I have Oxford on my mind

1

Wolf finished his thesis last week, and I insisted on proofreading until past my bedtime even though a deadline was looming. I hadn’t been able to help much with the doctorate beyond being a sounding board, but this was the assistance I’d been planning to give him since he first was admitted to Oxford. It was for him but also for me.

He emailed it off to the printer down the street from his former residence, and try as I might I can’t visualise the shopfront. Once printed, the readers’ copies would be delivered to the Examination Schools, another place I’ve walked past countless times. He’ll be mildly fretful about it until it’s successfully delivered, and so it’s on my mind too.

2

An acquaintance from sexy Twitter just ran the Oxford Half Marathon the other day. I’ve spent some time in the city and though I haven’t been there for the Half Marathon, I’m certain I’ve seen some other race there. I have a mental snapshot of runners in bibs, which must then date from May or June 2015. Where were they? Longwall?

 

3

Another acquaintance from sexy Twitter has family in Oxford and also studied there. We’ve talked about that a wee bit, and discussed colleges. No doubt some of his most vivid memories of the city are situated near some of my own. Like that evening when I saw an undergrad in a room above street level, carrying on with the music loud and window open, and wearing a bedsheet toga.

4

My mood is tenuous. It’s bedtime and I’m looking for a book to read. Must be fiction but there’s precious little new fiction in the house. I haven’t yet cracked the new Yann Martel, in part because the quote from a review on the front cover calls it “entirely heartbreaking”. Why did I buy this? So I look for an old friend and choose Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, a goodly chunk of which is set in Oxford.

 

I’d spent time in the city before I first read the book, but only a couple of weeks by that point. My visual memory is shit and I could barely remember the things that I had seen. I reread the book in preparation for my trip in 2015, and then soaked up vistas, views and sights. Radcliffe Camera. The Bodleian Library, the Sheldonian, All Souls (all from the outside). New College mostly from the outside but briefly from the inside once to take in evensong. The Covered Market, Blackwells, Holywell Street. The river down to the college boathouses and beyond. On the second-last day of my two-month visit, I took a tour of the Bod and got to see the famous Duke Humphrey’s Library and the Selden End (alas, no photos allowed), where the Harkness book begins.

 

As a student, Wolf was in and out of the Bod regularly, though not this building. He has a few business cards and one of those makes an utterly perfect bookmark for this book.

5

When I arrived in Oxford that time, Wolf and I both had things to tell each other that needed to be said in person. We’d been living apart for the better part of three years, though our last separation commenced only about two months before. He told me that he wasn’t feeling well and hadn’t been for a few months already. He had noticed a problem soon after he had last returned to Oxford, so it must have been March. There wasn’t much to be done until we got home, but at least I’d already set up a checkup for him. Seven weeks after he went for that checkup, he was having open-heart surgery. The ends of the scar are still pink, the drugs a daily reminder.

It was all I could do to wait a week before sharing my own news. During that week, we fucked up a storm, jet lag and period notwithstanding. It was a delight to reconnect, and to connect sexually in a way that we hadn’t really ever before. I’d been busy having my epiphany and related revelations but I was at home alone most of that time. And when he had been home, he found it a bit overwhelming.

When I could no longer hold my tongue and finally confessed that Gawan wanted to come and meet me, it was very difficult and took quite a while for Wolf to process. I have a trip to visit Gawan in a few weeks, and my departure date is almost two years from the day we first met at my local airport. Gawan is now my dom, and though the distance and polyamory are a challenge, Wolf is comfortable with it now, which allows me to be too.

6

The book I brought with me to Oxford was Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars. I’ve since given Gawan the previous GGK book, which he’s currently reading.

