I Will Never Apologise For Being Me (International Women’s Day #LELOnotsorry)

I remember I was running a marathon once when a relatively new friend pulled up besides the group I had been travelling with for most of the event. They congratulated us on our running and a small conversation started up when one of my running companions said “You’ll never believe what she does for a living.”

My other mate looked at me quizzically and I said through panting breaths “I’m a writer a reviewer in the adult health and wellness sector.”

“You what?” they responded, a bit baffled to which I responded with great gusto.

“I write about SEX.”

The grin on their face became immense and we all had a chuckle as we ran in the lap and they continued onward.

The event was a camping one and, by the end, not a single person I shared a table with was in any doubt of what I did, what I thought about sex, and my deep, deep love of blowjobs (pun definitely intended).

This is how I live my life and I have not once regretted that decision.

Every single person that knows me knows that I am an adult writer and that my love of sex is open, unapologetic, and celebratory.

When I train clients in my house there are often dildos on the shelves.

When I message my mates through WhatsApp there is usually at least once chuckle at the nature of my profession.

And, when I go to college for my training courses and the topic “So what do you do for your main income?” comes up I respond with just as much openness.

Sex is kind of what I do.

Not everyone shares my enthusiasm for sex or sex toys but that’s absolutely fine, because my sexual preferences and confidence is not about them, nor is it meant to be a reflection on their own sex life. It’s all about me – being true to who I am and not shying away from any aspect of my sexual independence and freedom.

Sex has offered me so much over the years and I refuse to shy away from the topic or its importance in my life.

I am not always highly sexual, nor always highly motivated to have sex, and when that happens I will discuss it to. The enjoyment of sex, the absence of it, my adoration of the Lelo Smartwand Large, or my expertise when it comes to the best flavoured lubes. It all integrates in to what makes me Me and weaves itself in to a fundamental part of my identity.

How could it not, really?

I started masturbating at a very young age and the very first time I did it I worried I had broken myself. Really I had just discovered a new part of myself and my daily masturbations in my younger years were total bliss.

Still, as a very young lady I was incredibly worried and ashamed of making it clear just how much I loved to love myself.

That sounds odd now but I think it’s common for many of us, especially women – who are often shamed in society if we are sexually open or fetishized as if being sexually active means we will be sexually open to any and all requests.

Neither are accurate.

I also remember vividly those first tentative steps in to sexual exploration with my now-ex and how nervous we both were. Still, by then I had become more sexually confident and we spoke openly about the idea of getting condoms and what we might want to do while on a public bus.

We were the first in our 6th form (basically high school, for US readers) to openly take advantage of the on-campus free condom scheme. When we made it clear to our friends that we were going to use it the first time they all seemed shocked and fascinated. That’s another vivid memory – the way that they peered at us from the window of our school’s social area as we walked over to the sexual health building and entered to gain our free swag. When we came back they all wanted to know what it was like and I was happy to let them know how normal, easy, and accessible it all was.

I wanted them to be as confident about being sexually safer and responsible as I was. As we were. My partner helped form a lot of my initial sexual confidence, though I admit I was the more ‘kinky’ and open of the two of us. (‘Kinky’ back then being the fact that I owned adult product magazines. Oh, the early days of sexual exploration).

You can imagine how devastated I was when I tried to embrace my partner internally and instead found that my vagina said ‘No.’ Those years of vaginismus and vaginismus recovery were probably some of the most sexually devastating and shame-filled that I have experienced when it comes to my own body and its capabilities.

It took a lot to unpack the feelings involved. Yet again I felt broken and yet again I was wrong. Sexual dysfunction does not break us, nor does it mean we cannot enjoy our bodies and what they have to offer, it just means that we have to take them on their own terms and work day-by-day towards our goals, rather than feeling frustrated that we have not immediately met them.

Oh, and be open, of course.

Vaginismus was horrendous but it was also a gateway to me exploring my sexual identity, sexuality, and sexual preferences in more depth then I ever thought possible. If anything it ultimately made me even more sexually open. I learned more about different types of sexual play, different ways to discuss sex, and just how fundamental it can be to how we view ourselves as people.

I also learnt that if we hide away from our sexual needs, repress our feelings around sex, or refuse to find a place to consider the negative feelings we may hold around our bodies and our sexual identity then our psychology will ultimately pick up on these things and create clear barriers that embody our issues. Only through learning how to own our sexual power can we then overcome our barriers, and that usually involves being much more open and confident in who we are and just what we want from our sexual selves.

In clawing, crawling, and eventually leaping over my own hurdles (with help and support from my ex, it must be said) I came out of my struggles all the stronger and all the more overt with my identity. I discovered the joy of sex toys and just how important they were for me in finding recovery. That element of my recovery ultimately led me to want to spread the word about just how amazing sex toys could be and I started reviewing my very first products. Along the way I found some tried and true favourites, like the Lelo Siri 2, and learnt that I didn’t have to love what everyone else did, such as the Lelo Mona 2. I found more of my identity and I explored it openly.

That open exploration made each discovery all the richer too. There’s a difference between thinking something and doing something, after all. If we think about a problem, an identity, or anything else then it just swims in our head, causing vague clouds of intangible possibilities. By speaking, acting, or writing about what’s on our minds we make whatever we’re dealing with (good or bad) much more tangible and real and when something is real we can do so much more with it.

This is also why, in the end, I stopped trying to hide behind my blog and instead started holding it up proudly as part of my life and my identity.

I owe so much to my sex life, my sexuality, and my sexual writing. Every time I write something down on here I’m trying to help someone and that is not something that I will ever feel ashamed about. I will never apologise for writing about and loving sex because there may be someone out there who feels like they cannot love or enjoy sex and I want them to know that’s just not the case.

We are all entitled to love ourselves.

We are all entitled to enjoy our bodies and what they can provide.

We are all amazing, wonderful individuals who, in some way or another, find that sex, sexuality, and sexual exploration plays a part in who we are and what we do.

To ever feel like we should hide that away is to say that we’re not deserving of one of the fundamental aspects of human nature and I am all about being true to nature. Insert a hippy peace sign here.

Of course, not all of us have the privilege that I do. Some people have religious families, abusive communities, or careers that will drop them at the snap of their fingers if the mere mention of a anal vibrator or kegel beads comes up.

For those people my heart aches, but understand that this doesn’t mean that you can’t silently and happily embrace your sexual nature. Sexual confidence, after all, does not mean sexual bravado, nor does it mean that everyone is entitled to full disclosure in to your life. We are all entitled to the ability to share whatever aspect of our lives we want with the many people we encounter, and that ability to moderate our identity is another key element of being true to yourself and knowing who you want to know you.

For me, however, I have always gained a sense of great strength from letting myself be known for all that I am. Emmeline Peaches: Adult product review, sex toy fanatic, and queer, gender fluid, transformation and puppy play loving maniac.

This is who I am and this is who I’ll continue to be and if the world isn’t ready for that then I’m sure I can cope with it.