Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Personal (Page 1 of 2)

Innocent Loverboy’s Personal Posts

The Wisdom of Memories

Q: What do you do when you don’t feel inspired?
A: I think about what the 15-year-old version of me needed. And I write about that. It’s a writing prompt that always works for me.

Rupi Kaur

Dear fifteen-year-old me,

It’s now twenty years later and, although I’m aware you don’t think you’ll live this long, I can assure you that you are very much still alive and in your mid-30s. There have, in the past couple of decades, been at least three global pandemics, all of which you’ll survive, despite being frontline medical staff at the height of one of them. I have some advice to give you, which I hope you can pass on to your future self, so keep this letter safe.

First and foremost, it is all right to be interested in sex. Most people are, at your age. While I respect the fact that you don’t masturbate (although I can assure you that you will), I also need to assure you that the ways your sexual identity is manifesting are not odd, unhygienic, or perverse. It’s also not illegal to be watching soft porn, although you think it is.

I’m not going to say something nebulous like “embrace the fact that you are a sexual being”, but you should at least accept it. Your sexuality will become a big part of your identity in the future, but if you’re not comfortable about it now, that’s fine. Be more chill about the whole thing.

You are never going to get over the crush you have now. Not really. You will fall in love again, faster and harder and more desperately than you have ever thought possible. Sometimes these people will reciprocate. Nevertheless, the way this crush pans out will hang over you, like the faint, uneasy smudge of a mistake. I’m so sorry about how it happens, but for the record, maybe it’s best not to ask her out.

When you are sixteen, someone you have only spoken to once will add you as a friend on MSN. She did this because she fancies you. You need to appear approachable and available beyond a vague “oh yes, I remember you.” If you figure out how to do this, let me know.

At your age, most girls want “a boyfriend”, and it doesn’t matter who it is. Your weird friend whose name is evocative of lights in the sky will be dating soon, and everyone will wonder how or why. You will pine, but never take a chance, given how your current crush is going to play out. Future girlfriends are going to tell you how attentive and considerate you are. It’s hard to take a compliment, but however you approach things now, try to be a good boyfriend. You probably will.

Your first kiss will be awkward and messy, and take you completely by surprise. The first time you have sex, you will hardly feel a thing, and it’s only during your second time that you realise how good it feels.

You will never feel closer to death than the first time you get your heart broken. It will happen again, and again, and every time it tears you into little pieces. Nobody else really understands how much of yourself you invest in romantic relationships, and how much it hurts when they pull away. You’ll be told, over and over again, that none of this is your fault, but you’ll always feel like it is. Even at thirty-five, you’re still trying to puzzle out what you did wrong.

You will take some risks, but much less than you’d like. When you’re seventeen, you’ll go to a community event you like so much that you’ll still be a part of that community for over a decade. At eighteen, go to Africa. It seems foolhardy to do so, but you’ll look back years later and be glad you did. When you’re nineteen, you’ll find solace in music and the companionship of an organisation you’re already in. Embrace every second. DON’T GO HOME EARLY – you’ll feel like you’ve missed something.

I have some advice for the future you that you may wish to remember, as well.

At seventeen, you will have a happy holiday that ends in catastrophe. Don’t do anything stupid, don’t assume everything is fine because sleep is a cure-all. But, most importantly, if some accusations against you are false, don’t say they are true because it’s easy to do so. You are never going to recover from this if you just lie back and take it.

At eighteen, you will figure out that your girlfriend is cheating on you months before she tells you. Ask her directly. Keeping it aside on the idea that she will realise she really loves you will not help at all.

At nineteen, you will wave happily to the girl you fancy at university for the last time. You will never see her again. You’ll never know where she went or what happened to her. Ask her for her MSN address.

At twenty-five, don’t ask your girlfriend to marry you by presenting her with a ring. She is under the impression that you get engaged and then go and buy a ring. You’ve never heard this of concept before, but that’s the concept she has. Never mind that you went to Bath specifically to buy it for her. Don’t do it.

At twenty-seven, you will start to question your deeply-held belief that love solves everything, even relationships that have turned sour. Tell someone something, sooner rather than later. Talk to Lady Pandorah, even. The girl who broke your heart at sixteen will also give you some sage advice. Listen to her.

