Asking for It

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My fantasies always begin . . . normally. Whatever normal is.

The movie or TV show I’m watching features a sexy scene: a man and woman in a clinch, their lips silhouettes that almost touch. A ballad by Dinah Washington comes up on shuffle, raw and yearning. Hugh Jackman shows up shirtless on the cover of a supermarket magazine. The usual things get me started, I guess.

So then I’m in my boyfriend’s bed (when I have a boyfriend) or alone between the sheets, or in the shower (when I don’t). I close my eyes. I try to forget everything except the pulsing between my legs, the pressure and rhythm that’s making my pulse race. The images in my mind jumble together, without narrative or emotion or sense—like a pornographic kaleidoscope of tongues and lips, cock and cunt, the heat of skin on skin. Usually I start to moan; I’m not one of the quiet ones. So far, so good.

But no matter how explicit and erotic the kaleidoscope gets, no matter how talented the guy’s tongue is, or how constant my hand’s pressure might be—it never, ever gets me off.

Only one fantasy does that.

I try not to think about it. I tell myself it’s sick, it’s wrong. A lot of times, when I’m with a guy, I just don’t come. It’s embarrassing to be this good at faking it.

When I’m alone—or when I’m with a lover and I want to get off so bad that I can’t take it anymore—I have to go there.

In my mind, ropes wind around my wrists, my ankles. Or I’m rolled onto my stomach, hands pinned behind my back. Sometimes I’m blindfolded. Sometimes he makes me look at him. If I’m going down on a guy, I ask him to pull my hair, and the whole time I’m pretending that he’s making me do this. Forcing me. In reality he says, Baby or You’re beautiful; I imagine him saying, Whore. Suck it, you cunt.

I don’t get off unless I’m imagining being raped.

Sometimes it’s “softer”—a guy backing me against a wall at a party, or taking advantage when I’m sloppy drunk. Other times it’s brutal. Tied down spread-eagled. Or in a ditch on my hands and knees.

At least I don’t fantasize about weapons at my throat, or pointed at my head. Not yet, anyway.

I hate this about myself. I hate it. I’ve tried to change so many times; I’ve always failed. While I wish I could say I don’t know why I’m wired this way . . . I do.

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Lots of people have sexual fantasies they’d never act on, whether they’re violent or perverse, silly or flat-out biologically impossible. If it’s all in my head, and it makes me come, what’s the harm?

(It makes me come hard. )

The harm is when the lines between reality and fantasy get blurred.

Like they did last night.


Highway 71 stretched in front of my car, black asphalt scrolling beneath my wheels. Seven hours into my drive back to Austin, I was wondering why I hadn’t just flown Southwest.

Sometimes I like taking a long road trip by myself—listening to my music, relishing the freedom of knowing I absolutely, positively can’t work on my thesis for a while. I’d enjoyed most of this drive back from New Orleans, but now that the sun had gone down and I still had an hour to go, I felt restless.

Maybe if you hadn’t left your car charger at home, where it can do you exactly no good—

I groaned, thinking of my cell phone in my purse, dead for more than an hour now. Instead of putting on my favorite high-energy playlist for the final leg of my journey, I was at the mercy of the radio. Every station seemed dedicated to putting me to sleep.

Then again, it was late. After ten P. M. Most people were winding down, taking it easy as they listened to mellower music, maybe snuggling up to someone they loved.

A sultry Latin number began, soft guitar and thumping drums suggesting sensuality with every beat—and reminding me how long I’d been alone.

My last breakup had taken place four months before. Sometimes I missed Geordie, even though I knew splitting had been the right choice. At age thirty, he’s still in party-hearty mode, while at twenty-five I already feel more grown-up than he probably ever will. We’d always been more friends than red-hot lovers anyway. Our sex life—well, I couldn’t blame Geordie there. Probably most women would have been more than happy with what he had to offer. I was the one who had longed for something Geordie couldn’t provide.

At least you told him what you really wanted. You finally trusted someone else enough to tell, and that alone counts for something, doesn’t it? He just couldn’t go there with you.

But I’d felt so shamed. So exposed. I’d confessed my deepest fantasies to Geordie, hoping he’d play along, and instead he’d freaked out. Oh, he tried to be sympathetic, all “But why do you think you feel this way?” That’s what I pay my therapist for. What I needed from him was something a whole lot dirtier. A whole lot scarier. And gentle, funny Geordie couldn’t give it to me.
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