Online Dating: Filling out an OkCupid profile


Writing dating profiles is not an easy task, which is probably why, when you’re browsing dating sites, you come across so many half-arsed, haphazard profiles. Perhaps there’s also an air of ‘I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard’, but truth be told, I don’t answer messages from content-less profiles, I rarely answer messages from profiles without pictures, and the content has to be pretty outstanding for me to reply if someone hasn’t taken the time to consider their grammar and spelling. So if you do actually want to meet someone, these things are more important than they might appear to be. Which makes writing dating profiles a pain in the ass. Continue reading

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Prosa Sparse: On Rebirth

IMG_4251In Venice, in 1505, a man named Pietro Bembo published a collection of prose and poetry on the (supposed) importance of neo-platonic love, called Gli Asolani. From what I’ve been told, this collection placed a great emphasis on the grand splendour of spiritual love and devotion, to the detriment of human love and lust. Hardly a unique idea, and – as I’m sure we can all agree – a far too prevalent one. But something about the time and place of Gli Asolani struck me as significant. First of all, Bembo was an important figure for another reason: he gathered and published a collection of sonnets called Rime Sparse, which were written by an Italian poet named Francesco Petrarcha. Petrarcha didn’t think much of his sonnets – which is, perhaps, why he titled them Rime Sparse, which translates as ‘Scattered Rhymes’ – but he liked them enough to renumber and reorder them just before he died, leaving a neat little collection for Bembo. Despite Petrarcha’s own disdain for Rime Sparse, Bembo believed it was worthy of publication, and the impact the Petrarchan Sonnet form went on to have on poetry and, indeed, literature was huge. Therefore Bembo has reason to be remembered. Continue reading

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The Disappearance of Simple Story Arcs in Cinema

This piece discusses The Hobbit, and although I worked hard not to include any spoilers, if you really want to avoid even the most general insights, I’d suggest waiting until you’ve already seen the film. I know how important these things can be.


As 2012 draws to a close, the world is – once again – becoming reflective. Of course, the difference between channel 4 and I is that I am not so much considering the Olympics as I am considering Eroticon, and Continue reading

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Escaping the Individual

Out of BodyA few weeks ago, a friend and I were discussing erotica, and one way or another the conversation came round to the topic of oral sex. We both agreed that it wasn’t something we particularly enjoyed receiving, and so we began to question why. I always appreciate the sentiment; it seems to be the mark of a good man if he obliges without being asked, and it’s relatively rare to come across women who don’t enjoy it, but to us there is something very solitary about the act. At some point in the course of this conversation I said “It takes me too much into my head” and my friend heartily agreed.

So what is it about being too mentally conscious that I dislike? Continue reading

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Subverting Early English Poetics

Having been dry, for months, on both style and content, as you may have gleaned, I haven’t been writing creatively. Aside from a week of National Novel Writing Month – which I stopped when I realised I was less interested in my characters than I was in my word-goal – I’ve done very little to spark myself to interest, largely because, being back at university, I am busy enough with literature as it is.

Last year I found that one of the many benefits of studying literature is that as I read and discuss and study, ideas for my own writing organically rise to the surface of my consciousness. Art spawns art. This is has proved to be less true in my second year, but every now and then I’ll come across something that I’d like to try. Continue reading

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Pandarus: the gatekeeper of consent

Chaucer’s main source material when he wrote his epic poem Troilus and Criseyde was Boccaccio’s Il Filostrato. In Il Filostrato Troilio is a rather straightforward young man who pursues the beautiful Cressida and meets with little resistance. Their coming together is rather simple, and in the prologue, Boccaccio’s narrator even identifies with Troilio as a lover.

Chaucer’s take is a little different.

In Troilus and Criseyde Troilus is, in fact, rather passive in his actions. True, the drama of his feeling almost overwhelms the poetry of Book I, but he actually does very little. Meanwhile, Criseyde is continually resistant to any mention of his affection (and even when she gives into it, she is adamant that she wants to keep the independence she has as a widow). Continue reading

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Dominance and Submission As Informed By Gender Roles

In many ways gender is no more than a theoretical concept. It is a form of identification and categorisation; pronouns, ID, bathrooms – gender helps us sort people into daily life. It could be argued that social experience begins by a child being “gendered”. In fact, nowadays, we can sort a person into one of these two categories before s/he is even born. Continue reading

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Erotic Fiction Without Sexual Arousal: Attempting the Impossible

Sex sells. There are no two ways about it. It’s why Bond girls adorn the opening credits in, at most, skintight catsuits. It’s why Sophie Dahl caused such a stir posing for YSL (above). It’s (at least in part) why The Sun is Britain’s biggest selling paper. It’s why this blog – at it’s highpoint – got 32 comments per piece, and my other blogs are lucky to get 100 views in total. Per month! I have hugely benefitted from this simple human truth. In fact, when I was starting out as an erotic fiction writer a good friend suggested I take part in HNT to boost my readership – and it worked like a charm. Continue reading

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Education is an issue for sex writers too.

Erotic artists and sex bloggers are often joined by the same issues. Whether it be feminism, sexual freedom, censorship, Fifty Shades of Grey or Republican politicians who seem to think they have a right to say what American women should and should not do with their bodies, we all have something to say, and as a group we are very vocal. However, for the most part we are also rather complacent, happy to write irate articles for which we receive supportive comments primarily from within the community, and leave it at that. Of course, causing change beyond our own front steps is not an easy thing to do, and would, perhaps, require the kind of research and time we rarely have. Juggling our day to day lives and our sex-friendly alter-egos is time consuming enough without having to merge and fight for the two together. But I think we can agree that these kinds of issues are close to our hearts. Continue reading

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EM-CA Mixed Media Meet in review

Scuttling down Wardour Street, through the rain, under my torn, leopard print umbrella, on a grey Saturday afternoon, I found my way to the beautiful – and delicious – Le Pain Quotidien for the EM-CA Mixed Media Meet. A regular (for almost a year now!) at the Creative Networking Nights, this was my first EM-CA event that didn’t involve dimmed lights and gay bar staff, and while I love the thriving, party-like atmosphere of the socials, it was really lovely to settle around a table with six other erotic creatives, to discuss technique, inspiration and strategy. Continue reading

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