A Digression on Leg Spin

As I write this the Pakistani leg spinner Yasir Shah is twirling his way through the England batting order at Old Trafford and watching him do it is a beautiful sight, even for a cricket loving Englishwoman. For top class leg spin is a thing of delight in a sport that is not short of them.

For the uninitiated let me explain briefly: leg spinners spin the ball from right to left as the bowler looks at it, with three main variations, the top spinner that dips in the flight as it hurries straight on, (think top spun forehand in tennis), the googly (known in Australia the Bosie after its inventor BJT Bosanquet) which spins the other way, and the flipper, a ball that doesn’t really spin at all but skids through, not bouncing much as it generally doesn’t land on the seam. And the batsman never knows quite what to expect. A good bowler will give nothing away in their bowling action. Leg spin is both sublime mystery and aesthetic pleasure.

Leg spin was considered a dead or dying art when I first got interested in cricket in the 1970s. But time has proved the pessimists wrong. Possibly the greatest bowler of all time, the Australian Shane Warne was a leg spinner. And he is 7 years younger than me.

The first great leg spinner I saw in the flesh was the Pakistani Abdul Qadir who sadly died last year. Qadir made bowling into theatre, each ball an act in a drama where he cried out in anguish as the batsman missed but survived, sank to his knees before the umpire imploring him to give the batsman out, glared contemptuously at batsmen who hit the bat and played him with their pads (it was much harder for spinners to get lbw decisions in those days) . It was attacking cricket, cricket played with style and panache. It was compelling.

What, you may ask, has this to do with personal growth? I think it is that there is a sense in which cricket has given me a schooling in life. For it is unlike any other sport in the way it combines simplicity with complexity, in its chronological expanse, in the way that context can make the mundane dramatic, in the literature it has inspired. The writer and critic Neville Cardus used music to illustrate cricket. The  Trinidadian socialist CLR James in his book Beyond a Boundary (still the best book about the political and cultural connotations of the game) suggested that Cardus could also have used cricket to illustrate music. He saw cricket as art. The beauty of cricket has inspired me. The rhythms of the game bring serenity. The outcomes of the game tell me that there is more to life than winning.  Learning abut cricket is the work of a lifetime. And playing, even at the level I once played at is a source of the small achievements that boost my self belief.

And that moment when the batsman fails to spot your top spinner hurrying through,  plays back when he should be playing forward, when you know that the ball is about to  clatter the stumps, sending bails flying, is a moment of catharsis. It is a moment in which you know that you can win at life, for winning at life is as much about little victories as big ones. The new batsman might hit you for six, there will be defeats in the battles that remain. But your name will be recorded in the score book. never to be erased.

A post for May More’s Personal Growth Matters meme. Click the badge below to see the other posts

Personal Growth Matters

 

Keep Fit, Keep Kinky

It is sometimes said that that BDSM can be cathartic, giving people the chance to work through emotional baggage in a safe and non-judgemental environment, reenacting things as parody, turning pain as pleasure. I agree that I can. And that is the key word. I know kinksters who have experience things so painful that BDSM simply doesn’t work as catharsis and would simply bring back the demons. I have play partners who enjoy humiliation play but with clearly defined hard limits relating to those things that are too traumatic to be part of a scene.

I don’t recall any really traumatic experiences from childhood but there were a number of humiliations that have marked me. PE lessons were one of them.  I had no ability at PE or games and was subjected to verbal humiliation by teachers, I hated cold. muddy fields, I hated being naked in front of others. I hated it all, and was glad to leave school and not have to do it again.

BDSM gives me the chance to visit these humiliations on others and exercise (spelling  intended!) my own demons. I actually discovered this by accident when I did my first prison play event. I had planned in a little light forced exercise, but only light as the prisoner was 60 years old and I had risk assessed accordingly. As it turned out he looked very trim and fit and let on that he ran half marathons and worked out at the gym 3 times a week. So, I thought , I am going to have some fun with you.  (Tip for submissives in session. Be careful what you tell the dominant!)

So I had him running round the dungeon, doing star jumps and press ups as directed by by my whistle, just like a jack in a box in an orange jumpsuit.  One blast meant run at normal pace, two, run at the double, three, stop and do five star jumps, four, five press ups, while five blasts reversed the direction he had to run in. Did all this confuse him? That was the whole point! Each mistake earned a stroke of the cane and the startled, fearful look on his face was a joy to behold.

And so I learnt, by accident really, to use forced exercise as form of humiliation play. I got to apply the lessons I learnt in cold gyms, grubby showers,  muddy sports fields, all those years ago. Painful things recreated as parody to give pleasure. This, for me, is the greatest joy of BDSM.

A post for Kink of the Week. Click on the lips to see more thoughts on exercise and kink.

SoSS July

June came and went, we remained in a weird semi-lockdown, subject to baffling rules about bubbles that nobody understands and which are anyway unenforceable. And people did their won thing. I caught up with a friend who I hadn’t seen for over four months. I visited her in her new house, we cooked lunch together, we went for a walk. I hare no idea if this was allowed strictly speaking. But I really don’t care. It was just to see her in real life, to talk properly. to hug, just to enjoy or friendship. And to be happy for her as she is at long last in a relationship with a man who seems to be worthy of her. The night before that we had a highly successful Smutathon launch via Zoom. I will be writing more about Smutathon. It does, however, give a link into the first July post I want to highlight.

The erotica readings tempted Formidable Femme to write some smut. They were a little bit nervous about posting it but I am sure you will agree that their story is really good.

I had hoped to post something for the One Rainbow Apart meme but didn’t quite get rod to it. There were a number of excellent posts and this by Molly really spoke to me as someone who herself identifies as bisexual. Sadly, biphobia and bi erasure are everywhere, not least in the LGBT community. At this point I was going to make a caustic comment about the fuckwits in a certain “Alliance” but I really don’t want to soil my blog by mentioning them.

The theme for the first Sinful Sunday of July was Movies and there were some amazingly inventive pictures. I particularly enjoyed this by The Other Livvy, this by Krystal Minx and this by Modesty Ablaze, which got me thinking about Monica Vitti who played Modesty Blaze in the 1965 film. And anything that gets me thinking about Vitti is a good thing!

May More reflected on her lockdown experience here  

Meanwhile Posy Churchgate continued the story of Delphine’s Schooldays with Chapter Six to which I have responded with Chapter Seven

There is another new meme in town and that is Little Switch Bitch’s Quote Quest. I posted a piece here after joining in in Week 3. This, by Coffee and Kink, was particularly thought provoking  and drew together two kinds of fear a sex blogger may experience. One of them reminded me of a recent discussion on Twitter. There are people out there who make assumptions about sex bloggers. I have had to deal with people who think that writing openly about sex  means that I am up for it with anyone. I am not. Neither, I think, are the other sex bloggers I know.

