An Appetite for Pleasure

When I was 11 and staying at a friend’s house, we stumbled upon her father’s porn stash. We spent the afternoon leafing through these well- thumbed copies of Men Only.  At this distance in time I don’t remember a great deal about them except being fascinated by a photospread of a guy eating bananas and cream off his partner’s lady parts. And so a connection between food and sex was established in my mind. A current male lover loves to lick various sweet treats off my feet and this is as good a pedicure as I have had in any salon and delightfully erotic.

I, in my time, have greedily licked yoghurt and honey off cock, I have drawn a Cadbury’s Flake out of a girlfriend with my teeth (and soaked in pussy juice a Flake is, well, something else) and I still shudder to think to think about the mess a lover and I made of a hotel bed with a steak and kidney pie.

The point for me is that food is sensual, sex is sensual. Eating oysters is quite a bit like sucking cock, it’s just that cock is even better when your lover comes in your mouth. And like all the sensual pleasures they are predicated on mortality. I was, therefore,  little surprised a while ago to talk to a sex positive lady (and part time sex worker)   describing the way in which she had lost weight, through one of the many faddish diets.

“I haven’t eaten for 48 hours”  she said with a smile. “And I’m nor even hungry.”

Well, yes, I thought but this is missing the point. Food is not an enemy it is a pleasure to be embraced like a lover. Eat well, eat regularly just not to excess. Deny yourself nothing. Yet so many people do. And they are surely blunting their sensual appetite more generally. Deny yourself dessert  and what are you going to lick off your lover before you fuck? And how can you get properly horny and have the energy for love making without steak or oysters or a glass of wine?

I have lost three and a half stone since the beginning of 2015. I am now dress size 12 to 14 where I was once a 22. Some of this was down to running but mainly it is down to making the decision to eat well and eat regularly. Three proper meals, no snacks. Oh and room for dessert, room for cheese, room for wine.  It was while visiting friends In France that I had this idea. My friends pointed out that there are far fewer overweight people in France than in England yet most French people eat well. I had to agree.

I really can’t imagine Catherine Deneuve going 48 hours without food and not feeling hungry, still less being happy about it. So I’m just off out to buy cheese and maybe a crème brulee. And then I will see where the evening takes me.

Smutathon

Five weeks after my third half-marathon, in Manchester, I am taking on a new challenge, a writing marathon, the first Smutathon.  Now In have never written anywhere near as much smut as I would have liked and I see in this an opportunity to catch up, spending 12 hours writing filth. This will be in London in the company of other members of the Eroticon family   so it will be fun and very sociable, particularly if I take a couple of bottles of gin 🙂

This is filth with a purpose as we aim to raise money for two worthy causes, Rape Crisis and Backlash which campaigns against censorship and for sexual freedom.

This may seem to some an odd pairing. There are, after all, those who see censorship as a necessary step towards reducing the incidence of rape and sexual assault. Only recently I read Julie Bindel (who else) going on about porn culture and its role in the oppression of women as if she was unaware that women are both producers and consumers of porn, and that the often niche porn (BDSM for example) that women produce is most at risk from the puritanical urges of our politicians.

I think I can speak from all my fellow participants when I say that we reject this view. The full and free expression of human sexuality is joyful and life enhancing.  And I emphasise free. This means consent at all times. Our choices are ours and ours alone. Politicians (and Julie Bindel) need to remember this too.

I hope you are able to support us. You can sponsor us here

Oh and huge thanks to the wonderful Coffee and Kink who had the idea and the energy to bring it about. You can follow her blog here

As for me I really can’t wait until July 1st.

 

 

Identity

This post arises from the happy coincidence of two books I have been reading recently, books which, at first sight, don’t seem to have much in common. The first is Maya Angelou’s “See How The Caged Bird Sings.” We discussed it this morning at the monthly Birmingham Feminist Book Club. Part of a wide-ranging discussion revolved around literature as a means of self understanding, this arising from Angelou’s won discussion in her book of what reading the classics of English literature, and especially, Shakespeare, meant to her, and how she was able, by engaging with the texts, to make sense of her own experience.

This was a concept that was made real for me a couple of years ago when I was a volunteer buddy for a Community Interest Company that worked with adults experiencing mental health difficulties, in particular by encouraging them to read literature and sharing their experiences. To get a flavour of what they did I was invited to attend one of the meetings. We were reading Rose Tremain’s novel The Road Home. The group consisted of people of varying ages, many of whom lived in considerable isolation, an isolation made worse by anxiety and phobias. Some of them only left the house for the weekly meeting in a local library. Most of them had little experience of serious reading. From the discussion, however, it became clear that the book was opening doors for them and all of them were able to use the text to make sense of their own lives, at the same times bringing their won experiences to bear in interpreting the text. As they talked they gave me new insights into the book. This experience was both illuminating and humbling.

