3 things

The thing about couch sex is – well, there’s three things, okay.

The first thing is when he puts his beer down on the dinky table beside the empty kitkat wrappers and looks across the couch at you, smiles a little, squeezes the hand he’s been holding, and you straddle his lap and brush your fingers back through his hair, run a thumb down over the line of his nose and his lips and his chin. You kiss along his lower lip while you unbutton his shirt, slip your hands inside along his chest, let your thumbs brush over his nipples. You can feel his dick harden inside his jeans and there’s nothing, nothing, not even coming is quite like the feel of that still-soft quickening. His hips press a little up from the cushion, up against your panties, and you squeeze his hips between your knees and that, that’s the first thing.

The second thing is when you’ve dashed all warm and flustered to the bedroom for a condom and come back to find that his jeans and briefs are around his shins and he’s just sitting there with one hand up in his hair, pushing his bangs sweaty off his forehead, and the pink curve of his dick is leaking against his stomach and he parts his legs a little wider and pats one thigh and grins. Your hands are shaking a little, too clumsy to get the condom on at the first try, but once you’ve got it you run a thumb up to the root of his cock and angle it just enough to line up and sink down on him and that, that’s the second thing, the wet-thick moment when you’re not quite separate or joined, you’re – illimitable, poised together on a breathless bone-deep please .

When he gets close he lets his head fall back on the spine of the couch, throat long and open, eyes half-lidded, watching you fuck yourself shaken-apart on his cock. When you start to falter – thighs giving out, your fingers between your legs rubbing quicker and desperate, shaky with want – he tightens his hands over your ass and pulls you in against him and jackhammers up into you, pumping his hips, his thighs under your ass gone taut and hard with the effort. If you look down then you can see him bite his lower lip, see it slide through his teeth slow and bloodless-white and that, that’s the third thing.

3 things


You’re just down the hall from your office and your back’s against the wall and the guy who’s been in the archive room all day, going by your desk, winking, eating frosted donuts and licking the powder off his lips, he’s standing in front of you: not crowding, not too close, no, but firmly there (and firm, under the cheap white dress shirt, you’ve not not-noticed), and he’s eyefucking you in the most respectful way possible. It’s taking a conscious effort to keep your hips from swaying towards him.

You lick your lips and say ‘is there some place we can go?’

His lips tighten, a flicker. Not anger. Satisfaction, and your belly starts to ache.

He pulls you into the stairwell and presses you back against the wall. There’s a second, two, where he holds his face a little away from yours, lips open, eyes dancing. You move against him, reflexive, but he’s got a hand on either side of your face and he’s holding you there, suspended between him and the wall and the surface of the world. The butterflies below your breastbone start to ricochet skyward.

‘You want it, hey?’ he says, not insult in his voice but delight, and his eyes are sparkling, sparking, and then he pulls you together and his mouth is the world exact, wet, tugging. He’s sucking on your tongue and his hips are pressed up against yours, so tight you can feel the cold of his belt buckle through your cotton sundress.

One of his thighs slips between your legs and, god, it’s thick, muscled. The front of his slacks are flush against the hollow of your hip and you feel the bite of a crooked zipper head and beside it the hard line of his cock.

‘Oh,’ you say, in a gasp, and push your hips forward. He kisses you with a kind of surging suddenness, and you tip your head back and let him suck on the skin of your neck and below the lobe of your ear.

‘Wish you could fuck me right here,’ you say, and he makes a choked noise into your neck. Your bodies have slotted hungrily into a kind of rhythm, pressgrindrock, and then he scuffles his foot and his thigh finds where the cusp of your pubic bone meets the hood of your clit and your whole body startles, jerks in his arms.

Oh,’ he says, danger-sweet, and rocks against you again, careful, hardly moving so much as just shifting the weight of his body. There’s a noise in the dampened quiet of the stairwell and it takes you a couple of seconds to know that it’s you, moaning, low and gritty, cause he’s got one hand down the back of your panties and two of his fingers are crooking up just inside you, thick and practiced.

Fuck,’ you say, once, clear, before all you can think is breathing, keeping quiet, a little, please, quiet, and then you’re coming, pulsing around his fingers, legs giving out, and he holds you up against the wall and breathes unsteady behind the shell of your ear while he comes.



‘Yeah,’ he says, low, rough, edge of a groan underneath it, ‘yeah, just like that, baby, fuck yourself on my dick.’

