On Mining Yourself

Black and white pen and ink drawing of a young woman old woman optical illusion for Mining Yourself post by Malin James

Young Woman, Old Woman Optical Illusion by W.E. Hill (1915)

I’ve always loved this image. Is it a picture of a young woman or a crone? Even when I was little, I saw them fluctuate, like a portrait under water, equally young and old. It’s a powerful visual metaphor, one my brain seized on well before I could understand why.

I’ve always split my writing time between fiction and essays. Recently, though, the balance has tipped and I’m  leaning into fiction as I focus on a collection I care a great deal about. That said, project-love isn’t the only reason for the shift in focus.

While there is, inescapably, a lot of me in those stories, there’s a distance in the writing that I need right now. Fiction is, and always will be, fiction, no matter how much of the writer informs the narrative.

The nonfiction I tend to write, especially for this blog, doesn’t have that natural buffer. Everything I write here takes on an inherently personal bent, whether I’m ranting about sexual history calculators or exploring different aspects of non-monogamy. Even when I don’t draw directly from my own experiences, my opinions and history inform those posts to a massive degree. While I usually lean into that level of transparency, my boundaries are higher right now, which makes that transparency hard.

I’m going through an odd time. Things that are fundamental to who I am as a person are shifting and changing, like the young woman and the crone. I grew up affected by a trauma I couldn’t process, and the effects of that trauma unknowingly molded my childhood, my relationships and even my sense of self. Over the course of the past 10 months, I’ve begun to unpack the issues I’ve avoided for 35 years. As a result, my internal landscape is shifting, sometimes quite suddenly. It’s terrifically destabilizing – on some days. On other days it feels great. But the swing between the two is both constant and erratic, so I’m extremely hesitant to write about it. Yet.

In order for me to write well, I need distance and perspective. Venting feels good (oh, so very good), but if I don’t broaden my understanding I run the risk of ranting aimlessly or navel-gazing or, even worse, both. No one likes a ranty navel-gazer so I try not to mine myself until I’ve gained some insight. That’s why I didn’t write about this or this for more than a decade, even though I did (and still do) have plenty to say.

That’s the key, for me, to writing personal essays. While nonfiction takes a thousand different forms, my natural approach is to mine myself for material and (hopefully) create something that connects with a reader in some kind of meaningful way. This often means that the most immediate, difficult or overwhelming situations (the ones I tend to want to vent about) are best left alone until I understand the lay of the land.

At the moment, my emotional landscape is the sort of primordial jungle that guys in pith helmets get lost in. Except for scrawling in my journal, writing about any of it would, in the end, make me feel worse. The young woman and the crone might use the same hand, but they write from different perspectives. Anything I say now will very likely shift given time and emotional clarity. Writing is a way to pin my thoughts down. That’s a hard thing to do when they will very likely change.

Eventually, I’ll put enough distance between myself and this mine of material but, for now, there’s little I could say that would be of use to anyone but myself. I admire writers who produce beautiful, cogent essays in the middle of great stress. It’s a magnificent talent, one I quite notably lack. My strengths lie in hindsight, and hindsight takes time, so I’m leaning on fiction and quiet…at least, I am for now.

On Mining Yourself was inspired in large part by this post by Honey at Happy Come Lucky. If you’re looking for perspective and clarity, there are few bloggers as gifted as she is. I wholeheartedly recommend you check it out. 

Erotic Fiction Redux: Open Me

About three years ago, I had a story called “Open Me” published at a now defunct site called The Erotic Woman. Recently, a lovely reader let me know that the link to “Open Me” no longer exists (neither does The Erotic Woman). He then asked if I might have a copy of it somewhere and,as luck would have it, I did.

“Open Me” is a pretty old story about an exhausted tax auditor and the woman whose suitcase he grabs by mistake. Hijinks ensue (as they always do) involving a pair of expensive lace panties and our hero’s camera phone.

I wrote “Open Me” when I was still cutting my teeth on erotica, so it’s a bit rough around the edges. Still, it’s a fun romp and one of the first pieces I ever wrote featuring a female dominant. I’m reposting it without any edits or improvements so forgive its (many) flaws. If nothing else, I hope it’s good for a laugh.

“Open Me” by Malin James

Vintage pinup wearing black lingerie and talking on the phone for erotic fiction Open Me by Malin JamesThe day Will flew home to New York, (which was, incidentally, two days before he was supposed to fly back out), he felt more than gritty. He felt more than tired. He felt existentially exhausted. His life, his career and his prospects were not where he’d hoped they would be. Even his sex life was stale. He was in and out of town too routinely to engage anyone but a call girl. Even that had become it’s own under-whelming routine.

Will stood listlessly at the baggage carousel, barely paying attention as bag after bag lumbered past. Black with wheels…blue with wheels…fucking ugly tapestry…golf clubs…battered gray. Will’s hand shot out. That was his—battered gray with wheels. He hauled it off the conveyor belt and rolled it out the door, right into a wall of rain.


Feeling put upon and victimized, Will hauled his luggage away back into the terminal. He kept a small umbrella inside his suitcase. He’d have to dig it out. Sitting down on a flimsy chair in a bank of flimsy chairs, Will flipped open the lid. That’s when he realized that he’d snagged the wrong bag.