7

I’m not generally one for romance novels, but I found I enjoyed the romance element of A Discovery of Witches. The main character is a witch who has avoided learning anything about or using witchcraft and magic since childhood, and the love interest is a vampire. Leaving aside the issue of how vampires in literature (and other media) went from being terrifying to romantic, many of the little things he does are dominant; it reminds me a touch of D/s. One of the first things he says to her is that it can be pleasurable to let someone else take the lead, he’s protective of her, and following a bonding moment he declares that she belongs to him. And she agrees. He’s used to being obeyed. He also wears a lot of black, so there’s that.

e[lust] #94

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e[lust] #93

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sleeping together 3

On the fourth day, Gawan took me to the outlook he’d shown me the day before and went beyond for a proper hike, though there were paved paths and steps throughout.

falls

He even brought a picnic: nice thick sandwiches and homemade pie for dessert, which we ate while looking out over a dizzying height. But we had mostly walked down to get to this particular height, and the return trip was up the equivalent of something like 40 flights of stairs. I would have eaten more pie if there had been any.

vista

That evening, Gawan and his roommate’s boyfriend wrestled the soft office mattress upstairs and plonked it on top of the hard mattress in Gawan’s bedroom. It turned out to be just right: baby bear’s bed.

On the morning of the fifth day, we explored each other more, and this time it was not entirely vanilla. He visited the leather paddle upon me again (the first time for that had been at the hotel). We fucked again. He gave me oral, explored with his fingers, and wielded my trusty little vibe on me. Whenever I got close, he sweetly crooned “good girl” until I eventually came. He was unconditionally invested in my pleasure and happiness, and he swaddled me in a blanket of warmth and love.

In the afternoon, he drove me to a notable landmark, one of the sights you really should see if you’re in this part of the country, partly just to have a little outing and partly so I could say “Yes, I saw the famous sights”. I had travelled a long way to get here; if I didn’t see any sights, there would be some awkward questions when I got back home.

So by the fifth day we knew we had a bed that was comfortable enough for me and big enough for us both, but we slept on it only once more before leaving town for the first time, then a couple more days here and there. Otherwise, it was a parade of five different hotel beds over the next two weeks.

***

Throughout the trip, I continued to check in with myself, but less and less frequently as the guilt and anxiety failed to materialize. I did, however, experience some guilt for a while after I got home, in response to Wolf’s moods. He had been consistently supportive of me taking this trip and having fun but had nonetheless found it difficult with me away, and more difficult that I was with another man. This almost certainly hit him harder than it would have otherwise because of his depression and anxiety (which was finally diagnosed only a couple of weeks ago).

But he was still unhappy even after I returned. It pains me when he’s unhappy, so I have a tendency to take more responsibility for his mood than I should, but it seemed clear that the trip was the cause of his unhappiness. And this probably hit me harder than it would have otherwise because of my own depression.

Looking back, I suppose I was projecting my own fears: that non-monogamy would hurt him, and when I saw that he was hurting I unconsciously assumed that was the reason and duly felt guilty about it. While it was unresolved, I couldn’t face writing about this trip. We’ve talked about it many times since: he didn’t expect or want me to do anything differently than I had done, and I’ve let go of feeling like his pain was my fault. I think we’re in the clear now.

sleeping together 2

The fire had burnt itself out during the night. The velvet intimacy of darkness barely kept at bay with firelight had given way to the earnest flat grey light of mid-morning.

We abandoned our living room encampment, still smelling slightly of wood smoke, and returned to Gawan’s bedroom. Third day, third fuck. I hadn’t yet spent enough time with him to be fluent in his body language, but I suspected that to someone who knew him well, he’d appear more relaxed, cheerful, and perhaps satisfied than he had in a while.

One such someone turned up rather earlier than expected: his roommate pulled into the drive, already back from her boyfriend’s place where she’d spent the last few days. I was dressed by now but a still bit cold and had thrown on a bathrobe over my clothes, but I thought it impolitic to meet the woman of the house for the first time looking as though I’d just rolled out of bed — it would bring the unstated assumptions a little too close to the surface ­— so I ditched the bathrobe, put on a sweater, and went out to say hello.

It was a little awkward, though that wasn’t surprising. I’d been nervous about this meeting. She and Gawan are like family to each other, and I knew I was being assessed.