She’s riding him, thighs clamped tight around his hips, knees digging into his ribs and hands planted flat on his chest. All of her focus and most of her muscles are working, straining with the thrust of her hips and the roll of her ass to take him deeper, bear down on him harder, let the dragging heat of him turn all to fire inside her. She stopped talking awhile ago – trembling, lust-blind, the world narrowed down to the hunger between her legs and the hard curve of his cock. His hands are around her hips and he’s moving with her, following her momentum.

‘You feel so good,’ he says, not patter but like he really means it, like after a couple decades of fucking it can still take him sometimes by surprise. ‘Come on, yeah, just like that, fuck, fuck, so deep.’ He drops an arm to the bed and gets himself up on one elbow, watches her face, puts a hand soft over her belly. She’s almost sobbing now, making little frustrated sounds of want, her thighs burning with effort. He lets his hand drop to her hip, thumb caressing her skin, breathing heavy.

‘I want,’ she says, ‘I want,’ and she leans back and settles her hands back beside his thighs, arches back so she’s pumping her hips from her haunches, head tipped back. He strokes the pad of one thumb down over her clit and she shudders, shivers. Then he braces his forearms against the bed and thrusts his hips up once, holds them there, just enough that the root of his cock presses a little harder against her. She cries out and jerks against him, uneven, frantic with want.

‘Yeah,’ he says, warm and husky and sure, like the feel of his lips when they’d first kissed her, ‘yeah, baby, you like that? gonna come all over my cock all soft and tight? yeah, c’mon baby, make those pretty noises, show me, show me how bad you want it.’

She lets out a long, broken moan, but he’s already got himself up on one elbow and grabbed her ass with one hand, is fucking up into her fast and hard, hardhotwet, and she puts her hands around the backs of his knees and sets her teeth and screams.


KOTW: crawling

‘Hey,’ he says, from the hotel bed, and the way he says it makes me look up from where I’m crouched on the floor, suitcase open, rooting around inside for deodorant. I sit back on my heels, let the suitcase fall closed. He’s on his back, legs tangled in the sheets, one arm behind his head. The way he’s looking at me, soft and dark and full of intention, makes the colour come up in my cheeks – I can feel it, hot and bright under my skin, flushing up my throat, over my chest where I’m still damp from the shower, smell of hotel body wash hanging vaguely floral in the air.

‘C’mere,’ he says, so soft it’s more of a breath, and on some half-thought-out instinct I don’t stand up, instead I lean forward onto my hands and knees and crawl slow towards the bed, back arched a little, eyes not leaving his face. I bite my lip, and he says, low, ‘oh, that’s how it is, is it?’ and sits up a bit on one arm. I keep my eyes on his, teasing a barely-there smile, letting my knees and palms drag slow and tactile-hungry across the rug, and a warm knot coils low in my belly, makes me slick and pulsing between my legs.

He starts to sit up but I just shake my head, no, and the rise and fall of his chest starts to quicken, grow rougher. He’s still looking at me, eye contact unbroken, when I get to the bed and crawl up over its foot, knock his thighs gently apart with my forearms and sink my mouth down around his cock and oh it’s good, half-hard already and quickening further in my mouth, bumping soft against my soft palate. I make a noise, involuntary satisfaction, as his hips rise a little against my mouth and the world collapses soft down into – this, the weight of his cock in my mouth and the jerky tightening of his belly under my palms.

KOTW: crawling


You’re both a little tipsy when you stumble into the hotel room in puffy jackets and mittens, cheeks flushed with booze and temperatures low enough to frost your eyelashes, stick them wet to your cheeks. By the time you’ve tripped out of your boots and unwound your scarf he’s sitting on the end of the bed, knees sprawled apart and leaning back on his hands, and he’s shucked off not just his coat but his jeans too, stopped undoing his shirt somewhere around button three so it’s gaping open over his pecs and cold-popped nipples.

Uurgh you say, appreciatively, and move towards him, into the V of his legs, and he puts his knees together and pins you light between them. Your scarf is wound once around the heel of one of his hands.

‘You wanna–?’ he says, inflecting up, and you don’t even answer, just press a little deeper between his knees and pull your hair aside so he can tie the scarf around your head. It’s not too different, at first, really, cause you usually don’t see all that much while you’re kissing him, ever, immersed in his mouth and teeth and the way his lip snarls a little against your face, the breathy warmth of him and the clumsy shedding of layers between your bodies.

Now his hands run down your back, knead hard over your ass, and that’s fun, the feel that he’s cupping you close and tight, held still in the dark, the slide of his fingers over your thighs shifting you slantwise to the world but steady on the axis of his hips, the hard hot line of his dick. There’s a tipping, then, disorienting, your body pitches forward a little and your hands are touching parts of him but your brain’s lost the plot, the map, can’t quite place how he must be on the bed.

