Visit the new Ladygarden!

The Ladygarden Project has MOVED.

Please click to visit the new site:

http://www.ladygardenproject.com/

 

New post, new Ladygarden! PLEASE RE-SUBSCRIBE

The Ladygarden Project has moved! Click here to visit the new site and re-subscribe to keep getting the latest posts straight to your inbox.

New on the blog: Summer Lovin’ (part 2 of the erotic short story)

My sincere apologies for any inconvenience in asking you to re-subscribe. I hope the razzamatazz of the new site makes up for it!

Anna x

 

The Ladygarden Project has moved! Please re-subscribe at the new (and improved) site

***PLEASE RE-SUBSCRIBE at the new site to make sure you keep getting these updates delivered straight to your inbox***

Now at www.ladygardenproject.com

As it’s summer and everything is in full bloom, I’ve been inspired to re-design The Ladygarden Project!

New look, new website!

You can now find The Ladygarden Project here.

And to celebrate the re-opening of the garden, I’ve posted a sexy story: Summer Lovin’.

***PLEASE RE-SUBSCRIBE at the new site to make sure you keep getting these updates delivered straight to your inbox***

Dirty stories

A few weeks ago I announced I was going to get back to my erotic writing.

Well, I have.

And the stories have been accepted for publication.

More details coming soon…

(And a teaser)

ooh!

 

Bethany bares all

Yay! It’s guest blogger time again!

You already know about Bethany, right? She’s the smart, sexy, outspoken one who appears at the party (or the supermarket) in that outfit – the one that makes you say wistfully, “wow, I wish I could wear that…”

She’s the one who exudes an attitude and sense of self that makes you get a crush on her instantly. She’s cool. You want her to be your friend. And you fantasise that, maybe, one day, she’d take you as her lover…

You *wish* you could get to know her more…

Well, hold onto your knickers because The Ladygarden Project is about to make one of those wishes come true!

We are proud to present, all the way from her brilliant fatshion (fat fashion) blog Arched Eyebrow, the one, the only, BETHANY…

(applause, applause, applause)

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No one cares you’re fat as much as you do, and if you don’t care you’re fat then no one cares at all. Having a frank relationship with your body and what you look like is the first step to getting what you want, and feeling like you deserve it. I don’t think I’ve ever apologised for being fat when I’ve taken my clothes off. It’s obvious I’m fat. You can see it. I might even look fatter in clothes. So when I get naked in anticipation of sex with someone new, it’s not going to be a surprise when I strip off. They might be surprised by the large surgical scars on my stomach, or the fact I don’t wax, but my fat is pretty self-evident.

I’m not going to refuse to go on top because I think I’m going to crush someone. I know I’m not going to crush them, fool. Knowing and accepting my size means that when a partner tacks ‘… I’ll tell you if you’re too heavy’ onto the end of ‘I want you to sit on my face’, I go ‘ok then’, not ‘oh my god are you saying I’m fat???? Do you hate my body???’. YES they’re saying I’m fat, because I am. If neither of us care, then there’s nothing to be frightened of.

While it plagued me in my weaker teenage years, the idea that no one will want to fuck me because I’m fat is now successfully evaporated from my brain by the age of 22. Men, women, thin people, fat people, average-looking people, nice people, wildly, obscenely attractive people. Sex isn’t something I, or anyone else, need(s) to compromise on because they’re fat.

I don’t think being fat has much to do with the sex I’ve had. I don’t refuse to do stuff because I’m fat. I don’t recoil in horror if someone wants to fall asleep with their hands buried in the soft fat of my belly after sex that emphasised the thickness of my thighs. It’s all there, out in the open. I know it, they know it, and we both deserve it.

I never set out to be a role model, and don’t think that anyone should necessarily follow in my footsteps, but if people find some strength or courage or glee in the stuff I promote, then I’m happy.

It’s an honour to have a positive effect on how women relate to themselves and to their experiences in the world because the usual received messages are so painfully mediocre, not to mention harmful. My message, I suppose, is that you should ask yourself why you think you’re undeserving of sexuality, of a positive body image, of fun with your clothes. If you realise that you’ve never asked yourself that before, then that’s a problem.

