Five things I’ve learned about desire

1. Retaining my desire for desire is what matters to me most.

As long as I can feel my desire for desire, I know I’ll be able to navigate the seas of change.

2. Staying curious and creative allows me to stay open to finding and enjoying new desires.

My desire is not a one-time, set thing. It changes, fluctuates, emerges, hides, even does a 180 at times. Staying open to all of these things – and not trying to cling on to only one, familiar way of relating to my desire – means I get to explore and grow and expand and, ultimately, keep choosing.

3. Arousal and genital feelings are only one part of a much bigger picture.

I can feel my desire as a lust for life, not just lust for another or sex or orgasm. When I channel my desire into my whole life, I realise just how potent and creative this aspect of me is.

4. Self-sufficiency matters.

Yes, being able to share my desire with others matters too, but the only person I can guarantee I’ll have in my life, is me. I am my own lover first, foremost, and always.

5. Pleasure and desire come in many different forms.

When I tune into my whole self and ask “what do you need, what do you want, what will light you up?” I hear my body yearning for a dip in the cold sea, I hear my craving for slow, sensuous touch, and I hear a whisper reminding me that my potential for pleasure is unlimited.

Of course there’s LOTS more to say about Desire! You can read more in my book ‘Desire Lines’.

Image by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

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Growing desire into pleasure

Desire is longing, anticipation, yearning, having and not having.

When I write about desire I often feel it as an ache, an empty space waiting to be filled, a delicious potential.

Pleasure is in the moment, embodied, felt and received.

When I write about pleasure it is in my active voice, it is something I have, something experienced.

I’ve been curious of late about the differences between these two, and the relationship between them. Why I am drawn to write about one more than the other. Why it sometimes feels more comfortable to write about longing than it does fulfilment.

Perhaps it comes down, in part, to owning the fact that – ultimately – I am responsible for my own pleasure. It is something inside of me, not something out there. My pleasure is something to be created rather than found. Yes, I can choose to co-create with a willing and enthusiastic other, but I can’t expect them to bring me my pleasure (like the old TV advert where the man swings through the high-rise window to present his chocolate box offering “all because the lady loves Milk Tray”).

We’re not taught this though. We are taught that desire is a sign of something we are lacking and need to obtain. We’re not taught that desire is a signpost to our inner world.

Desire is the seeds that we plant in our inner landscape. We nurture them. We attend to them. We allow them to grow and, when we are ready, we can enjoy the fruits and flowers of pleasure that harvesting them offers us.

It feels radical to know that my pleasure is already within me, waiting to be harvested.

And what about when I choose to share that pleasure? When I choose to add my fruits and flowers into the garden of another Eden where someone else’s seeds have been nurtured and grown too? We can share our mutual harvests but we need to each bring something to the table: I can’t expect to feast solely on their offerings and neither can I allow them to feast solely on mine.

We co-create our mutual pleasure, grown from the seeds of our individual desires.

Pleasure is embodied. And that means I have to allow myself to feel it. To feel excitement, joy, delight, rapture, and love.

Those are big feelings. Bold feelings. Courageous feelings.

Pleasure is not passive. Pleasure needs to be received, allowed, accepted. Desires can remain dormant until they are given the attention and actions they need to grow, evolve, and – if we choose – be realised.

I’ve been taught how to brush the feelings of want and longing under the carpet, to shift my focus away from them and onto something ‘more  important’. But if I never nurture my desires, how can I allow myself to fully understand and enjoy pleasure?

And pleasure is important! It feeds into my vitality, my wellbeing, and my ability to make my contribution to the world. We all benefit from pleasure. We each remember who we truly are – touch our soul’s magnificence – through pleasure.

Walking my desire lines is my active pursuit of pleasure. But my desire lines are also about more than just pleasure. Walking my desire lines is my path to self-awareness and self-understanding, my path to self-expression. Ultimately, walking my desire lines is my path to embracing more than just the potential for pleasure; I walk to step into pleasure, bringing the whole of me on the journey – body, mind, and soul.

