When Nora joined the company in June, Ginny and I had already been working together five months. The two of us were the same age—going on twenty-five—and we had become friends in a subdued sort of way, occasionally having lunch together or taking an afternoon break in her office or mine. We would discuss company politics, the public issues of the day, and the ordinary events of our lives, but our conversation had never become intensely personal.
Nora changed that. Within a couple of weeks of starting work, she was gathering us up almost daily and driving us to yet another lunching place we’d never tried. She liked to break up the day, she liked to drive, she liked to hang out. Ginny and I qualified as ideal companions by virtue of our gender; Nora believed that her role as a twenty-three-year-old newlywed obliged her to avoid even professional comradeships with men.
Nora and her husband were in love and, unlike many of our contemporaries, Nora wasn’t at all embarrassed to talk about it. She talked about it often, and her romanticism struck Ginny as immature, foolish, even dangerous—certain to lead to the same sort of disappointment she herself was suffering in her marriage of two years to Peter. Ginny hadn’t previously spoken of that disappointment, but now, whether out of envy or altruism or a mix of both, she began to open up, drawing on her own experience and that of her friends to persuade Nora that men’s love is of little value and brief duration.
At the time, I was involved in a relationship that was to last seven years. Matt and I had been living together since the previous November. I had neither concealed the nature of our commitment nor gratuitously advertised it; there had been no reason to tell anyone what a kinky couple we were, so Ginny and Nora both had the impression that I was just another young woman living with her boyfriend, as indeed I was.
“How was your weekend?” I asked Nora as the three of us set out in her car one Monday at the beginning of August.
“Real good! We drove up the coast and stayed at a little motel in Fort Bragg. You ever been there?”
“Yeah. It’s a nice area.”
“It sure is! We found this really pretty spot on the beach a few miles further up, and we played in the sand, and then we watched the sun go down, and then we made love right there on the beach for, it must have been two hours. It was dark when we finally left, and then we had a real fun time finding our way back to the car; it was dark dark.”
“That does sound good!”
“Jeez, Nora, You’re making me jealous. I had to spend Saturday afternoon at another one of Peter’s drunken softball games.”
“Did it kill the evening like last week?” Nora asked.
“Oh, yeah! It’s never just the game. The team has to hang out when it’s over, so I got dragged to Sal’s again for pizza and more beer, and this time all the guys—including Peter!—got into clowning around and giving piggy-back rides to their girlfriends. The unmarried girlfriends, that is—not me and not Kandee.”
“In the bar?” Nora asked.
“Yeah. Do you know Sal’s? Were you ever inside?”
“No, I’ll have to check it out someday.”
“There’s a lot of room between the tables, especially when you push a bunch of them together to seat seventeen people. Sal—he’s a tough old guy about sixty—he was disgusted. He was watching us the whole time, looking like he was trying to decide when to throw us out.”
“Peter was giving piggy-back rides to the other guys’ girlfriends?” Nora persisted.
“Yeah, he’s a very physical kind of guy—likes to horse around. He just forgets about me while he’s doing it. I guess that’s why I’m a little jealous.”
“Did you want him to give you a piggy-back ride?” I asked.
“No, I didn’t want to be there at all. I didn’t want him to be there either. I would have liked us to be playing by ourselves on a lonely stretch of beach.”
Nora pulled the car into one of those little strip malls for which California was notorious when no other state had them, and parked in front of an eatery specializing in the kind of lite veggie matter that would soon earn us even more notoriety. We went inside, found a table, studied the menu, made our selections, and continued our conversation.
“Doesn’t Peter ever get romantic?” asked Nora.
“No, he doesn’t even kiss me hello and good-bye unless I initiate it, and he wouldn’t even do that except he’s afraid what I might do if he refuses. He never tells me he loves me unless I complain that he doesn’t, and he never so much as touches me unless he wants sex—and then he has to be half crocked.”
“That’s terrible! Was he always like that?”
“Pretty much. At first he used to kiss me hello and good-bye, and he put his arm around me sometimes, but he was never very affectionate.”
“Why did you marry him?—if you don’t mind my asking?”
“I don’t mind.” She thought a while, as if trying to figure it out herself. “He was fun to hang out with—do things with, you know. And he asked me.”
Nora looked too boggled to ask the next question, so I did.
“Is he still fun to hang out with?”
“Well, he’s easy to hang out with; we’re compatible that way. But since we’ve been married, he seems to put all his effort into being fun for the other people we hang out with.”
“Do you have any idea why he asked you to marry him?”
“I guess he liked hanging out with me, and he was ready to get married.”
Now we were both boggled. We probably would have gone on staring at her stupidly, but the waitress brought our lunch at just that moment—three strange-looking salads, obviously meant to be appreciated rather than enjoyed.
“You know, Ginny,” I said, after taking a couple of samples from my bowl, “there’s something about this that doesn’t compute.”
“Well, you’re the sort of woman that half the men in America lust over,—”
“I don’t know,—”
“It’s true! I’ve seen the guys at work drooling over you; sometimes I’ve even heard the drooling over you, two or three at a time. Right now I’m facing two men sitting in a booth. They’re trying not to be obvious about it, but they keep turning to stare at you.”
She started to look but checked herself.
“It doesn’t matter. My point is, you are attractive, and you’re telling us you think Peter married you for reasons that have nothing to do with that—that he even finds you so unattractive, he can’t bring himself to touch you unless he’s been drinking.”
“That’s how he acts.” She was obviously upset and I regretted being so straightforward.
“But men don’t do things that way,” I said.
“What do they do?”
“They fall in love with women who turn them on, and they marry women they’ve fallen in love with. Usually they fall out of love after a while, sometimes even before they get married, and often they stop turning on to their wives, but it’s rare that a man will marry a woman who never turned him on.”
“How do you know?”
“By paying attention to the men around me, the couples around me. Also, I’ve had a few boyfriends, been proposed to a couple of times—I’ve just developed a feel for how the story goes.”