If you take it for granted that because you are fat or have a flat chest or have scars or whatever, that you do not deserve good things from your body, then you’ve been the victim of some pernicious lies and the first step is to say ‘fuck you’ and figure out your own relationship with your body.

Figure out the kind of relationship you want to have, the kind of clothes you want to wear, the kind of sex you want to have and who you want to have it with. Don’t ever take for granted that your size, your shape, your body, means anything is necessarily off-limits, for psychological or practical reasons. You’ve just been told it is, and you’ve been told it by a world that thrives on oppression and deprivation. They don’t sound like great terms to live by, do they?

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Bethany Carman Rutter is a noisy but nice student from London. In the awkward mid-point between graduating from French at UCL and starting a Masters in Journalism at Goldsmiths, she writes for film magazines, blogs about being fat and wearing clothes at www.archedeyebrow.com, looks at photos of tattoos on the internet and generally lives a frivolous, sociable life of friends, food and dating. Tweets at @myarchedeyebrow

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P.S. If you’d like more inspiration and help to feel sexy at any size, visit www.atanysize.com

Tell it like it is – leave a comment!

 

Get ready to light your fire

Oooh have I got a treat for you today! I was over-the-moon when one of my favourite bloggers, Courtney,  agreed  to write a guest post for The Ladygarden Project. Her story is powerful and inspiring, made me laugh and made me tear up. I LOVE that she is a woman not afraid to question her upbringing and that she’s chosen to explore and live her life by her OWN rules.

And I love that she agreed to share her story with the Ladygarden.

Thank you, Courtney!

This world misses out on true beauty when we reign ourselves in for the comfort of others.

Containers, containers, containers.

The lovely Courtney

My mom jokes about how I’m really easy to shop for: just buy me a container of some sort and I’m happy. This is truer than I like to admit on most days. I sit in my room right now and I count 12 containers; one holds pennies, another holds art supplies, there are two for pictures, one for favorite cards and letters, another for small games, and let’s not forget the container that holds other containers (a box in my closet where I have my purses). Each container has a rhyme and a reason as to what goes inside of it, thus organizing my life.

Containers work well for things, but I have come to learn that containers do not work for life in general.

And containers really do not work well for people at all.

 

I was born and raised in a Southern culture, permeated with American Christian ideas, that was well organized with two of my personal favorite containers: Right and Wrong. Within that culture of dualistic thinking, sexuality was not addressed, but sex, the act of intercourse, was talked about every once in a while with hushed tones and never in mixed company. I was taught that sex in the confines of marriage between a man and a woman was the only Right kind of sex. Everything else was the Wrong kind of sex. Masturbation was sinful because in order to masturbate you must have some sort of image either in front of you or in your mind, and that would fall into the category of lust. There was not much open conversation between people who were having sex (married people, obviously) and those who were not having sex (really good single people). The sex education I received from my public school was based in abstinence only teachings, which I find to be based in shame and fear. There was no talk of contraception except to say none were 100% effective, and there was absolutely no conversation about how to care well for yourself in the midst of your hormones going batshit cray cray.

And I bought into it. I took it all in and owned it because it helped me make sense of the world. It made me feel like an insider, and I desperately needed to belong to something at that point in my life. I would teach others what I knew as ‘truth’ and judge them accordingly when their way of life did not fit into the Right container. However, my last couple of years in the South was a time of discovering that my lovely containers didn’t seem to be working anymore. I didn’t feel like I belonged anymore. Life felt like a wool sweater that has gone through the dryer – so tight, so constricting, so not me. I hate wearing wool.

I now realize that I was taught a very specific view of sexuality; namely, the view of sexuality from a protestant white man’s perspective. I had been taught that my body is evil because it tempts men into sin. My value as a woman is directly tied to my ‘purity’ (i.e. lack of sexual experience). There were no lessons in the power of sexuality, the joy of seduction, or the awesomeness of the orgasm.

All of this changed because my therapist is brave. We had been meeting every week for a year at that point, and during my rant about something that I don’t even remember now, he asked me, “Do you have any toys?” I knew immediately he was not talking about the Barbie dolls or Tonka trucks that dotted my childhood. My life up to that point had always been organized around my American, Southern theological beliefs; by asking that question he began to challenge me to see the world through a lens of sexuality.

