Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Personal (Page 1 of 9)

ILB’s personal posts


“They’re not bad as beds go,” said Toby, “but they’re not fantastic. I suppose they are resilient enough.”
“I find that they’re quite a good bed for having sex on,” I said to general amazement.

In reality, though, I was stretching the truth a little.

I wasn’t lying. I had had sex on the bed in my tiny room in university hall. Admittedly, I was probably the person in my flat who had done so the least, considering the girl at the end with the steady boyfriend, the one who everyone fancied in room 5, or the guy in room 2 who brought home a different girl every night. But I’d still done it… once.

Looking back on it now, it may well have been the last time I had sex with her. Our relationship ended a few weeks later, and for the times we met before that, her interest in sex (or at least in sex with me) appeared to have waned. But this time on my university bed was different. She most definitely wanted to have sex with me.

And we did. Ten minutes after getting into my room. Clothes covering what little floor space there was available, door firmly locked to avoid any unwelcome visitors, the single duvet pushed to one side, and her on her back, legs wrapped around my hips as I worked them like a piston. Uninhibited by the constraints of having to not wake up parents, or for fear of ruining another mattress. We could do what we liked, how much we liked, and make as much noise as we liked.

She cried out as her orgasm rumbled through her body. I collapsed on top of her and we lay there for a while, my rock-hard penis buried deep within her, no longer moving but listening to each other breathing. Her breasts were pressed against my chest, covered in sweat. That much I remember.

“That was wonderful,” she murmured as I pulled out of her. “It’s been too long.”
“Too long,” I agreed.
“But you didn’t come, though, did you?”
“I didn’t,” I admitted. “But I don’t need to for us to enjoy sex. You came.”
“I did. But if you need to come, the door is always open. I mean, my legs. My legs are always open.”

So, you see, I did have sex on that bed and it did work. Incredibly well, in fact, given the circumstances. But she never did visit me again on campus, and therefore I never had any more sex on that bed. I had sex, a few times, in Africa later on, but that wasn’t really on the bed.

It did kickstart a several-year dry spell, but hey ho…

No, seriously, it’s a genuinely ad-free blog

Dear [Company / Website / Representative],

Ad-Free Blog button. Art by Keri Smith.
It’s literally on my sidebar.

Thank you for [reaching out / e-mailing / e-mailing again / all your e-mails]. I have read your communication [with interest], and [considered your proposal / understand your request].

I am aware of [your product / website / service / production], and I notice that you have also contacted some other sex bloggers on the subject, including my friends [blogger 1] and [blogger 2].

As per [our previous correspondence / my about page], I’m sorry to [continue to] inform you that I do not do commercial activities on my site, including:
– sponsored posts
– affiliate links
– hosting guest posts
– writing posts on my blog for money

There is a button on my sidebar reading “ad-free blog”, which should give you some idea of my non-commercial ethos. [Since you’re e-mailing me, you clearly haven’t read my blog, or you’d have noticed it.]

If you are genuinely [desperate to / interested in] work/ing with me, I will do the following:
sex toy or product reviews, honest ones, without pay
writing elsewhere, about something I genuinely know, for money
– talk to external publications

As you will know from my [blog / posts / about page (which you haven’t read)], I am not [kinky / in a D/s relationship / a swinger / polyamorous / LBTQ+ / a well-versed BDSM practitioner / in porn], so I am [confused / amused / irritated] as to why you are contacting me to [write about / post your content about] the subject.

Seriously, though, thanks for thinking about me, [company name]. It’s possible you have sent me an e-mail on the off-chance that I have had a complete volte-face and started hosting all sorts of ads on my blog, which I have continuously said before I feel devalues the medium. It may be more worth your time to contact some other bloggers who don’t openly state that their blog[s] [is / are] ad-free.

However, since you used the CC: rather than BCC: field in your e-mail, I don’t need to guess. It’s clear who you’re contacting.