At thirty-three, you will have a large accident. Use the resulting time off to re-evaluate what you really want. Working towards it will eventually yield rewards, even if it seems fruitless initially.

But finally, fifteen-year-old me, I have something very important to say, and I want you to listen.

You are under the impression, now, that you are hated. You have often felt worthless and under-appreciated – an older child eclipsed by a younger sibling, an accessory friend who’s part of the group but not really needed, an easy target for mockery and ridicule at school but not really a person in your own right. Even in your later years, you will think about yourself in such a way. You’re coming home to cry every day and you’re beginning to wonder if suicide is the end point. You don’t know how to do it painlessly, but you’re starting to think about it.

In the end, you won’t do it, and your one attempt won’t work. In fact, you know it’s not going to work before you try. It’s mostly for show, and nobody sees you anyway.

In some says, you will never achieve true self-acceptance. But if you take this advice that I’ve given you above, maybe there will be less “what-ifs” and crippling self-doubt in you as you grow. If you don’t do what I did – even though I know that you will – then there will be other memories. Maybe some good, maybe some bad. But perhaps even more exciting ones. You are waiting, constantly, for something huge to happen; every day you are disappointed that it doesn’t.

But you can be the catalyst for that change. I know you don’t know how. But start by learning to play the guitar, at least.

And I’d like you to do something for thirty-five-year-old me.

You are currently aware of the name of a soft porn sex comedy, possibly French, that regularly airs on Exotica Erotica. It’s got a major-general in it and a butler named Albert. You’ve never seen it in its entirety, but you know the one I’m talking about.

Write its name down. It’s driving the older you crazy trying to remember.

Tonic

I wish, and I say this with earnest sincerity, that I could bottle the feelings I have in my less lucid moments, for voracious consumption when fully awake and actually aware that I want to have sex.

It’s probably not as cut-and-dry as that; nor is it particularly practicable, I am aware. Both the sleepy daytime dreams and cosy quasi-wakefulness betwixt sleep and death probably warrant lustful feelings precisely because I’m not entirely in control of my body, and devolving somewhat into something more primal. I’m fairly certain that there’s even some amount of credence to the idea that my sexual desires, buried as they are in my unconscious during the day, find their outlet when I’m not wrestling them back.

It’s frustrating, then, that I have feelings like I did during yesterday’s rest (wherein I hit upon the idea of sex as a sanitary, clean, purely recreational activity with no ramifications whatsoever – stemming from idle thoughts of a social media friend and ending up, as ever, with the message pervasive in Emmanuelle), resulting almost invariably in RAGING HORN plus glorious visions and imaginings, that have all but vanished by the time I actually attempt to act upon them (as I also did yesterday).

[Check me out, English graduate over here, writing the previous paragraph as one complete sentence, including parenthetical remarks (twice) and unwarranted tense change.]

These feelings – and the visions that come with them, that also act as an aide-de-camp to arousal (I had a particularly vivid sensory hallucination recently, so much so that I could feel the vaginal walls contracting around my cock) – would be of a lot more use if they could be bottled, preserved, and used during masturbation, or even sex itself. They’re the perfect blend of lust, whimsy, and the like of laissez-faire attitude that makes for fun and fancy free sex.

Unfortunately, I’m fairly sure that a major component of these semi-fantasies is that they involve being very sleepy, and as much fun as sleepy sex can be, I probably wouldn’t be a fan of dropping off during (although it does happen!).

But if I could just, as I said above, bottle those feelings, and keep them for when they are needed… why, if I could do that, I’d own this town.

ILB and Gender: a flailing study thereof.

[CW: Body and/or gender identity dysphoria. I’ve never done a content warning before, but this one seemed like an important enough topic to mention.]

I’m a boy. I’m a boy now and I always have been a boy, and I’m both comfortable with and aware of the fact that I am, and was, and will be, a boy. I’m still not entirely au fait with the identity, and the connotations of, “man” – but I am one… or, at the very least, a boy.

This may not be a surprise to you, especially if you’ve read this blog for the past thirteen years and have noticed that it’s called “Innocent Loverboy” and that my abbreviation of ILB makes reference to me also being a boy. But, go back a couple of decades, and it would be a surprise to me.

