Finding My Place In All This (Re: Not So Alone)

July 20th, 2014

I have many thoughts in my head, including a fun post I want to write about weird dildos, but took took an unexpected turn on Twitter when I posted this:

Several dozen replies, some new follows, a couple LOLs and one cuddle pile/cuddlePUDDLE (get the Liberator throe!) later, I feel reconnected with many bloggers. In fact, I think I got some perspective. Despite having done this thing for 6 years (help my celebrate by entering to win awesome sex toy prizes!), I sometimes feel like I am so not part of the in-crowd. I haven’t managed to become close friends with some of the more “popular” or “successful” bloggers.

And maybe that’s okay.

There are some people who have turned this into their job. I don’t think I ever wanted to do that. At least, not through sex toy reviewing. My interest in sex and society and relationships tends toward the psychological rather than the analytic but I haven’t yet applied to Widener, tehehe.

Anyway, other people have gone down the “this is the job” fork in the road. I am a little jealous of them. It never even occurred to me. And that’s awesome. For them. It’s not enough for me Of Sex and Love always needs to remain a place where I am comfortable being personal. That was much of the point when I wrote it, and I didn’t feel like I could openly discuss sex toys and my sex life with my ex-husband, who was in the military, on my other personal blog (Blog count 1).

And even though that relationship is no longer, it certainly won’t be my last romantic or sexual encounter, as you’ve no doubt continued to read here on my blog. For the most part, reviews have dominated this space, but it’s coincidental, not on purpose. It’s how it happens. At some point, I may very well stop writing reviews and focus on my personal sex life if need be.

It will serve a wonderful purpose.

But it also serves the purpose of dividing between myself and some of sex toy reviewers, who are less “sex bloggers.” And that’s okay. For them. Starting a large blog (#3 if you’re counting!) that continues to be a time-intensive labor of love leaves less time for writing.. and socializing. It’s why I go days without looking at Twitter and my Facebook page is often pathetic. I apologize. There are just not enough minutes in the day. Priorities are assigned. This blog is not usually in the top 5 when I have family, friends, work, my other blogs and sex (let’s be honest: sex takes precedence over most of those things) to tend to.

Maybe I mention these things too often. Maybe it sounds like an excuse, but I do it because it’s a reminder. Not all of us sex bloggers/toy reviewers look alike. We don’t have the same priorities. We don’t approach things from the same place.

There are NO one-size-fits-all rules when it comes to blogging about sex and toys.

If you look at this crazy thing with that narrow-minded view, you’re not just missing the point, you’re missing out on the opportunity. And maybe you’re part of the problem. I can admit that I often build invisible walls around myself, but I’m writing this in an effort to knock them down. But if you think there’s only one way to do this, you’re alienating others and misrepresenting the community, which is as varied as my sex toy collection. (Okay, probably more so!)

I don’t want to be part of that. I don’t want to be at the top of a popularity ladder just to avoid the spit from others. Okay? Okay!

I do want to feel like I’m surrounded by friends no matter where I may be in terms of numbers, popularity of success. So thanks to TTC, Dizzygirl, Juliettia, Ima Godiva and Reenie for being the type of people to reply to a message like that I posted on Twitter. And I’d love to welcome new people to the fold. Introduce yourselves. Butt in on Twitter. Comment on blog posts. It’s how everyone started whether we remember it or not!

12 Comments


Sex Is Like Blogging

November 8th, 2013

I’ve been running away with the analogies today, so what better time to write the post that I’ve been mulling over in my mind?

Sex is like blogging or, rather, blogging is like sex.

I mean, I guess I’ve been blogging for longer than I’ve been having sex. Now, isn’t that kinda weird to say?

Back onto the topic at hand.

I’ve discussed with many people before how sex becomes more of a “necessity” the more you have it. This is true for me. When I have sex frequently, I want more sex more frequently. When it’s been a while, desire dies down a bit. I almost have to psych myself up to get back into the mood. Often, I do this and think “What have I been waiting for?”

Blogging is much the same. When I don’t blog for a while, I get bogged down with the idea that I “owe” my readers a blog post. I should get on it, so on and so forth. However, the longer I wait, the less likely I am to open up WordPress in my browser. Timely posts become too late to be important, or drafts sit in my dashboard for weeks or even months as a time.

It takes quite some convincing by the time I add a new post, and it’s usually because I feel as though an arbitrary amount of time has passed. However, when I blog and get into a groove, I can write three or four posts right away. The inspiration flows, and I don’t want to stop.

But when I’m going through those slow periods, I don’t remember this. I don’t have the passion or yearning.