Rather than a pile of stale shirts and boxers, the case was full of silk and wool…all of which smelled amazing. The case’s owner must smell fucking amazing. Resting on top of that amazing smelling stuff sat a broad, flat box. Hanging off the side from a silver bow was a tag that read, “Open Me.”

For reasons unknown even to himself, Will’s cock stirred with the first hints of real, spontaneous sexual interest that he’d felt in weeks. He wanted to follow the box’s instructions. He wanted to open it. Without even realizing he was doing it, Will pulled at the silver bow.

“So, not only did you take the wrong suitcase, but you opened it and prowled through my things….”

Will snatched his hand back before looking up. Then he looked up some more. The owner of the voice, which was female and sexy in a Marlboro kind of way, was tall. Really tall. And extremely comfortable cocking her hip in a pair of stack-heeled boots. Will’s eyes traveled up her extravagant length of leg, which was covered by a pair of snug black jeans. Craning his neck like a supplicant, Will tried to see her face. It was pretty but not remarkable. He’d seen prettier faces, but none with so much natural self-possession. That’s what flustered him. The woman was a force.

Feeling like an idiot, Will stood up. The woman raised her brow. Uncomfortably, he stood his ground.

“I’m, uh. I’m sorry. I was distracted,” he said, adjusting his suit jacket to hide his sudden erection. The woman grinned.

“Don’t bother, cowboy. I can see what you’re packing.”

“Uh. Right. Okay. So…you want your suitcase back.”

“Of course. But first, you owe me for poking around.”

She crossed her arms over chest. Will looked at her. She was serious. Really serious. But her eyes crinkled around the edges, as if she were laughing…at him. Will straightened his back.

“Uh, I don’t think—”

“Open it,” she said, indicating the box with the silver bow.

Will hesitated.

“Open it. Now.”

“Yeah. Okay, sure.”

Will pulled at the ribbon, feeling like a Neanderthal as he tugged the delicate bow. Holding the box in one hand, he set aside the top. Then he parted a layer of tissue, revealing a wardrobe of delicate lace panties. Will flushed, unable to look at the woman.

“Take the first pair off the top. Then put everything back the way you found it,” she said.

“Without thinking to question her, Will did was told. When he was done, she plucked the box out of his hand and tucked it back into her suitcase. Then she looked at Will.

“Those were meant for my girlfriend,” she said, indicating the scrap of ivory lace Will held in his hand. “But you get to have them instead.”

Will flushed harder. “I couldn’t, I mean—”

“Stop. You’re going to take those very expensive lace panties home, and when you get there, you’re going to check your email. Now, give me your card.”

“I don’t have a card.”

The woman gave him the most skeptical look Will had ever seen. Any more skeptical and she’d have been a cartoon.

“Yes, you do. Look at you,” she said, waving her hand at his rumpled suit. “Of course you have a card.”

Will handed her his card. He had no idea why he was doing what she said, but he felt compelled. And he was curious…or rather, his cock was curious. His cock could sense an adventure a mile away and it was ready to go, like a dog cooped up in the house too long.

The woman took his card, glanced at it and then put it in her pocket.

“Okay, Will O’Neil. Check your email. Since this is New York and I don’t know where you live, I’ll give you two hours.”

The woman threw him a wicked grin. Then she picked up her suitcase and rolled away.


By the time Will got home, the panties were burning a hole in his pocket. All through the drive he’d felt them—soft and gauzy, made from the kind of lace you’re almost afraid to touch. Briefly, Will considered jerking off, but the fact that he was so insanely turned on, (and that it had nothing to do with what a call girl was charging him to do), felt too good to cut short, so he pulled out his laptop instead. Five minutes to go. Will’s cock strained a bit in his pants. Fuck it, he thought. Ignoring his nervousness, Will logged in.

At the top of depressingly thick stack of work related nonsense was an email whose subject was Open Me. Clearing his throat for no one but himself, Will did as the email said.

Welcome home, Will O’Neil. Take the panties I gave you and put them on. Yes, on you. Then take a picture of yourself masturbating. No face—I’m not trying to ruin your life. When you’re done, send me the picture from a non-work account. You’ve got thirty minutes. –K

Will read through the message twice more. Then he slowly shut the lid. It was bullshit, really. There were no consequences. After all, the worst thing she could do was email him again…and yet. He was tempted. Really tempted. By now, his dick was straining miserably against the zipper of his pants. He was clearly going to jerk off, and if he was going to jerk off, he might as well do as K asked. Or said. Or commanded. Or…whatever. At any rate, he was going to do it. A thrill of arousal ran through his body as he pulled the panties out. Goddamn, he thought. They were small.

Will stripped down to his boxers, and then kicked them off so that he was standing, naked, in the middle of the room. Then he slid the panties on, stretching the lace as he drew them up over his thighs. They barely covered his dick. In fact, there was so little to them that his cockhead jutted up out of the waistband, which was, granted, cut pretty low. He knew he looked ridiculous. He knew he should feel humiliated. But all he felt was aroused.