It was a surprise to my parents. They were expecting a girl, initially, who they were going to name Lucy (a name that ended up unused, as my sister got their second girl name choice instead – it suits her, actually). I was both the first born in their marriage and the first grandchild to my mother’s parents, so I got a fair amount of attention for the first four and a half years of my life until my sister arrived in 1989 and I suddenly became yesterday’s news. I had started school about a year beforehand and, up until then, I just assumed that all the stuff I did was boy stuff, because I was a boy.

One of the taunts I endured throughout primary school concerned the fact that I was, in fact, a girl instead. Other boys in primary school were doing other boy stuff that seemed radically alien to me – they were pretending to fight (and fighting’s wrong!), talking about Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles (which is a violent programme! they shouldn’t be watching it!), making mentions of wrestling (which is an awful practice!) and – worst of all – playing football. I mean, football. I didn’t see the appeal.

I still don’t, and never will. Football – really?

For a while, then, around about year 3 or 4, I rationalised that, because I didn’t do the institutionalised boy stuff, I may not have been a boy after all. With the exception of Robinson, all my friends were girls, and I played ‘girl games’ in the playground with them which involved getting boyfriends and the like. I even got termed a ‘girl’ by one of the teachers who subdivided the playground into boys (football) and girls (everyone else).

As far as I was aware, I was a boy – but feeling like I shouldn’t be. I felt like I should be a girl. I remember telling Robinson that, on my planet, everyone was half boy and half girl, including me. I knew the term ‘tomboy’ and asked my mother if there was such a thing as a ‘tomgirl’ (a term used in year 7 by Lightsinthesky, until Spanner corrected him and added that the term was ‘Sally’. I’ve never heard that used again.).

According to my bullies, I fitted the brief (until year 7, when a whole new set of bullies decided that I was more suited to being gay, and thus came a whole host of new taunts, including an insult that isn’t really an insult).

After about a few months, however, I decided that I was indeed a boy and it didn’t matter if I liked girlish things – in fact, I wasn’t really, at all. I liked ‘me’ things – fantasy and adventure stuff, magpie collectables like Smartians and Orangey-Tangs, Saturday morning television, Super Mario games and playing the violin. I’d watch Knightmare and go to Woodcraft on Friday evenings, and I’d go to church on Sunday. I’d play on my SNES every day and do as well as I could at school.

I was me and I liked me things. At that age, I thought to myself, does it really matter if I’m a boy or a girl? I’m me. I knew, even then, that if I didn’t want to be a boy, I could change. I just needed to ask my mum and she’d arrange it. By year 6, I was fully entrenched in my gender identity, and when I stood up in assembly and said loudly and clearly, “I’m a boy, and I don’t play football”, I got a round of applause.

It’s an identity I carry to this day. I’m a boy, and I don’t play football.

Fast-forward to 2020 and now I’m much more aware of the idea of toxic gender identity assumptions. Gender, a social construct which is bollocks even if you accept the fact that there are more than two identities, is a fluid, shifting idea the size of a universe, and even if I’m confident in what suits me, I’m aware that there are many people who were assigned one that doesn’t suit them. That’s fine too.

But the world still hasn’t moved on, even with this new knowledge. Shops still do ‘for him’ and ‘for her’ sections. Toxic masculinity makes me feel uncomfortable with my chosen gender, and hyperbolic misandry makes me feel attacked. These things that people think – girls like fashion and gossip and Disney Channel movies; boys like sports and fighting and Batman – only go to reinforce these ideas. (Enbys don’t even get stereotypical things, because they don’t exist.)

We all know they’re wrong. We do. So why does it still happen?

Those of you who have read my erotica may have noticed that I have almost always written from a cisgender female point of view. I find it easier to write that way, and the novel(la/ette) that I’m (meant to be (not)) writing is entirely narrated by my female protagonist Melissa – and that’s fine, I’m not pretending to be a girl, I’m just writing fiction from the point of view as one.

I think that’s okay. It doesn’t make me a girl. It’s just fiction…

…is what I would think if it mattered.

But it doesn’t matter, and it shouldn’t matter, and it never should have mattered. If I wanted to be a girl when I was 9, then sure. That’s how I felt at the time. I changed my mind later on, because I’m allowed to do that.

I’m a boy, because I chose to be a boy, and no matter what my genitals are, that was my decision.

