Accessibility, Edgeplay, & Surprise Sex
Tagging is the only way I know for people online to have the chance to opt in or out of a sexual experience with fully informed consent.
In the second part I will offer suggestions for how to tag things, recommend the top 15 tags to always use, and share a list of 130+ tags important to the size kink community. I will use a variety of examples, but much of my focus will be on #SizeTwitter, erotic fiction, and art.
Editor’s Note: Twitter (X) has changed in many unpredictable ways since I published this in November 2022. While much of this document remains useful for a variety of reasons, I encourage you to research the latest advice regarding various platform settings.
Part One – Tags are good because they:
- help people find what they like & avoid what they don’t.
- help with accessibility.
- allow people with different hard limits to stay friends & build trust.
- help people say yes to edgeplay.
- let us decide when, where, & how long we engage with intense content.
- can reduce mutes/unfollows.
- help you retain followers when exploring new kinks.
- can reduce bad reviews.
- can increase SEO, build readership & chance of good reviews.
- help us avoid spoiler warnings.
- help us avoid surprises in a sexual context.
- can be tempting and intriguing.
Part Two – How to Use Tags
- How to Tag for a Size Kink Context
- Digital tagging cultures
- What can you tag? Anything? Everything?
- An example of tagging artwork
- An example of tagging a story
- Gender tags & avoiding slurs
- You’re going to make mistakes. That’s okay.
- The Top 15 Tags to Always Use
- 130+ Tags important to the size kink community
- Translating tags between size kink & broader communities
- If safety is an illusion, is tagging worth it?
Content tags mean different things in different circles. Here, tags refer to the words at the beginning of a story, video, tweet, blog post, performance, or other media that give the audience some advance notice of what to expect. They often focus on sensitive topics, but especially in erotic media, they can also include general information about the story or art, like the genders or sizes of characters.
To use a relatively harmless example, let’s pretend “pineapple on pizza” was a sensitive topic. Some content tags for a tweet or article might look like this:
- CW: pineapple, pizza toppings
- #Pineapple #PizzaToppings
- (pineapple on pizza)
- (pineapple, debate on pizza toppings)
Tags for an erotic size kink story, video, or audio version might look like this:
- F/m, growth, romance, pineapple on pizza, foodgasms
Tags on Twitter for visual content can also be very simple: just mark it as sensitive content, and there will be a one-time blur over the image that people can opt to click or not.
(Mention of PTSD.) A common practice is to include “CW” or “TW” for content or trigger warning at the beginning. When tags were first developed, they were often intended as an accessibility tool for PTSD survivors with intense flashbacks and panic attacks that could be triggered or activated by certain experiences. As the practice has become more widespread, more audiences understand that words at the beginning of media are tags, and many are dropping the “CW” to save space and increase readability. I prefer that strategy and use parenthesis for mine.
Tags or warnings?
I prefer to call them content tags instead of content or trigger warnings, because some tags are identity-based to help people find what resonates for them. While warnings do apply to some tags for some people, many tags aren’t warnings. I push back against the notion that I need to “warn” straight people that they might encounter queer characters and experiences in my work. But I’m happy to tag content to help people explore and decide what’s right for them.
Content tags help us make choices about what our brains and bodies can experience on any given day, so we can lean into pleasure, hold our boundaries with “no,” and explore what it means to say “yes.”
Tags don’t need to be hashtags, thanks to muting.
Tags can sometimes be shorthand for “hashtag” which has some overlap with content tags. Hashtags use # and are common in most social media, where they allow you to find similar posts on a general topic. Specific hashtags like #SizeTwitter (or #sfwgt for the non-kink size community) are vital for helping us find our people.
In most cases, I don’t think turning all your content tags into hashtags adds much value unless you want to join a specific trending conversation or find a very broad audience, like anyone in the world talking about pineapple at that moment. The trouble is that when you click #pineapple, social media platforms will show the most popular accounts first. For very broad topics, those with fewer followers may not be seen. If you do use hashtags, please be careful with things minors are likely to interact with, like a slash fic featuring the adult characters of Steven Universe, or pictures of a NSFW costume you made for your adult account that’s based on Totally Spies. (Some people will break up the word to make the tweet itself unsearchable, like T0tally Sp1es.)
Another drawback to hashtags is that some platforms like Instagram began penalizing posts that used a certain number of hashtags or repeating them too often. On Twitter the extra character spaces often aren’t worth it. Most tags don’t need to be hashtags.
Thanks to Twitter’s Mute feature, tags also don’t need to be long or elaborate. Many online spaces allow you to mute specific words or phrases. If I mute “spanking” then any time someone shares a tweet with the word “spanking” somewhere in the text, then that tweet should not appear in my timeline. (You’d think you could just mute “spank” instead so that it catches more variations of the word, but sadly that isn’t the case. To cover my bases I will often mute as many versions of a word as I can brainstorm.)
Here are tips on using Twitter’s mute feature. Also, please note that when you mute a word it automatically assumes you only want to mute the word from people you don’t follow. Choose “Anyone” and it should remember that setting in the future.
Muting words is helpful for situations where characters are limited, and you feel reluctant to take up space with (CW: tag A, tag B, super long and complicated tag C). While it’s useful to have a heads-up at the start of the tweet, the mute feature means that it’s not necessary as long as a common word associated with the tag is somewhere in the tweet.
If I mute “pineapple” and your tweet is “love how this tropical yellow fruit tastes on pizza #PINE #APPLE” then it won’t be muted for me. So finding a way to work that topic into your content in predictable ways can be a lifesaver, even if you don’t start off with a formal tag. And then people who also love pineapple on pizza can find your content!
Who gets access to kink spaces?
Tags help with accessibility. (Discussion of migraines, seizures, mental health, PTSD, and flashbacks.) There are a lot of reasons people might find certain content hard, ranging from depression and anxiety to painful breakups to past trauma.
People with seizures and migraines depend on tags to help them avoid content like animations or videos with flashes of light that can trigger dangerous seizures. I have the migraine-adjacent condition Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, or AiWS (see more about this on my Size Dysmorphia, Size Euphoria page) and sometimes bright flashes of light can give me full-blown migraines that make it impossible to drive, work, or function at all.