Walking gingerly, so as not to fall out, Will headed to the couch. He set up the timer on his cellphone’s camera and sat down, spreading his legs wide. If he was going to do this thing he might as well do it right. Angling towards the camera, he tried to ensure the best view. Then he began touching himself through the lace. He began gently—he didn’t want to rip the panties or mess them up somehow. But the more he stroked, the better it felt, and the better it felt, the rougher he got. Finally, hungry and frustrated, he pushed the panties aside, so that, while he was still wearing them, his dick was free. Then Will laid back, enjoying full access to his shaft while feeling the rub of the lace against the base of his cock. Cupping his balls and fingering the panties with one hand, Will pumped harder, pausing only to spit into his palm before picking the rhythm back up. Distantly, he saw the flash go off as his phone took a picture of him, and it pushed him over the edge. With a final thrust, Will lifted his hips and came, milking himself as he shot all over his belly and chest.

For a second, Will just lay there, panting and smiling, fighting back laugh. He was a grown man wearing panties, and he was fucking satisfied. Somewhat reluctantly, Will stripped them off. Despite the rough treatment, they were in surprisingly good shape. Immensely pleased with himself, Will got up to check the photo on his phone.

There he was – back arched, hips thrust, legs open wide. The ivory lace looked delicate and sweet next to the meaty length of his cock. Will’s dick stirred. He smiled. Then he titled the email Open Me, attached the picture, and hit send.

Elust #87: Secret Identities, Southpaws & More

Photo courtesy of Understanding Flutterby

Welcome to Elust 87

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #88 Start with the rules, come back November 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

On Secret Identities

Dividing lines…

Ember and Ash


~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Bdsm: Our pleasures are our obligations



~Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

Change your Cookbook: a monogamuggle’s guide to cookin’ with poly folk

*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*
All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!


Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

When Love is not enough.
the fantasy and reality of my arrival


Shine a Light

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

When You’re Bad
How Women Use Their Sexuality As A Weapon
Dear Fans: Quit Kinkbashing

Erotic Fiction

Big Daddy
The Front to Back Challenge
GAME OF TWO HALVES – role shift
no. 106

Erotic Non-Fiction

He’s Cumming
Washing up
Chew Toy
So many friends with benefits


One Stroke
Early Morning Haikus


ELust Site Badge

Who I Am With You Isn’t Who I Am With Him

M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher

I wrote a story a few months ago called “Looking Glass”, in which a woman looks forwards to having sex with the guy she’s seeing, not just because she wants to fuck him (though she does), but because

“sex is her looking glass. It lets her see who a person is, (or rather who they are with her). It lets her see who she is with them. She wants that view more than she wants to get off. She wants to see if they fit.”

At the time I wrote the story, I made a mental note to circle back to the idea that sex can be a mirror, not just for you or your partner, but for who you are together. Identity and personality are pet topics on this blog, so I’m not going to waste time saying that personalities are fluid. Anyone with a secret Twitter account can tell you that Secret Twitter You is just as authentically “you” as Dinner with Gran You. It’s just not the “you” your gran is used to seeing…probably.

Instead, I want to look at how that fluidity plays out in sexual dynamics. Most of us slide up and down a sexual scale. Even people who identify very strongly as one thing (submissive, dominant, vanilla, etc.) tend to play that thing out differently with different lovers. Part of what makes for sexual chemistry between any two people is how well you intuit each other, and that’s different case by case.

That’s why I’ve always been curious about what sex would be like with different people. Like the protagonist in “Looking Glass”, my anticipation in the build up to my first time with someone new is rooted in curiosity—who will I be with them, who will they be with me, and what will be together? In other words, what will we bring out in each other?

Ages ago, I was seeing two very different men. Let’s call them A and B. My dynamic with A was emotionally and sexually intense. We went dancing and did a great deal of staring intensely into each other’s eyes. The sex was fucking hot.

My dynamic with B was different. Mostly, he and I laughed. We went to diners and dive bars and told rambling stories. The sex was also amazing, but in a super playful, peaches and cream kind of way.

One day, B and I went to an event and met up with A and his date. Everything was great, so much so that I didn’t give the meeting a second thought until the next time I saw A when he commented that he’d had no idea I was such a goofball.

Here’s how that conversation played out in semi-fictional dialogue.

A: Hey, M?

Me: What’s up?

A: So….

Me: ….yes?

A: Do I keep you from being you?

Me: (blank stare)  No. Why?

A: Because you seemed so relaxed with B the other day. I mean, I’ve never seen you so relaxed and goofy and I was kind of wondering if I was keeping you from that because, you know, I’m not relaxed. Or goofy.

Me: Aw, babe…. (sits on his lap and gently bites his neck) Who I am with you isn’t who I am with him. I’m goofy and relaxed with B because B and I are goofy and relaxed together. I’m pouncier with you because that’s how we are. One isn’t more me than the other. It’s all me. You’re just seeing what naturally comes out with you.

A: (melts because he loves having his neck bit) Okay, so…what you’re saying is…it’s all good.

Me: (straddles him) It’s all good.