These experiences and thoughts are particularly relevant to the other book I have been reading. This is an anthology called Identity, whose contributors all attended the recent Eroticon conference. I have to declare an interest. I was one of the contributors. But that is now why I am writing about it. The content is pretty eclectic, some of it personal reminiscence, and painful reminiscence at that, some of it fantasy, some of it opinion, some of it seriously hot, you know, the stuff you read one handed.  And then there was Meg-John Barker’s piece on erotic fiction as means of self understanding which got me reflecting again on my own identity, or in this case my sexual identity and what it means to me. This short essay was in my head as I read the other pieces and enriched my reading experience.  This really is as a wonderful anthology and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Erotic fiction has changed my life. I really don’t know why, one day in 2012, I felt the urge tio write a story about a carer in a elderly person’s home who has a relationship with a gay man whose carer he is. Other stories followed. I went online, I set up a Twitter account, I read voraciously, I discovered Eroticon and became part of a community. And a new Eve emerged, an Eve who is kinky, bisexual, who is proud to know sex workers she can call friends, an Eve committed to the freeest possible expression of human sexuality (subject to consent). In short an Eve I could not have imagined even existed only 6 years ago. It is through erotic literature that I have discovered what was previously latent, and been able to articulate it.

The main protagonist of my first story was Eric, an Oxford graduate who had been jailed for “gross indecency” in the dark days before 1967 and who experienced late sexual joy with a younger man. I killed him off at the end as the younger man had to move on and make his own way as a gay man in a different age, but acutely aware of the debt gay men, indeed all of us who are in some way not heteronormative, owe to those who suffered for daring to be different. I made sure, however, that Eric died happy, at peace with himself. I knew then that I owed him that. I know now that I owe him much more.

He’s In Love With Rock’n’Roll Woah

This year seems to be quite big for anniversaries. I have probably heard enough about Sergeant Pepper and anyway always preferred Revolver. The 40th anniversary of the first Clash album passed yesterday with rather less fanfare but it is a milestone of its own particularly for those of us old enough to remember it (and buy it). A lot of the songs still stand up, fast, frenetic and angry. Career Opportunities is probably even more relevant in an age of zero hours contracts than it was when it was written. Those who don’t remember the 1970s may not know who the first song on Side One was about. When I listened to it first, aged 15, I remembered this story from three years earlier.

I remembered reading about the singer Janie Jones being jailed for 7 years in  1974 for “controlling prostitutes”. What this amounted to in practice was procuring sex workers for prominent people who wanted paid sex, in this case at parties she organised. In effect she was a middle woman putting sex workers in touch with clients. The press reported extensively on this, with no end of titillating detail. The News of the World printed lurid stories about Janie in  Holloway, and the pink silk sheets she allegedly had on her prison bunk. These stories were really the fetishisation of Janie as “caged woman”, and evidence, if any were needed, that this was a newspaper for wankers. In 1977 Janie herself was not long out of prison and, seeking to lie low for a bit, not thrilled to hear that a punk band had recorded a sing about her. That is, until she heard it. She apparently loved the song and later worked with the band.

Her case is another example of the prurience and hypocrisy that still surrounds sex and sexuality in this country. She was made an example of to protect the better connected people who had been guests at her sex parties. Her 7 year sentence was, by the standards of 1974, an era before the sentence inflation of the last two decades, incredibly harsh. The cycle of hypocrisy was: it happens but we pretend it doesn’t. If it becomes public we find a scapegoat and fetishise them for the benefit of the plebs who also have to sign up to the hypocrisy.

If attitudes to sex in 1974 were essentially infantile, we may ask if anything significant has changed. In recent years we have had the ATVOD rulings on the depiction of things like face sitting and squirting, all this from a body whose Chief Executive, according to those who have had direct dealings with him, knows an awful lot about BDSM practices for a man who thinks mature adults need to be protected from them. We now have the Digital Economy which will bring in its wake further chilling of sexual self-expression. And all the time we have the tireless and rather unholy alliance of religious fundamentalists and radical feminists who think that consensual sex with an exchange of money is “violence against women” and that sex workers need to be rescued, even if they don’t want to be. Thus we have the ludicrous spectacle of feminists trying to control the bodies of other, usually less privileged, women in the name of giving them bodily autonomy.

And, in 2017 no less than in 1974, it is women’s sexuality that is stigmatised, women’s bodies that need to be controlled. We should be angry. Just as The Clash were forty years ago.

OH I WISH IT COULD BE 1965 AGAIN

Sang the Barracudas in 1980.  That, apparently, is also what a lot of Brexit supporters think according to one recent article. This seems to confirm what many of us thought, that Brexit is all part of a nostalgia for simpler times, when a policeman told you the time, when children did as they were told, when murderers got their just desserts, when Heinz tinned spaghetti was the nearest most Brits came to exotic foreign food.

I am not sure why they alighted on 1965. There is actually a lot to like about 1965. Consider the continuing post war boom, full employment, strong trade unions, in short rising living standards for everyone, greater equality too.  It was also a good year for music and fashion. This was the year The Who released My  Generation, the year that Andre Courreges and Mary Quant gave us the mini skirt. Each, in their different ways , were signs of the times, signs that Britain was shaking off the dead weight of the past in cultural and social terms.