The salad was the sort that even a really hungry person might pick through, one bite at a time—not really bad, but not good either—interesting is the word most commonly used. It was a problem; I wasn’t hungry anymore—too worried about how badly I’d offended Ginny, who’d stopped eating entirely. I didn’t want to be staring at her, so I forced myself to go on taking little forkfuls just to keep occupied. I was relieved when she started talking again.
“The first time Peter and I ever tried doing it, he hadn’t been drinking at all. We were over at his place, making out on the love seat, and he undressed me, real slow, exploring my body—acting like he really liked me, like I really turned him on. Well, I got all excited and I had this inspiration. There was this big oak table in the dining room, really solid—in fact it’s the one we still use now. Well, I ran over to it and sat on the edge and put my feet on a couple of chairs and leaned back on my elbows like, Come and get it! So he stands in front of me and starts unbuckling his belt, and I remember I said, ‘Are you going to show me your cock?’ and he took off his pants and I said, ‘You have a big one!’ He does! Really! It’s the biggest I’ve ever seen! Anyway, he starts fingering me some more, and I say, ‘Why don’t you just stick it in?’ so he stops fingering me and he gets ready to do it, and then he just comes all over me!”
Nora giggled. “You must have turned him on a lot!”
“He was mortified! He kept apologizing. I felt so sorry for him!”
“What did you do then?” I asked.
“I told him it was okay, hugged him, sat down with him on the love seat again, reassured him the best I could. What else could I do?”
“You want to know what I would have done?”
“I would have teased him about it. As soon as he started to come, I would have said, ‘Ooh, I get to see you spurt! You must be so embarrassed!’—just like that!”
Nora giggled again.
Ginny gaped at me, blinked repeatedly, finally spoke. “You would do that? Why? You always seemed like such a nice person.”
“It would lay the groundwork for a lot of exciting lovemaking in the future.”
She gave me a look of astonishment. “How?”
The communicativeness of her face impressed me. She could run quite a trip on Peter, mugging like that.
“What do you think was going through Peter’s mind before he came?”
“I don’t know.”
“This is going to sound awfully presumptuous, but I can tell you.”
“He was tripping out on the embarrassment of feeling you stare at him like that, with his cock sticking out, and the embarrassment itself turned him on. It turned him on so much that he got worried he might come right then and there, so he started imagining that, and how embarrassing that would be, and how you might tease him about it. And that thought was so exciting, it actually made him come.”
“No…,” she said with a look of grave doubt.
“Can you think of any other explanation?”
“I guess he was just horny to start with, and then he got overexcited by the show I put on and the way I offered myself to him.”
“Well, sure, he got overexcited! But the details are what I told you. Think about it! From his point of view, you were teasing him already—talking about getting to see his cock, and how big it was.”
She looked puzzled again.
“For you, his size was a pleasant surprise; and there are some guys who would just be proud of it, but for most it’s not that simple. Imagine what it was like for him when he was fourteen or fifteen, on a hot day when everyone was wearing as little as possible, sitting on a bus near some attractive young girls who giggle like Nora’s been doing. They’re such a turn-on, he gets hard. It’s embarrassing! And when he stands up to get off the bus… there’s no way he can hide one that big, so they’ll see. And that’ll be more embarrassing. And then they’ll giggle, and that’ll be even more embarrassing. Things like that must have happened to him hundreds of times while he was growing up.”
Nora giggled yet again.
“You remember him!” I said to her.
She blushed, choked on her laughter, and answered with an exaggerated nod, then buried the lower half of her face in her hands and glanced back and forth between Ginny and me.
“I still can’t believe that’s what made him come.”
“It’s true. And it’s consistent with the way he’s been acting ever since. You’ve been torturing yourself with the idea that, just once, he was so turned on by your body and your enthusiasm that he came just from looking at you, and that ever since, he’s been so turned off to you that he can’t bring himself to touch you unless he’s half drunk. And that’s impossible! What’s really happening is that he finds you an overwhelming turn-on all the time, just like he did then, but he’s scared of embarrassing himself again, so he tries to stay out of sexually exciting situations unless he’s dulled his senses with drink.”
“Why did he marry me?”
“You turn him on and he fell in love with you. Probably he’s still in love with you, and he fantasizes that you’ll figure out how much you turn him on and start playing with his sexuality, teasing him about how he can’t control himself—maybe even make him your love slave. But he’s also afraid of letting you have that much power—you know, afraid you’d misuse it—worried that being a woman’s sex toy wouldn’t be dignified, even compared to piggy-back rides at Sal’s. Maybe he’s even afraid he’s a pervert and you’d reject him if you knew. So what he’s doing is trying to learn how to keep from being turned on to you. Right now he does it by keeping busy until he’s exhausted or drunk. If you don’t do anything about it—if you let him succeed—his fantasies will lose their power and he’ll fall out of love with you.”
“You sound so sure of that, and you’ve never even met Peter.”
“No, but I’ve met other men who are turned on the same way. They start out responding to some ordinary sexual stimulus, then they get embarrassed about it, then they get more turned on from being embarrassed, and so on. It’s such a common pattern, I suspect there are very few men who wouldn’t get into it with the right woman.”
Nora, who had been listening with obvious fascination, said, “George makes sure that happens to every man with her.”
I laughed. “You’re so astute!”
Ginny returned to her salad and I returned to the subject of my moral character.
“You know, Ginny, I really am a nice person. There’s nothing at all mean about the kind of teasing I do.”
While Ginny was chewing, Nora asked, “Is Matt your love slave?”
“Yes, and so was my previous boyfriend, and the one before him, and the one before him.”
“How does that work? What does he have to do?”
“He has to do whatever I tell him, but I only tell him to do things that are going to be a turn-on or that are going to be good for our relationship.”
“Why does he do what you tell him?” Ginny asked.
“Mostly because I tell him to do things that are going to be really exciting and he’s in love with me. Sometimes I have to tell him to do something that he might be inclined to resist, and then he does it partly because I’ll punish him sexually if he doesn’t and partly to maintain our relationship. That comes down to the same thing: he finds our relationship exciting and he’s in love with me.”
