I once attended the London Art Fair back in the days when galas were exuberant events heaving with people and you could embrace a perfect stranger without wearing a vapor barrier. I was twinkle-toes in love with the man who took me and between the wattage I felt in his company, the prosecco served on silver trays, and my thigh-high leather boots, I essentially off gassed erotic energy throughout the evening.
A man rang me up by mistake, he got the number wrong. And that thing happened that never really happens: we didn’t hang up. We could not. My body, which had been carted about by me with unloved indifference for years, became a poised centre of unexpressed longing for this unmet man. Not absolutely immediately, of course. First he said sorry to bother you, I said no no don’t worry, there was a pause, he said you’ve got a very sexy voice you know, I said so have you actually, he said my name’s Mull, I said mine is Elizabeth.
Not long ago I received an email from a friend linking me to The Guardian article by Tracy Clark-Flory titled, What I Learned About Male Desire in a Sex Doll Factory. She profiles the artificially intelligent, life-like silicone Real Dolls made in America. They start around $6,000 and can be custom-designed to one’s specifications: from hair color to facial piercings, breast size to labia shape. On the Real Doll website I discovered, “The mouth and vaginal orifice, when penetrated, form a vacuum, providing a powerful suction effect. The oral entry has soft, stretchy lips, an ultra soft tongue, soft silicone teeth, and a hinged jaw that opens and closes realistically. The tongue can be removed to allow for more space and easy cleaning.”
I had my first partnered orgasm after discovering I could rub my clitoris at the same time my man was plowing the furrow. I stumbled upon this little trick well into my 30’s and, though elated, figured it was my body’s begrudging way of finally achieving what I assumed most other women were getting without such frenetic efforts: an orgasm from PIV (penis in vagina) thrusting alone.
I lived with my former husband for six years before we married. At the four year point I suggested I liked the idea of getting married. He was not so sure. When he agreed to talk to a therapist about his feelings he came home to tell me the therapist had diagnosed him with “Magical Thinking”.
A few years back, curled up in the window seat of a rustic island cabin, I got a Facebook message from a woman I didn’t know. She was writing, very cordially, to tell me the man I was dating, the one with whom I had just exchanged sweet endearments, was her boyfriend. Of four years.
I once dated a man as generous with his compliments as a sailor is with his swear words. Granted, he was English, which made every word sound as though he were channeling James Bond. Regardless of the dubiousness of his proclamations, (“You have the ass of a fourteen year old boy.”) every adulation made my heart glow. Another man I came to adore wrote letters (with a pen!) and left little notes of endearment in my medicine cabinet and underwear drawer. I fell hard for that one, which led to a full-on face plant when those words slowed to a trickle and eventually dried up all together.
"You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven." Why do we believe the silly things we're told about sex?
So what of the love lives of us single people during a time of social distancing and an uncertain future? When the advantages of a freewheeling sex life are suddenly on lock down, my thoughts on what I want from my relationships are coming into focus.
You don’t even have to take a crash course from an expert, such as one of those ball-searching, Speedo-wearing Italian hunks you encounter on the lido, whose hands dive into their budgie-smugglers and check their two veg every couple of minutes while they’re talking to you, like it’s the most normal thing in the world to do. You can do it in the privacy of your own bedroom or bathroom