Of course, blogging isn’t quite the same as sex. Sex falls into the category of necessity for me. Sex, when done right, fulfills needs that I didn’t even know that I had. Sex can even solve my biggest problem: my anxiety. Blogging doesn’t quite fulfill me that way. It’s a hobby that has perks, so it’s less likely that I’m going to stress out over my lack of activity in it.

So let’s extend this analogy a bit:

  • When you’re really into sex or blogging, the result will be better for everyone involved.
  • Sex is like blogging in that watchers make it more fun, and that it’s better to have fun, laughing content rather than serious.
  • You get more out of it when you get something into it.
  • Sometimes it’s easier to be vulnerable when blogging or having sex than it is during everyday conversation.
  • There’s always more to both worlds than you realize initially.
  • Anonymous sex and blogging can both be hot.
  • Hell, you can make money from both.. and companies use both sex and blogging to sell products.

So, for you, how is sex like blogging?

2 Comments


Want to Advertise on a Sex Toy Review Blog? Read This First

May 22nd, 2012

I am so incredibly grateful for the retailers, communities, video sites and other advertisers who have decided to purchase text or banner links on my website. It really helps pay the bills and let me have a few extra dollars of expendable cash. However, sometimes the process of working with an advertiser can be pretty frustrating and awkwardly drawn out. I know that my fellow bloggers feel the same, and sometimes this is only because advertisers may not be familiar with working with individual bloggers like myself. Sometimes your offer is just not worth my time and effort for the money, and I think that says a lot. While I am grateful for your money, my time is valuable to me, too.

If you’re thinking about buying advertising for me, it’ll go a lot more smoothly if you keep these things in mind.

Negotiating Prices

  • My rates are listed, under that pretty obvious banner on the sidebar. If you ask me for them, I will send you directly to that page. They’re flat rates, for the most part. A year is equal to 12 times the price per month for your location or type of link. If you sent me an email using the form on this page, then you already know the rates. Period.
  • We expect a little bit of negotiating, but don’t be rude. Our space and time is important, and you shouldn’t pit us against other bloggers. It’s, quite simply, disgusting.
  • When it comes to prices, know how much you want to spend before you contact us. If we absolutely can’t agree on a price, stop wasting our time and let us know (see above).

Communicating

  • If you want us to trust you, use an actual company email address.
  • Be courteous in your messages and reply on time. We know that things come up, but everyone should act like a professional. If we have to send multiple emails, we’re going to be annoyed. You would be, too.
  • Do not tell us you’ll get back to us “within a day” and not come through with it. You look like someone who can’t do his job properly.
  • Don’t give us the runaround about how you have to contact so-and-so. Just do it and then get back to us with the pertinent information.

Provide Appropriate Content and Anchor Text

  • When it comes to reading, take the time to read our blogs. Sure, I’ve listed a few anchors that aren’t exactly sex toys, but there are some topics that just don’t make sense for me to be writing about or linking to on Of Sex and Love.
  • Consider something other than “sex toys” as the anchor text. I understand the SEO value; at least, I did before Google released Penguin. Now, more than ever, you want relevant links like your store or website name.

Payment

  • Pay in a timely manner, whether it’s a one-time payment or a recurring plan. We shouldn’t have to nag you like a child.
  • Bloggers don’t typically fill out W9s. Period. If you ask, you’ll only come off as a scam artist.
  • Don’t send payment for renewed advertising if we haven’t agreed on it.

Miscellaneous

  • Even if your “sex toys” link makes perfect sense on my blog, you might not get links or sales. This isn’t my fault. You’re not paying for a landing page, just a link.
  • On that note, just because a blogger offers a sidebar link, doesn’t mean he will do sponsored posts. I do, but I may be the exception and not the rule.
  • As a blogger, we’re happy to talk about advertising. If you’re a sex toy shop, you might wonder if we also want to review. Please ask us before sending us toys. We may not want to review for you. Advertising and reviewing are two separate business interactions.

I may not own The New York Times, but I obviously have something to offer, if you’re interested in advertising. Be kind, be polite and consider how you’d feel if you were in my shoes. A little courtesy always goes a long way.

3 Comments


No You Don’t

April 14th, 2010

I’ve gotten a few spam comments in the last couple days which go something like this:

Hey there, when browsing at your site i see some kind of weird codes all over the page, in case it’s important I just thought I’d let you know it says this with all sorts of other stuff after it: “Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent in wp-settings.php line 12″

They include links to god-knows-where are just aren’t true. I have no errors, thank you very much. If you Google the message, it appears on many sites. It’s an interesting but annoying tactic that I just thought I’d make known.

