Flashbacks

“Turn round and get on all fours.” My mind will still occasionally drift back to my first experience of doggy, on a futon mattress in a flat in Acton, more than half a lifetime ago.

I love flashbacks. Moments become a library of visual stimulation I flick through when I’m alone, settling on the one that’s right for right now. The memories most frequently pulled from the shelf almost always involve fucking from behind.

Me, pushed over the bed. Him, his arse to my bedroom window. “Are you thinking about your neighbours watching us?” Yes, yes I am.

Crack. A new lover’s hand meets my arse, and my face is pushed further my pillow. He later comments on how hot my sound of appreciation was at that first smack. There’s nothing like the first time you realise someone is good with their palms.

“Watch this,” he says as he chucks his phone down in front of me. The sensations overwhelm me as I simultaneously feel him and watch us.

3am on a too-hot summer night. We are still awake. My lounge windows are low and knelt in front of them I can lean out of the window and grip the outside window ledge, biting my lip so I don’t let my sounds echo in the silent street.

Fresh from afternoon tea, I’m dressed like a lady. In the toilet near his office he bends me over and pushes my flowery frock up over my arse. I sit on a packed commuter train home with my knickers in my handbag. The next time I wear the dress is to a wedding and I smile at the memory as I sit in the church.

On my knees in front of my mirror, watching his hands on my hips and expressions of pleasure dance across his face.

Our eyes lock over her back as he fucks her, her face between my legs.

Ping. An email arrives moments after he leaves. A photo to add to the memory bank…

Journeys

I rarely travel with lovers but they’re often with me, in my phone, livening up long journeys…

8/8/2013

We’ve been exchanging filthy messages throughout our train journeys, his to Bristol, mine to Wales. I’m tucked into a seat by the window, bags piled up on the seat next to me to hide my hand wedged down the front of my jeans. As the train slows to halt, a cock shot appears on my screen and I orgasm. I never thought I’d come in Crewe station.

2/9/2013

I don’t notice the gridlocked road between Entebbe Airport and Mulago in Kampala, I’m too busy recounting the story of my night flight. My thumbs fill the screen with details of what my fingers were doing, 35,000ft above Sudan. How I felt too vulnerable with my night mask lowered to enjoy masturbating, yet when I pushed it up to observe my fellow passengers sleeping the orgasm was quick to come.

6/2/2014

I arrange the Rambutan, snap some photos and press send. The images arrive seconds later to recipient in a city in Eastern Europe. The following morning I grab the bag of fruit and head out into the Jakarta smog. Later I giggle to myself as I idly peel away rind, pop the flesh in my mouth and think about where they’ve been.

21/10/2014

I arrive in Addis Ababa tired, hungover and sick. I’ve travelled through the night the day after a university reunion and I have a cold. The whole team heads out for injera but I crawl into bed. I’m feeling sorry for myself. As I’m drifting off my phone lights up. A cock shot from home always make me smile. And this one is magnificent.

8/3/2015

We just made our connection in Qatar, our kit didn’t. A tyre blows on the long road out of Dar Es Salaam. Twenty four hours after leaving home we pull into the hospital compound. A huge mosquito breeding tent is pointed out to me. It turns out it’s one of the biggest malaria research sites in the world. I text a new man in my life – he’s a bioinformatician specialising in mosquitos. He’s more excited by this news than he is by photos of my tits. That one doesn’t last.

5/2/2017

He’s been sending me videos of himself wanking. They are hot. I’ve wanted to come all weekend but I’ve been on a creaky camp bed in my friend’s lounge and drinking wine and playing with her puppy has taken precedence. Sunday afternoon and I ease into a huge first class seat on the train back to London. I arrange my coat over my lap and tell him I’m going to watch his film and make sure I come before he does. Time passes and he texts: “Tell me when you’ve come.” “Oh, I already have. I’m eating the free cake now.”