Read more about walking our desire lines (click) here.

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PleasurePractices #2: Magical, powerful, intentional

These PleasurePractices are a record of my explorations with medibation — masturbation as meditation. Exploring self-touch and self-pleasure from new angles.

Not so much a ‘how-to’ but more a series of ‘what-ifs’. I share these openly along with an invitation for you to explore your own what-ifs:

What might you like to give to yourself, and to receive? What might you try that you’ve never tried before? What pleasure might you create? And what else might you discover?

I want to call in my magic.

I want to call in my power.

I offer myself to something greater – it is time to fully claim my soul’s magnificence.

I bind my breasts together to make them stand proud and to bring my nipples close enough that I can touch them both at the same time: the flat of my palm grazing them and sending instant requests to my cunt.

I massage lube over and inside me. Firm strokes. Awakening, enlivening strokes.

My palm brings my nipples to stiff attention. My fingers enter me, preparing the pathway for deep magic.

Now, it begins.

With fingers of one hand, I begin to circle my clit. My other hand moves to my face and an anointed finger matches the rhythm below as it draws circles on my brow, over my third eye chakra.

I am bringing my vision to life.

Calling in my power.

Stoking my desires with my sexual energy.

Potent. Powerful. Purposeful.

I am strong.

I am feeding my hunger so it can roar from a place of having rather than lacking.

I am my own power – my own pleasure.

I am magical and magnificent.

I welcome it all: the colours, the sounds, the sensations.

I take it all.

And – from that place – I create.


Do you want to explore more? Sue Sutherland of The Feel Institute is offering a 3-part, online course during March 2021, for people with a vulva: Self-touch, vulvae, and sex toys. (click the link for more info and to book)

I am assisting as part of Sue’s Crew and would love to see you there!


PleasurePractices #1: Slow, slow, sensuous, slow

These PleasurePractices are a record of my explorations with medibation — masturbation as meditation. Exploring self-touch and self-pleasure from new angles.

Not so much a ‘how-to’ but more a series of ‘what-ifs’. I share these openly along with an invitation for you to explore your own what-ifs:

What might you like to give to yourself, and to receive? What might you try that you’ve never tried before? What pleasure might you create? And what else might you discover?

Just me, some lube, a bed, and time. Touching myself gently and reverentially. Stroking, soothing, relaxing my body and my emotions. Creating safety, and landing into this sacred space. Away from all the external noise and demands. Just me, some lube, a bed, and time.

I let my slickened fingers stroke my vulva. Exploring the shapes and textures. Slowly. Sensuously. Unhurried.

Mmmm…how does it feel when I touch myself there? And like this?

Ah, yes. Oh, that feels good. Again, please.

No goal. Not in pursuit of anything at all. Just touching to experience pleasure in the moment.

My cunt is a sacred site. I am worshipping her with my touch and my attention.

Slowly. Sensuously.

Exploring how she wants to be touched. What she wants to receive. Building my pleasure, stroke by stroke. No tension. Just relaxed receiving.

I gift this to myself. This unhurried luxury of time, touch, and tenderness.

What happens if I keep it slow? Where usually I would want to speed up and tense up and get myself off – what happens if I do it differently?

What happens if I devote myself to this worship?

What happens if I don’t try to hurry it?

What happens if I just keep giving myself more and more moments of pleasure? And if I give myself full permission to receive it all.

The pleasure builds. I expand. My body moves and I utter sounds.

I am making love: deep, worshipful, reverential, self-honouring love.

Slow, slow, sensuous, slow.

I allow it to engulf me and carry me. All this pleasure.

A deep, heart-inclusive orgasm. I am awash with love and receive it fully.

“So beautiful,” I whisper, in awe.


