She straddled my lap, grinding against my belt buckle and the buttons on my jeans. I breathed in her scent: beer and a heavy floral perfume. I was 16 again. The landlady of my local had taken me under her wing, given the leering men at the bar a stern talking to, and clasped me to her bosom in an expression of maternal comfort. At 16, I was way too young to be able to deal with the men grabbing at my arse, but I was old enough to understand the thrill I got from feeling my face pressed into the older woman’s breasts. At 16, all I could do was allow myself to be held; at 46, I knew my desires and I knew how to get them met.

She moved up from my lap to bring her crotch level with my face. Now the latex smell from the dental dam obscured the beer scent and there was another muskier note added to the mix. I breathed all of it in. The latex was smooth and warm and my tongue slipped easily over its surface. I pressed a little firmer and felt the contours of her cunt: the hidden folds and valleys that lay beneath; the latex square like a dust cloth that had been draped over priceless possessions to protect them while they lay dormant. Her cunt was not dormant though: I could feel it twitch and pulse beneath my tongue. I explored more of her shape, my eyes closed, my hands numbing under my thighs, my senses of taste and smell overloaded with the up-close-and-personal experience of licking her through the dental dam, and my own cunt flooding with the elicit thrill of touching yet not touching.

We had agreed all of this and, now that it was actually happening, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. To touch her with my hands would have seemed uncouth. To touch her directly with my lips and tongue would have overwhelmed me. There was so much of her to take in just as it was: her hard clit on its proud shaft able to take firm and sustained sucking through the mediation of the latex; her labia plump and full, slipping and sliding in her own moisture as my nose and chin pressed against them; our joint knowledge that this was the only way I could make her come – my tongue, her cunt.

I worked my tongue over every inch of the dental dam, noting her sweet spots and returning to them again and again. The temptation to nip at the latex with my teeth was great – I wanted to consume her – but I daren’t risk tearing the material and getting a taste of her. I knew one taste would never be enough, I knew I’d end up ripping the dam away from her, my fingers – blood rushing, skin burning – would be inside her, and I would break every agreement we had so carefully made.

Her breathing was heavy above me and her hips moved quickly against my face. I latched onto her, suctioning my mouth to her and keeping my tongue moving just so – just how she needed it to be. She held onto my shoulders as she rode out her orgasm.

At 1am, my phone beeped: she offered me another arrangement.

Ready to write your own erotica? Get started with my FREE Erotic Writing Guidebook!

Could you be demisexual?

A lovely person invited me to talk about demisexuality as part of my Ask Anna series.

Here I talk about:

✨What demisexuality is

✨How mainstream culture reinforces only a narrow view of sexuality

✨Why it’s good to open up discussion and give platform to more variety

✨How labeling our sexuality can be helpful

✨ My personal challenge to walk my talk and include more sexual variety in my erotic writing.