That first meeting didn’t last too long though. Concerned about the unhappy state of my back and neck, Gawan had made an appointment for me with a massage therapist, so that was the first order of business. Afterwards, we ran some errands, and then he showed me the commanding view from a nearby outlook.

falls-2

By the time we got home, the roommate’s boyfriend had arrived for my welcome supper, and the four of us spent a convivial evening chatting while demolishing a roast duck.

We wound down and said our goodnights. Where to sleep this time? Not surprisingly, Gawan wanted to use one of the multiplicity of beds in the house instead of the couch (which was no longer private enough anyway), so we went downstairs and tried the mattress in his office. Third night, third bed. It the same size as the one in his room but less of the surface was available. It was also softer and it sloped down slightly on my side.

Since access to the office was from outdoors and the bathroom was a long, inconvenient way away, I took out my contact lenses in the office rather than doing so upstairs and then fumbling about blindly, past the pool, in the dark.

I slept poorly. I was cold and I got bumped once or twice. When I had to pee during the night, I got as far as the lawn and thought, fuck it, good enough. This was even more like camping than the air mattress by the fire in the living room. Not good.

 

sleeping together 1

My trip to visit Gawan was a big game of musical beds. At the end of my first day of travel, I slept on my air mattress on Mr. PS’s floor. While those interminable airborne hours stretched out of shape, I slept in my seat, but unfortunately, despite being deluxe, it could in no way be mistaken for a bed. When I arrived, Gawan collected me at the airport, took me back to his hotel and (eventually) tucked me in for a nap.

When nighttime finally arrived in this time zone, I was reminded that my sleeping arrangements would be (as I had predicted) the subject of some debate. The hotel room had two beds — a double and a single — so there was plenty of space for both of us to stretch out. Except that Gawan didn’t want space. This was the first time in eight months that we were in the same room and he wanted to close the distance between us completely. Given the fact that I was still run down from travel, he was prepared to concede the point — tonight.

The next day was my first day at his house. We slept together for the first time that evening. It was a watershed, not just for our relationship but also for me personally: this was the first time I had embarked on a sexual relationship while having a good sense of who I am and a bit of a clue about what I want, as well as really understanding that it is always my choice whether to have sex or not.

It was also the first time I had been (ethically) non-monogamous. I’d given the issue a tremendous amount of thought. Intellectually, I was confident that I thoroughly considered all the angles and had come to a rational conclusion rather than conveniently justifying a hot but unwise choice. But it’s impossible to predict one’s emotional reactions with absolute certainty, especially when I was doing something that I’d always been told was wrong. Wolf’s attitude — he’s completely invested in my happiness and wants me to have fun, though he’s not exactly enthusiastic about this specific kind of fun — resulted in me feeling a bit more ambivalent than I would have otherwise.

When Gawan and I stood together on the threshold of that new shared experience, I checked in with myself and found… I felt good about it. I was going in with my eyes open and liking what I saw. Immediately afterwards I checked in again: I didn’t think guilt or anxiety was probable but it was certainly possible, and I needed to pay close attention to my feelings and respect what is, not what I thought ought to be. Fortunately I still seemed to be OK. In fact, I was happy, content, satisfied, and thus better than OK despite being in uncharted emotional territory. No second thoughts.

In addition to sleeping together, that night Gawan was adamant that we also actually, you know, sleep. Together. Aside from just enjoying it, he also sleeps better when he has someone to cuddle. And I can hardly fault the man for not being able to get enough of me.

I, on the other hand, have difficulty sleeping and manage best in my own bed. I had built up one hell of a sleep debt over the course of a few years of waking halfway through the night and not being able to do much more than doze in the hours that followed, a problem for which I’m now taking (mild) medication. If I wake up because I’ve been, say, bumped, I still may not fall asleep again for another hour or more and when morning arrives, I’ll likely be in a seriously foul temper. So, really, ensuring that I have a good sleep is actually a public service. That first night at his house I agreed to share his bed on condition that he keep to his side and let wake me up naturally.

Morning sun lit the room. I looked over and saw his broad back; I couldn’t tell whether he was awake, so I touched his shoulder gently and he immediately turned to me, a smile lighting his face. And we started the second day with our second warm, loving, vanilla fuck.

