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Sextech Salon with Girl on the Net: Audio Porn & 8 Armed Sex Robots

Last updated April 24, 2019
sextech salon girl on the net interview

Introducing Girl on the Net, as part of our weekly Sextech Salon.

Sextech Salon with Girl on the Net; Audio Porn & 8 Armed Sex RobotsWhat is Girl on the Net and how did you get into it?

GOTN is the sex blog I’ve been running for nearly 7 years now. I started it because I wanted somewhere to talk about sex without boring my friends in the pub with stories I’d already told them before.

I have always loved sex, and always loved writing, and for a long time I’d wanted to start blogging about it. My ex boyfriend and I toyed with the idea of starting a sex blog together before we broke up, but he got understandably a bit nervous about ‘airing our dirty pants in public’ so it remained just a dream for a while.

Then when we split up, I started dating and got increasingly frustrated with the attitude of many of the men I met, who seemed entirely shocked to learn that women could be interested in, and deeply motivated by, sex and sexual pleasure.

That gave me more reason to want to write, to dispel some of these myths, so I asked my ex if he’d be OK with me starting a sex blog on my own and sharing a few of our stories (and mine!) anonymously. He said yes and the rest is… well, not ‘history’ exactly, but sex blogging is now my full time career!

What is your vision for the future of Girl on the Net?

Oh I have so many plans. Far too many plans to ever be able to realise all of them! But essentially I’d like to continue growing the site – sharing my own thoughts and stories about sex, as well as gathering even more amazing guest bloggers to share their stories too.

I’m also working on the Audio Porn project at the moment: recording some of my sexier stories as audio to make them accessible to people with visual impairments.

For the last couple of years I’ve been involved in organising Eroticon too – a conference for sex bloggers and writers, and a way to hopefully share some of the things that helped me when I first started getting into the sex industry. I’m less involved with the conference this year but I’d love to help it grow even more and encourage more people to start writing about their own sexual experiences!

What are the key trends you’re seeing at the moment that influence your work?

Consent is the biggest one: after the explosion of #MeToo last year more people are talking about the ways in which we establish consent, as well as the impact of power dynamics and sexism on our sexual interactions.

Having the conversation is a really positive thing, and I think there are many people who have come out of the discussion with more thoughtful and considered ideas on consent – which is great!

But I write about it a lot and it is quite exhausting: explaining to the millionth guy that no, BDSM is not abuse and yes, it is possible to do quite extreme sexual things as long as you understand and properly navigate consent.

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The other thing, of course, is sextech and sex toys! I’ve never been a huge collector of lots of different toys (except masturbation sheaths, which I collect like they are My Little Ponies). I am fascinated by all the innovative ways that sextech can facilitate new experiences and ideas in the bedroom.

Not just in the physical sense either, but as tools to help you explore and communicate about what actually feels good. As a good example, I recently got a Crescendo from MysteryVibe and the day I came home with it my partner and I spent ages brainstorming all the different ways in which we could use it. We came up with suggestions for patterns that might work for both of us when we use it for penetrative sex.

For instance: is it better if the motors vibrate in a rippling pattern that goes up his penis from base to tip, or down his penis the other way? We still have more experimentation to do on this, but of course I should say if people keep an eye on my blog they’ll see some writing on it soon.

And meanwhile the main point is that sextech isn’t just about buying a new gadget, pressing ‘on’ and then holding it against your junk: it’s about using tech to explore questions about sex and pleasure that you’d never have thought to ask before!

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What’s the biggest surprise you’ve had since starting to work in sextech?

Just how much some people fear technology! It’s most apparent in the field of sex robots. Right now the technology that’s available to create sex robots is fairly basic and limited.

Although there are some engineers doing interesting things, we’re nowhere close to having a robot that could be considered sentient or conscious, so to me they’re essentially sex toys.

However, there’s a hell of a lot of fear in the debate around them – people seem to leap first to the most terrifying possibilities: these robots will replace human beings, or make it impossible for us to relate to each other sexually, etc.

This kind of fear bleeds over into all aspects of sextech. Sure, this new smart vibrator is cool, but what if it collects all your data and then all that data is used for harm?

One of the primary first responses to new technology is fear. But tech is just a tool. It’s not this juggernaut that is inevitably going to run us all over and crush us – it’s a tool that we control.

That doesn’t mean none of these potential problems will arise, but it does mean we need to stop having this hand-waving ‘fear it, fear it’ attitude to technology.

If we take control of it, shape it, and demand a good experience and ethical practices from sex tech companies, then we can help shape the future of the industry to make it an exciting rather than a scary one.