In a mental health context, as someone living with C-PTSD, tags help me coexist with more safety in online kink spaces. When I have a heads-up, I can brace myself for intense content and I’m far more likely to be resilient even if the experience feels visceral, activates the alarm bells of my nervous system, or causes flashbacks. I have a chance to get my shields up, so to speak, so the harm is reduced.
For someone with PTSD, these flashbacks, panic attacks, and other similar experiences are a biochemical process in our bodies’ nervous systems. When I see something related to my past traumatic experiences, old parts of my brain and nervous system (like the amygdala and the vagus nerve) react instantly by using the tools of evolution to help me survive with fight, flight, freeze, or fawn.
For those who experience trauma, 25-35% develop PTSD. It’s not a choice, it’s not being overdramatic or weak, and for some it can take years of work to recover and heal. During that process, content tags are accessibility aids that give me the chance to belong, to go where I couldn’t before, and empower me with the agency to make choices about my own mental health.
When we use content tags, we’re sending a message that we want people with neurodivergence, disability, chronic illness, and past trauma to be welcome in our spaces. When we don’t use them, the message is that we don’t care and that those folks can fend for themselves.
Different limits, different likes, still friends!
Tags allow me to stay friends with folks who like content that’s hard for my nervous system. I play with a lot of themes that can be hard limits for others, too. I tag that content so I can stay friends with folks who need to be able to say no to some of what I like. (On Twitter, you can mute #ElleDark to avoid seeing those things.)
I have friends who have been through all kinds of hard things, and I’ve learned how to be a better friend by noticing when big vulnerabilities come up with shows, books, films, news, etc. and being more mindful to ask before assuming in the future. They’ve done the same for me, and it means the world to me that we can communicate and support each other.
We all make mistakes, myself included, but I greatly value the friends I can trust to make an effort to tag things!
Saying yes to edgeplay…
Tags don’t just help people say no. They also help us say YES. Tags can help us experiment with things on our “maybe” list. It’s easier to lean into our limits and try new sexy things when we have informed consent and the agency to say yes or no.
(Discussion of BDSM and risky behaviors.) I’m defining “edgeplay” here as the chance to play on the edges of a person’s specific comfort zone. In some BDSM communities it refers specifically to any sexual activity involving the risk of physical harm, but it can include anything that someone might find emotionally, mentally, or physically risky. It’s different for everyone, because we all carry different experiences that tell us what was dangerous in the past, or what was erotic, or both.
My context gives me a unique comfort zone, and learning to find the edges of that comfort can be thrilling because of the risk. (It can also be terrifying if I’m not with a person or community I trust.) As I play along those edges, I learn more about myself and can decide if I want to expand or contract my boundaries.
Edgeplay isn’t really possible when we don’t know where the edges are—or when those edges are deliberately hidden from us.
If you aren’t given the chance to say no, can you ever really say yes?
When, where, & how long?
Tags help me heal. And try dark kinky stuff on my good days. (Discussion of PTSD.) I sometimes decide to engage with content on my edges that I know may trigger a PTSD response in my nervous system, either for sexy reasons or for healing reasons. I’m able to do that because tags allow me to listen to my body and choose the right time and place. To say when, where, and how long I want that.
For example, I’m more likely to try dark kinky stuff when: I am rested and in a good mood, I know someone I trust is available to help me with aftercare, and I have no big responsibilities that day.
When content is untagged, I won’t be able to make those choices—in other words, someone else makes those choices for me. So I do my best to avoid it at all costs instead.
Tags reduce mutes/unfollows.
When we can’t trust a person to tag things that are edgeplay or hard limits for us, then we often mute/unfollow them.
I have done this even with longtime friends, even when it breaks my heart to do so. And when that happens, it usually feels inappropriate to tell that person they shared a thing that triggered a trauma response in me, unless they directly ask why I have unfollowed. I never want to tell a person what they can and cannot share in their own online spaces, just as I wouldn’t like a person telling me what I can and can’t write about on my twitter or in my stories.
Tagging is mental labor and I understand that not everyone wants to use their limited character count to include words that Twitter will auto-mute for others. I am not here to kink shame, I am not here to censor or yuck anyone’s yum. I am genuinely happy when my friends have things that bring them pleasure. That is true even when the way they engage with that content means I sadly can’t be around them.
All I can do is advocate for people to use tags and take myself out of situations where hard content goes untagged on a regular basis.
Trying something new? Tags can help with that.
Tags help you keep your followers when exploring new kinks. If you create a following based on your love for Kink A, then switch gears to suddenly sharing a lot of things about a passing interest in Kink B, and you don’t tag any of that new content, odds have dramatically increased that people who dislike Kink B will mute you. Odds go up if Kink B is controversial or related to a common trauma. Even if you go back to 95% Kink A content in a week, those people may never go back and unmute you.
Did you know Twitter will not notify a person when they have been muted? Though you can see on a particular profile when someone is no longer following you, it won’t notify you of specific unfollows, either.
Often I will come across an account I’ve muted, scroll through their recent things and can’t remember why I muted them. No matter how cool or friendly they seem, unless I see that they have begun the practice of tagging things, I err on the side of caution and leave them muted for my own safety.
The cost of this has been some isolation, and that some have begun to see me as standoffish, arrogant, or rude, which is never my intention. If I have muted you, it is 99% likely that our hard limits don’t align and you shared those things without tags. At the time of this writing, I tried to count the number of accounts I have muted. I stopped at 300, which was about 1/3 of the way through. It’s one of the many reasons I prefer muting over blocking.
A good alternative strategy, for content creators especially, is to come up with your own tag. I think Spitty is the first artist I saw try this in Size Twitter. I don’t know where the idea came from originally (since I apparently suggested it to them?) but they role modelled it so well that I began using #ElleDark too. The strategy went like this: they announced that while they planned to keep drawing Kink A, they would soon start exploring Kinks B, C, D, E, and Z. They created #SpittyDark so that their followers could mute it to opt out of all the new content while continuing to enjoy Kink A. I really appreciate their mindful approach to tagging, which helps me know I can trust them.
In the years since they rolled out their hashtag strategy, Spitty has leaned into artwork featuring things far beyond my personal hard limits, but because they’ve made their tagging practice a normal thing, I feel confident in continuing to follow them. Thanks, Spitty!
