Building a Sex Positive Brand

Building a Brand, while marching to my own drum!

What You’re Not Supposed to Talk About: The Lows

On July 30th I will be celebrating 8 years of blogging and as I have written a few times, I have certainly learned a lot and grown into the Sex positive soul that I am today.  But there is one key point that we, as content creators are not allowed to talk about, and that is the low’s of building a brand.  And that is just what my writing has become.  It has evolved past my own words, and into an identity all of it’s own.  It is a blog, a website, a coaching business, a podcast, and a place that has grown far beyond what I ever could have imagined at its conception.  And the reality is that it was incredibly hard, and I have shed countless tears over it.  And yeah, here I go again tackling another taboo subject, building a brand and what you’re not supposed to talk about, it sucks and is hard.

Social Media Skews Reality

For whatever reason our society has decided that social media is a place where you can freely share all the joys, highs, and amazing points in your life.  By extension, the same is true of starting your own business or brand.  We want to build this illusion that we are successful right from the onset.  Fake it till you make it is the rally cry we here.  If you want to get funding, support, accolades, or any sort of exposure you need to be unique, successful, and solve people’s pain in a way no one else can.  And yes, these factors definitely play into building a brand and are important for growth and success.  But, this is only a very teeny tiny fraction of the truth behind any creation, company, product, or in this case a brand.  The truth is, it is 99% percent blood, sweat, and so many tears in the beginning, and very few ever find success from all that hardship, and yet, we keep up with this smoke and mirror anyways because we cannot let go of our dream, or our what if.

But you see, I am not supposed to talk about this.  By sharing with you that blogging about my first open relationship, all the trials and errors of non-monogamy, and all the hardships I have faced by publicly sharing nude photos will give you doubt about my abilities as a writer.  It will make you question why you follow me, interact with me, or share my work.  If I go out, into the world showing the entire picture, I will be showing the truth behind the magic.  And then, what am I?  Just another hack, pushing and prodding, waiting for my next big break.

(Affiliate banner for the fuel behind the passion)

The Creators Myth

I am supposed to tell you that I blog for fun.  It’s my hobby and if I ever make it great, but if I don’t that’s fine too. I love what I do.  And I will be completely honest with you, this statement is true.  I adore what I do.  And I am the entire embodiment of this brand I have built.  It has been worth almost every second I have put into it, and it is my passion.  That my friends though, is not the entire story.  The passion is the fuel that allows me to write a little more every day, and create engaging content, or photos.  But, you cannot feed yourself on passion alone, actually you cannot feed yourself at all.  And that my dear friends, is what we are not supposed to talk about.

I have a very dear friend who has created an incredible product, and has received awards, accolades, and international exposure for his invention.  People are constantly telling him that they love what he does, he is on the cutting edge of something big, and that they will support him any way that they can.  So he tells them that he needs funding to build the next prototype.  Guess what happens when the investors hear this…?  You guessed it, crickets!  Now again, I am not supposed to share this, and he is not supposed to share this pain.  Instead, we are all supposed to keep fighting the good fighting, wishing and praying that one day our ship will come in. Hard work always pays off we tell ourselves.  And yes, someday it will.  However, when you are in the thick of things, treading water, desperately hungry, and trying to fuel yourself with dreams, it gets…. disheartening.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Are you going to see a huge Go Fund Me link at this end of the post because I have guilted you into paying for the content that I offer?  Nope, that would feel weird, coercive, and honestly challenge my whole identity and belief of free flowing information.  While there will always be an affiliate link and a Patreon offer with each post, your interaction with those offers will not change the content I love producing.  This post is more directed at the other content creators, inventors, entrepreneurs, etc.  I want you to know I hear you pain, I feel the loneliness of hearing nothing but crickets post after post, and I acknowledge you wanting to throw in the towel and say screw it this isn’t worth all the shit, and abuse we get online daily.  We aren’t supposed to talk about the pain of building a brand, so I say screw it, let’s talk about it! 

Sharing is Caring!

