If I weren’t abusing Twitter so much these days, I’d have never come across Lily Lloyd‘s theblackleatherbelt and her fantastic #SexReader Best of 2012. This list gave me so much good reading and many great connections of bloggers to feature right here! So it seems only natural to chat with her here.
How did you get into blogging and start theblackleatherbelt?
I was one of those girls who had the diary with the Genuine Gold-Toned Page Edges And Lock (I’m sure some of your readers will know exactly the kind of thing I’m thinking about, but if they don’t, this is it—only mine had a much flimsier lock that probably could have been picked by giving it a really mean look). As I got older I got cooler notebooks and called them journals.
So the transition to blogging was really rather natural except for one thing: I had to change what I wrote about. It didn’t seem fair to complain about people in a public journal, for one thing. So I adopted a rule: I never said anything on my blog about someone else that I wouldn’t tell to a friendly stranger at a bus stop. I’d very merrily violate my own privacy, but not anyone else’s.
As I came to a part of my life where sex was a bigger part of the plot, that guideline didn’t really work. It was impossible for me to write about my own sex life without writing about someone else’s. What was I going to do? Ultimately, I started another blog. I use a pseudonym. My partners know about the blog and I have had discussions with them about what they feel comfortable having me write about and what they’d prefer to keep private.
What or who inspires your writing?
My partners. In very large part, my blog is a hymn of praise to them, a recounting of the transcendent and ecstatic experiences I’ve had in their presence. I don’t write about every encounter—I write about the sex I have that changes my mind, or changes my heart. My relationships have changed my sense of what is possible, and they have changed my sense of what about me is lovable; my partners love things about me I’ve spent a lifetime trying to minimize or get rid of. It is very humbling to be loved for something about yourself you thought was completely unlovable.
I also write about more general issues in the area of kink and non-monogamous relationships, because I think sex and relationships are important, deep topics that don’t always get the kind of focus and attention they deserve. There are lots of “Ten Tips For Spicing It Up In The Bedroom!” and of course porn, and while I don’t really object to either of those, neither one ever helped me have better sex or a more solid connection with a partner.
How do you track down all of the sites in your #SexReader Best Of list?
I find the things I link to in three ways—through the RSS feeds of blogs I subscribe to, through scanning through traditional media for stories on the topic that are actually worth reading, and by noticing what others contribute to the #SexReader hashtag on Twitter. For the first “Best Of,” I also approached a few authors individually whose writing I admire and think is worth sharing.
So far we’ve done the #SexReader Best of 2012, which asked writers to contribute the best piece about sex & relationships they wrote in the past year. The upcoming one is #SexReader: Cupid’s Arrow, which invites people to contribute links to pieces they wrote about love, crushes, and romantic disasters. (Deadline Feb 1!)
Deciding as an adult to be brave enough to pursue the kind of sex I found thrilling absolutely changed my life in very profound ways. It was scary, in part because I was and am married to someone I love very much and with whom I have children, and I worried that confessing my kinks to him might trigger a breakup. (In retrospect, I think my fear was silly but understandable for someone growing up in an environment where sex was embedded in a very shame and fear-based culture).
Opening our relationship actually felt less momentous and scary to me than that revelation. Writing the blog seemed like standard operating procedure for me; I barely know what I think until I write it down, and I’ve been writing down my experiences to make sense of the world since I was a child.
There is one (very delightful) way that my blog “leaks into” the rest of my life. One of the unintended consequences of my blog is that my husband and my girlfriend now have a fan base. I love that and believe they deserve all the acclimation they can get.
Though it’s hard to find direct causes for this, the biggest and most widespread impact of me “getting right” with my sexuality is that I feel at peace. I had no idea how stressful suppressing that part of myself was until I stopped doing it. I’m much more relaxed, less angry and more happy now than I ever have been in my adult life.
Tell us about your book Discipline?
Discipline is about making kinky relationships work. There are lots of great books about the technical aspects of BDSM—rope bondage, how to swing a flogger—but there are relatively few books that focus on the part of BDSM that happens between our ears. The book is intended to help people be able to articulate what they really want and arrive at a shared dynamic that they’re both thrilled about.
What is the state of BDSM writing now? There are so many guides out there!
And some of them are really fantastic! I love Tristan Taormino’s Ultimate Guide To Kink, where each chapter is written by an expert on that topic. Notably, some chapters of the book do delve into the mental aspects of BDSM, which I thought was great. I also love Playing Well With Others, written by Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington. That’s the book I wish I had before I went to my first play party.
Beyond BDSM, what are some of your other favourite topics to write about, sexual or otherwise?
I write a lot about technology. I’m a technophile and find it fascinating.
What can we look forward to seeing on theblackleatherbelt in the future?
I do hope you’ll see a lot of descriptions of uber-hot sex, because that will mean I’m having a lot of uber-hot sex. I’m also tossing around a new book idea, entitled “Making Kinky Relationships Work,” which expands on the work I did in Discipline, which is a little more narrowly focused than a general book on relationship health would be.