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Back in the days when Ruf and I were investigating toys for boys, cockrings were cheap plastic/jelly affairs – very much the poor relations. Whilst we ladies luxuriated in glass and steel objets d’art crafted with architectural prowess. The sort of ornaments that you wanted to display on the mantlepiece – if you were brave enough!
So, it was rather exciting to be introduced to Gear Essentials where male toys have been taken to a whole new level.
Here be beautiful glass and steel cock rings, one of which reminded me very much of My Precious from Lord of the Rings, except that the engraving was on the outside rather than hidden inside the band.
Their ethos states that “a cock ring is more than just a tool for your tool to enable you and your partner to have more exciting sexual encounters”.
I love the idea of a cock ring with its own peresonality! And, when you look at all the different shapes, sizes and types of material, you can actually believe that. No more homogenous tacky plastic in animal shapes, these come in heavy duty aluminium and stainless steel or lighter weighted silicone, nitrile. medical grade plastic. leather or elastomer.
They are specially designed pieces of kit with the sole goal of keeping you hard.
But it’s not just cock rings, there are ball weights and glans rings – to be honest, I’m not quite sure what many of these exquisite pieces are actually for – but Ruf really wants to get the chance to find out!
Every time I drive up the M40 to and from Ruf, I am reminded.
But, particularly so at this time of year.
It was such a happy time at the beginning of my relationship with my Husband. He had to do some business in Woodstock, a tiny village near Oxford.
Woodstock is a beautiful little place, steeped in history. There have several palaces here, one of which housed Queen Elizabeth I in her childhood, when she had upset her sister, Mary. While imprisoned, Elizabeth wrote a poem. “Much suspected by [of] me, None proved can be.”
It is more famous for Blenheim Palace, built by John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, to commemorate his historic victory at the battle of that name. His wife, Sarah, was a favourite of Queen Anne, one of the few women to reign alone in our history.
But what I remember about Blenheim and Woodstock is spending the night in a little guesthouse – we couldn’t afford to stay in the beautiful hotel pictured here. But the bed was comfy and there was a fabulous full English breakfast served in our room overlooking the little High Street. It was all just so quaint and surreal.
It was the beginning of December and we woke up to a chilly, misty morning. Walking through the picturesque village, we came to a wall and some gates, the entrance to the Palace grounds.
The mist was thick and clammy but the trees were just so pretty that we didn’t mind that we couldn’t really see any of the famous views.
And then, after we had been wandering around for an hour so, we turned a corner and the clouds lifted quite suddenly to reveal the splendour of the palace itself, backlit with the pale winter sun. It was magnificent.
I was very much in love and I guess it colours my memory of that day.
I can still see the photos. I look so fragile, so insecure and anxious to please him as I look nervously into the lens.
That was my goal, to be accepted by him as somehow worthy of his attention.
Thirty years later, part of me is still that young girl so desperate to be loved, but the woman that she finally became, released from the confines of what she thought was love…?
It was Get To Know Your Grandmum that made me falter for a moment.
My mother is treated as a figure of derision within our family. And the older I get, the more unfair I realise that is.
People say ‘you’re like Grandma *’ and it is an insult.
I had a conversation with my niece only recently and it became apparent that she had not got to know either of her grandmothers because of the issues of her parents.
She felt that being likened to either woman was a very bad personal trait.
And yet both of those ladies are very strong women. They may well have their faults but, if you think about them dispassionately, you realise that they too are the product of their own issues with their parents and grandparents.
I blamed my own mother for a lot of my own problems. It was only when I was placed in a similar situation that I realised wny she had done what she had done. The reasoning and rationale behind her actions. The mental distress and overwhelm she had endured before she did what she did when there was little choice left to her.
When I too had been that woman, I was able to forgive… and it is important that I do not forget. Because forgetting would mean that the lessons I might pass on to another woman in a similar situation would be lost.
Now, when people say something derogatory about my mother, I defend her.
I explained to my niece about how clever her grandmother is and what she has achieved. She may come across as being a bit batty because she is very much into alternative therapies and nutritions and is desperate to cure everyone. But surely wanting to help people is a good trait…?