But alas, his bed was too hard and my back ached something fierce. It was fine for play but no good for rest and that evening I refused to sleep on it again.

No matter, I had my air mattress, and even if it wasn’t perfectly comfortable I could rely on it for a decent sleep. He, however, was feeling thwarted. At bedtime on that second day, was drained and cranky: I was still travel-weary and then I’d tired myself out taking a private dance lesson.

The bedroom was a bit too small so we set up in the living room, where he inflated the mattress for me and arranged it on the floor in front of the fireplace. He got as comfortable as he could on the couch, beyond arm’s reach. I had a lovely, refreshing sleep. Gawan, not so much.

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watershed

I started telling the story of this trip (including a rough draft of this post) shortly after I returned home. I got the first two posts out before the writing of it slowed dramatically. Around that time I was starting to find it difficult to write anything; I think this was connected to my deteriorating mood, which culminated in a diagnosis of depression at the very end of 2016.

But on top of that, it’s just been difficult to write about because momentous things happened, and since both Wolf and Gawan have access to my thoughts here, those thoughts needed to be very settled before I’ll share them.


After the lengthy train journey, we arrived in Gawan’s town and drove home. I knew this whole trip was going to be a big deal, filled with one novelty after another. I’d never been to his country, never mind the big city I arrived in, his town, his house. There would be “his people”. Our travels together. And any developments that may happen in our relationship.

I was concerned about being overwhelmed by all the newness. There was little I could do about it beyond “wait and see”, but I asked him to give me a little photo tour of the homestead to help me adjust more quickly when I finally arrived. Between that and having stalked the place on Google Street View, I felt more at home out of the gate than I would have otherwise.

Usually when two people are establishing a new relationship, each knows what he or she wants to happen, but is making educated guesses about what the other person wants and is hoping those wants are complementary. This was different in that I was more sure of Gawan’s desires than my own: Gawan knew he wanted to fuck but he wasn’t sure if I wanted to, and I knew Gawan wanted to fuck but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to.

Before I left on this trip, I had decided — by rationally considering my thoughts and feelings in excruciating detail — that I wanted to have sex with him. But I was well aware that I might not feel it in the moment, or I might have an emotional landmine blow up in my face. This wasn’t a simple matter: I was choosing (ethical) non-monogamy for the first time ever and it remained to be seen whether I could and would act on that decision.

Gawan confided later that the hug at the airport had pleased him. What he’d gotten from my warmth was a certainty that sometime during the trip, and sooner rather than later, we would fuck. I wouldn’t have put it that way. I had a level of comfort with physicality that I hadn’t felt during our first trip together, but it was a sitting-on-his-lap-and-cuddling kind of feeling — intimate but not especially sexual.

Of course, I had imagined what it would be like to have sex with him. I didn’t see BDSM happening the first time. Even though it seemed to be part of our relationship, BDSM was only one (for now, small) aspect. This had to be simple, and it wasn’t going to be a scene. It would be about initiating a connection on a new, physical level. I had discarded the hotel as a possible location, which left his house. The house we were now at.

After supper we got settled, and then played around. We kissed, he gave me oral. He smacked me with the wood-and-leather flyswatter I’d bought for him months earlier, before we had even met. And we fucked.

This is the most highly anticipated fuck I’ve ever had, and the most rationally planned and considered. I had been thinking about, imagining, constructing, and musing on it for months. I’d thought very little about what it would feel like physically (it would feel how it felt and I had no particular expectations), but I imagined how it would feel emotionally from every possible angle. So how was it?

It was affectionate and kind and sweet.

It was warm and connected.

I felt safe and loved.

It was just what I needed it to be.

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e[lust] #90


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Welcome to Elust 90

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~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

Conflicted part 1

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Elust 88

e[lust] #89


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Welcome to Elust 89

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~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

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~Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

Hoar Frost…

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e[lust] #88

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Welcome to Elust 88

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #89 Start with the rules, come back December 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

 

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

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~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

An Open Letter To That Cunnilingus Post

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~Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

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