Pleasure and Pain

It was years before it happened. I felt like a fool – I honestly hadn’t known what I was missing. But after Seb and I broke up I went out one evening, got drunk, had a one night stand and WHAM. Incredible shuddering pleasure suddenly broke and bled into nightmarish visions.

My incredibly sexy lover was gone when I woke up the next morning, which I was grateful for. I had no idea whether anything that had happened had been normal, and I am a big believer in ignorance being bliss; now more than ever.

Where it all went wrong was the weird transformation from girly gossip to distance and unease. Later that day – post shower, post self-analysis, post-memories of pleasure - I met some friends for lunch. Two of them, Anne and Linnet, I would trust with my deepest darkest secret. The other two, Kayla and Marguerite, are nugget-feeders; they take tiny fragments of a sentence and apply cod psycho analysis until you feel defensive and stupid. Since I didn’t usually have much of interest to them (stable relationships are so boring) I didn’t generally get picked up on their radar, and when they weren’t dissecting the broader details of your personal life in order to extract something much more intimate, they were sort of fun to be around.

That day I would have done almost anything to avoid them. Breaking up with Seb had stuck a huge “Unpick Me” sign on my back, and I could feel a list of not-so-subtle enquiries being held at the ready when I arrived at the café.

In order to not talk about Seb, I instead decided to share the details of my one night liaison.  It’s the least predictable thing I could have done, and I have to admit to enjoying their shock. Revealing the juicy details of my unlike-me-liaison made me a different person in their eyes, and in order to avoid the concern radiating from Anne and Linnet I willingly focused on Kayla and Marguerite, and let the interrogation begin.

My mistake was opening up about the orgasm. First there was the appalled silence of women who had regularly experienced the kind of night I had had, then some snorting derision at Seb’s sexual prowess – or lack thereof. Then a quick diversion into masturbation theory – where had I been going wrong?

I don’t masturbate. No big reason why not – the urge just never struck me.

This led us further down an annoying side-road into my lack of sexual experience, and a good deal of unwanted pity.

In an attempt to drag it back to me, to how wild and loose I was, I mentioned the vision.

Presumably if I had been more sexually experienced, if these conversations had taken place on a more regular basis in my life, I would have known that it was weird. But it turns out that not everyone sees dead women when they come.

Who knew?

  • Preston Randall

    An interesting and very intimate portrayal. A couple of ideas: in the 3rd para, I think it should be "cold" analysis. Also, consider "details of my personal life" - it might fit better with the flow of the other sentences. Lastly, a number of semi-colons could be changed to periods, I think, and again, this might help with the flow. But these are all minor. Well done.

  • Charlie Boucher

    Thanks for the read and the feedback - much appreciated! 3rd para "cod" should definitely be "cod", I don't know if this is a very British phraseology, but it basically means "without expertise".  And I'll have another review of those semi-colons! Punctuation will be the death of me...

  • Preston Randall

    My apologies re: cod! I've never heard that expression before and now, after looking up the definition I feel rather foolish. Oh, well, now I've learned something too.