The conversation ended there and all was (extremely) good – because that’s how it worked naturally for A and I. Had that conversation happened with B instead of A, I probably wouldn’t have nibbled on him and gone straight to sex because that’s not how it was with us. We’d have had a good conversation, probably gotten philosophical, and then had slow, lazy sex before watching The Matrix and eating take-out.

In either case, the set of impulses I had with A were just as authentic as the ones I’d have had with B, they were just very different. That’s why the first time with a new partner is exciting, even if it isn’t magical right off the bat. It’s not just about chemistry. It’s about curiosity and mutual potential; how we connect, and how defined that connection is.  Do we share one wavelength, or do we slide over the scale together?

All of those questions hum along, fueling attraction, chemistry, and sex. And the answers, as variable and context dependent as they are, form a hell of a good mirror for anyone, so long as they are authentically engaged. It’s why relationships fascinate me in all of their brilliant, curious, mind-blowing, toxic, soul-deep, casual variations.  It’s one of the biggest reasons I love sex…aside from the obvious.


Unrelated PSA:

For months now, I’ve been working on a collection that I’m very excited about. I’m lucky enough to be working with an amazing editor, but life is getting busier and I need to clear more time for it, so, for the next little bit, the blog will be moving to a slightly less regular posting schedule. It’s definitely not going anywhere. There will just be a slightly longer gap between posts.

In the meantime, feel free to dig into the archives and cringe at what a catastrophe of a baby blogger I was. It’s the blogging equivalent of refrigerator art –  precious, precious stuff. 😀

Erotic Fiction: Spar

Black and white image of a man and woman's hands and thighs as they stand side by Mona Kuhn for Erotic Fiction: Spar by Malin James

from Longing & Belonging. Series by Mona Kuhn

Originally, this story was called “Rough”. I wrote it years ago and always had a soft spot for it. I dug it out not long ago and realized how green I’d been when I wrote it, so I set it aside,  figuring its time had passed.

 Then I did a post about sex and intensity. As I wrote it, “Rough” kept coming to mind. When I pulled it out again, I realized that it contained pretty much everything I’d written about in Technicolor Sex, it just needed teasing out. So I decided to give it a tease.

 It’s still a young story, but now it’s closer to what it originally wanted to be.  Plus, I like the new title. Rough sex can take lots of different forms, but sparring is something specific. At its best, sparring is a dance; a meeting of equals; a give and take. For my money, there’s nothing quite as promising as an even field and room to play….

“Spar” by Malin James

A guy once asked if he could have “the honor” of licking chocolate off my breasts. He was fondling a strawberry at the time—an obvious hint at the pleasures to come. A lot of girls would have melted, but the thought of his tongue sliding over my skin made me want to bite it off. Literally. Off. I politely declined and went home.

I like rough sex. My perfect night would end with both of us bruised, bloody and possibly scarred for life. Candles and chocolate are not for me. I like a fight. Which is fine in theory, but finding someone you can scratch that itch with is harder than you’d think.

I don’t like thugs and I don’t like jerks. I want a nice guy who loves dogs and calls his mom once a week. I don’t want a guy out on bail for assault; but finding a nice, well-adjusted guy who’ll laugh at your jokes and choke you out is, to put it bluntly, pretty fucking hard.

That’s why I started kickboxing again. If I couldn’t find a nice guy who liked it rough, then at least I could beat the hell out of a bag. That’s when I met Mike. He was there every time I went to the gym. Turned out the gym was his.

After eight weeks of mild obsession interest, I signed up for a private lesson. I didn’t really need it, but by then I didn’t care. I don’t like pining (I’m awful at pining) and I needed him out of my system. Besides, I’d exhausted my supply of sparring partners by then, so at least I’d get a workout.

When I walked in that evening, the place was empty except for Mike, who was beating the shit out of a bag with the kind of single-minded intensity that makes my belly clench. He stopped when I came in. My belly stayed clenched.

“Hey,” he said, taking off his glove. “I’m Mike.”

He extended his hand, and I took it. I liked the way it felt—strong and solid, but not overbearing. This man was a man with nothing to prove. My belly clenched again.

“Hey,” I said. “Marie.”

Crooked smile. Lean muscle. Steady, calm gaze. He was very, very present. His eyes felt like the edge of a cliff and I took a running leap.

“So, I’ve booked an hour. What do you offer?”

He was still holding my hand when our eyes locked. It should have been awkward, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t awkward at all. It was the kind of blood-rushing, cunt-swelling turn on that sinks right under your skin. Cue music. Fade to black. Except this wasn’t a movie, so skip the fade to black.

“It depends,” he said. “What are you looking for?”

“A challenge,” I replied.

His hand tightened and relaxed, an instinctive, light pressure, like knees brushing under a table. We were having a conversation. I tried to keep my face calm. Do you want this? Yes. Do you want this? Yes. Are we doing this? Yes. I smiled and squeezed his hand. Negotiations were done.

“Sure,” he said. “A challenge. I can give you that. Need to warm up?”

“No. I’m plenty warm.”

We circled each other, testing. He threw a left hook and I dodged. It barely grazed me, but I caught enough to know that he hadn’t tried to pull it, and that, my friends, was hot.

