Sunday, May 17, 2009

Do Not Leave Me in This Abyss

A while ago, I was having too much red wine with an old friend. Drunk, we were or bordering on it. I love being intoxicated with a friend, just the two of us, alone. The buzz of alcohol dismantles the walls, opens everything up to the brutal truth. And also very juicy stories and secrets. There's nothing that intrigues me more than a weird sex story, an open window into private, primal moments.

"So we were doing it and all of a sudden he me right across the face."

"Ok...what?" This is so good. I can't believe how good this is. I'm giggling with the juicy goodness of this confession."Let me get this straight...he was fucking you all normally and out of nowhere he just hit you in the face?"

"Yeah, it was insane. And I sort of stopped moving, like what the fuck, you know? and he was all, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry' and I was like don't apologize just give me a minute to...process this...figure out if I like it or not."

"So did you? it, I mean?"

She hesitates just a moment. Then she gets this funny little smile on her face, leans closer and whispers conspiratorially, "Yeah, it was really hot."

What is about sex that brings out the best and the worst in some of us? The act of sex renders us so vulnerable, so utterly and completely exposed. Tenderness and violence nest on a razor's edge in those carnal moments. I remember all those Wild Kingdom-esque shows I watched in childhood, the viciousness of the mating ritual, two animals in turmoil. The female resisting and surrendering, in equal measure. The male insistent, sinking his sharp teeth into her soft fur, a yelp, insertion, and something is finally made alive. I thought maybe it was just that way with animals. Surely human beings had evolved. Surely, human sex was pure pleasure and tenderness and moonlight and soft as velvet. I didn't understand until much later that sex could hurt in the good way. That it could be sand paper and sharp tools and shades of black and grey. I didn't know until much, much later that I wanted it that way. To be the truth, even if it made me cry.

We don't know about the sex maps in our brains in the proverbial morning of our sexual awakening. We don't know there's a map then, let alone a route, a way to go to get to orgasm, to touch god, achieve the paramount of pleasure. We start the trip innocent of it all, so unaware of the true destination. I remember knowing what I should want, what I should like. Most girls of thirteen had crushes on the cute boys, popular boys. The types of boys I couldn't have, who wouldn't notice me if I was standing stark naked in front of them. But I was a weird girl. Instead of longing for the living, breathing boys, I hung the whole of my heart on boys that never even existed. Protagonists of novels, characters swollen with mystery and outlined in dark, hazy edges. Characters like Jean Valjean, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and Cal Trask. The darker the heart, the behavior, the more strange the arc of his story or redemption, the more I obsessed over him, let him penetrate my vulnerable brain. I recall lazy afternoons, on my belly in bed, propped up on elbows, devouring Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff was my favorite darkling of them all.

Reading that book...well, it changed me. I learned that I wasn't the only person all hunched in dark corners, trapped in strange, unbecoming places. That's what drew me to those books, those characters. They stirred me up, tickled those places inside me, excited me in embarrassing ways. So I'd visit with Heathcliff, long and often. My Heathcliff, brooding, wicked, sullen and accursed with potent passions. I pictured his luminous black eyes piercing my pale skin, his strong hand taking mine to roam the moors, his intensity of feeling impaling my pliable mind. I envisioned him standing beneath my window, wet with rain, screaming "Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!" I wanted his brutality and his tenderness. I wanted his masked goodness to seep out despite himself; I dreamed the real Heathcliff would emerge from beneath the cruel exterior drawn out by his great love for me. But certainly not before he ravished my naked body in numerous torrid fashions.

Obviously, I did not learn about sex from classical literature. No, that job fell to seedy romance novels my girlfriend lent to me, with the dirtiest pages marked with a creased corner. The mechanics of sex I had known, early on, whispers on the playground, "he puts his thing in you", nervous conversations with my mom, "he puts his thing in you". Nobody ever explained how it would feel to want that, how it would feel to actually have it. Nobody ever told me about that ache, that bottomless ache, about that painful longing to be filled. Nobody warned me that I would begin to feel that emptiness, especially at night, especially when I had free moments to contemplate those luscious, intimidating characters I encountered so regularly in books. And then it happened that the desire boiled to a level and bubbled over, and finally my hand would take its slow travel under covers towards the emptiest place on earth, fueled by fresh and enigmatic longing. When it was over, I was still just a girl lost in that immeasurable abyss.

