Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Author: Innocent Loverboy (Page 1 of 19)

Soft Porn Sunday: Griffin Drew & Jesse Johnson

Logo for Twilight Entertainment, the distribution company behind Phantom Love.
It doesn’t always look like this. I promise.

Q: What is Twilight Entertainment?
A: Surrender Cinema.
Q: What is Surrender Cinema?
A: Full Moon Features.
Q: What is Full Moon Features?
A: Charles Band’s company.
Q: Knowing this, is Charles Band then indirectly responsible for many of your orgasms?
A: I feel so dirty!

Appearance: Phantom Love (2000)
Characters: Judith & Chauncie*

[*Pronounced “Chancey” /tʃɑ:nsi:/. I originally had this in my head as “Chauncey”; if you’ve played the first Luigi’s Mansion you may understand why.]

The Plot

To start with, Phantom Love is a little misleading insofar as there aren’t any phantoms. It’s one of Surrender’s later offerings (earlier ones are labelled “Torchlight Entertainment” with a logo that looks like the Pixar lamp moonlighting), and although it has some familiar faces, I can’t in all honesty say I’m overly familiar with too many of them.

I know a couple. The frame narrative of this is fairly simple: Marie (Sandy Wasko, who I mainly know from Emmanuelle 2000 and Passion Cove, although apparently she’s also in Beverley Hills 90210…) is a struggling romance writer trying to think of a new angle. On the advice of her agent (David Christensen, who I do know… he’s the dean in Co-Ed Confidential!), she does the sensible thing of going all the way to Italy, checking into a hotel she arrives at by accident, and accepting a centuries-old journal from the creepy woman in charge, which she then reads and orgasms to.

Attractive blonde lady talking to some average white dude with floppy hair. Scene from Phantom Love.
Judith spends most of the film wearing stuff like this.

The actual story is in the journal. Judith (Griffin Drew, who’s in Elke and Andromina: The Pleasure Planet but also appears in Baywatch!) is the last surviving heir of a rich Italian family, but she’s been studying in America for a while. (Quite why she’s doing a British accent isn’t really explained. It’s also not really explained why this isn’t in Italian.) Her wicked stepmother nasty aunt archetype wants her to marry the local vapid Baron, but Judith is a free spirit and prefers to go her own way.

Do I need to tell you that she then has sex with a number of different men, including the Baron, before inexplicably hitting on a plan to save the whole estate? Or had you worked that bit out? Yeah, you worked it out. I see you, gentle reader.

The Characters

Jesse Johnson kissing Griffin Drew's neck.
Nice trees in the background there. Are they real?

Judith is a British-sounding Italian lady raised in the good ol’ US of A, which didn’t actually exist in the early 18th century so I have all sorts of questions. She’s been told to save the estate, so obviously isn’t going to do that.

Chauncie (Jesse Johnson) is a gardener. He’s working-class, and isn’t even able to afford a comedy accent, but presumably he has a big cock. In any case, Judith has sex with him basically because she can. I mean, there’s the rest of the movie too, but most of the budget presumably went on this.

Sex? What Sex?

What I didn’t realise, when I started watching Phantom Love, is that (like Femalien: Cosmic Crush, which was admittedly a decade later!) there’s very little sex in this sex film. There are sex scenes – of course there are, this is Surrender – but they’re not the longest or the most arousing. In 2000 Surrender was making things like Lolida 2000, Pleasurecraft and Virgins of Sherwood Forest, so maybe this was made on an off-day or something.

Griffin Drew's bare breasts.
Is it me, or does Jesse look genuinely surprised here?

The reason I chose this scene with Judith and Chauncie was that it was basically a surprise. I was so used to the frame narrative that I wasn’t entirely sure if Griffin Drew was going to get her kit off at all. There’s a lesbian sex scene featuring her before this, but this is her first straight sex scene. It doesn’t have much preamble, either. He’s there, she kisses him, then they shag.


The first thing you notice is the music, which I suppose is going for the ‘aristocrat has sex’ thing, but is actually code for ‘keyboard player found the harpsichord voice’. There’s a repeated line (possibly a loop?) underlying an increasing number of string parts (maybe it’s a real string quartet. Nope, that would be a bit too BBC.) and the occasional roll on a ride cymbal. Drums playing a breakbeat come in halfway through and basically made me feel like I should be fighting a video game boss to this. It’s all very odd, and very loud, but I can’t deny that it is unique.