I have been involved with Smutathon and Smutathon warm up events this month. In the course of a conversation on the Whats App group Exhibit A  told me that he was “reeling” from my admission that I had never heard of someone called Elon Musk, a name that sounds like it should be a new fragrance. I still have no idea why this is something to make anyone “reel”  (many of my friends have never heard of him either) but EA managed to unreel himself sufficiently to celebrate his birthday, amongst other things with this rather special birthday cake from Exposing 40.

And this all segues neatly into the tale of somebody else I had never heard of , namely Sorcha Rowan, who, I discovered, describes herself as an “erotic raconteuse” . Not entirely accurately as it turns out, since, to misquote Lou Reed,  “she is a he”  but without exploring the wild side. EA takes them to task in this post explaining why, from his cis male standpoint, it is not acceptable for men to pretend to be women, all the more so when it is not just about the writing but about attempts  to engage with actual women under false pretences.

Another discovery this month was the film The Matrix which inpsired this Sinful Sunday post from Francesca Demont.

Rainy evenings are not all bad as Alethea Hunt shows here 

I made a trifle recently, my first since lockdown, not even imagining the meaning that trifle would have for Girl on the Net in this heartbreaking story of a break up

I don’t see many stories involving sex work in any of its manifestations, something which is probably not entirely surprising as paid sex is rarely a big deal from the perspective of the sex worker. And phone sex providers, at least the ones I have spoken to about their work, admit to being bored rigid by what they do. Notwithstanding this I really enjoyed this story by KristanX

Sin tastes nice as Little Switch Bitch shows here.

And talking of things that taste nice, on to food porn. The Sussex Pond. If a bread and butter pudding is cishet sex with the lights out, the Sussex Pond is an orgy from which you all emerge slathered in come and pussy juice, get into a hot tub, and then go and do it all over again. Filth and debauchery in a dish. Enjoy!

Delphine’s Schooldays – Chapter 7

The story continues. Read the previous chapter by Posy Churchgate here After the Christmas holiday Delphine returns to school at the beginning of what is to be Coronation Year.

St. Faith’s School – January 1953

As I looked out of the window I saw Catherine Spencer-Harrington’s dark green Alvis draw to a halt on the gravel before the main entrance to the school. She got out, immaculate, as ever, in an emerald skirt suit, ivory blouse and courts.

“I have been having the most awful day” she said as my secretary closed the door of my study behind her.  Catherine sat down and lit a cigarette.

“We have had some horrid little men from the News of the World lurking outside all day. They are looking to get photographs of the Agriculture Minister who, as I think I mentioned to you, is one of our best clients. Everyone in the Conservative Party knows about his little shoe fetish but the great unwashed don’t need to know. It is the most frightful bore.”

She sighed.

I rang the bell and Delphine de Lotbiniere walked in after knocking. She had that look of pouting defiance that never seemed to leave her leave these days.

“Lotbiniere, my visitor is a distinguished old girl of St. Faith’s, Catherine Spencer-Harrington, a prominent London businesswoman and benefactor of the school. When you return with  pot of tea, for scones and raspberry jam and cream, you are to curtsy to Miss Spencer-Harrington and then to me. Is that clear?”

“Oui Madame” said Delphine with another pout before turning on her heels and leaving.

“Who is that girl?” asked Catherine

“Delphine de Lotbiniere is a rather arrogant and cocky French girl who needs taking down a peg or two and I intend to do that. She is waiting on us today as a punishment for continual refractive and uncooperative behaviour.”

“She is beautiful” said Catherine “I am sure I could find work for her after she leaves the school.”

“The thought had crossed my mind. I am always on the lookout for girls of an appropriate bearing who have what it takes to please your very demanding clients. But I don’t know. I really don’t.”

“Why is that?”

“Delphine is the eldest daughter of the Comte de Lotbiniere. The Comtes de Lotbiniere go back in an unbroken line to 1223. A direct ancestor of Delphine led the French army at Agincourt. Several daughters of the family married into the royal houses of Valois and Bourbon. In 200 years the school has never had a girl of such breeding, of such indisputably noble blood. She is better than us,  Catherine, and the trouble is, she knows it.  And she is destined for greater things than pleasuring Conservative MPs in a Mayfair bordello.”

There was a knock on the door and Delphine entered, scowling, carrying a silver tray with tea and scones. She placed he tray on the table and curtseyed to Catherine although without obvious enthusiasm.

“Pour the tea Lotbiniere.”

She turned the delicate china cups over and placed them in the saucers.  She lifted the lid of the teapot, stirred the tea, replaced the lid and placed the strainer across the rim of one of the cups.

“Milk first” I reminded her.

“Pardon Miss Ransom”

She poured the milk, then the tea and I could see this was going to be a strong, satisfying brew.

Delphine handed us the cups of tea. She took a step back, curtseyed to Catherine again then to me. She turned and headed for the door.

“Young lady” said Catherine, “come here and prepare my scone.”

Delphine looked surprised. I must admit I hadn’t expected this. Delphine took a scone, cut it in tow and spread cream on it, followed by the raspberry jam, heavy with lumps of fruit. She offered the plate to Catherine who took it and inspected the scone with distaste.

“Is that how you serve scones in France?”

“Madame Catherine, we do not have these things in France.”

“Do you not?”

“Non Madame.”

“I find that a shame. If you did you would know that one puts the jam first, then the cream. This” she pointed at the scone and grimaced  “is barbarism. Pure barbarism.”

Delphine went red.

“Come closer girl.”

I watched in fascinated horror as Catherine picked up the scone, one half at a time and smeared the jam and cream over Lotbiniere’s face.

“So then, girl, you are to take the tray back to the kitchen and bring us fresh scones. You think you are better than us I am told. Let me make it very clear to you. You are not.”

She left the room and we could her sobbing as she made her way down the corridor to the kitchen. Catherine laughed.

“You are evil Miss Spencer-Harrington, pure evil,” I smiled as I said this and the smile froze as I realised that there was more than a little truth in thus.

“No, Miss Ranson nor evil. Just hard and unforgiving. Do you think I could survive in my line of work if I wasn’t?”

We drank our tea in silence until there was again a knock at the door and Lotbinere came in to repeat the ritual. She picked up a scone but Catherine grabbed her wrist and pulled Lotbinere towards her.  She stood up, took a handful of Delphine’s hair and pulled her head back so that she was looking up into Catherine’s piercing green eyes,

“I don’t like your attitude young lady. I don’t like it one bit. I am a successful businesswoman and I do not tolerate my employees providing poor service to my clients. I do not tolerate ladies who work for me picking and choosing which clients they serve. They do as they are told. Do you understand?”

Lotbinere let out a cry of pain as Catherine pulled her head back a bit further.

“Oui Madame”

She struggled to get the words out as she began to cry. I looked on uncomfortably, knowing that I ought to intervene, it was not appropriate, it really wasn’t. But I could do nothing. I was bewitched by Catherine.

