We’re just people who fuck … and buy each other Christmas gifts?

Sometimes I worry that online shopping is my greatest skill. Seriously, I’m the kind of girl who not only has three Amazon wishlists for herself (one for stuff I’d like as gifts, one for boring stuff I need to buy myself and one for stuff to treat myself to – which is mostly erotica), but also has a private one that runs all year round with gift ideas for the people I love. I don’t technically *start* my Christmas shopping until November, but usually I know long before then what everyone else is getting. I don’t understand why people put themselves through the hell of the high street in December when there’s so much good stuff being made and sold by independent designer/makers and retailers. And books. If you have no other ideas, there are always books. Don’t even get me started on the joys of wrapping …

As usual with my blog posts, none of the above has that much to do with the central point here. The point is that, despite all my fabulous lines about how much I don’t care about him, about how we’re not even friends, just two people who fuck, I think I’ve pretty much undermined that with a lot of what I write here, so it probably won’t kill me to admit that, yeah, not buying him anything feels weird.

Actually, since I’ve known him I have bought him gifts at Christmas. Except for this year. Look, I’m trying to stay emotionally detached, ok?! He doesn’t buy me stuff, except for my birthday last year, when he did (best that I leave the specifics to your imagination!) This post isn’t about accusing him of a lack of generosity – he’s definitely well up on the tally chart when it comes to paying for drinks when we’re out and about, nor, really, about accusing him of not caring enough – he’s never made any promises regarding affection – it’s just that buying people stuff is one of the key ways I demonstrate to people that I like them, but I can’t do it with him because it just makes me look stupid.

So, essentially, I don’t want him to buy me a gift because I think I deserve to get stuff from him, or even because, whether I deserve it or not, I want it anyway (and don’t get me wrong, I do *love* it when guys buy me flowers). I’d like him to buy me a gift because then it means I can do  the same for him. Because, in my opinion, when it comes to saying ‘I care,’ nothing says it like ‘I spent twenty minutes tying this ribbon and it still looks wonky and shit.’

The things that make us who we are …

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what it is that’s stopping me from going after what I really want when it comes to love. Sure, I’ve dabbled with internet dating, but I hate it. And recently, I’ve realised that, unlike many people who hate it because it can be depressing and it takes up precious time, I hate it because it means confronting my biggest fear: that no one will want me.

As ever, no melodrama intended – that’s just my honest world view. One of the things that has surprised me most since setting up this blog is the followers I feel I have most in common with are not the sex bloggers, but the relationship bloggers. That’s not to say that there aren’t some fab and supportive sex and erotica bloggers out there (if you haven’t read Kristina Lloyd or Alison Tyler you really, really should), but the girls who write about their search for Mr Right have been kinder and more interested in what I’m doing here than I could ever have hoped for.

Because relationships are my greatest hang up. Technically, I’ve never had one. How did that happen? Well, it’s a pretty long story….

Why do you walk like that?

I’ve touched on some of the issues in this post before. My very first post was about my slight disability and the way complete strangers react to it, but it’s not always complete strangers. The first person I ever felt wasn’t able to accept that my body wasn’t normal was my mum.

This isn’t some kind of attempt to pass the blame for all my insecurities back to my parents – they’re fantastic, and I adore them. In fact, when I first went to therapy, the first thing I said was that I had no interest in trying to pass the buck back to them for how I got so fucked up. But my mum hasn’t always got it right. She walks at 100mph, for example, and I’ve always been expected to keep up. My dad is generally better at recognising that this is tricky for me but when I was a kid, we got taken into his office every Christmas Eve and every year I fell over on the walk from the station and ended up in awful emergency Sock Shop tartan tights.

Not only do I have to keep up though: I have to walk properly. I’ve got much better at this – until very recently I was becoming more agile, not less. She’d say things like ‘You’re walking badly today – are you tired/not concentrating/wearing uncomfortable shoes?’ Often, yes, one of the above – but who isn’t one of those things much of the time. When I paid close attention to every step, I walked better but at the expense of becoming massively self-conscious. It’s never gone away.

No one wants to kiss me

All through primary school, no one noticed that I wasn’t as co-ordinated as every else. Then, when I started secondary school, all that changed. Not only was there a fair amount of teasing, there was also the hell of school discos and under-18s club nights. All the other girls would spend most of the evening with some boy’s tongue down their throat while I hovered on the edge of the group, desperate for the evening to end. Did my disability mean that I was a terrible dancer? Actually, I have no idea – I’m a pretty cautious dancer, but I don’t know if that’s because my body won’t let me be otherwise, or just because I’ve never had the guts to properly throw some shapes. In the end, I was 17 before I had my first kiss and then, irony of all ironies, 17 and a half when I lost my virginity. In a nightclub.

