Tag Archives: Love

The Erotic II

11 Dec

auguste-rodin

 

(This post is part of the longer story Infidelity at the top of the home page.)

 

“The erotic has often been misnamed by men and used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, and plasticized sensation. For this reason, we have turned away from the exploration and consideration of the erotic as a source of power and information…” Audre Lorde

“As often as not, it seems to be assumed that man has his being independently of his passions. I affirm, on the other hand, that we must never imagine existence except in terms of these passions…” Georges Bataille

∫ 

 Oh, Jen, your breasts are talking to my cock. Make them shoosh for a while, I have to do stuff.

I desire your breasts so much. My mouth and my hands yearn for them.

I woke up picturing holding your breast on the palm of my hand and feeling its weight.

I love that we can express any desire at all and know that the other will share it. So extraordinary.

Oh, love. We are so in tune with one another.

There are so many things I’ve only done or talked about doing with you…it all adds to the richness of us, to have so many firsts. My love.

 

She wants to feel the weight of him on her. She wants him to hold her down with his body on hers. I will be too heavy, he tells her, but she doesn’t think so, what she thinks is that for years she has been waiting for the body that will hold her in place and it is his. Finally, he lays himself naked the length of her, propped on his elbows to spare her his weight. She says no, all of you, all of you on all of me, and he gently lowers himself, his chest against her breasts, his belly on hers, his cock hard against her mound. Keep your legs closed, he tells her, don’t let me in yet. His thighs rest on her thighs. She raises her arms and lays them either side of her head. She lifts her pelvis to his. He grabs her wrists and holds them. He breathes softly into her open mouth his face so near his features are indistinguishable, his eyes holding hers in their close gaze. Don’t come, he whispers into her mouth. You mustn’t come. His gentle breath in her mouth is almost too much, she feels desire overwhelm her and struggles to keep it in check. Then she feels the tip of his tongue stroke hers. Hold still, he breathes. Don’t move.

 

Sex is a deep search to uncover everything that is hidden. She shows him what he wants to see. She takes him where he wants to go. She lies on their bed, her legs slightly bent and open. She takes the outer folds of her sex in her fingers and holds open her secret place. He gazes upon her. Then he looks at her face. His gaze travels between her cunt and her face. He shakes his head in amazement and disbelief. You doing this, he says, it feels like the most natural thing in the world that you should lie here like this and show her to me, how can it seem so natural? I don’t know, she tells him. They are now sharing the intense gaze they’ve perfected. I don’t know how I am doing this. I only know I want to. Do you like her? Oh, god, he groans. Oh god, she is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen! She is pink, and glistening, and plump, oh god, she is everything I imagined she would be.

They don’t touch. They call it their fierceness, this desire they have to be in one another, this desire that transcends the physical, this desire of which physical expression is only one small part. He calls it their “psychic sex,” a merging of energies that doesn’t require his cock in her cunt, but is at its strongest when their tongues meet, and their eyes. They discovered it by accident, in a situation where fucking was impossible, and it is their favourite thing, the thing that binds them irrevocably, that is particularly theirs, that they can have even when separated by thousands of kilometres.

She learns how to feel his absent hips nestled between her thighs; she learns how to move her cunt as if around him, and when he takes out his cock it is her hand that holds him, even though a vast distance physically separates them. Once, after they have been interrupted by some domestic matter in his household, he writes: this psychic sex is so strong that my cocked twitched for ages and my balls ached, just as if we had been physically interrupted. What is this love we’ve made together?

I don’t know, she tells him. I don’t know.

Neither of them knows where the fierceness might take them when they are physically together. He writes of how he wants her to use him, to take everything she wants from him, he won’t stop her and when he’s exhausted, she must take even more. They agree that in no other parts of their lives do they desire fierceness, only in this mutual intimacy do they want to break through their learned limitations, the abstract restrictions of taboo, the pointless inhibitions life has instilled in both of them.

Your nipples are beautifully designed for my mouth. And somehow my cock seems to have been made for your cunt. Am desperate for your body. Every part of it. Every part. Does that frighten you?

Yes, she tells him. But being afraid doesn’t stop me. With you, I will go anywhere.

Aaaaaaah. I will tell you what to do? You will obey me?

Yes, she says. I will.

 

 

“The very word erotic comes from the Greek word eros, the personification of love in all its aspects – born of Chaos, and personifying creative power and harmony. When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the lifeforce of women…  Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe.” Audre Lorde

The Erotic

6 Dec

Gustav KlimtThis post is one of the pieces in the ongoing page Infidelity at the top of the home page, and the category Adultery

 

“The whole business of eroticism is to strike to the inmost core of the living being, so that the heart stands still. In essence, the domain of eroticism is the domain of violence, of violation… The whole business of eroticism is to destroy the self-contained character of the participators as they are in their normal lives…Eroticism always entails a breaking down of established patterns, the patterns, I repeat, of the regulated social order… ” Georges Bataille

 

Without discussing it they decide that for the few hours they have together their mouths and their tongues will be all that will meet. He waits, holding himself away from her, allowing only their eyes to engage. A vibrant energy emerges from their joined, concentrated gaze. It shimmers and sways between them, a third party. As they stare, not touching, the force they’ve brought into being intensifies. What is this, he breathes. What is this? Their mutual gaze does not falter. It is the both the creator and disseminator of the energy. She lets his presence enter into her, and sees that he has allowed hers to enter into him. There is no resistance. There is only surrender and acceptance.