‘Baby,’ you say, hesitant, breathless, and he’s peeling off your leggings and knickers together, tugging when they stick around one ankle, and you half expect him to press you down on your back and eat you out but instead he does – something – lifts you, you’re almost kneeling, gasping, laughing a little, and then the feel of his chest sudden between your legs, skin thinner here and cool still from the outdoors, the brush of his armpit hair against your knees, and then his hands hooking behind your calves and he’s pulling you up right over his face and

– oh, jesus.

‘Hey,’ you say, faintly, and struggle a little, instinctive, cause you’re usually too self-conscious for this, too worried he won’t be able to breathe or over-analysing how you should sit, move, whether your belly looks weird from that angle. Usually you wriggle and deflect, pull him on top of you, and it’s fine, it’s fun, but this – 

‘’s hot,’ he says, growls, almost, and his fingers tighten around your thighs and pull you down onto his mouth and nose, the soft give of his lips and the wet slippery touch of his tongue and you start, you’re so, you start pushing yourself down onto him, down on his tongue pressing up beside your clit and fuck it’s like he found a nerve that doesn’t, that isn’t, that goes right to some ache-wet limbic system and –

Your hands grope back a little, lost, and find not the bed but his legs, drawn up open and almost frog-legged wide. You get a hand on the inside of each of his knees and press them towards the mattress, feel the quick coil of his body against your palms, and he does this fluttering soft moaning thing over your clit and you, you’re not even thinking, you stop breathing for a long, long moment, back arching up, muscles tense and pain-bright in your belly, and he holds you, holds you hard on the soft quiver of his tongue and you curl down over him and scream and you don’t know quite where he is, where the mattress is, just the black soft fugue-state of the scarf and the shuddering jerk of your body towards his tongue and hands and breath.



It happens in an IKEA of all places.

It was your idea to stop, too, at the last minute. You needed a bunch of boring things:  towels, a lighter duvet for summer, wine glasses to replace the ones you’d broken last week.

‘Ok,’ he’d said, and swung the car into the exit lane. ‘But I need meatballs.’

You’re halfway through the linens section and you’ve got your eye on some dark red towels  when he touches, just grazes your elbow. You stop and look back at him, over your shoulder. He’s got his fingers on one of the sheet samples, the ones that are tufted out so customers can test the feel. The one he’s touching is bright candy pink and he doesn’t even speak, just cocks an eyebrow and dimples. You know what he’s thinking about – the horrifically bubblegum-tinted bedroom in the little B&B where you’d spent a weekend last spring, most of it in bed.

You blush warm.

“Remember what we did there?”  he says, and in some alternate universe where you’re able to play it cool around him you probably roll your eyes, but this isn’t that universe and in this one his flirting still reduces you to flustered babbling, so instead you just look back at him and flush almost as pink as the sheet. It’d been your fifth time together, and the first time he’d brought up orgasm denial. He hadn’t used that term. He’d rolled over after your second round and you’d kissed for awhile, slow and exhausted and sloppy. Then he’d run a hand down your body and let his fingers rest soft and easy between your legs and he’d said, I really like making you come. You’d sort of meant to say something funny, light, but instead you’d let out your breath and kissed him hard, lots of tongue, an oh-my-god kind of kiss. Then he’d broken it off and said, in the same tone, I think I’d really like making you stop too.

It’d taken you a few seconds, and then your eyes had done a nervous sort of skitter across his face and rested vaguely just above one eyebrow. Have you done that before? you’d said, and he’d nodded, almost imperceptibly. I like it, he’d said, fingers brushing up along the shell of your ear. I don’t know yet if you will.

The ‘yet’ had made something flip dizzily under your ribs, and by the time you’d staggered into the kitchen two hours later to find something to eat you’d found out that you both, in fact, did like it. Liked it a lot.

Now, in the linen section, surrounded by carts and sticky toddlers, he hooks a finger through your belt and tugs. ‘C’mon,’ he says, and leads you on through lamps and bathroom fixtures and laundry baskets and down the escalator ramp to picture frames and mirrors. He doesn’t say a word but there’s a tension in his shoulders and a couple times he looks back and grins with his eyes narrowed a little.

Your belly tightens.

When you’re past mirrors and into picture frames and cookie cutter art, he goes around a corner into a tiny cul-de-sac of massive screenprinted canvases.

‘OK,’ he says, when you’re mostly out of view behind the end of a long shelf. ‘Touch yourself.’