An orgasm together is so much better than an orgasm alone. Hand to hand, mouth to mouth, pelvis to pelvis. Tender at times, rough at others. I'm not going to say if it's right or wrong, but sometimes dark things happen between lovers. A growl, a bite, a slap. Just animals navigating their personal twisty map. I'm going to venture to say that all of us are fucked up in our own beautiful ways. Flawed creatures trying to get off, trying to fill aching voids in our hearts and bodies. And when we are there experiencing that collision of power and surrender, sometimes we can't hide those nasty, primitive parts of ourselves. To this day, I must have sex with the lights turned off. It is the only way I feel safe in that intimate embrace: shadows and squeezed eyes. I take any form in the dark. Drive him mad. But in that abyss, he can always find me.


  1. i always had crushes on fictitious girls/women when i was little. most of the time, they were people that i read about or that i saw on television. i had a thing for scarlet o'hara from gone with the wind for the longest time.
    the people at school were too human.
    funny. i think i've done that in my adult relationships, too. the painted-picture of romance is always so much more alluring.

    as for sex, i want the whole package. all that built-up stuff in my mind coupled with the animal lust in the dark.
    you describe it very well.
    maybe you should write intellectual erotica. haha.

    btw, i read through your journal (a bunch of old entries).
    i was especially moved by a post about your sister when you visited a bunch of wineries.
    i am extremely close with my younger brother and cannot imagine growing old without him.
    i just wanted you to know that i read that - and i'm glad i found you're blog.
    there is a lot of strength and reality in your words.

  2. Have you seen the Ang Lee film "Lust, Caution"? the kind of sex you are talking about is depicted beautifully in that movie

  3. Now that the weather is warm, I look forward to my wife and I's trips into the back yard, comforter in tow, waking the bunnies that nest beneath the lilac bushes. Once, we didn't make it all the way outside, had to stop and do it on the hood of my 86 Honda.

    There's much to be said for adventure . . .

  4. I just had a conversation with a friend about the strange relationship so many of us have with pleasure and pain and rough and tender and love and lust. But, as usual, you have said it so beautifully.

    I think there's nothing wrong with lovers going to a "dark place" .. as long as they are both making the trip there together.

    Sexual needs, like psychological ones, are - complicated seems like such an understatement.

    But, yeah, okay, they're complicated. And they're different for everyone. But, underneath it all, I think they are the same for everyone too.

  5. I like to be bitten and smacked around during sex. I'm pretty sure that it's wired deep into me that pain and pleasure go hand and hand from being smacked around by dear old mom and dad. But, it's what I like. Thank God boyfriend is willing to oblige me occasionally.

  6. Daaaamn...

    Um, I like it when you write about sex.

  7. Am I the only one who needs a cigarette right now?

  8. SciFi Dad- I'll take a cigarette too.


  9. Whewww....but Gwen, turn on the lights!

  10. Shannon - thanks for taking the time to read those old posts about my sister. It means a lot to me, it really does. It's very nice to know that I'm not alone in my attraction to fictitious people. Intellectual erotica? Is there such a thing? If so, I must get my hands on some of it STAT.

    Nurse Myra - I have never seen that movie, but it sounds like something I would be interested in seeing. Thanks so much.

    Zen Mom - I'm glad you get what I'm talking about here. It's a difficult thing to put into words. I'm not talking some of that crazy, orchestrated shit. It's just what happens sometimes organically. And yes, both people (or all people participating, I should say) have to be okay with the things that are happening. Absolutely.

    Trouble - yeah, I got hit growing up too. Never made a connection between that and those rough needs, but you might be on to something. Good for you for knowing what you need and not being afraid to ask for it. I mean, even if dysfunctional childhoods created these "maps", they're still our maps, they still are the route to great pleasure.

    Praying to Darwin - So glad I could entertain you :) Sex is NOT easy for me to write about. I'm still trying to figure myself out. I write about sex because it is difficult. Sometimes I take the things I most uncomfortable about and say, "well, there's your topic."

    Sci Fi - yeah, I needed one after I finished writing that. Among other things...

    Candice - I guess we are all smoking together

    Here in Franklin - no can do. I've tried. Way too uncomfortable.

  11. i work at barnes and noble. i'll research intellectual erotica tomorrow and report back.
    i just made it up it the moment - but maybe there IS such a thing! if there is, you MUST write it.

    as for the old posts about your sister, i am honored to have had the eyes to read them.
    really and truly.
    i'm glad i found your blog. :)

  12. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

    I learned about sex from my mother's historical bodice rippers. I wanted to be ravished, neeeeeeded to be ravished. As a girl I thought desperate, wild coupling was the only coupling.

    This was so good, Gwen. Really.

  13. Am I the only one who got REALLY turned on reading it?

  14. Well I got really turned on writing it, Trouble. And I think Sci-Fi dad and Sarah both needed a cigarette after, so there's that. :) I think I'm going to start writing erotica. It's fun.