She knows now that when he said they are perfectly matched he knew better than her what complex intensity was growing between them. Their silent communication is perfection. There are no barriers of fear or guilt. Their hearts are at their work, naked and unprotected, and they make no effort to conceal them.

He is her perfect partner. She is his. In their lives before each other they have never known such a thing. It is fierce. It is frightening. She does not know where it will take them, and neither does he.

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They are in each other all along.”*

 

He writes:

Of course I don’t want to leave you, how could I? Have been so sad all day, thinking I’d been so stupid I’d lost you. Are we ok again, love?

Here’s a new adventure for you to read. It’s very short

I hold out my hands to you. You tie rope around my wrists and then my ankles. I lie on the bed and you bind my wrists to its head, pulling so that my arms are full stretched upwards and then you bind my ankles to the bed’s end. I am completely helpless.

You put a blindfold on me, so I can’t see what you’re doing. Then I tell you you can do absolutely anything you want to any part of my body for as long as you like. You put a gag on me as I finish speaking.

You proceed.

 

He is enchanted by her body. As well, he is delighted by her enchantment with his. She writes of her love of his cock, sweetly at rest in his red-gold nest. Her touch on him, he tells her, is  consummately gentle, her fingertips soft with love. He wants to nourish her from his cock while he is nourished from her breasts. In this way they will nurture each other, love will in a circular motion proceed from one to the other, pleasure begetting pleasure, her joy birthing his, his delight birthing hers.

She tells him what comes from him does not make mess, as he has worried for so long. She tells him she desires his juices on every part of her, her breasts, her belly, her hands, her mouth. He writes, oh, how I love how you love my body, my cock, my semen. How I love that. Do you know how much I love how you love me?

After he’s gone and she’s alone in their bed she writes, I have wrapped myself in our stained sheets. In the night I woke and felt you leaking from me, down the inside of my thigh. You know now that what comes from you is only lovely, don’t you? And he replies, yes, you have taught me. You have given me that. Me inside you, on our sheets, on your thigh, your marvellous delight in me. You have given me that.

He writes:

You want me to mark you. I bite your shoulder and neck, and you rake my back with your nails, leaving red trails. I slide down so I can suck your nipples hard enough to leave the marks of my teeth, while you stretch up and bite my neck, and bruise me with your sucking. I want us to walk down the street, each one secretly marked by the other, glowing, hurting, aching, exhausted, bruised from our mutual pleasure. Marked. My sweet. Oh god, I want you. I know I have no right, but I want you to be only for me. No one else. Only for me. 

“The stirrings within us have their own fearful excesses; the excesses show which way these stirrings would take us...eroticism, unlike simple sexual activity, is a psychological quest…eroticism is assenting to life even in death.” Bataille

*Rumi

How to say I lub you

21 Nov

If you want to read these posts in order start at the last one in the category Adultery titled: Certain Dark Things. Or “Infidelity” at the top of the home page.

Lub you

Speech Acts: verbal assurances and promises which seem not only to refer to a speaking relationship but constitute a moral bond between speakers.  Judith Butler

 

 The three-year-old sat on her lap and said he was going to teach her how to say “I lub you” without using her words. He pointed to his eyes. He folded his small hands across his heart. He took one hand from his heart and held it palm up towards her. See, he said. Now do it to me. She pointed to her eyes. She folded her hands across her heart. And then she handed him her heart in the palms of her hands. Do it again, he said. Lub me again. Pease.

Her lover has said I love you more times than she could ever count. Oh, Lordy yes I love you, he says if she needs reassurance. Sometimes he writes ditto when she tells him she loves him, but he stopped that when she told him it wasn’t very appealing. Instead he wrote, and I you. I adore you, she wrote and he always replied, and I you. Every bit of me loves every bit of you, she told him. Aaaah, he sighed. And I you. You know I love you, he says. I told you. She has to explain to him that although she knows, she likes to hear it because they aren’t physically together and can’t show their love. They have to say it. Ah, he says. I see what you mean. Sometimes she thinks he is a little slow in these matters. Though willing.

Her husband told her he loved her about ten times a day. And every single time it had meaning. How did he manage that, she wonders.

I love you is a speech act. It constitutes a moral bond between speakers.

 

 It is September. She’s in the pool. It takes perhaps fifteen minutes of swimming laps before she feels completely at one with the water. This is why she does it, for the sensation of pushing effortlessly through aquamarine liquid velvet. Lifting her head to see the thick bush surrounding the pool, the blue sky streaked with high white cloud. The weightlessness and grace of the human body in the foreign, watery element. The aquamarine is her birthstone. She has a ring she can no longer find, a pale blue gem with a small diamond either side of it, set in white gold.

As she swims she thinks of her lover, he has written to her that morning telling her he has begun the process of encouraging his wife to go away on trips without him. They usually do everything together, he’s told her, like everyone else they know. His wife is reluctant, he says, and he has faced much opposition, but he needs this to happen so that it will not seem strange to the family when he wants to go away alone to be with his lover. What a pity the timing doesn’t work for his lover, they could have spent the days his wife is absent together without fear of arousing suspicion, but it was such short notice, and she has already arranged to be with her family and their babies.

“This was a sudden thing,” he writes. “It only happened at all because I strongly encouraged it over opposition and great reluctance, thinking that it was a first step to establishing the idea of doing things alone. At least,” he writes, “we can have phone calls at nice and unusual times like early morning and bedtime, while my wife is gone.”

