Monday, 21 December 2015

Special Guest - Melissa MacFarlane

It's my real pleasure today to welcome the fabulous Melissa MacFarlane as the Brit Babes special guest today - she's one busy woman and this blog reveals just how! Welcome, Melissa x x

Does reviewing sex toys make me an embarrassing Mum?

I remember reading an interview with the son of Jilly Cooper a few years ago. He spoke at deep length about the humiliation he felt through his teenage years, and how he loathed the notoriety that his mother had as one of the nation’s naughtiest, but best loved female writers.  Although he later grew to respect and accept Jilly’s achievement, this interview really saddened me. I’m a Mum too, and it’s inevitable that one day I will experience something similar with my own children.
Whilst working as a sex toy retailer and lingerie consultant, I had the word ‘bra fitter’ on my car alongside my website details. After a few months, my son said that the word ‘bra’ embarrassed him and he didn’t want to get in my car whilst his friends were nearby. I refused to remove the stickers at first. I explained that bra fitting was part of my job and people needed to know what I did in order to book appointments.
When I closed the retail side of Voluptasse and decided to concentrate on adult industry writing, I did remove the stickers. However, this made me wonder what would happen when the kids discovered this particular aspect of my life. After all, my children mean the world to me but my job, despite being unconventional, really makes me happy.
What would happen when the kids discovered the ‘real me’?
Looking back, this isn’t the path that I expected my life to take. Had it all gone to plan, I would be a highly respected news editor or a partner in a successful law firm by now. However, my natural rebellious streak was never going to be satisfied with such normality, and practically skipped down a much livelier path. The path of an adult writer may not be the ideal choice for a married mum of five, but it’s the choice that I made and not only does it make me happy, but it makes me a better Mum too.
And here’s how….
With my experience as a sex toy reviewer, I find it easier to talk to the kids about sex.
Because I now have a much more relaxed attitude about sex, my children feel as if they can talk to me about anything. I grew up with my Dad as the sole parent, he did his best for us growing up but he was very uncomfortable discussing sex. As I became older, I was very naïve about sex and found myself pregnant at just sixteen years old. Apparently the ‘it won’t happen to me’ method isn’t very effective….  I later miscarried the baby and it was a very sad time in my life, but I also learnt a very valuable lesson.
Even in my twenties, sex was still a tricky and taboo subject and it wasn’t until I bought my first sex toy that my attitude began to change. It was a real epiphany (in more ways than one) and set me upon the journey that I find myself on today. As a parent, this change only became apparent as the children got older and began to ask questions. My relaxed attitude helped them to feel more comfortable, and as their questions are answered properly, they have always been well informed. I even wrote a blog post about the reasons why we should be discussing porn with our children and am confident that we will continue to feel relaxed and comfortable with each other in the future. This can only be a good thing, right?
I am much happier working in the adult industry
Before I thought about opening the website and reviewing sex toys, I had a job in Insolvency law. This was a job that I also loved, but the hours were long and I found an office environment incredibly stifling.
As a freelance copy writer and a sex toy reviewer. I still work very hard (as most freelancers do) but I do so at my own pace. The hours are longer, the pay is much (MUCH) less and sometimes the stress makes you want to hit your head on the desk and cry. However, as a person I feel much more fulfilled and better able to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life.
This makes me a much better parent and a much happier mum.
As a sex toy reviewer, I don’t miss any school activities
As a Mum who previously worked 9-5 and studied until after 10pm every single night towards insolvency exams. I lost sight of being a parent, I was so hell bent on becoming an Insolvency Practitioner and giving them a good life that I forgot the reason why I was working so hard.
I have absolutely no recollection of the first year of my twin’s existence. I was there, but every waking moment was spent studying or working. Whilst I rocked them in their chairs, I simultaneously sat a 3.5 hour practice exam and willed them to sleep. Through a sleep deprived fog, I listened to audio tapes of exam notes and as I fed and burped them, I memorised the mind maps that I’d taped to the wall across from the chair.
I passed one of the exams and failed the second by two marks which meant that I had to resit them both. Even worse than that, I lost a year of my children’s lives that I will never get back. Two days after getting the results I was told that I would be made redundant and as a single Mum with four children, I couldn’t afford to resit the exams.
With my role now as a sex toy reviewer, I am much more present as a parent. I have another daughter now and although I work much later into the night, I’m the face that they see at every school assembly, the wild waver at the school pantomime and a familiar figure at sports days.
We go out, we have time together and we do things as a family. As a result, we are all so much happier and relaxed.
Working as a sex toy reviewer and adult industry copy writer pays the bills
Let’s face it, despite the love of the job and the perks of freelancing, one of the most important aspects of the role is the fact that it pays the bills. The kids do the activities that they want to do because I do the job that I love to do. It’s as simple as that.
By all means, it isn’t plain sailing and working as a writer brings a very low income for most of us. However, when the children look back and remember the day trip we took to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, they will remember how happy we all were and how much fun it was. When they stand up and proudly accept another swimming certificate in assembly, they will remember how good it felt.
Knowing that my job as an adult writer is creating some wonderful memories for them, and helping me to become a better parent is an incredible feeling. I feel truly blessed to one of the few who can hold their hand up and say that they doing exactly what they want to in life. I just hope that they understand that how much I love them, and that I’d still be embarrassing if I was a high flying solicitor or a hard hitting journalist.
After all, embarrassing our children by simply being ourselves is what Mums do best.

Thank you SO much for this fantastic blog Melissa!
Find out more from this lovely, busy lady at her site, Voluptasse.


  1. Thank you for being our guest Melissa and for such a frank and honest interview. The Brit Babes wish you every success in the future and I for one look forward to hanging out with you again sometime for a dance and few glasses of bubbly :)

  2. I love this post - hanks Melissa x

  3. Lovely post and fascinating how you've gone from your other job to this one in the adult industry. Mel is also one of the fab writers for CaraSutra as well as ETO Magazine - profile is on the up and up! Here's to a fab 2016 for you and all of us :)
    Cara xx


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