Catherine continued.

“I am going to teach you a lesson. You will get twelve strokes of the cane.”

“No please madame I will do better next time I promise, please”

“Twelve with the cane and if you want it to stay at twelve you will shut up now. Miss Ranson, give her twelve.”

I had two canes I kept in a stand by my desk. I took one on, with a curved handle a bit like a shepherd’s crook. I pushed the girl over the desk and Catherine stood up to hold her down. She wriggled and struggled but I was strong and she soon resigned herself to her fate.

I pulled down her pleated uniform skirt, them her knickers.

The first stroke land and Lotbinere’s scream of pain was stifled to a whimper but the hand that Catherine had placed over. As the second stroke landed she kicked and wriggled.

“Keep still you little slut!” hissed Catherine or we will make it even worse for you.”

After the fifth stroke Lotbinere was broken and barely moved as the other strokes landed, leaving neat tramlines on her virginal backside. Stroke twelve landed and Catherine released Delphine from her grip.

“Let that be a lesson, Lotbinrere” I said, trying desperately to reassert the authority that Catherine had so blatantly usurped.

She pulled up her knickers and skirt and ran from the room, wailing.

Catherine returned to her chair, crossed one leg over another and lit a cigarette.

“So you had another business proposition for me Miss Ransom?”

At moments like this  I found her quite chilling.

When we had finished the tea and scones I led her through two sets of doors to my bedroom. She sat down on the bed. I closed the door and locked it.

“On your knees Ranson Now!”

“Yes Lady Catherine” I blurted out and   knelt before her.

“My shoes are a little muddy. Clean them.”

I set to work licking her patent courts, the uppers, the heel, the soles, looking up like a puppy dog  for a look of approval from her. I knelt up when I had finished, pushing a small piece of gravel into my cheek.

“Stand up and drop your knickers.”

I stood before her, skirt and knickers around my ankles.

“Show me your knickers!”

I stepped out of the knickers, picked them up and gave them to her.

“Dirty again aren’t they? Nasty brown marks. What are you going to do?”

“I promise to wipe my bottom more carefully in future Lady Catherine.”

“Put your grubby knickers on your head and go and stand in the corner.”

I felt my cheeks burning as I took my place in the corner. I could see Catherine in the mirror as she took her clothes off and lay on the bed, watching me, playing with herself.

It was after Catherine had left that I began to feel unwell. I went to bed early but a queasy feeling kept me awake. I soon had to leap out of bed and rush to the bathroom, where I knelt sweating in front of the toilet. As I vomited I could only think of one thing, the scones. The scones! I felt the chill of fear. It seemed clear that Lotbiniere had tampered with them. I already knew that she was a girl of spirit. But if Catherine was suffering the same indignity? She would surely want to punish Lotbiniere. That, I knew, could not happen again and I had to protect her. But if she could not punish Lotbiniere she would punish me. That I would be powerless to prevent.

TO BE CONTINUED

A post for Wicked Wednesday. Read more wickedness here  

WickedWednesday

All the Sex We Never Had, All the Places We Never Went

Heraclitus wrote that you can never step into the same river twice. I have been thinking about this a lot recently while reading Olga Tokarczuk’s fragmentary travel novel Bieguni. The English translation is called Flights which is not a particularly accurate translation. There are an journeys in this book, journeys of different kinds, journeys by train, by boat, by plane, journeys in time.  Journeys of escape that are also personal journeys. Even tourists with their suitcases and wallets stuffed with privilege are often  escaping something. And in the middle of these journeys there are lengthy digressions on the preservation of human remains, beginning in 17th century Holland and carrying on to modern day plastination, the presentation of dead bodies as art. Art as the denial of the aesthetic of sex.

The living body changes, time is its solvent. The aesthetic of sex is an aesthetic of decay. Sex is the land of rivers that flow remorselessly on, taking our lovers with them as they head for the sea of death and oblivion. It is also the land of erotic adventures that never happened, of the times we failed to step into the river and knew immediately we never could again.

Estelle

It is July 1985. Graham is on the overnight train from Innsbruck to Vienna. There is just one other person in the compartment.  She introduced herself as Estelle, from Bloemfontein. And, as white South Africans did, she assured Graham that she was  not a racists.

“Everywhere we go,” she said with a sigh, “no one likes us.”

“Are you surprised?” thought Graham but resisted the temptation to say this.

They talked, about travel mainly,  and Estelle accepted his offer of a beer and then another. She moved across to sit next to him. She pressed her knee lightly against his to test his reaction. He didn’t flinch. Encouraged, she placed his hand on his knee. They had another beer, and when he went out into the corridor for a cigarette she joined him.

“I am a social smoker” she said “but only a social smoker.”

She held her smile until he offered her a cigarette. When they had finished she leant into him for a kiss and he responded. Beer, cigarettes and a faint hint of sweat. Graham was getting hard but he pulled away. It was the thought of the unlocked compartment, the thought of well….Bloemfontein.  He had caught a glimpse of her surname in her passport. Van der Merwe. Afrikaner. They were the worst weren’t they? Racists with black servants. She probably had a maid who had to curtsy before her. But he knew this was all rationalisation. The truth was, she repelled him.

Graham woke up at 4 o’cock  tired and sweaty, metallic foulness in his mouth. He looked over to Estelle. She snored and tossed and turned. not waking up until the train rattled through Hutteldorf on the outskirts of Vienna. They parted without a word.

East Berlin 1981

I have a flag. The state flag of the German Democratic Republic. It is Saturday 2nd May. There are flags everywhere. You can buy them in Centrum Warenhaus on the Alexanderplatz. They have different sizes, and plastic sticks to put them on are extra. I buy a medium sized flag without a stick. I have lunch at the Zillestube, I have coffee and cake in the revolving cafe of the TV tower and return to the West with a pile of the classics of Marxism wrapped in coarse, grey paper. And the flag. I used it as a tablecloth until my landlady told me she wasn’t happy with it.

Annette

It was nearly 10 o’clock. Time for bed in the bustling youth hostel on the banks of the Rhine. Peter had been talking to Annette there on the wall as they drank Coke from bottles, for two hours. He was tired, his German was becoming ragged but…..Annette had forgotten about her friends in the school group she had come with. She took his hand and led him away to a spot behind the bushes. She pulled him close, kissed him. Peter responded, this was not the first time he had kissed but, at 17, the first time had felt raw passion from the other person. He squeezed Annette, enjoyed the softness of her body, pushing his tongue deep into her mouth. She pulled herself free, took off her T shirt, unhooked her bra and Peter saw for the first time breasts, large breasts hanging down, large aureoli and in the middle nipples that stood stiff and proud. She unbuckled her belt and began to slide down her jeans.

“Willst du mich ficken?”

He began to feel week at the knees as Annette’s jeans came down, her knickers and he saw, as if in a blur, her slit, her bush. She was aroused, she wanted it but he only felt fear. He mumbled something about an early start, a long walk the following day.