Comment


Thank You

November 21st, 2009

A few months ago – and it does seem longer than that – I was blogging about the frustrations of, well, blogging. I was burned out and bummed out and entirely unsure of whether or not I would continue with this whole sex blog thing. A few of you commented and I felt a bit better and then I went back to life as usual which, at the time, included looking forward to yet another anniversary without my husband. Thank you deployment.

In the months since then, I feel like things have turned around. I kept working with some pretty awesome sex toy stores who have provided me with countless products to test (many of which I have bashed on this here blog). I am posting this because I just checked my website stats and my daily unique visitor count has crossed 600. I don’t know when I passed 500 but it’s great to see the continuous rise.

And I guess you like reading those scathing comments and ridiculous praises (sometimes) because I was named number 16 on the Top Sex Bloggers of 2009. I hadn’t even realized, deleted the e-mail when I got it because I figure I got maybe one nomination and no one would even put me on the list but to be 16? Number sixteen? Sweet sixteen? I would never have known, had I not been peeking over at Insatiable Desire to see what Cinnamon is up to and see the post about them being listed. I’m sure I looked like a total bitch because I didn’t reply. But now I did click, I did see, I did reply. My jaw did drop, of course.

Thank you, to whoever nominated me and to the judges. I am listed with and even above some amazing people and awesome writers and I’m grateful to even be on the list, let alone so high.

But that’s not all. I was recently accepted as a Sexpert in California Exotic’s new review program and have been contacted directly by other companies to do some reviews. In fact, I received a comment directly from Nomi Tang herself on my Better Than Chocolate review. Wow. Just wow. So thank you to all the manufacturers who appreciate my honesty, whether tactful or not!

I am not a humble person. I am all too guilty of being quite ego centric. I am always right, damn it. The world ought to revolve around me. But I know when it’s time to say thank you. So, thank you! (Perhaps this is the perfect prelude to Thanksgiving.)

And as much as I appreciate the visitors and their comments, the opportunities provided to me by stores and manufacturers who send me product in return for my opinions, there is something which means so much more. Although he may not really be into sex toys, my husband is always supportive and as excited as I am when I tell him my most recent “good news” – sometimes more so. Whether it’s numbers or new opportunities, he is just awesome about appreciating what it means to me. In fact, when I told him about making the best sex bloggers list, he asked me when I found out. When he realized I’d known for almost a day, he demanded to know why I didn’t tell him sooner.

But, really, what I should have told him sooner is “Thank You.”

5 Comments


Confessions of a Sex (Toy) Blogger: My Multiple Identity Crisis

November 17th, 2009

My titled sounds so provocative. Well, so does anything which starts “Confessions of..”. Except maybe a plumber. Those are some confessions I’d rather nor hear, thank you very much. Not that I have anything against plumbers but it’s a dirty job. Sometimes it’s funny to watch Dirty Jobs, the show with Mike Rowe but that’s completely off topic.

The topic is how sometimes life with a secret identity becomes confusing. You see, while some people are only their “sex blogger” identity, I have two full presences online. I run this blog, post on sex forums, write reviews for different sites, post on Twitter and am a member of some different sex communities. I do that all as Adriana. The web presence I have under my “real” identity is even more complex. I have 4 blogs (one of which is a review blog) and I manage to update at least one every day, I update Twitter, I am active in several communities and post at their forums, I have accounts at Facebook and Myspace, not to mention dozens of other sites, I play a handful of games and sometimes I take the time to enter giveaways every once in a while. The “real” me has had a full internet life for nearly a decade and it was very well established long before I became a toy reviewer.

It’s not like I don’t enjoy it. I have a wide variety of interests. There’s always something to do. I’ve met a lot of people in both worlds and I have seen, first hand, the overlap between the two. If I had a nickle for every time I saw a review for EdenFantasys on a mommy blog (while browsing as the PG-rated reviewer, not the sex toy reviewer), I could get a shiny new toy. It’s not like I do everything all the time. It doesn’t take long to Tweet or switch between accounts. I don’t get so much e-mail that it’s all I do. There are stretches when I don’t write a review at all and my blogs don’t take so much time that I’ve forgotten my husband’s face (nor would I let them). And, let’s face it, it’s not like I have anything better to do.

But in this game of multiple identities, I’ve had several close calls and a few times when I could have even “outed” myself. I’ve e-mailed folks from the wrong e-mail account, not realizing which one was selected in my e-mail client. I’ve retweeted contests under the wrong Twitter account; my other one reposts everything to my Facebook. Oops! Once I left the wrong site URL in a comment form and I’ve signed up using to some sites twice, without realizing it, having forgotten I’d shopped there before all this sex toy reviewing stuff.

