It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (and Mental Health Awareness Month I think?) so obviously I’ve been struggling with my own depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation this week. Mental illness impacts literally every element of my life, and I am still learning how to manage it and take care of myself. Perhaps the most surprising thing that helps is creating sex positive structure in my week. Content note for discussion of mental illness and anti-depressants.
I love my blog and I love being part of the sex blogging community. It wasn’t until I took a whole week off from blogging – almost by accident – ahead of some big deadlines, that I realised how much I missed it. When I went back to the sex positive structure of my week I breathed a sigh of relief. The framework I’ve created for myself gives me something I can fall back on – even in a week where it feels like everything is falling apart, I can plug in my headphones and listen to a podcast about fisting or fucking, or friends-with-benefits…
It gives me a sense of control.
I’m going to miss out folks here who absolutely deserve a shout-out: I have so many wonderful friends who give me support and bring sex-positive structure to my week, but here I’m focussing on the regularly-released pieces of sex positive content that bring structure to my week. I use these to keep track of where I am in the week and help me move forward. With depression it’s often hard to find focus (or a reason to get out of bed in the morning) and it helps to look forward to these sex-positive streetlights in the brain-fog-filled pathways of my mind.
On my blog – and elsewhere in the sex blogging world – it’s Masturbation Monday, and I do my best to start the week by posting a piece of erotica. I think there’s more smut on my blog than anything else, and it’s definitely the easiest thing for me to write and it’s often the thing that gets me the most clicks. Apparently I’m quite good at writing dirty stories (and if you’re a sex positive company you can hire me to write for you!) and it’s super fun to write smut that turns me and other folks on.
As well as master-minding Masturbation Monday, Kayla Lords runs The Smutlancer – a website for the folks who create content about sex and want to get paid for for it. I currently have three different tabs open to The Smutlancer, and on high anxiety days you’ll often find me devouring articles like I devour giant chocolate buttons when on my period. The resources Kayla is creating give me so much inspiration and hope that I can reach my goals as a sex writer.
Tuesdays are going to be, from now on, a day I get stuff posted to X [a platform I no longer use]. Right now I’m aiming for at least two pieces of exclusive content for the folks who support me there every month: one piece of bonus smut and early access to a new audio porn recording. Of course, on bad mental health days I sometimes won’t have posted anything by this point in the week. In which case I try not to feel like I’m failing, and instead sit down and write something filthy that turns me on.
Tuesday is also when new episodes of The Dildorks – a podcast by Bex Caputo and Kate Sloan – get released. It’s actually first sex-positive podcast I started listening to, right after I started blogging in October 2017. Their brand is dorky discourse on sex, dating, and masturbating and every episode is filled with puns and insightful discussion about kink. It’s often the podcast I listen to while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, as I nervously fidget and wonder if there’ll be a problem with me getting another prescription for my anti-depressants.
On my blog, nothing much happens on the surface, but behind scenes I’m usually trying to write the other blog posts I want to publish that week, plus pitching ideas, scheduling tweets, and making lists of all the little admin things that come with trying to build an audience as a sex writer.
Elsewhere in the sex blogging community, it’s Wicked Wednesday. While I don’t often write something for this sex blogging meme, I almost always check out what Molly Moore has written because she’s an incredible woman and writer. I’ll also check out The Smutlancer again, because Kayla creates content with awe-inspiring consistence that I want to learn from and she posts another post on Wednesdays. It’s also the day when my first-and-foremost sex-writing-crush Girl on the Net puts up her first blog post of the week up, which is a must read for me.
In my blogging plan, I aim to post again on Thursdays – and I usually manage to, even if it’s not until late into the evening. I write think pieces and personal essays about feminism, mental illness, and exploring polyamory. Or, on days when I’m struggling and want something that takes less brain-power to create, I’ll write another filthy story. I spend a fair portion of Thursday scrolling through Twitter, looking at all the awesomeness everyone else is creating and what adventures other folks are getting up to… and sometimes feeling jealous. I try and channel that energy into a run, and in the shower afterwards I’ll try to remember the hundred new ideas for blog posts I came up with while exercising. If I can convert time zones correctly, I’ll join Kayla and John Brownstone for their Loving BDSM youtube livestream as well, often while jotting down outlines for pieces of writing I want to create.
Nothing goes up on my blog on Friday, but I’ll frequently write a couple of hundred words before I get out of bed in the morning – or start three different blog posts with ideas I may or may not come back to and finish later. Because I usually don’t manage to catch the Loving BDSM livestream, I listen to the podcast on Friday. My favourite bit is hearing about all the little snippets of information about their D/s relationship – I love learning about how other people entwine kink and power dynamics with their every day lives. Speaking of podcasts, Friday also now the day that a new episode of The Second Circle, a sex podcast for overthinkers, comes out. So far series three has talked about sex and disability, HIV, stigma and sex work, with podcast host Franki Cookney talking to some brilliant guests. We also get a new guest blog post on GOTN’s site, which right now reminds me that I’m supposed to be writing one for her.
Saturdays are for publishing another new post on my blog, and I often share work that I’ve written on trains, in airports, or on the sofa of a friend. None of my current play partners live close to me, so I spend a bit of time travelling up and down the country to spend time with them. The fucking is absolutely worth it, but I still make sure to use the time I spend on public transport to write. On the last Saturday of the month when I’m super organised, I’ll double-post a Share Our Shit Saturday post in the morning and then a Sinful Sunday photo in the evening.
On weeks when I’m less organised and have only got two posts up so far in the week, I’ll take a piece of advice from the hive mind of Eroticon 2019 and take a photo of my arse to share for Sinful Sunday. This almost always comes with an anxiety attack about whether I’m risking my anonymity by posting these photos on my blog – I am absolutely terrified of my superhero sex-blogging identity being unmasked. In an ideal world I will also have scheduled my Masturbation Monday smut by the time I go to bed on Sunday night so it will have gone live on my site by the time I get up on Monday. How often do I live in that ideal world? Not often.
In the sex blogging community, Sinful Sunday (a Molly Moore creation!) generates so many wonderful, sexy photos, and I get overwhelmed with guilt that I don’t have the spoons to comment and tell everyone how wonderful they are. In fact, that’s a theme that follows me through the sex positive structure of my week – I love receiving comments on my work and I get very excited whenever anyone shares one of my posts, but don’t often give other bloggers the comments and shares that their writing deserves. It’s something I want to work on, going forward. As is actually sticking to my blogging structure it will be helpful for my mental illness, and letting go of it when it stops being helpful and becomes a source of stress.
If you want to see how bad I am at sticking to my self-imposed sex positive structure, subscribe to my mailing list to get an email every time a I post a new piece of writing.
Quinn Rhodes (he/him) is a freelance journalist, sex writer, and professional transsexual. His work focuses on dismantling shame and queering sex.