He has recently persuaded her to be sexual with him on the phone. She’s not at all sure about it. It’s exciting at the time but when the call ends she feels an aching loneliness and a sense of having done something she didn’t really want to do. Not long after they’ve begun this experiment she stops it. It would be different, she tells him, if they were living together and separated for a while and the phone was an interim measure. But they are separate most of the time. Being separated from the man she loves more than she is with him is an entirely new experience. She is used to being a wife.

He can feel her, he tells her. It is her hand holding his cock, not his. Her hand stroking his nipples, her finger tracing the ridge between his balls. She is his first thought when he wakes, he tells her, his last before he falls asleep, and when he wakes in the night she is there.

You say you’ve gone away from me but I can feel you, feel you when you breathe…

As she swims she thinks two things. She thinks how glad she is that he wants to be with her so badly he will instigate long-term plans to change the whole pattern of his married life. The other thing she thinks is how manipulative he must be to be able to convince his wife it will be good for her to go away without him, when his real motive is to re-educate her so he can take time away to be with his mistress. She allows the first thought to push the second off the edge of an escarpment, into a bottomless abyss.

 

 Once she knew a man who taught her to use all her senses from her heart. She learned to see with her heart, feel, taste, smell, and hear with her heart. It’s not always safe, he warned her. There are circumstances in which the heart ought to be left out of things. While she can tell if a situation is obviously not one she wants to experience so fully, she’s not very good at judging the more subtle scenes.

When she first met her lover her heart was feeding all her senses, and she thought nothing of it. The sight of him leaning against the wall waiting for her, the shape of his body, the height of him, the pull of him, were all noted by senses rich with her heart’s energy. Long before she knew anything with her mind, her heart and all her senses whispered, I lub you. She handed him her heart in the palm of her hands, and she didn’t even know she’d done it. A moral bond. I lub you.

 

 For months, a year, and for more months, she protects him. She does without most of what she would really like to have, in order to protect him. She has no idea why she has entered into this agreement to protect him. Sometimes, she loses patience and threatens to tell his wife. She knows she never will. He knows she never will. He trusts her absolutely to protect him. She gives him the great gift of absolute trust in her. Because I love you is a moral bond.

 

 She tucks the three-year-old into his bed. Giddy, he says, that’s what he calls her, Giddy, will you sleep in my bed for a little while? He scoots over to make room. She lies down, and curves her body around his. In moments he’s asleep. She lies with him for a long time, listening to the night birds, watching the full moon rise over the mountains, hoping his small, strong body can help her heal herself. In her worst moments, when she wakes into terror, she thinks of her lover and then she thinks of this little boy. He has her smile. He has her scowl. He has their hearts in the palm of his hand. Lub me again, Giddy, he says. Pease.

Remember that words, the right and true words, have the power of deeds. Raymond Carver.

Betrayal

18 Nov

There was a message for her when she arrived home from her swim. The sea that day was Caribbean blue with indigo blooms. It reminded her of Isla Mujeres, off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Before she met him she was a woman who travelled alone to Mexico even though her oncologist advised against it, a woman who took the ferry to Isla Mujeres without having booked accommodation in advance, a woman who when she arrived at the island of women strolled through the hot midday streets looking for a place she might stay and found one, as she knew she would, an apartment above a shop that sold beaten tin images of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and postcards of women who fought with the Zapatistas. She had a life before him. A big, rich beautiful life, full of the love of her family and its babies, and her husband before he was stricken with illness.

Hey, lovely lady.
Hey, my love. I’ve been swimming in the sea.
Have you showered?
Not yet.
Good. I want to lick the salt from all your secret places. I want to taste your salty juices. I want my tongue in you. I want you to come on my lips… 

 

Early in their relationship he said, we mustn’t make comparisons. He surprised her. She didn’t want to know anything about his sexual life before her, and had no intention of sharing hers. It would be odious, she agreed, to compare.

But then he wanted them to have their list of “firsts.” And it didn’t occur to her immediately that anything either of them claimed as a first revealed some of their history. When she realised this, she felt guilty. Her ill husband would never again be her lover but still she felt guilty, that she was betraying him, that she was perhaps indicating he had not been satisfactory, which was far from the truth. She wrote to her lover, saying that she had not meant to imply that her sexual life with her husband had been lacking or unsatisfactory because that would be dishonest, and he replied that he understood.

Likewise, when he told her he had not experienced this or that, she knew his history and wondered how he could reveal such things while still in his marriage, even if they no longer shared a bed and sexual intimacy. Her inside voice set up a minor clamour. Don’t trust him, it said, look how he is betraying his wife, don’t be so foolish as to think he wouldn’t betray you too. She knows he will. She has written to him, you will leave me if your wife finds out, won’t you, and he replies, you can’t know that. You can’t know that. His reply feels like both a rebuke, and an appeal that she not make assumptions about how he will behave.

Then he tells her he is working out how they can be together, he’s making a concrete plan he’s doing all the financials and she is startled, and says, you are thinking like this? I’m not thinking like this. I haven’t even considered this. She doesn’t know him, she hasn’t even spent a night with him, this isn’t like any other relationship she’s had when people have time to know one another, to fall asleep and wake up together, they haven’t done that and she’s not ready to leave her life for him and besides, her husband is still breathing and there is no way on this earth she will throw in her lot with another man as long as there’s breath in her husband’s body.

