One of the things I’ve always said to everyone who has ever appeared on the blog with me, including partners, friends, lovers, and even exes, is that should they ever decide they don’t want to be on here anymore, be that days, weeks, months, or even years from now, I will absolutely 100% respect those wishes. They can revoke their consent for me to share about them at literally any time. For the last six years nobody had ever asked to be removed before though, until it finally happened this past September when an ex reached out and made the request.
It wasn’t just pictures they wanted gone it was also any and all mentions of them, big or small. They essentially wanted the site completely scrubbed of our entire relationship. Which is totally fair and an eventuality that I was expecting to happen someday, but considering that we had been together for over two-years, and that I wrote about my intimate life in great detail, that meant there was a lot to comb through. In fact, at first I found myself completely overcome with anxiety about the undertaking. It just felt like extremely daunting.
To my pleasant surprise, it was shockingly a very easy process!
In total I permanently removed 23 posts, deleted over 40 images, heavily edited around 12 personal pieces, and altered about 20 additional small, casual mentions of them in other areas. And it all took less than 3-hours!
So, to all of my fellow sex bloggers out there, while the process may seem intimidating at first please know that it’s a lot more doable, and is much less overwhelming, than you may think! I hope this post helps alleviate some anxiety while also providing a but more information to help out.
Here are a few things of note that came up over this process for me:
Some Impacted Content Can Be Salvaged
While it’s important to delete the stuff explicitly featuring the person who wants to be removed from your site, especially nudes and images featuring their likeness in any way, don’t go overboard with deleting the things that aren’t actually really about them. It’s easy to panic and purge everything that even vaguely insinuates their existence when, really, with some patience and creative thinking you can likely salvage a lot of your blog content through some basic reworking. While it might feel a little odd re-writing stuff to erase somebody who was once an intimate part of your life, your blog and your voice is also important!
So, take the time you need to change the context of some intros, rework the framing of topics, and/or rewrite your cornerstone content pieces to be more generalized, if need be, rather than stripping your site of everything that your readers found meaningful and helpful.
Your Blog’s Search Function and Tagging System is Your Friend
Now, if you’ve been on the ball since the beginning, then hopefully any and all posts that discuss the person you’re removing from your blog will already be tagged in some way that makes them easy to find. For my ex there was both their pseudonym, which I could easily search for and edit any posts that mentioned them, and there was a custom tag for their pet name that I had applied to stuff that was more explicitly and directly about them. This made the entire process of purging it all extremely streamlined.
And if you approach things with a bit of a gameplan in mind, you can get most of it down in one go.
Delete Pictures Properly
Don’t forget, deleting a post doesn’t delete your photo uploads. Most blogging platforms are pretty intuitive with site design and content generation which means you can also be perma-deleting pictures from your site as you’re going through your posts. For me, using WordPress as my platform, it was as simple as finding the images in my media upload tool and clicking the “Delete permanently” button while I was editing posts and my old photo galleries. It may look different for you, but using your editing tools as you go should make for a smoother job.
That being said…
Make Sure You Look Through Your Media Library
You’d be surprised how many pics just kind of linger on your blog. Sure, there are all the obvious ones from the posts that you erased but now it’s time that you can double check you really got everything the first round of deletions. For example, on a couple of occasions I found an extra picture from a shoot that I ultimately decided not to include in the original post, yet uploaded with the others, so there it was sitting in my library still. And that’s not counting some group sex and/or polycule related pictures that my ex was in, which also ultimately had to go too.
It’s paramount that you make sure to take a real close look at everything you uploaded during the date range your ex is likely to have been featured on your site.
Now, let’s say you’ve done your due diligence and cleared it all…
It’s Not an Instantaneous Process
Once I had deleted every single post about them, edited them out of the content that they were just mentioned in, and altered all my past content to effectively wipe any reference to our relationship at all, I was surprised to learn that they could still access images on their devices which I no longer had available to me on any of mine. Turns out that some servers seem to keep website caches for a few days before purging them, which meant that while all the content and images were scrubbed from the site on my end it would still take up to a week for that to be reflected elsewhere.
Here it’s important to note too that while you may have done all you can to get rid of what your ex partner or lover wants gone, the internet is still forever. Chances are that some of that stuff is on the Wayback Machine for good, and turns out that Google indexes a lot of stuff that takes quite a while for it to not appear in search results. As of today, I still see a couple photos of my ex on Google, as well as posts mentioning them, from some search results despite me having gotten rid of them over four weeks ago now. Most of it is gone, but traces remain and may still be around for who knows how long.
Feeling Weird About it is Okay
Whether your bond with this person was monagamous or open, long or short, or if it ended amicably or hurtfully, it’s tough taking down a big chunk of your intimate life. Maybe you feel sad about erasing your history with this person because of linger feelings, or maybe you are a little upset about how it impacts the story of your life that you’ve been sharing, or maybe you’re just super frustrated that now a huge chunk of content you’ve generated on your blog is all gone. All of those feels are valid!
But never forget that your sex blog is about more than the people you’re intimate with. It’s about empowering your readers to better know themselves through reading your personal experiences. It’s about putting sex and body positivity into a world that fosters very toxic ideals around those things, and it’s about challenging the shame and stigmatization ingrained in us all about our sexuality, pleasure, and bodily autonomy.
Even if you’re having to get rid of a lot, I promise that you still have so much more to share and write. So, please, don’t get too disheartened and keep on blogging! Take all the time you need, then build.