Love Yourself First
I know my lovely daughter has struggled with self love and loathing. My absences going to see my lover whilst she waas a teenager may well have contributed to those issues. I beat myself up on a regular basis. But, from the moment of her birth, I did everything that I could to reinforce how beautiful she is and how much I love her.
I did not want her to be anorexic or bulimic. But, despite that, I couldn’t avoid self harm of a different sort.
It was the love of a good man that helped her to overcome it.
In exactly the way that Ruf helped me with my anorexia.
You’ll hate me some days, but I’ll always love you
Whenever she said ‘I hate you’, I always responded ‘But I love you’… and I always will.
I saw Tim Ferriss’s book about “The 4 Hour Body” lying on the bed and thought nothing of it.
But some time later, Ruf revealed the source of a new-found refinement to his technique which had seen me quivering with repeated orgasms for, yes, you’ve guessed it, the best part of 15 minutes.
Which, of course, meant that I had to read the chapter of that same name.
The most important line for me was that a man cannot give a woman an orgasm… only enable her to achieve her own.
Now Ruf is already adept in most of the subtleties of making a woman feel like the most beautiful girl in the world and the only one who matters but it’s definitely a technique that any of my male readers should immediately take on board.
Couple that with looking into my eyes, much snogging and protestations of affection, followed by opening my legs and turning his digital attentions to that small nub of pleasure that lies in the cleft of my groin.
Pushing back the hood with one finger, he placed his index finger on the button and started to gently press it in the direction of ‘one o’clock’. So that’s if you were standing between my legs and looking down at me. Imagine a small clockface is sitting on my pubic bone and that puts one o’clock slightly off centre to my left, your right.
The pressure really is quite minimal but it is enough to send shivers down both my legs, the energy pulsating in my toes and causing an equal and opposite reaction in my vagina, resulting in immediate moistness.
Only moments before, I had been complaining that everything took so much longer to work properly and worrying that I was somehow defective through my lower oestrogen levels.
Ruf smiled at the contrary confirmation from my cunt.
“I think everything is in perfect working order,” he reassured me and proceeded to continue with his experiment until I had spent several minutes moaning and howling as he alternated between tickling my G Spot and returning to the one o’clock clit.
The constant pressure starts a wave which floods through my body before turning back on itself and repeating. Like the fluvo in a swimming pool, it’s a ripple effect that becomes a vortex of pleasure.
With a final ‘grounding’ long hold of the button pushing it straight up against my pubic bone, he brought the testing to a close and climbed on.
The resulting penetration after such prolonged gentle stimulation was enough to send me over the edge in a series of climaxes that left me breathless and gasping.
He had made her cry yet again. The cumulative consequences of his negative words and actions.
Sobbing in the bathroom as he lay helpless in their bed.
Returning to the bedroom, she was torn between grabbing her things to run away and the call of his warmth in that bed. Part of her just wanted to be free from the tethers that bound her to him, sweeping her from one polar extreme of emotion to the other and threatening to break her. Perching on the edge of the dilemma, as he begged her to come back under the covers to try to talk it through. She was well aware that he hated making her cry; loathed the demons of common sense that ate away at him, filling him with doubt and forcing him to enunciate with a brutal honesty that ripped her to shreds.
She felt his arms snake around her, pulling her back against him and knew that he could feel the tears on his forearms. She understood that he just wanted to hold her tightly and reassure her that everything would be alright and they could work it out.
As she turned to face him, their lips found each other, softly searching and reawakening. All the emotions that existed between them building and gathering themselves into the white hot fury of a desire that never seemed to diminish. But the tragedy was that, since the debacle of the termination, she was half-finished – because he was too scared to commit to saying what she needed to hear. She ached to feel the warmth of her man’s love upon her face and the honey of his words upon her soul.
Withholding them kept her trapped and chained within the inadequacies of her real world but the encouraging stimulation of those three little words could release the brakes inside her mind, convince her twisted psyche that this intensity was completely mutual and set her free to soar on the thermal gusts assaulting her senses.