He is with his wife as he works out the financials and plans a new life with his lover, and his wife is with him, in complete ignorance of the future he envisages without her. How, she wonders, is it possible to plan a new life with another woman when you haven’t made any mention of it to your wife? What will he do? Walk out one day? Leave a note? She imagines doing the same thing when she lived with her husband, when he was well. She imagines an abyss separating them that never existed in reality, but would have to be there for her to secretly plan to leave him for somebody else.

Again and again it will come between the lovers, the difference between her knowledge of marriage and his. She thinks they would not do well together, that she would expect the intimacy that is marriage to her, and he would expect the distance that is apparently marriage to him. He tells her that he is not allowed to close his study door when he works because that hurts his wife’s feelings, and she marvels that he cannot close his study door but he can plan a new life with another woman, won’t that hurt his wife’s feelings? She asks him how he works if he can’t close out distraction and interruption. He says he’s learned to work around it. When she works she needs solitude it was the same for her husband, they always closed their doors. Would you object to me closing the door when I wanted to work, she asks him, and he laughs and tells her of course he wouldn’t, but she is unconvinced.

There’s a cause and effect, she thinks, between the distance in his marriage that allows him to plan a new life under his wife’s unsuspecting nose, and the fact that he can’t hurt her feelings by closing his study door. I have no privacy, he tells her, only in my thoughts. I will always have my secret thoughts, he says. She tries to imagine what it would be to live without privacy, and knows she would go mad.

She talks to her friend about her marriage. You know it was very unusual, don’t you, her friend tells her. No. How could I know that? You two, the way you loved each other was extraordinary. Don’t ever expect to find anything like that again. And anyway, lots of couples live without privacy, you know.

Ugh, she says, I never want to know everything about anybody. How boring. And she remembers how she loved the ultimate unknowableness of her husband, of any human being but especially him, the impossibility of possessing him, his otherness, his alterity, the absolute not-me-ness of him. The delight when he emerged from his study or she emerged from hers, and he took her in his arms as if they’d been behind closed doors for days. Oh, you, he’d say. You.

I don’t understand him, she thinks of her lover, I don’t understand what he means by love. She struggles to grasp how he does what he does, her, his wife, the secret life, the power of his desire, if she felt like he does about someone else she could no more be in the same house as her husband than fly to the moon. She couldn’t hurt her husband like that, even when, especially when, he didn’t know the damage that was being done to him, the denial of him, of the life they’d had together. Her lover seems to be of the “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her” school, but she’s never believed that, people know stuff, even if they don’t know they know, and it wreaks damage and havoc and they can’t understand why.

 

Bluff Beach

 

Every day while the weather held, she swam in the warm sea, usually naked unless strangers wandered onto her deserted beach. She was golden brown all over.

Send me photos of your golden breasts.
Aaaaah, he writes when she does. When I look at you the juice from my cock flows down my thigh, like it does when I hear your voice, or read what you’ve written. When you come for me, strong and long, I feel such joy that I have touched you so deeply. I want to suckle from your salty nipples, let me lick up your juices then kiss you so you taste them like the sea on my tongue. Oh Lordy, yes, I love you. You know I do.

 

When she was alone on Isla Mujeres she was happy, and occasionally lonely. She’d left her husband behind, much to his annoyance, but she knew it was essential for her to do this without him. He’d cried at the airport and she almost gave in, but her family in Mexico were expecting her so she boarded her flight and forgot about him almost immediately. She did this again when she went alone to Stockholm, and he was savage about her intending to fuck some Lars or Sven. That’s projection, she told him. You’re imposing on me what you are likely to do. I hate it when you talk psycho babble, he’d told her, and walked off. She wonders what he would think of her lover and the relationship she has with him. Apart from being insanely jealous that she had a lover at all. Fuck him if you must, he’d say, but don’t love him. I never loved anyone but you. Don’t you love anyone but me. Anyway, he’d conclude, he’ll never know you like I do. Then he’d sing something, like, I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know about her.

 

The island of women is where Caribbean pirates kept their mistresses, imprisoned by the turquoise sea, unable to leave. The pirates took whichever woman they fancied at any particular time, but the women had no say in who they would lie with. When the pirates left for work, away for weeks, months at a time, the women were free to be with themselves, each other, and their children. She lay on the white sand of Isla Mujeres, her feet in the shallows where tiny striped fish nibbled her toes, and thought about the pirate women, and about love and because she has a cancer that will only ever be in remission, death. When she returned to her apartment above the shop she wrote to her husband. I’ll be home soon, she told him. Keep a candle in the window.

 

Her lover writes to her, several times a day for months and months and months. All the while his wife is there and he may not close his study door. When his wife goes out, they speak on the phone. His thigh is wet from the juice of his cock that leaks as soon as he hears her voice. They are perfectly matched and they should have met decades ago, he tells her from the house, the rooms, the home he shares with his wife.

There is one thing, and one thing she knows for certain about him. That he is capable of the most awful betrayal. Not only will he desire her, he will love her and want her in his life forever, and tell her, you are my second wife. And in spite of that love he will leave her, in the most cruel of ways, without a goodbye.

He was living a life that was unknown to his wife. Why is she shocked when he does this thing to her?

