Monday morning, 2 a.m.

I look at the Sunday bus times and then realise it’s not Sunday at all.

It’s Monday morning. Shit.

I have to stop doing this. I have to stop chasing pleasure, be it sex, wine or an hour of quiet time to myself, at the expense of a good night’s sleep.

But god, it’s a hard habit to break. I’m braless and smudged, damp-eyed from yawning, but my mind still way too active to drift off.

I watch the dark motorway glide past as the coach slides through the night: devoid of life bar the occasional lorry or stretch of floodlit roadworks. This night-owl version of me reminds me of my younger self, writing through the night and pacing the corridor of my uni halls at 6 a.m. waiting for people to surface.

At home I’ll finally look in a mirror and be horrified by my birds-nest hair and tired skin. And then I’ll think, fuck it, he made me feel beautiful. The clock reads 2 a.m., at least, and my chances of being on time for work in the morning are pretty much zero.

I make a cup of tea and take it up to bed with a funsize Twix, because what good is sex if it’s not followed by food? And then I write it down, not the sex, not this time, but the little things that happened afterwards and made me realise I was happy.

It’s not a bad way to start the week.

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23:30

It’s 23:30 and I’m sat, naked, on the sofa, where I’ve been since he left. It doesn’t sound good, does it? I’m cold, now, but I wasn’t an hour ago – he’s hot in more ways than one – and at half ten I was dripping with a mixture of come, saliva and sweat. So yeah, I’m not as cosy as I could be, but I’m happier than I’ve been for a while.

The worst part isn’t once he’s gone, actually – it’s the ten minutes or so just before he does, when I don’t know what to do with him. Jumping him again is out of the question but I need as much of that physical touch as I can to tide me over until the next time.

We kiss, one last time – him fully clothed again, me not – and I think the cab driver can see us, perhaps. Ah well. He lets himself out and I mean to get up and load the dishwasher but I’m not quite ready to go back to reality just yet. Instead I finish my wine, then the last few mouthfuls of his, and pull the blanket that’s draped over the sofa around me for warmth.

An hour later, I finally, finally drag myself up the stairs. In my bedroom my ‘Let’s make out’ cushion has been tossed to one side, the way it always is whenever there’s been any actual making out going on. I step over my abandoned jeans, pick up my knickers – the ones I wore for all of an hour – and dump them in the laundry basket.

I ache now, a bit – I don’t remember what he did to my arm – whether it was teeth or fingers, but the muscle remembers it, certainly. When I catch sight of myself in the mirror I have what they really mean when they talk about bed head.

It’s a mess, and I don’t know what to do about it. Right now though, I don’t care. Right now I know I’ll sleep better than I have in days.

Wicked Wednesday: First Time

The stories of my first times are scattered round the internet. Girlonthenet has the story of my actual first time. My first real wake up call to kink is this post. First kiss is here.

That leaves two, by my reckoning.

‘Write about your “other virginity”‘ suggested someone on Twitter who’s not usually so coy. Anal, I presume she means.

I could. In truth, I’m a little surprised that I never have written about it. I’m not ashamed of having done it, nor of the fact that I like it, much to the surprise of some of my RL friends, who have only ever had bad experiences of anal. The secret to good anal is quite possibly doing it with a guy who is a) not anti being on the receiving end of it and b) knows his way round a bottle of lube, although I didn’t know that either of those things was the case when he first said ‘I really want to fuck your arse.’

But with anal, although I was undeniably nervous that it would hurt, I liked the fact that it felt like something he was entirely in control of. I can understand why that’s the very aspect of it that might terrify some people, but I like it when the responsibility for something physical is taken entirely out of my hands.

So let’s talk about something where it’s not.

I don’t think about my hard limits all that often anymore, but for a long time, oral, both given and received, was my hardest of limits.

Giving head is a skill, undoubtedly. I still think I’m really shit at it. I still worry about grazing him with my teeth, about gagging, about the fact that I can’t make him come that way.

But I used to think you gave oral in order to get oral.

When did that change? The first time he fucked my mouth so hard that my face was a liquified mess of tears, mascara, saliva and pre-come.

It felt like more of a milestone than anal.

Wicked Wednesday: on snatched sex

One of the best things about sex is being able to take your time over it. Sex that’s made up of endless changes of position, long, languorous bouts of kissing, thrusts that slow to almost nothing before building back up to a frantic rhythm.

But I’m a sucker too for last minute decision sex, sex that’s planned ahead but that has to fit neatly into the slot assigned to it. Sex that’s tight on time, but heavy on sensation.

Last minute decision sex can obviously happen within seconds of the decision being made, but I like it when you have to work at it a bit, when you have to travel a bit further than is strictly reasonable, when you can barely justify it to yourself, let alone other people.

It reminds me a bit of Christmas: it’s ostensibly all about the day itself, but actually everyone knows that the real joy is in the run up and the day after. It’s about how wide my pupils are as I hurriedly brush on mascara in the car’s rearview mirror, about the way my Chanel No. 5 smells when it hasn’t yet had time to mellow on my skin, the way you can lose yourself in the crowd in a busy London pub, the way that first sip of red tastes …

The way he tastes …

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So there’s this bar…

So pretty close to where I live, there’s this wine bar. Which was where I first met the boy.