Do you want to explore more? Sue Sutherland of The Feel Institute is offering a 3-part, online course during March 2021, for people with a vulva: Self-touch, vulvae, and sex toys. (click the link for more info and to book)

I am assisting as part of Sue’s Crew and would love to see you there!


The real influencers

“Influencer”. It’s such an odd term. I hear it used in the context of social media and it’s made me give some thought to who has influenced me over the years (including way before social media was ever a thing).

A quick scan of my bookshelf reveals the answer. There have been several key people who have definitely influenced my understanding, my beliefs, and my experiences of being a sexual person.

As a thank you to some of these people, I want to share their books with you today and encourage you to read any you feel drawn to. (They are all great companions to my book, Desire Lines!)

Sex for One by Betty Dodson

Known as the ‘grandmother of masturbation’, reading Betty’s book, Sex for One: the Joy of Self-Loving, taught me about women’s genitals, self-pleasuring, and having a love affair with myself – a phrase I come back to time and time again. Betty died, age 91, at the end of 2020 and I am sad that I never got to attend one of her Bodysex workshops. Her many decades of work live on through her writing, her videos, and the lives of all of those she influenced.

Post-Porn Modernist by Annie Sprinkle

Annie has been a sex worker, porn star, academic sexologist, and is now an environmental artist from an eco-sexual perspective. Through her book, Annie Sprinkle: Post-Porn Modernist, she gave me an important and early role model for how to be an empowered, sexual woman. I met her at a book signing and had a complete fangirl moment. Then I took part in one of her art events: getting into bed with her and her partner, Beth Stephens (swoon!). I’ve also had the pleasure of watching her and Barbara Carrellas demonstrate their energy orgasms at a joint workshop I attended.

Urban Tantra by Barbara Carrellas

The creator of Urban Tantra, and (amongst many other things) a sex/life coach, Barbara believes that “pleasure is good and ecstasy is necessary”. I completed her in-person Urban Tantra Professional Training Program, met her and an extraordinary group of remarkable human beings, and expanded my sacred sexuality. Prior to this, I was convinced Tantra was inaccessible to me as a queer woman. Barbara offered me a way in and a sense of community and inclusion. Her book is a great resource for those who can’t access her work in person, or who simply want to use it as an on-going resource.

The Ethical Slut, and Radical Ecstasy by Dossie Easton

Dossie Easton is “dedicated to feminist, polyamorous, BDSM, spiritual, gender-diverse, and LGBTQ individuals and communities… new paradigms of gender, sexuality, and relationships.” Her books genuinely changed my life, especially Radical Ecstasy, which showed me how to write with courage and deep authenticity, especially when the topic is one steeped in taboo. I was privileged to meet Dossie to interview her for a magazine article, and also to attend one of her workshops.

There are many more books on my shelf and many other extraordinary people who have had an impact on me and my work. I’m sure I’ll share more in the future but, in the meantime, there’s definitely enough here to get your teeth into!

Looking for an ethical way to buy your books? Buy from your local bookstore by visiting Bookshop.org

Wine, nibbles, and an erotic book club

One of my favourite people in the whole world to talk with about desire – and Desire Lines – is Nicola Humber (author, mentor, publisher and UNBOUND woman).

We recently chatted as part of the Desire Lines #UnboundBookClub…

In this video we talk about:

  • The power of community – knowing we are not alone and finding kindred spirits to talk and share with.
  • How online spaces can make talking about taboos easier. And my dream of having an in-person book club, complete with wine and nibbles (or tea and cake), and freedom to talk about our desires!
  • The “wet test” and how to use this to inform and guide our writing and our lives.
  • How to take part in a free erotic writing event.

Have you got your free guide to writing erotica? Just sign up below and you’ll get regular letters from me too.

Your sexual self is waiting to meet you

How well do you know your unique sexual self?

Would you like to get to know more about this aspect of you?

How about going on a guided journey to meet your sexual self and to find out what this part of you wants you to know?

If you are curious, I’ve recorded a guided meditation for you.

The meditation is 23 minutes long.

