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!

So, you want to start writing erotica? Here’s a beginner’s guide

I recently asked people to share their questions with me and I’ve been recording short videos as my answers. This week, I answer your questions about getting started with writing your own erotica.

I talk about:

  • How to find the time to write.
  • How to know what to write.
  • How to give yourself full permission to ‘go there’ and to write shamelessly!

Watch the video here:

You can also download my free erotica guidebook here.

And join in my pre-recorded writing workshop here.

Making love last a lifetime

In my writing ‘play’ shop (Writing as Your Sexual self – you can access it here) I shared a prompt: “write a love-lust letter, either to yourself, or someone else.” Here’s what I wrote in response to that prompt.

You can watch and listen to me read it, or read the full letter underneath the video.

I want to feel you stroke my face. I want the pads of your fingers to disturb the fine hairs on my cheeks and jaw. I want you to trace the outline of my bones beneath my flesh. I want you to pause at my lips: a silent question asking if you can touch me there.

I’ll give the slightest of nods, turning my head just a little to place my lips underneath your touch. Yes, I want you.

I want slow, gentle, reverential. I want the absolute intimacy of sensitive fingertips caressing equally sensitive lips.

I’ll close my eyes and there will be nothing more to this world than you and me. Us. This. Now.

I want your palm to cup my jaw, my head to rest upon your hand. Just hold me like this. And let me know I am safe.

Then, when the moment is right, bring your lips to mine and let me explore you with my tongue. Tasting you. Drinking in the essence of you. Swallowing your saliva and inhaling your breath.

Slowly, slowly, my love. We have all the time in the world: we are the world.

After the kiss, our bodies will be singing harmonies to each other. Each resonating the notes of our unique, vibrating, needs. I’ll sing yours back to you: I hear you; I hear your hungers.

My touch on your skin – starting with your hands – will be almost too much. Just that – just my hand on yours, my thumb rubbing over and around your knuckles. Now I feel for the hard outline of your bones, and the soft spaces in between.

You’ll offer your body to me. Naked. And I will touch you with all of my senses. My nostrils filling with the scent of you. My eyes wide, in awe of your beauty. Hesitant only because I have to choose where to explore first – and I want to know the whole of you.

The shapes and textures that form the body of you. The sounds you share when my touch surprises you, or answers an unspoken plea. The way your body moves into my touch as though drawn by magnets or, at least, the magnetism of corresponding desire.

There will come a moment when my fingers are called to go deeper. When I will have explored all of your outside and now I want to go in.

I’ll be gentle; you’ll be ready. Eager.

How will we manage the urgency? Which of us will show restraint and slow the other down? Slowly, slowly, my love, I don’t want to miss a moment.

I’m going to be here when you come. When you let go. When everything is released and you tremble and twitch in slow motion – because we have slowed down time.

We will have all the time in the world.

We can go back to the start and begin over and over again.

Eternally.

Making love last a lifetime.

Playtime! Would you like to write as your erotic self?

I had such fun with this! As the grand finale of the #UnboundBookClub event for Desire Lines, I delivered a one-hour playshop on writing as your sexual self.

Join me as I share:

  • How and why I started writing erotica.
  • My 3 top tips for writing as your sexual self.
  • 3 writing prompts and writing time during the session to play with your erotic imagination and start writing.

Feedback after the event:

“Fantastic! I had no idea whether I could write erotically – turns out I can – wonderful!!!”

“This was amazing Anna! It’s re-awakened something in me. Very grateful.”

What is intimacy? (and other good questions!)

One of my long-held ambitions has been to create a space where we can have open, heartfelt, and honest conversations about desire, intimacy, and how we each experience and express our unique sexual selves.

I wanted to make space for curiosity-piquing questions and deliciously deep-diving answers.

And I wanted to talk with people who could help me to broaden my perspectives and deepen my understanding.

I am thrilled to share the first in this series of videos on intimacy and desire with you!

My first guest is sex educator, bodyworker, and guide, Sue Sutherland of The Feel Institute.

We talk about:

  • What is intimacy?
  • How do I stay in connection with you without losing myself?
  • The delicious delight of sharing what’s special to each of us.
  • Permission to feel what we’re feeling.
  • The importance of asking yourself ‘what are you hungry for’?
  • Paying attention to your body to help locate your desires.
  • Speaking the unspeakable.
  • Expressing your desires and finding ways to bring what’s on your inside, out.

Find out more about Sue and The Feel Institute here.