Your head jerks up a little and your eyes widen, nervous, but before you can say anything he puts one of his hands into the back of your hair. It’s a light touch, barely there, just fingers gripping gentle at the roots, but the instant he does it your breath descends into a long shudder and your eyes lose focus a little. This is something else you found out about yourself, with him.

‘OK,’ you say, and loosen your zipper, stick your hand into your jeans. It’s weird, surreal, to touch yourself, feel the nub of your clit slip sideways under your fingertips while not 15 feet away people are pushing carts piled with plastic wine glasses and appliqued pillows. On one level you’re acutely aware of it, so aware it quickens your breathing and makes your adrenaline spike. On the other – well, his fingers are still rubbing against your scalp. He’s standing a foot away from you, casual, other hand stuck into his pocket, not even looking at you.

‘Good girl,’ he says, in a perfectly normal tone of voice. ‘Inside your panties or out?’

Your mouth has gone dry and you lick your lips.

‘Out,’ you say, and you’re surprised at how firm your voice still is. The cotton under your fingertips is damp already.

‘Put them in,’ he says, and then, ‘don’t hold back, honey.’

You’re blushing now, can feel the heat radiating up off your neck, and when your fingers slip easy into the slick between your lips, brushing over the swollen flesh of your cunt, you let out a tiny moan – more of a breath, really, but he hears it, and his hand tightens in your hair.

‘Quiet,’ he says, again completely easy, but he shifts a little and you notice, almost abstractedly, the line of his cock stiffen inside his jeans. You’re shifting yourself, sneakers shuffling a little on the floor, biting your lip. Then he moves a foot over and slips a hand down the back of your jeans, presses the tip of one finger firm against your asshole. Your vision slips a little, at that, and you push back involuntarily against his finger. There’s a woman looking at vases twenty feet across the room and your fingers are so slippery now they’re starting to lose their rhythm but you’re close, so close, and –

‘Stop,’ he says, and his hand tightens over the curve of your ass. It takes you a second to pull yourself up: your whole body is strung tight and trying to twist itself tighter. His finger hasn’t moved. When you finally blink and look around there’s no one close, well, no closer than they’d been two minutes ago.

‘Wha-’ you say, confused, trembling.

‘I wanna be inside you,’ he says, and other than that you don’t register much for the next six minutes, just his hand slipped down to the small of your back and a rush of IKEA landscape: plants, pet baskets, the huge flatpack warehouse. On the other side of the tills he gives you a glance and you duck into the infant change room, stand against the wall, still a little lightheaded. He slips inside a moment later and locks the door behind him.

He’s already unbuckling his belt as he turns around and he pushes his jeans down over his thighs and holds out his arms almost in the same movement.

‘C’mere,’ he says, mouths it, really, and you’re shrugging out of your own jeans, one leg all the way, struggling where it sticks over your ankle. Then he’s picking you up by the waist and you’re wrapping your legs around him, snugging in close and spine-tingling against his cock. It slides up alongside your clit and you grip his neck and ride right there a little, eyes closed and head fallen back, just the barely-there brush of him against the ache of your cunt. Then he grunts and lifts you an inch or two and pulls you down onto his cock, his hands somehow holding you up and pressing you down at the same time. You’re so worked up by now that the feel of him pushing you wide open makes you start to shake a little, tremble long and constant all down the length of your spine. Your hands tighten around his neck.

‘Not yet,’ he’s saying, and it takes you a second to try to respond. You get your eyes open and he’s looking at you maybe harder than you’ve ever been looked at before. ‘No,’ he says, ‘no,’ and your eyes stay on his, begging, and you’ve stopped breathing because if you breathe you’re going to come, you’re going to tip over the edge and –

‘No,’ he says, again, and now his breathing’s gone ragged too and he’s got you up against the wall between the change table and the toilet. You’re taking in little gasping-gulps of air and the your belly is an aching coil of tension, swelling, about to break, and

‘Fuck,’ you say, loud, ‘fuck, fuck,’ and he clamps a hand over your mouth and your nose both and holds it there. His hand is shaking a little and you buck your hips up against him.

‘Now,’ he says, and takes his hand away, and you lose all control of your body, can’t feel your limbs as individual things, you’re all melting disembodiment against, around, the jerking muscle of him. He presses you against the concrete, leans some of his weight through you against the wall.

He’s still inside you when you hear someone try the door handle.

‘Fuck,’ he mouths at you, suppressing a grin. ‘Fuck, shit.’ He lets you down and you hastily grab a paper towel and struggle back into your jeans. He pauses with his hand on the door and glances back at you.

‘Post-coital walk of shame?’ you say, dimpling. He grins, tips his chin up a little.

