Elust #77

The Other Livvy Elust Header
Photo courtesy of The Other Livvy

Welcome to Elust #77

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #78? Start with the rules, come back January 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!


~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

On the Island of Mhowra

Shoulder shaming?

What becomes of the broken hearted…


~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

You can hear it in my voice.

Fingers – Please Fuck me With Just Them

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

Don’t tell me sucking dick is easy
Continue reading


A friend gave me some old cameras for Christmas. Here, shot with an iPhone through the viewfinder of a Box Brownie, is a Kodak Six-20 Junior. 

This is the last Sinful Sunday of the year so I’d like to say thank you for all the wonderful and supportive feedback throughout 2015 and a huge massive hug and sloppy kiss for Molly for bringing together such a great community. Here’s to more creative, sexy, awesome photography in 2016. Happy New Year everyone. Xx


40. 41. One.


“One day I am just going to get pissed and send you a photo of my big old 70s bush.”

Conversations I didn’t think I would be having a year ago. Conversations with a friend who I have known since I was 15 and with whom I used to sit in the café where we worked and make boy lists scoring those we fancied on height, hair, music taste and kissing ability! And yes, I do still judge on all four of those…

Today is my birthday. 41. I write this in my favourite pub, fresh from a walk in the park and with a large glass of wine by my side and a burger on order. A deliciously solitary Wicked Wednesday!

But let’s rewind 15 months. I pinged Molly this story about a woman who had photographed herself in only her underwear every year on her birthday since 1974: “You don’t know me but I have done a couple of Exhibit A’s anonymous posts and I think this photographer would interest you.” A brief conversation. Molly saying she wishes she’d started her self-portraits earlier, me commenting that I was born the year the woman started her project and was now approaching the Big 4.0. “Maybe I should start a blog and do 40 for 40?!” “Do it!” Molly replied.

Four months pass. It’s a Friday afternoon and I am in a training course when a text arrives from Exhibit A: “You made the Sinful Sunday round-up!” My heart went into my mouth. My friends and I had had so much fun taking that photo on the first day of 2015. I wrote about it three weeks later in my first post for Exposing 40. You see, seeds had been sown and ideas were growing that could no longer be sufficiently nurtured in a monthly anonymous post. I wanted this little journey I had started on Exhibit A’s blog to grow its own legs and I wanted it to be a shared endeavour. ‘Friends. Photography. Adventure.’ is the strapline of Exposing 40.

And what adventures! My university friend and I stepping back in time to the carefree days of our photography degree, once again chatting excitedly about photography ideas. Meeting local friends at 6am for a sunrise shoot. A friend who dates all the way back to primary school rolling her eyes as hungover me inelegantly tried to get out of this huge box last weekend!

New adventures with old friends has been energising. Making new ones has been an unexpected bonus, but oh!, what lovely lovely people I have met. Just a few weeks after my blog was born I sat in the pub where I write this drinking too much wine with Honey and plotting her shoot. I hooted with laughter on the steps of New York City Library with F Dot Leonora. I tramped through the woods with Molly feeling a slight sense of awe that I was this lucky. I met The Photographer who is just so talented and brimming over with encouragement, warmth and ideas.

And there are people I am yet to meet but who have been so welcoming that I am quite sure I will see them 2016, in person or with the aid of tech. Maria and I have promised ourselves a Skype and wine date and I am sure I will visit my friend in Amsterdam during the year (she who took the ‘Tits in Tietgarten’ shot) and when I do I will be looking Rebel up. I am completely honoured that others have asked me to photograph them and I look forward to that happening in the next year. I have been blown away by invitations to do guest posts by brilliant people like Oleander Plume, and another will follow soon at F Dot Leonora’s place. Sorry gorgeous, it will be written these holidays!

How will Exposing 40 evolve? I don’t know! I have a few women friends who have hinted they want to get involved and I know they quietly watch from the side lines. Maybe one day they will leap, maybe they won’t. But if watching this project evolve is helping them think differently about their post-40, post-babies, post-I-fucking-love-wine-and-cheese bodies then that’s enough for me.

I want more very slim women and men to feel they can talk about their own self-image; they, after all, can feel the same sense of alienation from not having a text book ‘perfect’ body as those of us at the larger end of the spectrum. I want more men involved full stop. Body positivity is not an issue owned solely by women.

I want to use the access my day job affords me to explore more how different countries and cultures view the human body. I want to get back in touch with the couple with whom I had a threesome; the woman, a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, chastised her partner for his accurate interpretation of her “manky foot” in the sketch he had made of she and I together. I hadn’t noticed her foot in the sketch because I was thinking he’d made my arse look a bit big. Because that’s what we do isn’t it? We accept others as they are yet pick on ourselves. At the time she said I could use the photos taken and sketches made however I wanted, but I won’t do that unless I can bring in her voice and her reflections. I want to hear people’s voices, not just see their image. And there is room for many more voices, bodies and experiences in Exposing 40, 41, 42…

This is a really special welcoming and encouraging community to be part of and it makes me so happy that people put so much into running the many memes and that everyone comments so enthusiastically. Thank you!