It is true that Britian still had the death penalty but there were no hangings. Labour had returned to power in October 1964, two months after the executions of Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans and Harold Wilson appointed as Home Secretary Frank Soskice, a long standing opponent of the death penalty. This ensured there would be no more, particularly as Soskice secured government support for Sydney Silverman’s Private Members Bill, suspending the death penalty for murder for a 5 year trial period. This passed into law in October 1965 and was made permanent four years later. 1965 was, therefore, the year in which the death penalty for murder was finally abolished.

By this time Soskice had been replaced at the Home Office by Roy Jenkins and further massive change  was coming into view, including the decriminalisation of sexual acts between consenting adult men,  the decriminalisation of abortion, reform to divorce law, abolition of theatre censorship and so on. 1965 was also the year that the UK embarked on metrication, something that an awful lot of people seem to think was imposed on us by the EU. It wasn’t.

So, dear Brexit supporters, 1965 really isn’t the year for you despite what the Huffington Post says. Any point of time is a snapshot of something becoming something else. 1965 is a snapshot of a country in the process of becoming a freer, more tolerant, more exciting, above all, more civilised place.  Will the bloggers of 2069 be able to say that about 2017?

The Remains of the Day

As I don’t own a pair of leather trousers I suppose I can claim just two things in common with the Prime Minister, a second class Oxford degree and the fact that I was an unenthusiastic Remainer in last year’s referendum. I was actually active in the anti Maastricht campaign in the 1990s and have a longer Eurosceptic pedigree than she does. Yet I could see no advantages on leaving rather than  staying and fighting for reform.

Unlike her I remain a Remainer. Zeal of the convert is hardly an adequate expression for her change of heart and the way she has sided with the hard core Brexit headbangers, attempting to bypass Parliament altogether and then, when the courts reminded of what the law said, treating it with contempt with a 137 word Bill, guillotined debate and a three line whip. A narrow result in a flawed (and advisory) referendum has become the “will of the people”, immutable, immune from challenge, to be interpreted by Mrs. May and no one else.   She claims that the country needs to unite but apparently considers that the 63% of the electorate who didn’t vote Leave or the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland are of no account at all. She took over a bitterly divided country (some of my family are still not speaking to each other) and has made it more divided.

What bodes even less well is the refusal of Brexit advocates to take ownership of the situation they have created. As I commented before the referendum I thought much of what they were saying was wishful thinking. I have heard nothing to make me change my mind. Worse still, they seem prepared to blame everyone but themselves if it goes wrong.  It will all be the fault of their opponents, traitors, enemies of democracy, enemies of the people, talking down Britain etc etc.  If it has been nasty so far, it;s about to get nastier. Because we already know that the Government has no plan beyond platitudes, no adequately trained negotiators, no time either. The decision to trigger Article 50  by the end of March has no justification other than the need to keep the Daily Mail happy.  Nothing much can happen until the autumn because of pending presidential elections in France and then parliamentary elections in Germany and,with six months needed at the end for all the various national and regional parliaments across Europe to ratify the deal, they have a year to come up with something. It isn’t going to happen. The likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg will, of course, glory in this.

We don’t, of course. need the EU to shaft us as we have a Government that is doing that for us. I sometimes think I will wake up and find it was all a bad dream. Unfortunately it isn’t and I think that the 29th March 2017 will be the day the United Kingdom became a smaller, nastier place.  The problem is that I have to live in it.

I’m Off to Eroticon 2017

There are just two weeks until the most awesome weekend of the year. Erotioon is the sex writer’s conference to end…….Ok cliche over. Here is my online Meet and Greet. Please check out the other awesome posts by following this link

NAME (and Twitter if you have one)

Eve Ray @EveRay1 although I attended last year under a different name. This is the name I always wanted to attend under and now I finally am. As such this is the closure of a significant chapter in my life. If you really want to know why I didn’t come as Eve before buy me a cocktail and I will tell you.

 What are you hoping to get out of Eroticon 2017?

Just as last year I just want to spend time with awesome people, a number of whom I can call friends. This is actually a precious opportunity to talk freely about aspects of my life I simply can’t tell many people about. Even on the local kink scene I don’t feel anything like the freedom I do at Eroticon.

I am also looking to learn and be inspired. I have not had anywhere as much time for writing as I would like but if I came away with my head full of ideas it will all have been worthwhile.

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?

Myles Jackman is always worth listening to. I will go to Kate Lister’s Sunday session. Sex work is something that I once write about extensively and it remains a significant interest and campaigning focus for me. Sarah Bryn –Holiday’s session sounds interesting and I hope I have made the cut for DJ Fet’s rope class. I was totally awed by her scene with Lola Day at Eroticon 2015 and determined to learn even though it had never particularly been a kink of mine. I am a slow learner though!

Tell us one thing about yourself that not many people know?

I am a published poet under my real name.

If you made the papers, what would the headline be?

Revealed: Saucy secrets of the cocktail drinking pin-up girl (News of the World if still existed)

If you could have one skill for free (I.e. without practice/time/effort) what would it be?

I would love to be able to swim

Complete the sentence: I love it when…

Gentlemen stand up and offer me their seat. ……..I may be debauched, I may be a feminist but I’m an old-time gal at heart