This week, I have been mostly eating nipples.
Jesse’s Diets

There may be limited amounts of sex, but there’s certainly a lot of kissing. For the first 70 seconds of this, Judith and Chauncie do very little but snog. Every now and again you will get a shot of his hands undoing her corset from the back, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. In real life, of course, I’m perfectly happy to kiss for more than a minute, but this is softcore – so get on with it!

Anyway, after a minute and a bit, we are rewarded with Griffin Drew’s boobs, which Jesse goes on to kiss a few times, her legs which he also kisses, and his penis.

Naked Jesse Johnson and Griffin Drew. His penis is visible.
The penis is on the bottom half of his bo… well, where a penis is, I guess.

That is to say that you can see Jesse’s penis if you slow down the playback and hit the pause button at exactly the right time. I’m not exactly emasculated by this, but it took me a while, so here’s the screenshot.

We get a standard softcore cunnilingus scene with Chauncie consisting mostly of hair and Judith making a face (which actually goes on for a while; Judith appears to have an orgasm at one point!), until eventually, at 02:04 into the scene, we mix to what is unmistakably, genuinely sex.

Huzzah, actual simulated sex!

Top half of a naked women during a sex scene.
We get this during sex scenes, but precious little else.

Something else I need to point out is that most of the sex in Phantom Love happens in the astride position, and this is no exception. We get Judith demurely riding Chauncie, although it’s mostly just her hair and back at first; there are also some nice shots of her face, boobs and even her bum at points.

That’s it, then it’s all over. It all finishes relatively quickly, and even then, most of it is filmed in close-up so all we really get is their faces. Judith finishes with

I’m going to see about getting you a raise!


which is… I don’t know? Is that funny? Is it meant to be? Polite blinking from me there.

Conclusion & Evaluation

Phantom Love is a strange beast. It promises at points to be something that it isn’t, and in any case there aren’t any phantoms so it’s very much a misnomer. I wasn’t even aware of its existence until last week, and the main plot did keep me interested (to an extent), so I enjoyed it for what it is.

But then the sex scenes are all like this. Sex happens but it’s over very quickly, characters do get naked but that takes a while, and it does feel like more effort went into the music than the cinematography. There are several, all on a similar theme, and one does have to wonder why. Surrender sex scenes are longer than this. They’re better than this.

Griffin Drew smiles at Jesse Johnson. This alt text is pretty redundant, really. Can anyone see or hear these?
I do have to say that I really like her hair.

My guess – and it has to be a guess at this point – is that the studio suddenly realised that they had a fairly competent story in there somewhere. The frame narrative doesn’t do anything, but it bulks up the time a bit, and the main bit with Judith in her family’s estate actually had me hooked. I was wondering how it was going to end at some points, and considering how some Surrender films don’t have an ending, the fact that they got one in there was impressive in itself.

So watch this one if you want. But don’t expect too much from the sex. And beware! Beware the phaaaaantoms!

Wherever they’re meant to be,

Hot, hot, hot…

I wasn’t even aware the evening would be even hotter than the middle of the day. But, then again, this would have been more of a surprise had I not chosen to abandon all shock and awe. By this point I was just going along with it.

In any case, the evening was incredibly hot. All the windows were open, and the door to the back garden too. The distant rumble of the city could be heard, but the sound of the insects enjoying the summer heat was something I felt much more calming.

I could barely move. My own heartbeat was throbbing in my ears and, if I took a steady breath in, I could swear I felt the planet rotating.

Everything was sticky. Hot. Untidy. Heavy, almost. I lay there, eyes closed, sweat beading on my forehead.

Naked, of course.

“I’m assuming you don’t want any more coffee?”
“Mmmmmm…” was all I managed. I hadn’t even been aware she had entered the room until then. (I would have jumped in surprise, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to jump.) “No more coffee, though. Maybe a cold drink.”
“Lemonade, then.” She crossed the room, pulled a couple of glasses out of somewhere and pulled a couple of lemonades.


“It’s good, thanks.”
“Very good?”
“Yes, very good.”
“So you’re up for another round before you fall asleep?”

I mean, I knew she was horny. I just wasn’t expecting her to be this horny.

