I reached out to the lovely Amy Norton (she/her) to ask her about her views on sex and local attitudes in the area she lives (a small town in England). Amy runs the website Coffee and Kink. She has been writing for longer but her current blog started in 2016, when she noticed that her writing at a website called Fetlife was getting noticed.
Amy is a great voice for this project and she has put a lot of thought into all of her answers. Like me, she is from a small town in Britain. I can really relate to a lot of the things she describes throughout her QnA, so I hope you enjoy reading it!
As a reminder, I ask each person who gets involved with these QnAs to give me their unique perception of the world around them. So please respect Amy’s point of view! These QnAs aren’t sociological studies, they’re a bit of fun. If I asked someone else from the same community as Amy the same questions, perhaps I’d get different answers. That doesn’t matter. This is Amy’s QnA and Amy’s opinion. With that said, I’m passing the rest of this over to Amy!
1. Could you describe yourself and what you blog about?
I’m an early-30s cisgender queer/bi/pan (I fluctuate between which label feels right), kinky, consensually non-monogamous British woman. I’m also a survivor. I write about BDSM, polyamory, swinging, healing from abuse, relationship skills, sex toys and more at my site, Coffee & Kink, and for various other publications.
2. What kind of person were you growing up? Was there ever a hint that you’d end up writing about sex?
Hahaha, oh god no. I was pretty prudish as a teenager and very young adult – I think because I was afraid of and therefore repressing my own sexuality. I slowly grew into my own sexuality from my late teens to early 20s and did a bit of a U-turn, becoming fascinated with all things sex and relationships. From there, I guess it’s pretty inevitable I’d end up becoming a sex writer (I’ve known I’d be a professional writer someday since I was about 14).
3. How does being a sex blogger affect your personal life? Do your friends or family know?
The vast majority of my friends do know. In fact, some of my closest friends are fellow sex bloggers, sex educators, and people I’ve met through this community. My family do not know. It was more stressful to keep it a secret when I was still employed in a traditional job, because I was afraid of being outed and getting fired! Now I work for myself, it’s much easier. I don’t tell my family about it and there’s no reason they’d ever find it.
4. If you had to describe your sex life in three words, what would they be?
Adventurous. Unconventional. Transcendent.
5. I read you’re in a polyamorous relationship. What do you value most about this kind of relationship and how did it start?
I first explored polyamory at the age of 18. I came out to my long-term boyfriend as bisexual, and he was cool with me dating women if I wanted to (which I did!) I met a polyamorous woman who had her own primary partner too, and we fell madly in love. The relationship only lasted a few months but I never looked back – I haven’t been in a truly monogamous relationship since.
6. What age were you when you first had sex? Is that age at all typical?
How do you define “sex”? I first had hand-sex and oral sex at the age of 15, and penis-in-vagina sex at 16. That’s pretty typical where I live – the age of content in the UK is 16.
7. What is your favourite sexual act?
For me it’s less about the specific acts and more about the intention behind them. I’m a submissive, so anything where I am put in a submissive role and able to please my Dominant is my favourite! I guess if I had to choose from the traditionally defined “sex acts,” I’d say hand sex (fingering etc.) is my favourite.
8. Your website is called Coffee and Kink… so what’s your favourite kink and favourite coffee??
My number one kink is orgasm control, specifically orgasm denial, edging, chastity play and so on. I don’t know why but it’s just My Thing.
My favourite coffee is Raven’s Brew, liquid heaven from Alaska. You can’t buy it in the UK except by paying an absolute fortune through Amazon, so if any North American folks are reading this and can hook me up….?
9. Can you tell us 3 – 5 of your favourite British brands or products?
Ooh, I love this question!
- Doxy – the UK’s (better) answer to the Hitachi Magic Wand. Doxy is based in Cornwall and they make what I firmly believe are the best sex toys in the world.
- Godemiche. Husband-and-wife team Adam and Monika make the most beautiful, unique silicone sex toys in an endless combination of colours and designs. I own more of their products than I should probably admit to! 😉
- Hot Octopuss. This company started out making toys for penis-owners based on medical technology. They’ve since branched out and created a line of toys. Their products are consistently fantastic and their ethics are top notch – they fight sexual stigma, talk about mental health, and use gender-neutral marketing.
10. What kind of region or community do you live in?
I live in a small town in England.