We’d been at it for just a few minutes when I decided to move things along. Tucking my shoulders in, I drove him back against the wall, but I’d underestimated Good Guy Mike. He wasn’t above playing dirty. To my snarly, feral delight, he picked me up by the waist and pressed me into the wall.

(I don’t have to tell you that sweatpants won’t hide a hard-on. All I’m going to say is that by the time he pinned me, I knew everything I needed to know, thank fucking god).

“Now what,” he said, grinning at me. He looked like a wolf daring me to throw a stick.

“Now this.”

I grabbed a fistful of his hair and bit his bottom lip. He growled and bit me back. Then his tongue was in my mouth and he caught both of my wrists. Yes…yes, yes, yes….

But I still wanted more, so I (very, very sweetly) kneed him in the gut. He swung me down hard, just like I’d hoped. I landed on the mat, but before I could roll away he’d pinned me with his weight.

Now, I’m not tiny. I’m fit and strong and tall, but Mike was so quick and so big that the sheer, immovable weight of him made me relax. Fighting him was like running at something you know won’t budge, and that’s why you do it – for the sheer, crazy joy of not holding back. Mike was so strong, so reliably strong, that I didn’t have to hold back.

“Gotta get you out of these clothes….”

He yanked down my pants and I tore at his sweats. The gym was a fishbowl and the doors were unlocked, but you couldn’t have paid me enough to care, not with his mouth on my tits, sucking and teasing with his rough, hungry tongue. I groaned and spread my legs.

He slid into me, deep and hard. I pushed my hips up, slick and open, wanting more. The way we fucked wasn’t tender. It was raw and rough and real, but under the bites, we were watching, gauging, asserting, retreating…. The give and take made me high.

We were wet and slippery with sweat. I tasted blood, but I didn’t know whose. Red welts. Dripping salt. Fists in hair. Hands on necks. Teeth and nails and blooming bites. When I came it was almost too much. My nerves felt like hooks in my skin, my lungs, my swollen cunt. I came and kept coming. I couldn’t stop coming. I sank into my body and pulled him in deep.

I felt his mouth on my neck, his teeth on skin, light pressure, harder pressure…. It started all over again. I came as I watched. I watched him and I waited. You can do that if you breathe. You can come and watch. Focus. Breathe. I watched his face and breathed.

He wrapped his fist in my hair, and I let him. He marked me, and I let him. He saw me, and I let him. And when he came, I saw him too.

We were quiet for a long time after. Gradually, I looked down at our bodies as we lay back on the mats, sweaty, panting, bruised. I hurt everywhere a person could hurt and it felt glorious. Like a brand new, shiny day.

“So,” he said, touching my jaw. I could feel a bruise forming. It’s a beautiful feeling, when you like how you got the bruise. “Can I take you to dinner sometime?”

I gave him a satisfied grin.

“It depends. How do you feel about dogs?”

“I love ‘em,” he said. “Lost my Sadie last year. I haven’t had the heart to get another. Someday. Maybe soon.”

He looked away, embarrassed. The man had clearly loved his dog.

“In that case, dinner would be great.”

On Secret Identities

Black and white image of Malin James with one half of her face in sharp relief and the other in shadow

Photo by Malin James

A few weeks ago, I introduced myself as Malin. This isn’t unusual – people often call me Malin, even if they know my real name. The only reason it caught me up was that the person I’d introduced myself to was my daughter’s teacher, someone with no overlap into the Malin portions of my life. It made me realize how deeply my relationship to that name, and the identity it signifies, has changed.

Malin began as a construct – a second identity engineered to be a firewall between my real life and what I wrote. What I didn’t realize was that creating the firewall formalized a boundary that pre-existed Malin by decades. I’d always felt a certain split, but the pseudonym freed me to fully engage both halves of what I perceived to be two conflicting identities – the hungry, sexual, wolf-grin parts of me that wore black leather pants and always carried cab fare, and the introverted nerd who liked to stay home and read.

Clearly, these (and many other) facets of my personality can and do co-exist. But right after my daughter was born, when I switched genres and started writing erotica, formalizing the difference and attaching an “identity”  to the latter was a huge relief. It gave my sexual intensity somewhere to go while I sorted through the insanity of suddenly being someone’s mom.

Five years later, I’ve grown out of that formalized boundary between Malin and the rest of me. The name no longer signifies a secret or hidden identity because there is, quite literally, no difference between Malin and the rest of me. By pure coincidence, both facets have fully integrated. There’s nothing secret or hidden left to hide (except access to my home address).

Unlike a lot of people who use pseudonyms, mine is, at this point, more of a convenience than a necessity – Malin James is the author of all of my work and it’s easier to let it stay that way. It also acts as a sort of marker – if you know my real name, we very likely have a friendship / relationship that extends into real life. Plus, I’m protective of my family so the firewall is still nice to have.

My slip a few weeks ago made me aware of how, for the longest time, I thought of Malin as a separate person, and how that separation ended up being a really healthy thing. Without the pseudonym formalizing the division in my identity, I probably wouldn’t have integrated them as naturally as I did.