Yours, with a love that shines like a thousand splendid suns,
– ILB x

You’ll never shine if you don’t glow

Hey now, you’re an all star
Get your game on, go, play
Hey now, you’re a rock star
Get the show on, get paid
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mould

When I was 17 (a busy year for me by all accounts) I was given my first, and so far one of my only, chances to play one song alongside a band which, despite being composed entirely of GCSE Music students at my school, was beginning to develop something of a following. I’d learned the violin part by heart – to a degree that I was fairly confident I could play it backwards. Through circumstances I don’t want to go into here – although Obsession might tell you – I didn’t end up playing. I went home at the interval, had a drink and a snack, and only then did I realise that I could have:

a) stayed
b) played my part
c) actually motherfucking done the motherfucking thing I’d motherfucking gone to motherfucking do

I’d also had several people there tell me I was pretty, so I might have pulled too. I mean, if I was going to be a rock star…

The following week was fairly awful, and the fact that nobody was taking how I felt seriously didn’t help either. In my intense gloom, one of the very few things that gave me a bit of a lift was All Star. I was doubting then – and this is a doubt that I still feel practically every day – that I was exhibiting (or do so now) any particular amount of talent. I was a pretender who had convinced himself otherwise, whereas in reality I was a talent-free jobsworth who didn’t deserve nice things. All Star told me otherwise. I was a star.

Smash Mouth knew it, so I did too.

Smash Mouth performing in 2011. Photo by Ingelbert, CC BY-SA 3.0.
My spring and my sunshine all at once.

One might assume that that was the end of it, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. For the year or so preceding that event, I had become a Smash Mouth fan. The reality of being a moody, depressed teenager was slightly mollified by the fact that I had a fairly decent repository of Californian surf rock I bought on a whim from HMV.

All Star was just the tip of the iceberg. By the time their fourth album Get the Picture? came along, I was a diehard aficionado. I knew all the words to all the songs, I would play them at maximum volume when nobody else was around, and even though they wouldn’t quite beat James to my number one spot, for a long time my John, Paul, George and Ringo were Harwell, Camp, DeLisle and Urbano.

They even played a rΓ΄le in my relationships. I got the girl I had a crush on into them and we geeked out on our shared love of US punk. My first girlfriend also became a bit of a fan, and we went on a date to buy Get the Picture? together. I even had sex to them a couple of times, although mostly by accident.

For more than half of my life now, when I need them, Smash Mouth have been there for me. Whereas there are a myriad of artists and genres that I will flick through at random, listening to Smash Mouth is like a hug from a kindly uncle: comforting, warm and familiar.

Steve Harwell is a legend

Although he left the band a few years before his death, and his tenure with them in the year preceding that was a difficult one for all involved, Smash Mouth would never have worked without Steve. His unique, characteristic raspy voice may not have gelled with any other band, but with Smash Mouth it just fitted like a glove. Whether it was a song about the Italian mafia, being stuck in a traffic jam or smoking too much marijuana (all actual songs), Steve’s voice just worked. The songs were written with his voice in mind and it was clear, from first listen, that they were.

It’s one of my biggest regrets that I never, even though I was fully intending to at the time, wrote to Steve, telling him how much his music meant to me and reminding him that they had yet to do a UK tour (and they still haven’t, and probably never will). As recently as half an hour ago I realised how much storage space on my iPod is taken up by songs with Steve Harwell.

Or just how many of his songs the band I’m in (in my fantasies; it’s not a real band) play on a regular basis.

Or that the fictional girl who asked me out kept wanting to see him naked.

Steve Harwell is very special to me and he always will be. His death is a sad day for rock and a gut-punch to anyone who, like me, grew up with his band. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life.

Thank you, Steve.

Revelations: IILLBB

Two similar-looking faces representing ILBs 1 and 2.

ILB wakes up in bed with ILB. Briefly, they look at each other, an uneasy grin unfurling on each face. Neither of them know what they have done, or how long for.

“Time to start my day,” says ILB-1. “Want some coffee? I’ll go downstairs to get it.”
“No need,” says ILB-2. “The kitchen’s on this level.”
Mahar!” calls ILB-1’s dad. “I’m making tea; do you want any?”
“Thanks,” chorus both ILBs at the same time.

ILB and ILB take their seats at the computer. It’s time to write their blog post, which is a simple routine: ILB-1 opens Blogger, gets a compose window open and copy-pastes the HTML in first before writing. He had an idea in his head last night and this is a way to get it down. ILB-2 opens his self-hosted WordPress compose window. He doesn’t have any ideas; he’ll probably write any old shit and hope it works.