25/8/2017

“Good morning to you (when you rise and shine!)… current status…pretending to be planning a client workshop, actually taking photos of my cunt on a train…”

“OMG you’re the best! 😙😙😙”

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

The Catastrophe of Ageing

Summer 2015 and I am six months into my forties. It’s a balmy Friday evening and I’m at the bar at Lewisham Street Feast.

Cute twenty-something barman: “That’s a really nice dress.”
Me: “Thanks.”
Him: “It’s Cos isn’t it?”
Me: “Yes!” (Impressed)
Him: “I ironed it for my Mum earlier.”

I don’t think I stopped giggling for about half an hour. When do cute barmen stop noticing you and start noticing that you’re wearing their Mum’s dress?! Joking aside, becoming invisible is the great catastrophe that befalls women as they creep into middle age. Or it is if you believe the Daily Mail, which last week claimed “midlife invisibility stings, whatever the feminists say.” Urgh!

Summer 2016 and I’m 18 months into my forties. It’s a balmy Thursday evening and I’m sat in my garden, savouring a glass of white wine and thinking about a conversation with a friend.

Notes > 25th August 2016, 22.35.
Am I invisible?
Spoiler: no!

It’s taken me another 18 months to get any further than that indignant ‘No!’ To find the right way to say that I don’t feel like I am becoming invisible. I feel more visible than I have ever been. Not to young men serving me drinks or the ones who to used to beep at me in the street and now drive by, oblivious. But in my life that I have chosen for myself, I do. I feel a little guilty that my experience is out of kilter with friends who feel differently and while I understand the reasons they give for feeling invisible, to me they are more visible and more vital than they have ever been.

There are many good reasons why women feel they become invisible as they age. We rarely see ourselves in positions of power or represented on the screen. There have been a total of 489 women MPs ever; there are 442 male MPs sitting in the current parliament alone. Just seven of the top 100 FTSE CEOs are women. A review by Harriet Harman in 2010 found that just 18% of TV presenters over the age of 50 were women. An analysis of 414 scripted movies, TV shows and digital series released between September 2014 and August 2015 found that men made up 80% of characters over the age of 40. When we do not see ourselves reflected in our leaders or in our cultural world we learn not to see ourselves.

But why, despite all of this, do I not feel the invisibility creep? I have mulled it over often and have my conclusions but I wondered how these would dovetail with the experiences of friends. So last night I messaged a few.

 “I don’t feel invisible at all in work but that’s because I’m in a senior role I guess so it’s probably the only place I’m totally 100% visible!”

“I think being a mum made me invisible. People refer to you only as someone’s mum.”

“As much as I’m body positive and accept others for whatever they look like I miss the person I once looked like, and am at odds with the exponential speed with which [youthful] attributes diminish.”

“There’s a second-tier-citizen feel to it [motherhood] that feels a lot like invisibility. This bled over into physicality in that I completely forgot that I might have any sexual or physical appeal or power, outside of my own loving relationship I felt entirely separated from that whole notion.”

The benchmarks by which women judge themselves so harshly – work, motherhood, our looks and our sex appeal, not to mention our ability to be a success in all of them all at the same time – are all areas that at the moment I am at peace with. I did not want children so I am not experiencing that perceived invisibility. More significantly I am not juggling job and offspring. My business is a success and within my sector I am very visible. My relationship with my body, my looks and with sex is improving with age, in a large part due to this blog and the people and experiences it has connected me to. I think the reason I procrastinated for so long over this post is that I did not want to sound smug. But I am not smug, I just opted out of one big life choice so, for now, my experiences are different, possibly easier and I have more time to focus in on my priorities.

And the thing about the women who answered my questions, and those I did not have chance to message in my rush to write this post? They are spectacular! By the standards of visibility that they personally judge themselves by they may feel they are diminishing but my God, they are not. They are raising kickass feminist daughters and sons. They are looking after ageing parents. They are in senior positions. They are running businesses. They have created happy homes. They are beautiful. They are hot. They have contributed directly to the improvements in how I feel about myself. Through their friendships I am more visible. They are not invisible.

