[Sex alert: we set the topic and you responded. Oh, my. You responded. Some of the pieces are, shall we say, a bit explicit; don’t want anyone to be surprised. Read on – at your own risk.]
“See? It’s my right knee that’s swollen.”
“I can’t put any weight on it,” she said. “And it’s my left shoulder. Remember? From the accident? I’m getting physical therapy for it? You brought me there once. That’s my bad shoulder. It’s on the left. See? The left. The knee is on the right; the shoulder is on the left.”
“Well, try,” he said. “We’ll try. Come.”
“Owwwwww!” he howled.
“What? What? Are you all right?”
“My knee,” he said. “The left one. Owwwwww. Think it’s the arthritis. Quick, move over.”
It was her turn to howl as he moved her away from him, rolling her onto and off her bad right knee to land on her bad left shoulder, and roll off again.
She lay there, laughing hard. He became annoyed.
“Come on, now. Come on. Get up. We’ll try again.” He yanked her back up to him and put an arm around her shoulders. She fell hard onto his chest.
“Oops, sorry. I’m so dizzy. Tee-hee-hee-hee.”
“Have you noticed,” he asked sternly. “You are the only one laughing here. You are laughing alone. I am not laughing with you. We are not laughing together. You are the only one laughing.”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha. Did I hurt you? Everything O.K.? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.”
“No. You didn’t hurt me. But stop this yammering. All this yammering is making it hard for me to concentrate on what we are doing.”
“What are we doing?”
“Well,” he said. “You’re laughing. But I’m not.”
He made her feel loved, cherished, and grateful to find bliss again. Long before they tussled in his large brass bed, she had said to him, “It will be a sad day for me if I ever stop feeling this way when I see you.” And it was.
She hopes for another chance at a great love. She will not be concerned about a full flabby body. After the senior-citizen discounted matinee and the early-bird special dinner, she will hope her sense of humor gracefully wins the evening for love.
The sun burned through the kitchen window as Bob dropped our sandwich wrappings into the waste basket under the sink, turned, reached for me and, pulling me in close, then closer, found my lips with his, mine warm and willing, his firm and eager. As the kisses went from soft and short and tender to longer and deeper and wetter, he leaned back against the counter and closed his arms tighter around me. When I murmured he hummed; his left hand found its way to my right breast and I moaned while thinking: who is this me, and how wonderful to feel so alive, and what am I doing, and god I love this man, and oh jeez I wonder what time it is, and how long do I dare stay away from work. But maybe that work thing, that responsibility thing, is what will save this scene from going really over the edge, like upstairs to the bedroom, where oh god, I can just imagine how wonderful, how unthinkably utterly wonderful it would be to lie down with this man because it’s been so long since I’ve made love, I mean really made love, with a man I felt in love with. But work, oh god, they expect me back this afternoon, so we better just stay here kissing and touching because this is amazing. We’re like teenagers only older. Surely no one else ever, ever felt so crazy. I love this version of me because it’s like that e. e. cummings poem: I like my body when it is with your body muscles better nerves more, and it’s really true, he is doing what he promised, he is helping me remember who I am. Just like in The Lion King when the dead father in that big deep voice – oh who is that actor with that big deep pontificating voice? James Earl Jones – says to the young lion king, “Remember who you are.”
When my mother said that to me on the day I was finally able to go out with my friends again after having been grounded for two weeks for sneaking to the drive-in movie with Joe, she made me stand there sweating in my new pink outfit she’d made for me until she gave me that sage advice: Remember who you are, and of course I was fifteen years old and had no idea what she was talking about because I didn’t know who I was, but now I do. I am a woman madly crazy in love with this marvelous wise and funny man, but I really do have to get back to work even in this wrinkled lavender jumper.
Sex in the Elderly
Elderly bodies come together in new ways, unimagined in youth, because, in youth, the body has its own imagination, untempered by life, the gravity of worldly experience, or inflamed joints. Well, joints are now differently inflamed, matches struck differently.
