Medium.Com, Content Ownership and Other Pros and Cons (Review)

11 minute read.

As promised in my last post, it’s time for a post about my experiences with Medium.com.

I’ve been curious about Medium for a long time. That curiosity has only grown as more bloggers and writers seem to migrate there. My investigation was hardly In-depth, but I managed to do enough digging to uncover the major pluses and minuses.

The Big Drawback:

I’m not one to bury the lead, so I’m going to lead with what SHOULD be the biggest drawback for creative types, and explain what it could mean.

That big drawback is that Medium claims ownership of your content from the get go, right in the Terms of Service:

Rights and Ownership

“You retain your rights to any content you submit, post or display on or through the Services.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, by submitting, posting, or displaying content on or through the Services, you grant Medium a nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully paid, and sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your content in all media formats and distribution methods now known or later developed on the Services.

Medium needs this license because you own your content and Medium therefore can’t display it across its various surfaces (i.e., mobile, web) without your permission.

This type of license also is needed to distribute your content across our Services. For example, you post a story on Medium. It is reproduced as versions on both our website and app, and distributed to multiple places within Medium, such as the homepage or reading lists. A modification might be that we show a snippet of your work (and not the full post) in a preview, with attribution to you. A derivative work might be a list of top authors or quotes on Medium that uses portions of your content, again with full attribution. This license applies to our Services only, and does not grant us any permissions outside of our Services.”

On the surface, the explanation for the shared (“nonexclusive”) ownership seems reasonable enough. Especially if one considers how legally complicated the world has gotten today. People will sue over anything, and distort even legitimate business practices IF it means there’s a chance at making a fast buck.

I’m overly-suspicious after being defrauded by everyone from the moving company to our real estate agent, contractors and lawyer in the last couple of years.

Exaggeration, but it makes the point. 😀

Here’s where *I* start to get suspicious. Two paragraphs down from that quote is this:

“We may stop providing the Services or any of its features within our sole discretion. We also retain the right to create limits on use and storage and may remove or limit content distribution on the Services.”

Google at least USED TO include similar language and ownership rights in their TOS for all their online services (Gmail, Google Docs, Cloud Storage, etc…). Essentially the first part gave them permission to data mine the *bleep* out of you via going through your online work. The second part holds them harmless if they lose your stuff due to a server crash or whatever: “We said we owned it and could dispose of it as we saw fit”.

Last I looked, Google had either buried their similar TOS language even deeper or eliminated it. I”d bet on the former not the latter. The point is, I’d bet Medium has the same rights set up for similar reasons.

Data mining… It’s unavoidable. Everything you do online or near an online connected device is tracked. THAT is not an exaggeration. So, it doesn’t matter where you post whatever you do.

Data Loss & lack of responsibility for it… That’s easy also. Just cut and paste your posts to M$ Word, Libre Office, or some similar program and keep a backup copy. Given how much they hold nowadays, you can keep YEARS of posts on a single thumb drive. You SHOULD do this regardless of the platform you use.

Beyond that, there’s the POTENTIAL of what I see a greedy company with crooked lawyers being able to do with those permissions.

Yes, still trying to have a little fun there. I really can see how that “nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully paid, and sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your content in all media formats and distribution methods now known or later developed on the Services.” COULD be twisted by a halfway decent lawyer to give Medium permission to do whatever they want with your content though, right down to running it through a content spinner and / or just reselling it for their own profit.

Crazy? MAYBE. Does Lexus (as an example) need to give a TV or Radio network ownership of their cars to advertise them though? Even with the modest understanding I have of the law, the “sub-licensable” term is a wildcard for potential misconduct: “No, it wasn’t in our direct ‘services’ to sell your script for Bambi 3 to that adult film maker”, BUT it was within the range of marketing services of that company we subcontracted… and therefore within the Terms Of Service you agreed to.”.

Am I being a bit paranoid there? Yes. They’re probably not going to care much about the content posted by more people. None the less, I think the potential for abuse is clearly there.

The Positives:

First, there’s a HUGE plus to switching over to Medium.com for many writers: The amount of views and “claps” (ie Likes) you get are typically MUCH higher than on WordPress. One author I know who uses both Medium and WordPress and runs the same book ads on both sites. She gets less than a dozen views and maybe 2 likes on WP, while that same ad on Medium gets hundreds of “claps”. We’re not talking Stephen King here either. Just an average self-published author working off of Amazon, Smash Words and similar sites.

That’s a BIG difference in numbers, and people caring enough to actually give a “clap”

One former WordPress blogger also mentioned in one of her last WP posts that Medium also gives you stats on how long people are spending on your post. This can be a really helpful indicator regarding whether or not your posts are truly getting attention, or just “drive by looks”. The latter is likely to indicate you need to need to do something different than you did in that post.

Nominal Setup Required: A plus for the technology challenged, but perhaps a minus for those who really want to customize their blog or site is that Medium runs off a pretty standardized format. There’s not much website to set up beyond adding a few pictures and social media links and filling in the “about me” page, which is apparently required to help cut down on scam sites. The “about me” page can (by my limited understanding) be fairly general information however, and screen names are OK so long as they’re tied to social media accounts an “an active project domain” whatever the hell THAT is.

A Quality Editor / Interface: This next part is second hand information as I don’t have a full account on Medium, but multiple reviewers have said that Medium’s writing tools for composing a blog post are well designed, have reasonable depth and are very intuitive. I can’t remember anyone ever saying the same about WordPress. 😛 🙂

Swimming with Big Fish: Medium has CEOs, major media outlets and other “thought leaders” (as one review described them) among it’s community of writers.

Making MONEY from Your Blog: Yep, paying members have the opportunity to make money off of their blog posts. How much is determined by your view count (and probably the time per view also). I have little knowledge of the system or it’s pay rate, just that it’s there as a possibility.

