You wake in the middle of the night, your arms around me, body pressed against mine, and you stiffen immediately. I reach back with my palm to cup your cock, wanting to see how hard you are. Slowly, I arch my hips back, back and up, to make way for our connection. My eyes are still closed. I lick my fingers, make them nice and wet and moisten myself, then lift my top leg and slide it back, to rest it on top of your legs. You put your hand on your cock and point it toward me, I steer my hips toward you and we come together, slowly. The connection is blissful and wildly erotic, such slow movements, like hanging in dreamtime.
I wrote that scene for a lover. A lover I met on the internet. And we wrote dozens and dozens more, sending little erotic vignettes back and forth to each other in a single Word document, adding to it over time. We wrote the scenes to entertain us for all the time we could not be together, but more so, we wrote them to have a place to express our overwhelming shared desire, that heady, delicious sensation of wanting more than you know how to get, than you know to even ask for.
[pullquote]Something about relationships makes us more polite over time, less raw, less hungry. [/pullquote]
He travelled to New York from Florida to visit me for the first time. And that day, we had sex for hours upon hours. The first day, I stopped counting orgasms at 17. He was completely engaged with my desire, my pleasure, my interest in seeing how far I could go. “You’re the lover I’ve been waiting for all my life,” I said to him. “I am always told I want sex too much. And for me there is never enough.”
Ah, that’s the rub, now isn’t it? And not the gentle rub between my legs that brings me to life, but the rub of society and expectations.
I have always loved sex. I loved sex even before I had it, hiding under my bed with my father’s Penthouse magazines, reading the Forum, marveling at all the things people could do to each other. The body parts and the mechanics were all a new language to me, of course — but what I related to instantly was the hunger. I felt it, down in between my legs, yes, a mysterious tingle I didn’t know what to do with (but would figure out in due time) — but I felt it more intensely even in my mind.
I wanted to fall into that hunger. I wanted to know what I would find if I kept following it, where would it take me? And who would I be there?
In college I became a kind of sex activist, trying to get my hallmates to think differently about sex than they’d been programmed. “Sex is not currency!” I’d preach. “You don’t dole it out in small doses in exchange for the guy’s respect and affection. On Date 2 this, and on Date 3 that… If you want to sleep with him, sleep with him!”
But despite that excellent logic, I was the one who was wrong. I am the one who got the X-rated, unflattering nickname at a fraternity. I am the one who was misunderstood and judged. The social code of how a woman was supposed to manage her desire was much stronger than me and my intellectual passion for passion.
Back then I had good moments, too, that proved to me I wasn’t totally losing my mind. One afternoon, spent hiking in the mountains with a close friend, breathing in the warm sun and mountain air, seeing the Shenandoah Valley from on high. We climbed back down, grabbed an easy lunch, ended up at his apartment; he played his guitar and we sang for awhile, then settled in for a nap that turned into caresses and sweet, gentle lovemaking, like a symphonic embrace. Simpatico and satisfied, we hugged goodbye knowing this was just for this very moment: a perfect, lovely, beautiful moment. I try to tell the story to a friend, to explain how lovely and perfect, but am met with a raised eyebrow, judgment, a reminder that so-and-so has a crush on him, that I am bucking some unspoken order. But it was nothing! I want to say. And everything! It was a deep connection with meaning, but it doesn’t have to keep living tomorrow, the next day, the day after.
We tangle with so many layers of code. I am good at reading people, but I don’t always know how to parse the societal sexual code. I am forever on the wrong side. And the code for women is complicated, multi-layered, it doubles back on itself and then turns inside out.
I feel better without clothes on. I feel better naked. I feel beautiful and powerful and desirable when I am sitting astride a partner. I can’t be looked at enough. I want to be objectified, I want to feel their longing for me, in their eyes and in their stiff cocks. I want this and seek it out when building my long-term relationships, too, but something about relationships makes us more polite over time, less raw, less hungry.
Just a few years ago, my live-in boyfriend said to me one night in the dark as I reached across the bed for him, “You know there are other ways for me to show that I love you, right?” I was so embarrassed. My face went hot and red with shame, and I turned my back to him and curled up in a ball, my blood pounding in my ears, and a tear trickling out. He sighed, the sigh of a burdened man, a man who has to deal with a woman with too much desire.
I’m so tired of being told I have too much desire.
As a woman, I am not supposed to want. At least not want brazenly, unapologetically.
But I do want. I want food and wine and sensuality and power and sex. I want to be able to own my ambition and my appetites — carnal and otherwise. I want not to be made to feel too big because of my outsized….. personality, my outsized….. ambition? my outsized…… breasts, belly, body. My outsized honesty. It is this daring, searching honesty I have that gets me into a certain kind of trouble.
I’m supposed to be more controlled, held back.
But to me that’s the beauty and the magic of desire — all kinds of desire. To feel pulled toward something, to be seduced by ideas in your own head, to want to be as naked and vulnerable as you can be and see what it feels like…. To feel what it feels like to be just you, just your feelings, not the to-do list, the resume, the expectations. To just be open and wanting. TO DARE TO WANT.
Sex is my safest desire, as it is a more private hunger than my ambition or what food I put in my body, even though there’s often a price.
But dammit, there is a difference between arrogance and confidence. There is a difference between gluttony and being a sensualist.
I had a lover who had a house deep in the country on the Delaware River — he was insatiable, I couldn’t have enough of him. We would have sex for hours, then amble outside, hop in his canoe, paddle up river and let the boat float us slowly home, wearing only our underwear. (There’s something to be said for wilderness, our own wildness welcome and ordinary.) As we walked back to the house along abandoned train tracks, water dripping from my tank top and purple lace thong, he commented on my incredible confidence in my body, that it was unusual. I knew he slept mostly with very thin women — we had talked about the newness of my body to him when we met. I said he should sleep with more women who carry a few extra pounds.
“We are the ones who aren’t afraid of our hunger.”
There is a difference between vulgarity and being openly sex-positive. And there is a difference between being the object of desire that we have been mandated to be — by the images we are bludgeoned with, by the social code we have been told to follow, by letting men and marketing and advertising define everything about sex — than choosing how we want to desire and be desired. And then the men, they get as confused by the code as we do…. No one can speak their desire unless they flatten out all dimension.
Men talk about “fucking” and “scoring” and whether someone is easy or a slut and casually degrade an amazing, beautiful thing, meant to be shared and treasured. Because that way they cut out all the meaning, and it’s suddenly safe, meaningless — empty.
I want to help them with this. I want to help you with this. I want all of us to dare to be open and be who we are and want what we want and even more importantly, to know what we want.
I’ve wanted to write this piece for years, and yet, I didn’t. Because I’m not supposed to say these things out loud. But I am the author of this piece now. And I am now, and have always been, the author of my desire.
And so I will keep writing those stories to lovers, those stories that are for myself. I am desire. Desire is mine. I claim it. As well as all the unforgettable, amazing, toe-curling, soul-affirming experiences that come with it.