Tags increase engagement and reduce bad reviews.
Readers of erotica and audiences of erotic audio are less likely to engage with a untagged content. Because why spend half an hour with content that may be about something you’re not even into? Tags let folks opt out, rather than reading a story they might review poorly because it didn’t happen to match their personal preferences.
People are more likely to leave bad reviews on erotic content because they didn’t know what to expect and came face to face with something they don’t enjoy. So much of erotic pleasure is based on niche preferences and random body responses. Why does my body say “yes, please” to Kink A and “no, thank you” to Kink B? If someone with Kink B takes a risk on an untagged story that is all about Kink A, they may feel bored, frustrated, or even disgusted or dealing with flashbacks to past trauma.
At that point, they’re more likely than the average reader to leave a bad review. And when they do, they’re not reviewing your writing style, but wanting to be heard as they process a visceral experience their body disliked when they were expecting pleasure instead. It didn’t have to be that way.
Tags build readership.
On the flip side, tags are likely to build your readership and chance of good reviews because it boosts your SEO or Search Engine Optimization.
In this scenario, Kinkster A easily searches for and reads all your stories tagged with Kink A. They skip everything you tagged with Kink B, and they leave happy reviews raving about the way you depicted Kink A in your work.
Because they’ve surrounded themselves with folks who share their interest, their friends are likely to see their interactions with your work and the cycle starts again. Because of this, tags are one of the best ways to help your audience find you and your work.
Tags can be tempting.
Knowing that XYZ kinks are on the menu of a particular story should leave your readers curious for how those elements unfold in your story.
When you see a tag that your body and mind find erotic, do you feel that the story has been spoiled for you? Or do you feel intrigued? Think of it like a classic burlesque tease. The tag gives a glimpse of a sexy thing, then takes it away to tempt the audience. It might just leave your readers wanting more.
Spoiler warnings are a form of tagging.
Have you ever been upset that someone didn’t give you a spoiler warning at the beginning of an article or conversation, because they made it impossible for you to enjoy a show? If so, you have valued content tags.
When a new film comes out in a beloved franchise, lots of people mute the title on Twitter until they can see the film so that they won’t accidentally witness something they don’t want to see.
In the article Twitter’s Mute Feature Can Help You Hide Spoilers and More, the author gives this example: “Grab a thesaurus. As a longtime James Bond fan, I didn’t want to hear anything about No Time to Die before I saw the movie. But I knew muting the title wouldn’t be enough. I also muted the terms “Bond,” “James Bond,” “007” and “Daniel Craig” to shield myself from as many spoiler avenues as possible.”
When trying to avoid spoilers, a person might see an article on the topic they would normally read, but if they think they can’t trust the author to tag spoilers? They’re going to keep on scrolling.
Some writers and artists worry that tags themselves are spoilers, that they might reveal a twist or a surprise important to the story. In the genre of erotica, I would ask, is it a good thing to give your readers a surprise in a sexual context?
Surprises mean we haven’t had the chance to say yes or no. Surprises may also engage older parts of our brain and nervous systems that have been helping our ancestors survive for millennia.
When we’re in a sexual mindset, usually the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged in an open, trusting way. (Fun fact, orgasms only happen within the parasympathetic nervous system!) Surprises that happen to land well might be fun in that state.
Surprises that feel neutral or negative can register instead with your body’s sympathetic nervous system, where the old fight, flight, freeze, and fawn take over. It can take a lot of time and work to process the adrenaline and regain the sense of calm and trust after that happens.
(Discussion of a trauma response in a hypothetical kink setting.) Imagine you’ve worked up the courage to visit your first in-person kink club. There’s a hallway full of closed doors leading to rooms where people are playing with different kinds of kinks. On one side of the hallway, the doors are labelled with things like “spanking,” “cuddles,” and “praise kink” and something you find so intense, your brain helpfully forgets it as soon as you’ve looked away. We’ll call it Kink E because it would be edgeplay for you. On the other side of the hallway, the doors are labelled with question marks. Which doors are you most likely to explore?
What kind of mental, physical, and emotional state would you need to be in, before you could explore the untagged doors? Maybe you would realize you shouldn’t have had that heart-pounding energy drink, or that you wish you’d had eight hours of sleep for a clearer head. Maybe you’d feel suddenly vulnerable in the outfit you chose. Maybe you’d need to go into it fully clothed with a trusted friend by your side.
What if the doors were all untagged, and the first door opened to Kink E that was extremely intense for you? It would be understandable if your nervous system said “Oh HELL NO, get the fuck out of here NOW,” with a full dose of adrenaline to make that happen.
Would you ever go back? Will you feel more or less confident in future situations when someone asks you to play with Kink E again?
It all comes down to trust and consent. The scenario changes when you can trust all the doors to be tagged. Because then you can ease into the experience on your terms, with full agency and the ability to say yes and no.
How to Tag for a Size Kink Context
Digital tagging cultures
Each kink community has different subcultures and practices around tagging. There’s no one “right” way to do this, only different tools used to meet different needs.
I think it’s worth giving a glimpse into different tagging cultures, because each one is a little different (and will cover tags that I miss here).
A lot of these are influenced by the physical or digital limitations of a certain space. For example, signage at a kink club might be limited to what can be easily written with a sharpie and taped to a door. DeviantArt limits you to thirty tags per post, but also offers an auto-populate feature to help tags be more consistent. Tumblr allows searches on the first 20 tags in a post, but also structured each post to encourage tags almost without limit, to the point where people began writing much of their post within the tags. This led to some unique etiquette and even academic papers on the phenomenon. Twitter’s character limit and lack of structural support for tagging puts it at the other end of the spectrum—it’s practically “the wild west” when it comes to tags.
Kink communities that have been established for longer can have elaborate systems, wikis, glossaries, and may maintain robust boundaries and consequences for people who don’t tag.
One example is r/GoneWildAudio, a subreddit community of audiophiles founded in 2012 to share recordings on X-rated topics. Their system is a thing of beauty, and values tags that allow audiences to find voices and topics that will appeal to them, which is especially important when you can’t search or scan through a 20-minute audio clip like you can a text story or work of art.