Also A Joke. 😀

Social Media Tie-Ins: Maybe a negative IF you dislike social media as much as I do, but Facebook and Twitter are both tied to Medium, making it easy to promote your posts on those outlets as well as scan to see if Twitter friends are on Medium as well. By my understanding, Medium is also in the process of connecting with Mastodon in a similar manner.

The Negatives:

Cost: Medium does have a $5 a month member’s fee. This might be seen as a negative to somebody who likes their free WordPress account. I’m going to outright argue it’s a good thing though. Why? Because it’s a minimal fee and keeps out of the picture the people who blog only to collect likes or troll or scam people… err sell stuff in their blog. For less than the cost of one Starbucks cup of coffee, you’ve increased the quality of the group tenfold.

You Don’t Control the Platform: In plain English, that means that Medium.com has content moderators. If you put up something that violates the TOS, they can gank that content. The general content prohibitions are fairly standard for hosting content:

  1. Nothing that’s a Trademark or Copyright violation. Also give credit to sources.
  2. No Graphic Pornography, although nudes are OK. No pedophilia also, but that SHOULD be common sense.
  3. No “Hate Speech”, and they do seem to have a pretty broad definition of the term.
  4. Nothing “promoting” (ie even mentioning) self harm in any form. I’m NOT sure if this includes depictions of drinking or drug use, but it covers everything else from suicide to cutting and other forms of injury.

There are also rules against any kind of harassment or cyber bullying, as well as pestering people for follows and claps.

Most of this is NO big deal for me. It’s common decency, AND the same restrictions are already in place here at WordPress.com. The same is true at most any other site you could use as well. My only concern is the “hate speech” ban.

Anything perceived as a negative portrayal of a protected group can potentially fall into that definition if it’s interpreted with enough bias. There’s a HUGE difference between some racist piece of trash neckbeard saying “I hate N words” and somebody else writing a post saying that Black Lives Matters’ rhetoric MAY be too heated at times and could actually hurt their cause. Yet both could be interpreted as hate speech by somebody with a severe enough bias.

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough inside information to make a valid determination as to how balanced Medium.com’s interpretation of that rule might be.

Bottom line though; it’s really not TOO much different than WordPress.com. The enforcement of things like copyright rules may be a little more vigorous however due to Medium being a more visible target for lawsuits nowadays.

Changing Trends: This is something I saw mentioned at least once; the idea is that if Medium is no longer trendy or goes under, you’re out of luck. Reality is, that’s ANY internet site or platform that you use. Social Media startups have come and gone like crazy the last 10 years. Facebook has lost popularity, Twitter is imploding, and yes WordPress is (in my opinion) slowly dying also. It’s a danger, but you’re no more at risk using Medium than anyone else.

There’s ALOT of Competition: What I mentioned about big fish up above can also work against you. There’s alot of quality writers on Medium, so no matter how well you write, it’s going to take networking on the site to get noticed. Like most of the negatives here however, the same can be said of ANY blogging, writing or social media platform.

The difference that I see at first glance is that Medium gives me more of an impression of writers who want to engage with each other. Where WordPress has a twitter style vibe of trading likes for likes (and who cares what you actually said), Medium FEELS more like writers wanting to boost each other up. Granted, that’s only a first impression, so I may be wrong. It’s the vibe I’m going with though.

Some of WordPress’s Metrics are Better: WordPress does track more data regarding your post than Medium does. Information such as what time of the day do you typically have the most views as one example. If you’re obsessed with numbers, WP might be a better bet. In my 5 years of experience in my other blog however, quality, consistency and networking count for alot more than statistics.

This next negative, I’m quoting directly from an article at elevenwriting.com:

You (Probably) Won’t Earn a Fortune: Although you may welcome the opportunity to earn a little extra income, it’s important to be realistic about your potential earnings even if your content is of an extremely high standard. According to data released by the company in September 2020, the highest sum earned by a writer in the previous month was $49,581.31, with 6.2% of its active writers earning more than $100 per month. Flip this around, and it also means that almost 94% of the platform’s writers make less than $100 per month.

What that author didn’t consider is that 100% of WordPress.com authors are absolutely ZERO directly from their blog content… barring Ko-fe or some similar tipping service. Medium has similar tipping and donation options by the way.

I’d LOVE to know who made almost $50k on their writing that month by the way, LOL.

Lack of Advanced, Code Based Options: Typically a concern for advanced writers with at least some coding background. There’s no A/B testing options, tracking pixels or custom code allowed with Medium. Options there are pretty limited on WordPress.com as well however, and you typically will need a more independent WordPress.org account to get all those technical options.

“Curation” is a Mixed Bag: Curation is a feature on Medium where the editors pick content they like and (theoretically) find exceptional, and feature it around Medium, and even in their newsletter. It’s great promotion IF you can get it. Reality is it’s fellow human beings with their own personal biases making largely subjective decisions about “best” content. Keep in mind my previous remarks about stiff competition as well.

Tracking and SEO: I’ve read that being under the umbrella of Medium’s vast array of content and writers mean that it’s hard to get noticed by search engines. In theory, the same should be true of WordPress.com, yet my sites both have turned up in searches without too much trouble. The reviews I’ve read on this are a couple years old, and Medium has supposedly been working to improve this problem for members. Realistically, I don’t know enough to comment here intelligently. My advice, consider it a possible issue, but keep a healthy skepticism.

Final Thoughts:

Personally, I’m a little uneasy about a few of the concerns I listed. Content ownership being the first one. I’ve seen a few articles that quote Medium as saying (much like Google eventually did) that “your content is yours and you own it forever”. The thing is, even if they really did say that in the company blog at some point, the Terms of Service carry far more legal weight, and the “we co-own everything with you” clause is still there on the web page.

POSSIBLE censorship is something else I worry about… a little anyway. Not so much about sex or copyrights, etc… I get the potential legal complications there. It’s the “hate speech” clauses in their TOS that bother me. The terms are broad enough that anything that offends anyone, no matter how sensitive they might be, can potentially be pulled. All I can say there is that I’m glad I’m not doing a political or social issues blog.

