What It Means To Be Submissive

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I am a submissive. This is something I have had to say to many, when I first begin to try and make myself known to them. It's something I've had to write in text messages, throw out into the empty space of a phone call, and blurt out over coffee at 2pm on a Tuesday. It's something I've said many times while naked in bed with another human, trying to explain myself and get my needs met, if only for the night. And yet as hard as the phrase can be to let slip, and as loaded as it is with connotations, it still often fails to make me any better understood. The words often fall dead and heavy between me and whoever I am speaking to, only adding another layer of confusion. I wish more people had a better understanding of what BDSM, and specifically, dominance and submission, actually is, so that people like me could make ourselves better known with that phrase, which is after all, the only phrase we have.

"Submissive"; adjective: ready to conform to the authority or will of others

There isn't just one kind of submissive: Submission is a blanket term for a huge variety of sexual inclinations. It's a vague jab of a finger in the direction of a preference, and nothing more. You can't tell much about what someone will enjoy just because they are a submissive, or "sub" for short. There are many different submissive roles and personae, including littles, pets, slaves, dolls, and many others, all with their own desires, needs, culture, jargon and fantasies. In its essence, I would describe submission as finding joy through yielding to another.

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Different kinds of subs like different kinds of things: What is pleasing to a babygirl might be boring to a slave, and what is delicious for a slave might be tedious for a pet. A babygirl might love being called "princess" for example - a slave probably won't. A babygirl might love getting spanked, but pets might not. Who spanks a cat, after all? One particularly common mistake is assuming that all submissives love being called a slut or a whore or any old cuss word. This is simply not true. Subs tend to be very specific about the words that they do like to be called, because language is so important to maintaining any sexual fantasy.

A submissive is not the same thing as a masochist: Dominance and submission (or D/s) is about power and control; sadomasochism is about pain. The two often coexist, but they don't have to. There are a lot of submissives who don't enjoy pain-play. There's obviously nothing wrong with that at all and I do have a little masochistic streak, but it isn't a package deal.

There are active and passive forms of submission: Just like anyone, subs can take an active or a passive role in sexual play. For example, an active submissive might like begging, body worship, performing tasks or following instructions, and earning rewards. All of these things are a demonstration of mental submission, aiming to please, obedience, or whatever you want them to mean. A passive sub on the other hand might not enjoy any of that jumping through hoops; they usually yearn to feel physically overpowered, the illusion of force, or coercion. This could include restraints and bondage, reluctance role play, consensual non-consent, punishments, blackmail, or being chased. Basically anything that allows the sub to fully resist and feel for a moment as if they need take no responsibility.

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Submissives aren't submissive with everyone: Being submissive in bed rarely overlaps with how one wants to be treated at work or school or daily life. That would be ridic. We aren't submissive with every Dominant, or even with everyone we are attracted to. I've dated people who were not into BDSM, and my submissive side simply lies dormant, until I meet someone who brings it out again. It very much depends on the chemistry I have with each individual.

Being submissive is not incompatible with feminism: This should be obvious, but unfortunately it's not. A lot of people still feel that because you are a girl who enjoys submissive role-play, you must believe that it is somehow "where you belong", or that being submissive is "natural" for women. This is obviously bollocks, and I hold no such ideas. It goes without saying that there are just as many men who enjoy being submissive as there are women, and no one, regardless of gender, should be shamed for wanting something so normal. I consider myself to be a sex-positive feminist who strives to be intersectional. To me, there is nothing empowering about denying our sexual natures, whatever they may be.

If you want to learn more about the psychology behind submission and other sexual fantasies, then I recommend this video on BDSM 101 by Laci Green,  and this one on Understanding Sexual Fantasy from The School Of Life. The nipple pasties and luxury rope in these images are both available at Ann Summers.

Fun Valentine's Wallpapers For Your iPhone

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Like pretty much everyone, I've had some great Valentine's Days and some not-so-great ones. But I've never had one that was SO SHIT that I ended up in tears. At worst they usually turn out to be a bit of a non-day, spent in my pyjamas or working. In short, I have no beef with Valentine's Day. I've never been dumped on this day, nor had a fight with a paramour, nor a terrible date that ended badly - and I have every reason to expect that this February 14th will be full of joy, so I'm going to run with it. My own personal taste definitely comes into its own at this time of year; hearts, roses, red and pink are all my thangggg. As are sex and romance. Valentine's is basically a big carnival of chocolate and fucking and apologies, so I'm well down for it. To get my series of loosely Valentine's-inspired posts under-way, here's a selection of cute, quirky, fun wallpapers to decorate your iPhone with and get you in the mood.