A robust and consistent tagging culture like this allow people to develop tools like the Gone Wild Audio Search Interface, which is useful to find what other related words people might use to tag stories similar to yours.
🧙♂️ Character archetype & trope tags
🧜♀️ Fantasy creature & monster tags
🌌 Genre & setting tags
🩺 Medical condition tags
💖 Relationship dynamic tags
☔ Tone & mood tags
Sadly, her definitions on Micro and Macro fetishes appear to draw from the unfortunate, outdated, and inaccurate Wiki page that still claims it’s “typically a straight male fantasy,” contrary to the lived experience of very many people of different genders. I keep meaning to message Dominaexcrucior about this when I have the energy. Luckily, her guide’s 1000+ tagging section also has an anonymous submission form to add new tags or expand definitions.
Closer to the size kink world, many of us are familiar with the search criteria from sites like GiantessWorld, Giantess City, Coiled Fist, F-List, and Daddy’s Dollhouse. These offer tags specific to size kink, such as common terms for different sizes and tags you’d never see anywhere else, like “handheld.” See Tags important to the size kink community below to learn more.
For more tag ideas, check out F-List’s personal tagging Yes/Maybe/No system, which was created to facilitate private roleplay sessions. (I counted 289 tags in my own F-List profile. Interestingly, one item has changed in the two years since I created it, moving from a No to a Yes. Score one for being able to explore edgeplay on my own terms.)
What can you tag? Anything? Everything?
There’s a balance you have to strike between tagging every little detail, and missing important tags. I’m learning that I want to tag things that could:
- A) cause harm if someone had trauma around it
- B) be galvanizing or associated with social taboos
- C) have elements of the story visible enough that it would significantly change the story if they were taken out
- D) have similar search keywords to things listed in A – C
A) is most important. And the good news is that it doesn’t need to be elaborate. Just include a common word for the most important topic in your tweet and Twitter’s muting system will do the rest. Try to be consistent and avoid variations on the word, because if you mute “run” then Twitter won’t mute “running.”
B) is where I think about topics that might not be related to trauma, but which people have strong reactions to. People have strong opinions about pineapple on pizza, but they may have strong reactions to kinks such as feet, objectification, etc.
C) If I happen to mention someone’s foot in passing in my story, and it won’t change the story at all if I removed the sentence, then I won’t tag it. But if it’s more visible or important, I would consider tagging it. A mental exercise I use a lot: pick a topic you consider a turn-off and imagine replacing it within your story, then imagine how you would feel if you encountered it without warning. Would you wish it had been tagged?
D) is going to increase the effectiveness of the tags, but also may take up more space. You don’t need to break out that thesaurus and list every word related to a tag. But unless everyone in your community agrees on the exact term for a kink, there will probably be several in use. Look around at what others use most often, and you should be fine with that.
An example of tagging artwork
Before I get into the ways to tag artwork with text, I want to remind you that you have the option to just mark it as sensitive content, and there will be a one-time blur over the image that people can opt to click or not.
Let’s use a harmless, nonsexual example of an artist tweeting a sketch of a rabbit.
You like my sketch? I love their floppy ears!
You like my sketch? I love rabbits with floppy ears!
These work! The first example is ideal because they lead with the topic so someone can decide to scroll quickly away or not. But in both examples, someone who had muted “rabbit” won’t even see the tweet. On Twitter, this is really all you need to do!
Ex 3: LOOKIT MAH BUNBUN
This won’t do much because people might have muted “rabbit” and “bunny” but it’s unlikely they ever thought to add “BUNBUN.” Until today.
Ex 4: Trying out a new style with this WIP. You like?
Ex 5: [image without text]
The fourth and fifth examples are untagged and don’t give people a chance to opt in or out.
An example of tagging a story
(Mention of alcohol and alcoholism.) Using another nonsexual, relatively low stakes example, let’s say my story involves two women falling in love. They meet at a night club when one person photobombs the other by accident and the flash makes her glasses look hilarious. They flirt over margaritas and start dating, and the story ends with a cute footrub and a bubble bath.
So first, A) does anything here cause harm if there were related conditions/trauma around it?
If it were a short film or animated sequence, I’d tag it with “flashing light” for people with migraines/seizures. That wouldn’t be needed for a text story, unless the character has a migraine or seizure in the story as a response to flashing light, in which case I’d tag it with “migraine,” etc. Maybe someone has general relationship trauma, but that tag will be implied within the story summary of two people falling in love.
I might decide to tag alcohol, so that any readers with alcoholism can avoid the trigger if they need to. But I probably wouldn’t tag margaritas, because A) the specific drink is not likely a source of harm, B) it’s not taboo or galvanizing, C) it’s not a detail pivotal to the story, and D) folks don’t typically search for details like that when seeking out erotica.
Going back to the story as a whole. Next, C) visible elements important to the story would include: F/F, flirting, dating, romance, falling in love, feet, footrub, massage, bubble bath, and water.
D) You’ll notice that some of those are near-synonyms, like romance and falling in love. In this case tagging both will help me show up in similar search terms. Tagging only footrub might cause me to miss out on readers who are into feet and searching for those exact four letters. If I include water in addition to bubble bath, I might find folks who find the broader topic of water to be sexy.
So the summary and tags for this story might go something like this: Love in a Flash, F/F, flirting, dating, romance, falling in love, alcohol, feet, footrub, massage, bubble bath, water.
Gender tags & avoiding slurs
(Mentions of offensive gender slurs, homophobia, and gendered violence.)
When tagging identities from marginalized groups, the best thing to do is to see how communities within that group want people to refer to them. If the majority of the people in that group say “this term is a slur and causes harm,” then do not use that term.
Language is a tool that changes over time. Each community has a lot of differing opinions about language, and no identity is a monolith. Some words fall out of use, and some terms that were offensive and used for harm can be reclaimed by members of that group, like how the word “queer” has evolved over the centuries. Because of the power dynamics involved, reclaiming words like this can only be done by people from that group.
Many of the tags associated with marginalized gender identities have been used to objectify people in harmful nonconsensual ways. Terms like these are used in violence against trans people and carry a long history of discrimination and trauma. I am sorry I don’t have a way to hide these, but I’m making the decision to list them here so my fellow cis people know to avoid them:
shemale, trap, herm or hermaphrodite, and futanari or futa. Do. Not. Use. These. Words.