ILB-1 will be going to host a session at Eroticon about how not to do that.

Both ILBs click the publish button at the same time and cross-post to social media: ILB-1 to Twitter; ILB-2 to 𝕏 and Mastodon and Bluesky. Immediately after this they both open their blogrolls, one blog at a time via multiple tabs. ILB-1 is still impressed that Mozilla Firefox will do this. ILB-2 would have been upset if Google Chrome didn’t.

ILB-1 reads through a succession of very sexy blogs by very sexy people. The first ones he opens are by Blacksilk and Lady Pandorah. Each of them has written something new and he devours every word. He also checks on Lace Stockings and Silverarcheress. LucyBoots may have some new porn she likes. Bitchy Jones is still hitting people with stuff. Leah is busily laying London.

He finishes by reading the blog belonging to the girl he has a crush on. He knows where she is and how best to get there, but it’s only a dream, he tells himself. He’s never going to get to have sex with her.

ILB-2 spools through a succession of very sexy blogs by very sexy people. He opens each of them in alphabetical order and checks quickly. Most of them haven’t been updated in a while and he clicks off the page impatiently. GOTN, Emma and Robyn usually come through with something new. He still considers himself part of something, but he isn’t entirely sure what that something is.

ILB-1 talks about how connected he feels. ILB-2 fears that he is becoming increasingly alienated. Put together, these average out to numb. That’s a very good way to describe the life of an ILB.

ILB-1 reaches over to ILB-2 and takes his hand.

“Don’t forget what I’ve done,” he says softly. “However long this lasts… however long we last… nothing is not worthwhile. Years down the line, you will always remember this. And I’m sure there’s more to come for me, as well.”
ILB-2 nods mutely. “There is,” he whispers, almost conspiratorially. “It’s not all good, but the good stuff is very, very good indeed…”

They look at each other for a while, heart to heart but ten miles apart.

Later in the day they both get 40 minutes to themselves and decide to wank. They both have the same method, wrapping one finger and thumb around their shaft and rubbing the foreskin back and forth with their right hand. The left hand operates the computer, pulling up whichever scene of soft porn they can think of at the time.

They both orgasm at the same time to the same scene.

And connect.

Cock Beat

Am I awake?

I’m still not sure. I wrench my eyes open with almost Herculean effort. Yes, I’m awake… but barely.

I’m still in the training room. The tutor is still talking. I’ve been drinking in every word he’s been saying, or at least I had been before I drifted away. I don’t notice what the other trainees in my group are doing; I’m paying too much attention to trying to keep myself…

awake! Wake up! Damn it! Stay awake, ILB. Last the course; you’ve only got an hour or so to go before






Fuck! Shut up, body!

I have been hurting for a few days now. I had a Thai massage in Manchester; that evening, I fell down in my hotel room and pulled something. Or jarred it. Or tore it. I don’t know. Strained, sprained, yanked, ripped? Hippopotamus? No idea. Whatever happened, and I haven’t had time to go to the doctor yet (so I can’t check), I can no longer lie on my left shoulder, or turn my neck to the right, without screaming in pain.

The throb starts in my penis, though, so the beat of pain that comes from my shoulder is a secondary concern.

Another beat.

Why am I hard, anyway? There’s nothing remotely sexy here. I haven’t even been particularly horny for these past few days. Okay, maybe I get my most discomfiting erections when I need to stretch. Or when I’m having a nap.

Another beat.

Maybe I was asleep, if only for a little while. That might explain it.

My shoulder squeaks a bit and I jump a bit in my seat. Nobody notices. Or, at least. I hope nobody notices. Okay, take a deep breath. Breathe, ILB. Deeper. Deeper. Wait…

One more throb. One more burst of pain. This time I almost make a sound.

Fuck, my shoulder pain is reacting to my cock beat. It’s a call-and-response, isn’t it? Cock beat; shoulder pain. Cock beat; shoulder pain. It’s a rhythm, it’s a fucking rhythm, it’s a…

Another beat.

Another beat.

Oh, it’s a tea break. That’s nice. I can get some coffee and





and if I get some coffee, I will be okay. I can get some coffee, so that will help me wake up. Caffeine blocks adenosine, so it can help me concentr…




Cock beat. Shoulder pang.


