The lie

My husband and me–21 & 23–just back from shacking up for the winter in Steamboat Springs. Ray-bans & Pink Bolle’s. April, 1987.

In between a rocky (& unfaithful) 7-year relationship with my high school sweetheart and a delicious shacking up with a 20-year old who still shares my bed–31 monogamous years later, I had a brief foray into unleashed sexual freedom. It spanned about a year’s time, and began in the last weeks of my senior year at college when I no longer had to sublimate my sexuality to sustain societal status, ie. concern myself with reputation, repercussion and relational expectations.

In addition to a med student, a team captain and a ship’s engineer on the ferry from Ireland to France, I initiated sex with a handful of men who had pursued me for many years.

Alas none but the Irishman and the med student (who was cheating on his fiance) could sustain an erection.

I began to question my sexuality.
My personality.

Was a woman only to be demure?

Was I missing an aspect of femininity that was necessary in bed?

Why did the Irishman want to marry me after an hour in his berth beneath the port window? Why did so many men want to attach themselves to my strength, my soul, my flesh?

All along I had been told that men wanted sex without strings.
It was a lie.


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