“Do you want to go again? I could do with one more, if you feel me?”
“Really? But it’s boiling hot! And I’m exhausted!”
“Your penis says otherwise,” she pointed out, indicating it with a finger. In all fairness, she wasn’t wrong.
“Yeah, well, my penis says a lot of stuff,” I demurred. “It’s had a lot of fun today, but now it just wants to…”

I didn’t say anything else, because by that point I was already inside her.

“Not fair,” I whimpered alongside her gleeful bounces. “It’s too hot to resist.”
“Nobody resists me,” she laughed. “Hot or not.”
“Hot,” I moaned. “Definitely hot.”

Ten minutes later, as we lay entwined, a very welcome breeze blew in through the French windows.

“That feels nice,” I said.
“Doesn’t it always feel nice?”
“I mean… the breeze.”
“That’s what I meant!”

And with that (and a shimmy I wouldn’t have been able to manage, even if I hadn’t been so hot), she slid from the bed, a mixture of our juices leaving a glistening trail across the floor.

“Where are you going?”
“More lemonade, of course, silly,” she grinned as she collected our glasses. “I could do with one more, if you feel me?”
“One… more?”
“One more lemonade?”
“Oh. Yeah, yeah. That’s what I meant.”

Because it was, as I may have indicated, very hot.


It was my birthday yesterday, and as a result, I’m now officially in my late thirties. I’m feeling very old.

Last night I had a nice meal with my parents; tomorrow, there is a family thing in the afternoon. I got a book from my wife and I’m assuming there are more presents forthcoming.

Box art for the Nintendo 64 game "Paper Mario".
This is what I’ve been playing. I missed out on it first time around, so…

Is what I assume. What I’m also assuming is that I’m a relatively difficult person to buy for, insofar as I never really know what I want. Younger ILB never had this problem, as every Christmas and birthday was an opportunity to get a new Nintendo game. This is still a nice thing to get, but when one considers that I have five unfinished Switch games on the go and there are many more being added to the retro console emulator thingies, it’s more or less apparent that I don’t really need one right now.

I sometimes get things that I might use, but more often than not they become little more than ephemera. I’m more likely to use a stick of glue than I am my Stylophone, but then I like the fact that I own a Stylophone. I am a contrary boy.

I’ve decided, in these calm moments, that what I want the most is some quiet time. Time like this, with no distractions, no noise and no other responsibilities. The time to sit in silence and write my blog, or read a book, chatter on Twitter or play the aforementioned Switch.

Time, in short, to just be.

And, since you can’t package that and hand it over as a present, I’m having to find it for myself.

Or, if not, new porn is always welcome.

Celebrity, crushed

It was mid-spring last year and I was at my parents’ house with a pad of sketching paper and a bold marker pen. On the other side of the table was my sister – our erstwhile maid of honour – with a handwritten list of questions.

“It’s very simple,” she had explained. “I’ve got a list of questions here about them. You write down what your answer would be. Since they’re about to be your wife, you should know them all.”
“Why don’t you just ask them?” I had queried.
“Because it’s a quiz,” she had replied. “I don’t know the answers and neither do any of the bridesmaids. We all give an answer, and so do you, and then they tell us what the real answer would be.”
“But I’m not going to be at the hen party.”
“That’s why you write your answers down. I’ll take pictures of each.”
“You are a very strange person; did you know that?”

And so we had begun. What seemed like a daunting task at first was turning out to be quite fun. As it turned out, I knew a lot off the top of my head – favourite food, favourite film, favourite book – and some I could confidently guess. We decided to skip the question about the first thing they did in the morning since my answer was “cry”.

The next question threw me.

“Who’s their celebrity crush?”

A milieu of names flew through my head. Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Mads Mikkelsen, and Jason Statham. And that’s just the men. Having a queer pansexual enby for a fiancée meant that they could fancy basically anyone of any gender. And I don’t deal too well with that.

What’s the point?

Remi Himekawa from the eroge game True Love. Possibly my true love.
I adore that little plait. That, and her eyes, and the rest of her.

I appear to be totally immune to celebrity crushes. I’ve never even had one. There are, of course, people who are attractive; none of them I’d ever have a chance with. They are either too young (Greta Thunberg), too attractive (Rita Ora), fictional (Remi Himekawa), hella problematic (Rachel Riley), or all four (Hermione Granger).