“How do you punish him?”
I liked the question. It meant Ginny was already thinking of using my techniques to improve her relationship with Peter, and I was determined to keep her interest alive. Unfortunately a completely honest answer wouldn’t have done that—Matt was such a pleasant and easygoing partner, I had never had any occasion to punish him. I decided to fudge it, drawing on experience from previous relationships.
“I’ll refuse to let him come for a few days, or a week, and then, before we get back to our usual kind of lovemaking, I’ll make him masturbate while I watch, just to put him through the embarrassment of it. Or I’ll tie him up and make him come by hand and keep playing with him when he’s all sensitive and he needs me to stop.”
Still another giggle from Nora.
“That sounds pretty weird, but nowhere near as bad as I thought,” Ginny said. “I was expecting you to tell me you whip him or something.”
“I don’t even own a whip. I’m such a nice person!”
Ginny laughed. It made me feel much better.
“How did you get those guys to go along with something like that in the first place?” Nora asked.
“Different ways. With Matt it was easy. We were making love one time, with me on top, and I pinned his wrists down and gave him a little time to get into the feel of it, and then I said, ‘You know, I’m going to make you my love slave.’ And he said okay, so I figured he wasn’t taking me seriously and I said, ‘I mean really. You do whatever I say, and I get to do whatever I want to you. Always.’ And he said, ‘I can accept that. You’re worth it.’ And that was it. He’s been my love slave ever since.
A couple of guys, I let them know early on that the only way they could continue any kind of relationship with me was by agreeing to be my love slave, and they agreed. Then there was one I got with that sensitivity trick I mentioned. I tied him up and told him I was going to make him come and I wouldn’t stop playing with him until he promised to be my love slave; then I teased him about how he couldn’t help turning on to me even though he knew what was going to happen.”
Nora erupted again. When her giggling had subsided, I went on.
“I’ll bet that approach would be just perfect for you and Peter. You might have to do some follow-up enforcement, but probably not a whole lot.”
“He’d kill me! I don’t know how you got away with it! Most men would beat you up if you tried something like that, or leave and you’d never see them again.”
“He wasn’t a violent man. Peter probably isn’t either, or you wouldn’t have married him, and if you’d guessed wrong, you’d have found out a long time ago. The reason Jerry didn’t leave was, what I did to him was the biggest thrill of his whole life, and he was in love with me. That’s why he became my love slave, not because he promised.”
“He left eventually, didn’t he?”
“Yes, but we knew at the beginning he was going to. We met while he was doing an internship as part of a work-study program at the place I worked two years ago, and he’d already made an agreement that when he graduated, he’d go to work for a company up in Washington where his cousin is a development manager.”
Ginny looked at her watch with a start. “We’d better get back! I have a 1:30 meeting with I’ve-given-that-a-lot-of-thought.”
“That’s too bad,” I said, digging for my share of the damages.
We littered the table with portraits of dead presidents and set out to resume our respective tasks, advancing the primitive art of computing. Along the way, we discussed the less pleasant qualities of Ginny’s boss.
The three of us went to lunch every day that week, thanks mainly to Nora’s efforts, and our conversation kept returning to female domination and its techniques. I answered questions from both Nora and Ginny, describing what I did and why it worked, trying not to proselytize too strongly lest I frighten Ginny off. She was interested in the possibilities, and that was enough. It wouldn’t be long before Peter did something intolerable, and then I would make my pitch.
The weekend came and went, and then it was Monday. A couple of minutes after noon, Nora rounded us up as usual and we headed off to lunch. She chose a Mexican place that day—a neighborhood restaurant three miles away that served food rather than pretense.
“How do you find all these places, Nora?” I asked.
“I look for ads in the newspaper and I read the phone book and I scope them out on the way to and from work.”
“How do you stay so thin?” asked Ginny.
“The only meal we eat is lunch.”
“That sounds like a tough diet to stick to,” Ginny said.
“Only at first, then you get used to it. How did Peter behave over the weekend?”
“Well, I’ll tell you what happened. Saturday afternoon he played softball as usual, and his friend Randy was there. Randy’s uncle is dying of cancer in Utah, and Randy had just been to visit him, and on the way back through Nevada he picked up all these fireworks. Really big ones—the kind they set off over the water on the Fourth of July—a couple of hundred dollars’ worth; and after the game, he and Peter and some of the other guys figure out this plan to set them off at the cemetery when it gets dark. So they buy a bunch of meatball parmesan subs and two more cases of beer, and we all drive to the cemetery and unload the stuff under some trees, and then Peter and Randy and Phil park the cars outside, in case they close the gates. When I see the fireworks, I get kind of worried about the attention they’re going to attract, because they’re over a foot long, and maybe two inches across, and each one has its own launching pad attached to the bottom.
“Anyway, the guys come back from parking the cars and we all hang out eating subs and drinking beer while it gets dark. I just have one beer because I’m worried about how drunk all the guys are getting, and somebody’s got to be able to drive home—I mean, they’re getting real sloppy, not to mention the trouble I expect because of the fireworks—and I notice Kandee’s being cautious too.
“Well, it gets dark and they decide to start on the fireworks. And those things are loud! And when they light up in the sky, I’m sure you can see them for miles. Well, the guys just keep setting them off, taking turns, like they think nobody’s going to notice except us. After they’ve done about twenty, they light one more and a car comes round a bend and catches us in its headlights and just stops. Well, after a few seconds, the thing goes off with another bang, and the sky lights up with one of those silver and gold willow-tree designs, and I think, Uh-oh! And the car turns off its lights and backs down the way it came, and Tom says, ‘We better get out of here! He’ll be coming back with the riot squad!’