He lay in his bunk and masturbated to her.  He saw her at breakfast the following morning but she ignored him. He hadn’t seen her crying and would he have cared if he had?

Paris 1977

I never knew her name, I don’t think she even looked at me. She got on the Metro at Miromesnil with a friend and got off alone at Strasbourg St Denis. Our respective journeys through spacetime coincided for just 20 minutes but I was fascinated. I don’t think I had seen a woman like her before, in her 20s but with the lines from the corners of her mouth to the nose that come from speaking French. Her dress, the way she carried her bag, the way her hair was dishevelled but actually not, the way she spoke, yes, the way she spoke.  I listened closely to catch what words I could. Later I practised in front of the mirror. That night I lay in bed and thought about her. I did not fantasise. I did not masturbate. I just wanted to be her. I still do.

David 

David met Susie when he was working  in Germany and, finding it hard to make friends,  they clung to each other to avoid  being stuck in their respective bedsits gazing at the wall. One rainy Saturday afternoon he had invited Susie round. He had bought a selection of cakes from the local bakery, he made filter coffee and his attic room suddenly had a homely smell it had never had before. As he only had one chair, they sat on the bed, leaning against the wall. They munched Pflaumenstreuselkuchen and crumbs fell onto the duvet but David didn’t mind. The small space brought them closer together. legs pressed against each other. Susie didn’t seem to mind this at all. David pressed a bit more. He had thought a lot about Susie, how she was nice but boring, not seeing the irony in how own lack of self awareness. And those big, heavy glasses she wore! Then again, the lips, Susie had full lips that he just wanted to kiss. He leaned across and gently took her glasses off.

“Why did you do that?”

“I want to see your face.  I think you’re very pretty.”

“Thank you.”

She smiled.

David pulled her towards him, paced his thin lips on her full lips, and pushed his tongue into her mouth as the lips parted. Susie responded and they rolled over. She put a hand on the back of his head and pressed to lock him in the kiss.  David felt he was getting hard, he slipped his hand inside Susie’s knickers and fumbled to find her slit. He pushed a finger in. She was wet.

He felt his cock getting hard, the bulge in his jeans called for release. With his free hand, he unbuttoned his jeans, started to wriggle out of them. Then Susie pushed him off.

“I can’t do this David. I really like you, I could even love you, I think, but I can’t.”

“What’s the problem?”

“It’s not you. It’s my faith. I promised God that I would remain a virgin till I marry. It’s not that I wouldn’t, you know … with you…because I know I would like to and it would be nice. If you were my husband. ”

“I am sorry Susie I had no idea. Are you not angry with me?”

“No I am not David. I think you are a really lovely guy. I do. But it wouldn’t be right. Not yet. ”

She gave him a hug.

When Susie had gone David pounded the wall with his fists.

“God, God, God! Why do you do this!” he shouted and saw, to his astonishment, that he was crying.

He met Susie fleetingly at Derby railway station several years later. She had her four young children with her, she looked tired. They spoke briefly.  Susie had devoted her life to her family, what little spare time she had to the church, and her husband, an elder of the church, had left her for another woman. They both felt regret but neither of them could say it. The unspoken mutual feelings weighed heavily on the conversation and it was a relief to them both when David realised he was on the wrong platform for the Nottingham  train and had to run off up the stairs. As his train pulled out he avoided looking out for her. This was not a second coming of the river. That much he knew.

Vienna 2003

There was a time before selfies. We were approached on the Karntner Strasse by a young woman holidaying on her own and asked to take a photograph of her in front of the Stefansdom. We obliged. Later we headed out to Gasometer to eat. I liked Gasometer because it is not coffee houses and kitsch. Not a slice of Sachertorte in sight. As we ate, my partner mentioned the woman again as if feeling sorry for her.

“Maybe we could have invited her to join us?”

I could only think that I admired her for just getting out there and having a holiday and not worrying because she hadn’t got anyone to go on holiday with.  It’s happened to me, it’s happened to many people. It is not a disease. I was just wishing her great sex. That happens on holiday too.

“I bet she’s somewhere having more fun that she would with us” I replied.

Caroline

It had been a bit of a red letter day for Caroline. She has been to the hairdressers in the morning.

“There’s enough to style” said Laura. “I think you’ll like it.”

And she blowed and brushed and busied herself as Caroline sipped her tea.

“Have a look” said Laura with a smile. And Caroline looked in the mirror and liked what she saw. Her hair was still shortish, still grey but it had been shaped nicely and had the beginnings of a short bob.

“I like it.”

“You’re not putting that bloody wig back on are you? Are you Caroline?”

“No Miss” said Caroline and they both laughed.

As she left the salon Caroline did a jig of delight.

She was still on a high that evening when she met up with friends for a night in Birmingham’s Gay Village. Drinks and food at ‘spoons, pool and lager and karaoke at The Fox, a cigarette in the garden and she fell into conversation with Amy.

“You’re lovely” said Amy taking a second cigarette from Caroline. “Can I add you on Facebook?”

“Yeah, of course.”

They both took out their phones and conducted the modern friendship ritual.  Caroline was feeling a new confidence and wanted to chat some more but Amy stood up and said

“I’m off to The Village now, meeting a few friends.”

It was nearly five hours later that Caroline pushed her way through the crowds to find a space in the garden of the pub to sit down and light up. It was only after she at down that she realised that she was sitting next to Amy.

“Hello again” she said.

“Hi” said Caroline realising that the night’s drinking was taking its toll, the fizzy lager and the shots that her friends had been buying all evening. They were still going strong  and were doubtless looking to see it through to closing time at 8 am. Caroline was thinking of going home. She had had enough and was making a mental note to be careful in the future when it came to going out with 20 something lesbians. It had been fun though.

She felt her head being grabbed and turned round to look Amy in the face. Amy loved in and kissed her, forcing her tongue into Caroline’s mouth. Alcohol had removed her inhibitions and she responded. She ran her arm behind Amy pulled her closer, thrust her own tongue into Amy’s mouth. Her head began to swim, she was hard, she cold still manage an erection despite the hormones, she was glad she was wearing a loose fitting summer dress that hid the bulge, she wanted Amy, wanted her so much, wanted Amy to finger her, to……

Amy unbuttoned Caroline’s dress, reached inside and took a breast in her hand, kneaded it, moulded it in her lovely warm hand, before tweaking the nipple. Caroline yelped in surprise but found the pain quite pleasant.  Amy undid 2 more buttons, reached behind to unhook Caroline’s bra and, as it fell, moved her hand inside the flapping dress to suck at Caroline’s nipple, twisting it with her lips, flicking it with her tongue, making Caroline more and more aroused.

“Come on” said Amy “let’s go to the loo, I so fucking want to go down on you.”