And, finally, he realised this. Looking down at her, partially penetrated, his weight supported on his knuckles and his knees, she smiled up at him, her eyes full of passion and he had to say it. ‘I do love you. I really do’. He watched her eyes fill with tears as she reached up for him and pulled his face down towards her lips. Whispering the three little words over and over again against his mouth, his cheek and then into his ear as her legs wrapped themselves around him and every muscle contracted, holding his body tightly against hers. Sliding in and out on the slick wet highway of their passion, giving and receiving until their circle was complete.
This was the reason that she could never bring herself to leave.
I think all women who are considering going under the knife for plastic surgery should be made to watch Botched Up Bodies.
Gruesome and heart breaking!
Women – and they seemed to be mainly female – who were determined to ‘improve’ their appearance and saw the wrong plastic surgeon – whether here or abroad. And now our NHS has to pick up the tab for the repair.
One poor woman with breasts that were superating with wounds full of pus after a boob reduction went wrong.
The most popular surgery is breast augmentation and there were over 10,000 of these performed last year but one in three will require further surgery within ten years.
Another woman, who had previously been gorgeous from the photographs they showed, had insisted on having filler injected into her cheeks seven years ago. The original operation cost £300 but it will now cost the NHS £4500 to repair the damage. The wrong type of filler was used so that it continually becomes infected and has spread over a wide area inside her cheekbones. She is in constant pain and the infections have caused the originally liquid material to solidify. This meant that it had to be removed by cutting her face and squeezing it out like pus from a particularly large spot.
According to the British Assocation of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, 84% of patients who experience problems after having filler injections will require surgery to repair the damage and some will be untreatable.
A ‘designer vagina’ that left the woman permanently disfigured because the surgeon cut away most of her labia – both inner and outer – and another injected filler which caused what was left to swell up.
The stats were that something like one in three cosmetic surgery operation required additional corrective surgery in the future – whether because of poor techniques in the first place or merely because the patient’s body did not heal in the usual way.
Ruf complains bitterly about my frozen extremities.
We’ve tried hot water bottles and socks but, on the coldest of winter nights, neither is enough and even Ruf’s layer of blubber cannot maintain the warmth in the bed. One evening, we both had to wear a tshirt and socks, whereas we naturally prefer naked.
So, whilst shopping at his favourite store, Lidl, he was excited to pick up the answer to his prayers.
And, to him, they are probably the sexiest lingerie in the world.
I’m seriously considering getting a second pair for my flat. Sleeping alone, I currently require three hot water bottles, thermal pyjamas and bedsocks to stay warm enough to sleep without having the heating on all night. Now some of you might say the latter is the sexier option… but I have to pay my own gas bills these days. And, in any case, continual heating is really bad for the complexion, so I’d rather be non-sexy when I’m on my own and try to retain what little youthful bloom I have left.
There’s a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch and it’s bringing me out the dark
Finally I can see you crystal clear
Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your ship bare
See how I’ll leave, with every piece of you
Don’t underestimate the things that I will do
The scars of your love they leave me breathless
I can’t help thinking that we could have had it all
Adele, Rolling In The Deep
I came out of the Meditation class, relaxed and full of joie de vivre.
Thirty minutes later, I find myself with the prickly hate-filled ball lodged back in my chest cavity, blocking all the good energy.
It takes only one phone call. Minutiae. And yet everything about that call is so symptomatic of what has gone before.
A therapist said to me recently that he sounded calculated and manipulative. I hate to lay those epithets upon a man that I once loved so much and I never saw it that way. He did the things he did because he either couldn’t empathise and see what he was doing or because he always tried to take the path of least resistance to make life easier for himself… not to deliberately hurt me.
And yet, those little arrows hit their mark every time. His failings were always related to the things that were most important to me, that affected my security and the safety net that I was trying so hard to build.
The scars of that love still leave me breathless… with the pain and the sadness at what might have been, what could have been. If only…
But if only what? He let me down on so many levels that it is impossible to pick one thing that could have saved us.
To see his actions through the therapist’s eyes is to admit that I picked unwisely. But it’s more than that, it’s effectively saying that he has been fooling me for three decades.