But I can’t, hand on heart, say I’ve ever actually been attracted to anyone famous. I grew up around famous people (having an actor dad makes this happen), with Kiera being a childhood friend and Paul Whitehouse wandering around my mum’s piano teacher’s house, signing things for me at random. My crushes at school were all on civilians – people in my year who I was still never going to get.

I never saw the point in fancying someone famous. Nothing’s ever going to happen between you two anyway, and I saw how dangerous obsession could be, girls wasting away thinking of nothing but Mark Owen and boys putting down Britney as their main interest in life.

It didn’t affect me, and while unrequited love was fairly traumatic, at least that was realistic.

Celebrity crushes hurt

And then there’s the other thing.

Celebrity crushes have made it very difficult to trust anyone I’ve ever been in a relationship with. I don’t do ‘compersion’ particularly well, and even then it hasn’t been intentional. Couple that with my crippling self-doubt and tendency towards self-destruction as a coping mechanism, and you get a few reasons why I felt that way.

I remember my first girlfriend hollering at squashy-faced Sum41 frontman Deryck Whibley to fuck her and then ignoring me crying afterwards. My second girlfriend being openly sexual about comedian Jon Richardson, and how much sex she wanted to have with him, failing to notice the fork I was jabbing myself in the thigh with. I even still have the scars from all the self-harming I did throughout my late teens: one for every time she cheated, one for every celebrity crush she had.

Unlovable as I’ve always believed myself to be, I’ve gone through every relationship with the constant fear that they are going to end given any viable alternative. One word from [insert random celebrity here] and they would be out the door. I didn’t have a job, a car, a house, or the fame, so I clearly didn’t compare. Any interest from [insert random celebrity here] and I wouldn’t even be a factor any more. They’d be gone.

So how did I answer the question?

“They… they don’t have one,” I lied (at least, I think it was a lie). “We… we don’t talk about it. I don’t have one…”
“Well, you don’t do them, do you?”
“No, not at all. Can we skip this one?”

My sister gave me a Knowing Look™ and kindly skipped to the next question.

“Okay. If they were to have a dinner party, who would be all the guests?”

And I already had a list in my head.

I didn’t sleep easily that night.


I’d just like to make an announcement:
This building is on fire!

Tim Booth, 1983

I got to my room before anyone else. My ‘phone, vibrating in my pocket, told me that one of my colleagues was out of action with a stomach bug; my immediate superior wasn’t in yet. Vaguely wondering if she was sick too, I sat down at a desk and began to busy myself.

The fire alarm went off.

Sigh. Out I went into the corridor. Nobody was there, but then I didn’t see anyone in the assembly point, either. Rationalising that if this was a real fire, it wouldn’t be safe, I made my way down the stairs. I was halfway down when the alarm stopped.

A building on fire, although unconvincingly, with alarm
The aforementioned cataclysm from Thirteen Erotic Ghosts. Devastating.

“It can’t be a real fire,” I said aloud to the unoccupied staircase, adding “like that one at the beginning of Thirteen Erotic Ghosts…” in an undertone. Confident that I was safe and struggling to remember any more of the plot of Thirteen Erotic Ghosts, I stomped back up the staircase to my room, this time passing by a cool, unconcerned-looking colleague.

I hadn’t sat down yet when the fire alarm went off again.

This wasn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, the day beforehand, and the day before that, we had all stood outside in the mizzling rain listening to our boss talk about how opening certain doors tripped the alarm. Who had done it? Staff? Client? It didn’t really matter, though; there wasn’t a real fire. Making a mental note to not open any doors again, ever, I stood there dithering for a few seconds before grabbing my lunch and the Super Mario cup I got in Sweden and making my way back out.

I didn’t stop walking when the bell stopped ringing this time, since I was halfway to the break room and had half a mind to make some morning coffee while putting my lunch in the ‘fridge. As I passed his office, I spotted our CEO Paul sitting back down, evidently having been caught out by the alarm as I had been.

Paul, like Paul Michael Robinson. Paul Michael Robinson, who plays Haffron in Emmanuelle. Grinning internally at what reaction Haffron might have to a fire alarm sound, I made my way into the break room to find, for the first time that morning, more than one colleague standing together.

The fire alarm went off again and nobody said or did anything about it.

I got my coffee and walked back to my room past a door through which grey smoke was issuing.

The word smoke slotted into my brain a little too late, and I half walked, half flew back to the room, wrenching the door open.

