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we’re out on a date in a restaurant nearby. my chair faces the window looking out on the high street, bathed in that evening spring glow.
my mind is flitting. too much work mulch, not enough “focus-on-the-love-of-your-life”. my mind flits and my eyes flit, and then i spot them.
a pair of pigeons. sat on a roof in my direct line of sight. they’re cuddling, it looks like. in that birdy way, their cooing heads occasionally forming a little heart.
i point them out to him and we watch, for a while.
then a third pigeon shows up. sits at a distance, watching.
“They’re shagging, aren’t they? We’re basically watching pigeon sex happening.”
they’re shagging. in that evening spring glow – a beautiful, tentatively warm day – we are sitting in a restaurant watching two pigeons having sex on a roof.
briefly. before either of us can say anything else, the third pigeon intervenes and an actual fucking soap opera breaks out on that roof. feathers fly. one pigeon is unceremoniously pushed from its perch. it’s over in seconds but it takes us a short while to process what the hell we’ve just been observing.
and then the food comes and we talk and laugh and my brain stops flitting and starts shutting the hell up for a change. it’s nice. so very, very nice to reconnect in this most basic way considering we haven’t really had the chance to do so in the past few weeks.
This is only the third time I’ve ever been to Camden. It’s the prevailing thought in my mind as we swerve through throngs of Friday night revelers. There’s a sweet scent coming from everywhere.
I’m on the look-out for people we know. We get to the hotel, and as I wait for him to get back from the bathroom, someone spots me. A tall, redheaded vision of stunning – it takes me a few seconds to realise that it’s Rose, who I haven’t seen in several years. She bolts towards me, and we hug exactly like that, like old friends meeting again.
The three of us kind of hang on to each other for most of the night. A bit of familiarity. A lot of new faces. But it’s okay, because it’s one hell of a nice venue to get to know new faces in.
I get the chance to properly connect with Marvy Darling. I bond with Sarah Brynn Holliday over our shared and very intense love of bread. I get to squeeze fellow film geek Cheryl again. I find a geek sister in Emmeline Peaches, stare in wonder at Gryph’s magnificent beard and get bought a drink by Mr. Doxy himself. All in a room with a jaw-droppingly stunning view of Camden Lock’s shimmering waters.
By the time we scatter out – some of us off to an after party, some of us (and by that I mean me and ILB) off to Subway because we accidentally forgot food was a thing, I feel kind of lightheaded.
It feels weird to be so aware of a clock ticking by. I know that at some point I need to leave because I have my day job to tend to. So Saturday isn’t a day where I can relax into it. But I learn so much. Oh god, do I ever.
The Sex and the Mainstream Media panel (chaired wonderfully by Girl on the Net) is a great way to kick things off – and I come away from it tickled by the flame of inspiration for the first time in weeks. Sarah Brynn Holliday’s Sex Blogging as Feminism & Social Justice session takes that tickle even further and proper ignites something, as does Malin James’s flash fiction session.
Although that one does start with me running up to Malin to tell her that I need to leave midway through her session and also please don’t think me rude but day job and also lovely to meet you, person whose writing I fucking love and have also been published alongside a few times.
So yeah. I have to leave halfway through – although I leave with Malin’s kind reassurance that she’s putting the presentation up on her blog later – and switch gears to “work mode”. Which, actually, works fine. And so does the switch back to “Eroticon mode” when ILB shows up at the end of my shift to take me to the gorgeous venue for the Saturday night entertainment.
I eat chips with curry sauce and chat to Ros Ballinger, who later brings the house down with her fantastic show Idiot’s Guide to Kink. I catch up with Rubyyy Jones after A FUCKING AGE, finally getting a chance to tell her in person that I’ve been following her work from afar and am so happy to know her. Chris Coltrane MC’s the night and makes me properly snort laugh several times.
I do my best to ignore the scratching in my throat.