11. How open is the average person in your region to talking about sex?
Hah, oh good lord, not at all! The stereotype about British prudishness is at least somewhat true. The town where I live is the bluest of the blue (that’s Conservative in UK political speak) and it really, really shows.
12. Are non-monogamous relationships considered socially acceptable?
Not really. They’re somewhat more accepted in some of the bigger cities and/or liberal pockets of the UK – places like Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, some parts of London. But not in most of the UK, and certainly not where I live.
13. What level of tolerance is there for different sexual orientations?
It varies. The UK is not terrible on LGBTQ rights – we have anti-discrimination laws, same-sex marriage and so on. But in reality, of course, hate and discrimination do still exist and we had anti-LGBTQ legislation on the books as recently as 2003 (the horrible Section 28.) There are places in the UK where it’s very safe to be openly LGBTQ+, and places where it’s less safe. I’m not out in the town where I live as I wouldn’t feel safe.
14. Is sexual harassment at all common in your community?
Enormously, unfortunately. Things like catcalling are still pretty normalised, and I’ve been sexually harassed everywhere from bars to trains to the workplace to online. Unfortunately, I think there’s still a “boys will be boys” attitude that makes women responsible for avoiding harassment rather than holding men to account for perpetuating it.
15. In the UK, do you think there is a difference in sexual attitude between the genders?
Sadly, yes. We’re fed harmful gender roles from a very young age in our culture – which I think is true in much of the world. The “men pursue, women get pursued” narrative is really pervasive when it comes to dating here. Likewise, the Madonna/whore complex (where a woman is one or the other, never anything else) still has a lot of sway here.
16. What (if anything) should change about sexual attitudes in Britain?
I honestly think we should all just lighten the fuck up about sex. Our society is still so prudish in so many ways, or at least we pretend to be. I’d like to see people realise that sex can be many things – loving, fun, playful, exploratory, meaningful, meaningless, casual, serious, monogamous, non-monogamous – and that it’s all awesome as long as it’s all consensual.
17. Do you see more sex bloggers of one gender than another in Britain? Have you got any theories as to why?
I think there are more cis female sex bloggers than any other gender, not just in the UK but everywhere. However, I also know quite a few non-binary and trans bloggers, and a couple of cis men who do it, too. I’m not sure why that is – answers on a postcard, please!
18. Do all places in the UK share the same kind of sexual liberation?
Definitely not. We have very liberal areas and very conservative areas. Most are somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, but the difference can be really noticeable from one region to the next.
19. In your opinion, where are the most romantic places in Britain for foreigners to visit?
Oxford. It’s just the most beautiful city on earth in my opinion. Edinburgh, Cornwall, the Lake District, and the Scottish Highlands are also strong contenders.
20. Where would you want to live if you weren’t in the UK?
Canada please! Though Italy also has a certain appeal…
21. Did you ever date a French person or other foreigner? Was there much different about it?
I’ve never dated a French person! I did have an American boyfriend for several years. We had very different attitudes to things like gender roles and relationship structure, which was one of the things that contributed to the relationship not lasting.
22. Are there any misconceptions you think foreigners might have about British people with regards to sex and romance?
I think there’s sometimes a stereotype that British women don’t like sex – the whole “lie back and think of England” thing, not to mention tired tropes about feigned headaches. British women have varying levels of interest in sex, just like women everywhere. If we’re reluctant to admit it and talk about it, it’s not because we’re not horny. It’s because we’re still raised with “good girls don’t” bullshit.
23. What do you think French people should know about dating the British?
That we’re not a monolith. For everyone you meet who confirms a stereotype you hold about Brits, you’ll meet ten others who blow it completely out of the water.
24. What do you think of the French accent? And what do you suppose they think of yours?
Is there one “French accent”? There certainly isn’t one “British accent” – it can change substantially between two relatively close cities. I struggle to imagine there’s only one French accent.
That said, I do find the sound of the French language to be very sexy, even if the only words I know are hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and coffee.
25. Can you give our French readers an English expression to learn? Fun, rude, sexy, profound… whatever you want!
Wank is such a great and versatile British word!
Wank (verb) – to masturbate (as in, “I like to wank before bed”)
Wank (noun) – masturbation session (as in, “I’m going to have a wank”)
Wank (adjective) – bad or terrible (as in, “that film was total wank”)
Wanker (noun) – unpleasant or annoying person (as in, “he’s such a wanker”)