IT’S NOT A DIFFICULT CONCEPT!

Go play some video games…

In my early-to-mid teens, my sexuality had a tendency – and I can’t be the only one – to manifest itself in strange and unusual ways, which left me feeling frightened and victimised, specifically since I was utterly convinced at the age of 12 that I did not like sex and never would be interested. (There’s a blog post to be written about that, but this… isn’t it).

As time goes on, and Age™ begins to show its multiple, increasingly grey heads, my understanding of sex begins to show in more unconscious ways – less frequently, I will admit (pretty much every 14-year-old boy will walk around school with an erection about 75% of the time), but with more intensity. Some of these things are similar to the incidences of my youth – I’ll become aware of the mere existence of sex, and then I’ll realise that I’m aroused. Some are, now that I’ve had sex a few times and know what it’s like, more explicit and detailed.

And some are just straight-up random.

I had a nap this afternoon (because I, the typical lazy millennial, was out all morning following a night of almost zero sleep – so sue me!) with the full knowledge that I’m much more likely to have sex dreams during afternoon naps. I have a few overnight – some that I remember, some that I don’t, many of them involving public nudity… but, if I want to dream about sex, the much lighter sleep I get in the middle of the day is The Time To Do So. And so the dream I had, while not overtly sexual, was a combination of the situation, the fact that my daily reading is full of sexually confident women talking about wanking, and (this is the link to my youth) thirty or so years of playing video games.

For my dream was nothing more than a framing device. Dreamy ILB was playing a video game that Real ILB is fairly sure doesn’t exist. The graphics were reminiscent of Magical Starsign and Pokémon Sapphire (presumably Ruby as well, but since I haven’t played that), and the gameplay had some sort of top-down action puzzle element, like Indiana Jones Desktop Adventures (and if you remember that, you win a prize!). The main (male) character…

…and I need to point this out: the main character of the game had to be male. Given the choice of gender, I will always choose to play as a female character, often with the name Serra. Since I was playing the game, the main character had to be default male…

…was an archaeologist (maybe it’s Tomb Raider? No, that would be a bit too action-y.) The female NPCs were all part of the same team, and the puzzly bits were necessary to open doors leading to different parts of the game. I remember, quite clearly, the puzzle Dreamy ILB was playing; he had to navigate the balloon holding the bomb from Earthworm Jim 2 with the correct collection of food (cherries and bread) through some underground passageways that looked like the mines from Donkey Kong Country. At the end of the passageway was the (female) lead archaeologist, who would open the door through to the next level if you did this successfully.

Dreamy ILB did this on his second try. Lead female archaeologist NPC went mad with joy and was represented by a constantly jumping sprite. At this point, Dreamy ILB decided to talk to the other (female) NPCs before moving on. Any gamer out there knows that NPCs should always be talked to.

It was at this point that Dreamy ILB recalled that this was, in fact, a highly sexual game. All the archaeologists were sexually liberated and talked freely about sex. Real ILB can’t recall if the main character was at all involved, but all the female NPCs would constantly mention it. Flirtatious NPC #1 had brought her sister, Flirtatious NPC #2, who said something like, “I wish I was in your team!”. But it was Flirtatious NPC #3 who had the biggest impact.

“I’m afraid I can’t come with you,” she said, “but I was thinking about going to masturbate on the beach.” (The in-game map, part of the HUD, helpfully indicated where the beach was at this point). “What do you think?” At which point, a [yes/no] menu popped up. I chose yes, obviously.

“All right!” she said chirpily. “Let’s do it!”

At which point the screen went completely blank. My GBA had reset itself, but upon opening the game again, I found I could pick up where I’d left off. The masturbation scene, presumably, happened offscreen, and restarting the GBA was the way to show it.

Is my guess, anyway.

Real ILB woke up at this point and he had perhaps the largest and most throbbing erection he has had in many weeks. Several hours later, I’m still not sure exactly why. I’m no stranger to the concept of female masturbation and I’m also slowly coming round to the concept of it being thrown casually into conversation – although maybe not by archaeologists in video games. Early Teenage ILB would have been turned on by this, of course, but then again, Teenage ILB was in a relationship with a picture, so that’s not much of a surprise.

But, for what it’s worth, I’m very glad that it did happen.

Video games are amazing.