‘Just the walking part,’ he says, and opens the door.


5 Ways Purity Culture Still Fucks Me Up

I grew up in the most extreme version of evangelical purity culture you can think of. Guaranteed. Not just ‘abstinence only’. We’re talking your-father-should-pick-out-a-husband-for-you, crushes-are-emotional-promiscuity, first-kiss-on-the-wedding-day purity culture. Probably goes without saying, then: no skirts above mid-calf, no trousers, no shorts, no shirts that show the shoulder (lest you tempt The Mens), nothing that supports the idea you might have boobs (to be fair, in my case this last one was pretty easy). My parents made us fast-forward through any kissing scenes that might appear in the few G-rated movies we were allowed to watch.

All that said – this post isn’t about the stuff I lost to that worldview in the past. (That’s for a different post, and one when I’m feeling braver than I am today.) This one’s not about the shit that happened while I was still in the grip of it, or all the multi-varied ways it made evolving into who I am today so difficult. This post is about the way it still fucks me up, now, as a woman in my mid-30s who – externally, at least – probably comes across as reasonably unrepressed (writes smut! is kinky! has multiple partners! is actively looking to try new sexual experiences! masturbates with rampant enthusiasm!).

These aren’t in any order — they’re just representative glimpses of the detritus that purity culture leaves even once you’ve left it, the ways that doesn’t go away. It fades, but it doesn’t go away. Here are five, off the top of my head.

  1. I can’t wear a dress with a hemline above my knees without feeling constantly aware of it, worrying that too much upper thigh is visible, adjusting it, brushing my hand across my ass to make sure it’s hanging properly. No matter what else I’m doing, I promise my brain is also doing that. If I wear a low-cut top, I’ll glance down compulsively every few seconds to make sure you can’t see even a glimpse of my bra. (This despite the fact I basically don’t have cleavage.) I imagine it looks either like a nervous tic or like I’m weirdly obsessed with my own tits and ass.
  2. I can’t take a compliment about my looks or clothes and enjoy it, because a) vanity b) looking nice enough for a compliment clearly means I must be trying to seduce or tempt someone with the Desires Of The Flesh.
  3. If a guy says hello, my first instinct is still (still!) to startle and deflect, to move the conversation to neutral topics (the weather! the state of Southern Rail! etc) instead of anything that might be interpreted as flirting or even just personal. I can usually catch this instinct, now, but it’s still my first reflex, and it leads to me constantly second-guessing my own inclinations and interests. (AM I ACTUALLY NOT INTO HIM OR IS MY PURITY!BRAIN JUST ACTING UP??)
  4. I feel guilty showing my body off, whether that’s nudes or just a more flattering cut of waistline. I have frequently not bought clothes that looked good on me because they showed too much of my shape (e.g. the curve of my ass). Often I don’t realise that’s why until much later, thinking back – my brain just calculates and rejects without my conscious thought.
  5. Feelings Are Bad (both emotional and sexual). I find myself referring to crushes as ‘problems’ or ‘issues’ instead of fun things to be enjoyed. Even in relationships, I have a lot of kneejerk anxiety around ideas of ‘excessive’ or unregulated feelings (‘I probably like him too much’ ‘I should get ahold of my emotions’ ‘did I seem Too Into It when he did that thing in bed?’ ‘I need to Get Ahold of myself’).

Leaving evangelical purity culture behind isn’t like – picking up a new menu at a restaurant and putting the old one down: drinks sorted, let’s look at the mains. It’s… trying to unlearn things that are as automatic and unconscious as breathing, fumbling inside your own gut and pulling out vital things that for a long time have been what you thought held you together; it’s second-guessing every impulse of your body and heart because you can’t trust yourself (and then third-guessing it). It’s like being taught all your life that water’s lethal and dangerous, that you can only hydrate through IV and never touch it otherwise, and then suddenly finding out that it’s not, but by then you’ve spent a lifetime avoiding the world of lakes and showers and rain and ice lollies and hot baths — and even once you know water won’t hurt you, isn’t bad, you keep stumbling on new ways that misconception has shaped your larger habits, how it’s warped you: roads you never drove down because cross a river, times you never went outdoors because of the threat of rain, years of thirst and sweat and dusty hands, all the moments of pleasure and self-discovery that you don’t experience for a long time even after you know water’s ok because, well, the thing about shame-based conditioning is how it bleeds into your molecules. You leave, but – you stay afraid, unless you dismantle that fear in yourself in little incremental moments, over and over and over.

5 Ways Purity Culture Still Fucks Me Up