Here are a few highlights from year one. There are many self-portraits I am proud of on my blog but in the true spirit of Exposing 40 this gallery is made up only of photos that I have taken of friends or that friends have taken of me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wicked Wednesday

Seven Swans a Swimming…

Trigger: rape

Rubens Leda and the SwanNot quite within 72 hours but I am working on the assumption I’ll get away with it, not least because Exhibit A likes a geeky list! I must confess, this is random even by my standards, but I do *love* researching random things and I had a couple of swan facts bubbling round my head, so I thought I would see if I could make it to 7…

  1. All swans were ugly ducklings once. C’mon, I couldn’t not mention this favourite childhood fairy-tale about self-image when this is a body positivity blog, could I? There are all sorts of moral tales in Hans Christian Anderson’s story of personal transformation, not least the negative impact of bullying others about and judging ourselves on appearance.
  2. Derrick SantiniHelen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world, was conceived when Zeus, disguised as a swan, rapes her mother Leda. Artists have been depicting this story for centuries. From Rubens (above) to more recently Derrick Santini’s photograph which was removed from a London gallery on the grounds it condoned bestiality.
  3. Swans are not as monogamous as we once thought. Famous for mating for life and being symbols of fidelity atop many a wedding cake, it turns out the myth isn’t quite true. In 2006 the Australia Research Council found 1 in 6 black swan cygnets were the result of copulation away from the permanent partnership. Less scientifically, the Western Daily Press reported a swan threesome earlier this year!
  4. Based in Budapest, SWAN (the Sex Workers Research Advocacy Network) is a network of sex worker-led groups and organisations campaigning for the human rights of the sex workers in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Network lobbies to destigmatize sex work, improve the working conditions and health rights of sex workers and to end violence against sex workers.
  5. hannah-woolley-recipe-bookAside from a little salt and pepper, apparently the only seasoning this beautiful bird needs is a little ginger! Or so The Queen-like Closet, a recipe book published in 1673 claims. The author, Hannah Wolley, is the second known English woman to earn an income from writing. The first, published three years earlier, was ‘bawdy’ Aphra Ben who Virginia Woolf remembers in A Room of One’s Own as “she who earned them a right to speak their mind.”
  6. According to those well-known social analysists, vouchercodespro.com, a ‘study’ of 2,124 British adults found that Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis’ sex scene in Black Swan is the UK’s favourite sex scene.
  7. I bang on about India quite a lot on Twitter, and occasionally here, but I do love it! In Hindu culture the swan (hamsa) is the animal symbol of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. The Paramahamsa (Supreme Swan) is a title granted to Hindu masters who have achieved ultimate enlightenment.

So there you have it, some random enlightenment about majestic swans. Oh, and if you didn’t know, ‘seven swans a swimming’ represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

For more #awesomechristmaserotica hop over to Exhibit A‘s place!


Keep the Home Fires Burning

Mary Bradley waits at home
She has been waiting two years long

 In 1939 my Granny’s fiancé left to fight in World War II. 

WeddingThe importance of letters from girlfriends, fiancés and wives sent to their men on the battlefield is frequently romanticised. Tales of American GIs sweeping teenage girls off their feet are commonplace. Less is written about sex for the married women left behind.

‘We were not really immoral, there was a war on,’ is how one British housewife explains her behaviour during World War II in John Costello’s Love, Sex and War where he writes that “traditionally wives had waved their husbands off to war on the assumption that strict fidelity was incompatible with soldiering, but such was total war that even on the home front many wives were confronted by new choices and opportunities.”

In The Love-Charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War Laura Feigel explores what has been described as “the peak of British adultery”. Women not interested in casual affairs but also unprepared to be years without male company often pursued what were known as “wartime marriages” where they took a new partner and lived as man and wife until their husband returned. If they returned.

In autumn 1940, while he was on leave, my Granny married my Grandad. The blitz was in its third week.

In The Secret History of the Blitz Joshua Levine claims that it was World War II that was the true start of sexual liberalisation, not the swinging 60s two decades later. In it he recounts stories of couples fucking in the corner of air raid shelters, a young man who as the first bombs fell on the night of the 7th September 1940 ran to a pub in Soho to pick up a man for the first time because he thought ‘I may die tonight, I’m going to see what it’s like’ and, the one I like the most, the tale of a group in a shelter who were so absorbed talking about their sexual fantasies they didn’t notice the bombs falling until a warden came to check they were OK!

Show girlsSomeone involved in that conversation wrote to London Life describing the fantasies of ‘underwear, corsets, body piercing, dressing in rubber and even a phenomenon known as human pony riding’. The group decided that next time they spent an evening in the shelter everyone would dress according to their own fantasy. Did it happen? Who knows, but what a mental image! In May 1941 as the Blitz ended the magazine featured a cover shot of three showgirls dressed in only underwear and gas masks.

In 1941 my Granny answered a knock at the door. It was her fiancé. He was home on leave. You see, that Mary Bradley didn’t wait two years long. After a year with no word from the front my Granny had assumed he was dead and in a fast courtship typical of that time had met and married my Grandad within just a few weeks.