25 While I Am 25

It is my birthday today. Being 25 seems a frighteningly adult concept. I can safely say, along with every other 25-year-old, that my life is not what I thought it would be by now. There are things I wanted to have "sorted", that are still very much unsorted. There are bits of me that feel "together", and bits that are still very much, well...bits. I read somewhere that thinking you should have your life together by now is a quick way to ruin your twenties, and I'd have to agree. I spent most of my teenage years worrying over things that didn't matter, and that had no impact on my life after all. I haven't really learned much it seems, and still waste time stressing over the trivial. I made no resolutions this year, and instead spent a bit of time thinking over not what I would like to achieve, but how I would like to live. These are 25 little changes that I want to make.

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#1 Use all my prettiest things, wear my best clothes, burn my beautiful candles, write in all my cute notebooks. Save nothing for a special occasion.

#2 Forgive

#3 Become a morning person, even if it takes a lot of coffee

#4 Explore all of Europe and most importantly, photograph it

#5 Stop worrying about damage and dye my hair a pastel colour (I have one in mind, but I'm not telling just yet)

#6 Take cute selfies with my lover and be less paranoid about posting them online. I can remember a time when I was less cynical, less scared of who was watching, and I would like to get back there. Not just because they deserve it, but because I do too.

#7 Get macarons from the real Laduree, and Instagram the shit out of them

#8 Finally start taking trapeze, pole, and circus art classes

#9 Get into a proper skincare routine

#10 Ruthlessly clear out everything I own that I would not miss, as often as possible

#11 Get my ears pierced all the way up until I look like a satanic elf

#12 Learn more about photography

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#13 Tell people to fuck off when they deserve it

#14 Talk more, and text less

#15 Meet more bloggers that I love, so that I can love them in the flesh

#16 Stop apologising for how specific my coffee order is

#17 Read more books that make me believe in magic

#18 Do kind things, quietly

#19 Spend a day listening to miserable music and making morbid art

#20 Take my camera out more, and stop complaining about the weight like a little lazy bitch

#21 Eat more cupcakes

#22 Sort out the dull, bureaucratic tasks that intimidate me but that need to be done so that I can grow 

#23 Get naked more

#24 Vlog

#25 Take the time to put on lip liner

Winter LUSH Haul: Christmas, Valentine's, And Some Cult Classics

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I'll dive right in because I know you all want to know how these products perform and what they smell/feel like. I was lucky enough to collect most of my stash as Christmas presents. This was the first year I ever really went full-on with all LUSH's winter products, including their Christmas and Valentine's ranges, and I can now proudly say I've tried most of the special editions, and most of the cult clasics that I've always wanted to test. This is also the first year I've had a Unicorn Horn, so muchos excitement all round.

Holly Golightly Bubble Bar: You can't really handle Holly Golightly very much, as you WILL get covered in a film of silver glitter and end up looking like Tin Man. Luckily it doesn't do the same when you chuck it in the bath. It makes a really warming winter soak, scented with clove, patchouli, orange and cinnamon. Fabulous if you love mulled wine.

Strawberry Feels Massage Bar: This is probably one of my all-time favourite LUSH products. It's a really amazing formula that melts just enough in your hands without getting everywhere, and smells like white chocolate and strawberries. It's great on my dry-ish winter skin and absorbs really easily, and is perfect for couple's massage sessions too, being full of aphrodisiac strawberries.

American Cream Hair Conditioner: I've wanted to try this conditioner for such a long time, and it hasn't disappointed me. I heard somewhere that is was great for daily use if you have long hair, and I have to agree. As long as I rinse it properly (not being bothered to rinse for long enough is always my downfall, d'oh) then it leaves my hair shiny and smelling AMAZING. It's not as rich as I thought it would be, so even if your hair isn't super long or super dry, then you might still like this.

Sea Salt and Peppermint Body Scrub: I am kinda obsessed with both salt and peppermint throughout the winter. I adore salted chocolate and peppermint coffee. This scrub has one of the most fantastically mouth-watering scents and leaves you feeling thoroughly polished. Like, smooth as a piece of museum floor kinda polished. If anything I'd say be careful not to over-exfoliate, or the sea salt will really scrub you red raw.

Sticky Banana Soap: This is another thing I wanted purely for the smell, as I have a lot of soap and shower gels already. But I can't resist banana and this struck me as yet another really moisturising cleansing product, which I definitely need.

Porridge Soap: Yet another rich and delicious cleansing product, Porridge comes packed with real oats so it gives you a gentle exfoliation as well, and as with all LUSH products, the smell is amazing. I feel like I could write about LUSH forever with just different versions of "this smells amazing" but it's all totally true.