“The end is in the beginning, and yet you go on.” *

 

Isla Mujeres One

 

 

*Samuel Beckett

Disbelief

4 Nov

A for Adultery_17

Her life has not been sheltered by any means, but she is forced to acknowledge that in the matter of extra marital affairs, she’s an idiot. For example, she’s  never understood how a partnered person invades the life of a single person and asks for a relationship. A sexual fling, a brief sexual affair where neither party wants involvement, these events are explicable, if morally fraught and painful to the betrayed. But when there’s more than that?

There’d been times during her marriage when she’d imagined being with someone else, but she knew she’d never want anyone more than she wanted her husband, and that without him she’d rather be alone. She couldn’t, she felt, enter into any affair knowing that. If one’s life is already taken up, what right does one have to invade another’s and ask for love, knowing that one has no intention of staying?

It seems to her that if her desire for another is strong, the first person entitled to know this must be her spouse. Who knows what chaos that might unleash, but  at least it remains a chaos between the couple and doesn’t trash a third life. That was how she looked at it. It didn’t feel like a moral position, more like common sense.

After her lover let his desires be known, after he took her hand in the café and gazed into her, after they’d left the café and he’d pulled her to him and kissed her mouth, she wrote to him: Perhaps this is one of those things that will readily subside, perhaps we will very quickly get it out of our systems and he replied, No. That is not our situation. It is cellular. I will only want you more and more.

In his life he was struggling with great difficulties, and his fear and need were palpable. Her desire to comfort him was great, as was her desire for comfort, her husband finally lost to her through illness. She told him she would not have a sexual relationship with him, she told him she did not want such a situation with a married man. He told her he had no sexual intimacy in his life, and hadn’t for years. Still she demurred. It might start again, she said. I have a horror of being used to supply sexual fantasies that will help you begin again. I won’t be used like that, she said. I can’t see that it would ever start again, he told her. We’ve never talked about it.

She wonders again what his life is like. She imagines sexual love ending in her marriage and neither of them mentioning it. It’s unimaginable, both that it would end, and that if it did end they wouldn’t grieve the ending and want to understand. Even at their worst times they wanted each other. Even when she visited him in his nursing home and listened to the garbled language that was all he had left of his speech, she knew he wanted the comfort of her, and she undid the buttons on her shirt and leaned into him and gave him her breasts to fondle.

She understands that people can lose desire and there are many other experiences that hold them together. She has to decide if he’s telling her the truth, she doesn’t know him well, she only has impressions of him from his work, their long written communication, his apparent values, his aura of honesty and decency.

She fails to ask herself the two most important questions. What is honest and decent about this man revealing the most intimate details of his marriage to me in the hope that I will agree to have a sexual relationship with him?

Why would a man who says he loves me ask me to take on the demeaning role of mistress, a role that can only do me harm?

I know I have no right to ask this of you, he wrote, but if you can stay, please stay.

What she suddenly understands after he rings her to say he’s been caught and it must end is that for all this time they have loved one another he has, at any moment, been ready to leave her with a phone call, an email, with any means at his disposal because for him, she has not actually been real. If she had ever been real to him, he would not have been able to disregard the myriad consequences for her of creating a mutual life that he was ready, in a heartbeat, to end.

For some reason that makes her question her intelligence, it has not occurred to her that anyone would go to such lengths to make a life of this intensity with her if he planned to abandon it at any second. The two concepts are absolutely incompatible. What kind of mind conceives of such a plan, or entirely fails to consider its consequences?

You’re a fucking bigamist, she tells him. You’ve built this life with me. You’ve left your life there in every sense but the physical, you’ve stayed there like a ghost at a banquet, every bit of you has been consumed with me, with us. Now you’ve been caught, as you put it, she’s given you an ultimatum, and you want me to disappear as if I never fucking existed.

You’re like every other married man who has an affair, she went on. Your wife finds out and you just want your lover gone, only in this instance, you’ve built a life with me, it wasn’t just some fucking sexual fling. Every word you’ve said to me, every touch, every intimate fucking moment, knowing even as you built this love with me that you would devastate my life in a heartbeat if you were caught.

How does one human being do that to another? How do you use another human being like that?

Do you think being married gives you the right to become a liar in another woman’s life?

You should not have loved me like this, and let me love you, you should not have deceived your wife by loving me this much. You should have kept it to yourself and done without me. If you knew you would leave me you should have done without me.

She lies on the kitchen floor and howls. What else is there to do?

He rings her and tells her he’s leaving her two days after her husband has died. Two days before he rings her and tells her he will never see her again, she has climbed up beside her husband on his hospital bed and whispered to him that he can let go, he can die, he doesn’t have to stay here any longer. She holds his frail body against her and whispers, my darling, let go now. He hears her. Twenty-four hours later, he has let go. She has given him perhaps the greatest gift she has ever given him. And now she must mourn.

Don’t do this, she begs her lover, I am newly grieving my husband, don’t do this, I can’t survive this much loss, don’t do this now.

As they speak, she has in front of her an email he sent the day she went to see her husband:

How worried I am about what you have to do today and how it will distress you. How beautiful you are. How sexy and sensual your body. How magic your tongue and fingers. How firm your thighs. How shapely and full your breasts. How much I love your voice. How anxious I get and how you reassure and comfort me. How well we have come to understand each other now. How good it will be to hear your voice next week. How beautiful you are. How I hope this letter will help you a little tonight. 

I didn’t choose the time to do it, he says. I was caught, my circumstances have radically changed. Relationships end. You are so strong, he says, you have survived things I could never survive.

