I’m not sure how this happened, but somehow, after deciding pretty conclusively that I didn’t want to see him again, a week later, I arranged a weekend of sex with Daniel (not his real name).
After bad text sex week, we planned to speak on the phone for five or ten minutes, to sort out whether to meet as friends or go our separate ways. Somehow, 3 hours later, we were still on the phone and had just had phone sex.
There was something about him that really got under my skin, and made me think about him all the time. I really enjoyed our phone conversations – he was funny, he made fun of me quite a lot but was also caring and very complimentary at times. My doubts from the week before still seemed confirmed, as I still knew so much more about his struggles than he knew about mine, however much I tried to say. But there was crackling sexual chemistry between us.
My thoughts were: he had put on his profile that he wasn’t looking for anything serious, and had told me that, by August, he’d slept with 15 women this year already (including meeting a woman via Facebook and going to her house for sex). I didn’t think we were right for each other, but also thought he wasn’t looking for a relationship. I wanted to be friends but he didn’t. Maybe a happy medium was to have some great sex, then go our separate ways?
He seemed pretty open to this. We agreed I would go to his flat that weekend, as I’ve still been living my ex the whole time (mainly due to London rent prices – a whole blog post in itself). Daniel lived in Amersham (actually he didn’t, but lived somewhere like that).
A few days before, he hinted he wasn’t feeling too great. It suddenly occurred to me that I could be taking advantage of him, or that what we were planning might make him feel worse. I texted him saying I still wanted to do it, but wanted to check he thought it was definitely a good idea. He replied saying I was overthinking it. We spoke on the phone later, and he said it was a bit ‘patronising and emasculating’ that I had asked. He said ‘you were kind of taking away my agency, and I wondered if that’s something you do a lot’.
Ouch. But OK, definitely still on board with Amersham Sex Weekend then.
The night before, we spoke on the phone. He told me that he didn’t want it to be over after Amersham Sex Weekend. He liked me and wanted to carry on dating. He told me a lot of really honest things about his mental health, and how much he had missed out of his 20s by spending years on the wrong medication and being really unwell. Basically, when he was telling me all of this, I was quite drunk and absolutely dying for the toilet. I said “I really want to talk more about what you’ve just said, but I really need the toilet. I can go for a wee and then call you straight back, or we can leave it for now and talk about it more in person, tomorrow?”. We agreed to leave it for the next day.
I was in two minds after his declaration. I really liked his honesty and wondered if I was wrong, not wanting a relationship with him.
The next day, I spent ages getting ready for Amersham Sex Weekend (I don’t know why I was so obsessed with calling it that). It was my first time having sex with someone new since 2013. In the shower, I shaved things I’d never even shaved before. He sent me one message, saying “send me a photo to remind me why I should want you to come”.
Bit harsh. But I dutifully sent him a naked photo. He didn’t reply.
I drove to Amersham feeling quite nervous but excited. It was further away than I thought. I actually wasn’t sure we would still end up having sex; after what he’d said the night before, I wanted to talk things through and check it was still a good idea. But I was looking forward to seeing him.
I arrived and parked, and phoned him to check where to go. He seemed a bit offhand on the phone. He buzzed me into his building, but didn’t warn that I had to walk for miles, including going outside again, to get to his flat. After taking ages, he opened his front door. I said hello, and he said “wow, you seem really tense and awkward”.
“Oh, really? I guess I’m a bit nervous but I’m fine!”, I replied cheerily, trying to seem as jolly and un-awkward as possible.
He made fun of the rucksack I had brought, with my overnight things in, and we went into his living room. He remarked again, how tense and awkward I seemed. I think perhaps he felt tense and awkward. I tried to take control of the situation by asking him to make me a cup of tea. As we waited for the kettle to boil, he literally grabbed me by the throat and pulled me towards him, and kissed me really hard. I found this a bit alarming.
“How did you feel, when I kissed you?” He asked me. (He asked me this a lot, how I felt in response to things he’d done, like he was an anthropological alien).
“A bit surprised, and scared, but I got into it more as the kiss went on?” I replied.
The tea-making process seemed horribly awkward, and I tried to jolly things along by taking the piss out of him, as he so often took the piss out of me. This didn’t seem to go down especially well.
We sat down in his living-room, and he said something like “so what do you want? Why did you come?”
I said “well, I thought we could have a bit of small talk so we both relax, then carry on the conversation from last night, then have sex if it seems like a good idea, or not, if it doesn’t.”
So we chatted for a bit, which was OK, but he was being quite shitty with me. For example, we were talking about whether something was red or orange, and I referred to an in-joke we previously had, about him hating the colour orange. He said “I don’t actually hate the colour orange, it was what’s called a joke, you know, when someone says something that’s not true, but it’s supposed to be funny?”.
Then, out of the blue, he said “well, you’ve been here for half an hour now. What do you want?”
Basically, he seemed really confused about Amersham Sex Weekend. He’d had one night stands before, and he’d had relationships before, but this wasn’t either and it seemed to infuriate him. I guess he was hurt and confused. He talked about how I’d messed him around. Some of what he said was unfair, for example, “you’ve had all these personal conversations with me, you’ve asked me about my diagnosis…” when I had really gone out of my way to avoid asking him. I argued I had been clear and honest from the start, and that I thought it was quite normal for there to be a whole range of things between one night stands and relationships.