Please note that I am not telling anyone to avoid topics that play with gender and sexuality, or to censor or be ashamed of their fantasies. These are a profoundly important part of identity exploration! And given that genitalia ≠ gender, the very act of exploring fantasies with different body types is a beautiful queer subversion of heteronormativity. I do think it is important to be aware of the way we talk about our fantasies, and the very real impact these words have on real people. None of our erotic fantasies exist in a vacuum, and whether you know it or not you will be part of a broader conversation. The words you choose already have a context.
What words should you use instead? There are different ways to handle gender tags. In the size community, these are often listed near the beginning of the content tags, with one letter for each gender, capitalized for the characters with larger sizes and lowercase for tiny characters. For example, M/F/f might describe a male and female at Giant sizes with a female tiny.
(Mentions of gender dysphoria) I have seen an agender writer use X/f for a story with a character that had a female tiny and a Giant with no gender. I’ve seen nonbinary writers use X also, and “NB” and also “enby.” I have seen some trans writers use F/f and list an additional tag like “trans” or “#TransIsBeautiful” or “woman with a cock.” (Some non-operative trans people feel gender dysphoria from words like “cock” or “pussy.” In this case the author was writing about herself and using the word that felt good to her. Some might say words like “girldick,” “clit,” or “junk.”) Some writers use C and T to note cisgender and transgender, like CF and TM for cisgender female and transgender male. More on this in a moment.
If you’re a cis person wanting to create art or stories with gender non-conforming characters, it’s important to ask yourself some questions about why you find these genders attractive. Are you focused on a body part or a whole person with an erotic mind? What stereotypes might show up in your work? It’s not wrong to focus on a body part, or to play with stereotypes, but it’s good to be aware of the context, conversations, and capacity to cause harm—or to celebrate. These are three easy-to-read resources I found helpful and sexy:
- the groundbreaking zine Fucking Trans Women by Mira Bellwether (who is currently struggling with health and could use our financial support)
- Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon and K.D. Diamond
- PRIMED2: A Sex Guide for Trans Men Into Men, by the Ontario Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance
There are also classes and webinars you can take, such as Writing for Trans & Non-Binary Narratives with Ashley Lauren Rogers, an on-demand class that provides writers with an understanding why of accurate representation of trans & non-binary people in media is crucial. Get tips on avoiding stereotypes and creating characters that are whole people.
You could also seek out a sensitivity reader to help you gain a fresh perspective on your work. (Pay or barter with them, do not ask for free labor on this.) I recently commissioned a sensitivity read from Ana Valens, a reporter and member of the size kink community. She gave me feedback on my erotic lesbian love story, Dare You Not to Grow. It features a pairing between a cisgender woman and a transgender woman, and she recommended I use either F/f or CF/tf in my gender tags. (I ended up using both in my tweet: “F/f, CF/tf – Growth, shrinking, gentle, public play, LOTS of sexual tension.”) Though TF is also used for transformation kink, we decided that having it in the slash format would clear that up, and she pointed out that TF is commonly used at places like r/GoneWildAudio and r/GWASapphic. (As of fall 2022, Ana is open for more sensitivity readings on: kinky relationships, lesbian relationships, trans women & trans feminine experiences, and queer friendship.)
How have other communities approached this topic? I looked to see how it’s done in GWA, which limits their gender tags to five terms: female, male, non-binary, trans female, trans male. This is in keeping with the official GLAAD Media Reference Guide’s advice on best practices. However, while “transgender” is an umbrella term that includes anyone who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, some might want to own and celebrate specific identities like being genderfluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, or agender, and tagging will help readers connect with stories or art that resonates for them.
We’re at a unique moment when language is currently being developed, adapted, and there’s a lot of experimentation to find out which words feel bad or cause harm, and which words feel good or affirming. It may be that what we use now will seem outdated in five or ten years. That’s okay. Do the best you can with the information you have, and when you learn better, do better.
To quote GLAAD’s TRANSform Hollywood Guide, “The world is unsafe for trans people – and we can do better.”
You’re going to make mistakes. That’s okay.
(Discussion of situations where I did not tag violence in my noncon / nonconsensual stories.)
Tagging is a skill like any other, and it takes practice. We need to make space in kink for people to make mistakes, make amends, reduce harm, and keep trying.
Once upon a time, when I began writing erotica in 2017, I wrote a size kink novel that told a nonconsensual shrinking story. For various reasons it remains a work in progress. I thought, mistakenly, that just because the tiny was impervious to harm, that it was okay to threaten the tiny with something that would normally be violent. It’s a valid fantasy, but I didn’t tag it. One of my beta readers said it “broke his brain.” At the time, I was perversely delighted that I’d written something that had that much power over another person. I’m not proud of that.
I was not in a place in my life yet where I personally understood the power traumatic experiences can have over a person. (I knew it intellectually, but not with awareness in my own body.) Eventually I realized that I’d caused genuine harm. I look back on that with real regret, and never want to do that again. So. That’s when I started really paying attention to tags.
A few years later I felt a lot more confident with tagging, and made a different kind of mistake. My entry for the Size Riot 2020 CruelJan contest, “A Scarlet R,” had a specific kind of implied violence happen in the story that I really really really should have tagged, but because I don’t play with certain themes I didn’t see it that way. It never even occurred to me. When I got feedback about that I felt so awful that I had failed to tag it, especially since it was already a difficult story. Especially, too, because by then people trusted me and expected me to tag my stories.
So, even when we have the best of intentions, we will likely miss some things that simply aren’t on our radar. Often I’m still finding new things to tag each time I edit or re-read a story. It’s hard to get distance from our own work, (thank goodness for beta and sensitivity readers) and it’s an exercise in empathy to imagine a story through the eyes of someone who might be upset by our own most beloved erotic fantasies.
We all hurt each other, and usually don’t mean to. What matters is what we do after that happens. Do we listen when someone says “ouch”? Do we react? Do we respond? Do we try to help? Do we decide to do differently next time? That’s what matters most to me.
I have learned a lot since 2017, and tag things more accurately and thoroughly now. One thing I learned is that other people will see things that I miss, or interpret differently. That’s why I try to make space for various kinds of beta readers (always compensate sensitivity readers!) and why I welcome help in tagging—please let me know when I have missed anything important.