Older men

When the boys your age aren’t interested, you’ll turn elsewhere for male attention in the end. I have a lot more to say about crushes on teachers, so I’ll write about it in more detail later, but let’s just say that most of the years from 15-18 I wasn’t interested in anyone who didn’t take a register. Wanting to impress helped me to get into one of the best universities in the country, but the opportunities for sex there were far and few between too. Plus ca change …

Just good friends

My first grad job was in the middle of nowhere, and my first good friend in that job was senior to me, but behaved at least five years younger than I was. He was a terrible flirt, and he had a Geordie accent that left me weak at the knees. We spent increasing amounts of time together until he decided to tackle the fact that I clearly fancied him head on. He wasn’t ‘in a good place for a relationship,’ which turned out to mean that he’d been in love with his girlfriend’s twin sister for nearly seven years and the idea of moving on was completely alien to him.

That rang true with me. I started seeing a therapist about a year later and one of the first things she asked me was why I thought I continued to be drawn to him despite the fact that we didn’t want the same things. My answer: he doesn’t want to sleep with me.

Now, looking back, that seems odd, even to me. I’m unapologetic about how much I love sex – chasing it, talking about it, having it. But I didn’t want to have sex with anyone I really cared about – I couldn’t face the fact that the morning after they’d inevitably wake up knowing that I’m bad in bed and liking me less because of it. But I stuck with it nonetheless, increasingly unhappy. For two whole years.

What ended it? He met someone, obviously. Someone younger, stick thin, and with no tits to speak of. It’s rare that I don’t love my cleavage, but we had a rough few weeks around that time.

Friends with benefits

Of course, looking back I can see that he didn’t end up with someone else purely because my body was a disappointment to him. It probably wasn’t a disappointment at all – it was probably just that he didn’t fancy me. Or that he wanted someone who was less emotional, less of a drama queen. And that’s ok. Well, ok to an extent – we’ve never salvaged the friendship, but he collects stuffed meerkats now, so I consider myself to have had a lucky escape.

Hopefully all of the above makes it clearer why I consider the current boy  (wow, nearly wrote relationship there!) to be something of a break through. The first time I slept with him I honestly expected that I would never see him again – I certainly never imagined that two years on, despite huge ups and downs, we’d still be fucking, or that I’d be comfortable enough with him to not need to pull my clothes back on straight after sex or to always need a few drinks beforehand.

Of course, the things that don’t work in this arrangement have been well-documented over the last few days – I’m reluctant to lose what we do have, but I know that if I stay, I’ll be giving up a massive chunk of my dreams. I can argue until I’m blue in the face that I’d rather have a baby by myself, but honestly? It’s self-defensive bullshit. I would have one by myself, absolutely, if I don’t find anyone to have one with. But would I rather find someone to raise my children with, someone to slob in front of the telly with, someone who loves my body and who wants to be my friend? Well, obviously. Who wouldn’t?

Playing stupid

Weirdly, I was going to write a very different post tonight about playing stupid and then someone left a very interesting comment on my post on endings from a couple of days back. And now this is a very different post on endings.

I’ve known for a while now that the boy plays games – I didn’t know from the start but I’ve known for long enough that I should have just walked away already. He doesn’t want monogamy until I do, and then suddenly, just as I threaten to walk away, that card suddenly appears on the table. Which is a surprise, because it turns out that other girls have been dealt the monogamy card too. At the same time.

So knowing all that, I really should call it quits, right? A story: the last guy who hurt me promised we could still be friends. I moved away. He said he’d come and visit. I invited him. No reply. When I next saw him I asked if he ‘d just forgotten to reply. But no, eventually he admitted that his girlfriend wouldn’t let him. Now, that’s fine – but be honest about it. I’d moved to a new city, where I knew no one and I just wanted to fill my weekends. If he’d said no, I’d have freed up the space for something else, but a no reply makes that harder. And, just as you’ll have guessed, we no longer even try to be friends.

The current boy is cleverer. He makes me feel special, then he disappears, then he makes me feel special again. It’s like being on the waltzers, and I hate fairground rides. When he wants to be in my life, his presence can make me almost claustrophobic – he’s joining in my Twitter conversations with people he wants to befriend, texting me, emailing – all stuff that would be perfectly acceptable if it wasn’t followed by huge periods of silence.

And, as I’ve blogged about in other posts there are other upsides too, such as the way he makes me feel about my body. But the result of being on such a constant roller coaster can be devastating, especially for someone like me, whose mental health is fragile at the best of times. Last time I ended it I didn’t sleep all night, then I had a massive panic attack and ended up taking a day off work. That’s still fresh enough to not want to end it again right now.

I don’t really know how to end this post. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I’m not stupid, and deep down I know he doesn’t care about me. That he’s lying to me. It’s just that sometimes it’s easier to stay than to go, right ? I wish he’d be honest with me , that’s all.

It’s not easy being … monogamous

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.

By way of introduction …

Last night, the boy in my life wrote at length about why he doesn’t like receiving oral sex. I love going down on him, and while I knew that he doesn’t tend to come that way, I didn’t realise that he wasn’t even that keen on the act per se. What struck me most when I read it is that, although we’ve been fucking for two years, it isn’t something he’s felt able to tell me to my face.

Continue reading