Data reflects the mood of the day. Illegitimate births in England and Wales went from 24,540 in 1939 to 35,164 in 1942, there was a 70% increase in STDs, and during the six years of war one in five pregnancies in Britain were aborted. When the war ended, religious leaders and figures of authority urged a return to pre-war moral values. For a time sexual freedom was again quelled but as Levine says, ‘Freedoms had been too widely tasted to be forgotten [and] the values of the post-war period gave way to the permissiveness of the Sixties by which point the youngsters who had experienced so much during the war had grown into middle-aged authority figures, with their own fond memories.’

And my Granny? ‘Oh, I definitely got the best one,’ were her words when she told me this story.

Check out more of the great submissions to Exhibit A’s Christmas meme.

Thanks to my friend P the WW2 aficionado for her tips on reading material for this piece.  xxx

The Whole Picture

A couple of weeks ago over lunch with a friend I found myself gently pulling his leg about some rather dashing black and white head shots that he’d had taken for work and shared on Facebook. After the initial ribbing passed we started talking about how truly hideous it is having this type of professional work portrait taken. Butt-clenchingly awful!

‘Being photographed naked is far easier than having a head and shoulders shot,’ I said.

And I wasn’t joking. Being photographed naked is liberating and fun. Whether you’re stripping off in your local park at 6am with some of your closest friends, tramping through the woods giggling and gossiping with a new one, or indulging in more drawn-out intimate performances at home, there’s a huge sense of freedom in whipping your clothes off and trusting yourself to someone’s camera.

Sometimes I come to these shoots with ideas, other times I am happy to relinquish creative control, especially with people like Molly and The Photographer. Being photographed by such talented individuals is a privilege and for me part of the experience was trusting them and revelling in the anticipation of seeing what they had done. Opening the email when these sets of photos arrived was as exciting as unwrapping a present.

The challenge for me though can come in selecting and posting the images. Not always, of course. When I saw what my friend who I asked to rope and photograph my legs had done I had all the ‘wow!’ and couldn’t hit publish fast enough! But like many of us I have edited, cropped and discarded my own self-portraits when in them I have seen imperfections I don’t want to share. What do you do when it is a photograph someone else has taken? Especially when the whole point of your little collaborative project is to get people thinking differently about bodies and beauty. When Molly sent me her edits she asked me if there were any I wasn’t comfortable with before she published them. ‘Yes,’ said my internal voice. ‘No, I love all of them,’ was my response.

EXP40-3When Molly posted her selection I couldn’t keep the wry smile from my lips. The photo I would have trashed was the one she selected as a favourite. While my eye had gone straight to my left breast and the inverted nipple that makes me cringe, Molly had pointed out the sunlight on my face and described me looking relaxed and beautiful. After reading her words my eyes zoomed out and I chose to focus on the smile playing on my lips and remember how glorious it was lying on the branch in the summer warmth, looking up at the dappled light.

IMG_3186I shared this anecdote with The Photographer. ‘If you don’t let go of the image you will self-criticise,’ he replied. I revisited some of his photographs. This one, cast aside because the lens had caught me scrunching at the same poor berated nipple, trying to get it to stand to attention. Again, I zoomed out. I chose instead to see elegance in the lines and shadows, shoulders that are more defined than I had thought, hair I love and most of all it really really makes me want to have my neck kissed! ‘I can’t really believe that’s me,’ I said. ‘Well it is you and beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ he replied.

IMG_4868How true. I was reminded of this photograph I took of Exhibit A in the summer. I love this photo. I love how the lines of the balcony and roof draw your eye to what is a great arse, enviable legs and handsome back, and I love how he looks both strong and vulnerable against the harsh rooftops and with the city in the background. It’s a photograph that makes me want to reach out and touch him. He didn’t want to use it on his blog and I got a bit whingy, saying much of what I have written above. “But what others see or appreciate in our body is not the same as what we see in ourselves,” was his calm response to my slightly huffy messages.

At the time I just couldn’t understand why he didn’t see it as a photo to celebrate, yet having now reflected on my own response to images people have taken of me versus what they have seen in them I can see he is completely right. We simply don’t see in ourselves what others see in us.

Look At Me NowI chatted to my friend who I photographed for Look at Me Now and My Favourite Shirt. “I’m still a little surprised at myself that I did it as it was initially a terrifying idea, but actually it’s been very liberating. There wasn’t really anything that I didn’t like. Actually that’s a lie, I wish I’d worn better knickers and had taken my bra off earlier so I didn’t have a mark on my cleavage.” Seriously, is anyone looking at the knickers or the bra marks when they look at these images?! I know I see only a confident gorgeous woman whose image is married with powerful words that tell a story.

Is there a conclusion to this post? I don’t really know. It is really just a collection of observations and snapshots of thoughts and conversations. But if I were to draw anything from the time I have spent reflecting on the experience of being photographed and of photographing others I would say that if we were less inclined to zoom in on the detail of what we don’t like when we look at photographs of ourselves then we would be far more likely to value the whole picture in the way we do when we admire and celebrate others.