Sing a song of sixpence…

Though I don’t think I’m ever going to achieve my life ambition, I’ve been on stage a couple of times. Chekhov, Beaumarchais, Plautus, Wilde, that sort of thing. I even got to sing a couple of times, which seems like decades ago now. That may be because it was, but nevertheless.

At the age of 23 I appeared in a fringe production of Forget-Me-Not Lane by Peter Nichols, which turned out to be the last ever play the company I was in performed. I wasn’t, initially, cast – which is understandable, given the fact that practically everyone else who turned up to the audition was a lot more talented than me – but in the end I filled a rôle that I knew nobody else would have been cast in.

I didn’t even need to go to rehearsal much. My memory tells me that I went to two of them, maybe three. I also didn’t need to go to every performance – I went to two out of four, in fact – on account of the fact that my character appeared in a recording. (I engineered the recording, which is how I got into the play. Don’t judge.) There was even a song involved.

The main problem with Forget-Me-Not Lane is that it’s not very good. I knew this, and I knew my director wasn’t directing it particularly well. I did put up a little poster in the staff room at work (“if anyone wants to hear my four lines in this, ask me for a ticket!”), and I took my parents and dear friend H along to see it, but overall, I wasn’t really expecting anyone to enjoy it.

Shortly before seeing the opening night, I had recently managed – through what probably involved a lot of pleading – to get a girlfriend. My parents were pleasantly bemused by my enthusiasm for the whole thing, and H was delighted. Once I’d assured her that my new relationship involved sex, lots of sex, and that it was fantastic sex to boot, she was even more satisfied. My girlfriend didn’t actually come to see Forget-Me-Not Lane – it’s not something I wanted to subject her to in the first few days of a nascent relationship – but nevertheless, she was on my mind all the way through it.

Probably a good thing I didn’t have to be on the stage, really.

“How did it go?” her cheery text went as we drove home from Camden.
“Went well, thanks,” I lied. “Almost a full house, which was good for opening night. My parents hated it…”

I paused for a while to listen to my parents bitching about how bad the production was.

“…but it could have been worse. How are you?”
“I’m good! It’s a shame you’re not letting me come to see it!” She followed this up with a number of kisses, which assuaged my immediate worry that not wanting her to see the badly-written, poorly-directed play I was in was grounds for being dumped.

There’s something in that. Realistically this is going to be our last production. I mean, I’m going to do some other things. I’m sure I’ll do some other things. But if this is something I’m going to do, she should at least see the bit I’m in. Oh, hang on…

“I’ll send you the recording of the bit I’m in,” I texted back. “When I get home.”
“You’ve got that?”

She was slightly more impressed that I also appeared in An Education, to be honest. But I didn’t talk about that much.

Well, not too much.

Frequency Dip

Blind upon blind
Frequency dip
Blind upon blind
Frequency dip
Working in different mine shifts
Working in different minds

I’m waiting for a thunderstorm. We were due one last night; it didn’t happen. We were due one this morning; it didn’t happen. People are sharing pictures of storms on Twitter, and Quinn mentioned the fact that ze had been getting dressed during a storm outside. For whatever reason, and probably the fact that the meteorologists themselves may not know, the promised storm – the one that will shatter the oppressive heat and bring us much-needed convectional rainfall – is not happening.

I’ve not been sleeping well. I mean, I never do. I’m finding that, in these days – and bear in mind that I have no daily routine at the moment – of oppressive heat, stillness in the humid air, and climate change, very little compels my body to sleep. I’m not tired at bedtime, and sometimes I entertain myself with Red Dwarf on Netflix, a book in the armchair I’ve just cleared in order to read books on, or Super Mario World on the Switch.

[Sidenote: This post was originally meant to mention Beneath a Steel Sky. I did, however, finish this on the same day I got it, so I’m not sure it really counts.]

I tend to lie on my bed, naked, on top of the covers if possible, with the window wide open and the valiant fan that my dad found in his loft grinding away. Exhaustion is usually what makes me fall asleep, and then I’m just as exhausted when I wake up, with the net result of ending up lying in a pool of heat on my bed, often slipping back into an uneasy, hazy sleep with more vivid dreams. I even had a dream with Rose in it last night. Sex blogger dreams are odd.