The Top 15 Tags to Always Use
(This section will contain mentions and discussions of a variety of kink-related tags, including death, violence, blood, rape, abuse, drug and alcohol use, weight play, and more. I will not be tagging each paragraph here.)
What are the top tags to use? The highest-priority tags in 1-8 correlate to the first question I ask myself, “What could cause harm if someone had trauma around it?” The remaining topics are commonly taboo or galvanizing.
- Violence, crush, stomp, destruction, smother, impact play
- Blood, gore, marks, bruises, pain
- Rape, nonconsensual/noncon, dubious consent/dubcon, unaware, sleep/somnophilia, hypnosis, mind control
- Abuse (physical, emotional, or mental)
- Drug/alcohol use, addiction
- Weight play, weight gain/loss, obesity, binging, starvation, food denial
- Medical play, viruses, medical conditions/disabilities, mental health
- Insertion, unbirth
- Anthro/furry, pup play, pet play
- Transformation, objectification
- Toilet play, watersports, farting, scat, diaper play
- Incest, age play, age regression
There are many other tags that some might consider equally important, and I’ll provide a list below to browse. But these are the top kinds of content that are either common in size kink or that are most likely to produce a visceral reaction.
Visceral in this context means deep physical responses and emotions that a person may not have any control over. If those feelings are positive for that person, then great! That’s why we’re here, to explore pleasure in its many forms. But what do you do about the possible negative reactions?
Tags help us plan ahead and take care of our people who may have personal experience with one or more items on this list, who don’t get any say in whether or not their body’s nervous system goes into survival mode. Tags help us play responsibly, maintain boundaries, and reduce harm to vulnerable groups.
You may be having some strong feelings while reading that list. Maybe you’re struggling to empathize with people who explore some of these topics. Maybe you’re feeling defensive, angry, confused, embarrassed, or ashamed of how you relate to one or more of the themes on the list, or how I’ve categorized them. It’s okay to have big emotions come up. (I certainly did. There’s more than one reason it took me three years to write this.)
All of these topics relate to common fantasies that can be negotiated and safely explored by consenting adults. If your body is turned on by any of these “shadow” topics, you are not alone.
I’ve written about this in Embracing My Inner Size Slut and in the intro to my story A Scarlet R, but it’s worth repeating. This is what I learned from my first kink-informed therapist on my own struggle with my noncon fantasies:
Having fantasies where sex acts are forced on you or others does not mean you want to act on them in real life, or that you do not understand trauma or lack compassion for survivors of violence. It means your body responds to a fantasy, and you get to decide what you want to do with that information. We are not our thoughts, and we are not our fantasies. Some survivors find healing and liberation through exploration of noncon fantasies, and that’s okay. Some never want to interact with these themes again, and that’s okay too. As long as every real person involved in your fantasy play is a fully informed consenting adult, then the act you are participating in is inherently consensual.
It’s okay if your relationship to these topics changes, too. A common trope in size kink stories and art has been the “shrinking/growing virus” concept. I haven’t run the numbers, but nobody would be surprised if this trope became less popular after 2020. No art exists in a vacuum, and the context has changed. It makes sense why someone would have a hard time getting turned on by a virus story during a pandemic. And yet! Some people may find themselves turning to this topic as a way to process really difficult experiences. In the last two years I’ve seen more people than ever exploring kinks with masks or medical settings. I myself wrote a story about a sizeshifter turning to her lover for help with burnout during quarantine. People have been using BDSM and kink to process “shadow” emotions, painful experiences, and dark topics for a very, very long time. So if this is you, then you’re in good company. Just remember to tag when you play.
One argument I’ve heard against tagging is that a particular topic is used in a gentle way. The foot in question is cuddled, or the Giantess wakes up and finds it cute that someone has been exploring her body without asking permission. Or the city destruction doesn’t really count because it was a dream or reality magically resets at the end of the story. If the action happens “onsceen” and is described or drawn in detail, then there is an old part of the human brain that may not understand the threat isn’t real. (Especially if you’ve lived through sexual assault or the destruction of a city in war or natural disaster.) If the action happens “offscreen,” in exposition, it may feel less visceral. Ask yourself if the story would be changed by taking it out, and if so that’s one way to know it merits a tag.
In another example, it is true that vore doesn’t always involve death, violence, blood, or a noncon aspect. There are many sweet stories that involve friendly, safe interactions on that topic. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most galvanizing kinks in SizeTwitter because of the visceral responses it gives people, both positive and negative.
Every person is different in the way that their bodies respond to these topics. Many allosexual people respond to these themes sexually, but some asexual people find their bodies responding in different ways that are no less powerful. (It is definitely possible to be kinky and asexual.) People can also have intense positive responses to one topic and intense negative responses to something very similar. They’re not being hypocritical; their body has some context that you don’t have, since you don’t share any of their life experiences.
For example, my body gets turned on by fantasies around noncon and emotional abuse, but not physical abuse. I adore food play and mouthplay, which is sometimes called “soft vore,” but my nervous system identifies oral vore as a physical violence. Illogically, I feel drawn to “insertion,” which many people categorize as a form of vore, such as vaginal vore or anal vore. None of those things activate my amygdala and my body’s alarm bells the way oral vore does, however irrational that may seem. (If I described my past trauma, you might understand, but nobody should have to bare their scars to be believed about their own experiences every time they ask for help.) I have a strong enough reaction to the word “vore” itself that I gave up trying to use versions of it in sexual contexts and began using “insertion” instead.
Everyone is different, and every word has nuance. Another word for insertion and vaginal vore is “unbirth,” which often has a connotation of going through the vagina and entering the uterus. (Despite this connotation, many use it interchangeably with vaginal vore, to the point where F-List had fourteen other subcategories for other kinds of vore, but did not list vaginal vore at all.) Some folks find unbirth deeply comforting and erotic, and there are overlaps with breeding kinks and age regression. Personally, as a person who wanted but cannot have children, I have an even stronger reaction to this word than I do to vore. Yet for someone with a breeding kink, “unbirth” might sound vastly sexier than the somewhat clinical “insertion.”