Naming that half of myself gave me permission to be everything I no longer felt comfortable being. (It wasn’t just motherhood. There was a lot of shakubuku involved). Rather than repress it, I gave the problematic parts a formal context, ie: Malin does sex and engages the world, while the rest of me works in a library and mashes peaches for my kid.

I’m hardly unique in this – people create secret identities all the time. In fact, the duality of characters like Catwoman and Batman is a large part of their appeal (at least, it is to me). Despite their duality, they are fundamentally whole – both halves get face time, both halves have a purpose. It’s a neat solution to a common problem of how to reconcile seemingly disparate parts of yourself.

The fact that I needed that division makes me sad, but that need was a product of no longer felt right in my own skin. Having two identities running parallel to each other was a way to inhabit all of myself without sacrificing either half – the light or the dark. What I realized the other day is that fully inhabiting both identities brought them closer and closer together until they overlapped. And that’s where I am now.

Integrating Malin into the rest of me was never my intention. I could have happily continued jumping back and forth over that formalized divide, but I’m even happier now that I don’t have to. I like being fully represented in all aspects of my life. I like that, if you read my blog or follow my Twitter feed, you get a sense of who I actually am, not just the parts that jive with an image.

Everyone has a different relationship to their secret identity. For some people, it is a non-negotiable necessity. For others, it’s the freedom to be their real, honest self. For me, it became a way to grapple with conflicting identities. In the end, the divide made both halves got stronger until the line between them blurred.

I’ll always have practical reasons for maintaining my pseudonym, but knowing that what started as a pen name became a temporary home makes me love the name, and that’s one of the biggest reasons I keep it. I’m grateful for Malin and giving it up would be, at this point, almost as strange as giving up my legal name.

Elust #86: Self-Objectification, Sexy Migraines & More

Elust 86 Header
Photo courtesy of Modesty Ablaze

Welcome to Elust 86

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #86 Start with the rules, come back October 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!


~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

On Self-Objectification

Female Orgasms – Addressing Women’s Sexuality

Migraine – A Sexual Spiritual Explanation


~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Can You Train a Sub to Orgasm on Command?

Rupert Campbell-Black and me…


~Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

Yes I’m a Sexblogger and No I don’t care about your dick

*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*
All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!


Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

BUTTER FOR LUBE… Salted or Unsalted?
KOTW:Static on the line
Control Queen
Well, That Didn’t Go According to Plan

Writing about Writing

A BDSM Vignette from Two Viewpoints

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Sex Negative

Erotic Fiction

The Cure

Erotic Non-Fiction

A Polyquad Squad Orgasm
Beautiful Birthday Fuck
Purpose of Tasks
Do You Trust Me
The meanings of “good girl”

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

How Long Is Enough
The Virgin. Unlocking Feminine Power.
The Other Day
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
addressing doubts one step at a time
How D/s has taught me to stick up for myself

Body Talk and Sexual Health

Against All Odds


Where I’m From



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Flash Fiction: Auction Sale of Clothes

Black and white photograph by Cartier-Bresson of a woman standing on a stage in a auction house modeling a dress in front of a full room

Auction Sale of Clothes by Cartier-Bresson (Berlin, 1951)

“Do you like it?”

“What? The model or the dress?”

“The dress…and the model, I suppose.”

The woman cocked her head. The dress was the sort of thing you’d wear to a cocktail party. The model was the sort of thing you’d bring home from a cocktail party.

“Yes,” she said, thoughtfully. “I do.”



The man raised a brow but failed to look surprised.


Standing on a platform in a dead woman’s clothes wasn’t Laura’s idea of high fashion, but it was a paycheck and paychecks were good, especially when you liked to eat.

“Lot 398. Christien Dior. We’ll start the bidding at….”

Laura ignored the auctioneer. She didn’t want to know. It made wearing the dress depressing, like sampling a pastry she couldn’t afford. Laura hated not affording so she canted her hips and ignored the bidders too. These days the bidders were worth ignoring.

There were two types of people at auctions like this—collectors and ghouls. Ghouls, with their shabby collars and hard mouths, came to watch a rich person’s things get sold off. Collectors were different. Collectors went hunting for very specific things, but what made a thing special was anyone’s guess. Just the week before, someone paid $500 for a soap dish with an impeccable provenance…whatever that meant.

Laura pivoted and tried not to yawn. At first, the keen, avid eyes in the audience had turned her on so much that her thighs would be slick by the time she left the platform. Once or twice she’d even come (quietly, of course). It didn’t matter if she was modeling last year’s lingerie or someone’s ridiculous hat, being scrutinized felt good. But that had been ages ago. The novelty was gone. Now she barely noticed.

Laura unhooked the dress’s train, revealing an obscene amount of leg for 10am. Suddenly, the soft hairs on the back of her neck prickled and she looked up.

A couple was sitting in the middle of the room. They were young and golden and bright as if they’d gathered up all the stray light. Now that she’d seen them, she couldn’t look away.