Unicorn Horn: This is the first time EVER that I've bought one of the famous Unicorn Horns, a special edition bubble bar that LUSH bring out as part of their Valentine's day range. I do wish the range had a few more products this year, as I love the Valentine's Day aesthetic of red and hearts and roses, and all the amazing floral and chocolatey concoctions that are possible. Unicorn Horn is definitely my favourite thing from the range. It turns the water bright pastel pink and makes a beautifully fresh and relaxing lavender and neroli scented bath.

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about Kerbside Violet and First Snow, you can read more about them here and here.

Birthday Wishlist

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Rocket iPhone case, SkinnyDip London // D'Fluff shaving soap, LUSH // Jewel "princess" stainless steel butt plug, (similar on Amazon) // "Layla" mother of pearl headphones, Frends // MacBook Air, Apple // Red Roses cologne, Jo Malone // Rubber Man AHS Funko Pop, Funko via Amazon // Alice in Wonderland tsum tsum, Disney Store //

I feel really lucky to have my birthday in January. I may not ever be able to have a beach party or a picnic in celebration, but at least it gives me something to look forward to after Christmas. For most people, January is the most depressing time of the year, but for me it's all about continuing the festivities, starting a new year, and asking again for the things I didn't get at Christmas. I'm shameless like that. This year I'm going to be 25, and I expect I'll want to write about everything that makes me feel, nearer the time. But for now I want to think about the pretty pastel-goth presents, and enjoy.

Sleep Paralysis: A Terrible Kind Of Magic

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My nightmare is over. At least, it should be. I am laying on my bed and I can see my own familiar walls and the tiny round window in the far corner, like a ship's porthole. As I begin to rouse I feel someone walk into the room, his presence looming over me from the doorway. I can see him from the corner of my eye; a black, shifting shape, larger than my own. Extreme, paralysing dread keeps me still and quiet as he begins to move towards me. If he comes any closer, I think to myself, I will scream. Any closer and I will scream. And yet as he comes, I find I cannot scream. There is no sound to make in the vacuum he has pulled around me. I try to move, and a current of electricity moves across my shoulders and up the nape of my neck, stunning me into submission as I choke on my own words. I feel him drop and crouch beside me the way you would when speaking to a small child. His fingers find my bare neck in the darkness, and I know he is smiling because I hear it in his voice as he whispers, "have I got your attention now?". 

I've had sleep paralysis for about four years now. The disorder can be summed up as the occurrence of vivid hallucinations alongside muscle atonia (paralysis). It's classified as a parasomnia, an unexplained phenomena resulting from an overlap of REM sleep and waking. What this means is that your body is still very much asleep, while your mind is beginning to become aware of your surroundings. One theory is that as a result of becoming aware of our own perfectly natural paralysis, survival instincts kick in, and our senses become heightened to a such a degree that we interpret normal sounds, sights and other sensory input as threatening. For example, I once saw my wardrobe turn into a giant cockroach and crawl across my ceiling. What is most unexplained about sleep paralysis is why sufferer's visions are so similar across the board; so similar in fact, that throughout various religions and periods of history, sleep paralysis was taken as proof of a spirit world, witchcraft, or demonic possession. Hallucinations usually fall into one of two categories: the intruder, and the succubus. The former revolve around a sinister presence in the room, a demonic voice, and an overwhelming sense of dread, alongside the muscle atonia. The latter most often occur when the sleeper is on their back. A male or female creature will be laying/sitting on their chest, either holding them helpless on the bed, or sucking their soul out through their mouth.

Perhaps the cruellest thing about sleep paralysis is that the presence you feel in the room with you gets increasingly threatening the more you resist or try to move. For example, I will only hear a voice once I try to scream, or feel a touch if I try to move. It is like one of those puzzling children's finger traps, weaving a tighter knot around you the more you try to pull away. Paralysis can last from anywhere between a few seconds to a few hours, but most of my attacks last between 5-10 minutes, which believe me, is long enough. There are things you can do to help prevent it; managing stress and anxiety goes a long way to managing sleep paralysis, as does avoiding alcohol, drugs, and other stimulants such as energy drinks. Sleeping on your side can also help. If you become aware that you are experiencing paralysis, it's a good idea to calm your body as much as possible, breathe deeply, and not fight it, which is easier said than done. I would also recommend keeping a dream journal of everything you experience while you are under, however much you want to forget. Some of the greatest art in the world was inspired by things people saw because of sleep paralysis, and in this way, we can make it serve some purpose. 

