Early this morning I flew back into London to a perfect dawn. The whole sky was orange, and it was truly beautiful. I was tired, and groggy and coming down with a cold, but I was happy. I’d spent the past two days having great sex with someone I really care about and who I’ve missed, someone who knows, in the bedroom at least, just how far they can push me.
Just above my left breast is a tiny purple bruise, subtle, but painful when pressed – the best kind. Sure, it’ll fade, but it’s the best souvenir I could have brought back. Sometimes it feels like my whole sex life is a quest for good memories – even the most knee-trembling orgasm fades; but the feel of a guy’s come inside me, or the ache from a bruise lasts longer – it can be taken back out into the world and enjoyed over and over again – if you watch closely you’ll see me slide two fingers under the neckline of my dress from time to time and press down on the skin – I’m remembering how good it felt to get that mark in the first place.
I may be wrong, but I think this is the first time I’ve been honest with him about liking low-level pain. It’s the first time I’ve been honest with him about other stuff, too: the first time I’ve been willing to admit that yes, if it’s snowing and slippy I *am* scared of falling, and I would rather hold on to him. The first time I’ve been willing to go to bed dishevelled post-bath and been more than happy for him to find me that way, holed up under the duvet, prioritizing snug over sexy.
Sometimes I think I’ve spent years trying too hard. I always want to be sexy in a traditional, girly kind of way – you know, matching underwear, great cleavage, good cook, when the reality is that actually, I don’t have the restraint or discipline to be that kind of girl – I’m too loud, too curvy, too honest, too emotional and my behaviour reflects that – I eat chocolate for breakfast, for example. Yes, most days.
And this weekend it felt like he didn’t care. Like I was hottest in big jumpers, drinking too much, asking stupid questions. As if as long as I was being fun, it didn’t matter that I came ill-prepared for seduction – yes, I bought new, fancy underwear for the trip, but he ended up having to sever the tag on the knickers with a corkscrew, because I hadn’t brought scissors and therefore couldn’t get it off. When he tried to play chivalrous and help me put my coat on at the end of the evening, I handed him my phone and bra to hold instead, because I’m happy for the concierge to see my nipples if it means I don’t have to go to the effort of putting everything back on. And, finally, finally I felt like I could be me and still be sexy. That realisation’s been a long time coming.
But when the confidence and happiness take you by surprise that way, it inevitably takes you equally by surprise when they’re yanked from underneath you. Because I fucked up: I fell for a guy who likes to have multiple partners, and I, well, I just don’t. Sometimes it’s easy to ignore. He’s overseas, after all and that makes it easier to turn a blind eye, easier but still not always possible. I live by the motto that what I don’t know can’t hurt me, but if the information’s out there somewhere and it’s down to me whether I look or not, I always will. Even when I know it’ll make me cry.
And that’s what happened this afternoon – I saw something I didn’t want to see, and now I can’t go back to not knowing. All I can do is learn from it, and what I choose to learn is that I have to get better at not seeing monogamy as some kind of personal failure. Sure, this blog will never be a rich source of all the different things I’ve done with different men who all thought I was the best thing since sliced bread, but then, that wasn’t why I set it up. If it means I write mainly about him, and the handful of boys who preceded him, I’m not going to apologise for that. I like boys, and I like sex, and I like writing about them. I just have to learn to do it my way.