Laura’s center of gravity dropped into her hips. She did a half-turn as the nerves in her belly coiled. She wanted the couple to notice. She wanted to make them bid. Laura moved to center stage, rolling her hips. She knew she looked like a woman begging to be kissed. Then the golden woman winked, and she almost fell off the stage.

The woman scanned Laura’s body, from her hem to her face, with the kind of cold interest she was used to in men. Every nerve in Laura’s body clustered between her legs. The woman smiled like a collector. She smiled like she knew. Laura squeezed her thighs tight, felt how plump and wet she was. She swore the woman knew.

Silver shoes peeked out from beneath her hem. The woman met Laura’s eyes and raised a brow. Without thinking, Laura raised the dress so the woman could see the shoes. Ankles, knees, halfway up her thighs…she would have kept going, right up to her waist, but the woman gave her a tiny nod, so Laura stopped. She didn’t lower the dress. The woman looked pleased. Still, they didn’t bid.

Laura squirmed, unwilling to drop the hem as the bids rose higher and came faster and the pressure built. She squeezed her thighs together as tight as she could. She could come like that. She had before. She would come and the woman would watch her. She would come and the woman would know.

But the woman shook her head.

Laura went still.

A Catalogue of Very Specific Things:

Silver dress. Silver shoes.  Twitching fingers, shifting hips. A trembling mouth that makes a quick but perfect O. The flush of a lip, a swollen lip, soft between hard teeth. Wide eyes. Young skin. Impulses waiting to spill….

The woman whispered to the man.

The gavel cracked.

“Sold, to the gentleman in the middle of the room.”


The woman sighed.

“Thank you, love.’

“Have you got your eye on anything else?”

“No,” she said. “Let’s collect.”

Flash Fiction: Statue

White marble classical statue of a woman's torso and thighs covered by a sheer veil

Marble statue. Courtesy of Getty Images

“So. Henry has this fetish….”

Marjory swirled her martini around with a naked swizzle stick. She’d already eaten the olives.

“Okay,” Jackie replied, waiting for the ellipses to run out. They didn’t.

“So, is he into feet or something?”

Marjory shook her head.



“Breast milk? Teddy bears? Tell me it’s not corpses.”

“No, no. It’s none of that. Besides, Henry’s too squeamish for dead people.”

“Thank Christ.”

Jackie downed the last of her cosmo and signaled for another.

“So, what’s he into then?”

Marjory blushed and looked away.



“Yeah. You know… Greek statues.”

“Like…the kind in museums. With boobs and missing bits?”

“Yeah. Like those.”

“Huh. That’s interesting.”


Marjory had always played it kind of straight. Jackie was the one who’d gotten around. She waited for her sister to say more, but wasn’t surprised when she didn’t.

“So what’s the problem? It could be worse. It could be corpses.”

“Stop with the corpses. This is serious.”

“Okay, okay….”

The bartender set down Jackie’s cosmo. She tossed him a wink for the extra twist.

“So,” she said, toying with the little curl of lemon. “Tell me why it’s serious. Can’t he get it up? Can he only fuck in the Met? Museum fucking is hot….”

“No! I mean, yes. He can get it up. But he really, really wants me to do this thing and I’ve never done anything like it before and I don’t know if it’s normal or not.”

“Sweetie,” Jackie said, “there is not such thing as normal. There’s just stuff you’ve done and stuff you haven’t. So what does he want you to do?”

“He wants me to…you know. Dress up.”

“Like what? A statue?”

“Yeah,” Marjory said, chewing her lip. “Like a statue. He even bought me an urn.”

“Aw! He bought you an urn? That’s super sweet!”

“Yeah, but is it? Sweet, I mean? Isn’t it kind of weird?”

“I don’t know. What does he want you to do with it?”

“Hold it.”

“While he fucks it?”

“No. Just hold it. While I watch.”

“Yeah?” Jackie smiled. It was a smile she knew Marjory hated, but only because she’d never smiled that way herself. “Watch what?”

Marjory leaned in and dropped her voice.

“He wants me to watch him…masturbate.”

Jackie slapped the bar and laughed.

“That’s it? He wants you to hold a vase while he wanks? That’s great! Oh! You know what you should do? You should wear, like, a sheer toga thing and expose one breast. That would be lovely! He’d be so surprised!”

“Jackie, I’m serious!”

“Marjory, so am I! Of all the fetishes in the world, this one is pretty sweet. Random, but sweet. It’s not like he’s asking you to cut off your arms for authenticity. Besides, haven’t you ever watched a guy get off? It’s fucking hot!”

The bartender glanced over and pretended to straighten the cocktail napkins. Jackie pounced.

“Hey! Sexy guy! Am I right? Isn’t being watched by a woman you’re into hot?”

“Uh…yeah. Actually, it is.”

The bartender smiled. Jackie grinned.

“See? It’s hot! And the only other thing he’s asking for is that you hold a thing and stand super still while he does it. My vote is that you go for it. Expand your horizons. Embrace the new.”

“I don’t know….”

“Of course, you don’t. You’ve never tried it. Go on. Be a statue. Live a little.”

“Okay…if that’s what you think.”

“That’s exactly what I think,” Jackie said, scrawling her number on a napkin and sliding it to the bartender. He took it and tucked it into his pocket. “You’ve already got the urn. Now all you need is something sheer.”