“So Randy, he bends down and starts picking up fireworks, and he shouts, ‘Yo, Peter! Grab a few! We’ll set ’em off on the way out!’ Well, Randy takes four, which is way too many to run with, and Peter takes three, and everyone else but Raymond has enough sense to let the rest of them be, but Raymond takes three also. Once he figures out that he can’t carry more than four, Randy starts running through the woods toward the exit, not real fast, and everyone else runs along with him. So there we are—there’s nine of us, and we’ve left about a case of beer and maybe twenty of those rockets back where we unloaded them.
“Well, the first time we come to a break in the trees, Randy drops the fireworks and starts setting one up, and everyone else stops, and Peter sets one up, and Raymond sets one up, and Randy lights his, and Raymond yells, ‘Hey, I need a light!’ And Randy runs over to him and hands him some matches while Peter is lighting his, and all this time the fuse is burning, and then Randy runs back to this thing that’s about to go off, and picks up the other three sitting next to it and takes off again for the gate. It was scary how close we were when the first one went off, and then the other two go off just a few seconds later, and just as the popping dies down in the sky, we come to another open area and Randy stops again, but before anyone can do anything, we hear sirens. As soon as the sirens start, Peter throws up and it gets all over him. I think, shit! But at least he isn’t going to pick up the fireworks again and I do my best to help him. Well, he starts saying he’s sorry, and I say, ‘Peter, just get us out of here!” And hallelujah! he starts running again. So we make it outside and Peter and Tom and Gerhardt get in our car with me driving, and Randy gets in his little sports car, and the rest of them get in Phil and Kandee’s car with Kandee driving, and we all start gagging from the smell, but we make it back to the park without anyone else throwing up, and then I drive Peter home. I don’t know how, but the cops never did catch us.”
“Maybe they weren’t trying to,” I said. “Maybe they weren’t even cops. I can’t imagine the police responding to a call about fireworks in a cemetery in less than five minutes. It takes them at least ten for an armed robbery downtown.”
After a pause, Nora spoke. “You know, that sounds like fun. I can see where Peter is the kind of guy a lot of people would want to hang out with. If he did the same thing without getting drunk and throwing up, it would have been a great evening.”
“You’re right. I used to like that kind of scene too, and Peter seemed to generate a lot of them, though there was never one quite like that. And his friends don’t have to deal with the throw-up and the falling-down drunk, but I had to take him home and dump his clothes out on the porch and then wash them the next day, and he crawls into bed without even cleaning himself up and wants to get all lovey-dovey. I couldn’t take it. I told him. I said, ‘I don’t want to screw a corpse.’”
“How did he react to that?” I asked.
“He said he was sorry and went to sleep. Then in the morning, Randy calls and wants him to go back to the scene of the crime, and Peter says he’ll be over in half an hour and hangs up, then tells me it’s a done deal. So I ask, ‘What does Randy want to do there?’ And he says, ‘Look for the fireworks and beer we left.’ And I tell him, ‘It’s Sunday morning; they’re going to be burying people.’ And he says, ‘Not under the trees.’ And he gets dressed and leaves me to clean up his clothes from yesterday. Can you imagine what half-digested meatball parmesan and beer smells like?
“Then he doesn’t come home until nine at night, and of course he’s drunk, and I ask him where he’s been and he tells me Randy was upset about his uncle and needed to talk, so they were sitting at Sal’s, talking. I didn’t even argue with him, because it’s like I can’t win. He thinks he did the right thing, and if I don’t say anything, he’ll keep doing it because it’s okay; and if I do, he’ll keep doing it because I’m nagging and he wants to get away.”
“Did he want sex?” Nora asked.
“No, he just wanted to sleep. And this morning he was so hung over, he could barely drag himself out of bed and go to work.”
“It sounds like he’s trying to get used to a platonic relationship,” I said; “and the scary thing is, if you give him a couple of years he’ll probably succeed. You ought to make him your slave while you still can.”
“I’ll never get away with it.”
“Sure you will! What could go wrong?”
“He’ll be so mad, there’s no telling what he might do!”
“If he gets mad, you can deal with it, and there’s a good chance it’ll still work. If you make it like he doesn’t have a choice, he’ll probably go along and get to like it. If you can’t make it work, you can tell him you were playacting because you thought it would turn him on, then say you’re sorry it didn’t work out and he’ll forgive you.”
“Maybe. How do you think I should do it?”
“Well, the first thing you should do is make it clear to him that the only way you’re going to do sex with him is if he’s completely sober. It wouldn’t be a bad idea, once you’ve got him under control, to insist he be sober all the time, sex or no; but you can’t accomplish anything if you let him have you when he’s been drinking, even if you tie him up to keep control.”
“It sure would be an improvement! But how am I going to get him to go along with it? I don’t think he’s been completely sober since the time we almost made it on the table.”
“You tell him he can’t have you any other way and you keep your knees together. Eventually he’ll get horny enough to give in.”
“It’ll be a struggle!”
“Yeah, but the longer it takes, the hornier he’ll be when you finally get to do it your way.”
“What do I do then?”
“You make him promise to be your love slave. After what you’ve told me about him, I think the best way to do it would be to tie him up and say something like, ‘Now I’ve got you right where I want you. I’m going to make you promise to be my love slave for the rest of your life.’ And go on to tell him what that means, including no drinking.”
“How do I make him promise?”
“There’s always the chance he’ll promise right away. Then you do whatever you like; just don’t untie him until you’re done and don’t go back to having sex on his terms. If he doesn’t agree right away, I think he’d respond best to being told you’re going to play with him until he comes and he needs you to stop, and then you’re going to keep playing with him until he gives in. That’ll get it right out in the open that he can’t resist you. Do you know whether he gets sensitive after he comes?”
“No, we’ve never done anything except straight missionary intercourse.”
“You never made him come by hand?”
“That’s great! From what you’ve told me, he’ll be really embarrassed at having you watch him come, especially if you make a point of being interested in the show and tease him about what he’s going through. The only problem is not knowing whether he gets sensitive.”
“How do I find out?”