She stood up, grabbed both of Caroline’s hands and pulled her to her feet. Caroline stood there, her left breast hanging out, hair dishevelled, frantic with desire for this woman, fuzzy headed with drink to the point that she was struggling to stay on her feet,  but clear headed enough to know she couldn’t go through with this.

“Sorry Amy I can’t. I so fucking want you but I just can’t!”

She ran, falling out of the door, her dress still open, her breast still hanging out.

A doorman grabbed her arm and steadied her.

“Are you OK love?”

Caroline nodded.

“Are you sure?”

She went to the corner of the street and rested against a wall. She buttoned up her dress and lit a cigarette. As she smoked she gathered her thoughts. It was now nearly four o’clock and the summer night was getting chilly. She hailed a taxi and jumped in.

The taxi drive off. Caroline didn’t look back at the throng outside the pub. She looked resolutely forward, at the dark shadow of the driver, the red numbers changing every few hundred yards on the meter.  She began to cry.

Boston, Massachusetts 2000 

In the year of The Big Dig there were people in Boston worried about the future of Little Italy in the city’s North End.  Tucked away on the far side of Interstate 93 on its rickety looking green viaduct, almost a town beside the city.  But when the road disappears into a tunnel, when Little Italy is opened up to the rest of Boston, the acid of property developers’ money will surely dissolve the area’s character. The works continue. The contractor’s boards are painted with the coats of arms of Italian cities. It seems like a defiant gesture. Our meal is too. We find a trattoria,  sit with plates of pasta, tomato salad, a bottle of red wine. We are enjoying slow food in the land of the Big Mac.

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air 

The last time I was in Berlin the Palast der Republik, the home of the puppet parliament of the German Democratic Republic, where I had once eaten lunch and bought a newspaper, was an ugly  twisted metal frame. It was an eyesore and its final removal, a week after I left, was a blessed release. Cities change. Cities evolve. It is as if the moment you leave you have never been there. One minute after your plane has taken off, the city has changed. I have Austrian friends who have a collectors’ approach to sightseeing. Been there. Seen that. Done that. “Abgehakt” as they say in German.  I don’t think they realise the futility of the freezing of motion as if the frozen moment is all that matters. They remind me of those sad men who keep a notebook of all the women they had had sex with. Or claim to have had sex with.

The sex we never had is no less real than the sex we had. Or rather, the sex we had is no more real. All the bodies I have loved have been dissolved by time, made anew or not, remade as ageing parodies of what they were. Mine too, and let’s face it, mine has changed more than most. Consider the vaginas I fingered, the clits I tongued, the glistening bellends I took greedily into my mouth. They are no more. Every single cell dead, replaced by new cells, regenerated but decaying, changing even as they appear to stay the same. But decay is inherent to the aesthetic of sex, it is the art of bodies in flux.

And Finally Plastination……

I write, not to freeze sex in a moment, but to hint, offer fleeting glimpses, and let you, my readers, engage with me as you wish. Because only the act of reading, being in the moment of that reading can make that sex real.

I once thought about being plastinated myself. Any part of me, or even all parts of me, just not my genitalia. Let all my partners come and enjoy my sinews, my muscles like taut wires, as lifeless as the steel cables of a suspension bridge. Let them enjoy me without the parts of me they most enjoyed, or were destined not to. That river has already flowed on to the sea.

A post for Wicked Wednesday. Click here for more wickedness

 

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Anita

“Right on the edge of fear was where trust could grow”

Cherise Sinclair

When I was a boy I wanted to be an amoeba. I liked the idea of being a creature that didn’t have to bother with sex. I adored Debbie Harry,  I masturbated till I was sore, I took my mother’s magazines to bed, I picked a model from the fashion pages and made her my wife, my lover in my fantasies. I imagined the house we would live in, the dinner parties we would host (which were oddly similar to the ones my parents hosted  but they were the only templates of adulthood I had), the bedroom where we would make love. I wanked to her in quiet adoration but when the sticky ejaculation flowed out to matt my pubic hair and dampen my pyjamas I felt a desperate sadness. These were things that would never be more than fantasy for me. Women belonged on posters, in magazines. In real life they were to be feared. Feared because, some time, a woman might ask me for sex. I avoided girls at at school. I took up trainspotting. I don’t even like trains. I found my fellow trainspotters weird. Yeah I know, I’m weird too but compared to these guys? But it was a safe environment, a long long way from sex.

I was 37 and a virgin when I met Anita. She was a few years older than me, divorced with 2 grown up children. I guess she was lonely. She must have been. Why else would she have been interested in me? But we starting meeting up. Just a drink in the local pub, a country walk. I liked her. She had a ready laugh, she could talk about football, she began to look after me. On my birthday I took her for dinner. She bought me a present, shirts and I realised she might be looking for more than friendship. That evening she invited me back to her house for coffee.

Coffee. And it’s not always with granules is it? I made myself comfortable on the sofa. . She poured whiskies and sat next to me. We talked, she sat closer, pressing her knee against my leg, played with my hair.  When she sat on my lap and pressed her lips gently against mine I felt sick. I was alone with her in her house, the bedroom was directly above us, the bedroom, the bedroom. Shit! The bedroom! This is real. This is going to happen. I felt my head go light as she took my hand and led me upstairs.

I failed. I cried. I apologised to her, told her I felt a failure. She cradled my head against her chest. kissed me gently on the top of the head, assuring me it was fine, she wasn’t angry,  it would be better next time. I unburdened myself there and then and 20 years of pain flowed out onto the soft sheets, like waters from a broken dam. She hugged me close, reassured me.

Next time, she kissed me gently, moving her lips from my mouth, down my body to my cock,  she took my cock into her mouth and sucked and licked and flicked the end with her tongue until I was hard. I knew I could keep this erection.  I knew I could. I wanted this. My fear was gone as she lay back, took me in her had and guided me into her wet, warm cunt. It didn’t last long. I felt the foreskin rolling back, felt wonderful sensations I had never known before. I pushed in and out  as she told me what to do. I came, felt the pulse of the ejaculation, saw a brilliant array of lights and colours as I sank down onto  her and submitted to its force.

I was spent. I was high on the joy of the moment. Anita sad she hadn’t come but that she was happy for me. She would come next time. She had enjoyed it anyway and next time would be even better. I cried as I thanked her. I knew that she had dome something special for me, something loving. She had taken my fear and turned it into trust.  And as for amoebas well………imagine one splitting into two and the second  is so much better than the first. It wants to fuck. It needs to.

A post for Week 3 of Quote Quest. See what awesome content others have created in response to the quote by clicking on the badge.

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SoSS June Roundup

So into June and lockdown drags on, well sort of drags on given that a lot of people are fed up and unable to see why they should listen to the Government any more. Sticking to the rules is, it seems, for little people.  And some people, like me, have become nicely cocooned in our safe little bubble, with our comforting routines, and are in no particularly hurry to leave, even without sex. I have even started wondering whether I need sex with other people at all. I have just got off on writing about it, on conjuring up fantasies merged with memories, in varying degrees, (and all my stories are fictional even where the scenes or the characters have a base in reality.