So is it worth it? I lean towards the advice I saw in another review of Medium: Use it as a secondary or mirror platform to increase your exposure. At the very least, it’ll give you an opportunity to judge for yourself how valid the pros and cons listed above are. If it turns out not to be for you, Medium advertises a “cancel any time” policy on their $5 a month membership fee.

(Mis)Adventures in WordPress

I spent the last couple of days involved in an exercise in futility; trying to upgrade this site to make it a little more modern looking as well as accessible to the disabled. Drop down menus can be a bigger issue for them in some cases than I realized.

What Happened:

I started by changing the blog’s status to “Coming Soon”. That’s better than having a follower (potential or actual) see the blog morphing in different ways as I try to figure out what I think works from a design perspective. No issues there.

THEN… I tried to switch to the new 2023 blog template. The outright switch was also simple enough. It’s when we got to TRYING TO customize the site that everything went FUBAR.

First, there’s NO apparent way to add a background image. I went to YouTube and looked at tutorial videos for answers. WordPress.Org (the version for self hosting) seems to have extra editing controls that are missing for us poor relations here on WordPress.com. Even with those extra controls, there only seemed to be an option for pre-packaged templates that were simple colored backgrounds.

Yes, I know that the 2023 theme runs on directory style pages to get to actual posts. THIS theme (the 2011 theme) has the background image to the sides of the main content areas though. THAT is what I was looking for on the attempted new version. Essentially something that would dress up the home page. No dice.

I’m convinced that the WP.com version of the editor is just plain broken. I didn’t even have an option to change the header picture until this morning. By that time, I said the hell with it. The blog had already been down 2 1/2 days at that point. That was long enough.

Unsurprisingly, there’s no option to revert the blog back to an old format also. Even when I went to manually hunt down the 2011 theme, it wasn’t listed in any of the options. I had to manually search for the theme by name in order to bring it back up. In the only stroke of good luck during the process, the blog restored perfectly to it’s old format, pictures and all.

Why the Hate?

The reason I’m so frustrated here is because basic “What You See Is What You Get” editing has been around for decades. It’s the basis of desktop publishing programs, and better word processing programs like Corel WordPerfect. With Corel, I can put the cursor anywhere I want on a page and just start typing. Yes, WYSIWYG formatting has been around for ages for website design also. It’s still out there. Just Google “WYSIWYG Site Builder” and see how many results you get.

WordPress can’t be bothered to make something that simple for the average user. You have to have a coding background to get real functionality out of the WP Editor, and only a coder will find the broken controls for the full site editor intuitive at all. Personally, I find working with the old piece-meal editing tools easier, and I have an IT background.

What’s Next?

Part of my time ended up being spent exploring other options, thanks to my frustration. Medium in particular intrigued me. MANY people have made the jump from here over to Medium already. I’ll share some thoughts on Medium in a separate post later today. There are ALOT of pros and cons to the site.

Let me just cut to the chase and say I’m determined to continue my blogging. In terms of using WordPress however, I’m 95% likely to switch over to private hosting and using WordPress.org. The tools are better, there are more options for plug-ins and other features… Even more so that WP.com premium accounts have. It’s just all around a better product. Since the software is all tied together, my posts would still be shared in the reader, and I’d still be able to follow those using the free .com version of WP.

For those of you who are of a similar mindset, Siteground.com has a massive sale right now. This is the site that the guy whose tutorial I watched uses and recommends. The caveat is that you have to pay for a full year in advance. Even with the middle cost plan that’s only $60 however, and includes a free domain name for the year. THAT however is with an 80% discount offer, which means the second year your costs will increase dramatically without some type of discounted renewal offer.

HostGator and similar sites that offer automated WordPress hosting (including automatic software updates) all offer similar deals.

Then there’s Medium.com. At this point, I’m strongly considering mirroring my postings there as well. It will give me better visibility and readership. I **WILL NOT** however,do what many WP.com defectors have done and only post a snippet here followed by a link to Medium. My feeling is that readers come to a blog expecting to read, not get an advertisement and a redirect.

I’ve still got a little thinking to do on the whole hosting issue. A final decision will depend upon what options I can find here as well. Any readers inclined to make changes themselves should wait until I’ve posted my findings regarding Medium also.

How Porn Often Leads to BAD Sex

Yesterday, I promised a rant about how bad sex seems to be an increasingly growing problem. So, it’s time to deliver.

Image via BBC.com

Porn is One of Two Root Causes:

We will tackle the second one in the very near future. Porn goes first because everything I see convinces me that it’s leading the way in amplifying the problem. For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s all bad, just that people are unable to put things in perspective, and differentiate what they see on their computer screen and how real life works.

With porn sites all over the internet, it’s become increasingly common for men and women to check out adult videos. The trouble here is that in a society where nobody talks to anyone anymore, it’s also where too many guys (and some women) get their impressions about what sex is supposed to be like. So what’s wrong?

Seduction and romance are completely missing for starters. That creates unrealistic expectations about what it takes to get a woman into bed, and that relationships take effort.

It Promotes a Lack of Foreplay:

Lack of foreplay is another issue. It’s been a problem forever, but has only gotten worse with the advent of internet porn. I don’t care how good you THINK you are in bed or how good you look, women are rarely ready to go at the drop of a hat. A woman’s body takes time to “warm up”, and it’s NOT a matter of “touch here, then here, then there and bang!” Erogenous zones or hot spots vary (at least in responsiveness) AND there’s a need to show emotion too. Even if it’s just a casual hookup, she wants to feel deeply physically desired.

image via Astroglide.com

I also covered foreplay in a previous post or two. The advantages to it are that the more you take the time to get her turned on, the more intense and frequent her orgasms will be. It promotes physical intimacy, increased desire and lowered inhibitions. That last part means she’s less likely to turn down any kinky ideas you may have. No still means no however.