Sex is out of the question and has been for years. My dickbrain has the tendency to come up with improbable, but believable sexual fantasies at times – from the simple yearning to the narrative – and, more often than not, it’s in these quiet periods that they come. On the rare occasions in which I take a nap in the middle of the day, I will invariably realise at some point that I am hard, and that there’s a picture in my brain to go with it.

This hasn’t been happening for the past few weeks. Lying in the morning haze, sex hovers above me like a piece of tangible glory just out of reach. Senses tell me that I could reach out and take it – in all fairness, I could pleasure myself and bathe in the gold sparkles of orgasm – but common sense tells me that this would be

(i) exhausting
(ii) dehydrating
(iii) yet another half hour or so spent in bed and I really ought to be getting up at some point
(iv) probably the source of incredible salinisation of my mattress
(v) not involving soft porn, or a toy, or a person, or something else which is better content that just “had a wank, innit”
(vi) those bottles aren’t going to recycle themselves

And, frankly, I can’t. It’s too hot and I’m too uneasy. I’d rather just watch, from a distance, than partake. I mean, isn’t that the idea behind porn, that you watch?

And so I commit myself to the haze. I won’t move, or touch anything. I’ll just lie there and let my thoughts go wherever they go. If I can’t move, then I’m obviously not meant to be. So I don’t. Let the world turn without me for those lazy, hazy, heavy semi-conscious hours.

And, for what it’s worth, I do enjoy the quiet.

Hold it back: mental health confusion

For the past month or so, I feel like I have been holding back the tears. Sometimes it seems as if the floodgates may be able to break and I’ll let it all out – collapsing as I do into a screaming, crying heap. Maybe on the bed, or on the sofa. For dramatic effect, maybe on the floor, since it’s recently been hoovered. Who knows?

Silly, really, because I don’t really have anything to cry about. My mental health has never been the greatest, but I’m not particularly sad about anything, or going through anything tough or have any major worries. I’ve even been okay throughout the pandemic, keeping myself safe while I do the shopping, et ceteri; I have, today, a pressure headache, but that’s about it. Paracetamol is helping there.

I do, however, feel as if there is something desperately wrong – something I’m not aware of. My girlfriend is in a constant state of agitation (she has been made redundant and has no idea how to make herself more employable), and tells me all the time about how sad she is, and part of me is wondering why I’m not equally as worried or sad. I can’t really bring anything up, because it doesn’t really compare, but then I don’t have anything to bring up, so wouldn’t be able to anyway.

Most of my problems are memories from my past. Yes, memories can be helpful; there are some wonderful, special ones and they’re a fantastic source of content. Then again, I have some very bad ones too, and they’re the ones that stick. They come to me when I lie in bed unable to sleep, and niggle at every inch of my brain. They’re very difficult to explain, and more so to visualise, so there’s not much I can say about them. But they are there.

Everything seems better in the morning (apart from today, where – as I said – I had a tension headache). I rarely get up in time for breakfast these days, but I can throw some clothes on and have some coffee, and that seems okay. Sometimes – most of the time – it seems like I am doing, if not fantastically well, reasonably so, given the circumstances.

But, in my quiet moments, I sometimes get the twinge. My eyes well up, and I feel my breath hitch in my throat. I sniff a little. Maybe, I think, maybe I am about to cry. I don’t know what about, really. Maybe it’s all too much, but then again, what is it?

Perhaps it’s true that, despite having the patience of a saint, I can’t really cope. But I’d very much like to know what it is I’m not coping with.

It doesn’t make it any better. But it makes it easier.

One more confession…

Dear ex,

I need to clarify something. I know you’re probably never going to read this; you dumped me just under a decade ago and I’m not even sure if you know I still write my blog (although I know what you’re doing). But there’s one thing I never told you, and it still comes to me in my darkest of moments, so here goes.

The night my grandfather died I got a text to tell me it had happened. I still don’t know why I had turned on my BlackBerry, really – it had been off for a few days and I didn’t really want any distractions – but nevertheless, I turned it on, and there was the message from my mother. We all knew he was dying – he was in hospital, watching the Olympics and waiting for it to happen. He squeezed my hand the last time I saw him.

I don’t think you ever met him, but you would have liked him. He was the 83-year-old who saw the sign on Space Mountain advising elderly people not to ride it and saying out loud, “right, I’m doing that.” He was in the third wave on D-Day and assumed that he could survive anything after that.