Relationships end? The psycho babble doesn’t sound like his language, and later when his wife tells her the same thing she realises he’s been given a script with which to end their affair.

He has complained about her anger from time to time and she’s told him it isn’t anger, it’s distress, there’s a difference. She is hardly ever angry and when she is, it is as if some other being has taken her over and she is dangerous, and she doesn’t shout but the timbre of the voice he loves so much changes, and it trembles with tightly controlled fury:

How dare you. How dare you use what you know of my strength to justify what you are doing? I am strong therefore you can damage me? How dare you?

He is silent. The he says: You want to destroy my marriage.

There are words that feel like a fist to the heart.

 

 

 

 

Intimate images: after the love has gone

24 Oct

So, won’t you let me see, /I said, won’t you let me see, /I said, won’t you let me see/ your naked body?

 

The Victorian Parliament has introduced draft legislation that makes distribution or the threat of distribution of intimate images online without consent a criminal offence. There is, it appears, a burgeoning of “Revenge Porn” sites where aggrieved and bitter ex lovers can post photos taken in happier times of their partner’s private bits, often selfies taken by that partner. Anecdotal evidence has it that perpetrators of revenge porn are mostly male, however, it is not unknown for wives or girlfriends to post sexually explicit photos of their former partner’s new lover online, if they’ve managed to get hold of them.

Common advice as to how to avoid having your lady bits made available to the public gaze without your consent includes never taking or allowing photos of them to be taken in the first place. This is tantamount to advising us to avoid rape by staying inside unless we’re accompanied by bodyguards – the fault lies not with those of us who’ve given lovers intimate images, but with the lovers or their associates who distribute them without our consent. This ought to be self-evident, after all, who is ever advised never to leave home if their house is burgled, but because it involves sex and female bodies, responsibility defaults to women to protect ourselves by crippling our lives.

As a woman who has (for the first time in her life and at an age where one would not expect to do such things) taken intimate photos of herself and given them to a lover, I feel a certain interest in this topic. When my lover first asked for photos I inwardly baulked. I was a long way from my twenties, I had never before even thought of engaging in such an act. The most I had seen of my own bits was when, like many other young feminists, I squatted over a mirror and had a good look, then later when my sister crouched between my legs with her camera and recorded in astonishing detail the birth of my second child. As a delaying tactic, I asked him what he actually wanted to see. You know, he replied. Not your toes.

I wrestled with this. Deeply in love, I didn’t want to refuse. I feared my reluctance was to do with sexual inhibition that I would do well to overcome, and much of our relationship was about both of us testing sexual boundaries, creating a list of what he called our “firsts.” I love him, I reasoned, so I can do this for him. I began with my breasts. I was pleased with the result, and so was he. We added this to our list of firsts. We moved on to even more intimate bits and I began to enjoy myself, it was exciting, it was fun, it brought us very close to each other, and so I wouldn’t feel alone in the venture and in good faith, he sent me pictures of his bits as well. I loved them because I loved him, but truthfully, a bloke’s bits don’t come near a woman’s for beauty and complexity.

Never in my wildest imaginings did I consider I might one day regret all this.

But I do. The relationship came to an emotionally devastating end. For the last few months I’ve fretted and churned about those pictures that I no longer want him to be able to look at. Several times I’ve contacted him by email, snail mail, and phone messages, asking that he let me know he has deleted the photos and that I don’t have to worry about them anymore. He has not responded to any of my requests. I’m not quite sure what to make of this. Is he exercising vengeful power over me, by refusing to tell me what has become of my intimate photos? Is he determined to keep them, and rather than lie to me has decided to say nothing at all? While I cannot bring myself to believe he would misuse the photos, I don’t know that others with access to his computer would be as discreet, and besides, I don’t want anyone else even looking at them, as they shouldn’t without my consent.

The reality is, once I sent those images to him I relinquished any control over their fate. Sent in deep love and absolute trust, a powerfully bonding “first,” I now no longer have any idea who will see them and in what circumstances, and my former lover seems to want me to live with that distress.

Although I regret engaging in this “first” with someone who was obviously entirely the wrong person to trust, I don’t regret overcoming my inhibition. I don’t regret the deeper acquaintance with my body, though I wish I’d shared that discovery with someone who was trustable. I’m beside myself with rage and hurt at his refusal to reassure me as to the fate of the photos, and at my powerlessness to do anything about this. It is indeed a foul betrayal, and I can only imagine how much worse it is for women whose ex partners actually do post intimate images online without consent. The problem lies not with those of us who share images of our bodies with lovers, but with lovers who lack the sensibility to honour the intimacy of that sharing, and instead choose to cause us fear and distress in their abuse of our trust.

As Leonard Cohen tells it, I don’t have to be forgiven / for loving you that much…

 

Certain Dark Things

18 Oct
Arthur Boyd - Lovers in a Boat

Arthur Boyd – Lovers in a Boat

 “I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.” *

After our first meeting I thought, Shit, I will never see her again. Then she sent me a message shall we have coffee before I go home, and so I rang her. She answered from where she was buying boots, it was her birthday, her present to herself she said, and we arranged a day and time and I thought, she feels it too. It entered her when it entered me. That first moment when I saw her and thought, she’s lovely, so lovely, and permitted myself one gentle touch to her forearm as I told her I’d been worried she might think I was an Internet predator, and she laughed and that was the first time I heard her laugh.

Why do you want this with me?

Because I can make your breasts swell and your cunt wet from a thousand miles away. Because, you.