Even in Porn, Orgasms Are Sometimes Faked:

Yes, believe it or not, it’s true. This is an example of how Viagra has actually hurt the adult industry as well. Porn companies can hire pretty boys with no skill, give them the Viagra and throw them in front of a camera. Meg Ryan was MOSTLY right in “When Harry Met Sally” that it’s hard to tell if a woman is faking an orgasm… unless she’s so not into the act that she only goes through the motions of even faking the orgasm. I’m seeing it fairly often in porn nowadays. Here’s a few things to look for:

  1. Her nipples never get fully erect, and no goosebumps around them.
  2. Her “moaning” sounds mechanical
  3. Her body never tenses up when she orgasms
  4. She quickly separates herself from him after he finishes, sometimes barely hiding a look of disdain.

None of these are perfect indicators, except maybe the last one. The gal in the pic above, for example, doesn’t have fully erect nipples. She DOES have goosebumps all around them however. Generally speaking though, even a woman without responsive boobs will have her nipples fully erect as she gets close to and during a strong orgasm. Likewise a weak orgasm may not lead to muscles tensing up, but a good orgasm generally does.

My point here is that if even the porn star with the giant dick can’t make them cum half the time, porn probably isn’t the best learning material.

Porn Almost Always Minimizes Sexual Technique:

This one requires little explanation. Suffice it to say that there is MUCH more to sex than size or putting it in and pounding away. Size helps, especially when it comes to reaching “the Deep Spot”, just below the cervix. Too big hits the cervix and causes her pain however. IF you doubt me, watch and see how rare it is for a “giant” guy to get fully “balls deep” into the actress he’s partnered with for a scene. They’ll typically end up in positions that don’t allow full penetration.

LONG story short, even if you can get orgasms out of her with just pounding away, you’ll get more frequent and intense orgasms via skills like the Coital Alignment Technique and other Eastern tricks I’m aware of (and will share eventually).

Porn Vastly Distorts Domination and Submission:

What I’m talking about here is that porn always seems to eliminate consent and trust building aspect of a real Dom (or Domme) and Sub relationship. What always seems to end up being portrayed instead is rough sex with little or no consent. When tried out in the real world, this can lead to damaged trust or even domestic violence and sexual assault charges.

Rough sex isn’t really my thing, BUT as long as it’s consensual that’s all good and well. However, while domination MAY include rough sex, rough sex is NOT domination. I think this “meme” says it best:

THAT kind of relationship takes trust built on honest and open communication by both parties and a realization by the would be dominant that it’s their job to make the submissive feel safe and nurtured, not just use her as a fuck toy. When a woman submits as described above, it’s because she’s developed a deep trust that she will be safe, protected and is truly treasured.

That “fuck toy” mentality is what I’ve seen more and more of over the years however. I’ve counseled several women that wanted to explore their submissive side but were being pursued by predators who told them if they were submissive they had to obey immediately and without question. Those were abusers who can’t handle a real relationship, NOT dominants.

Likewise, grabbing a woman’s throat has become so en vogue that it’s in almost every video out there now. NEVER do that without talking about it ahead of time, even if it’s just holding without choking. You can scare the hell out of a woman that way. Autoerotic asphyxiation attempts are even scarier, and have occasionally resulted in death on top of failing at hitting that more intense orgasm. The woman that’s truly into being choked is fairly rare. In my opinion, if you don’t get permission first, you belong in jail.

Porn Creates Unrealistic Expectations For Women Also:

No, I’m not talking about body image. That’s a given anymore with porn actresses often having unnaturally large boobs, rears, eyelashes and even lips now. I see little need to beat that dead horse any further.

I’m talking about sexual performance. There are multiple angles here also. First there’s expecting the guy to go an hour like the porn star. Nevermind the porn star is on Viagra, and doing that starlet in front of the camera has probably become mundane as a gynecologist’s job is to him or her.

For her, there are possible expectations of wild flexibility, deep throating (which can leave her throat raw and sore), and having the leg strength to ride cowgirl for extended periods of time. What II find can be more frustrating for the guys however, is the belief that once she’s on her back or being taken from behind that she can just turn into a pillow princess (the new polite term for a dead lay).

Yes, Ladies, I’m picking on you a little here as well. If you want to keep your partner happy, it’s not enough to just lay there and (fake?) orgasm. Kissing, caressing, and communicating are also important. Probably the most important “trick” you can learn is to be able to keep a grip down there by doing your kegels or similar pelvic floor strengthening exercises. Done right, that move can put YOU in control even if you’re a submissive being bent over the edge of the bed by your dom.

Conclusion:

It’s quite simple. Never substitute porn for genuine technique and passion if not love or affection. Open and honest communication is vital as well to maintaining a healthy, happy relationship in and out of bed. In fact, LACK of communication is the other factor in bad sex, and I’ll be discussing that soon.

Alive… AGAIN!

Yes, I’m back after a year and a half.

The last couple of years have been hellish, to say the least. On top of everything else I wrote about, we got defrauded on a home purchase, lost our life savings, got cheated by the lawyer we hired to help us, got severe COVID, and dealt with a dozen other lesser issues. I even injured my back with the rowing machine that I highlighted in a previous post.

Setting this blog aside has happened more than once already.

I’m grateful that by some miracle I still have all my followers. In a bit of irony, this blog got more views during my absence than my “main” blog did. Over twice as much for more than 15 months straight! Obviously I chose the wrong blog to step away from. As I’ve said on past posts however, it’s HARD (no pun intended for a change) to write anything remotely sexy when your world is falling apart.

I can’t say that I’m in an ideal situation at present. SOME things have improved. Some, such as the house, continue to dangle over our heads like the Sword of Damocles.

What II can promise my readers is that I’m mentally in a much better place than I have been in many years. I somehow in the midst of all the disaster regained my center. Everything just fell into place and I’m more focused.