Manchester: I’m not from here!

Manchester Piccadilly. Platform 13. This place is fucking huge. Now come and get me bitch before I get totally lost.


On some of the holidays I have taken with various people over the years, the places become more navigable as time goes on. This increases tenfold, of course, if I have been to the place before. My mission to introduce bits of the UK to my immigrant wife has been fascinating, insofar as what I actually know and what I think I know.

Bath, for example, is very simple. It’s a historical city and also my favourite city, and every time I go back, it is a world unchanged. The same streets; the same layout. I know Bath. Brighton, when not waylaid by storms, is a bit of a maze, but at least I know where the main bits are. I was slightly thrown by Nottingham, since I spent three years there and they’ve massively changed it since, but at least I kind of knew where I was.

As for Manchester… I have no clue.

I’m walking through Manchester on the way home from Blackpool. Are you all right?

I’m not well – in bed with ‘flu (well, you have to be in bed with something on Valentine’s πŸ˜‰). Happy V-Day, anyway!

Yes, happy Valentine’s!

ILB to H, via text

The problem here is that, in all honesty, I thought I knew Manchester. I’ve spent some of my best and some of my worst times there, but the general feeling about it is positive. For every death stare and overpriced railway ticket, there is a table for nine to have pizza, or a weekend spent having sex in a YHA near Oxford Road (following plans to book into a YHA in which to have sex). I’ve even been there recently – last year, for a gig (even if that was a little bit of a flying visit).

Long story short, I thought I knew Manchester. In my mind’s eye, I could picture the street down which I walked and sang the lyrics from Evita at maximum volume. I could visualise the YHA (no, another one) in Salford Quays and even the layout of Oxford Road. Manchester, I told myself, is focused around one big road. You can walk down it. That’s where the Pizza Hut is with the Bella Italia opposite. Easy.

Reader, it wasn’t easy.

Is there anyone from Johnny Roadhouse or A1’s here?

Tim Booth

As it turns out, what I’m familiar with is the Manchester of twenty years ago. Things appear to have changed since then. If I didn’t imagine the road I knew, then either it isn’t there any more, or it’s been redeveloped. Navigation, for a non-resident, is impossible; it’s much easier to get lost, especially when you don’t know where you are going.

But, throughout the week, at the very least we managed to work some things out. We knew how to get back to our hotel. We knew how to get places from the Arndale and how to commandeer the trams. We even managed to find our way back to Piccadilly Gardens (which has changed the most; last time I went there, you could walk through the centre!) when we needed to.

And that’s okay.

That’s really all we needed, as it turns out.


It is an undeniable truth that, in this state of perpetual unease we call adulthood, sometimes it all gets too much. We’re not even sure what it is, although if we gesture vaguely at everything, everyone understands what we mean, right? Sometimes it seems that the correct thing to do is bear down and get on with… whatever this is; others, it’s more prudent to give up and spend a while in the sweet embrace of nervous collapse.

Here’s what’s been happening to me.

The first couple of months of this year were overshadowed by the death of one of my best friends. Whereas that brought my friendship group back together in a way that hasn’t been seen since my stag (albeit I still have yet to tell Kiera), it categorically wasn’t a good thing. I also spent a large amount of February making music. In March I had my birthday; I’ve seen James; I’ve seen Operation Mincemeat (for the second time).

I have battled my way through more medical appointments than I would care to factor in. I’ve been to Eroticon (again), seen things I never would have before, and wept my way through The Super Mario Bros. Movie (and, as of the other day, Barbie). Keen to show them bits of the country, I’ve taken my wife to Bath and Birmingham. Manchester in a couple of weeks… and that will be our first anniversary, which puts everything into context.

I’ve been ill… very ill, at points.

Last month I got a promotion at work. I put a lot of effort into the application process and then had a massive crisis when told that they would have to move me if I accepted. I turned it down, until a week later when I was told that they could both promote me and keep me where I am now. (If memory serves, I stopped crying at that point.) My paranoia tells me that this was out of fear for what I could do as the union representative for our workplace, but I was grateful for all of it, in the end.

Social media has been an interesting place over the past few months, as well. I am perhaps the least doomy among the people I know concerning the future of Twitter 𝕏 Twitter, but I understand these concerns.