“Hey, close the door!” said my colleague in the kitchen. “I had a bit of an accident making the toast, but that’s okay. I threw away the burned bits. The toast’s ready now.”
“Theo, your toast is ready,” I said before I could stop myself. My colleague threw me a half-amused smirk, with which I thought it best to excuse myself.

My immediate superior was in my room when I got back.

“Ah! You’re here!”
“Yes! Have you been here for a while?”
“I have. The fire alarm went off a few times. I was enjoying the quiet and privacy, but that’s not to be.”
“You can have privacy in my room.”

I make connections far too easily.

Depression (or: What’s Good, Bro?)

Sometimes I have these moments.

They’re not all good moments. Case in point: last night I had a dream in which I was having sex. The person I was having sex with (my wife, truth be told) told me it was boring, left, and just sort of wandered off, sending me into a sneaky hate spiral.

Is this really the reason? Dream ILB wondered. Am I the problem here? Is this why all my previous relationships ended so badly?

And then I flashed back to how my previous relationships ended, and how traumatic they may have made me feel at the time. I remembered being cheated on, and working it out beforehand but never saying anything. I remembered being jettisoned, without warning, unceremoniously – just before a year in which I was going to work on my life. (If I think about it, I still don’t have a reason for that one. Part of me thinks it boils down to “I don’t have a car”.)

I was responsible for how badly my third relationship ended. I still feel guilty about it, and I wasn’t honest about how our relationship had been ending for a long time before it officially happened. The train ride home was one of the worst times in my life, and she made sure I paid for it, too.

In all these cases, my brain tells me, the repeated factor is me – I am the lowest common denominator and I am genuinely not good enough. Why? Is it because I don’t have a six-pack, or a high-paid job, or a driving license, or an intact trapezius muscle? If I work hard in a job I like, does it really matter if the thing I take most pride in is a blog that makes no money, and music with no discernible talent?

If I have to use a stick to walk and say “Oof!” when I stand up, am I even capable of having sex? On the off-chance it ever happens again, will I be able to perform? Or will it be something else to add to the sneaky hate spiral?

Dream ILB wanted to talk about all of this to his wife, who had just left because the sex was boring. When Real Life ILB woke up this morning, he also wanted to talk to his wife about this. But then he also wanted to stay in bed. He wanted some quiet time to himself, just to think, to reboot, to decompress. Maybe just be alone for a while.

In the light of the day, it all doesn’t seem so bad. The worry is still there, of course – maybe there is something genuinely toxic about me? – but, with the sun peeking through the window, it all seems a bit lessened. Easy though it is to say that “everything will be better in the morning”, there’s a certain degree of truth in that.

I can’t look in the mirror and see something I like. I can’t even do that on self-reflection, even in the most positive of moods. Part of me will always feel like things are made a little worse by having me involved. People have told me this, and who am I to disbelieve them?

But sometimes, I forget. I forget to be unhappy with myself. I forget that I am a completely unsatisfying person. It might be someone saying something, or doing something, or even something I’ve seen or read which takes me out of everything for a while and gives me the space I need to forget how I feel about myself.

And that’s all right. That’s okay. For now, that will have to do.

Masturbation: How Much is Too Much?

It’s a question that’s been asked over and over and over again. For the curious reader running the gauntlet of op-ed pieces – medical popular science claiming that masturbation is healthy for young men (because girls don’t masturbate, obviously); strait-laced but very angry, ranty sex-negative activists linking all masturbation to porn and using that to plan an attack; bright and breezy articles about masturbation being all rainbows, sunshine and candy; the endless “ZOMG! LOL!” of the tabloids – one question always rears its head.

How much masturbation is too much?

It’s also not a question I’m too keen on asking. A more salient question – and one which isn’t so judgemental – would be “is there such a thing as too much masturbation?” As a young man who came to masturbation quite late (I was 18 when I started), it was a question I asked myself more than a few times… never coming to a clear conclusion. I could have thought more about it, but I usually got distracted and would, instead, go off for a stress-relieving wank.

The fact that it took me years before I admitted to masturbating also delayed the occasion that I got around to asking anyone else about it. JackinWorld, an American website all about it, gave a slightly nebulous attempt at an answer – something like “there is no such thing as too much masturbation, unless it interferes with your daily life and usual activities,” which meant very little to me as a student, but made a friend laugh for about half an hour when I read it to him.