What I Got For Christmas

These kinds of posts can be conflicting. A lot of us (all of us, come on) enjoy having a nosey at what other people buy, enjoy, and receive as gifts. Taking an interest in that stuff is part of the reason so many of us read blogs. I love watching hauls on YouTube and the like, particularly when I'm really broke, as it kind of helps me live vicariously and plan what I WILL treat myself to one day, when I have the cash. We shouldn't feel guilty about this habit or desire. Christmas, admittedly, is a bit different, and is still a really sacred and special time for a lot of people, even if they aren't religious. For me, Christmas isn't all about the presents, although they are fucking great. I love the time with my family, the food, and how pretty we make our surroundings at Christmas. I love the thoughtfulness and the generosity. It seems odd not to share the things we receive as gifts out of some false sense of humility, and equally strange to brag. So I decided to just show you a few things; not the biggest or most expensive, but a selection of the cutest, kookiest, and most interesting presents. There's even a sex toy in there, so Happy Christmas to me.

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I've been after Prada Candy for SO LONG and obviously this didn't go unnoticed by Cosy Bean (thank you Sophie!). It smells absolutely delicious and has shot straight into my "wear every day because yolo" perfume spot. 2016 is going to be the year of smelling fucking amazing every day, because I got another perfume from my Mum, LUSH's Gorilla Perfume, Kerbside Violet. I tested this ages ago and fell in love with it's dirty, grassy, violet scent - not sickly sweet like parma violets, but just sweet enough with a hint of wet earth, like violets would really smell in the wild.

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As most of you will know, I am a fan of the unicorn. And I mean, LOOK AT THIS. This LED unicorn lamp comes with a battery already inside so you simply click it on and it glows a series of bright, pastel and neon colours. I've had it beside the tub when I'm taking a bath and it is the most relaxing thing in the world. When it glows red it is literally like being inside a giant unicorn womb. Wait, what?

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Recently, I wrote about getting bra-fitted at Boux Avenue (you can read it here if you missed it!) and shared some of the styles I tried on, including this Isabella set. These were a present I kind of knew about already, because I'd had to try them on and I pointed out my favourite colours, but I was still over the moon to see little Boux Avenue boxes under the tree come Christmas Eve. The Isabella bra is a deep plunge with lace and diamante across the band, and has a gorgeous, sparkly matching thong.

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Most people that know me, know that I struggle to relax and de-stress in certain situations. I'm pretty anxious about travelling alone, paperwork, and anything even remotely official or interview-y, although I'm fine in a social context. I've always had trouble sleeping properly and I have a sleep disorder called sleep paralysis, which tends to rear its ugly head when I'm really at my limits physically or emotionally. Colouring is something that I've wanted to try for ages as I've heard it helps so many people deal with similar issues, and this book is designed for people who have trouble sleeping. It's full of intricate, repetitive and detailed patterns that are relaxing and soothing for the eyes. You can pick up similar ones in WHSmith!

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I've tried Hitachi wands before, but this one from Lovehoney is a cut above. It has no batteries and is plugged in at the mains instead, which means it reaches an insane level of intensity. Wands are really versatile toys and a fantastic piece of kit for couples, as they can be used in loads of different ways. They feel great applied to bare skin or on top of fabric, and can be used to massage any area of the body, not just your junk. They can even be doubled up with butt plugs by placing them against the base of your plug to make the whole thing vibrate. To add yet another option, I was also given this g-spot stimulator attachment that you wrap around the head of the massager, so that you can have internal and external stimulation at the same time. Safe to say I feel spoilt rotten, in many different ways.

Christmas Morning Rituals

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Jacquard dressing gown, star and moon print trousers, slippers (just seen) all FatFace* 

I always spend Christmas morning the same way, every single year. The rituals that I wake up and perform, almost innately, instinctively, have been with me for as long as I can remember. Even though I'm nearly 25 and I've spent Christmas in lots of different places, some things always remain the same, and I can't imagine it ever being any different.

I get up very early. And I mean early. So early that it used to reduce my poor mother to tears. She tells me that one year I woke up so early that she had only been resting in bed for 30 seconds, having just finished wrapping all our presents and putting them under the tree, when I ran in declaring that Father Christmas had been, and that I could see lumps in my stocking. Because of this ridiculous enthusiasm (lack of self control, potato, po-tah-to) we made a tradition that I would go to my brother's room first, and we could open our stockings together as early as we liked. Because my bro and I share an apartment now, we still do this, and I sit at the foot of his bed like I did when I was four. When we're married we'll probably still do the same thing, and our unfortunate spouses will just have to remember to wear pyjamas.

I stay in my pyjamas all day. I've tried to get dressed up in "Christmas outfits" a few times, but it never lasts long. I always eat a chocolate breakfast and chocolate breakfasts do not mix with rose-gold sequin skirts or velvet dresses. I usually put some make-up on so that I look quasi-human in any photos, and then we gather together wherever my mother is, and open all our presents. I'll try and give her more than 30 seconds sleep this year.