Plans for the Blog:

First, I plan on returning to writing. Everything from a reboot of my Witchfire series to more “conventional” erotica. I think I’m FINALLY at a point where my former self-doubt is no longer killing my ability to write erotica. I’ve spent some time studying up on writing as well, so as to get myself to a higher level than my previous posts and stories.

For you kids who don’t recognize it, that’s called a notebook… and a pen. 😀

I’ve spent time sorting through quite a bit of trash writing advice and found some really good stuff as well, so on top of my usual stories, I’m planning on doing some reviews in the hopes of helping other authors find quality advice. Hint: MasterCass.com’s writing classes are amazing. I will be reviewing far more than those however.

I also want to throw in some reviews of TV shows, movies, etc… from a writer’s POV and point out areas where I feel they made mistakes.

I’ll also be writing the occasional sex advice article like my previous one on boobgasms. I’m by NO means the absolute expert, but it SEEMS like bad ideas about sex are growing even faster nowadays than the hostile political climate.

I’m also going to be shutting down the other blog. It’s always been a distraction to my writing ambitions. I did nothing but cater to my audience and beg for followers. I’d prefer to focus my efforts here.

Eventually, I plan on hopping the blog over to paid hosting and switching to WordPress.org as well. More options, fewer restrictions, and I’m all but sure I can get a simple yes or no age gate to help reduce the potential for drama and let me get away with a few racy pictures. 😉

It’s good to be back. I missed you all.

It’s In The Cards?

Picture borrowed from Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosaumbra/3567680676

This one is going to get a bit new-agey, so just hang in there. I promise it’ll be interesting regardless. First, let’s start with a little honesty, both with myself and you all:

Yes, life has been a seemingly never ending series of small train wrecks the last few years (and before that, lol), BUT, even as frustrating as multiple moves, dogs barking and stampeding, etc… have been… The real reason I’ve done so little here is self-doubt. My sexual past is… complicated also.

Only Arrowverse fans will get it, but… LOLOL

Anything sexual is both complicated and draining for an Empath also. Even just creative writing about it tends to pull on or out a great deal of emotional energy. That MAY be something for another post however. It would take time to discuss properly.

LONG story short, I’ve spent a great deal of time the last few weeks reflecting on whether or not writing, erotica in particular, was something that I was truly ready to pursue… or if maybe I should focus on more mundane pursuits. Not coming to any real conclusions on my own, I turned to the tarot card reading software I have to see if I could get a little insight.

As a Side Note, I know what a few of you MAY be thinking; “Get a reading from a piece of software?!?” Well, I actually DO have a real deck, but I’m still learning to read it. More importantly, whether you’re using physical cards or software, it’s just your subconscious mind / higher self trying to communicate with you. With the software, you pick the cards, the software places them, and tell you their base meaning, and how being inverted and or it’s position with other cards effects it’s meaning. Once the cards are all read, the software leaves you to interpret how it all comes together to answer your question. Again, because it’s all really about getting an answer from your subconscious, it’s been surprisingly accurate for me every time I’ve used it.

With that clarification, I’m going to post the “reading” I did on becoming an author:

Cards from the Celtic Dragon Tarot deck; the style of deck I own.

Summary (Career Reading)

QUESTION: How Successful Will I Be as a Writer?

First card: The first card describes the past. It can also signify past factors such as study or work experience.

(1) YOU GOT: The World.
This card is about joy of the senses, the cosmic origin of life, love and happiness. This card is well-dignified (100%), this means that its neighbor cards strengthen it. Meanings: Well-dignified it signifies success, a favorable issue to the circumstances. Sometimes change of place.

Second card: The second card describes the present situation. It’s the current state of the subject’s career.

(2) YOU GOT: Five of Staves.
This card is about persuasion, hot speech, demonstration of love or desire and egotism. Meanings: Power, and pleasure in exercising it; adventure, speculation, and uncertainty; strong attachments. This card is well-dignified (100%), this means: Boldness, command, generosity.

Third card: The third card describes the positives, the ‘pros’.

(3) YOU GOT: Knight of Swords.
This card is about a military man, painful memories, distress in the family and war. Meanings: A youngish man, with some talent for governing, rather materialistic, though with some artistic appreciation, active, clever, fond of travel, dexterous, and skillful in management. This card is well-dignified (100%), this means: Favorable to the enterprises of the Querent.

Fourth card: The fourth card describes the negatives, the ‘cons’.

(4) YOU GOT: Seven of Cups.
This card is about thoughts, ideas, intelligence, plans and imagination. This card is well-dignified (100%), this means that its neighbor cards strengthen it. Meanings: Possible victory, but the person to whom the card applies may be too indolent to take advantage of his opportunities for commanding circumstance; success may be gained, but not followed up; necessity for choosing the highest possible objectives.

Fifth card: The fifth card describes the influence of colleagues, management and others with whom the subject has professional dealings.

(5) YOU GOT: The Lovers.
This card is about sensuality and human love. This card is well-dignified (100%), this means that its neighbor cards strengthen it. Meanings: Attraction, beauty, love, sympathy. Balance of forces, and reciprocal activity. Particularly, agreement in things of the mind, symbolized by the six-pointed star, or hexagram. It is a card of harmony between the inner and outer life.

Sixth card: The sixth card describes the best path to take in order to further the subject’s best interest in the matter.

(6) YOU GOT: Nine of Swords.
This card is about dogmatism, ritual, ecclesiastic spirit and hard judgment. This card is well-dignified (100%), this means that its neighbor cards strengthen it. Meanings: Faithfulness, obedience, unselfishness, patience; fortunate news about legal affairs or partnerships, especially if the outcome has been delayed or in doubt; aid or gain through relatives, short journeys, or writings, but not until the Querent has passed through a period of more or less uncertainty and worry; ultimate good fortune resulting from a series of events which present unfavorable appearances at first.