I start off on a bright Sunday morning (actually the last Sunday in May) looking ahead to a walk in the North Worcestershire countryside, finishing at the tranquil churchyard where Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham is buried.  As I do most Sundays I check out Sinful Sunday before breakfast. I enjoyed this from Molly.   And this by Missy. Pegs are indeed a most delightful torment, well they are for me anyway but then I ma not usually the one inflicting them.

I am not into age play in my kink life but I do like edgy fantasies, and this by Isabelle Lauren was edgy, and hot!

Automatic reminds me of cars I hate driving and a song by The Pointer Sisters that is catchy to the pint of being annoying. As of this month I will associate it with this sexy little tale by FDotleoonara  who I have had some lovely chats with at Eroticons past but who I haven’t seem for far too long. maybe 2021?

I mentioned in a previous post that I enjoy poetry. So I have again chosen a poem for this roundup. This time from Life of a Kinky Wife.

Exhibit A always writes thought-provokingly and this on sexuality was interesting.

This Girl wrote about sadism on the Marquis de Sade’s 280th birthday.

Ice is a thing for me. I do use it to torment people in kink play ad love it i my gin and tonics. It has other uses and I loved this cheeky allusion by Exposing 40 to its use in mainstream porn flicks to make the nipples stand out.

The prompt for Wicked Wednesday 419, for which I chose the Top Three was  Feminism. My choices were this by Deviant Succubus, this look at female empowerment from a femsub in Life of a Kinky Wife and this unusual and intriguing look at the prompt from Rantings of a Nonsensical Mind (although this all makes perfect sense to me)

I have never seen shopping like this  before and I really hope Modesty Ablaze found a couple of good bottles to drink to this picture!

There a couple of new memes and one of these is OneRainbowApart started ny Mx Nillin. There have been some great posts and this by Formidable Femme was so thought provoking.

There has a lot been said about transphobia in the sex blogging community and I shall day no more about this except to observe that the nastiest transphobes are outside our community. Anyone who saw the screen grab of a quite disgusting Facebook exchange including Sarah Ditum, Caroline Criado Perez and others mocking Paris Lees will know where I am coming from on this. These people sadly seem to have the ear of the UK government at the moment so we have cause to be worried.  But it is great to know that so many of you have our backs. One awesome person on on or side is Victoria Blisse who wrote this. .

I have mentioned my struggles with rope bondage before but I do enjoy a lot of the Tie Me Up Tuesday post and this from Life of a Kinky Wife was fun to read.

As was this intriguing little story by May More.

Pain as Pleasure was hiding in the reeds in this intriguing picture

As I have posted recently I love floggers. So does Sub Bee and I love this picture. Aemelia Hawk, who is a regular at fetish fairs makes great floggers. She is also a flogging artist. If you get the chance to see her demonstrating  florentining  don’t miss it. I have always believed in kink as art and this definitely is art.

And I will finish with buffalo cheese – really. I read recently that buffalo mozarella is being produced in the UK, using milk from a herd  of buffalo on a farm in Hampshire. The farm is owned by Jody Scheckter, former F1 driver. Here he is winning the 1979 Italian GP at Monza. This is a kind of crossover as, from next month, I will be finishing up my roundup with a little food porn. F1 is back, albeit behind closed doors, so I can get my petrolhead fix in other ways!

The Joy of the Flogger

All but one of my play partners hate the cane. Most are not keen on paddles either. But all of them love floggers. Which is good because I do too. In fact my floggers are my favourite toys. I love the variety of floggers that are available, the different ways you can wield them, the sensations the bottom feels, from softness and sensuality to stinging agony, and all points in between. I love the way in which I can use these different effects to mess with my sub’s head. Kid them I am going to give them a hard stroke and give them a gentle one. From the yell of pain I know that their brain has made them feel the pain they had steeled themselves for but which I hadn’t inflicted. Or the times I play softly, sensually, and see them drifting into subspace but bring them brutally back with a fierce stroke that cuts into the skin.  In fact the opportunities for creative play for me as a domme are endless and the flogger gives scope that other hitting implements don’t.

I have four floggers, not counting the little one I made at the Kink Craft workshop at Eroticon a few years ago, and which I really only use for tormenting cocks. I have a suede flogger, a mixed rubber and suede one (my favourite which has a lovely feel in the hand and the perfect weight to do the work for me), a rubber one which is evil (the rubber tails are quite thick and sharp edged and really bite with a hard impact, and finally a knotted suede flogger which is a wonderful tool for inflicting torment on a sub whose backside is already well bruised.  Often I start with a gentle warm up with the suede flogger and move up the scale of evilness before moving back down. Sometimes not. Sometimes I just want to inflict pain and get my kicks from the moans, the pleading, helpless looks. And then there are the times I just feel deep love for the man who has given himself to me for my pleasure and amusement and I just want to give him his kinky reward.

It is nearly 2 o’clock on a Saturday morning. The light is dim in the dungeon. We are the only people still playing. In a few minutes the club will close and we will head out into the dark, cold street. But for now we are here in our safe space. In this moment we exist only for each other. We have been playing for nearly an hour. He has take some severe punishment but I have now eased off. I flog rhythmically, resisting the temptation to give him a hard stroke or two to bring him out of his subspace. I slow down, gradually, the strokes become more and more gentle. It is almost as if the flogging has no defined end.  Imagine the ethereal voices at the end of Holst’s Neptune.  That is spiritual. This is spiritual too. The strokes fade to nothing, the throw of the last one too weak for the tails even to reach his skin. I put the flogger down. I caress his sore back, his bruised buttocks.  I release him from the restraints. I hug him close. Alone in the dungeon we are two people in the moment, each in their respective high, bonded by the ineffable delight of the flogger.

A post for Kink of the Week. Click on the badge for other kinky thoughts on floggers

Lessons in Life

This is Part Two of a story which began with Lessons in Love which you can read here.

Some years ago I was in therapy and learned the principle of mindfulness. My next encounter with Fiona put me in mind of these. A week after my first visit I arrived at her house, carrying the 400 lines neatly folded and sealed in an A4 envelope with a card. I had been careful to count them before placing them in the envelope. I had, too, her beie boots, reheeled and freshly polished, in a tote bag.

“Hello again,” she said, inviting me in. “I was wondering whether you would come.I didn’t scare you off last time then?”

She smiled as she said this and I relaxed.

“I’ve been thinking of nothing else. I have been spending quite a lot of time writing lines for you haven’t I?”

She smiled again but this time I felt there was a hint of mischief. I began to get nervous again.

“I’d better have a look at the lines then hadn’t I?”

I handed her the envelope and she opened it, took out the sheets of A4 paper and the card. She looked at the card first.

“How sweet of you” she said, smiled again. She came up to me and kissed me on he cheek.