I hope you enjoy it.

Here’s what I found out about my sexual self when I did this meditation...

(click to read)

The first step on your journey with desire

Your body belongs to you.

Your emotions belong to you.

Your sexuality belongs to you.

And you get to choose who you want to share any (or all, or none) of these aspects of yourself with.

You get to choose to explore and enjoy your sexuality, on your own terms, regardless of what anyone else might expect, demand, or presume of you.

You are allowed to explore, evolve, express, and enjoy your sexual self – if you choose.

The only permission you need is from yourself.

This is a fundamental aspect of being a desire line walker.

We do not need to be a reflection of what – or who – other people expect us to be; we can each radiate who we truly are.

As we begin the Desire Lines Book Club this lunar month (16 October 2020), step 1 is allowing yourself to explore your sexual self.

This is how you begin your journey with desire.

Please follow me on Facebook or Instagram and use #UnboundBookClub to join in!

Are you in the mood?

Think back for a moment to a time when you felt horny…

Maybe you’d been reading or watching something erotic? Maybe someone had touched you (consensually) in a seductive way? Maybe you were going about your day-to-day business and suddenly became aware of a ‘tingle in your pants’ that reminded you that your body wanted some pleasure?

(Or maybe you’re finding it really hard right now to recall a time in recent memory when you felt that way?)

Horny’ might not be the word you would tend to use to describe how you feel (maybe you talk about being ‘in the mood’ or ‘hungry’ or something else) but it is a word that most adults can understand the meaning of. It’s part of our common language. And that’s why those feelings can be (fairly) easy to write about in erotica.

Equally, if I talk about ‘libido’ – although it can sound more formal and clinical than horny – you probably recognise that as relating to the urge or desire to have sex/sexual contact. Horny is playful. But we generally hear about libido in the context of it going missing, or being mismatched with a partner’s. Consequently, it’s often thought of as being unreliable or somehow problematic.

But did you know that feeling horny and having an active libido are only part of the picture when it comes to sexual desire?

They are the obvious, blatant aspects of something that goes way deeper and is way more elaborate and captivating than whether you’re ready to ‘get it on’ or not.

What happens if we talk about ‘sexual energy’ instead?

In some settings the term ‘sexual energy’ is bandied about freely, everyone nods in understanding: they know what it is, how to access it and what to do with it once they’ve tuned in to it.

I’ve been in those settings: usually facilitated groups and workshops where people have come together to explore ‘conscious sexuality’ – literally bringing their sexuality more into their conscious awareness rather than it being something that rumbles along in the background, with occasional spikes and peaks when they are in an actual sexual situation.

I’ve also worked with sexual energy in a one-to-one therapeutic environment. Using my sexual energy as a barometer to help me work intuitively with people who – for whatever reason – find it difficult to relax into and enjoy their sexuality.

But I’m very aware that reading the term ‘sexual energy’ as words on a screen doesn’t really mean anything unless you’ve had an embodied experience of it.

Feeling horny is one way we can feel our sexual energy in our body but there are many other ways too.

How to feel your sexual energy…

Imagine for a moment that you are just a body – just a physical object that can move around, can perform tasks, but doesn’t have any personality.

Now imagine adding into that body the bit that makes you uniquely you. It’s the bit that means you have preferences (chocolate ice cream or vanilla?). It’s the bit that makes you feel emotions (loving the ice cream or hating it?). And it’s the bit that compels you to do things purely for enjoyment, connection, and self-expression.

This is your life force energy. It’s what animates us. It’s what gives us a feeling of vitality and aliveness.

It’s my belief that this life force energy is essentially creative energy: we co-create our lives, with each person’s story having subtle and profound differences to the next.

This creative energy is also sexual energy: not just about creating ‘new life’ in the form of reproduction, but also creating sexual heat, pleasure, intimacy, and connection.

Creative energy and sexual energy co-exist in a virtuous cycle: our creative energy feeds into our sexual energy which feeds into our creative energy…and so on.