“Usual activities?” he wheezed, turning around in his computer chair.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged, reclining on his bed. “I mean, how many times do you do it?”

“Twice a day, maybe? Except when people are staying with me… then I don’t do it at all.”

“Not at all?”

“Not always.”

As our conversation continued from there on, and continued onto MSN once I’d gotten home that night, we shared more. We both enjoyed masturbation; we both set time aside for it as well as doing it spontaneously; we both watched porn when we needed an aid (he was gay, so didn’t like any of my recommendations); we both masturbated even when talking to other people on MSN… which, of course, made me wonder. But not too much.

Something I didn’t tell him was that, for years, I was convinced I was masturbating too much. I was, initially, a victim of my own efforts to stop completely – and, when that didn’t work, to cut down. “I’ll jerk,” I’d tell myself, “but I won’t jerk off. I don’t need any orgasms.” My blossoming sex life was more of a continuing cycle of masturbating, having orgasms, feeling guilty, deleting all my porn… and starting again.

I also didn’t tell him that I didn’t start masturbating until after I’d had sex for the first time – well after – or that I used to deal with my erections by curling into the foetal position and waiting for them to subside. And, of course, I didn’t tell him anything about my continuous attempts to quit.

It wasn’t until university that I gave up trying to give up. I had a lot of free time and had, in a short space of time, been dumped by my girlfriend, forgotten by all those at school and realised that I wasn’t going to make any new friends where I was. I bought some telephony equipment, hacked into the internet from my room, and discovered a whole new world of porn, erotica, and sexual excitement.

And I haven’t looked back.

So if you were to ask me the question – is there such a thing as too much masturbation (and, if so, how much is too much?) – I doubt I’d ever reach a definitive answer. I can reminisce at length about my own experiences, attempts, discoveries and masturbation. I can tell you how much I masturbate now, or even how much I used to. With my memory, I can even think back to frank conversations about exactly how much wanking went on in my early 20s.

But I can’t give you an answer. Because there isn’t one. There’s one for me; there’s one for you. Like most things in life, the answer’s probably different for everyone. I’m not everyone, so I can’t answer that question.

But I can give you one piece of advice, based on my own history:


If you think it’s too much, it probably isn’t.

Hotel Story #1

Having booked a little break to Bath for the upcoming weekend – PSA: don’t do that four days before the event; it’s not cheap! – I’ve started thinking about hotels. I have plenty of stories about staying in a hotel, in fact, whether it’s waiting, wanking or… I don’t know, some other word for having sex that starts with a W… but there are always more to tell.

This is entirely Robyn‘s fault, anyway, because she is a terrible influence and I just can’t resist the call to write about something easy.

So here’s a hotel story.



We were on our way back from Eroticon when one of us – I think it must have been them – realised how dark it was. It was late – we both knew it would be late when we got back, but we couldn’t stay for another night this time. I had work on the Monday morning.

“I don’t really want this to end,” they said with some finality to it.
“Yeah, I know; it’s sad, isn’t it?” I replied. “But it’s okay. And we’ll get home after a while, and then you can have a cup of hot chocolate or something and…”
“No, I mean, I don’t want to go home. It’s too much…”
“…effort,” they finished. “Getting back to London is enough.”

There was a pause as I wrenched my exhausted brain into action. Words, images and sound all swirled around in my head as I scrambled for a solution. Ten seconds passed before an image clicked into my head… a tiny advert I’d seen once in the back of the Metro.

“There’s a hotel next to Paddington Station!” I ejaculated. “A really cheap one! It was advertised in the Metro! I bet they’d have a room!”
“Yes! Let’s go to that hotel!”

Once we’d pulled into Paddington, we were both quite excited about our little adventure.

Part 1

It wasn’t overly difficult to find, although it was quite clear from the moment we arrived why it was so cheap. Carpets in the reception were worn; the concierge was behind a desk ventilated by an electric fan; lighting was restricted to traditional lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling. It was a million miles away from the high-end Radisson Blu around which Eroticon had traditionally been centred. That being said, though, it was clean, it was orderly, and it was affordable.

Bossman behind the desk gave a broad smile when we walked in, which indicated to me that, never mind the Metro ad, his hotel probably wasn’t very well patronised. Random couple walking through the door unannounced was probably a good indication.