I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I am the kind of woman who can do this. It will take me to a very dark place. And then?

 Don’t give up on me. I can’t bear to lose you. If it gets too difficult tell me, and we’ll sort it out. I can’t bear to lose you. I was so afraid you would be too good to be true for me. This is the email in which you tell me it’s over. That’s what I fear every time I see your name in my inbox. She is leaving me.

My husband is dying. I am making myself read his letters, years of letters from exotic places. They all begin, My darling wife. My darling wife…

 If you had met me when your husband was well and with you, you would still have loved me wouldn’t you?

No. I might have been drawn to you. But there was no room in my heart or mind or body for anyone but him. It is too cruel, for someone whose life is already taken up to invade another’s. That isn’t love. To cause that much harm isn’t love. Love is to refuse the opportunity to harm. Isn’t it?

 I know we are both leaving early today and there is no time for our morning sexy chat. I just wanted our thoughts to touch. Our thoughts to touch. Our thoughts to touch.

I don’t know this at the beginning and I won’t know it for a long time to come, but I am vulnerable and half broken before this affair even begins, judgement askew in a mind and body disturbed by loss incremental and unrelenting. He is a good person he tells me, but sometimes people who believe themselves to be good do the most harm, so blinded by belief in their goodness they are unable to see their capacity to injure.

 You have given me a new lease on life. We are like teenagers. You are so beautiful. Do you think, are you game, would you send me photos? To help with my imagining?

You know. Not of your toes.

 I think about you every waking minute. I am in the hardware store, staring at the shelves, wondering what it is I came here to buy. Thinking about you. I am at lunch with family and friends. Trying to have conversations while thinking about you. I am obsessed. Your photos are so beautiful. Your breasts so shapely, so full, so firm. Can I suckle? Will you feed me? It would be heaven, fucking you as we travelled down the Mekong. Heaven.

And how I love your voice. I long to hear your voice. Always. Your voice.

“Woman, I would have been your child, to drink the milk of your breasts as from a well, to see and feel you at my side and have you in your gold laughter and your crystal voice.”

I can feel him in my blood. It’s cellular, he said, what happened when I first kissed you was a cellular exchange. His words have such power. Does he know the power of words? Do any of us really understand the power of words? Do we understand when we say I love you that one day we may be obliged to say I don’t love you anymore, or worse, withdraw into silence because we lack the courage to speak the truth?

           “…we cannot tell the truth. It is forbidden because it hurts everyone. We never say the truth, we must lie, mostly as a result of our two needs: our need for love and cowardice.”

I was too forensic he told me, which to me meant my meticulous attention to the implications of the heart’s acts of love and treachery disturbed him. You take a word, one word and interrogate it, he complained. I want to know details, I told him. I want accuracy. I want the truth at the heart of the matter. You use words to obfuscate, I told him. I use them to light my way. Language is a holy lamp burning in the dark, I told him. It’s the one thing we have that can bring us close to the truthfulness of something. I can’t help it, I said. I have to know what you mean. You say you dislike giving glib answers. But what you think so carefully about is not how to clarify your answer, but how to make a mystery with your words. I said all this and he said you are making me anxious. When we get into this kind of mess, it makes me so anxious I think it will kill me. So I tried to stop my forensic ways but I might as well have tried to stop breathing. There is the truth of a situation. Or there is a certain dark thing. Or there is both.

           “Had to go crazy to love you / had to go down to the pit / had to do time in the tower / begging my crazy to quit / had to go crazy to love you / you who were never the one…

You always say things I’ve never thought of he told me, with some indignation because he usually believed himself to be the smartest person in the room.

I come to watch your exercise class. It is a hot day and I can see that you are sweating. As soon as you finish I hurry you out. You protest that you need a shower, but I say “no time” and rush you back to the bedroom. I pull your clothes off, then my own and push you back on the bed, startling you with my urgency.

Your cunt is already wide open and wet, my cock hard and wet and I thrust straight into to you. You match my thrusts with your pelvic movements. We are both sweating profusely now, feeling the wetness between our bellies as they move together and apart, in rhythm.

The sweat is dripping from my nipples onto your face, and you lift your head up and lick the sweat from them with your tongue. I share the need, and, your arms being crossed behind your head for support, I can lick the sweat from your armpits, savouring the rich salty taste.

This sharing drives us both into a final frenzy and we come. I am spent, all my cum drawn into your cunt by your strong contractions. We collapse back side by side, exhausted but satisfied and well nourished, our tongues licking our lips to enjoy the last taste of each other.

After a little sleep to recover, we head at last for the shower. Warm water cascades between our bodies, splashing from one to the other.

I soap your wonderful breasts, marvelling at their firmness and fullness, tracing their roundness over and over with my soapy hand. But not touching your nipples, although you thrust forward, wanting to feel my hands on them.

Instead my hands move down to soap your smooth belly, as yours do the same to mine. You soap my cock and balls, and I am amazed to discover, having thought them empty, that they seem full again, and my cock is thrusting against your hand.

My hand moves down to soap your cunt, still swollen it seems from the earlier fuck. As I soap you I feel your clitoris become a hard presence against my hand. I turn you around to soap your back. All the way down to your lovely firm round arse. It is too much, and I turn you round and lift you so I can once again enter your cunt.

You gasp with pleasure then tell me I can come and I do, filling you. My cock softens inside you. Then I slip him out and lower you to the floor. We turn off the water and dry each other, our bodies warm and glowing.