“I do hope you have done your lines properly. What do I do back in your schooldays?”

“If you weren’t satisfied you ripped that and made us do them again. Doubled.”

“And you wouldn’t want 800 lines would you? That would keep you busy for most f w weekend. Mind you, it would keep you out of the pub wouldn’t it?”

She looked pointedly at my beer belly and counted the number of lines on the first page. Thirty lines per page, thirteen pages and ten on the fourteenth page. The final line was a bit faint as my pen had started to run out. I actually hoped she would overlook this. I actually didn’t fancy doing 800 lines. I had plans for the weekend and imagined it meant I would have to wait another week to fuck her.  She counted quickly, she had after all taught Maths among other subjects.

She refolded the sheets and lay them on the table.

“What are you?”

“A misogynistic arsehole who must learn to respect women.”

“Quite. That is exactly what you are. Don’t think I wasn’t deeply hurt by your stupid comments last week. That sort of thing is not easily forgiven or forgotten. ”

“I am truly sorry.”

“I have no doubt. Men are ever so sorry  when they think there might be something in it for them.”

“Meaning?”

“You know exactly what I mean.”

She fixed me with a steely gaze.

“And my boots?”

“Reheeled and polished as you requested.”

I took them out of the bag and held them up for her inspection. She took them off me, held them to the light, inspected the new heels and said,

“You’ve done a good job. I’m impressed.”

As she went to put them in the cupboard under the stairs where I  knew whe kept her shoes I began to feel uneasy.

“Bit I thought you were going to wear them for me?”

“Did I promise you anything?”

“No, but”

“But nothing. I don’t need you to tell me what to wear do I?”

“No” I answered quietly, feeling more than a little humiliated.

“Follow me” she said and opened the patio doors that led out into the garden.

“Actually I have a little job for you to do before we go upstairs. I have just had a pile of rocks delivered, I’m building a rockery and  need a strong man to put them in place. I was going to ask my neighbour but them I thought, as you are coming and as you like doing things for me you wouldn’t mind. You don’t mind do you?”

“Well no” I said, a little surprised by this turn of events. But then I began to think of it in as labour to ear a sweet reward. I looked at her, began to imagine her without  clothes, imagine my cock sliding into her cunt, imagine her sighing with pleasure as I ……

“So what I need you to do is this.”

She reached into her bag and took out a piece of paper which she unfolded.

“This is a drawing of the rockery as it is meant to be when it is finished. So I need you to take the stones from over there, the big one are at the bottom, and arrange them like this, around the pond. I think there should be 30 of them? And when you have finished we can and have some fun can’t we?”

She smiled and ran her hand over my arm.

“Shall I get you a cup of tea?”

“Yer……er please.”

I took the plan and studied it closely.  There was easily three hours work in this and it was starting to get hot. I knew that I was being used but I really couldn’t do anything about it. And Fiona Howe knew this.

I set to work. The task was complicated by having  to take the smaller rocks first and make a separate pile before I was able to get to the big ones that formed the base of the rockery. Even the smaller ones were heavy and I cut a finger on a jagged edge of the first.

“Oh fuck!” I shouted, sucking my bleeding finger.

“Is something wrong?” asked Fiona who had appeared at my side with a cup of tea.

“No, it’s fine” I lied. I was seething with resentment, angry with myself for my lack of assertiveness,  hot and sweaty as the sun rose in the sky. My arousal of earlier had completely gone. What if we went to her bed and I couldn’t well, couldn’t get it up? I could just drop all this and go. Was it worth all this humiliation just to get to stick my cock up the dry, shrivelled cunt of an old woman? Even as this thought came into my head I went red with shame. It was true. I was a misogynistic arsehole. She had seen this and was punishing me for it. And I had to embrace this punishment for her. Fiona Howe always could see through people, she was smart in a way I never could be, And that was what I adored her for.

Sot I continued with the task. Soon I had made a separate pile of the smaller rocks. I set to work carrying the heavy larger rocks to arrange them around the pond as instructed. After the first two I was exhausted and seething with resentment. Then I remembered my therapist and his words to me on mindfulness. Be in the moment, draw the positives from it, enjoy it for what it is. I was working for a woman I adored. So I dedicated the third stone to her. I imagined it as her breast, I stroked it tenderly, kissed it after checking she wasn’t watching though the patios door, picked it up with reverence, like a priest raising the chalice at consecration, carried it  across the garden in the way we carried Our Lady in the streets around the church on the Feast of the Assumption.

The next stone was Fiona’s other breast, the third had a path of rough on he surface and I pictured this as her cunt, set in a luxuriant garden of hair, like the stones I was setting among shrubs, Her cunt, the prize to which my life had been heading since I first set eyes on her at the age of eleven. I kissed, flicked it with my tongue, rested my face on it, smelling it, dry stone and spoil, which I wanted to commit to memory.

“Are you alright?”

Fiona had brought me another cup of tea.

“Yeah um, it’s what my therapist called mindfulness, it’s like ”

“Being in the moment, I know. I’ve had therapists tell me that.  Don’t you think it’s bullshit?”

Actually I didn’t.  It had really worked for me. It was working for me now. But I couldn’t disagree with her. Not in 1974. Not now.

“I guess you’re right.”

“It’s going a bit slowly with all your mindfulness isn’t it? Enjoying the journey is all very well but it is good to each the destination, particularly today’s destination.”

She licked her lips and smiled.

“I am going out at seven so I really you need to finish by four to give us time for your little after work treat.”

She smiled again and there was, I thought, a hint of mockery in her voice.

“What’s the time now?”

“It’s just gone three. And you have already been doing that for over an hour. I think you need to hurry up.”

“Yes Miss” I let slip and felt myself going bright red. Fiona smiled, said nothing and went back inside.

I picked the stone up and went back to work.

“Reverence and speed” I said “reverence and speed.”

I was sweating profusely. My arms ached. I remained mindful. I dedicated it all to her. By the time I finished I was rockhard. I slipped my hand down the front of my boxers and felt a dribble of precome merging from the bellend. I was hot and tired but I would be ready. I would not disappoint her.

I would like to say that Fiona was pleased with my work but she didn’t mention it. Instead she told me I was too sweaty and sent me to shower.

“Upstairs. On the lift”

In the bathroom I took my clothes off , leaving them in a pile by the door. I stepped into the shower and saw that she has one of those high tech showers with a control panel like a Boeing 747 cockpit. I stood bemused, shuddering as cold drops fell onto me from the shower head,

The door opened and Fiona walked in carrying a big fluffy towel.

“You’ll need this once you have worked out the shower. Just wait there and I will come and join you.”

The door opened again and Fiona walked in, wrapped in a towel,  a shower cap covering her hair. She took it off and I saw her body for the first time, still slim, the two small breasts still firm, every bit as enticing as I thought she would be. She joined me in the shower, pressed me against the cold tiles, pushed her tongue into my mouth.