Spinning webs like a dormant spider, suddenly to awake and start reeling in the skeins.
Constructing a meshy barrier that stands between me and mine, the final ejection in a long list of exclusion.
But, curiously, that obstruction helps me to see things more clearly.
I was reading a great article by Anna Hodgekiss on IOL Lifestyle about how having regular sex helps you to live longer.
It’s a great way of alleviating neck and shoulder tension. I’ve noticed the relaxing effects of sex on my muscles myself. I always carry my stress in my neck and shoulders. Sometimes, I can do a very good impression of the Hunchback of Notre Dame with one shoulder significantly higher than the other as they both seek to achieve contact with my ears. And it works for men too with a powerful orgasm being the equivalent of having a 2-3mg shot of diazepam (or Valium), a muscle relaxant – which is why so many men nod off after finishing.
However, I was not so impressed with the comment of Dr Arun Ghosh, a GP specialising in sexual health at the Spire Liverpool Hospital that blurred vision after sex can mean that you need to get glasses. I always thought that it was just a natural response to the blissful effects of all that intensity but he says: “What’s happened is that, like all the other muscles in the body, the eye muscles have relaxed and are performing at their true ability, rather than straining and squinting as they would normally.”
Recent studies have also found that having sex three times a week could halve the risk of heart attack or stroke and women who have two orgasms a week are up to 30 percent less likely to have heart disease than their sisters who don’t have such a good time.
Fluctuating levels of oestrogen in peri- and Menopausal women are renowned for causing depression, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, but the happy hormone, serotonin, which released during sex neutralise the stress hormones in the body and reduce the risk of heart disease. But it is the endogenous ‘orgasm’ endorphin, which creates a sense of bliss for five to ten seconds in men and four to five minutes in women which really works the magic. Thinking back to times when I would arrive at Ruf’s almost beside myself with unhappiness at the futility of my existence and with no libido whatsoever, he would gently comfort me and relax me before giving me the full benefits of his attentions. I always felt so much better afterwards and my bi-weekly excursions to his manly lair helped me to survive the heartbreak of my marriage for far longer than I would otherwise have been able to endure.
That lack of oestrogen also causes problems with bone health as its protective effect is reduced after Menopause with the possibility of osteoporosis. However, research in the US has found that regular sex increases the production of oestrogen with women who have sex every week having double the levels of those who do not.
For men of a certain age, midlife prostate problems can also be improved by a regular sex life as researchers at Nottingham University, who studied celibate monks, discovered that they had a higher chance of developing prostate cancer and suspect that clearing the prostate out regularly could be behind this.
Regular sex as both sexes age is important for both prevention of incontinence and impotence – it’s that pelvic floor exercise thing so women need to be active during sex, squeezing and working that pelvic floor to guard against leakage and prolapse later in life, both of which are very common. And for men, keeping a regular blood flow to the penis to stop atrophy of the delicate tissues there is vital – a Finnish study of 1000 men aged 55-75 has revealed that men who have sex less than once a week are twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction as those who had it at least once a week and those who had sex more than three times per week lowered their risk by 400%.
Use it or lose it – in effect, sex is another form of exercise, no matter how old you are.
When Ruf comes to live here, he starts assimilating some of my diet and losing his own rigorous exercise protocols.
When Ruf comes to live here, I forget to do my own exercise regimes.
We both end up getting bloated and doing too much work.
In terms of portion size, I can usually eat as much as Ruf of certain foods – roast potatoes spring to mind. But I do find that huge bowlfuls of lentils can be a little daunting. He puts loads of chilli in his but I’m a bland food girl who relies on the starch and the gravy to provide the flavour. Lentils can be a little challenging in that regard.
We definitely drink a bit more alcohol when we are together and lie around in bed a whole lot more. But then I guess that does sort of constitute exercise…
I shook him off as best I could. It’s uncomfortable… even when they’re not quite touching. Knowing that they’re there, millimetres away from my body. Like a forcefield that I’m about to crash into.
His rhythmic breathing showed that he was definitely asleep.