If a lot of this sounds irrational, that’s because it is. Our bodies aren’t in the business of being rational. They’re in the business of surviving, avoiding pain, and seeking pleasure. They evolved biochemical processes to keep us alive and safe from things we perceive to be violent (fear response) or poisonous/venomous/spoiled (disgust response). It takes a lot of time and mental and emotional energy to try re-wiring those processes, especially when we’ve been through dangerous experiences.
There are a variety of theories about how kinks happen, especially for things that might cross into those dangers or taboo topics, but that’s beyond the scope of this article. (If you’re interested, Chapter Two of Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are has a breakdown on the science behind our brains learning what is and is not sexually relevant to a particular culture or person. I do wish it went more in-depth on taboo topics, but it’s a good entry-level discussion.)
You don’t necessarily need to know why your body responds to these themes. You just need to decide what you want to do with that information. If you decide to play, then how you play matters, especially in public spaces like Size Twitter.
Tagging your stories, artwork, videos, and tweets is the only way I know for you to give others the chance to opt in or out of that sexual experience with fully informed consent.
Tags important to the size kink community
This Google spreadsheet contains an incomplete list of 250+ kink tags, 130+ of which I have marked as specific to the size kink community, or which show up more often for us than for others. (Privacy reminder: log out of your main Google account to view it, or use an incognito browser window.)
Each kink tag has been marked if they can be or often are related to the top 15 tags. I did this to help people with muting, but I did an imperfect job with it. There’s simply a lot I don’t know, and if I made mistakes please know I mean no offense. It’s really hard for me to work on it.
There’s also a tab on 15 of the most commonly used size tags with measurements in Imperial and Metric, and notes like how the heck to pronounce “Brobdnignagian.” Many thanks to Freepassunlimited for helping me with the conversions!
Due to the nature of how algorithms silo people into specific groups on social media, the terms that seem most common to me may not be what’s common to you and your circles. We may have different definitions and priorities. Language is a tool meant to adapt with us to meet our needs. If this doesn’t work for you, I fully support redefining and using different terms!
I originally began with the tagging system on F-List, then cross-referenced GiantessWorld, Giantess City, Coiled Fist, and Daddy’s Dollhouse. I added a dozen items like “unaware” and “handheld,” while removing others not relevant outside the various platforms. If anyone wants to use this list to branch out and craft your own, I think that’s a great idea.
I plan to update it over time, hopefully with a column for short definitions. I am open to suggestions as long as nobody expects instantaneous updates and understands my mental health may not always allow me to work on this project.
Translating tags between size kink & broader communities
(Discussion of consent and different ways of presenting non-consensual / rape as a topic, for communities and survivors. Links to free resources for survivors at the end.)
The tagging reference I shared above is only one way of doing things. As I mentioned in the Digital Tagging Cultures, different communities prioritize different things, and sharing content across various platforms often requires some translation.
Consider the difference between how I tagged my story, Anne & The King’s Miniaturist, on my own website following Size Twitter norms, and how it needed to be presented on GWA:
Anne & the King’s Miniaturist — 3121 words. 26-minute audio. A size kink scene between a Duchess and an artist with a secret, set quite literally against one of the most notorious paintings of King Henry VIII’s reign. Tags: F/m, shrunken man, dubious consent, oral sex, some antiquated language, and English history from the Tudor period. Published 2020 in the Size Riot contest, here in 2022.
Anne and the King’s Miniaturist
F4A – [extreme size difference] [shrinking] [Giantess] [dubcon] [rape] [oral sex] [antiquated language] [history] [Tudor England] [painting] 26 minutes. A size kink scene between a Duchess and an artist with a secret, set quite literally against one of the most notorious paintings of King Henry VIII’s reign. Read it & more at ellelargesse.com. Story and audio copyright 2022, Elle Largesse.
Notice any differences, beyond the need for brackets on Reddit? One is gender. The Size Twitter tag format prioritizes the genders and sizes of the characters. The GWA tag format prioritizes the gender of the voice actor and the gender of the intended audience, in this case “A” for all genders.
Another difference is that for GWA’s broad audience, I included additional tags like “extreme size difference” and “Giantess” to help find the few audiophiles among thousands there who enjoy size kink. What’s considered extreme there is very, very normal on Size Twitter, and very few people would tag it every single time unless they were hoping to catch some random followers from Twitter’s general audience of 396 million users.
The most important difference is the way I needed to replace “dubcon” with “rape.” As a subreddit, GWA maintains strict rules to uphold Reddit policies, one of which is an understandable rule about consent. “If an audio contains any value of non-consent or non-consent play, it must be tagged with the [RAPE] or [rape] tag. If it is not, it will be removed. Further explanation of the particular flavor of non-consent may be put in the body of the post if explanation is needed or desired. [non-con], [nc], [rape-ish] etc are not valid tags on GWA and will be removed. Rape is a binary. It is or it is not. If it even possibly is, then the [rape] tag is needed.”
The difference in the digital tagging cultures is partly due to the fact that GWA’s community is moderated closely and Twitter is not moderated at all. What’s enforceable? What’s the best option for the community at large? For survivors? What reduces harm?
I worked for years at a nonprofit serving survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I get it. I understand why presenting consent and non-consent as a binary is a clear and low-risk way to support survivors in a variety of situations.
I also know survivors who are writers, artists, and readers, who want to explore different themes around consent, dubious consent, and nonconsensual fantasies, and using the word “rape” is painful for them. They know what it’s like to be told the only true consent is enthusiastic, and then wonder where that leaves them when sex makes them feel nervous or afraid just as much as it makes them feel excited and loved.
Consent Wizardry has some excellent work on access and inclusion on this topic: “Requiring enthusiasm in consent does not consider trauma, disability, SW, chronic pain, people trying to get pregnant, survivors trying to work with their triggers. Requiring enthusiasm poses a barrier to exploration, curiosity, and learning new things. I might be curious to try something and nervous about it. That’s not gonna look like enthusiasm. But please don’t deprive me of an opportunity to explore my curiosity.”
And so, having nuanced language to talk about different kinds of experiences can also be vital. An example might be, “My self-insert character wasn’t sure when the sex started at the beginning of the story, but by the end realized she was really into it, so I’m calling it ‘dubcon’ and making up my own tag of ‘reluctance’ followed by ‘enthusiasm’.” If that person had to tag their own work with “rape,” they may not have shared it, or written anything at all.