I want to hear your stories, so please write a post and link it in the comments, or link it to my twitter feed (with a note it’s OK to share) and I will add it to this post!   It’s OK to talk about the bad.  It’s human, and we need to feel safe to do more of it!

Breaking Free of Labels in Non-Monogamy

Breaking Free of Labels

There is ample scientific evidence from both our past and present to support the notion that women are more fluid in their sexuality than men are.  And thus, this post may hit home with some more than others, depending on your current understanding of your relationship norms.  Either way, here goes, I have nearly broken free of all relationship labels in non-monogamy.  Why would anyone want to do that you may ask yourself?  Aren’t labels a good thing, that add definition and context to your life?  Well, let’s just call me an outlier, again, because I just don’t fall into a specific category and there is a really great reason.  And no, it is not because I just haven’t found myself or my place in society yet.

If you read my post on the labels that online dating sites place on people, you may already have gleaned that I am not a fan of labels or being part of a category.  But there is much more to it than just not wanting to be mis-identified or put into a little box.  As I get older, and more comfortable with who I am and what I want, I have really embraced the celebration of individuals and all of their relationship styles.  And in that, I want to explore a bunch of different ways of living, and just be that person who goes with the flow so to speak.  Ok, I’m not sure that quite drives the point home.  This is actually a little tough to explain, so let me try this.

I know some incredibly rad people, and if you caught my post on married men, you will know that I have a special attraction for them.  But here’s the thing, being attracted to them puts some very specific restrictions on me, and in almost every case I have a look but don’t touch sort of role.  And while I may whine from time to time that I wish I could have more, the truth of the matter is, being along for the ride in someone else’s relationship is a pretty unique experience.  I exist on their terms.  I am an extension of their dynamic, and I find that pretty intense.  It’s a unique opportunity to be in place where anything could happen, and I just don’t know when.  It’s an off kilter kind of sensation, which is exciting to a person who always strives for balance in their life.

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The other part of this is, it allows me to fully be attracted to individuals.  I don’t see gender as much as I grow up and experience the world.  In fact, there are an increasing number of females or androgynous type humans who I find my stomach doing a little leap for.  Because that is fairly new territory for me, there would be zero frame of reference, box, or label that I could put myself in should the next steps occur.  It would be uncharted territory, whereby, within the outside framework of non-monogamy in all my current dynamics, everything else would be fluid.

Yes, I think that’s how I can be describe this.  My relationships are fluid.  My breaking away from monogamy has brought me to the realization that a box or a label will just not satisfy me.  I’m an explorer, a lover of new things, different relationships, and people in general.  I am the eternal optimist, with whom, even when times are tough, I still believe that people are good, have so much to offer and can teach me things I haven’t even considered.  I have broken free of labels.  I live the mantra of breaking away from monogamy everyday, and I am loving it!!!

Now I feel it only fair to mention that there are moments that being so fluid, or going along with the relationships flow can be a challenge, especially for my partner.  Often, he asks me to be more assertive, and go for what I want.  Someone has to make the first move, and as I admittedly am the more picky of the two of us, I am working on being more assertive from the onset, and then backing off, into a role that better fulfills my desires.  It is a challenge, and as we are starting to get more active in dating together I am pretty sure I will be writing a post or two on how that is actually going.

Did you know that my Sex Positive podcast BreakingAway is now in full swing?  Have a listen on most major podcast sites including Spotify and Anchor.  And if you want to get in on all the behind the scenes action, consider subscribing to my Patreon page.

Seeing Your Friends Naked?

Bowser photo bombing when I’m trying to show off!

One of the tenants of the swinger lifestyle is that you don’t make friends swingers, you make swingers friends.  While I don’t of course agree with rules such as these, it is does lead itself into an interesting discussion that I have over the years, and now that I am little less shy sharing my blog with friends the frequency is increasing.  There are a growing number of people who have concerns with how to act around me after they have seen me naked.  If you don’t already know, I used to put a lot of naked photos on my blog (which are still up if you want to do some digging), and now I have a Patreon page for those more “titillating” photos that helps fund my writing and future endeavours.  While I would love to have people on the lower tiers, simply supporting my work, the reality is, I have pretty much all my support on the top two tiers which ranges from pg13 to R rated content. But they are exclusively strangers, which begs the question, can you handle seeing your friends naked?