We head for our bed, unaccountably needing to sleep in each other’s arms.

No one has ever before written such things to me. My husband’s love letters were chaste, telling me that he longed for me, yearned for his beloved. My beloved, he called me. Don’t turn your face away from me, my beloved, he begged when we were at odds. Desire has never come to me in the form of the written word and I am astounded, breathless, and not a little afraid of the fierceness it arouses in me. We meet, and our tongues. Our tongues. Every bodily sensation distils itself in our tongues and I think, later, that is a new and superior way to use our tongues to tell the truth.

           “We are in the process of descending into the depths of the heart. To where bodies communicate with each other.”

Why do you want this with me? Why are you taking these risks? Why, when you know it has carnage of the heart written all over it?

Because you are good for me. And because these 24 hours, thinking you’d gone has put a lot of strain on me physically (and continues to) as well as mentally. And because I think we are good for each other. Mostly.

This morning

The thought of seeing you wake up, dishevelled, warm and still sleepy, wearing only a tee shirt, your cunt wet, your fingers reaching lazily for your clit, me taking your hand and licking your juices from your fingers

was driving me wild with desire.

I can’t decide whether I am more obsessed by your cunt or your breasts. My lovely. My beautiful. You.

He said, I always tell my wife I am meeting you. I don’t tell lies. I am astounded by this last statement. I think about it for a long time. I realise that he uses his words to tell one small truth that will obfuscate the large lie. He lies like a politician, like the Cardinal Pell. He tells his wife he is meeting me, which is the truth, but he omits the nature and content of the meeting, the forensics, the accuracy, the truth of it. After he’s been caught he tells me the details don’t matter. But I am the details. Everything that has been between us is in the details. It is the details that break everybody’s hearts, one way or another. It is another lie, to say the details don’t matter. The truth is, they matter more than anything else, they hold everyone’s fate in the balance, no wonder you can’t write fiction, I tell him scornfully, when you think the details don’t matter. What kind of intelligent person, I demand, tells himself details don’t matter?

His wife tells me later that she knew all along, he only thought he was deceiving her. She shouts at me. I shout back. Finally, we stop shouting and listen to one another. So, why, I want to know. If you knew, why did you let him go unchallenged for so long? Because you are the only one I’ve ever thought he would leave me for, she says. The only one? There are others? He is a serial adulterer? He told me you are the most intelligent woman he’s ever met, she says. He’s never given me credit for my intelligence, she adds. He doesn’t even know me. I wanted to do medicine but I met him too soon. I typed his PhD. Family is everything. Depends on the nature of the family, I think, but do not say. He is an honourable man, she tells me, I know you don’t think so, but he is. An honourable man? He has deceived you for all this time, I retort. He didn’t deceive me, I knew, she cried, but he thought he was deceiving you, it was his intention to deceive you, I insist. I am so angry, she says, sometimes I shake with rage. He’s gone deaf, she tells me, he’s lost hearing in his one good ear. That’s lucky, I reply, he can’t hear either of us. Then I remember how years ago when I confronted my mother about her complicity in her husband’s abuse of me she ran out of the room and the next day went stone deaf. No cause could be found for her sudden loss of hearing, and eventually it was diagnosed as hysterical deafness. Protecting her from what she couldn’t bear to hear. He just needs another grommet, his wife said. That’s how she introduced herself to me on the phone. This is (his) wife. I stayed up all night reading your blog, she told me. I suppose you’re curious about me, I said. She yelled: He wouldn’t go out with me for any of our anniversaries, or my birthday because he all he wanted was to be communicating with you! And now he is depressed and anxious and deaf! He sleeps all day! He misses you! He cares about you! He is suffering I am making sure he is suffering I can see it in his face. Good, I tell her. I like you. I like you too, she says.

You’ve been through this, she said, I read about it on your blog. How did you manage? It wasn’t quite the same, I told her. It was over when I found out about it. I never feared he would leave me. Sexual infidelity is one thing and it’s awful. But emotional infidelity, like this is?

If I’d thought he loved someone else I would have left him, I told her. I couldn’t bear to live with anyone who loved somebody else. Who was thinking about her all the time. My husband told me this about his lover: she was never in my imagination. You, my wife, are always in my imagination.

 I desire you infinitely. How beautiful you are. How much we manage to talk and communicate without setting out to talk. How anxious I get and how you reassure and comfort me. How well we have come to understand each other now. How good it will be to hear your voice again. How beautiful you are. How I love you. How I adore you. Night night, gorgeous lady with the beautiful breasts.

“How I would love you woman, how I would love you,/ love you as no one ever did! / Die and still /love you more,/And still /love you more, /and more.”

If a man or a woman chooses marriage, there are words he or she should never speak other than to their beloved. And if he or she does speak them they kill with them, perhaps one, perhaps two, perhaps several people. There was one thing and one thing only I knew for certain about him. That he was capable of terrible betrayal. When he took my hand in the café and gazed at me with the particular intensity that means only one thing, I should have said, no. I should have said what I’ve said before: only if your wife says it’s ok. A constellation of extraordinary circumstances determined that I would love him. I am suffering also, I told his wife. Badly. Good, she said. I know, I said. I know.

 “I remembered you with my soul clenched.”

 

*In order of appearance in the text:

Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Pablo Neruda, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda

Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea

Leonard Cohen, Had to go Crazy to Love You

Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea

Pablo Neruda, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

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