In youth, thighs don’t have to be carefully positioned. Knees and ankles once knew where they were going without being told. Hands back then didn’t know what they were doing, and it didn’t matter. And, in youth, bodies were interchangeable. If our lovers formed us, we didn’t know it, then.
Now, there are still lips all over our bodies, to receive the lips that, now, have to take their time getting there. But they do. And it is still glorious. And glory itself is taller, more flexible, more grounded in the world we’ve lived in, more generous. More delightful, because we have a deeper knowledge of delight itself, if we’ve been paying attention. Down to earth. We know where we are going, and how to get there, with care.
INNOCENCE LOST – 1984
I call the meeting to discuss finances. They are both in college now. Money is tight, even though their father is coming through with his half of tuition.
Peter ambles into the kitchen first. What’s to eat? He forages through the vegetable bin for a minute and comes to the table empty-handed.
We yell for Tom. He emerges from his room in the basement still rubbing his head with a towel.
Hey, what’s up? He grins and takes a beer out of the fridge and pops its key. The liquid gurgles as it runs down his throat. Beer, anyone? he asks when he sees us looking at him. It’s ten in the morning.
Peter gets up in his antsy way and looks into the breadbox. He comes back chewing a bagel, white crumbs collecting in his virgin beard. He settles next to his brother, gives him a brotherly punch.
I clear my throat. Are you guys ready for this?
The stack of papers and pencils helps. I pass them out. Here’s what you spent last year. Here’s what you’ve spent so far this year.
Peter makes his prissy face and adjusts his glasses. Tom slides a glance over the numbers and drains his beer.
So? I say.
Both boys look at me like I have said something funny.
So, I continue. So we are here to talk about…
Condoms, Peter says.
Whoop! Tom whoops.
Peter explains: He and Michaela have decided to have sex. Because they are new at it, they are researching. She does not want to put chemicals in her body. He is willing to do his part.
So. He peers over his glasses at me. You teach sex-ed. What’s the best kind?
For once, I have no advice. The sex-ed I teach is to fifth graders. We do sanitary pads and erections.
I have no experience personally either.
Should I confess to that? And just where is the line between parent and child nowadays? What the hell business is it of his, anyway? I am getting worked up when Tom crunches his beer can. What do you want to know, Pete?
Peter grins. You? You know already? He looks in awe at his younger brother.
Hey, some of us aren‘t backward. Tom makes his hee-hee sound and then picks up his pencil and starts drawing.
Excuse me, I say.
I am excused.
We used to think “love” was another one of those mental conditions that adults carried on about, that should just be disregarded like the bad breath of my best friend’s grandfather who greeted us so warmly after we’d been secretly touching each other’s “forests” and come up from her basement bedroom, ravenous, for more of what we didn’t yet know but could smell like a yeasty thing rising.
We’d sniff around for some barely cooked something, rare roast beef, almost hard cider, overripe melty cheese. After sitting on our red seats at the red-edged formica table, long-licking the sticky centers of our tootsie-roll pops, we’d head, heavy-lidded, back to the basement as her Gramps called: Where are you bad girls going? Then we’d pull our perfunctory giggles of innocence from our drawer of delicates.
Their version of “love” resembled nothing we knew until… she took up with a boy. Then, like a slow flu we all got it… every single one of us. Though the mild physio-psychosis for some was the collapse of massive steel buttresses for others, the Hindenburg afire, the Titanic sundered, the… well, you have your own story of disasters you never told that you never forgot, that the older you wants to tell the younger you so no similar ailments are ever ignored as cured.
Hold onto any kind of life raft you can and tread steadily.