Seventh card: The seventh card describes the outcome. It indicates the final result if the path shown is followed.

(7) YOU GOT: Two of Swords.
This card is about magnetic attraction, intimacy, affection and sensuality.
This card is well-dignified (100%), this means that its neighbor cards strengthen it. Meanings: Contradictory characters in the same nature: strength through suffering; pleasure after pain. Delay in the realization of objectives. It intimates a period of uncertainty, in which the Querent, through he has a sense of adequate power, does not know just what to do with it. Justice, unselfishness, and the restoration of peace.

MY (Short) Take On It:

The first card; The World meant that my past work, while needing improvement, is better than I’ve given myself credit for, and is an indication that I have ability. The second card; 5 of Staves, is along the same lines. It means I’ve got the ability and need to put it to use. The third card; Knight of Swords, means I have the organizational skills to handle the choice. The fourth card; Seven of Cups, means I’ll have to be dedicated to the work and improving my craft if I want to succeed. The fifth card; The Lovers, I’m *guessing* means I’ll have some support in the effort. As for the sixth card; The 9 of Swords, it means the best path is hard work, serious effort at growth, and releasing the self doubt. The seventh card; the 2 of Swords (interesting that so many of the minor arcana cards were Swords… means it’ll be a struggle at first, but if I keep at it, I’ll be successful.

All in all, I’d say it was a very positive reading.

Erotica and Witchfire Specifically:

A few hints in the above reading indicated that erotica was indeed in the cards for me, (pun always intended, lol). None the less, I did separate readings on both of those with similar results. The main difference being that the readings indicated that they would both be tools to help me find increased peace with that part of my nature. They’d both be growth tools in their own unique ways.

Wrapping it Up:

I’ve overcome a great deal the last few months. I even got my neck and back returned to a (somewhat) functional state and am continuing to work hard there. I can and will make this work too. It’s long past time I let go of the self doubts. I plan to be a great deal more active here as part of all of that.

I Have Returned!

Well, it’s been a heck of a few months, but I’m finally back.

We manged to escape the apartment, move 140 miles and (after several battles about the amount of junk we have) are mostly settled into a new place. I even survived both a second degree burn all over my left hand AND Christmas as well.

At this point, I should finally be able to start giving this blog, and my follows / notifications here the attention they deserve. It IS going to take a while to play catch up on it all however.

How-To Tips; The Mythical Boobgasm

I’m at a brief impasse writing fiction thanks to my rude neighbors, so I thought a little ‘sex-ed’ might be fun.

I’m going to write this for girls and guys. For some girls, orgasms from nipple or breast play come easy. According to research though, less than a third of women have ever experienced an orgasm this way. Soooo… some advice here seems appropriate. Guys… While it’s much more rare, but it can apparently happen for you also. HOWEVER, my goal here is to teach you how to give her an orgasm this way.

The first thing for both guys and gals to understand is that this is NOT a myth, nor something only a few blessed woman get to experience. Breasts, particularly the nipples are connected to the same area of the brain that processes genital stimulation. That, in turn, means that the breasts are connected to the vagina. That’s why really good sex can have that erotic lightning zipping between the two. Even more astounding, the research indicated there was little difference in the brain between real and imagined stimulation (presumably if the imagination was vivid enough anyway). THAT is important when we get to talking about the mental aspects of sex.

For Her:

Let’s start with the VERY basic; make peace with your breasts. What do I mean? Society has numerous toxic messages regarding body image. Big breasts = airheaded bimbo, small breasts = no sex drive, not feminine, etc… Probably a hundred others I could list. I did a little bit of a rant about this recently. If you’re comfortable in your own skin, awesome. That’s as it should be. If you’re self-conscious about your breasts though, you will have mental blocks that prevent you from enjoying them being touched. Your identity and your sexuality can be enhanced by your breasts, but they do NOT define you as a woman. It’s all about accepting who you are, and learning to work what you’ve got at a level of mild to wild dress and style that YOU are comfortable with. Whatever their size or shape, your girls are uniquely yours. Own them, be proud of them.

The next step should be natural; take time to truly explore your breasts. You can’t tell or guide a guy how to touch you if you don’t truly know your body yourself. Believe me, most guys DO need guidance too, (as most of you can probably also attest to). Yet as bad as guys are with a woman’s body, women sometimes are also guilty of going straight for what they know works when self-pleasuring. Nipples, kitty, maybe inner thighs, and bang!

A little anecdote here about how you (or somebody else) can surprise yourself; my best friend in high school and college had her first boobgasm when she was 23 and doing post-graduate work in college, despite having a reasonably healthy sex life for years. She had a new boyfriend at that point, and he adored her boobs. She said she about died of shock when it happened, and then nearly did again when she found out she was responsive enough to have multiple orgasms that way. She had, up till that point, believed that boobgasms were a myth. All it took was the right touch.

Take the time to explore your breasts. Use different pressures, different parts of your hand, etc… as you explore different parts of them. As the picture below shows, breasts have several major nerves in them:

Aside from the nipples, the lower quadrants; especially the lower outer TEND to be very responsive, particularly to light caresses. Likewise, smaller breasts TEND to be more responsive than large ones because the nerves aren’t spread out over as large an area. Every woman is different though! Some will have more nerves, some will have them closer to the surface, some won’t. Take time and truly enjoy learning what makes your girls unique. Women who do can often have boobgasms solo.

Next, ladies… When it comes to activities with a partner; COMMUNICATE! Men are NOT mind readers, no matter how much it’s wished for. Other women can be slow picking up clues sometimes as well. Communicate gently and clearly though. The male ego is typically extremely fragile when it comes to the bedroom. “A little lower, gently baby”, will get you what you want from all but the most selfish partner, whereas “not like that, you ass!” is only going to cause a fight.