Now, here is the thing.  I am open.  I live my life as I see fit, with an open relationship, combined with the openness of my sexuality, and freedom of expression.  I choose what goes out into the world and I love what I do.  However, when people that I work with, socialize with, or even just have mutual acquaintances with find my blog or photos I ultimately will receive some pretty interesting messages (which makes me wonder all the things I don’t hear).  The common theme is that they don’t want me to feel uncomfortable with them looking at me, or knowing what I look like without my clothes on.

I could play Freud here, and psycho analyze what this really says about them, etc, but I am not going to do that.  Instead, I am going to speak to the peculiarity of the situation this puts me in.  I create public content and I have it available to everyone.  So to me, that pretty much states that I am fine with anyone in my network or outside of it consuming the content within.  In fact, it is beyond flattering and so very appreciated that my loved ones would actually put a little money into my pocket or a tip here and there.  But with these initial messages, I find myself in a place where I can either try and sell the work, coerce people to look, share, support, or whatnot but often I feel it’s only appropriate to talk them out of looking at it.  No, I don’t mean in a reverse psychology sort of way either.

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Why do I talk them out of it sometimes?  Because our society, as a whole, doesn’t seem ready to embrace nudity.  We directly correlate the nude body with sex, and then that intertwines feelings that are much more primal than our day to day interaction with peers allows.  Can I see a male naked and then talk to them like a normal human being the next day?  Sometimes yes, sometimes I will blush a little first, and then be able to chat with them.  There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but I understand how it could be uncomfortable for some, or just too far outside of their comfort zone to come to terms with.  And look at that, I tried not to analyze, yet here we are.  It’s a puzzling conundrum and one that I totally empathize with.  If you’re not able to separate nudity from sex, that is totally cool.  I was raised with open nudity in my household and it just feels really natural to walk around naked, but I realize that is not the norm, and I would never want to force my content on anyone. 

But to those who worry I might feel weird or judge the people who take a look please know this, my content is out there.  Embrace it.  Enjoy it.  We are adults and I love what I do.  I enjoy getting feedback (in a sex positive manor mind you, not an objectifying creepy way), and I love that I have received such gracious support from so many of you.  So, ask yourself this, would seeing me naked change our friendship in anyway for you?  And if so, why would that be?  And if you’re brave, I would love to read the conclusions you come up with!

And if you’re curious about the behind the scenes photos, click here!

The Friendzone is Bullshit!

Body language matters and the friendzone is bullshit!

I have toyed with a post explaining why I believe the word friendzone is bullshit for over 5 years.  I have outlines, ideas, and just random thoughts peppering my work in progress document and nothing I wrote ever could quite get past the whole “I don’t like the label and it’s implications”.  Until recently, I felt writing this post would be irresponsible and give people the wrong impression about me (by that I mean, I didn’t want men who felt they were in the friendzone to start pushing boundaries). But I write this now because there is something bubbling beneath the surface of the word that I think needs to be addressed here.  With a few beers in me, I wrote this in reply to a comment on my Predators blog post: I have tried numerous times to write a post on the friendzone, however I stop myself in light of this very context. Until there is a clear understanding of consent, and boundaries, there are certain men that should just stay believing in the friendzone for the sake of the women they are in essence pushing boundaries with…. OK, maybe this should turn into a post.

Any guesses where I am going with this yet?  The friendzone is a word, that I have always felt, was a copout.  We use it to place a person who we may or make not actually like, but definitely do not want anything physical to happen with (at that particular moment).  And as we are still trying to figure out what role they play in our lives, we relegate them into this so called “friendzone”.  The implications of that zone, are that the person will take the hint, and therefor understand that they are to stop being flirty, or expect that the person who placed them there will ever sleep with them.  Basically, it’s code for “just give up already”. 