Which means: we can use our creative energy to tap into our sexual energy and vice versa.

Which also means: writing (creating) erotic stories is one way to play with our sexual energy.

Dancing (creating movements to music) is another way.

Visualising (creating pictures in our mind’s eye) is another way.

Playing dress-up (creating alter-egos and role play) is another way.

All ways that don’t require physical sexual contact with another person, matching libidos, or even the ‘tingle in your pants’ horny feeling.

And those are only a few examples.

Which is why I talk about sexual energy as being something expansive and accessible to each of us regardless of our relationship situation or where our libido is at.

I don’t know about you but, to me, that feels incredibly freeing and exciting. It gives me a sense of ownership of my sexual energy. It feels empowering. And it feels like something I want to explore and enjoy more.

How about you? 

Stay tuned for more creative sexuality opportunities coming soon!

Please sign up to hear more…(and get a Free Erotic Writing Guidebook!)

Shapeshifting through change

The last time I wrote about Shapeshifting, I was writing about my explorations and experiences of softening the edges of gender in my book Desire Lines:

“I don’t feel like a woman any more.  As a woman, there are constraints and expectations placed upon me: don’t take up too much space; don’t make too much noise; be aware of others around you (for your own safety and also in case you need to be of assistance to them). I can sense movement all around me but it has nothing to do with me. All I need to attend to is myself and the new shape I am becoming.”

This time I’m exploring a different kind of shapeshifting.

The sexual self I was no longer fits me. Like a snake outgrowing its skin, I need to shed the familiar in order to be clothed in the new. I feel more like a crab than a snake though. I feel vulnerable and soft as I step out of my shell. I’ve been wearing it for so many years – what will I find underneath?

My previous, gender-themed, shapeshifting explorations were facilitated by workshop leaders at conscious sexuality events.

The shapeshifting I’m experiencing now has a different catalyst: it’s known as ‘the change’ for a reason.

At 47 years old I’m somewhere in my perimenopausal journey. I don’t know if I’m still at the beginning, if I’ve made it to the middle, or if I’m nearing the end. All I know is that changes are happening that are beyond my control. Physical changes as my once predictable cycle stutters and storms. And emotional changes: I’m more anxious, I cry more readily, and I experience every feeling magnified by at least 10x.

And there are changes to my sexual self too. How could there not be given what’s happening in my body and soul?

I swing dramatically between ravenous hunger – almost to the point of pain – for intimate sexual touch, and thirsting only for gentle affection – to be held, for a space in someone’s arms that I can retreat into.

My desire for kink fluctuates more wildly than I have ever known: I alternately crave it and recoil from it.

It feels like it would be too easy to pack my sexuality away in a box labeled “attic”. If I did, perhaps I’d unpack it again sometime, happy to see it and clothe myself in it once more, like a once-loved party frock. But what if I forgot about it and the box stayed sealed up and dusty, any remnants of my sexual self eventually fraying and perishing over time?

Even in the midst of the perimenopause, even in the midst of a pandemic, I can’t (and won’t) let my sexuality wither.

I’ve been deliberately looking for ways to stay connected to my sexual self and to make space for the new version of it that is emerging.

I’ve started looking at old photos: searching for who I was before I began to shed this skin. They help me to appreciate and understand other changes my sexual self has been through – and survived. Physical changes as my body gained and lost weight, got sick, had surgery. Emotional changes as relationships ended and began. The times when I felt wild and adventurous. And those when circumstances dictated I was solid and stable.

I’ve also started having conversations with others about all different aspects of living as sexual beings. These Intimate Conversations light me up, remind me – again – of who I was, who I am, and who I might be yet to become.

And I’ve given myself permission to write again. Sometimes just for me and my journal, sometimes a heart-exposing letter to a loved one, and sometimes here – offering my softshell skin to others as a way to be witnessed and to share that none of us need to go through this alone.

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