If you can get a partner to the point of understanding how to touch your breasts, you can even make a sexy game out of teaching them to explore your body. That will only lead to better foreplay and orgasms as they learn to equate that foreplay with increased desire from you.

I almost forgot… Remember that whole no difference between imagination and real stimulation? It’s true. Your brain can’t tell real sensory input from deeply imagined input. I imagine (lol) thinking your way to an orgasm would take a great deal of training. However, you can help intensify the physical stimulation by both vividly imagining the process and REALLY paying attention to your body’s sensations. That means tuning out the iPhone, etc… completely. NOTHING exists but the physical pleasure you’re feeling and your partner, IF present.

As a last note before moving to the guys, lets talk about BDSM and your boobs. Nipple clamps, binding the breasts, etc… Some people are into that. Reality is though, that you’re killing the long-term responsiveness of your breasts for some short-term kink. Go light on that kind of fun if you want your breasts to stay responsive (and avoid them becoming prematurely saggy in the case of the tight binding). If you’re into that, it’s all good. Just be aware that there will likely be long term effects.

On a vaguely related note, nipple piercings can make nipples quite responsive, but I haven’t found any long term studies on their effects on breast health or responsiveness.

For Him:

OK guys, as with the recent rant, I’m going to start with the “why you should care” here. If you read the gal’s section it should be obvious though. The more you LEARN to touch her the right way, the more frequently you’re likely to see her like this:

Contrary to all the macho nonsense out there, you’re NOT born a sex god, and thrilling her takes more than just size or pounding away. There’s ZERO shame there though. The only shame is in not learning to properly drive her crazy and have her screaming your name.

The thing that you all should understand about foreplay is that women are USUALLY slower to warm up, BUT if you take that time, once she truly gets going, she will be eager to give as much or more than she gets. Barriers and inhibitions have a way of slipping away once needs are met. Again, generalities here, so don’t assume foreplay will get you past a woman’s hard boundaries.

Another benefit of foreplay for you guys; if she’s on the verge of an orgasm or already had a few before you enter her, she’s more likely to be understanding about any stamina problems you might have since she will have had her release.

So, to keep it simple, QUALITY foreplay = more sex and better sex. That’s why you should want to learn.

Touching: Again, if you read the ladies’ section, you have an idea WHERE to touch her breasts. Now let’s talk about HOW. Porn is a BAD teacher here, and is exactly the opposite way to coax desire, responsiveness and orgasms out of a woman. Handling breasts roughly is probably almost as unpleasant as rough treatment of your cock is. Same with chewing on nipples. Look at all the nerves in that pic above, and how they ALL go to the nipples.

So what do you do? As a general rule, a woman’s breasts, and most anywhere else on her body, respond to the lightest touch possible at first. Start with the outer areas of her breasts, and use a feather-soft touch to circle and explore them. Slowly work your way inward. Watch for signs of her body getting warmed up; goose bumps, heavier breathing, aroused looks… her breasts may even swell slightly with stimulation. As she warms up, you can be a little more firm in how you handle her body. If you graduate to massaging her breasts, be gentle but firm. Caress them as much as knead them. If she wants it rougher, she’ll let you know.

A side note here about erogenous zones also: While there are certain spots on a woman’s body that are a bit more responsive than others, reality is a woman’s ENTIRE body is an erogenous zone IF you touch her correctly. Part of this is because sex is as much mental as physical for a woman. Even if she’s not yet at a point of needing to feel love from you, she at least wants to feel truly desired (and as a unique woman, not as a vagina).

Kissing: Yes, some ways are better than others here also. Start out with SOFT kisses around her breasts and work slowly towards her nipples. Tease her nipples lightly with your tongue. use soft, open mouth kisses and let her feel the heat of your mouth. Blow lightly on her nipples. Save firmer kisses and suckling her nipples until after she’s warmed up a little . If it happens faster than you expected, she’ll let you know she’s ready for more.

If you REALLY want to drive her crazy, use sex being mental for her against her. Use all the tricks above to let her feel you’re incredibly hungry for her, BUT use your self control and make a game of seeing how far you can build her own desires. Caress her everywhere except between her legs, whisper sexy things in her ear… Try to get her to outright beg you to take her. This IS a game you have to be careful with though. A few women react negatively to it, primarily ones with dominant personalities. We’re getting off topic here though.

Ask and Listen: You CAN do these and still maintain a strong appearance. It’s all in how you ask. Simply project a strong, yet caring attitude when you ask “like this?”, or harder, gentler, or whatever. It’s all in the tonality. As long as you don’t sound weak, scared or lacking in confidence, all but the most bitchy woman is going to respect that you’re trying to meet her needs and thus feel closer to you.

NEVER blame her if you’re not getting the desired response either. Almost nothing damages a woman’s self-esteem or her feelings for you like that does. Ask what you can do differently, and if it does turn out to be that she’s just not responsive, try other things and areas.

Past of “listening” means responding to body cues also. If she keeps backing her breast away from you as you’re giving it attention, it probably has gotten too sensitive. That MAY or MAY NOT have to do with how you handled it. Try switching to the other breast if you get that cue. Better yet, alternate so neither one feels neglected. 😉

Be aware of body changes too. Almost a side note here, but remember that even after you’ve learned a woman’s body, it’s sensitivity changes somewhat. Certain times of the month, her breasts will be more sensitive than usual. Communicate, and watch for body ques.

Enjoy the Learning Process! It can be fun exploring her body and learning to press as many buttons as you possibly can, if you approach it with a positive attitude. Make a game of it. Here’s one I’ve used in a few stories and is a personal favorite, it’s a four step game:

A) If he can get her nipples hard and her breathing heavy or moaning from kissing her, she loses her top and bra

B) If he can then give her at least one boobgasm, her pants or skirt come off

C) If he next can finger her to at least two more orgasms, her undies come off.

D) If he can then orally pleasure her to three more orgasms, her body is his.