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So, there are two parts that I will touch on here to explain why I think the friendzone is bullshit

The first, is why do we allow, or even encourage people to place labels like this on other human beings.  It’s often cruel.  If a person likes you, man up, and have the conversation that says you are tired of them doing such and such behaviour, and would like it to stop for the friendship to continue.  Then set a clear expectation, for example, this is what will happen if you don’t.  Off the top of my head you could threaten that the friendship will be over if they continue to push your boundaries.  Of you could simply state where you are at in the moment and call out the persons bad behaviour as it happens.

Perhaps you would like an example from my colourful past?  Ok, here is a little story time…Once upon a time when I was in a long term monogamous relationship, I had a friend who would constantly try to buy me drinks, text me cute pet names, and when he got drunk he would meow at me.  I really appreciated all the free stuff I was getting, and when we texted it was playful, it was fun, and quite flattering being on someone’s mind like that.  However, when he got drunk, he repeatedly tried to cross the line, would hold his hugs just a little too long, and the weird meowing turned into this creepy cat-like howl. To be clear I had zero attraction for him, and was in a completely monogamous relationship that he was fully aware of.  He was a teddy bear in the day time with whom I always hugged when I saw him, was a great listener, and overall I loved the boost he gave my ego.  So, I, without realizing it, was letting him ride in that weird friendzone territory, while I sorted out my feelings and tried to rationalize where he was in my life. 

But then, I grew up.  Ok, the truth was, I got sick and tired of his drunken behaviour and watched it start to spill into our sober text messages.  So, I gave him a choice.  Either stop crossing the line with me when you’re drunk and allow me to trust you 100% of the time, or you will not be in my life.  And guess what?  After two strikes, he was no longer in my life.  I won’t lie, I missed the attention, but ultimately, the ego boost just wasn’t worth having someone like that in my life.

Ok, so now let’s talk about the other side of it.  Why people find themselves in the friendzone.  I’m not going to mince words here, if you have ever found yourself in the friendzone it is because you do not have the social skills to handle the situation that you are in and you are the problem.  See what I did there?  I told you what was wrong in a direct manor.  Let me explain, if you’re sitting there, shell shocked, or feeling like you want to start defending yourself, take pause and hear me out.  If you are attracted to someone, and the feelings are not returned in the same manor that you are wishing they would, there are a few things going on.  First, you have picked a target way out of your league and you are either too shy, under confident, or socially awkward to overcome that hurdle so you tell yourself, just being close to this person is enough.  Guess what? It’s not, it’s weird, and you need to start learning how to build your confidence. 

Second, you have this person in your life who keeps telling you no, but you have decided, that they are wrong, and you are going to keep trying.  Guess what?  That makes you an asshole and you have violated the whole consent thing.  Maybe this person is just being too nice, doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, or is just genuinely trying to figure things out.  That shouldn’t matter to you though. If you hear the word no, it’s time to back off immediately.  Perhaps they will miss you, and come around.  Or more likely, they will realize their gut was right, and they just were one of those genuinely amazing souls who are nice to everyone, and are so relieved that they don’t have to feel awkward around you anymore.  Either way, respect the word no, and back off!

The friendzone is not healthy, for anyone.  The friendzone is a bullshit place to be, and equally to put someone in while you figure things out.  I propose that we remove this silly label from our vocabulary and start actually communicating with people.  You don’t have to use black and white labels.  We are blessed with a whole range of words, body language, and clear methods of expressing ourselves.  So, start building those skills.  And did you know that you can always change your mind about a person too?  If you tell a person you aren’t into them, and then realize you were wrong you can go and talk to them and share your feelings?  Crazy, I know!  But it’s far better than playing this whole in the friendzone, out of the friendzone charade.  So take these new and improved communication skills you have learned here, and go have meaningful conversations with people you like.  And always remember, if they say no, for the love of everything, respect that, and do NOT keep trying!

If you liked this post, why not check out my behind the blog Patreon account? Pictures, surveys, and more!

Starting a Blog Where You Might Use the Word S.E.X.