Within the past year I have gone on a journey of sorts, and I continue this journey, of educating myself on myself: my desires, my sexuality, my femininity. It has been the most glorious year of my life! I’ve had educational partners; women who, like me, long to ask questions and be fully ourselves with no apology waiting on our tongues. We’ve read books together, asked questions of each other, and we’ve bought vibrators, dildos, lube, oil, and condoms (not all at the same time, but you get the idea).

I’ve had sexual partners; men who have brought me pleasure and moments full of feeling sexy, powerful, and utterly and fully free; men I wanted to have these experiences with; men who have called a piece of my soul to life, a part of me that had been repressed and denied by myself and by my culture; men who found me desirable and beautiful.

I put these experiences in the container labeled Redemption.

To other women who are feeling the tight squeeze of the wool sweater down into your soul: my hope is that you will soon find some scissors and cut that shit off. This world misses out on true beauty when we reign ourselves in for the comfort of others. Ask questions. Dare to challenge the ideas of those who make themselves the mouthpiece for a way of thinking that they truly believe to be Right. Be prepared to be mocked, questioned, judged; I’d also recommend buying a box of tissues since this journey is not all sunshine and rainbows, because when we begin to define ourselves on our own terms we directly challenge the mainline definitions of what it means to be ‘woman’. Be prepared to love yourself fully, deeply, and more honestly than you ever could have imagined. Dear friend, I hope you discover the container you have been placed in, for whatever reason, and I really hope you light that thing on fire and dance wildly around the flames.

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Courtney Warren hails from Texas and find her home these days in Seattle, Washington; currently studying for her Masters in Counseling Psychology, she dreams of traveling the world and having grand adventures wherever she goes while getting paid to be awesome. Coffee, a good Cabernet Sauvignon, sunshine, and good conversations are the keys to her heart. She blogs (here) irregularly and tweets (here) way to often.

(Note from Anna: I follow Courtney’s blog and tweets – she’s fab! Here’s one of her blog posts that I particularly loved – all about being a “sexy, badass woman”!)

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Got something to say? Leave a comment!

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Would YOU like to write for The Ladygarden Project?

Check out this call for guest bloggers and please get in touch!

I’m not a slapper, I’m just popular!

A few nights ago I watched the beginning of a TV programme exploring the pros and cons of being single versus being ‘settled’.

We were introduced to a woman in her late 20s who told us she had slept with 177 men. “Some people call me a slapper,” she said, “but I say I’m just popular!”

She regularly went out looking for men she wanted to sleep with and, if all else failed, she had a male friend she could always rely on for a “booty call”. Sex was important to her and, when asked what the worse thing about her lifestyle was she said: “when the men fall for me”.

The next night I met up with a friend who’s just met someone she really likes through online dating. We were reminiscing about dating from our younger years: the blind dates, the one night stands, the unhappy relationships that were allowed to continue for too long, and the absolute thrill of meeting someone you find sexy.

All of which got me thinking:

Have I had enough sexual partners?

I haven’t slept with 177 people. But I have slept with more than 7. A few have been one night stands; most were in the context of a relationship – even if they started off as a one-nighter. Some were passionate encounters full of lust and roaring orgasms; others were awkward, fumbling, and unsatisfying.

Of course, before I can work out if I’ve had enough, I have to figure out what counts as a sexual partner? More than a kiss? Skin on bare skin? Touching each other’s genitals – what if only one of us does the touching? Do there have to be orgasms – what if only one of us comes? I know there doesn’t have to be penetration – that definition is way out of date. And what about masturbating together but not touching each other?

I wonder what criteria the woman with 177 lovers used when she was keeping her tally. Even the notion of keeping a tally of that size fascinates me. When I count up my sexual partners I invariably end up counting on my fingers, desperately trying to remember names and occasions, and often forgetting at least one person completely. I know I would struggle to remember 177: unless I kept notches on my bedpost, or a running count in my diary. So I do wonder, at what point did she go from counting up to – let’s say – 20 on her fingers, to counting 169, 170, 171…?

The question of “have I had enough” is a little bit academic for me at the moment (and the foreseeable future) as I’m in a committed, monogamous, long-term relationship. The good news is: this doesn’t stop me exploring more of my sexuality – it’s just that I get to do it within the relative comfort and safety of having a known partner. That said, there are still lots of surprises and new territory to explore. After all, sexuality – both mine and my partner’s – is never static.