I personally feel like there are merits to both systems. Know the culture of the platform and communities you want to explore. What do the majority of the people there feel is harmful or helpful? Know what they’re asking of you and why, and if it doesn’t feel like the right place for you, then your options are to either ask for help, ask for changes, or leave to find or make a new space that feels better.
Resources: If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual harassment, trauma, abuse, or assault, I strongly suggest seeking advice and counseling from trained professionals. Some organizations that offer free resources are: RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) hotline at 800-656-HOPE; National Sexual Violence Resource Center to search for local help; Trans Lifeline Crisis Hotline by and for the transgender community at 877-565-8860; National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
If safety is an illusion, is tagging worth it?
(Trauma recovery, PTSD, veterans, war.) One argument I hear about tags is that in this world, safety is an illusion. None of us are ever really safe, and I can never predict all the things that might trigger a trauma response in my audiences. Mistakes are inevitable.
In mainstream media, content warnings can be controversial, to the point where people crowdsource their own resources such as doesthedogdie.com. Even Amazon, which keeps a broad variety of streaming video where content warnings are accepted as good, turns around and punishes authors for including content warnings, banning their books until they move their tags to their own private websites. To quote monster romance writer C.M. Nascota, “Isn’t it tragic that Amazon would rather see readers be uninformed? As a reader I would love to know exactly what I’m in for with every book, particularly if it’s asking me to step outside my comfort zone. We can’t know every person’s triggers, but we can responsibly give our readers the opportunity to opt in or out.”
I know I can never truly keep my readers 100% safe, and honestly I wouldn’t want to. Emotional growth, creative growth, rarely happen in pure perfect comfort. But they also thrive when an artist or writer is happy and healthy.
So, in light of that. Is it worth the extra mental labor, the time, the character space in our tweets? I have heard others say—and I have asked myself many times—that maybe we should just grow a thicker skin and desensitize ourselves to it.
Neuroscience shows us a path forward. Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk wrote a powerful bestselling book on trauma recovery, The Body Keeps the Score.
He writes about how desensitization therapy, helping patients become less reactive to certain emotions and sensations, has been the prevailing treatment for PTSD for the last twenty years.
“As the neuroscientist Jean Decety at the University of Chicago has shown, desensitization to our own or other people’s pain tends to lead to an overall blunting of emotional sensitivity. A 2010 report on 49,425 veterans with newly diagnosed PTSD from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who sought care from the VA showed that fewer than one out of ten actually completed the recommended treatment. As in Pitman’s Vietnam veterans, exposure treatment, as currently practiced, rarely works for them.”
Dr. Van Der Kolk argues for techniques that help a person with integration, “putting the traumatic event into its proper place in the overall arc of one’s life.” He devotes an entire chapter to research on writing as a way to help people integrate trauma. I honestly believe this is one of the strongest arguments for supporting and celebrating survivors to explore dark, taboo topics in erotic art and stories. Something only safe enough to try on our own terms with precautions like content tags.
The Body Keeps the Score may be worth exploring if trauma has touched your life or someone you care about. Unfortunately, ironically, the book does not come with content tags and is such an intense read that it’s taken me over six months to get 75% through it. Be gentle with yourself. It’s not quite to the level of desensitization therapy, but it’s also nowhere near as accessible as it could be.
When we could tag things, and decide not to, we are making decisions about who is welcome in our space.
Do trauma survivors belong in our kink community?
If you feel that we do have a place here, please know that not tagging content sends us the opposite message: you are only welcome here if you can sufficiently numb yourself.
There are some deeper messages that come with setting that bar so high. You are only welcome here if you don’t ask people to change how they do things. You are only welcome here if you can hide your struggles and value others’ comfort over your own. You are only welcome if you stop asking for what you need.
Do we want a community where the baseline strength required is a neurotypical mind that never has to worry about trauma, that can look at painful things without any warnings and have no hard reactions? I want a Size Twitter where people can see a tag and know “this isn’t for me, but I’m glad it makes you happy” and scroll past without stopping, without dread, tears, and a life interrupted. I want respect and connection. That’s it.
I’m not going to stop asking for what I need. I know that there are many others in this space who have similar struggles, some who are vocal about it like me, and many more who only talk about it privately or not at all. I’m not going to stay quiet about this any more.
I am not exaggerating when I admit that it has taken me three years to write this. Three years, two therapists, a lot of EMDR trauma processing, countless triggers and panic attacks, ten pages of notes, and untold drafts.
If I publish this and nothing changes, then I will have my answer. I might eventually join many others who have disappeared from the community, by burning out, by withdrawing a little more and a little more, just to preserve my health. At least I will know I tried.
Then again, Size Twitter feels like one of the few corners of the world where someone will understand me when I say “I feel small right now.” Is it worth hurting myself and my mental health to stay close to that rare mutual understanding? It would be very hard to leave and go back to being alone in my AiWS. I hope it never comes to that.
Dr. Van Der Kolk does a lot of amazing things in The Body Keeps the Score, but I’ll draw your attention to how he outlines four fundamental truths about recovery:
“(1) Our capacity to destroy one another is matched by our capacity to heal one another. Restoring relationships and community is central to restoring well-being; (2) language gives us the power to change ourselves and others by communicating our experiences, helping us to define what we know, and finding a common sense of meaning; (3) we have the ability to regulate our own physiology, including some of the so-called involuntary functions of the body and brain, through such basic activities as breathing, moving, and touching; and (4) we can change social conditions to create environments in which children and adults can feel safe and where they can thrive. When we ignore these quintessential dimensions of humanity, we deprive people of ways to heal from trauma and restore their autonomy.”
I believe it’s worth it to strive for those four things, even here in this small community on the outskirts of pleasure and fantasy.
I have witnessed in others and felt personally the way tags help with each of those elements. Tags build trust, the foundation of relationships and community. Tags leverage the power of language as a tool, allowing us to try new ideas, change our own minds, and explore meaning in our bodies. Tags grant a person the agency to regulate their own body and experience of it.
And when communities agree to tag certain things regularly, a culture and an environment becomes possible that supports people to feel safe enough to thrive.