Aka: Want to Start a Sex Blog? A Few Tips/Tricks and Mistakes I Have Made Blogging about Breaking Away From Monogamy

Blogging and sex

I started blogging in the summer of 2011 because I had a personal mission to work through a major problem I was facing in my life, and in my overconfident brain I figured a few people would be curious about the subject matter: non-monogamy. When I wrote my first post, as I’m sure a few of you have, it was from a place of heartbreak. I was motivated by a single thought, which was simply to write my story. As a result, I did zero research into making a blog readable, successful, profitable, or even clickable or shareable. I basically went in blind, thinking my clear mission statement would be enough for everything else to fall into place, whatever that ended up being. It turns out, it wasn’t. So let me share with you a few practical tips that I have learned over the years, often as a result of going in the completely wrong direction, and wherever I can, I will post practical links that will actually help you, especially if you want to talk about things that are taboo (affiliate links will be a part of this post, and do help me earn a small commission to cover my hosting fees, but I will get more into that shortly).

First things first, the reason this post is a little different to many “how do I write a blog post” is that I am gearing this towards taboo subject matter and the specific hurdles when you write about the word sex. So let’s get started with the first lesson I learned: Anonymity

Picking Your Name or Title

When I first got started, I used an alias, as so many out there choose to do. The thing was, I picked an alias that is in a language foreign to many of my readers. I chose, @k-ghislaine (which you can easily click to follow me on Twitter), and while it is meaningful to me, it is completely unsearchable, pronounceable, and instantly I created a situation where I would have to self-promote everything I put out. Now this was a choice I made consciously, and thought it would protect my work/life/relationship status. However, with that being the focus, what did I immediately do? Oh that’s right, I mass e-mailed the link to everyone in my address book, and posted the blog link on Facebook, under my own personal account. The take away? Choose your target, and decide how you are going to use your blog, podcast, or whatever medium that shares your unique message. And think beyond the heartache towards the scale-ability factor because you never know where something like this may take you. And this holds true for your blogs name, domain, and basically every social media handle you choose, so choose wisely.

Sex Positive Monetization

I have zero doubt that this is the main reason that you are reading this post. And the thing about this is, I am in no way pro yet. I make enough to cover all my fees incurred, and occasionally a little more. My blog, has always be like a journal for me, where if it makes a little that’s a bonus, but if not, that’s totally OK too, I will still blog. That being said, I know how daunting it can be to start researching ways to actually monetize your content, especially if you have nudity, talk about anything taboo, or dare I say, use the word sex in any way shape or form. When you get started, you are faced with a zillion and one hurdles, especially once you start reading the fine print on all the monetization sites available or affiliate programs that mainstream content creators have access to. Please don’t let that get you down, you still have options, it just might take a little more work.

One of the first paths I took that actually generated a little financial interest in my blog was doing a sex toy review. And not just any toy, a couple’s toy! Honestly, it was a lot of fun. I loved the anticipation of waiting for the new toy, testing it out, and ultimately writing the post. I totally understand the appeal of it, and would happily do one again in the future. But I would caution you about one thing, things are changing with toy reviews. You are very limited as to the pictures you take, where you can share them on social media, and the biggest reason I don’t do many is the competition aspect. There are so many incredible toy reviewers out there and honestly, I don’t feel like I offer anything unique to that discussion. In summary, product reviews are amazing, just make sure you offer something new, exciting, or unique to your audience or you will not retain them.

The second path I took, and take, is writing sponsored posts, or paid blogs for other sites. This is my clear favorite, as I love the exposure and the community building this brings. Ultimately, my goals are different than many out there, but if you really hustle to create incredible content, this works really well. There are some incredible resources out there when it comes to pitching, and if you would like me to share some insight on my techniques feel free to comment or reach out to me via whichever social media you found me on!