About a year later, he texted, mid-morning: ‘Did you know the wine bar’s closing?’

I didn’t. I went, not with him, but with a friend, for one last glass after work. I was feeling sentimental.

It takes me a long time to settle in places. Just as I’m beginning to get comfy somewhere, people start to suggest that maybe, for the sake of my career, my desire to have children, for *some reason,* it might be best to move on. And often, I act on that suggestion.

That bar was just a bar. But when I rocked up there to meet the boy for the very first time, it was pretty much my only haunt. I’d been living in the city less than 4 months. I’d made a couple of friends at work, and my best uni friend lived nearby, but nothing felt like home yet.

We met, or went for post-sex drinks there, often, in the early days. And inevitably, I began to associate it with him. It was where I’d tried to decide if I even fancied him. It was where we’d gone together to a wine tasting on our second date and chatted politely to a lot of middle-class, middle-aged men while his hand slid further and further up my thigh…

The night it closed, he rocked up too, eventually. Friend and I left. He texted:

‘Hey, where’d you go?’

I went back. Obviously.

They’d said they would close at eleven or when the wine ran out, whichever came sooner. The wine got progressively worse, but it didn’t dry up. It turned into a lock in. We were both slaughtered.

When they turfed us out in the early hours, I was desperate to have him inside me. We snogged in the street and eventually ducked between a restaurant and an office block. I was wearing jeans, which was my worst decision of the evening, even worse than buying a third bottle. I knelt in the shadows and sucked his cock, and then we tried, pretty unsuccessfully, to fuck against the wall. It wasn’t the best sex we’ve ever had, in fact, it would probably be up there with the worst. If I could remember the details, that is. But it didn’t stop me thinking about it every time I walked past. *Still* thinking about it every time I walk past, for that matter.

And the bar? It reopened six months or so later, under new ownership. I don’t go there much anymore. It’s not the same as it used to be: it’s poncier, all cream paintwork and yummy mummies.

I’m glad it’s still there in one form or another, though. Because, y’know, memories…

Three

In forty-five minutes, the boy and I will have been sleeping together, on and off, for three years.

Fuck, where does the time go?

You’re not supposed to get sentimental about your friend with benefits. They’re the person you fuck when there’s not a better option (that is: a proper relationship). They’re just sex. A stop gap. An itch that needs scratching. A means to an end.

He’s so much more than that to me.

I think he thinks, sometimes, that I don’t like him very much. I wish that was true. Life would be so much easier if he was just someone to fuck: someone whose bed I rolled out of and didn’t think about until I rolled back into it. It would be easier if he didn’t push me, didn’t challenge me, didn’t force me to confront my demons. It would be easier if the sex had been best at the very start, if I wasn’t still learning about what I want in the bedroom. If the thought of losing what we had left me indifferent.

Tonight I went on a date with someone. Someone nice, who I’d happily see again. The type of person who, probably, represents my best shot at happiness. Of course, it probably won’t work out, but if it, or anything else, does, then I think I wouldn’t be what I am right now if it wasn’t for him.

I’ve never bought into what you’re supposed to do. If I want to be sentimental, then fuck it, I’ll be sentimental. The past three years have taught me so much, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

Thank you x

You took the words right out of my –

I hate women who don’t know how to be on their own. You know the ones – the girls who say, ‘God, I don’t know how you cope with being single!’ when their longest period of being out of a relationship is 2 weeks, or, worse still, the ones who say, ‘Oh, I love being single,’ when really, they never are.

But often I think strong feelings like that towards a particular group of people are born out of something uncomfortable that that group reflects back at you. It’s similar, in a way, to what I was getting at when I wrote this.

I’ve been single literally my whole life. It makes me uneasy when, on shows like ‘Take me out,’ girls say ‘I’ve been single for 3 years,’ and everyone gasps. Because if I talked about being single in terms of years, what would I say? When do you start counting? From birth? Sixteen? After uni?

I’ve been single my whole life, but I’ve never truly been without a man. Since my teens I’ve slipped effortlessly from one infatuation to another. The thought of being truly alone, without even a crush to provide that rush of emotions, that sense of being alive, scares me.

In the past I’ve used the word ‘love’ pretty indiscriminately to describe how I felt about those crushes. I grew up in a family where the word is used freely – I tell my parents and sister that I love them pretty much every time we speak – partly through force of habit, partly because it’s true, and I want them to know it.

It’s not a word I’m afraid of, essentially. But when the boy said, during an argument, something along the lines of ‘I was talking to a friend about this and in her view the problem is … that you’re in love with me and I’m not in love with you,’ it really jarred. It felt like a cheap shot, and I told him so.

The bit that bothers me isn’t the bit you’d perhaps expect. He doesn’t love me, I know that, and so it doesn’t come as a particular surprise to hear him say it. Sure, it stings a bit, because no one likes to hear stuff like that, but that’s all.