This time, I don’t forget breakfast exists. And I still keep
meeting new people – finding myself at the table with fellow geek Val Prozorova is a delight – while discovering more about the other new people I’ve met. And the sessions… oh, the sessions.
At Dr. Kate Lister’s session, I feel seen somehow. I sit in the front row, feverishly taking notes and pictures. I feel like an academic even though I am most definitely not.
At Jasmine and King’s session, I am shocked time and time again as they lay bare not just the level of racism in porn, but the blasé attitude that many white performers and producers seem to take when confronted about it.
During lunch (thanks, Chaturbate!) I swerve around in the hall and take in chats with the Fuck.com guys, the Hot Octopuss gang (it is here that I get a sneak preview of their upcoming Queen Bee toy – HOLY SHIT the vibrations) and the lovely Victoria Blisse who I haven’t seen in however-long. Afterwards, I sit front row for the pitching session and once again become acutely aware of time ticking by.
The last session I attend (on using your blog to educate) sends me back to work with a full-on fire in the belly – and even though I don’t really get the chance to do the rounds and say goodbye (thankfully, I do get the chance to give himself a quick hug and a “see you at home”) I feel okay. Walking through Camden, the watery and hesitant sunshine casting everything in an awesome glow, I feel okay.
And right then, okay is fine by me because I’ve spent a long time not feeling okay. I’ll take okay as a starter.
The rest will come.
Eroticon. Fuck yeah.
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“Am very tense. Can I cash in that spanking later?”
I sent him the text while on the Tube home from work. It was late. I was, indeed, pretty damn tense. Just as I’d been the night before – I’d walked home from the station with a desperate need for a release only to find him half asleep.
“Aw shit. I was going to ask you if you could spank me.”
“Oh. I could still spank you!”
“No, it’s alright. I’m a bit done with today, anyway.”
Sleep helped that night. But as I shifted in my seat on the Tube, uncomfortably sitting with the stress of the past few hours, I knew it wouldn’t this time.
So I waited until I got signal. And I texted him to say that I was running late and stressed and spank now yes please thank.
This time, there was no brain static. No sneaky anything spiral catching me while I was walking down from the station. There was nothing but a desperately nagging need for some sort of sexual release. It was the first time in a while I’d felt my libido focus like this.
It was nice.
It continued to be nice, from the first sting of the crop on my soft bottom. Like a welcome hiss of cleansing pain.
Slap by slap, I felt myself relaxing. Sinking under, deep into my body. Surrendering and letting the tension wash away while my skin and body throbbed contentedly.
I was needy after that spanking. Very, very needy. And for what felt like the first time in ages I managed to communicate what I wanted from him, to him. I wanted him to make me come, plain and simple.
Or, you know, not that simple because I still have no idea how he managed to do it. It involved the faux-leather tongue of the crop, my clit and his fingers doing something that I still get shivers about when I think back.
It was, for want of another word, gorgeous. The kind of orgasm where you forget things like how shirts work and what your name is. The kind that, and I shit you not, actually gave me sex flush.
The kind that made me go “I GET TO WRITE THIS ONE, I GET TO WRITE THIS ONE.” because #sexbloggerlyfe
One of the people I met at Eroticon 2017 (trust me – a proper write-up is coming as soon as I actually remember how to brain) was the lovely Jenny Guérin – who came up with the idea for a listicle meme giving a quick overview of what we’d taken away from the weekend. This could be anything, whether it was an item or an idea or even a mark on the skin in some cases.
I am nothing if not a sucker for a listicle, so, here goes.
Appreciation for my own multi-tasking skills
Considering the fact that I was juggling this year’s conference with my day job, which was luckily rather close by. I figure, looking back on it, if I can make two rather important parts of my life sing in harmony like I did, I can take on lessons from that and apply them in my writing. I am one tough cookie…
Holy shit, goodies for days, my friend, all thanks to the godlike fantastic sponsors who I want to thank from the bottom of my heart for supporting this conference. Seriously, between my Hot Octopuss t-shirt, my Fuck.com shirt/notebook/mug and the gorgeous printed cards from Luke & Jack (plus, a shit tonne of awesome other stuff including BOOKS from Victoria Blisse’s book stall) … I am giddy.
