I started this blog twelve years ago as a way of (over)sharing my thoughts on sex (and love, but realistically, mostly sex). A few years ago, I added an about page, which negated the need to have a refresher course every year (although I've just updated it, so go and read my nonsense!). I didn't, for a moment, imagine that anyone would read my blog to start with - to get a dozen readers was a great start; to end up with thousands was something I never could have predicted. But I'm grateful for every click.
Through my blog I've made some excellent friends (and love to make more) and have met three out of my four girlfriends over time. I've got a lot more confidence insofar as self-assurance and flirting is concerned, and I've never been more in touch with my sexual identity as I have while writing this blog.
It's a far cry from speaking out in favour of pre-marital sex in a year 7 RS class, but every journey starts somewhere.
In 2008 I started to think about the concept of a sex blogger conference of some kind, with the assumption that everyone would wear a mask, before my girlfriend at the time - herself a sex blogger - pointed out that, if everyone was a blogger, you wouldn't need masks, because anonymity would be accepted as standard. Four years later, this actually happened, and I embarked on an adventure of discovery via community. It's still the highlight of the year, and I love taking the chance to just go somewhere as ILB, and stay ILB, and shock hen parties in lifts by telling them that the large group of people in the hotel lobby are sex writers.
In 2009 I wrote a book; in 2010, I changed jobs. 2011 was a period of unemployment, but with a chance to reconnect with my friends and family (and my third girlfriend), and work on some of the aspects of my blog. 2012 was something like the Cambrian explosion in terms of bloggers and blogger activity, and having been active since the first wave, I was chuffed to see how far it had come. At the very end of 2012, having suffered from a difficult break-up, I connected further with a friend who has since become a girlfriend.
Things have continued to change and develop. It hasn't been easy, but being part of my generation generally isn't. The inexorable passage of time is something I use to comfort myself when I have a bad day at work - it will be over, as time moves on. But then, it works the other way - I met Robinson, my oldest friend, when we were both two years old. By the time Eroticon 2019 rolls around, he'll have two children of his own; the same goes for my little cousin, who I've known since birth.
Time has an odd way of shaping things. I've managed to weather this by holding on to my own identity for all these years. Outside of ILB, I'm still using the nickname I've had since the age of eleven; in come circles, there are people who don't even know what my real name is. But I don't mind... it doesn't matter to me. I am me, and that's something I find important.
At this time of year, people are usually asking things like "what's next?" or "what are you going to change in 2019"? Honestly, I haven't a clue. I want to lose weight and grow hair so I feel more confident in my own body, but those are just ongoing goals. The way things are at the moment, I'd be content with just keeping them going as they are.
The way I see it, if I can weather huge socio-economic and political change rocking the whole world and go into year 12 of blogging armed with a song I wrote about having sex on the floor of my parents' bathroom, I can pretty much do anything.
Here's to the next 12 years.