Being told that I love him, though? That I’m much less comfortable with. While I’m aware that if you read this blog regularly you might well have come to that conclusion, I’m still uncomfortable with someone else telling him that that’s how I feel. ‘I love you,’ is a pretty powerful phrase and I felt like they were my words to choose to say or not to say, as and when I felt ready.

I don’t feel ready. In this relationship (or whatever you want to call it) I can’t imagine I ever will be. Not that I haven’t conjured up its spirit on occasion: a few weeks back I was having drinks with a friend and she challenged my claim that I’m happy enough with the way things stand.

‘You don’t get it though,’ I countered, ‘I love him.’

She smiled sadly. ‘I don’t think you do,’ she said. ‘You talk about him like he’s the enemy or a battle to be fought and won. That’s not love.’

And you know what? She’s right. If you love someone, there shouldn’t be that much conflict, with yourself or with them. Despite what Hollywood would have us believe, loving someone doesn’t mean having to fight for them, or waging a constant battle against incompatibility. Of course, it is possible to love someone and for it not to come up roses, but if that really is how you feel, what should be coming across is affection, not aggression.

The other thing I think you realise as you get older is that love should be less about you than it is about the other person. Yes, that’s trite. Yes, it’s cliché, but it is essentially true. Most of what I get from him is still about me, selfish though that is – it’s about my sexual confidence, my thrills, my needs. If I’m brutally honest, my attitude to his needs is more often than not that if he doesn’t like what he’s getting from me, he should end it and get it elsewhere. Because I’m compromising so heavily on the open relationship side, I tend to think that all other compromises should be his.

I’ve never been a big fan of the line ‘You have to love yourself before somebody else can love you,’ – hey, we’ve all fallen for people with flaws – but I do think it’s easier to love someone else if you already love yourself. If you believe in what they see in you, it’s easier to look outwards and focus on them. If you don’t, love is just a line you’re feeding yourself to keep fear and loneliness at bay, and that can’t be healthy.

With all that said, I’d be gutted if, when it ends, I, or anyone else who knows about us, writes the whole thing off as pointless because we didn’t love each other. I think society still has a tendency to gloss over situations that don’t fit a standard narrative – especially the media. It’s bullshit. Love isn’t the only thing that can change you; it’s not the only thing you can learn from. It’s just one potential happy ending in amongst a whole heap of others.

Call me

I’m not much one for phones, even though I’m retro enough to still have both landline and mobile. Sometimes when my parents call I forget you have to press the green button to answer and I find myself standing there with it held to my ear, still ringing. No, seriously.

The boy and I never spoke on the phone before he went away. Never. We made arrangements by text, discussed more complicated stuff by email. I was ok with that. I’m pretty sure I sound stupid on the phone. I can never think of what to say, especially when I first pick up. I’m always tempted to say ‘Hey!’ but then I’m basically 15-year-old me, sitting on my mum’s bed, wrapping the cord around my fingers for hours on the phone to my best friend.

I don’t know why he started calling. It just happened. I liked it. When I phoned him, it was usually to fight, but when he called, it was always more interesting, both more light-hearted and more intense. Especially once I started doing teacher training in the evenings.

I’d rarely be home before midnight and I’d be knackered, but still running with ideas. Still desperate to talk to someone, to bounce my thoughts off them. And once, maybe twice, he called at just the right time for that.

‘Yes?’ I’d say. If you don’t want to sound like a 15-year-old girl on the phone, why not aim for harassed secretary instead?

‘I was thinking about something,’ he’d say, ‘And I wondered if I could run it past you?’

I loved those conversations. I’d pad back down the stairs, with the phone tucked against my shoulder and open the fridge in the dark. Pour myself another glass of wine without turning the kitchen light on. Pad back upstairs. Put the wine on my chest of drawers and unzip my dress, chatting the whole time. Hop into bed in my knickers, asking questions, disagreeing, laughing…

We used to go on for hours like that, sometimes.

Game changer

Mini-breaks are game changers. Literature (in the loosest sense of the word) and film both tell us so.

Take Lydia in Pride and Prejudice. It’s not Wickham & co. being stationed in Hertfordshire that causes problems here. Oh no. It’s when she goes to Brighton for a spot of seabathing (I may be paraphrasing) that it all goes dreadfully wrong. And how do Wickham and Lydia get punished for their flighty behaviour? They are, according to Mrs Bennett, “banished to the North.” The death of lust is spelt out by having to spend an indeterminate amount of time in one (fairly grim) place.

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Adrenaline

Cautious as I am, I tend to view adrenaline with a wary eye. I associate it so closely with anxiety that I often forget about its more life-affirming qualities.

For the last 6 weeks or so, I’ve been doing a teacher-training course on top of my usual job. Truth be told, before it started I’d been dreading it. I didn’t fancy the 4 hour round commute into London and back, nor was I looking forward to standing up in front of fifteen adults or being observed.

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