Who knew it would come to this

by Roisin Agnew | 26th April 2020

Raymond’s Revuebar in Soho, 1997

After I graduated from film school I worked for an adult entertainment company in order to pay off my student debt. This is not going to be a personal essay about that.

One of my tasks during my time there was to write a weekly sex blog and newsletter for our online sex shop in order to promote the toys we sold. Beyond being someone who has had sex and can write, I had no qualifications for the role and no personal interest in sex toys. But I am diligent.

Every week I set about researching a topic that would best serve the toys we sought to promote on the site. This was not a website dedicated to sex positive articles illustrated by naturally-lit photos of tattooed bodies of different sizes lying in the shadow of a monstera, but a sex shop affiliated with a cam girl company (that I also worked for) whose main objective with each post was to sell sex toys. Our clients were men predominantly and the best-selling item in the shop for months was a male masturbator that prided itself on being hands-free and having a suction function that was “better than the real thing.”

Upon the suggestion of the girl in marketing, I adopted a name in order to make things feel more personal and ‘exciting’. I began a typical newsletter with something like, “Hey there big boy!” and signed it, “Yours, Jessica xo.”

After a while, I developed a style for Jessica and these posts. Like:

How to get into pegging

It’s apparently one of the rising sexual trends predicted in 2020 and it’s undoubtedly an experience that has been receiving a lot of attention in film, TV (think Deadpool) and in sexual advice columns for men across the web. Yep, pegging is definitely set to be the go-to sex trend for 2020!

So, if you’ve been reading about it and decided that you want to give it a go for the first time, what are the things to keep in mind so you can ease yourself (it’s important) into it?

Jessica was a woman of the people (“Deadpool”) with a scout spirit (“Yep”) who read a lot of Cosmopolitan (“go-to sex trend for 2020!”) and had a se

Still from Deadpool

A post Jessica spent a solid 20 minutes researching ran:

Tips for how to have multiple orgasms

Multiple orgasms are one of those things that are perhaps to be envied of women. They can seem like some form of karmic gift to people with vaginas. At the same time the idea of multiple orgasms and how to get them is under-discussed, perhaps because having one orgasm at all is hard enough!

But if you’ve reached a place where having an orgasm isn’t so daunting, then let’s talk tips for having multiple orgasms

1. Know your orgasms
Did you think all orgasms were the same? Think again. Orgasms are defined in a variety of ways. There can be compound single orgasms which involve a period of downtime and no arousal between separate and distinct orgasms. Then there are sequential multiple orgasms, which happen when the body is still in a state of arousal from the previous orgasm but the next one is distinct and there’s downtime of 10 minutes at least. And finally, there are serial multiple orgasms which can almost register as contractions or multiple orgasms or even feel like one prolonged orgasm occurring all within the same time frame.

Etc through to point 4.

Another piece called “5 bondage positions that will change everything” included:

Easy hog-tie
The hog-tie (or tying someone's wrists and hands hard together as they lie on their stomach) is of course one of the most popular forms of bondage as it leaves your partner (or victim!) absolutely powerless and unable to move their arms and legs – they’re at your mercy and yeah, it’s a turn-on. A simple way to do it? Just tie their arms and legs and don’t worry about actual hog-tying - it’ll be looser and allow more freedom but still give the same thrill when you start touching them and they’re powerless to do anything.

Still from Hito Steyerl, Lovely Andrea

Another went:

Tips for your first double penetration

Double penetration (or DP as it’s known) is one of those sexual acts that still remains somewhat taboo or seen as vaguely extreme. However, lots of people really enjoy the feeling of being stretched-out and there are obvious reasons why it is appealing to so many, so let’s consider what it is and how best to get into DP if you’re a novice.

What is it?
DP is generally understood as the act of a woman getting penetrated in the anus and vagina at the same time by two penises, but it can of course occur as a combination of penis and a dildo, or simply two dildos on a strap-on.

How to get it on!
When it comes to DP a couple of things are crucial. Firstly, it’s the consent of the person getting doubly penetrated. Make sure that you are both (or all three) clear on what’s happening and that you’re all comfortable. Secondly, it’s important that position and toys have been trialed or at least discussed beforehand. And as always, all things are better with lube, so lube up really well and insist.

Control in the hands of the penetrated
The control in this scenario is all in the hands of the person getting penetrated and since this is a position that stretches tissues and can sometimes be extreme. Make sure you go gently and, if you’re using toys, that these and the harnesses have been trialled beforehand.

Control in the hands of the penetrated.

Still from Secretary

A personal favourite of Jessica’s was this one, which however, Marketing suggested was too long and should have linked the toys higher up in the article:

The psychology of being a bottom in BDSM

It’s a cliché that the brain is the largest erogenous zone in the body, but when you think about role play and BDSM it’s hard to argue with the facts.

For years scientists have been interested in why we love BDSM and role play, and one of the most basic realities about our fascination and love for power play can be found in studies of the brain.

In 2016 a scientist named Kathryn Klement undertook a study of the brain after engaging in BDSM to understand what people were actually “getting out of it” chemically. And of course her way of gathering data was somewhat specific in that she couldn’t monitor brain activity during the act!

Instead the team behind Klement’s study made people go through a specific test that monitors brain activity – what they found out was that the ‘bottom’ or person who is submissive had an incredibly dramatic shift of senses during the BDSM ‘rituals’ which brought them into a state that the team described as “subspace” or “an altered state of consciousness” that the bottoms enter into where the brain imitates what passes for stress, but which the body enjoys and lets happen. The divide between body and mind in this case produces a sensation that is almost like “floating” the study concluded.

Whilst this may seem a bit whacky, the evidence is clear, and it in large part can be explained by the presence of increased levels of cortisol released through the body during this time. What it means is that being a bottom can be genuinely surrealy [sic] pleasurable for people!

Another thing is that this study and others show how there is no connection between neurosis and submission in BDSM, something that has often been a negative stereotype and misunderstanding around it, as so often it is simply motivated by achieving that “subspace” feeling one might achieve through meditation or psychedelics.

Check out our selection of BDSM toys:

At the time I had been not-dating a character called Nancy for a few months. I had accidentally brought him to Athens at Christmas where my parents had met him and liked him, and I had accidentally continued to reply to his messages even though he’d ended it, gone on holiday to Brazil, and was seeing someone else. His professions of love were as relentless as his disappearances and stream of new girlfriends.

My diet at the time consisted of boiled eggs and cigarettes for lunch, peanuts and a bottle of pinot grigio for dinner, and my jeans began to flap about the thighs. I looked good. Every morning I woke up thinking I’d forgotten something.

In her newsletter Jessica went on tirelessly about the infinite dimensions of pleasure that could unfold for the imagined reader and the woman he sought to please, if only they took her made-up advice. It would be nice to think of Jessica as a panacea for that moment – her championing of pleasure in all its profane and prosaic forms a sort of rallying cry. It would be nice to think that my desire to see a man please a woman had found its way into Jessica’s posts about multiple orgasms, while on the inside I was crumbling like a chalky cliff face. It would be nice, but it wasn’t like that.

Published as part of Warm Yourself By My Trash Fire (March – May 2020)

Liquid explores expressions of intimacy in the private and public realms, in our digital and offline lives.