“Cheer for me, motherfuckers!”
It was a fucking joy to reconnect with Rubyyy Jones and watch her work the room at the Saturday night social like a Boss with a capital B. The social also gave me a chance to finally chat with comedian and awesome friend Ros Ballinger, and a chance to marvel at just how much of a filthy beast Chris Coltrane is (clue – very, very much).
I’m going to echo Girl on the Net’s point here, basically. I attended Jasmine and King’s session and let out several very audible gasps of horror as they eloquently laid out the level of racism in porn and what we as writers could help with doing about it.
God, but I found my people once more. The list is way too long to put here, so I’ll save that for the more general round-up, but GOD YES I LOVE PEOPLE GIMME.
“No-one does what you do quite like you”
When I see certain quotes, I often say “I want that on a t-shirt”, or “I want that embroidered on my wall”. Thanks to Girl on the Net, I have this heap of truth on a mug.
A renewed confidence
This is a biggun’ right there. One that, much like the first point, is something I can apply in both my work as Jillian Boyd and in my day job.
A shameless love for vintage erotic media
Dr. Kate Lister’s session on the Sunday not only inspired the bejesus out of me, it made me positively giddy.
Because of course. Of course.
And sooper sekrit number 11 except not really a secret – a whole lot of love for GOTN, Molly and Michael for taking Eroticon on and putting on something really quite special.
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I took a minute till the penny dropped, you know
My tears don’t fall too often
But your knife is cuttin’ me deep
I hear her sing it on the BRIT Awards. It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m off from work, and I’m tentatively playing around with words for a submission.
There’s a sentence in my head that somehow, with a little help from her voice, flows into a paragraph onto the page. Her lyrics and the words in my head don’t match in theme but fuck it, she’s helping and I’m writing and the prose feels sensual and raw and still like me.
Later on I’ll think of what she’s actually singing. And I’ll be reminded of moments I didn’t want to be reminded of. Moments where I’d been made to feel like a dirty little secret. Moments where who I used to be was turned against me and I let it happen because I didn’t know.
And I’ll be glad because she’s fucking done it, hasn’t she? By chance, this random repeat of Emeli Sandé’s performing Hurts at the BRITS a few days ago gives me, better late than never, the right words to express to myself what I felt back then.
Sometimes life happens out of sequence. It’s less than 24 hours earlier that I come to the realization that I am done with letting that kind of pain have such a power over me.
Her voice gives me a wave to write on. Her lyrics give me the right words to express old wounds.
When all that’s left to do is watch it burn
Oh baby, I’m not made of stone, it hurts
When I started out blogging, it was partly due to a bit of an obsession with Beautiful Agony. You probably know the site. A multimedia experiment, testing a hypothesis that eroticism in human imagery rests not in naked flesh and sexual illustration, but engagement with the face.
It was, and remains (and will probably always be) a spellbinding erotic website. It was one of the pieces in the puzzle of me, the puzzle I laid out when this blog started, six years ago this week.
I wasn’t celebrating that anniversary though. I’m not sure I like doing that anymore. It pokes open old wounds (and reminds me of lingering ones). Besides, I rather like the idea of just carrying on like always. Re-puzzling that puzzle.
My libido’s still low. But I’ve kind of learned to sit with it. Ask myself questions, give myself room to breathe and rest as a lot of this is tiredness and depression. Room to breathe is what I seem to keep forgetting.