But my greatest offense involves “The Google”. I am always signed into my Google account but I only ever use it to comment on blogs so I frequently forget who I am signed in as. I’ve made a comment or two as the “wrong” me. I’ve been lucky so far; I haven’t said anything to give me away. Although, there was that one time I was helping Airlia with her site with my regular Google account and it showed a link to my profile in her blog. Oops, deux.

None of those things have been the end of the world. Sometimes people don’t even notice and even if I were “outed,” I have much less to lose than others. In fact, I have directed friends of the “real” me to of Sex and Love or my reviews at other sites on more than one occasion. It’s just not a link I want to be made easily. Anyway, there’s ways to get around those silly mistakes. I mean, besides actually paying attention, some folks run multiple browsers or instances of the same browsers. Not really my thing, nor does my dinosaur of a computer want to. But I could.

The thing that gets me the most, is I never know how to sign correspondences. Obviously, “Adriana Ravenlust” is not my real name. Sorry to break it to you. It is a name I chose, with help from my husband. “Ravenlust” actually is a take on a name I’ve used as the “real” me so that’s kind of cool. It’s a name I like and it’s probably easy for others to remember because it is a real name. No one ever adds extra letters to Adriana. Well, maybe another “n” but that’s not bad. When I’m signed into chat or a forum, I feel like Adriana.

Which is why I have no idea how to sign e-mails. If you know my real name, do I end with that? If I use one of my “real” identity e-mail addresses, should I just keep my signature as it automatically shows up? Do I need to explain that the name I go by is a nickname of my real name, which I hardly use? Does it matter if we have a business relationship, like if I review for a company? Or is it just okay if I can always be Adriana and just pretend neither of us no any better? I don’t really want to be rude, you know. I just don’t (know).

What do you do?

5 Comments


Here we are.. again

July 20th, 2009

1 year and 3 days ago I introduced myself to the world as Adriana Ravenlust. I had big plans, big ideas – like I always do. I don’t dream small. I dreamt of being the biggest and the best. I wanted to explore my sexuality, to let you journey with me. I wanted to talk about love more frankly than I have been able to for years. I wanted an identity through anonymity.

And I have achieved some of that. Yet, I cannot help but see how I fallen flat on my face as well. In so many ways I am not where I was. In so many ways, I am still.

I’ve traveled by plane from my home abroad to return to the states where I feel, perhaps even more-so, a stranger. And not even because I spent 2 years living across the world. I went from reviewing items and blogging about it in my spare time to nearly making it a career after saying good bye to my husband as he departed for his second deployment (he returns home in a few “short” weeks). I have spent those months in almost complete isolation, without a single friend to break the silence – except for you, dear reader, commenter, Tweeter, e-mailer. For a while, I felt a connection with a community in a way I had not connected for months, even years. I felt hopeful at the prospects. E-mails and comments and Tweets caused laughter, made it easier to survive the day.

Perhaps most surprising was the way that this blog actually helped to bring my husband and I closer together, maybe even lending a hand to mend a rift,the worrying about which would keep me awake at night.

I could not have expected those changes but even stranger, I could not have predicted what would stay the same.

Despite the fact that I wanted to reinvent myself in some ways, I have only succeeded in being me even more. I have resisted changed, disagreed with policies and argued vehemently over opinions, as I am wont to do. I am sure that I have made more than one enemy.

I have also been unable to prevent or stop feelings from bleeding over into this aspect of my life as well. Most importantly and relative to this blog is my dependence and desire in regards to recognition. While I enjoy reviewing and blogging and Tweeting more than I ever realized I would, I do not enjoy it nearly as much as I could on those days when I get lost in the shuffle. Perhaps it’s simply hard to stand out among the seemingly endless sea of sex toy reviewers. I am no Epiphora, no Sleeping Dreamer.

Maybe I have failed to cement myself as more than a sex toy reviewer as personalities such as Essin’ Em have done; although, I have tried and will likely continue to do so with articles, features and even a bit of erotica. It is entirely possible that no matter how I try, I just do not have what it takes, that I lack the edge to stand out in the crowd. It could be even more likely that in my zeal to be someone else, I forgot to be me and isn’t that, after all, the only absolutely unique thing I have to offer the world?

I probably just expect too much, in this, as I do all else, setting myself up for disappointment. It was folly to set my expectations so high (yet I did, do, will). I find it more appealing commiserate than to congratulate myself on this hallmark. I could be misguided, even in that.

Happy birthday, blog.

14 Comments