I could have cried that night, but I didn’t. You were angry with me – very angry. We had had a slight mishap (involving orgasms, in fact) that necessitated the changing of sheets. I explained, calmly I hope, that this was easy – we could take the sheet off, rinse the stain out, and hang it up to dry in the balmy Provence heat – but you told me that I was being passive-aggressive (a concept I still don’t understand). I got the spare bedding down and added the new sheet. After we hung the damp sheet up outside, we went back to bed and you threatened to slap me.

You didn’t actually slap me, but I felt you could have.

As I lay there shaken, I wondered over and over if I should have told you that he died. If I did, you might have assumed I was trying to deflect, or ignore the (admittedly very trivial) problem that had prevented itself (and that we had managed to correct, I hasten to add). You clearly didn’t want to hear me say anything, and if I had cried, you’d have assumed I was trying to get sympathy. Maybe you would have slapped me. I don’t know any more.

So I didn’t say anything. I held back the tears, and lay awake, wanting more than ever to get to sleep so it could be morning and you would have calmed down.

I hadn’t done anything wrong.

The next day, as we sat at an open-air café in the village, you decided to have a look at your ‘phone and told me that you had a text from my mother, since I hadn’t replied to hers, telling me that he had died. I acted shocked, went still for a while, and let a few tears out while you squeezed my hand sympathetically.

“I’m sorry,” you said.
“Well, thank you. I knew it was going to happen; it was just a matter of when…” I started.

The thing is that, well, I knew it had happened. I found out the night before, but I was far too scared to act sad or shocked or morose or… anything other than calm and rational, really… because I feared your reaction. I didn’t want to trivialise the old man’s death, either; this was a massive thing. But we were on holiday (for the first time as a couple). We were meant to be having lots of sex, and we probably would have done, had the sheets not been stained.

So I didn’t tell you I already knew. I kept that to myself; it was all I could have done in the circumstances. We went to the cathedral in Avignon the following day and I lit a candle for him under a picture of St Joseph, saying a prayer and watching the light dance.

I’m sorry for not telling you sooner. I could have told you that morning, maybe, over breakfast – the sad news might have been better over croissants still warm from the boulangerie. Or maybe when we were washing up afterwards, or taking showers, or sitting on the swing in the garden. Any of those times. But I couldn’t come up with a viable explanation for why I hadn’t told you when I actually found out.

So I didn’t say anything.

And I didn’t say anything, either, for the next one-and-a-half years of our relationship. I didn’t tell you when it ended, either, and I still haven’t told you until now, when I’m telling you in the knowledge that you probably won’t read this. You may remember me going to the funeral a week or so later, after surprising you by staying in Oxford for a day longer than I was going to. You may remember spending Christmas together and how I cried because I missed my little church so much. You may – I know I do – remember all the good times we had in Provence, even if we had better holidays later on.

But I didn’t tell you that I knew. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you sooner. And I’m sorry to my grandfather, posthumously, for keeping his death a secret. But, in all honesty, I really don’t know what else I could have done.

Forever and always, my love,
– ILB x

Cockblocked by… myself?

For the past year or so, my gut has left me alone. I was formally diagnosed with IBS a few months ago, after repeated and increasingly uncomfortable tests to make sure it wasn’t Crohn’s or UC or something new that’s going to end up named after me. A less stressful job that I quite like, some tablets with friendly bacteria (which makes me seem like a wanker, but just go with it), and – dare I say it? – drinking more water (it is free at work) have all helped, and whereas I do still have issues with my stomach, attacks are less common, and when they do happen, rarely debilitating.

Mind you, when they happen, they really happen.

As you may have realised from my last few posts, I haven’t had sex for a very long time, and non-penetrative sexual contact (while something that has happened, rarely) is the most I’m doing. I’m not going to push the issue, or talk about it much here, but very little has been happening of late. The other day, however, my girlfriend started talking about getting some new sex toys, and my interest was piqued.

I was in the bathroom when she asked it.

“Hey, you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m… I’m on the toilet.”
“Okay, I was thinking… after you’re finished, maybe do you… do you want to play?”

The fact that I’d noticed our Doxy had been moved from the corner of the room to her side of the bed floated into my head.