Then ‘coastergate’ happened. I asked for a glass of water, because even after the tea, the stress was making my mouth really dry. He only had a wineglass, which he filled with water. The bottom of the glass was wet, and I was worried about leaving a mark on his coffee table, so I asked if he had a coaster. He said yes and I stood up to get it. I couldn’t see any in his living room, so I went into the kitchen, but he said there were some on his dining table. I was really confused – all I could see were placemats. It turned out he meant the placemat could be used as a coaster. I said something like “oh, I’d call this a placemat rather than a coaster” – I only said this to explain why I’d been confused and walked past them so many times, but he took it very badly.
“You’ve come into my home and now you’re taking the piss out of me, who do you think you are?”
I started crying, and I went to get some tissue from his bathroom. I thought ‘wow, this is not the lighthearted weekend of sex I was expecting’.
When I came back, I said “I think I’m going to go”.
Suddenly, he completely changed and was really lovely to me. I was really unsure about whether to stay, but he was very apologetic, gentle and caring. He said he liked my shoes, and held my hand and asked about the writing on my hand (I like to write the gist of the route on my hand, in case google maps lets me down). I wish I had left now, but because I had been crying and felt vulnerable, I was open to him being lovely to me. I said I didn’t want to stay if he was going to be shitty with me again, and he said he wouldn’t, now he had said his piece.
At some point during the argument, I noticed there was a big white mark on the shoulder of his black t-shirt. I realised it was probably from the alarming kiss – I think my armpit ended up touching his shoulder, and my cold, anxious, deodoranty sweat must’ve left a mark behind. I didn’t say anything.
The rest of the evening was OK. We sat and chatted, and it was nice. But I felt awkward, because he had got so angry about coastergate, so I kept saying “was it OK when I said that, just then, it didn’t annoy you, did it?”. He said something like “I’m finding the neuroticism a bit of a turn-off”, and he kept saying “I think you’re right, about not seeing each other again, it’s not like I imagined. It’s much more awkward”.
We went and got a pizza and some drinks, and there were some nice bits to the evening. Then it was suddenly quite late, and he was kissing me again.
I really wasn’t into it. I’m not sure why, but I just felt uncomfortable. Rather than it being something we were doing together, I felt more like we were two people that happened to be doing the same task in the same room. He put me onto his lap and kissed me, and then asked me how I felt. I said “yeah, I’m not sure I’m totally in a sex place right now, but I’m sure I will be soon?”
A bit later we kissed again, and he carried me over to the table. We kissed lying down on the table. He was kissing me quite hard, and all I could think about was how the table was creaking underneath the weight of us. I felt really awkward. It felt like he was following a script I hadn’t been shown, and he was getting annoyed with me for not playing my part correctly. For example, we reached a section where he, apparently, expected me to put my legs around his waist and he huffily put my legs around his waist when I didn’t oblige.
Somehow, thankfully, this petered out and stopped. He had been moaning a lot about being tired, so I suggested we went to bed so he could sleep, and maybe have sex in the morning instead. We went into the bedroom and he said more about how this weekend wasn’t what he’d expected.
You’re not the only one, pal.
He said “I thought you’d be more passionate” and “I thought you’d be more of an animal” and “I had visions of us having sex over there, with your breasts pressed against that window”.
The wine glass of water got knocked over, which he seemed really pissed off about. We got into bed in our underwear and he said “things seem really awkward between us again.”
But it’s great how it eases the tension when you draw attention to it.
I said “don’t worry, it’s just a trough. There’ll be another peak soon”.
I have to say here, I’ve realised I’m really skating over the good bits, the peaks, and only describing the troughs, which must beg the question why on earth I stayed, and why on it even reached this point. I think it’s partly because the troughs are more interesting, partly because, now I know how badly it ended, it’s easier to remember the troughs and harder to remember the peaks, and partly because, I think the peaks are harder to describe with him. There were good moments, where I felt comfortable or turned on, and he was fun or caring, but somehow those moments seem more intangible and harder to describe.
Anyway, after I said there would be another peak soon, there was. Suddenly, neither of us felt awkward, and we kissed and then had sex. It was quite good.
Afterwards, we were holding each other. I had previously told him that I thought I had a small vagina (because of various problems I’ve had with everything from sex to smear tests). While we were lying holding each other, he said “you were right.”
Then, just as I asked “about it being a trough?”
he added “about your vagina” at the same time.
We both laughed, and I said “I hope my vagina isn’t a trough”.
Then, until about 10am the next morning, we slept, and had sex, and talked. It was nice. He asked about ex-boyfriend’s death, and we both cried as I told him about it. Some of the sex was really good.
But on the other hand, he touched me way too roughly. Towards the end, I had to keep asking him to be gentler, as I was getting sore. For two days afterwards, I felt sore and even bled a bit, in a way I’ve never had before, which I didn’t like. I also had a massive bruise on the back of my knee for about two weeks, from when he moved me into a different position too roughly. I did some oral sex and at one point, I put something in too far and was gagging, so tried to move, but he held my head down. I didn’t like this.
It seemed like every so often, when we got on too well, he would feel hurt about me not wanting a relationship, and say something mean to me, and then I’d get upset, and he’d feel better and be lovely. He had some logistical trouble with sex, which apparently was due to his medication.
Then, in the morning, we were having sex which I thought went well. We stopped for a bit. He said “how do you feel?”
I said “pretty satisfied and happy. How do you feel?”
He said “I feel tired and frustrated. The sex has seemed pretty synthetic and the fondness I had for you has really gone now”.
I decided to leave. I got dressed and he was apologising, saying what he meant by synthetic, was that he likes me so much that couldn’t let himself feel his genuine feelings. I’d still had enough by that point. We didn’t leave on completely bad terms – we hugged, although he wouldn’t let me hug him by his front door.
It was nearly over.
But not quite.