“Well, I’ve told you how I find out, but you might want to lay the whole thing on him all at once—get him real horny without any alcohol to hide behind, tie him up for the first time, show him he can’t resist you, make an obscene display of his orgasm, and make him promise to be your love slave right then and there. It would blow him away completely!”
“You mean I should do it without knowing whether he gets sensitive?”
“You could give it a try. There’s a good chance he’ll agree to be your slave right away, and then it won’t matter. If he doesn’t, you can figure he probably gets sensitive; I’ve only known one man who didn’t. You can tell him you know all men get sensitive and hope for the best. Just remember what I told you about which parts to keep rubbing.”
“Oh, I remember that. That’s the easy part. It’s the rest of the scheme I’m not comfortable with. It has an awful lot of missing pieces, and I don’t think I can make up for them with just a running start and a flying leap.”
“You could try any of the other approaches I’ve told you about, that worked for me, but you’d still have to adapt them a little. I’ve never tried to enslave someone I was already committed to.”
“I have,” said Nora.
Holy…! “This weekend?” I asked.
“How did it go?”
“What ever possessed you?” Ginny asked before Nora could answer.
“It seemed like it would be a lot of fun, and I thought Joel would like it too, and I’d already figured out what George said a couple of minutes ago—that if he didn’t like it, he’d forgive me. He is in love with me, and he knows I’m in love with him and I’m not going to do him something bad on purpose, so I decided to give it a try. It worked. At least so far. That is, he agreed to be my sex slave and neither one of us has changed our mind yet. It hasn’t been very long, but it’s been good!”
“Congratulations!” I said.
“How did you do it?” asked Ginny.
“We were starting to make love and I told him I’d decided that that’s how I want it to be, and he said okay.”
“That’s all?” she asked.
“Yeah. He agreed. And he’s gone along with everything I’ve told him since. He’s liked it, too.”
“What have you had him do that’s different from what you used to?” Ginny wanted to know.
“As soon as he agreed, I tied him down and had him eat me the way you described, George. Then I took him inside me while he was still tied down, and right after he came I reached back and tickled his ball-sac and he squirmed and I teased him about it.
“Saturday we had a bunch of things to do, but we had a couple of hours in the afternoon to relax, and I made him take all his clothes off and I kept doing little sexy things and teasing him about how he turned on, and how I got to see. Then in the evening we made love again. I let him be on top, but I did another little funny when he came—something I learned from a college professor I had an affair with when I was twenty and he used to do it to me sometimes when we made love. I had my hands on Joel’s back, and when he was almost done coming, I kind of dug the tips of my fingers in, just inside his shoulder blades, with the kind of motion you’d use to tickle someone in the ribs, and it had the same effect as what I did the night before. I didn’t say anything, but I made a little teasing noise, like, I know.”
“You tickled his shoulder blades?” Ginny repeated doubtfully.
“Yes! It must be hard to imagine if you haven’t experienced it, but Henry—that’s the professor—got me so tuned in to that feeling, he used to be able to make me come whenever he wanted, just by pressing his fingertips into my back next to my shoulder blade. He’d do it in his office, or riding in his car, and I’d just come right away. It’s powerful!”
“I’ll have to keep it in mind,” said Ginny. “It sounds pretty far out, but so does everything else I’ve heard this past week. Did you have Joel do anything else new and different?”
“Sunday afternoon we went to see some friends in Monterey and we didn’t get started back until after dark, so I drove and had him sit next to me and take his pants down and I kept reaching over to play with him.”
“Weren’t you afraid someone would see?”
“It’s a dark road and I figured the glare from our headlights would keep anyone from looking in—even truckers. When we got to where there were a lot of street lights, I told him to cover up again. At home we made love with me on top, and I told him how much fun it is that he’s my sex slave.”
“I don’t know. That all seems so mild compared to what you’re saying I should do, George.”
“It sounds fitting for Nora and Joel, and plenty exciting too. If it seems mild, it’s probably because Nora isn’t asking Joel to change very much, at least compared with what you’d want from Peter. I mean, look at Matt and me. We’re a totally unremarkable couple. The love-slave trip is all in the head, and a couple can share it very quietly. If you were to make Peter your slave, most of what you’d wind up doing over the course of a year would probably be as mild as what Nora and Joel did over the weekend; the only part that’s likely to be extreme is the big bang when you get started.”
“Maybe I can give you a better explanation of why I’m doing it,” offered Nora. “I like sex to be fun—I like to play, I like teasing, I like to let go and enjoy the pure sensation of it. But I also like to be treated gently and respectfully, and I’ve noticed there aren’t a lot of men who can give both. Most of the men I’ve known who are relaxed enough to handle a playful tumble are self-centered bastards with twisted moral scruples that positively forbid them to care about the feelings of a woman. Henry was perfect, but he was married; and even if he’d been available, he was old enough so I’d have to figure I’d be taking care of him the whole middle part of my life. I wound up moving on, but Henry had really spoiled me. Other men seemed so inadequate, even for just one night.
“Then last summer I met Joel and we both knew we were just made for each other. He’s always good to me, it’s obvious that he cares, he’s gentle, he’s affectionate, we can talk to each other, we fit perfectly when we snuggle, he smells right, sex with him feels just wonderful, and I’ve been in love with him for as long as I’ve known him—maybe longer. And he feels the same about me.
“The trouble was, his attitude toward me and our lovemaking was just so reverent and solemn. It was nice to be treated so well, and to know he loved me so much, but sex was never playful and I wanted it to be—at least sometimes. Maybe I should have been able to do something about it, like maybe I should have tried tickling his shoulder blades a long time ago, but I always had the feeling it would be like swearing in church, so I didn’t.
“Then George came up with that explanation of why Peter married you, and I realized that’s also why Joel married me. Somehow he understood that I can play and I can tease and he wanted all that, but he was also afraid of it, so he sent me subtle messages that I should suppress that part of myself, and I did. Now that I understand what was happening, I can choose to do it the other way, and I know we’ll both like it a lot better. In fact the reason I decided to call him my sex slave instead of my love slave was to get away from all the reverence and solemnity Joel associates with the word love, and let him know that what we’re going to do is playful. He already found out it’s still loving but now we can be loving without all that baggage.”