I’ve barely had time to breathe for six months. It’s a luxury that I haven’t really allowed myself. Lazing around on days off isn’t a treat; it’s a necessity. I set myself a target, early this year, to be kinder to myself, but I don’t really know what that looks like, either…

…and so we come to the collapse.

Because this is the first day in a long while on which I genuinely have to do nothing at all.

I mean, I’m sure I will. I’m writing a blog post right now. There’s some fiction I want to write. Music I want to listen to. I haven’t even touched my Nintendo Switch for weeks. Perhaps, over the coming days, I can go into London, or tour around the places I keep meaning to. I might even be able to meet up with some blogging folk (seriously, hit me up, otherwise I won’t actually do this!).

But I don’t need to do anything.

And so the first half of the year comes shooting out of me in a spiral of colour and sound and, itself, collapses into an infinitely dense dot. Here’s my visual representation thereof:


Obi-Wan Kenobi on Kamino in Attack of the Clones (2002).

So where do I put it all, this owl pellet of emotion? Do I swallow it like a pill, or wank frantically until it shoots out of the end of my dick? Bat it out of the window and hope it blows away in one of the storms of Kamino?

There’s really only one place for it to go, though, isn’t there?

I don’t know if you read,
But if anyone’s caring:
My body has needs,
And my blog is for sharing.

Dream Job

“It’s strange, us standing here in this garden,” said my pretty former colleague, “when we could be going on a date… or something.”
“Yes, I agree,” I concurred. “It is strange.”

Small pink dahlia, yet to fully bud, growing out of a gravel path.
From the garden. Hold me closer, tiny dahlia.

It wasn’t the only thing that was strange. After all, this was a former colleague who I talk to on WhatsApp about two times a month and have met in person all of once since we both left the workplace at which we met. I also didn’t recognise the garden; they may have put it in since I left, but a cursory Google search tells me they have not.

What was also strange was that she was asking to go on a date with me, and she’s attached. I’m also married, and although I’m not always in these situations, I very much was in this case. Yet I just seemed to take this in my stride. Were we heading towards a relationship, despite everything?

Also, what happened to the place I’ve been working at for the past couple of years?

“So do you want to?”
“Do I want to what?
“Do you want to do it?”

I couldn’t give a straight answer without destroying the ambiguity of her question, which I quite liked. I also saw the pattern emerging: I’ll get the opportunity to have sex with the girl, but then something will happen to prevent it actually happening. This is how these things go. I decided to tap out of the situation, knowing deep inside that I could return to it later.

“Sure,” I said without elaborating. “But first I have to find [the name of another pretty former colleague who also started and finished at the same time as me, thus completing the trio], and ask her something…”

And I set off through the maze of corridors I didn’t recognise, swarming with members of staff I didn’t know and clients who I’m fairly sure were never connected with the company at all. Occasionally I entered a room to ask her whereabouts. Nobody knew, nor did they recognise her name. But of course they should have; she worked there. We all did. We were a trio.

Okay, I said to myself, this isn’t working. Let’s get back to the garden and see if [my first colleague] is still there. I’ll suggest that we can go on a date, and then maybe we’ll get to cuddle at some point. I can still be married and do this; where’s the harm?

If this sounds ethically dodgy to you, let’s bear in mind that I was, at this point, an hour late to get back to the room I worked in, and very aware that I was bunking off in order to flirt. Due to the fact that I couldn’t get back to the garden anyway, it looked like this was going the same way as they all do.

Zounds, it’s a dream, isn’t it? It’s a bloody dream; just wake up and then maybe you can reset to the start, and take a different path like a gamebook…

And then I suddenly needed to go to the toilet, so I woke up anyway.

And that reminds me, I idly thought as I clambered back into bed. I need to message her and ask how things are going at her job. It’ll be the end of her second year there and she might be looking to move on…

Just before I drifted back to my next dream, however, I had one more conscious thought.

That was weird.

Belly Button Love

Settle something for me, gentle readers.

There were doubtful murmurs at work yesterday when I mentioned that there was something inherently sexual about a belly button.

“It’s just a dip in your tummy,” said one colleague.
“There’s nothing really sexy about it,” said another.
“It’s not like boobs, or a bum,” said a third.