Sometimes though, I can’t help but wonder, if my circumstances were different, how many more notches would I add to my bedpost?

Barking at the moon

I have no idea what phase the moon is in at the moment. Recently the nights have been heavily clouded and rain has run its tears down my window pane. I’ve not seen her for days.

Is she waxing? Waning? Half? Full?

She makes me howl.

She makes me weep.

She casts her glow across my sleeping body, studying me without my consent.

She wakes me in the night and we lie together, barely touching but palpably connected.

Until she slips from me.

Deserting me again.

And I start the day alone.

Where does she go?

To comfort another lover? On the other side of the world?

I miss seeing her face and feeling her cool touch.

I miss studying her, observing her shape and judging her mood.

And yet she never truly leaves me.

She is within me.

Tugging at me.

Filling my breasts and wetting my cunt.

She is relentless.

She gives me no respite.

Even as I sleep.

She comes for me again, and again, and again.

And I come for her: again and again and again.

In praise of best friends

I saw this band in Sweden, a couple of years ago, with my best friend.

If you have a best friend, please tell them how great they are.

And if you think you might be in love with them… please share this video!

I’ve been a bad girl

Last week I was on holiday, staying in a quaint and cosy self-catering cottage in Cornwall. The cottage was on the outskirts of a small, sleepy village. The night life consisted of a pair of bats whizzing past the window at dusk, and a time-challenged cockerel who insisted on cock-a-doodle-doing as the sun set (but was strangely quiet at sunrise…)

One evening I had a rummage through the cottage’s dvd collection. I quickly found one I liked the look of: Halle Berry in leather – it could only be Catwoman.

I remember going to see the film when it was released in 2004 and leaving the cinema having enjoyed watching Halle Berry in her skin-tight and flesh revealing leather ‘cat suit’ but remembering little else about the movie.

Of course I had to watch it again.

Halle Berry’s character ‘Patience’ transforms from the meek and mild ‘good girl’ into a sassy, whip-wielding ‘bad girl’ aka Catwoman.  As the story progresses it looks like there will be a classic, Hollywood ending. Patience goes on a date with the hunky cop hero. They laugh and look into each other’s eyes. There is chemistry. They end up in bed and have a night of glorious passion. BUT (*spoiler alert – just in case you haven’t already seen it and feel inspired to on the back of this post!) she chooses not to stay with him!

In fact, as the movie concludes, Patience/Catwoman explains to us that she likes being a bad girl and isn’t prepared to give up this new-found aspect of herself for anyone – including the hunky cop hero played by Benjamin Bratt.

Which got me thinking (a little deeper than how Halle Berry looks in leather):

The ‘bad girl’ Catwoman is strong, assertive, and knows her own mind. She is overtly and confidently sexual, bold, risk-taking, and hot.

The ‘good girl’ Patience is meek, a people-pleaser, shy about her sexuality, and (because she is Halle Berry) hot but in a ‘please don’t notice me’ kinda way.

Hmmm…

Even better than Halle Berry as Catwoman – the late, (and very) great Eartha Kitt

I know we live in a culture of double standards where an overtly and confidently sexual man gets to be a stud while a woman is labelled a slut. The emergence of the slut walk movement has made brilliant progress on reclaiming the term and empowering women to embrace and assert their inner ‘sluts’. But I think the expectation that women should be ‘good girls’ is a challenge we still all face.

If a woman is strong, assertive, and knows her own mind, if she is overtly and confidently sexual – exploring and celebrating her sexuality – whilst being bold, taking risks and exuding a potency that others find compelling, surely these are ‘good’ things? Surely these are the qualities that a good – a great – woman possesses?

Or, if you choose to stick with the old semantics: surely it’s good to be bad?

Catwoman the movie may have bombed at the cinemas when it was released (the film received 7 Golden Raspberry (Razzie) nominations) but I reckon the critics failed to extract the best bit: every woman has the right to be strong and sassy (-leather and whip optional) and no one has the right to ask us to downplay just how vibrant, amazing, creative, exotic and erotic we truly are.

I doubt that the following quote has ever been linked to Catwoman before, but I’ll take the risk and leave you with one of my all-time favourite and inspiring quotes from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

—-from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

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