Clothed areas on her body are NOT allowed to be touched, with the exception of being able to move to fingering her in step 3. Once a body part is naked, it’s fair game for additional stimulation though, so her back can be caressed when her top is off and her inner thighs are fair game once her pants or skirt is off (as examples). For step one though, he has to work those kisses only on her lips, face and neck. Orgasms don’t have to be earth shaking either, (bonus points if they are, lol), just strong enough to be recognized as such.

Common sense and mutual consent dictate what happens IF he makes it past step 4 also. Same with any other rules that you may want to set such as does she have to undress for him if she loses a piece of clothes, OR does he get to undress her. That goes beyond breast play, but is a great example of the kind of fun games you can create to make learning fun.

Girls, assuming you’re reading this far, and you want something simpler, maybe reward him with a favorite position or kink (ie tie your wrists to the bed posts) if he gives you that boobgasm. It’s all in what’s mutually enjoyable fun for both of you.

So yes, learning can be very sexy fun. Learning to be a real sex god is much better than just thinking you are and have women talking about you behind your back also. Trust me, girls DO talk too. Some are much kinder about it than others but the vast majority of girls do discuss the quality of their sex life with their girlfriends and female family members. Take the time to make sure that she’s either telling them you’re a stud or that she’s not saying anything so she knows she’s got you to herself. 😉

Let’s Talk Boobs and Sex!

There’s an attention grabbing headline, LOL

So what has me interested in talking about boobs, you ask? It’s because of my work on my revamped Witchfire erotica series here, AND some past verbal brawls on Twitter.

Twitter is where it all started. Back when I had an account there and had first decided to try to make a go of writing Erotica to sell, I ran into a boatload of opinionated people. On Twitter? Shocking, right? LOL. The most annoying group was a gaggle of busybody would-be erotica authors that constantly trashed others’ writing. Men got it really bad from them.

I did a rant in the ‘safe’ blog about how I thought they were being narrow-minded and losing out on half the population as potential customers. I’ll skip repeating that here. Long story short, I try to write to appeal to both men and women. I also don’t mind missing out on the extreme elements of either gender.

Trying to work up physical descriptions along with unique turn-ons and hot spots for each character in the Witchfire series got me to thinking just how silly so much of adult entertainment, AND some of the debates around it are. It’s not just men who are clueless about boobs, for example. And believe me, 95% of them are… Women are nearly as bad. There are several reports that somewhere between 45% and 55% of Western women are wearing incorrectly sized bras. Many of the articles out there advocating that bras are bad for breast health are written BY WOMEN also.

Just as an FYI; poor fitting bras are bad. Properly fitting ones prevent sagging and tearing of connective tissue holding the breasts to the rib cage.

If you’re a ‘big’ girl, a properly fitting bra can better distribute the twins’ weight across your shoulders and save some major back aches.

Getting back to erotica and porn though… Part of the reason I made Krystal / Witchfire a normal sized gal in a world full of giant boobed superheroines was to put a dent in the “bigger is better” myth. Big boobs certainly have their charms and some of the stereotypes about them are true

Trying to inject a little humor here. 😀

But aside from personal preferences, most of the ideas about big boobs are a myth. Just like all women are unique, boobs are too. Sex drive and performance has NOTHING to do with boob size for starters. It’s simply a societal thing in many parts of the world that a big breasted woman is expected to be more sexual.

As for sensitivity, small boobs are GENERALLY more sensitive because the nerve endings in them are closer together. They’re not spread out over a greater surface area. Breast sensitivity also has alot to do with genetics and how close to the surface those nerve endings end up being. My BFF in high school was a good example there. She was almost as big as the “Epic Boobs” girl above and had crazy sensitive boobs. Some women also are more sensitive on different parts of the breasts. The lower outside quadrant being almost as common as nipples. Again, it all depends on where the nerves ended up thanks to her genetics.

Truth though; almost ANY woman can have the fabled “boobgasm” if their boobs are handled properly. Sadly, porn teaches men to treat boobs like a chew toy or a stress ball. Some girls may like their boobs handled a little more firmly, but nobody likes them mangled. A woman is also far more likely to melt from a light fingertip tracing around her nipple than pinching and pulling it.

And Then There’s Dicks…

Dare we even talk about the giant penis thing in porn also? Talk about a myth! Too big hurts as it’s rammed into the cervix. Don’t believe me? Look at some of that giant wiener porn and see how far the guy actually goes into the girl. Usually only half way. Just like a penis, a vagina varies in size, so every woman is different, and you can’t necessarily judge by how tall she is either.

Truth here, guys? The ideal size for a woman is one that can fill her almost completely when you’re hilted, but stop short of hitting her cervix. So, yes, size DOES matter, but not as much as you think. Technique matters just as much, maybe a little more.

Hot Spots and Foreplay:

Sadly a lost art even in women’s romance novels, nevermind porn itself. Guys, and gals also, you owe it to yourself and your partner to take the time to thoroughly explore their body. Everybody is different, and they will have slightly different sensitivity in each erogenous zone. Each hot spot MAY only respond if touched a certain way also. It’s your job to figure it all out. Learn what makes them tick and how to fully push those buttons.

I can hear the guys out there saying “why bother”, etc…

I’ll tell you why. Because as good as you THINK you are with your cock, enough foreplay before getting started will make her reactions FAR more intense. A woman you’ve taken the time to FULLY satisfy and show you care enough about her needs to take that time, also becomes much more uninhibited sexually. Typically she’ll be eager to show you how much she appreciates it. If not, you probably have the wrong girl.

Instead of treating getting her properly aroused as a waste of time, take it as a challenge to see how turned on you can make her before entering her. Push her buttons. See if you can make her beg (don’t push it if it ain’t her thing!). See if you can get her so turned on that she climaxes as soon as you enter her.

So yeah… Maybe our porn and erotica would be better and have more universal appeal if our sex education and willingness to please our partners on every level was better.