Ginny and I contemplated that a while, and then I made my pitch.
“Georgeann’s Snake Oil Balm! Good for what ails you! How about it, Ginny? Try a bottle?”
“I’ll think about it.”
I’m sure the food in that restaurant was good; at least it went down easy. My plate was empty and I wasn’t hungry, but I couldn’t remember eating. As we left, I wondered whether I might also have failed to notice someone listening in on our conversation. It was amusing to imagine what thoughts an eavesdropper might have been left with.
Shortly after the three of us sat down to lunch the next day, I asked Ginny whether anything new had happened between her and Peter.
“Well, when I got home yesterday, he had the barbecue set up on the porch with a couple of potatoes baking and some kabobs ready to go on, and he was drinking a beer. I said hello and he told me when dinner would be ready, and then he went back to cooking and drinking. I didn’t kiss him hello like I usually do, and he didn’t seem to miss it. That really bugged me, but I must have needed it to convince myself that it was time to give him some kind of ultimatum.
“Not much happened until we went to bed—we had dinner, watched some TV, that’s about it. He drank seven beers—one and a half while he made dinner, two and a half with dinner, and three during the rest of the evening. He didn’t even seem to notice that anything was bugging me. Finally we get into bed, and he starts getting all lovey-dovey, and I push him away. So he asks what’s wrong, and I tell him. I say, ‘You’ve been drinking so much, I can’t enjoy you anymore. If you want to make love to me, do it when you don’t smell of beer and you know what you’re doing.’ And he stares at me kind of drunkenly and says, ‘I just had a couple; it never bothered you before.’ And I say, ‘It’s been bothering me for two years! Look, even one beer is too many! If you want to touch me at all, don’t drink!’
“So he starts arguing about that. He says I drink and he wants to know why it’s okay for me but not him. So I tell him the only time I drink beer is when I’m thirsty and he’s made sure there’s nothing else to drink. Like, ‘If you’d let me bring some soda when you play softball, I’d drink that, but the five times I asked you last year, you acted like it’d give you some kind of reputation with the team, so I stopped asking.’
“So he thinks about it a little, and then he says, ‘We used to have a few beers together before we got married.’ Well, that’s true, but that was before I got so turned off by his drinking.”
“Did you tell him that?” I asked.
“Yes! And I told him again I don’t want him touching me when he’s been drinking. Even one beer! Even a sip! Well, I see him get real worried, so I tell him, ‘I’m not trying to be vindictive; I just can’t enjoy you when you’ve been drinking. You’re no fun that way.’ And he’s just sort of lying there in shock, so I figure I might as well keep talking and see if it does any good, so I say if he has to drink, that’s okay; I’ll still be there the next day. And if he wants sex, he can drink later. Well, he still doesn’t react, so I say, ‘You know, if you tried making love to me without drinking, you’d probably enjoy it a whole lot more.’ And that really seems to worry him. So I think, Hey! George is on to something! And I say, ‘You ought to let me show you how much you could enjoy me. If you ever decide you want me bad enough to do without your beer, just let me know and I’ll do something really special for you, but tonight the best thing you can do is sleep it off and hope it’s easier to get up tomorrow than today.’
“I’m starting to feel like I’m going to be able to make this whole thing work out.”
“I hate to mention this,” said Nora, “but what if he decides he’d rather have his beer?”
“I’ve given that a lot of thought,” she began, imitating her boss’s pompous manner, “and I’m sure you’re right, George. He doesn’t like beer more. Some days he doesn’t drink at all. Remembering back over the last two years, he only drinks when he gets with his friends or he wants sex, and it has to be because he’s afraid what’ll happen if he tries having sex when he’s sober. So your question doesn’t worry me, Nora; it’s the other one—What if he decides sex without beer is so scary, he’d rather do without?”
“He can’t decide that,” I said. “He’ll get so horny, he’ll have to do it your way. Right now, while we’re sitting here, he’s thinking about what you said, and wondering how much you really understand about the reason he drinks, and trying to imagine what special something you have in mind for him. And the more he thinks about things like that, the hornier he gets.”
“I hope so,” she said doubtfully.
For Wednesday, Nora found a place called Creepy Suzette’s, housed in a building made up to look like a large wooden shack. I ordered a sandwich called a carpenter—a kind of sourdough calzone with a flat squarish bottom, the corners folded up so they almost closed at the top, with meatballs and sauce inside along with the cheese. After some conjecture about the name of the establishment, and a bit more about the name of the sandwich, Nora asked Ginny how things were going with Peter.
“Terrible! He got home two hours later than me, and he might have been able to pass a breathalyzer test, but he’s still lucky he didn’t kill himself on the way. He started apologizing as soon as he walked in—said he’d been thinking all day about my ‘something really special’ and wanted to make love and hoped I would let him explain and forgive him.
“I said, ‘You’re not touching me until you’re cold sober. I can’t enjoy you like this and there’s nothing you can do to change that.’ Then I told him, ‘If you want me to forgive you, all you have to do is wait for tomorrow. I’ve already forgiven you for yesterday’s drunk, and I think I’m even patient enough to forgive you Thursday for tomorrow. I just can’t forgive you the same day. I hope you can forgive me for being so difficult.’
“So he says, ‘Ginny, please! Bob invited me—’ Bob’s his boss—‘Bob invited me for a couple of beers so we could discuss some plans he wants me in on. I couldn’t say no.’ And I say, ‘You could have ordered ginger ale. Your side of the discussion would have come out a lot more impressive, especially toward the end.’ And he says, ‘It just isn’t done that way, especially with Bob. If I ever want more responsibility, I have to drink with him.’ So I say, ‘I can appreciate there are times it’s going to be a tough decision, but it is a decision; you can have your beer or you can have me, but you can’t have both. Maybe you’ll do it differently tomorrow.’