“Uhm, hello,” I said. “I saw your ad in the Metro and we were wondering if you had a double room for tonight? You’re not full, are you?”
“Oh, we’re not full,” he said. “No, we’re never full. We always have rooms. I can get you a double. It’s – ” [here he named a price; I can’t remember, but it wasn’t much] ” – for the room, and you get hot and cold water, a TV, access to the bathroom, and there’s breakfast included; it’s in our bar.”

He indicated where the bar was. I hadn’t noticed it initially.

I agreed, dug around in my wallet, and paid with spare cash I had left over after Eroticon. He gave us a key (an actual key) with a chunky latex tag indicating a door number; we set off down the long, dimly-lit, dilapidated corridor to our room.

Part 2

For how oppressive the hotel reception had been, our room was light and airy. Net curtains covered windows, outside which the London night continued apace. I sat on the bed, setting an early alarm so I could get up for breakfast and go to work the following morning. They tried the TV (a box CRT with an indoor aerial) and found a fuzzy version of Bruce Almighty (which I’ve never actually seen). All seemed okay.

A rickety table in the corner held a kettle and sachets of hot drink mix; I used some of the promised hot and cold water (from a little basin in the opposite corner) to make some hot chocolate. After a while, I decided I needed to check out the bathroom before doing anything else, so off I set, back down the corridor.

The bathroom was about the size of a broom cupboard; there was also very little light. A shower head was suspended directly above the toilet – if you wanted a shower, what would you do; straddle the loo seat? – but, like the rest of the hotel, it was clean.

On the way back, I reflected on how this place was clearly a labour of love. It was a budget hotel on a budget, in a building clearly not designed to be a hotel at all; it did, however, exactly as advertised. We had an okay room, a serviceable bed, a working TV, hot and cold water, a cramped but usable bathroom, and free drinks… with the promise of breakfast to come.

The room was cold, the bed wasn’t the most comfortable, there was a lot of noise outside, and some bloke in the next room was snoring so loud it was like living with a banshee.

It was the best night of sleep I ever had.

Part 3

Compared to the rest of the hotel, the bar area was relatively spacious. I was its sole occupant, having left them snoozing in the room while I had to make my way to work. Breakfast was provided – a scant selection of cereals with orange juice and a slice of cold toast. I made myself a bowl of cornflakes, added milk and sugar, and munched my way through a meagre feast.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but maybe something more. Having said that, as I reasoned at the time, for the price, any food at all was a bonus. What I needed that morning was any food at all.

I worked in central London at the time, so getting to work was both easier and quicker than I was used to. As usual, my boss wasn’t there with the key, and I was early as it was, so I went into the McDonald’s next door and sat with a drink and hash brown to complement the breakfast I’d nominally had half an hour earlier.

And then I realised how I felt, and I cried.

I cried because I was tired. I cried because I had met loads of cool people and missed them all. I cried because I had had to leave my girlfriend in the bed and I wanted to cuddle them some more. I cried because, as much as I liked my job, I was simply in no mood.

But mostly, at that moment, I cried because I’d have been perfectly happy to stay where I was.

Because I really, really love hotels.

Come (together)

Are you okay?
“Yeah, I’m okay.”
“You don’t sound okay.”

I struggled to get myself into a better position to talk. These days I almost always tend to hit the speakerphone button to have my conversations, as I’m less and less able to hold things to my ear with these arms.

“I’m okay. Really. I’m just having a lie down. Tired, so very tired.”
“Oh. Yeah. Yeah, me too. I’m sorry to interrupt you.”
“You didn’t interrupt me doing anything. I was just lying down.”
“Well, I’m sorry to interrupt you lying down!”

I sat up to try and pull the duvet over myself. The duvet fell, with a soft flump, onto the floor instead. Not a great success.

“It’s probably a good thing you didn’t call fifteen minutes ago. Because at that point, you see, I was still cleaning up after the huge orgasm I had. I’ve been exhausted all day, as you know, and on the way home, I bypassed ‘about to crash’ in favour of ‘really need to come’. First thing I did after I got home was to have a long, stress-relieving, horny wank.”

Except I didn’t say that.

“In fact, I was still cleaning up five minutes ago. I’ve been needing to come for a few days, but wasn’t able to do so. I came very hard, and I was still finding jizz in various curves and contours of my body for quite a while afterwards. There’s probably still more in places I didn’t even know I had. It’ll dry off if I lie here for a while.”