My mother told me about her imaginary romance with the checker in the Grand Union. For months, each Thursday when she received her weekly allowance, she dressed to the nines and marched down Mill Road with her shopping cart. Truck drivers whistled at her legs and bosom and hooted at her, to her delight. My mother would make her way up and down the aisles preparing for her check-out line encounter by engaging in foreplay with the produce man, handing him her fruit in brown paper bags. “Would you like me to weigh your melons?” he would ask, regardless of what was inside. One day he revealed that Al, the checker, was away on his honeymoon. My mother came home enraged by this betrayal. The next week she phoned the Grand Union demanding to speak to him and, when he came to the pay phone, accused him of having led her on these many months. She started shopping at the Safeway.
Life force pulsates in the gorge and pours through me in waves of eager passion. I pull him deep into the woods until we find a small clearing. I draw him down beside me. I strip off my jeans and panties and tug at his belt. His hardness grows and he helps me slip off his jeans. I see my love for him reflected in his eyes.
Astride his leg, I slide slowly up and down and gently massage his nipples. His eyes unfocus and he moans softly. I stretch like a cat and lick from his navel up, stopping to suck one nipple, then the other. I lie on top of him and his cock swells gently against my abdomen. In my hand, it’s warm and round, aroused but not firm.
I know she wants me. In our forty years together, she’s never been this forward. Her dripping cunt is so ready. My cock’s not hard enough. Viagra would make ‘him’ impressive but it leaves me agitated.
I’m desperate to draw him close. I don’t care that he can’t penetrate me. I can’t wait.
With the abandon of a child playing in leaves, I plunge face-first into his maleness. I burrow my cheeks into the texture of his kinky hair. His member nestles there like a soft rubber toy lost in an autumn pile. My tongue tastes the mustiness of his sweat and my hands trace his crevices and feel the softness between his legs.
Buried there, I nuzzle into his familiar nest. I abandon all expectations. I find freedom. My face and his groin unite in an unrehearsed dance. I resurface, satisfied in a way I haven’t known before.
Her enthusiastic exploration excites me. I’ve never seen her so uninhibited. She doesn’t need me hard. I tell myself to relax. I sense she’s searching for secluded places and frontiers she’s never found. The sunlight’s fading and I’m beginning to get cold. I feel exposed.
She rests softly in a fetal position between my legs. I draw her to me and we lie on our sides. She rests her back against my chest and I curve my body to conform to hers. She sleeps.
Sex on a First Date
Unrelenting ripples of pleasure were pulsing up from my feet through my calves and thighs, generating wetness between my legs, exploding in my heart, and exiting my mouth with a gasp of giggles. If he could make me feel this way just by touching my feet, what could he do to the rest of my body?
Soon we were both laughing gleefully, gazing appreciatively at each other in the flickering firelight.
“This is a side of you I’ve never seen!” Brad said.
“Which side – the ecstatic one or the stoned one?” My body was still undulating in waves of bliss.
“I feel like I’m back in the ’70s!” Back then I was living in Berkeley in a seven-person vegetarian cooperative house with other twenty-somethings; pot enhanced our explorations of sex during that innocent pre-AIDS period. Thirty-five years later at Brad’s house in the country, I longed for that simpler time.
The first night we had slept together in his soft bed, kissing and holding each other tenderly. Although we had a safe sex conversation, neither of us moved to be sexual. On this second evening, with our bodies aroused from the pot-enhanced foot stroking, we started fondling, moving towards intercourse. He reached for the condoms and I got out my favorite lube.
“It’s hard to get this on,” he said, smiling with amusement.
“Let me try,” I offered. I stroked his shaft with my hand. His cock swelled. But at the touch of the rolled up condom, it shrank.
“I don’t think it likes condoms!” I said, now giggling.
“I know it doesn’t!” he said, looking a little chagrined.
I held his face up to mine. “I really feel more affectionate than sexual. How about we just kiss and hold each other again?”
“That is so fine with me.”
In the morning we stroked each other’s faces and gazed into each other’s eyes.
“I adore you,” Brad whispered in my ear. “Thanks for your understanding last night.”
“Do you realize how blissful you made me feel? And our hearts are connected. That’s the most important thing to me.”
Some things were still that simple.