“Aren’t you proud of me?”
I was too taken aback to answer right away. I’d never been cast in that role before, never been asked that question, never told any of my lovers that I was proud of them, never even been told by my parents that they were proud of me, though they’d always exhibited a much higher degree of confidence in my ability to run my own life than any other parents I’d ever heard of. Still, I knew the right answer…
“Yes, and I’m sure tonight will go much better,” I heard Nora say.
“Definitely! That was an impressive performance!” I added.
“Thanks,” said Ginny. “What’s happening with you and Joel? Has he stopped being so serious?”
“Oh, no, I don’t expect him to. I don’t even think I want him to. I’ve just stopped letting him lay it on me.”
“Yeah. What was bothering me was that he was so reverent and solemn that I wasn’t comfortable teasing and being playful, because I was afraid he would disapprove. Now I can do what I want, and I’ve found out that he likes me to tease and be playful. Like I said the other day, I figured out before I asked him, that that was probably what would happen but I didn’t expect him to change.”
Ginny looked puzzled, so Nora offered more.
“Like, the other night we were making love and I’d just climbed on top of him, and he wrapped his arms around me and held me real tight and he said… well, he told me he loved me. And when he let go I propped myself up on one elbow and looked at him curious-like, and I asked, ‘Is it a religious experience?’ And he said he was kind of overwhelmed, and I gave him a little kiss and started moving, and then I took hold of his wrists and held them down and kept them that way the whole time until we came, and then I kept moving, and he started trying to pull out, and I said…” She put her hand over her mouth and looked around to see whether anyone else was listening, then continued in a hoarse whisper, “I stopped moving and I said, ‘Sensitive cock!’ And he just looked up at me and caught his breath and told me again how he loved me, and he said it as reverent and solemn as ever—maybe more!
“So he hasn’t changed—I have. And we’re both enjoying it. We’re even more in love than we were before, because now he can love me for teasing him and acting playful and letting him see that part of me so clearly, which he couldn’t before because I was suppressing it all; and I can love him for accepting me so completely, just the way I am, which I didn’t used to know he would.”
“I want that so badly,” said Ginny.
“I’ll pray for you,” I said.
“Me too,” said Nora; then she changed the subject. She’d seen a memo at work that was part of a long-running turf battle of which she’d been unaware, and she wanted us to fill her in. Company folklore carried us all the way back to the office parking lot.
Thursday we got off to a late start because I’d spent the whole morning in painfully detailed discussions with our printer. By the time we left, Ginny seemed ready to burst.
“I did it!” she said, even before she was completely inside the car.
“He agreed, did he?” I prodded from the back seat.
“Did he ever!” she exclaimed as she and Nora fastened their safety belts. “And he came like you wouldn’t believe! I’ve never seen a man let loose like that! He was really blown away, just like you said.”
“I knew it would work out!” Nora said. “Good for you!”
“Was it difficult?” I asked, leaning forward between them.
“No, it was easy! He got home at a reasonable hour and he was sober. He kissed me hello and told me he wants to make love and find out what that ‘something really special’ is, that I promised him, so I tell him we can do it even before dinner; all he has to do is take off his shoes and strip to the waist and lie down on the bed. So he does, and I get ready to tie him down, and he puts on this act like I’m one of the Manson girls, so I tell him it won’t work unless he’s tied down and not to worry, I won’t hurt him; so he lets me tie him down. I do just his arms like you said, and then I pull his pants off and he helps by wriggling out of them.
“When he’s down to his undershorts I say, ‘This is going to be the beginning of a whole new relationship for us. He just says, ‘Yeah?’ So I say, ‘Yeah! Starting today your cock is going to be my toy, to play with any time I want, and you’re going to promise to go along with it.’ So he says okay, and I tell him he’s going to have to be naked when I want, and let me tie him up when I want, and just be my sex slave any way I can think of. And he says okay to that, so I say, ‘You know, I’m not kidding. If you piss me off with your drinking, I might have you lick me every night for a week and then make you jerk off twice with me watching before I even think about screwing you again. That’s also part of being my sex slave.’
“When he hears that, he says, ‘You’re really serious?’ And I say, ‘Yeah, I’m serious!’ And he says, ‘So your “something really special” was just a trick so I’d let you tie me down.’ And I say, ‘No, my “something really special” is showing you how it’s going to feel, being my sex slave. It’s going to be the biggest turn-on you ever had! I’m going to make you come like a volcano! By the time we’re done, you’re going to want to be my sex slave.”
“This is a place I’ve been to before,” Said Nora as she pulled up to The Hop. “It has a jukebox loud enough so we can talk without being overheard.”
We piled out of the car, walked in, and got ourselves seated; then Ginny continued her story.
“So I tell him he’s going to want to be my sex slave, and he says, ‘What if I don’t see it that way?’ And I say, ‘You will. If you don’t, you might never get to stick your cock in me again, but that’s not why you will. You’re going to promise to be my sex slave because I’m going to make you, and then you’re going to keep your promise because you want to. This is going to be every bit as special as I said.’
“He didn’t have anything to say to that, so I ask him is he ready? And he says, ‘I’m not going anywhere, but no! I’ll never be ready for anything that crazy.’ I figure that’ll have to do, so I tell him. Then I take hold of his undershorts and I pull them off. He doesn’t help like before, but he can’t stop me either, so I get them off. Then I look at him—at his cock—and I say, ‘One of the things that’s going to be different now is that I get to look at you, just like this.’ And it gets hard! Just from me looking at it! And I think, Hey! This is going to be easy! George was right!
“So I say, ‘See how exciting it is being my sex toy?’ and he looks at me and doesn’t answer, and I say, ‘You can’t hide it, can you?’ so finally he says, ‘Of course you turn me on! Do you think I’d have married you if you didn’t? Christ! We haven’t done anything in a week! Sure I’m horny!’
