Does anyone get the perfect amount of sex? My friends and I talk a lot about our love lives and so often sex is a bone of contention even in happy relationships. There seems to be a lot of mismatched expectation and negotiation: a lot of pleading, begging, gnashing, blocking, sighing, yearning, weeping, scrabbling, silent mounting and tearful pleas to “get off me so I can go to sleep.” If only marriage vows could be a little more specific: does loving and honouring someone mean forgoing an episode of the Bridge so you can be used as a silent, naked prop in a wanking session?
Maybe I’m naïve, but I assumed most people had the same values as me: don’t steal or lie, don’t cheat on your exams or taxes or people, be kind to others, help if you can, work hard, protect your family, protect our world. Actually, I’ve been surprised at how often our values aren’t in synch: how many people are disingenuous or dishonest; how many are cruel or lazy or neglectful; how many can’t see how their actions make our world and hearts a bleaker place.
The first time you have sex with a woman is a complete minefield. I don’t want to do men a disservice or anything, but they’re mostly pretty easily pleased between the sheets. Just swing your legs around a bit and yodel and they’ll usually sort themselves out quite happily. Women, on the other hand, are far more complex: “Erm, left a bit…no, no, right a bit…okay bit far, go back? Yep, there. Bit softer…mmm…softer…yeah…that’s good babes. Okay speed up…no not that fast…yeah like that. Still soft though…but fast…but soft…but fast…oh yeah…oh baby…uh huh…mmm…keep doing that…right there…stay right there….don’t move…don’t move…don’t move…ARGH I’M TOO SENSITIVE JESUS FUCKING CHRIST GET OFF ME.” screams and hides in wardrobe.
Doubts have begun to creep in, like ants crawling over a summer picnic. It starts with a relatively innocent request: a sexy photo for her to moon over late at night. So one evening I get home from the office, wriggle into a slinky LBD and dim the lights ready to titillate my paramour.
For our third date the artist takes me for a walk on the beach; a little slice of Costa del Kent. I’ve come to her home town, over an hour by train from mine, with a wheelie suitcase packed with champagne, strawberries, perfume and lingerie. We still haven’t slept together and I’m a bubbling mix of lust and nerves.
For our second date I invite the Blond over to mine. She arrives thoughtfully with a bottle of white and a bottle of red, which we sip curled up on my sofa putting the world to rights. After two and a half hours though neither of us has made a move and the evening is in danger of ending with a chaste peck on the cheek and an Uber.
When you first start dating someone even the simplest things can be fraught with indecision: What to wear, which bar to book, what to cook. We can all be strangely intolerant in those early days.