“I don’t have something sheer.”

“We’ll go shopping for curtains tomorrow.”

Technicolor Sex

Marilyn Monroe in a read dress against a green floral background for Technicolor Sex by Malin James

Marilyn Monroe, circa 1952. Image courtesy Getty Images.

You know how sometimes, every now and then, sex can light you up? It’s the kind of sex that squeezes your heart and gobbles it whole. Sublime, intense, shattering sex that leaves you wrecked and soaked and scratched and bruised and so happy you could cry?

Yeah. I love sex like that.

I used to associate catastrophically good, mind-altering sex with kink because, when I was younger, the only time I experienced it was in kinky situations. The impact it made on me drove me to experiment with all sorts of sexual deviance, which was great and profound in its own way, but it also kept me from understanding my natural sexual wiring until much later.

Recently, I’ve come around to realizing that, while I am definitely a kinky person, kink isn’t actually what drives my sexuality. Intensity does, and kink is one possible way for me to get a hit of that drug.

Note: When I say “kink”, I’m referring to all of the kinks I enjoy, plus the million other kinks that fall under the term’s umbrella. Unless I specify a particular kink by name, just figure I mean it as a placeholder for anything that falls outside the sexual mainstream, whatever that is….

Some people have a central kink around which other kinks play out, like the sub who loves spanking but isn’t into service. I don’t have a central, identifying kink. I have a spectrum of equally weighted, kinky options. That’s because, for me, the turn-on isn’t the kink itself, but the intensity that comes from engaging it.

I’ve written before about how I don’t identify as a Domme because it comes with a set of expectations that don’t consistently apply. While I enjoy playing that role, I slide in and out of sexual dominance depending on what I’m doing and who I’m with. For me, sexual dominance is an impulse—awesome when it’s instinctive with a partner, but not necessarily something I pursue for its own sake.

Unlike someone whose sexual identity is fairly set, my sexuality is fundamentally intuitive. I’m kind of like a tuning fork—I ring at different frequencies with different lovers because different people tap different aspects of my sexuality. This isn’t to say that I don’t have my own preferences and boundaries. It’s no secret that submission isn’t my thing. Masochism, however, is. I like pain – both dishing it out and taking it – but only if it’s part of my natural dynamic with a partner.

And that’s really the thing for me—my dynamic with my partner. It doesn’t matter if it’s a one-time thing or a long-term relationship, more than anything, I respond to connection – that humming recognition that you both want to fuck. While I really enjoy a lot of different kinks, the intensity I crave has more to do with a feedback loop than with the kink itself, and what creates that delicious feedback loop changes from partner to partner and moment to moment.

So, when I say that my sexuality is intuitive rather than definitive, I really mean that my sexual response cues off a feedback loop. Kink can, and often does, form the basis of that connection, but sometimes it just happens out of the blue. It’s a lot like dancing – you move with each other’s impulses and improvise, so dancing with one partner is nothing like dancing with someone else. I’m hyperaware of my partners’ impulses, and that awareness shapes my response. It creates a sort of bespoke sexual experience, but what fits one partner in one moment, won’t necessarily fit another.

That’s why, while I love rough sex, I’m only going to want it with certain people because it’s not about rough sex, per se. It’s about rough sex with someone I want to have rough sex with. So, as much as I enjoy restraint and watching and being watched and group sex and fucking in places you shouldn’t be fucking, I love vanilla too. For me, it’s not about what we’re doing; it’s about how it feels while we’re doing it.

If I get that intensity through missionary with unbroken eye contact, fine. If I get it through edge play, voyeurism, or trusting a partner enough to push my own boundaries, fine. In the end, it’s all just a gateway to the kind of intensity that makes for the kind of sex that dismantles your brain and turns you into a cock or a cunt and the basic need to fuck.

That isn’t to say that I can’t enjoy kink or have amazing sex without that brain-dismantling intensity because I can and have and will. In the end, I love sex—kinky sex, or sex that’s as vanilla as it gets. The kind of sex that I’m talking about here is just one variation in a million. I just happen to love it because it’s as context dependent as I am.

For me, at its best, sex is a function of impulses and variables and kink is just one of those variables. While I genuinely enjoy kinky, filthy filth, the intensity I want is a product of dynamic and connection, informed by, but not dependent on kink. It’s just as likely to happen with eye contact as it is with anything else.

I like it when sex is the unpredictable product of impulse and instinct. I like it when sex surprises me. Within the boundary of certain hard limits, my sexuality is fluid enough that it doesn’t hold a definitive shape, which means that sex is always something of an adventure. Even if I’ve been with someone for years, something – an emotional quirk, a request, whatever – can hit me in a way I didn’t expect. That sudden change in frequency is the shot of sexual adrenaline that starts the rest of the feedback loop.

It’s like alchemy and it’s different with everyone. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it reminds me what having a body is all about. That’s when you get sex that’s shattering and cathartic; sex that’s so intense and so fucking good you have to check for a heartbeat after. That’s sex in blazing Technicolor. Kink or no kink, I love Technicolor sex.