Zooming back out, are things going to improve? I hope so. I hope that #metoo and #timesup create lasting social change. I hope that soon women will no longer be judged on their looks, their ability to ’juggle’ or ‘have it all’. In the UK, today was the deadline on companies that employ more than 250 people releasing their gender pay gap data. I hope that pay transparency will finally result in equal pay for equal work. For single women that means they will be just as well off as a single man doing the same job. For women and men who have families the work/childcare split will no longer need to be decided on financial viability alone. Last year the Office of National Statistics data showed that the number of childfree women has doubled in a generation. Those women are women like me. I employ a 67-year-old woman and two working Mums, all of whom work the hours that suit them. I hope that the rising tide lifts all boats. I hope the increasing number of childfree women in senior positions afford mothers more flexibility. I hope older women in positions of power and influence offer other older women opportunities.

I’m going to give (almost) the last word to Tabitha Rayne, who said this:

“When I was young I heard from women in their fifties that they simply disappear. I decided a long time ago to make sure it never happened to me. However, now I’m in my forties I’m not feeling the same need to be in the limelight. I am happier to sit back, watch others take the lead. I actually don’t care now if I gently fade away. Maybe we make ourselves invisible? Self-contented ninjas. Shadow warriors of maturity.”

Lady! If you don’t want the limelight, that’s fine, but don’t ever think you don’t take the lead. You shine. You make beautiful art and wear your heart on your sleeve. You are leading a tribe into 30 days of orgasms! Self-contented ninjas and warriors of maturity I’m on board with, but there is no shadow. Until the world shines a light on the ageing woman let’s all reflect each other’s light back so women never feel invisible.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Eroticon Meet and Greet

Name (and Twitter if you have one)

Exposing40 and the same on Twitter, although I’m not too secretive about my real name so will likely tell you if you ask!

What are you most looking forward to about Eroticon 2018?

Like everyone I am looking forward to catching up with everyone at the two socials. The socials were difficult for me last year as a former friend who I wasn’t expecting to see turned up and was behaving badly. Very little unsettles me but unkindness does; without that black cloud I’m looking forward to being much more of a social butterfly! And I can’t wait for the midnight pyjama and prosecco parties with the gorgeous Tabitha Rayne who’s staying at mine this year.

Re the sessions, this year I’m only at the Sunday. I’ve embarked on a ridiculous endeavour to visit all EU countries before B****t next March so I’ve had to scrap my annual jaunt to Edinburgh Festival and reduce WOW and Eroticon to one day each so I can plough funds into planes, trains and AirBnBs! I’m looking forward to Oloni, Kendra and Lori’s sessions and of course I’ll go to Molly’s photography session. I also LOVED the readings last year.

We are creating a play list of songs for the Friday Night Meet and Greet. Nominate one song that you would like us to add to the play list and tell us why you picked that song

Acrylic Afternoons by Pulp. For many people Different Class is Peak Pulp but for me His n Hers is Jarvis writing about snatched sex, bad sex, lust, longing and regret at his very best.

What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?

Well, I laughed out loud when I read @19syllables Meet and Greet as I also had Sound of Music-inspired aspirations to be a nun! I was also a bit obsessed with Lady Di and spent a lot of time wondering how I could become a princess. I don’t think I was cut out for being a nun or a princess!

I honestly can’t remember what proper career aspirations I had though. I think it was probably something to do with horses and showjumping, but my riding days ended when I left Oxfordshire for Wales aged 10.

Weirdest place you’ve ever gotten up to mischief (define ‘mischief’ however you like…)

Fucking, it would probably be on a ferry on the Irish Sea between Dublin and Holyhead. But I’ve also sat at my desk in an open plan office and wanked through a hole in my trouser pocket. Maintaining a conversation with a colleague while I came at my desk felt pretty mischievous.