“Play? Play! Yes! Yes, I want to… I’ll be with you in an… aaaaaaargh…”
“What is it?”
“Nothing, nothing…”

Of course, that was a lie. It was something. The instant she had mentioned play, my entire abdominal system compressed into a ball with roughly the density of a neutron star. I leaned forwards, stuffed my fist in my mouth and screamed silently.

I kept promising, of course, that I would be with her soon. Zounds, but I wanted to be. The problem was that, with my gut deciding to have a go at shibari without having consulted me first, I could barely talk, never mind move. I couldn’t wield a Doxy, wouldn’t have been able to concentrate on using my fingers, and if it came to oral sex (DEAR GOD I MISS GIVING ORAL SEX AND IT HAS BEEN SO LONG), I doubt I’d have had the focus to give as much time and attention as I usually do, what with my body experiencing an internal French Revolution, complete with guillotine.

“Hey, I’m sorry, I… aaaaaaaaargh…
“It’s okay – you stay in there as long as you need – we don’t have to…”
“No, I want to… it’s just… aaaaaaaargh, fuck!
“Seriously! Take care of yourself first!”

Discord wants a glass of water
“A little glass of water, please?”

It’s not really like I had much of a choice in that situation. So that’s where I stayed, sitting, for the next hour or so, continually swearing at the entirety of my gastro-intestinal system and wishing, not for the first time, that I could just rip it out, if only temporarily.

She did bring me a glass of water, though, so it’s nice to see that she doesn’t consider me a complete disappointment.

I’ve not been feeling myself lately…

I’m a sucker for good stationery, and that extends to diaries. I used to keep a journal – a paper one, not this newfangled invention of modern technology I’m using now – and did so for three years before largely migrating over to LiveJournal. I don’t have the patience to do so now, but I do have a diary – one for appointments and reminders to pay rent and so forth. I never really thought I’d need one, but here I am, organising my life in a little book. This must be what being an adult is like.

This isn’t the first time I’ve referred back to my diary. My last few spam content posts orgasm counts have all been obtained by looking through it and deciphering the increasingly complicated shorthand I’ve managed to develop, in case my mum starts reading it and somehow works out what the little stars mean.

This is assuming that she overlooks the event I’ve been referring to as ‘con being written out in full as “EROTICON!” in red pen. But there we go.

For the last few days, though, there is a new mark.

I have, effectively, taken a stay of execution from masturbation. This isn’t a strange, quasi-religious judgy NoFap thing, nor is it a sudden volte-face into someone who hates masturbating (I love it – and we all know I do); it isn’t even a “just to see if I can do it” self-denial challenge like Lightsinthesky did in year 12 (although I’m using the same diary mark as he did – NJO – although not in a homework planner, obviously). None of that.

No.

The reason is that, after my last orgasm (which was now over a week ago and counting), I felt a little wrecked. It was beginning to take longer and longer to climax than I remember; I’d also noticed that there had been a decrease in things to which I’ve been used – like morning wood (or wet dreams, but then I never have those in any case) – whereas the ILB of a few years ago was very sexually healthy. Go back a decade and I was channeling Priapus.

Coming to the gradual realisation that I may have been suffering from “iron fist” (if that exists… but I’m fairly certain it may, given my sporadic inability to come during partnered sex), and even seeing masturbation as something of a chore (as which it should never be seen!), I decided to… well… to stop. Not that I have an end goal in mind, really – I haven’t set a date or anything, and I’m not really sexually active with anyone right now so this isn’t really to improve sex – but working on more of a vague idea:

“If I’m really horny and want an orgasm, then I’ll masturbate, but I won’t do it just because I think I ought to. Even if I’m just moderately horny.”

Sounds weird when I write it down. But then I only just came up with that, so.

I mean, I haven’t actually been horny for the past week, but I’m kind of hoping that a wank break might help bring my horny back too. (Of course, if it does, this will become more of a challenge. It isn’t a challenge right now – it just tends to give me blank periods during the day where I wonder what else I’d be doing!)

So yeah. That’s literally the most exciting thing I’m doing right now. And if you’re really lucky, I’ll let you know how amazing my next orgasm is, having not done so for however long beforehand.

If you’re really, really lucky, I won’t.

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