Florence Bark Wants To Make You Feel Something
Did you know it's Masturbation May? To celebrate the month devoted to self-love, we spoke to one of our fave sex and relationships experts, Florence Bark, about her brand new book, This Book Will Make You Feel Something. Designed to help you get to know yourself a bit more intimately and discover what you personally find sexy, this practical companion to female masturbation is headed straight to the top of our night stand pill...
What’s in your ultimate masturbation toolkit?
- A wand vibrator (at the moment it's the Hitachi Magic Wand, but only because my beloved Doxy massager broke!)
- Glass Dildo and/or Prudence from Fine Bone.
- Lube! I love to use CBD oil lubes or some good water based lube (such as HANX's!) when using silicone toys!
- I also like to have some coconut oil handy, as it's perfect for self massage and using the glass, metal or china toys.
What do you wish you’d known about pleasure and masturbation when you were younger?
“I wish I knew it was normal! I distinctly remember thinking, because no one had ever mentioned it before, that I must be the only person in the world who did it. So of course, I kept it secret. Even when you get older and realise other people do it too, I never had the confidence to talk about it with friends. There was this layer of shame shrouding masturbation, because of the lack of education about pleasure. If we’d been taught about pleasure from either school or our parents, I think we'd have a much better relationship with our bodies.”
Where do you find the inspiration for the fantasies featured in your book?
“There were a few stories in my book that I had been dying to write, such as the Cowboy and the Bandit! That was a personal fantasy I wanted to come to life for everyone. But as much as a lot of them were personal desires, I did research on some of the most popular fantasies women think about. I wanted to make sure I covered ALL of the bases when it came to writing the stories, so there was literally something for everyone. I even asked my followers on instagram so that I knew I'd be writing stories directly for people buying the book.
Our most common fantasies included; threesomes, public sex, power play/control and sleeping with women. My favourite stories that were inspired by my audience are the monster story 'My Demon' and 'Ex Sex'. Once I had the idea in my mind, the story flowed from my fingers onto the page as I imagined myself in each scenario! When it came to the sex, I was concentrating on what I would do if it was me, what would feel good, how it would make me feel. I wanted each story to feel real and like something you could place yourself into when you're reading.”
Do you have any tips for people who still feel a lot of shame around masturbating and pleasure?
- It's totally normal to have these feelings. We've been brought up in a world that has made us feel this way, and, even though we need to work towards not feeling like this, I don't want people to feel even worse for having these thoughts in the first place. It's a slow process that you can do in your own time.
- The first proactive thing you can do is to start having conversations about how you feel with your friends, or if that feels way too uncomfortable, I would suggest listening to podcasts or reading books on the subject. This will help you feel more seen and normal. Take a listen to F**ks Given or take a look at our YouTube videos on Come Curious. If you fancy reading, pick up a copy of my book, a gentle journey into self pleasure.
- Invest in your pleasure. I don't necessarily mean with money, I mean with time. Take a moment out of your busy schedule to really be with your body. Start by looking in the mirror and discovering what parts go where, which parts feel something, and get comfortable with how you look. That can be scary, but the more you practise the easier it will be. And btw, you look completely normal and beautiful!
Talking about sex for many is still really taboo/stigmatised. What advice do you have for people who want to communicate their kinks to their partners?
“Exploring yourself on your own can really help with how you then go about communicating your needs with your partner. If you know yourself, your body, your turn ons and offs, then talking about it will be much easier. You don't want to be putting the pressure on your partner to explore your body. You need to know your body! After talking about a disappointing sexual experience I’d had, my therapist said to me 'Your pleasure is your responsibility', which blew my mind!
I understand how talking about things is much easier said than done. If I'm ever feeling shy, I like to communicate these things via sexting or even just plain texting. There's nothing wrong with that either.”
There’s a performative aspect to masturbation for some, especially with Onlyfans and camming, what are your thoughts on reclaiming masturbation for yourself?
“Masturbation should be the act of making love to yourself, for yourself. I really feel that when we're having solo sex that we shouldn't be thinking about what we look or sound like. Whatever pleasure looks like is always going to be beautiful, even if you don't think so yourself. I think that's why 'This book will make you feel something' is so important. It's about reclaiming your connection with your body, learning about new ways to enhance your pleasure, and to love your body just the way you are! We need to get off our phones and into books or audio stories! I'd love to imagine that people can totally lose themselves when they're reading or listening to the masturbation meditations in the book.”
What role do you think a book like this has to play in stopping people passively consuming porn and what society deems as “sexy”, and instead figuring out what they find erotic for themselves?
“In my book I have left things up to you! You have the tips, techniques and knowledge to take your pleasure into your own hands. The stories have been written without too many descriptive attributes, so that the reader can imagine themself in each scenario, and also the partners that turn them on! Unlike in porn, where you don't really have the chance to put yourself into the scene, or find people to watch that you really vibe with, this book has been made specifically for people to masturbate to, and in particular women and people with vulvas.
It fills the gap between porn and erotic literature, each story lasts from 10 - 15 minutes because that's the average amount of time women touch themselves! The stories each have checklists where you can see what's involved, much like porn where you can search for specific things! There hasn't been a book like this before, which is why it's so exciting! I'm giving women exactly what they've been wanting when it comes to exploring their own pleasure.”
- If you want more from Florence Bark, check out her podcast Come Curious, or follow her on instagram @florencebark.
- For the perfect companion to this saucy read, try Cindy, our first ever toy! Sleek, subtle, and of course sustainable, Cindy is the hot new thing on the sexual wellness block - and ready for action. First time with a clit suction toy? Read our how-to guide here.
- Love learning more about sexual fantasies and what others have been dreaming about? Check out the results of our fantasy survey.