And finally the third, which is affiliate links (Such as this one for lube, sex toys, and condoms!) . Now these can be tricky to find for those who talk about sex in any depth beyond what I do. The reason I notice that is I have always walked a fine line between education and sharing sexy adventures. And that is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to banners or links that will actually pay me out. If you write sexualized content, you can find affiliate links on toy sites, P&%N pages, and with other promoters of the more XXX content. If you simply try to educate, you can find safe sex banners, STD testing sites, and that sort of thing. The key here, is to think outside of the box. What does your site say, and what products would you be happy to buy yourself and then promote? So, reach out to known sex positive industries, or sign up to affiliate sites specifically catered to sex and industry. There are a few out there, you just have to be a little savvy when searching them. And please, for the love of all that is holy, research the company first. It’s not worth making big bucks if your spreading hate, misinformation, or something that goes against your messages key values. That makes you a sellout and you will NOT retain traffic. If you go on my home page you will see a few banners from companies I love working with, but again, those may not work for the type of content you are creating. So be reasonable. It is not enough to just put up a banner and then watch the money roll in. Monetization takes special work, especially with the word Sex.

Getting Noticed

Writing content that people give a damn about is tough, even when your subject matter is titillating. And the major factor for this is people en masse are scared of sex. Individuals are typically rational, but group people in a room, and restrictions come at you from every angle. As a result, you will run into many issues when trying to spread your content. There are quite a few sites who won’t even take your money, or allow you to collect your hard earned dollars as a direct result of your subject matter. My biggest word of wisdom here is to read the fine print. Sure a site like Amazon may allow you sign up to be an affiliate, but if there is nudity anywhere, you are going to have a difficult time collecting your earnings. And that goes for all social media that you use. Understanding the restrictions is key to maximizing your influence (And no, I don’t mean be an influencer, but know your content may have an impact on someone so be mindful).

What has made me the most successful in getting noticed you may ask? The answer, is not caring what other people think and posting content that makes me feel like a whole human being. On each of my social media accounts I find meaning in actually connecting with people and not using it as just a platform to spam people with my words. There are quite a few studies right now to measure peoples happiness levels in conjunction to their social media usage and guys, I must say, there is a lot of truth to this. Whenever I portray myself as an object, or just a brand, I become miserable and need more and more frequent social media breaks. Whereas, when I am actively engaged, learning, reading others stuff, and building community I absolutely love it! So the takeaway, be mindful when you’re trying to get your work noticed. Don’t let the goal of becoming internet famous supersede your mental health. Better to have a few amazing fans, than a multitude of trolls.

Once you do find your stride, and have people who care enough to share, engage, or follow you, I highly recommend setting up a Patreon page. Without question, this has been the most rewarding experience for me. I cry (happy tears) with every new subscriber, even the ones who only pledge for a few hours. It’s incredible know that there are people out there who love your work enough to pledge a little bit of money to it. And with Patreon, you can make it your own and choose rewards that actually matter to your fans. I love the freedom of it all, and for me, I use it mostly to show off all the behind the scenes stuff I can’t put on my blog. But don’t let that sway you. Make your content anyway you choose!

SEO

When I first started blogging (My blogging reason), I used a free site with Blogspot. It was Google based and included SEO and rankings. It was a glorious. Then, tragedy struck. I gained a little bit of popularity and got flagged for my content. I had flown under the radar for years, even using adsense, but I think those days are pretty much over. With all the new restrictions and fears over sex, I quickly had to go self hosted, build a new site to maintain my own freedom of expression. It seemed like overnight I had to basically learn everything about building a site, hosting it, and my latest endeavor… SEO.

Honestly, for me, this is my current pet project. I spend a few minutes every day learning new tips/tricks to increase my organic views. And holy crap, the most interesting thing I have learned, is just how incredibly bad my blogspot site was! And how, in the blogging world, I have pretty much done everything wrong. Why do I share that? Because it is OK. I am learning from this, and I am so proud to have loyal readers who enjoyed my content even though the presentation was absolute garbage. So don’t feel bad, ever! If the content is something you take pride of, everything else will follow.

Summary

If you enjoyed this post, by all means, reach out! And if you have questions, want to start your own blog, or shift over to a self hosted site, I have written 3 sites which are live and am working on my fourth. If you need a graphic designer, I am currently working with one who is incredible and the perfect match for this sex positive blogger and her vision. Again, reach out. I would love to share my knowledge and help you succeed where I have failed, or in rare instances succeeded.

There is always more to learn, and I hope in a few years, I can write one of these with all the new lessons I have learned, because knowledge is power, and should always be shared!

Krys