Except I didn’t say that either.

I’m saying it here, though.

Revelations: Body Count

[Post number 1,000 on this blog. I’m a chatty ILB.]

The new year, as ever, heralds the usual changes. I still haven’t gotten into the habit of putting a 3 rather than the extra 2 at the end of the year; January (the most depressing month) drags on, and the cold exacerbates a whole plethora or interesting viruses. I’ve no idea which one I have right now; it’s keeping me off work, which is certainly A Thing.

Memes have changed too. After thirteen years, Hedone has decided to close down her perennial meme TMI Tuesday, one of the things that kept me blogging throughout the last, difficult year. Thank you very much for keeping this one going, H. I appreciate it.

And so now we have Revelations, a new meme by Molly. It is, basically, a blogging prompt meme with a rather broad scope, but I couldn’t resist joining in with this one.

So… body count.

What’s a body count?

I’ve got a query about the term “body count”. I have always used this to refer to the number of deaths in a piece of media – from a few in Leprechaun to a round one hundred in Shoot ‘Em Up. Does Prince Harry’s 25 constitute, for example, a body count?

Sexually, what even is a body count? Does it have to be full penetrative sex to count? What about oral sex; what about kisses? Is there a special category for those whose name you don’t know, or whose body you have forgotten? Is the term useful, or a little objectifying?

What about cybersex? I’ve had a LOT of that. Do they count?

What other terms do you use? “Notches on your belt / bedpost”? Or do you simply keep a tally on the wall like Lavonia Shed in Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens?

I suppose, like with so much of sex and sexuality, this is one of the things in which you make your own rules. I’m going to sum it up like this.

ILB’s List of Lists

I have kissed twelve people. Of those twelve, I have had sex with eight of them. Four of those have been partners (ie. girlfriends, fiancées, wife). While this looks deliberate, my affiliation to the four-times table is not, despite four being my lucky number. It should please the maths nerds, however.

They are:

01. Rebecca (a girlfriend, then a fiancée)
02. Louise
03. Alicia
04. Lilly
05. snowdrop
06. The Oxford Seamstress (a girlfriend, then a fiancée, briefly)
07. Catherine (a girlfriend)
08. Jillian (a girlfriend, then a fiancée, now a wife)

[NB: The above are, of course, pseudonyms. I know all their names – both Christian name and surname – in all eight cases, although only a few I’ve ever really used!]

I’m of the opinion that, when talking with the sex-positive crowd (and I might bring this up if I can get a table at Eroticon), the number of people you’ve slept with is either going to be scarily high or scarily low – there are very few in between. But then, again, what is high and what is low? Magazines and websites will tell you things, but are they really true or just dead tree clickbait?

Is my eight high or low?

Impossible to tell. While this is a low number, I’ve definitely had a lot of sex. Bear in mind that, of these eight, only one was a once-off thing (everyone else was two or more), whereas four were long-term partners. I must have had sex hundreds, possibly even thousands, of times… even though, having not had sex for eight years or so, my memory of the act itself may be slightly hazy!

And then let’s think about my situation. For the longest time, like practically EVERY TEENAGER EVER, I was absolutely 100% sure that I’d never have sex. Nobody had been interested and I hadn’t even been kissed until I was 17! 17 itself was a very tumultuous year for me, with my first kiss, first sexual experience, first girlfriend and first sex all happening in the space of a few months!

The fact that anyone found me attractive enough to have sex with was certainly hard to believe… it still is two decades later! Looking at it now, after my first relationship catastrophically went wrong, the fact that SEVEN MORE PEOPLE ended up sleeping with me seems completely insane!

So what’s my body count?

Impossible to tell. Yeah, I’ve had sex with eight people and I do suspect that, to quite a lot of the sex blogging community, that isn’t the highest of numbers. But I’m very grateful for all the sex I’ve had, from the first experience with a janky branded condom, to sex on the studio floor while listening to Brian Patten, to trying to get my girlfriend off the ceiling in the Bristol hotel room.

Every sexual experience has helped to shape me, to inspire me, to beguile me. Yes, I do miss having sex, but the amount of sex I did have feels like a lot more than my single figure may suggest.

And to everyone reading this who I may have had sex with at some point…

…I’m sorry about that.

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