Then his palm moved onto my shoulder.
I tried to twitch it away without success. So I lay there for a while and wondered at his subconscious motivation for such an action.
But it was ever so.
Unable to voluntarily manifest affection either physically or verbally in the daylight world, his sleeping mind would initiate it in the darkness.
In the past, I would recognise this plea for love in the form of sex and submit. Give him what he wanted and needed and hope that he would return the favour in reverse… knowing in my heart of hearts that it was unlikely to result in a satisfactory ending from my point of view.
On this day, for the first time, I stuck firm to my decision.
I shrugged him away and, when that was unsuccessful, I withdrew my body to the farthest reaches of the bed…
… and wished that things could have been different.
‘…I understand that a lot of people find the sight of two grown men kissing in public really creepy…’
Nick Griffin, BNP, on Question Time, October 2009
In our politically correct society, it is not something that people necessarily admit to, even though that might be how many of them feel.
Teenagers today are far more accepting of differing sexual preferences and orientations. In their computer-led search for knowledge about their bodies and desires, their exposure to many more variations has meant that they don’t see things as unusual in the same way that our more rigid upbringing makes us.
However, a straw poll of males of my acquaintance seems to suggest that none of them feel comfortable watching adult males kissing, whether it be in a film or on the street. Look at the furore over ‘Brokeback Mountain’. There are some men I know who actively refuse to watch it because of the subject matter.
I was born at the tale end of a generation of stiff-upper-lipped Brits who really do feel that open homosexuality is something very embarrassing and rather dirty. These men were conditioned never to show emotion and, through the strict regimes of their public schools, many refused to speak of some of the more salacious acts that seem to have been part and parcel of life within a single sex boarding school. One cannot help wondering if this type of exposure is part of the reason for their determination not to accept same-sex relationships as being anything other than wrong.
If you think back to the days of the Greeks and the Romans and through to the romantic poets, bi-sexuality seems to have been quite common.
So when did intimate relationships between people of the same gender become something sinister, that Society deemed had to be hidden away? Was it like sex generally within the Victorian age? Something that only took place behind closed doors? Did sex between consenting same-sex couples become reviled because it was something that happened within the confines of male-only bastions of society – boarding school? Or the army? Or was it what happened in prisons that caused the problem? Where it was forced upon the unconsenting?
And yet, judging by the number of men I know who refuse to even hold hands with their girlfriend in the street, perhaps it is more to do with perception. With a moral code that makes public displays of affection unwelcome, including those between opposite genders. Or, maybe, with their own inability to express themselves emotionally? Their inner refusal to connect in private or in front of other people because they see it as somehow weak.
Sure, I can understand that not everyone wants to share their romantic passionate snog with the outside world – and that a lot of passersby would probably feel similarly about viewing it – but holding hands? There’s nothing remotely offensive about that… by anyone… whatever the gender of the participants.
Ruf lives in a big city and his circle of friends is far more liberal than in my own small, sleepy suburb. I have to say that I don’t know of any gay or lesbian partnerships within my own local web of acquaintances. This is unlikely to be because they aren’t any, rather that it is just not something that people seem to admit to openly in this small town.
This means that, if a same-sex couple – male or female – were to walk down the street holding hands, let alone kissing, it would be noticed. Not necessarily frowned upon, but noticed because it was unusual.
When I talked to Ruf about it, I wondered if more exposure to hand holding would make it seem more acceptable or was it that people didn’t want to offend or be noticed and so they didn’t do it openly in our town? Ruf said that his friends would do it deliberately to be noticed and cause comment or offence to any stuffed shirt. Through him, I have become friendly with several same-sex partnerships, who are quite open about their domestic arrangements and their public affection for each other but I still find myself covertly watching them with fascination.
However, what I have come to understand is that it is actually my problem, not theirs. Everyone has the right to give and receive affection in public and no one should think they have the right to judge them for it.
Television seems to deal with the issue of same-sex partnerships mostly in stereotypes, the butch lesbian and the girly girl or the leather-clad, Village People look-a-like with the effeminate or androgynous boy. Or in The L Word, where they all live some impossibly glamorous lifestyle and snog and fuck whenever and wherever.