“But it’s what’s left of your umbilical cord tied into a knot,” I pointed out. “There’s a link to the maternal womb there. And you’re born as the result of sex, so there’s a clear link there.”

Colleague #2 recovered first.

“That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t really scream ‘sexy’ to me.”

My mental Rolodex started flipping at this point. How do I answer this without revealing too much? Do I mention that porn actors shave their midriffs so as to accentuate the smooth areas around their belly buttons? Maybe that I know more than one person from the sex blogging world that has admitted to masturbating themselves to sleep thinking of a belly button?

What about people who get a piercing there? I know lots of people who have – mainly cis women, but not only. Isn’t the point of that to show it off a little?

Krista Allen as Emmanuelle in "Emmanuelle: Concealed Fantasy" (1994). Her belly button is in shot.
Krista Allen has a wonderful belly button and never hides it.

And what about models? Don’t they often show their midriff during their work?

“A belly button is the central point of a person’s body,” I settled on. “Lots of people use their midsection to be sexually attractive. Models do it and actors do it – we’ve all seen David Gandy topless…”

Some of my colleagues started looking into middle distance at this point.

“…and belly dancers do it as a part of their routine. Shakira shows hers all the time.”
“You’ve got a point there.”

“I’m still not convinced,” said Colleague #1. “Maybe it’s one of these things that I’m just not seeing.”
“Or maybe that’s just ILB,” said Colleaque #3.

Well? Is it just me, gentle readers?

Eroticon 2013: …and then we come

And so the Saturday evening social happened. It was a sequence of events.

I say that because I’m genuinely not sure what else to say about it. I ate too much food; I drank too much cloudy lemonade. Olly was chatty, Amy was sparkling and Robyn looked amazing. That’s what happened; I don’t have much else to say.

I went home via Kentish Town Station, having quite forgotten the farrago of the previous night, on which I clattered down the 100+ stairs in lieu of a working escalator. A helpful young man noticed me struggling with my bag and managed to convince me to let him carry it down the stairs for me – which he did. Thank you for your help, young man carrying bag full of sex things.


In contrast to Saturday, Sunday was a much calmer, more relaxing and relatively chill day. A pleasant surprise was the attendance of my dear friend Christine, whose name badge I had spotted at the Friday meet and greet but wasn’t expecting to see. It made me feel better to see her there, and I found her presence soothing.

Amy‘s session was nice and relaxed. As we should all know by now, I’ve never been particularly interested in adding affiliate links, but there were enough tips in her talk to help, and she was wonderfully composed while delivering it. Michael‘s first session – “Yet More SEO,” as I wrote in my notebook – was quiet but informative, and gave me an ego-boost by putting my site through GTMetrix. I don’t plan to use TikTok (I fail to see what I could do with it), but Sherryl seemed knowledgeable enough about it.

I didn’t take any notes during Michael’s second session. I don’t quite know why this is, but I’m really not keen on Mastodon. Probably mostly because I fear the unfamiliar. In any case, I now know enough about it to take the plunge. By contrast, I’m really not ready to have a Patreon, but GOTN‘s talk about it was so enthusiastic that I genuinely got some ideas about what I’d do with one if I did.

Goodbyes were said; the raffle was drawn. At this point it’s just become a matter of waiting to win the raffle, as opposed to wondering if I will. For my inevitable prize this year, I chose a book of erotica, and then sat with Olly trying to identify if I knew any of the authors.

And then we all went back to the pub.


And so that was it, basically. I ate some more, drank some more and then struggled my way down Kentish Town for the last time. Fair enough, it wasn’t the ribald ending filled with debauchery one would expect. We also didn’t get to play “I Have Never”, which I still want to do at some point…

…but it was Eroticon.

It looked like Eroticon. It felt like Eroticon. At some points, it very much felt like nothing had changed; as if 2020 hadn’t happened and we were returning to what was promised. At others, it felt so different that I began to doubt my own memory – surely there was more to ‘con than this? Was there something missing, or did I just have nostalgia for something that may not have existed?

But it was what it said it was. Frankly, I don’t even know what else I could have been expecting.

Explicitly, unashamedly Eroticon.

Good to have it back.

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