Tell us two truths and a lie about yourself

I did a live TV interview naked.

I sneaked into the Queen’s private rooms at the Royal Albert Hall and took a photo of my friend sat on her toilet.

I’ve done a skydive with two broken arms.

Complete the sentence: I want..

…to hold you tight

Whilst children play outside

And wait for their mothers to finish with lovers

And call them inside for their tea.

Eroticon 2018

The Nude in Political Protest

I’ve had ‘the role of nudity in political protest’ on my list of things to write about for years. Since June 2015 in fact, when an image in an exhibition at the Tate Modern sparked the idea. Last year pledging to finally write it up was on my post-Eroticon list of ‘ten takeaways’. So, with just a week to go until this year’s Eroticon, I thought it was time to shit or get off the pot…

Clearly it’s not much of a secret that I love getting my kit off in public! And even more than feeling the breeze around my own nether regions I love encouraging other into the joyful abandon that comes with cavorting naked, celebrating their gorgeous selves. But aside from the odd Sinful Sunday or two, I rarely get truly political on this site. But what better day than International Women’s Day to celebrate the women who have used their nudity to champion far greater causes. Here are a small selection…

Lady Godiva

Legend has it that in the 11th century Lady Godiva road naked through the streets of Coventry in protest at the taxes being imposed on local residents by her husband. The first written account of this event was not recorded until two centuries after the alleged event so it is likely more myth than fact, but it’s a good one. It’s also where the term ‘Peeping Tom’ for a voyeur came from as apparently the only person who ignored her request to look away as she passed was Tailor Thomas!

John Collier, 1897

Women’s War in East Nigeria

Before Britain colonised Nigeria in 1884, power was shared between men and women. Women held senior political, judicial and religious roles but colonisation eroded this power. In 1929 tens of thousands of Igbo women used nudity to protest their reduced authority. British officials characterised the women as grotesque and sexually available, while African journals rather euphemistically described them “exposing the physical markers of their status as guardians and reproducers of the land and its inhabitants.”

Photographer Unknown, Congress Library

Polka Dot Planet

In 1968, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama held naked protests outside the New York Stock Exchange and on Brooklyn Bridge. These protests, or “happenings” as she called them, saw Kusama paint polka dots on the naked bodies of protestors to bring attention to the antiwar movement. In an open letter to Nixon she wrote ‘Our earth is like one little polka dot, among millions of other celestial bodies, one orb full of hatred and strife amid the peaceful, silent spheres. Let’s you and I change all that and make this world a new Garden of Eden…. You can’t eradicate violence by using more violence.’

Shunk Kender Collection

My body is my own

In March 2013, Tunisian feminist and Femen activist, Amina Tyler posted topless photographs of herself on Facebook with the words ‘my body is my own’ scrawled across her chest as a protest against patriarchy. Some claimed she was dishonouring women and the leader of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice called on her to receive 100 lashes or even be stoned to death. Others, such as political commentator, Jihad el Zein said that when young educated women from the Muslim world pose nude it indicates their moral strength to stand up against the oppression of women.

Amina Tyler self portrait

Tunick v Trump

In May 2016, Spencer Tunick, the creative master when it comes to photographing mass public nudity, put out a call for volunteers to interrupt business as usual at the Republican National Convention that coming July. The only requirement was to be a woman. The photography was to be an act of peaceful protest against the hateful rhetoric Trump and his supporters had directed at women. The results of the gathering and the words of the women who participated are wonderful!

Lindsey Byrnes

There are many views on the effectiveness of women using nudity in protest, from those who think it still has impact to those who argue it’s time for a rethink.  I can see both sides of the argument but as long as the naked female body has the power to make people stop, look and take note, then I think it probably does have a role. What do you think?

