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When I was ready to get pregnant with my second kid (currently the 11yo), I can’t say my sense of desire or arousal for my then-husband turned on, but I was definitely a sex-having machine. And I was excited about it (much to his delight) for the first time in years. I realize now this excitement had little to do with sex and everything to do with my goal-oriented nature. There was a thing I wanted to accomplish that felt within my power to achieve, and I simply needed a willing penis with strong swimmers. Lo and behold, I was married to someone with exactly what I needed. It wasn’t about having his child so much as it was about having the second kid I wanted. (No, that’s not a good look, and frankly, it’s a clear sign the relationship wasn’t meant to last — but I have two beautiful children, so I have no regrets.)
This post isn’t about that. It’s about remembering that reading erotica really turns me on. One of my first forays into smutty stories was an anthology called Please, Sir (edited by the amazing Rachel Kramer Bussel) — before I knew I was kinky. I believe I found it in a big-name bookstore. I felt bold, daring, and terrified taking it up to the counter to purchase. But I also wondered “what it said” about me to the person at the register. (It likely meant nothing to them but so what if they had thoughts about me and my books — is something 41-year-old me thinks now but 29-year-old me never imagined.)
But that book helped me find my seemingly lost sense of desire. I was turned on and ready to have sex with my husband. Which I desperately wanted for the aforementioned baby-making purposes.
Fast forward more than ten years (approximately 12 if you think about it), and I find myself in another downturn of arousal and desire. Have been for about two years. There have been all kinds of workarounds that I didn’t have available to me all those years ago — sex toys, good lube, a Dominant partner who can (mostly) have what he wants when he wants it (consensually, of course). Then a plague arrived, killing his desire for sex. Then my IUD expired and hasn’t been replaced. Although we know it likely still works and have access to condoms, gone are our previous moments of sex that don’t require much pre-planning. I’m looking at you, roll-over-in-the-middle-of-the-night-and-never-open-your-eyes sleepy sex.
In the past few months, I was sent a few erotic anthologies (some also edited by Rachel — which is an honor and a pleasure) in exchange for a review plus we chose an older anthology of hers for Kinky Book Club over at Loving BDSM. So I’ve had a few opportunities to read smutty smut. Did I start reading the books out of a sense of obligation? Yes. Did I feel guilty that it took me so long to finally read them? Also yes.
And was I shocked to discover that well-written words still do it for me? Absolutely. Especially since I actively don’t think about sex and rarely feel any level of desire or arousal, even for a man I love dearly.
As turned on as I was while reading, I also cried after the first few stories of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 6. Not because it was bad, but because I actively missed the eroticism I read in the stories. I missed feeling desire, arousal, the connection of a strong erotic moment.
When I picked up another anthology, Cheeky Spanking Stories, my response was quicker, more immediate. Even the stories I didn’t love made my cunt throb.
The first day I read it, I sat on the couch and quaked on the inside as desire mounted.
The second day I read it, desire arrived quicker, and it gave me an idea.
Do I use sex toys? Definitely. Do I enjoy erotica? Yes. Am I aware that some people do both at the same time? Of course. Have I ever used a sex toy while reading smut? Never.
There’s a first time for everything.
Thinking about my recent experience with the Kurve and how the current throb between my legs was quickly becoming a distraction, I decided it was time to pop this particular cherry.
That’s how I found myself propped up in bed, a vibrator on its lowest setting pressed firmly against my clit, while reading Cheeky Spanking Stories. I quickly found that reading one-handed isn’t always easy, especially when it’s time to turn a page. Thick thighs serve a lot of great purposes, but holding your sex toy in place against your vulva might be my new favorite.
I didn’t know if I would orgasm or if I even wanted to. What I hoped was to ease the ache that these sexy stories caused. To feel a sense of relief, even as I knew I might tease myself. The purpose wasn’t to get off, it was to enhance my reading pleasure. To experience a physical manifestation of what the stories did to me on an emotional level.
That being said, I did get off. Many, many times. These were not the gut-wrenching, scream-inducing orgasms of yore. They were quiet, unobtrusive, shuddery bits of pleasure. They enhanced my reading — without taking over. This time, when the story made my cunt quiver and my thighs clench, there was something to quiver and clench around.
I get it now — why people use sex toys while reading smut. It might not be my automatic go-to but I won’t shy away from the idea in the future, either.
Reading erotica put me in touch with things I’d learned (and forgotten) about myself long ago. Adding the vibrator brought two worlds together — the before me and the me I’ve been since I started this blog. I can’t say that my desire for sex and pleasure has come roaring back, but at least I know it hasn’t withered and died on a perimenopausal, pandemic-induced vine either.