She handed me a sponge.

“Wash me then get on your knees.”

I took the bottle of shower gel,  squeezed some onto the wet sponge and began to rub it gently over her body. I stopped at her breasts, to caress them as mindfully as I had the large stones in her garden, carried on down. By the time I reached her cunt I was kneeling, water was running down her body like streams down a mountainside after the rains. I dabbed cautiously at her pubic hair, like a surveyor mapping a new country. I felt her push my head lower and soon I was bent double washing her feet which I kissed before she grabbed my hair and pulled my head up.

“Now give my pussy some attention.”

I leaned in uncertainly and licked at the hairs, then pushed in with my tongue, ran it up and down the slit, buried my face in the wet hair as the warm water streamed down, shutting my eyes to keep out the soap. Then, guided by her hand I lifted my head and began to tongue her clit, lapping at it like a cat at milk before flicking it with swift rhythmic motions until until she came with a scream.

I knelt there as she turned the shower off, opened the door and stepped out onto the mat. She took her towel and threw me mine. I looked at her as she towelled herself down. I was struggling to get the words out.

“Are we going to …um …”

“Are we going to do what?”

“Well, sex, like you promised?”

“I didn’t promise you anything! What a thing to say! And besides what do you think we have just been doing?”

“I want to fuck you Fiona.”

“have you got condom?”

“Well no, I thought”

“You thought it wouldn’t;t be needed because I am so old and old bats like me don’t need to think about contraception, Is that t?”

“Well yes, kind of…”

“And you don’t think safe sex is an issue at all for me?

I said nothing. I shuffled my feet. I was too embarrassed even to look at her.

“And I bet you didn’t think about lube either?”

“Lube?” I asked gormlessly.

“Didn’t you know? Have you never been with a post-menopausal woman before?”

She fixed me with a look and a smile that told me she had already guessed the answer.

“I have never actually been with any…”

“I guessed. Are you really surprised with your attitude to women?”

I said nothing, picked up the dirty sweat stained clothes and began to dress.

“I think it is time for you to go. But thank you for your work on my rockery.”

Fiona closed her front door behind me. I didn’t look back as I walked down her path and turned into the road for the short walk home. I felt sick with shame and self disgust. Used and humiliated. Those words kept going round in my head.  Used and humiliated. Used and humiliated. As I repeated the words I felt myself getting hard.

I went to bed early that night. I was tired from the hard physical labour and from the emotional strain of the day. Fiona Howe had used me but I had showered with her, I had knelt before her, I had worshipped her cunt. Did I need anything more? I had the stuff of a million fantasies swirling round in my head.  She belonged to me in ways she could never know.

I turned out the light and masturbated to her, on my knees, my head buried in her bush, my lips pressed against hers. I came quickly, the creamy come wetting my pyjama bottoms. I rolled over, ground against the mattress and fell into deep, contented sleep.

This is a post for Wicked Wednesday. More wickedness can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Load of Balls – The U -Turn on Gender Recognition

At the end of what has been a pretty traumatic week for transgender people came the news that most of us had been expecting but still hoping not to hear. This was the announcement that the Government will not be proceeding with plans to amend the Gender Recognition Act to permit self-declaration (as has been permitted in the Republic of Ireland since 2015) despite this having been the policy of previous Conservative administrations (it was originally put forward by the then Equalities Minister Maria Miller, and despite the results of a consultation being largely in favour. The Government has come up with the odd justification that the result was skewed by lots of pro trans gender groups submitting favourable responses. By the same logic one might argue that the result of the 2019 General Election was skewed by lots of people voting Conservative but logic and consistency is not something populists go in for.

For populist is what the Conservative Party now is. It wasn’t always this way. Just fifteen years ago David Cameron became party leader and set out to remodel the party as fiscally conservative and pro-business but socially liberal. The intake of Conservative MPs at the elections of 2005 and 2010 included a number of LGBT people who went on to hold ministerial office, such as Justine Greening, Margot James and Nick Boles. That was before Brexit swung the party in a populist direction and pragmatic, centrist Tories were purged.

With populism come culture wars. And this is what we now have. An internal Conservative Party paper leaked before the General Election suggested using attacks on trans rights as a means of gaining support with socially conservative working class voters, so no one should be surprised by what is happening now. There have been press reports about the Government legislating to protect single sex spaces and this raises the prospect of US style bathroom bans being brought in.  Some transwomen I know are desperately worried.

I just want to consider what a bathroom ban could mean in practice.  It has been suggested that it could apply to “male bodied” transwomen.  Female bodied transmen don’t get a look in, they have been airbrushed out yet again although their presence raises issues that neither the Government nor the noisy and unrepresentative trans-exclusionary radical feminists seem to have considered. But let us stay with transwomen for the moment. What does it actually mean for a transwoman to be male bodied? It can’t just be about surgery because a transwoman who has been taking hormones for an extended period will have a number of characteristics that males do not, notably breasts (plumbed in in exactly the same way as cis female breasts), but also softer skin and hair. After a while the male genitalia even cease to work in the way they used to. And at what point does a transwoman taking hormones cease to be male bodied? How big would her breasts have to be? What testosterone level would she need to be under? These are not debating points if legal definitions of male bodied are to be made.

In practice it is impossible to produce a coherent and consistent definition of male bodied in respect of transwomen. So the fall back will be, I am sure, genitalia, which is effectively saying that women are nothing more or less than vaginas on legs, (a slightly odd position for feminists to be taking). And how could such a ban be policed except by requiring all users of the ladies bathroom (the vast majority of whom of course are cisgendered women) to submit to intrusive questioning or worse. In the US states that have bathroom bans cisgendered woman have been among the victims, humiliated and thrown out for not looking “feminine” enough. The alleged protection of women becomes a means of policing their bodies. It usually does and it is, at first sight, astonishing that women who call them feminists can make common cause with religious conservatives and populist politicians, common cause with people who seek to attack women’s demands for bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. But then few things that radical feminists do surprise me anymore.

And what about the transmen happily using the Gents? Are they to be forced to use the ladies? They  will not be put in danger by this is the way that transwomen being forced to use the gents will, but  will women be necessarily happy to share a bathroom with someone with  male characteristics, a deep voice, possibly a beard, their body bulked up by years of taking testosterone?

However this policy shift is framed, it should be clear that trans rights are the thin end of the wedge. If existing gains for transpeople can be reversed so easily by populist governments, (and Hungary is the most egregious example, the stripping of trans rights the work of a man who also thinks that Hungarian women should be having more babies) , so can gains for women and gains for the rest of the LGBT+ community. I well remember Margaret Thatcher’s chilling speech to the Conservative Party conference in 1987 when she told delegates that there was “no inalienable right to be gay.” Section 28 became law the following year. If we don’t want to go back to those dark days we need to fight now, all of us together. Fight for your trans brothers and sisters, as they have fought for you.