This does not help matters, it emphasises the extremes and fuels the feeling that liking someone of the same gender sexually makes a person somehow different to a heterosexual. Not like normal people.
The sooner we can all come to terms with the fact that it is ok to demonstrate affection, no matter what your sexuality, the better we will become as a Society.
Nineteen years ago today, I was lying in a hospital bed enduring the pains of an induced labour.
They insisted on interfering because they said I was ten days overdue. I kept bleating on about my five-week cycle and the fact that the labour, which had started at about midnight, was pretty much spot on the 40 weeks according to my calculation. Like I didn’t know which day my baby was conceived and the vagaries of my own cycle!
Anyway, they persisted with their interventions and at about 10.30pm on that St Patrick’s Day, I was wheeled up to theatre for an emergency caesarean whilst they awaited the arrival of the Chief Anaesthetist because the duty doctor was too frightened to administer the pain blocker as I was having some kind of allergic reaction. My face had swollen up and my body was covered in itchy red spots!
My teenager was born at 1.30am on the 18th and we’re going out for a mother/daughter birthday lunch to celebrate tomorrow. More on that later :)
But, back to St Patrick’s Day or Lá Fhéile Pádraig. He is thought to have been born in fifth century Britain, where his father was the deacon of the local Church. As a teenager, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken back to a life of slavery somewhere on the west coast of Ireland. He later said that he had a dream in which God told him to escape and so he fled to the coast and ended up studying to be a priest in France.
Legend has it that, after becoming a bishop, he was called back to ‘save the Irish’ by converting them to Christianity in 432 and his favourite teaching method, until his death 30 years later, utilised the Shamrock to symbolise the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
It was not until the 1600s that green ribbons and shamrocks began to be worn in celebration of a specific St Patrick’s Day – prior to that the colour associated with his mission was blue – but it did not become an official public holiday until 1903, as a result of the Money Bank (Ireland) Act 1903, an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament introduced by the Irish MP James O’Mara. However, it was also O’Mara who later introduced the law closing pubs on 17 March after drinking got out-of-hand and this provision was not repealed until the 1970s.
Whilst the first Saint Patrick’s Day parade held in the Irish Free State was held in Dublin in 1931, the first St Patrick’s Day Festival, designed to showcase Ireland and its culture was not held until 17 March, 1996. In subsequent years, it grew from a one day festival to a five day event of concerts and outdoor theatre performances attended by over 600,000 visitors.
Michaal Parkinson asked the poet Auden ‘..what was the purpose of a poet’ and he said, ‘‘As a poet one has a political duty, which is to try, by one’s example, to protect the purity of the language. Because when words lose their meaning then I’m quite sure physical violence takes over.”
I think this is a really compelling statement.
Probably because it explains why so many people stay in relationships that make them unhappy and then blog about it.
Where words have lost the power to convey our feelings or elicit some change in behaviour, venom and fury begin to take over.
By writing down the enormity of the frustrated emotions that have overtaken them, bloggers feel they can, at least, be heard by someone.
And, thus, avoid the need to engage in some form of violent confrontation.
The lovely reviewers at Jane’s Guide have awarded Having My Cake and Eating It Too their ‘Original and Quality’ badge and reviewed it thus:
Joanna Cake is a UK woman who writes about sensuality and sex. She also posts a lot of original images of herself in lingerie, writes sex toy reviews, and comments on recent articles and programs. Her blog is a bit of a self proclaimed mish mash of subjects, but they hover around the central theme of sexual discovery and introspection. There is also a rather unique feature every Wednesday, in which she reviews a movie and posts a clip. The movies are generally not porn, but rather mainstream films that have some sexual element. Chatty, informal, and fun! – Vamp
Damn, I’m going to have to fight Anonymous Boxer when she tries to wrest Movie Clip Wednesday back!
Jane and her team trawl the sexual Blogosphere and review everything in their path – the Good, the Bad and the downright Ugly. If you feel the need to add some extra breadth to your current favourites, Jane’s is a great place to get some clues about where to start.