When it comes to sex, what’s the one thing you wish everyone knew?

I wish everyone knew that good sex begins with self understanding and consent. I’d love for everyone to have the opportunity to explore their own body, learn about what they like, and understand how to centre their own desires.

I’m going to recommend a book here that I always recommend for questions like this: Enjoy Sex (how, when and if you want to) by Meg-John Barker and Justin Hancock. It’s a sex advice book that (shock!) actually mentions consent. It begins from a foundation of self-consent: guiding people through the process of understanding themselves and their own desires. It had a profound effect on me, even though I thought I already knew lots about sex. I finished it realising that I’d gained a much deeper understanding of what I actually liked/wanted and why.

What was your sex education like growing up?

Patchy, but far from the worst that I’ve heard about. My main frustration with it, looking back, is that it was all about which bits are ‘meant’ to go where, and what diseases you might catch.

It was very basic, assumed that everyone was cis and hetero. It also assumed that people were only either having sex because they wanted babies (GOOD sex) or having sex because they were naughty and/or unaware of the risks (BAD sex). The idea that people could have sex for fun was rarely – if ever – mentioned.

I also distinctly remember being split from the boys for one afternoon of sex ed, where we got schooled on tampons and towels and vaginal bleeding, while they got a talk about masturbation.

Think about that for a second: we literally never got told about masturbation because we were too busy being told about periods. It was almost as if they thought young women couldn’t – or wouldn’t – ever masturbate. How wrong they were.

How do you think the industry has changed in the past 5 years?

There are more badass women! That’s an important one because I think it also influences (and is influenced by) some of the following changes too: more inclusivity in the sex industry as a whole.

These days it’s perfectly possible to search for a sex toy, find a site, make your selection and buy the toy without any objectification, offensive language, or hypersexualised pictures of women taken purely for the male gaze rather than to show off the toy.

I think that’s pretty impressive. It’s obviously not true of all websites, but many sex brands are actively trying to distance themselves from the simplistic idea that ‘sex’ is somehow something that’s only of interest to men. And that’s a massive step, which I’m delighted by.

The other key change – and again I think this is partly down to more women in the industry (or women being heard by the industry in a way they weren’t before) – is that masturbation and sex are less stigmatised than they used to be.

We’re having much more open conversations, particularly in relation to pleasure and consent, than we had when I first started blogging. This in turn helps other people open up – talk about their own lives or seek out advice and info – and it becomes a virtuous circle.

What do you think is the next big step for sextech?

This is such a difficult question because some of the first things that sprung to my mind were just things I’d like to see happen. Like intelligent, genderless sex robots with eight arms and the capacity to learn in which exact ways they should use them to touch and pleasure me.

I hope that the next big step for sextech is getting more coverage in mainstream media.

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Who else in the industry do you admire or look up to?

Oh wow, loads of people. In my specific field – writing – I really admire Alix Fox because I think she just does so much in terms of broadening the conversation around sex and making sure people know that sex is fun and talking about it is fun too.

I read a lot by Meg-John and Justin (and listen to their fab podcast) so a lot of the things I am still learning about sex come from them.

There are bloggers I really admire as well – Molly of MollysDailyKiss is extraordinary because she seems to have some kind of time-turner that means it’s possible for her to run Eroticon, support other sex bloggers, run memes like SinfulSunday and photography projects… and still manages to have time to have loads of sex. I honestly have no idea how she does it.

In terms of sextech more specifically, obviously Stephanie Alys is one of my heroes. The fact that she’s been targeting tech conferences to talk about sex has had a huge impact in helping to get sextech more mainstream and de-stigmatise discussion of sex and masturbation.

Cindy Gallop, in the same vein, is brilliant at getting those conversations around sextech started and making people pay attention.

Do you have any practical tips that someone could use tonight to enhance their pleasure?

If they’re with a partner, they could have a go at something I tried recently: the eye contact challenge. Basically the idea is you look into each other’s eyes for the entire duration of sex.

One of my Patreon supporters suggested it as a fun challenge, and it scared the crap out of me. I’m not normally one for eye contact, because I get awkward and shy, but my partner and I had a go at it and we ended up having a really intense, deeply sexy time: something about making ourselves look into each other’s eyes made us way more mindful of our faces/noises and the ways in which we express pleasure.

As a result there was even more pleasure! Win!

I expect you could do exactly the same thing during masturbation too – masturbate in front of a mirror and pay close attention to your facial expressions. A guest blogger wrote about this for me recently and it was so hot I nearly slid off my chair.

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