And giving myself room to breathe was how I got to watching some videos Dr. Lindsay Doe’s Sexplanations channel on YouTube the other night. Indulging my never-tiring curiosity is one of the ways I’ve been sitting with myself. Learning. I subscribe to Dr. Doe’s channel but haven’t really taken the time to delve into her videos. So, when one popped up on my “What To Watch Next [hint: maybe lay off binge-watching The Nekci Menij Show for an hour or so, maybe, possibly]” list, I watched.
It was a video of masturbation tips. And up came the subject of Beautiful Agony.
I’d already kind of been futzing around with bits of porn, willing something to materialize that would help take the stress off from the past week. Hoo, fuckety-boy, it has been a stressful week. But the internet was not being a wonderful thing for porn, alas. Which made Lindsay’s mention of Beautiful Agony all the more timely – sat on the bed, wearing his shirt and nothing else, I clicked the thumbnail for one of the free sample videos.
A woman, on the floor of her flat. Lying back on cushions and a throw, lazily surrendering to pleasure. Outside, you can hear the traffic, the general hubbub of the world continuing. And inside her own four walls, she makes the world pause with her fingers and her pleasure.
And I went right there with her. The first orgasm came quicker than I hoped it would – probably a sign that my body needed that, a lot. But it was good. It was good and it was satisfying and the warmth of my netbook was pleasing on my naked thighs as I watched the woman on my screen come.
The way she bathed in her afterglow, silent and still… it was spellbinding. Ecstasy in the agony, as is BA’s remit.
It was a good orgasm, that first one.
The second one, I had to work for. It was a couple of minutes later, and I was back on Twitter but still needing something. Another climax, another release. So, I took what I needed. Worked for it, felt it building and building in intensity until finally, FINALLY, it blew me the fuck away.
It was that kind of orgasm. The kind that leaves you fuzzy and head-spinny and unable to remember things like words and how pants work. My own beautiful agony. I settled into bed feeling like a toasty, comfortable little cinnamon bun, content because once again I had managed to sit with myself and ask myself questions and give myself room to breathe.
[ PS – in regards to my six year blogiversary. Although I’m not really celebrating in any way, I do want to thank you for reading. Whether from the early days or more recently, thank you, thank you, thank you. Here’s to whatever comes next. Hope you’re there with me.]
Yeah, I’m not entirely sure what to say (other than hOLY FUCK EROTicon time ALREADY?). So, in lieu of a proper intro for this meet and greet post, here’s Alaska Thunderfuck.
NAME (and Twitter if you have one)
Jillian Boyd, or @JillyBoyd on that there website Twitter Dot Com.
What are you hoping to get out of Eroticon 2017?
I’ve been pretty open about the fact that creative (and life) burn out has hit me hard in the past couple of months. So I’m hoping that Eroticon 2017 can help replenish that well a little bit. Plus, it’s always nice to connect with your peoples and meet new faces.
And it’s in London as well, which is nice because it means I don’t have to take a coach and therefore there’s 100 percent less chance of getting stuck in a massive traffic jam. Of course, there’s a 100 percent increased chance of the Tube being a tit, but then again…
This years schedule at Eroticon is pretty full on but which 4 sessions do you already have marked down as ones you want to attend?
I’m basically fucked to begin with considering Sarah Brynn Holliday and Meg-John Barker are speaking in the same time slot so… I was kind of hoping to freestyle it a bit and decide on the day, to be honest.
Tell us one thing about yourself that not many people know?
I can do a decent Tarot spread. Not fantastically, but I’m alright with it.
If you made the papers, what would the headline be?
“None of this shit makes sense, at all! OH, AT ALL!” – Local woman found medically unable to stop ranting about quality of latest James Bond film.
If you could have one skill for free (I.e. without practice/time/effort) what would it be?
Would probably be to speak a different language at native speaker level, but right now, I’m kind of thinking I’d like to be able to do pottery? Just because I get real satisfaction from making things by hand and pottery seems like a really cool thing to be able to do.
Full context, I maaaaayyyy be writing this while The Great Pottery Throwdown is on in the background.