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.

I want to be Elemental

I wrote this in response to my journey to meet my sexual self.

To meet your sexual self, click here…

I want to be naked in the elements.

I want to feel my breasts floating free in the sea. The salty water ruffling my pubic hair. My feet and toes tickled by seaweed strands.

I want to feel the rain running rivulets all down my body. Drenching my hair, dripping off my eyelashes. Unhindered streams flowing over my contours.

I want to roll on the earth and be patterned with leaves and dirt. I want the graze of grit as I stretch out along the ground. I want to take on the colours of a forest floor.

I want the fierce gales to push my body this way and that. I want to feel buffeted and at the mercy of the wind’s whims.

I want to feel the heat from a fire. Getting so close I begin to glow. Drinking it in. Reddening me. Seducing me.

I am made of the elements – they make me what I am. I want to go back to those places.

Be elemental.

What do you want? Tell me…

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!

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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