Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Category: Random… Truly Random

….I honestly have no idea

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.

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.

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.

heat

thump thump thump

the heat surrounds me. i cannot move – it is overpowering. movement is not a possibility. i am restricted by the blistering heat

thump

someone gives the call for breakfast. i sit up and work up more of a sweat just by struggling out of my sleeping bag. all of me hurts. i am bathed now, not just in heat, but the sounds of my friends waking up all around me

i don’t want to move

i pull on some shorts and a t-shirt that i have owned since i was 14. robinson unzips the tent and a rush of incredibly great heat rolls in. everyone groans. nobody says a coherent word

thump thump thump thump thump

robinson pulls open the flysheet and the world outside fades into view through the haze. it is not fully realised. some colour. some sound. the thump, i now realise, is my heartbeat, resonating through my head

i struggle with my trainers, which i slip on

i crawl out of the tent and force myself to stand up. mane follows behind. everything is covered by a haze. warm air sinks down upon us. ahead, some of the older adults are doing something with breakfast. the kitchen tent looks too hot. i very slowly begin to tread towards the mess tent

the mess tent is slightly cooler. it’s so full of people cooling off that i don’t notice

robinson’s dad calls the younger ones for breakfast. we wait, drowning slowly in the heat and complete lack of activity. talking hurts. moving is slow. difficult. heavy

we get the call and slouch our way to the breakfast table, our clothes clinging to our bodies as we do so

there is water and squash. the food is immaterial. what we need is water. i get some orange squash. my first sip is sticky. sugary. tastes very faintly of orange. it’s the best drink i’ve ever had

robinson is drinking too
mane is drinking too
hairy friend is drinking too
mane jr. is drinking too

we raise our plastic cups as one and head for one of the canisters of water. we refill and drain our cups. for the first time, someone makes a satisfied sound

there is a pause

someone calls for the morning circle

and we begin to assemble

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