Ghosts

I’ve been a fan of photographing cemeteries for years. Way back in winter 1995 I was out photographing a snowy cemetery as my Dad called my university landline to try and get the news to me that my Grandad had died.

My business partner knows I still frequent these places with my camera – he just doesn’t know that these days my photography more often than not includes naked people! A couple of weeks ago as a late birthday present he gave me a book about where significant people are buried in London. Knowing I had this image lined up for today’s photo I thought I’d see which ghosts haunt Kensel Green Cemetery.

Alongside one Mr WH Smith (founder of the UK’s biggest high street stationers for the non-Brits) and Harold Pinter I read about Henry Spencer Ashbee. Ashbee was a city merchant by day but was also one of the country’s most prolific collectors of erotica and an occasional author of erotic fiction and personal memoirs under various pen names. He bequeathed his entire library to the British Museum but they burnt the majority of the erotica.

Excited to find out more I hopped over to Wikipedia. I discovered a character in Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith was based on his life. But I also learnt that his daughters’ excessive education irritated him, his wife’s suffragist support angered him, and he became estranged from his gay son. How awful. How often we expect liberal views to be prevalent in all aspects of a person’s life and how disappointed we are when they aren’t. I hope that in 2018, almost 200 years after he was born, his views would have softened and he would now be championing the rights of his wife and daughters and proudly waving the rainbow flag on behalf of his son.

In the meantime, I’m delighted to present one of the fiercest supporters of rights I know, the gorgeous Honey and her hot biteable butt!

February Photofest

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

A celebration of bodies

I must confess, I struggled at first to think about how to approach this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt. There is so much amazing writing and hot photography to choose from, so many of you have produced content that has got me off, educated me and given me ideas and I so admire the authenticity, honesty and hard work that exists in this community that I couldn’t see how I could possibly pick just a handful of people to mention. In the end I decided to go with the main theme of my own blog which is about celebrating bodies in all their beautiful shapes and sizes so here, in alphabetical order, are my top ten body-related posts of this year.

Aurora‘s post about Borderline Personality Disorder (brains are part of our bodies!) is one of my favourite posts of the year. One of my closest and oldest friends also has BPD and posts like this are so important for raising awareness.

Confess Hannah‘s Pussy Pride is an uplifting post on learning to love her labia and also serves as a reminder of the legacy a throwaway comment can have.

Hannah Lockhardt‘s glorious homage to her own body in Geography made me want to reach for my camera immediately to photograph her.

I don’t think anyone does raw and unflinching honesty in the way my wonderful friend Honey does and Hate is a powerful and jaw-dropping example of that.

Jedi Hamster‘s Size Matters was a powerhouse of a post that touches on a whole range of important things from the language doctors use with overweight people to the politics of Fat Positivity versus Body Positivity. This woman rocks when she’s in thoughtful rant mode – go read it!

In my opinion, some of Livvy’s finest posts are when she brings her professional expertise and the clinician’s perspective to the table. The Big Problem did just that and I think it took courage to tackle a very sensitive subject from the medical perspective.

In Passengers, Maria recounts an uncomfortable experience on public transport. How often have larger people, and in particular women, suffered poor behaviour in public because they feel they need to apologise for the space they take up? I would guess the answer is too often.

Molly‘s post about getting her belly button pierced was a frank account of the emotional rollercoaster that sometimes comes with casting a spotlight on the parts of ourselves we like the least. And it also gave a lovely heartwarming glimpse of the love and trust between her and Michael and I always love posts when we see that!

Tabitha shared much of what she wrote about in Sugar – The Good Times and The Bad Times with me during our photo sessions and had even talked about writing a guest post for me because she didn’t think these issues were sexy enough for her own site. Honesty is sexy as fuck my friend and I’m so proud that you owned your experiences on your own site.

Violet’s He’s out of my league (and other lies I tell myself) is a wonderfully raw and honest and beautiful post about sex, fat and lovers making you feel attractive.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked