Friday, 29 April 2016


Because the pagan/natural cycles are woven into my Lovers' Wheel series, I'm taking a look in 2016 at the four great Celtic quarter days, the most important festivals of the neo-pagan year. I've covered Imbolc previously, so here we are at the start of the summer with the sexiest festival of them all!

BELTANE (from Bealtaine, "bright fire") is celebrated on 30th April/1st May, about halfway between the Spring and Summer Equinoxes. It is a fire festival, as of course are all the Quarter Days.  Like Imbolc, at its historic roots it is a festival of a pastoral, herding people. It marks the beginning of summer and the point at which the cattle are released from their winter byres and fields out into the summer pastures further afield, because finally there is enough grass for them all.

Celtic tradition centered around the lighting of bonfires to banish the long winter nights, which the livestock were driven between in order to gain protection from the blights and dangers, both natural and supernatural, of the summer months to come.

Inevitably, a festival at this time of year in the northern hemisphere must celebrate returning light and warmth, new growth, fertility/birth and - therefore - the feminine. In Catholicism, the whole of the month is devoted to Mary as the "Queen of May," honouring her with crowns and displays of flowers. Not surprisingly this is because of older pagan associations with queenly goddess-figures, which needed to be usurped and negated with a good clean dose of Christianity. Before Christ, the Roman festival of the Goddess Flora was held right at the end of April and had a notably sexual character, including the very active participation of prostitutes.

Spring, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1894)
You can still see traces of the sexual/fertility nature of the festival in the folk rites of Maypole Dancing (putting a wreath on the top of the erect pole, and then dancing around it ... oh come on) and in the crowning of a pretty young woman as the village's May Queen, as well as any number of ribald Morris dances and poetic references to "going a-maying":

Now is the month of maying,
When merry lads are playing, Fa la la la la la la la la,
Fa la la la la la lah.
Each with his bonny lass
Upon the greeny grass.
Fa la la, etc...

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter's sadness,
Fa la la, etc...
And to the bagpipe's sound
The nymphs tread out their ground.
Fa la la, etc...
Fie then! why sit we musing,
Youth's sweet delight refusing?
Fa la la, etc...
Say, dainty nymphs, and speak,
Shall we play barley-break?
Fa la la etc...
(ballad from 1595)

Going a-Maying was a tradition where young people (particularly unwed ones) would head off into the woods very early on May Morning to, ahem, gather flowers. These garlands and branches and "may bushes" were brought back to fill the public places of the community ... though never brought indoors. I've talked about the may/hawthorn blossom thing before, with it's chemical associations with sex and death (it's the trimethylamine, man), so I'll just leave the link there for those interested.

John Collier (1850-1934): Queen Guinevere's Maying

Modern pagans count Beltane as the day the youthful God and Goddess get to have sex for the first time in the year. Interestingly, in folk tradition May - the month associated with wooing - is extremely unlucky for actual weddings ... perhaps because of the buried memory of all that orgiastic gadding-about, perhaps because of the Jewish mourning period of Omer that tends to fall at the same time, which forbade marriage.

Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, you neither wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden and for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day. 

Another strand of powerful and somewhat threatening femininity was the association of May Day (and the may/hawthorn tree) with the Fairy Queen (a degraded goddess figure), as you were in danger of meeting her if you hung out near a hawthorn on May Day, and perhaps being abducted by her for many years.

Robert Anning Bell (1863-1933)

Since the publication of Dracula in 1897 a parallel Germanic tradition has become more well-known in the English-speaking world - that of Walpurgisnacht (St Walpurga's Eve) or Hexennacht on April 30th. Walpurga was an English missionary to the pagan Germans back in the 8th century, and a pioneering female writer, but her feast day is best remembered as the time when witches ride across the land and meet up to do evil. Again, a reminder of terrifying and highly sexualised supernatural women.

Jusepe de Ribera (1591 – 1652); Procession to a Witches' Sabbath
So whatever you are planning for the May Day holiday - even if it's just a socialist rally for International Workers' Day - BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Body horror and the Empress Danrin

WARNING: some of the pictures further down this post are fairly gruesome and disturbing.

I'm finishing off a horror story this week, and one of the weird places my research has taken me is to the story of Tachibana no Kachiko (died 850 CE) a powerful Japanese noblewoman also known as the Empress Danrin. Her legend gave rise to a whole school of erotic/horrific art.

"The Death of a Noble Lady and the Decay of her body"- image from a set in the Wellcome Library

The Empress was a devout and influential Buddhist, but also extremely beautiful. It bothered her no end that all anyone thought about when they met her was falling in love ... or trying to get into her knickers. So she left orders that when she died, her body was to be exposed on the roadside in Kyoto so that anyone passing could see her putrescent corpse, and come to an understanding of the vanity of attachment to material beauty. This caused such a sensation that depictions of the Nine Stages of Decomposition (and poetry about it!) became all the rage in Buddhist schools, and quite fashionable between 13th - 19th centuries in Japan. They start with the living (but languid) woman and show the progression of decay all the way down to fragments of bone.

artist Kobayashi Eitaku, 1890

The Buddhist discipline of mindfulness of death (one's own, and that of all other beings) is known as Maranasati. In theory contemplation of such Kyuaizu ("Nine Signs") pictures was quite high-minded, but in fact there emerged an eroticised element bordering on necrophilia. The subject of these paintings was not always the empress, but always a beautiful woman (never a man) and often a courtesan, shown naked and appealing in the first stages. Don't fool yourself that Buddhism is any less misogynistic than other religions: there was a strong moral undercurrent of "look how disgusting women's bodies are really, young art-lover - don't you fall for their sexy wiles!"

Eitaku's "Body of a Courtesan in Nine Stages" - you can see the complete set HERE

Here is a set of Kyuaizu showing the body of famed courtesan Onono Komachi. They are apparently pretty accurate and likely to have been drawn from an actual model.

And now you can go and have dinner...

Monday, 25 April 2016

Blue Monday: L N Bey guests

Every Monday I post a filthy excerpt for your entertainment!

Today's guest is LN Bey with an excerpt from her brand-new, literally-just-released-this-second novel Blue

As her guests arrive for dinner, Janet is both aroused and fearful—because this is no ordinary suburban dinner party. Recently divorced and looking for something new, Janet finds it when her friend Jon invites her to join an exclusive club of kinksters whose initiation is to be the host—and the entertainment.

Before the food is even served, she’s naked and on her knees, not to mention in over her head with her far more experienced guests. An avid reader of BDSM erotica, Janet learns that reality doesn’t always jibe with the fantasy as she rapidly loses control of the situation.

So begins Janet’s odyssey into a kinky suburban underground she never dreamed existed: caterers who were once dominatrices; real estate agents and lawyers by day who make twisted, sexy art by night; a stunning but sadistic insurance analyst who owns an entire stable of slaves of her own.

Well-trained submissives are in short supply out here in the ‘burbs, and Janet, blue-eyed and eager, has just the potential these people are looking for.

Kinky and sexy, intelligent and perceptive,
Blue is both highly entertaining social satire and red hot erotica

Everyone was just staring.

“Well?” Jack said, “What are you waiting for?”

But she didn’t know what to do. Jack beckoned her with his finger. Janet crawled toward him, a lump in her throat.

“Have you been trained to show respect?” he asked when she reached him.

“No, Sir.”

“She was told!” Jon protested.

“Can you figure it out for yourself?”

Janet hesitated, but she could guess. She lowered her face to kiss his shoes. She heard a zipper.
When she raised herself up, his cock looked like a missile emerging from its silo—perfectly straight, incredibly smooth. Oooooh God. It had been well over a year since she’d last had one, and not very often for quite a while before then.

She glanced up at his face.

“What are you waitin’ for, darlin’?” Jack said. “An embossed invitation?”

Janet licked her lips, leaned forward on her hands and knees, and took the cock into her mouth. She moaned at the sensation of it filling her mouth, and she held it there, savoring it, tasting it. Man, she thought. Male. A man freshly showered but driving here in warm weather. She felt a surge of pure, primal lust. She slid her tongue up and down it inside her mouth, feeling every feature of its smooth, warm surface. Jack inhaled sharply. She backed off, and swirled her tongue around the cock’s head—feeling its firm ridge and licking the very tip, slick with pre-come.

For the first time all evening, she was no longer embarrassed. She thrust her head downward, taking as much in as she could, moaning again as its hardness nearly filled her throat. She considered how she must look to the others, down on her hands and knees, head bobbing up and down, red ass up in the air, and it now thrilled her. This was what she was wanting, when she’d listened to Jon’s idea weeks ago. Slave-girl-in-castle, slave-girl-in-mansion, slave-girl-on-pirate ship, she’d read them all—and never mind all the submissive-to-a-billionaire stories. If this was what it was to be put in her place, to be a sub, she was all for it. She could feel her own wetness and she spread her knees apart, wishing Jon or whoever would move behind her.

“You know,” Carolyn said, “If she’s going to be trained properly, she’s going to have to learn to take a whipping while servicing her betters.”

Okay, maybe never mind about that slave girl thing. Janet stopped, and looked up at Jack’s face with his dick still in her mouth—You’re not going to let her, are you? her eyes pleaded, but his expression was quite different.

“Couldn’t agree more,” he said, grinning and watching her intently. Janet lowered her lips down the cock again, and swore it had firmed up even harder.

The crack of the whip was a complete surprise; she hadn’t heard Carolyn move. Janet screamed, her cry muffled by Jack’s cock, and it took everything she had not to pull away from it—but she had the feeling doing so would make things worse. She looked up at Jack, who watched her with fascination. Begging him with her eyes wasn’t going to work, apparently.

Carolyn whipped her again, causing her to moan, her mouth still filled. She hesitated once more from the pure, painful surprise of it, but only for an instant. What had she been expecting, these last few weeks? Let’s face it, this was what she’d been picturing in her mind for tonight, what had got her all slippery sitting at work or trying to watch TV—being on her hands and knees, sucking a man, being whipped.

The next blow came quickly and Janet whimpered again, but did not stop or even slow her sucking. If anything, she sped up, worked harder. The fourth came after a long pause, Carolyn apparently making her wait for it, knowing that the anticipation could be as agonizing as the whip itself. Janet flinched when it came, but she did not ease up on the cock.

Carolyn swung three times in rapid succession across Janet’s ass, already hurting from the previous whipping, and once more against the tender backs of her thighs. Janet squealed, prodded to suck even faster at each blow. Carolyn whipped across her shoulders, which she did not expect. That seemed almost rude, though she didn’t know why.

But she remembered what Carolyn had said: she was being trained. To suck a cock while being whipped.

Okay then. She sucked furiously as the whip struck twice more across her back.

“You wanna trade places with her?” Jack said to Carolyn, and Carolyn struck her harder.

“In your dreams, Jack.”

Jack moaned and leaned back in his seat. Carolyn whipped her again, and again, as Jack began moving his hips in perfect timing with her bobbing head, fucking her mouth. He grabbed her head on both sides, holding it in place, and with a loud and ecstatic groan he exploded into her. She continued sucking, head held still, as his hips slowed and he began thrusting in time with his ejaculations. Carolyn timed her lashes with his orgasm, each thrust into Janet’s mouth met with a stinging crack across her ass. Janet could only moan at each convulsion, partly out of what was becoming actual pain from Carolyn’s whip, and partly from the shear subservience she felt each time Jack’s cock penetrated her deeper, releasing its hot come into her throat. She let its salty taste dominate her.

Carolyn’s whipping stopped. Janet relaxed—as did Jack’s cock, softening until she could take it all in and bury her lips in his pubic hair. Carolyn returned to her chair and reclined back into it. Jack still held Janet in his hands, and he lifted her head as his dick flopped against his stomach. He smiled beatifically.

She expected him to say something grateful, but instead he turned her head toward Carolyn sitting in the chair next to his.

“Now her, darlin'.”

Buy Blue at 
Amazon US :: Amazon UK

Denver, Colorado-based LN Bey has written one and a half erotic novels, but unfortunately had to write the first one three times to get it right. A long-time reader of BDSM erotica, LN reviews and analyzes erotic works of merit on this website, and has had several short stories published in anthologies, including Best Bondage Erotica 2015 and the upcoming No Safewords 2, published by Laura Antoniou. When not writing smut or writing about smut, LN is usually serving demanding cats or taking long naps in the sun.

L N Bey:

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Wonder Woman


1) She is massively hot

 2) She looks totally badass

3) She is neither WASPy nor some goddamn teenager. Gal Gadot is 30.

 I never had any interest in the character until now, but I want to see more WW movies!

Friday, 22 April 2016

I'm breaking down societal gender-norms

I have man-flu and I am goddamn OWNING it. Thankfully Mr Ashbless is here to look after the dogs and go shopping.
Bring me more rum, I'm back off to bed.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The trouble with women writers...

Francesco Laurana (1430 – 1502); Eleanor of Aragon

I was asked by editor Lisa Jenkins to write a post on feminism for the Sinful Press blog - because they've just published erotica novel Show Me, Sir, which is all about the contentious intersection of feminism and BDSM.
I warned her my post was likely to be arsey and opinionated, but she let me go for it!


Monday, 18 April 2016

Where's Janine been?

I've been off on my travels again :-) - can you guess where?
I walked on an active volcano in a driving blizzard ... but I wasn't in Iceland.

I stood beneath some enormous banyan trees ... but I wasn't anywhere in Asia.

I saw the best-preserved Classical Greek temples still in existence ... but I wasn't in Greece.

I visited the most beautiful Norman cathedral in the world ... but I wasn't in France (or Britain).

Sorry, Durham
I saw Spanish watchtowers on every crag ... but I wasn't in Spain.

I witnessed a page from the Koran carved on the stones of a Catholic cathedral ... but I wasn't in the Middle East.

And I saw more dead bodies than I've ever seen in my life ... but I was nowhere near a war-zone:

I was in a country whose symbol is a Gorgon's head staring out from between three splayed legs.

Not at all Freudian then...

Have you guessed? I was in SICILY!

It's a land that has been occupied with extreme prejudice over the centuries, by so many nations, that it has decided the only fitting revenge is to kill everyone in the world through cake-induced cardiac arrest:

"Try a cannolo? The first hit is free."

And it was just beautiful!

We went on this tour, which I thoroughly recommend. If you get the chance, do go in April for the wildflowers (and blizzards) :-D

Friday, 8 April 2016

Fly away

Henry Fuseli (1741-1825), The Night Hag

I'm going to be away from the blog for a while - back later in April!

Don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Calling on God

This angel statue is from the roof of St John's cathedral in Den Bosch (the Netherlands). When they needed a new statue they decided to go for a modern take - so they ended up with an angel wearing jeans and using a cellphone!

Yes, you can ring the angel. But he only speaks Dutch.
There's temporary access to the roof for tourists at the moment, which allows people to see the amazing carvings on the flying buttresses in close-up - they're mostly C19th restorations of original medieval statues. 

Here are some of my favourites, pictured on Easter Sunday.

Mysterious hooded man
Ape with baby

Tambourine player (the only female figure on the roof)
Man with owl

Man riding a sphinx

Wild man with net, sitting behind a demon

Monday, 4 April 2016

Blue Monday: Sonni de Soto guests

Every Monday  I post a wicked excerpt for your entertainment!

Today's guest is Sonni de Soto with an sneak preview from her soon-to-be-released novel Show Me, Sir.

Max Wells is a ball-busting, ass-kicking testament to female empowerment, who’s yet to meet the person who can push her down. 

Until she meets a man she only knows as Sir. 

Shamelessly deviant, Hayato knows exactly what Max thinks of Dominants like him. So ready to dismiss his lifestyle, she’s the type to assume she knows everything about it and him after one cursory glance from the outside in. But, looking at Max—at her intelligence and passion—he can see more in her than the misconceptions she’s deliberately blinding herself with. 

And, determined, he plans to show her more. 

Max and Hayato engage in a dance of wit, will, and seduction as they negotiate roles, rewrite rules, and learn the true meaning of empowerment. 

But, just as their game heats up, it gets used against them. Seeking to punish them with their play, someone threatens to drag their private lives out into the public spotlight. 

With high stakes and bitter scandal looming over their heads, Max and her Sir will have to work together to show that what the world thinks they are does not define who they are.

Her eyes shot up, meeting his savage gaze in the mirror’s reflection. He looked as wild ‒ as unbalanced and out of control ‒ as she felt.

Somehow, that settled her. Righted her, in a weird, irrational way.

“Touch yourself.” He tipped her head back down to stare at herself, exposed and spread wide, as his other hand cupped her free elbow encouragingly. “Show me how you like it. Show me how I should touch you. How I will touch you. Soon.”


With a wicked smile, she felt ‒ saw ‒ her cunt clench with heated desire and heard his echoing groan while her arousal flowed from her body onto her fingers and thighs. She brought her other hand down, letting her fore and middle fingers slide between her inviting folds.

“Yes,” he said.

Gathering her wetness, she brushed her clit on a gasp. They both watched her stroke herself in intense silence, watched as soft, tentative brushes quickly turned into hard, twisting flicks while pleasure surged through her.

“Yes.” That one word was a compelling lull, urging her on. He reached in front of her, unsnapping the front clasp of the button-up teddy.

Max’s breath caught when her breasts spilled free, bouncing with every heaving pant.

“Touch them.” Both their eyes stared at her tight, rosy nipples. “Touch.”

Without thought, she lifted compliant fingers all but reflexively to fondle a flushed peak even while she kept rubbing against her needy nub. She groaned. “Oh Lord.”

“Fuck yourself.” His voice was hoarse and hushed, the coarse words a quiet plea that quelled her unease. “Slip those fingers deep inside that sweet, pretty pussy.”

She did, moaning while her perfectly manicured hand pushed inside.



She needed more.

“Yes,” he said, “move those fingers. Slide them in and out. Faster.”

Her core contracted, gripping her so tight, the nerves sparking all along her vaginal walls.

“Come, Max,” he coaxed. “Come for me.”

And, God help her, she did.

Her eyes widened, not willing to miss a second of it. Her body rushed toward a climax, her strokes becoming mad while she rubbed and pushed, pinched and tugged.

With an animalistic roar, she came, her body rioting with sensation. Try as she might, she couldn’t keep her eyes open. Couldn’t stop her body from tensing tight. Her knees wobbled. With a choked pant, she caught herself, still tirelessly touching her clit as her climax took her. It took all she had to stay upright, propping her shaking weight up against the cool, fogging glass.

“Damn, Max,” she heard him murmur.

She blinked, trying to see past the haze, but saw nothing in the mirror over her shoulder.

Then a fierce shiver hit her when a familiar, reverent touch caressed her hip.

Her gaze dropped to him, crouched down at her side. His face was eye-level to her still undulating hips. His eyes watched her, entranced. “Goddamn.” His hand that idly brushed her curving side now gripped her thigh, urging her to part them further.

He removed her hand from her still convulsing sex and brought it to his mouth, sucking her fingers deep. He moaned as his tongue swept over the sweet, slick skin, cleaning her completely before releasing her.

“I want to taste you.” He met her eyes in the mirror, that hungry look now ravenous. “Really taste you.”

Her body gave a delicious, lurching jerk, thinking about his mouth, his tongue, his teeth upon her vulva. The thought of this man ‒ this powerful, enigmatic man ‒ on his knees before her, giving her pleasure, made her heat all over again.

Without allowing all her niggling principles or warning reservations a voice, wanting to not think for once, but to feel… just feel, she bit her lip and nodded.

Max fought the urge to giggle when his cloudlessly brilliant eyes widened and flared, as if he hadn’t expected her to agree. As if he’d expected a fight.

Her teeth worried her lip. Should she fight? She knew logically ‒ ideologically ‒ she shouldn’t be allowing him to do this. Sex of any kind with this man would be a power game. One she wasn’t sure she should play. But, when he shifted himself around her to settle between her thighs, she wondered why.

Why couldn’t she just shut up and enjoy this? Why couldn’t she allow herself to stop fighting for once?

Tell me you want this.” He gripped her hips, his fingers clinging and digging into her lush form. “I want the words from you, Max.”

She blinked at him, knowing what the lawyer in him was asking for. Consent. Undeniable agreement.
She wiggled in his unrelenting grip, feeling her undeniable longing. He licked his thin lips, the pointed tip of his tongue moving, dark and slow, across his mouth. Her own tongue followed suit, moistening her dry skin.

“Say it.”

She swallowed hard. “I want you to.”

“To what?”

Informed, complete consent. She looked down into his eyes, seeing that he didn’t think her capable of it. Didn’t think that the proper, sophisticated picture she projected could do dirty.

He thought he was so smart.

Meeting his daring glare with one of her own, she said, “I want you to taste me.” Her voice was clear with her own obvious goad. “I want your lips on my clit and your tongue in my cunt. I want you to make me come harder than I ever have in my life.” She cocked her head when the corners of his thin lips trembled with laughing shock. “Think you can do that?” She looked down her nose at him. “Sir.”

He chuckled, the sound rich and low, and tightened his grip on her hips. His hands slid lower over her behind and down her thighs, pulling them further apart, making room for himself between them. With a dangerous grin, he simply said, “Watch."

Show Me, Sir is out on the 10th April from Sinful Press and available for pre-order now:
Amazon US :: Amazon UK

Sonni de Soto is an Asian kinkster of color, who loves and lives the lifestyle when she can. Her work involves The Taming School and Show Me, Sir, as well as stories in Between the Shores: Erotica With Consent and The First Annual Geeky Kink Anthology.  

Like any good nerd, she loves learning new and interesting things about science, art, culture, and, of course, sex and love. She’s always thrilled to hear from readers; you can get in touch with Sonni de Soto at her website