“‘Well, good!’ I tell him. ‘You been trying for two years to act like I don’t turn you on, but I’m not going to let you get away with it anymore. Anytime I want, you’re going to let me look at you just like this, whether I tie you up or not, and I’ll get to see you turn on to me.’ Then I got really brave and wrapped my hand around it and I said, ‘This is my toy now, not some kind of secret weapon you keep hidden away until five seconds before you use it. I get to look at it when I want, and even ride it if I want. Tonight I’m going to play with it and watch it spurt. I’ve never had a real good look at how that happens, and I don’t think that’s right, seeing as how we’ve been married two years.’
“So he says, ‘You mean your “something really special” is a hand job?’ And I say, ‘What’s going to be so special is having to come with me watching. I know what that’s going to be like for you! And another thing about getting a hand job when you’re tied down like this—you can’t control how much stimulation you get. I can rub your cock so you have an orgasm that completely blows you away, and I can keep rubbing when you’re done and want me to stop. That’s how I make you promise to be my sex slave, if you don’t agree before. I keep rubbing until you do.’ And while I’m saying that, his cock twitches a couple of times, so I say, ‘I saw that!’ And I run my fingertips along the ball-sac and it twitches a couple of times more! And I say, ‘Hey! You’re going to be the best toy I ever had!’
“So he says, ‘Ginny, okay. You’re embarrassing me. What is it you really want?’ And I tell him, “You. I want you to be my sex slave. Nothing ulterior. Just you and this toy you’ve been keeping hidden away except when you’re too drunk to use it right.’ I see he looks frustrated, like he doesn’t understand, or maybe he thinks I don’t. So I tell him I love him, I tell him I want him, I tell him, ‘Look,’ I say, ‘I even married you, but I can’t really have you because you’re always hiding from me. You keep busy with your projects and your sports and you hide behind your beer, and I’m not going to let you do it anymore. I know I turn you on, and I know I’m embarrassing you, making your cock twitch while I watch. I mean, you’ve been hiding from me for two years, just to save yourself the embarrassment of letting me see you turn on to me. Is it worth it? Think of all the good times we could have had in two years, that you hid from. Does that make sense?’
“So he gets this real guilty look on his face, and I’m thinking, This is outrageous! I can’t be getting away with it! But I say, ‘Yeah! I figured it out. You lost control once, and you turned into a control freak. And tonight you finally get to stop. You don’t have to do it anymore, because I’m going to take control of your sexuality, and I mean completely.’
“Then he starts shaking! He doesn’t look mad or anything, but he starts shaking. So I kind of lie down with him and try to comfort him—I tell him I love him, that it’s okay.
“After a while, it seems to help. He stops shaking and he looks at me like he did that first time when we were making out on the love seat. So I kiss him, and he really gets into it. A few minutes later I’ve got my clothes off and I’m sitting on his face like you said, and he’s licking me. I’ve got to tell you, that’s a great feeling! When I’m done, I sit next to him, and he’s dripping like a faucet, so I tease him about it. I say, ‘I do turn you on! You’ve got a puddle on you to prove it! All I have to do now is play with you for just a few seconds, and you know what happens! There’s no way you’re going to resist, and it’s going to be the biggest thrill you ever had! Now, remember to tell me when you decide you’re going to be my sex slave, because you’re not going to want me to keep it up too long after you’re done.’
“Well, I start working on him, and he’s looking at me and breathing hard, and I can feel how his cock keeps twitching between my hands, and I say, ‘Isn’t this exciting?’ And it gets real stiff and he says, ‘I want to be your sex slave!’ And he comes. And it is like a volcano! He lifts his knees up near his chest, and jerks his hips, and splashes the pillow, and makes noises like I never heard. So I say, ‘Yeah! Think how it’ll feel, knowing I can do this anytime I want!” And he jerks his hips even harder and makes this really wild noise, and I wish it could go on forever, but he quiets down, and I stop rubbing and just sit there holding him.
“After a little while, I say, ‘I made you want to be my sex slave.’ And he says yeah. And I tell him I love him, and he tells me he loves me, which he hasn’t done on his own in I don’t know how long, and he says, ‘I’m going to have to think about this,’ and I say yeah and I untie him.
“We spend the rest of the evening hanging out and having dinner, and I can see he is doing a lot of thinking, but he’s affectionate too, like he didn’t used to be. When we finally go to bed, he snuggles up to me, and that’s something else he never used to do, at least when he was sober. So I press myself against him, and he gets turned on again, so I get on top of him and put his cock in, and we do it, and he’s looking at me the whole time. I really like it! Before, when he was always on top, he used to keep his face buried in the pillow, so I couldn’t see him. This was so much nicer. We even fell asleep holding each other; that’s another thing that almost never happened before.
“This morning was the usual rush, but he did kiss me good-bye, and he slowed down to do it. I think this is going to turn out really good for both of us.”
“Brava!” exclaimed Nora.
“You know, when he said that—that he wanted to be your sex slave—he really meant it. Many of those times he had his face buried in the pillow, he was fantasizing a scene a lot like what you did last night, and then, all of a sudden, there you were, telling him you knew and making it part of his real life. That must have been some powerful trip for him! I’m sure it’ll turn out good. Congratulations!
It did turn out good. The next evening set the pattern for many that followed. Ginny required Peter to undress as soon as they were alone, and when he was thoroughly excited, she fucked him from above, making sure they could see one another the whole time.
The following Saturday was no miracle, but it was progress. Peter played softball as his teammates expected and drank beer as the rules required, but he didn’t argue when Ginny announced her intention to bring a supply of soda. She did bring a supply of soda—a large supply—and she shared it freely; more than half the people there had at least a bottle, and Kandee and Tom drank no beer at all. After the game, there was another gathering at Sal’s, and Ginny, Kandee and Tom continued to drink soda, even there. Peter drank about half his normal quota of beer, and he managed to please the crowd with his antics without sinking into the depravity that Ginny had come to dread.
When they got home, neither made any sexual overtures to the other, nor did either editorialize on the day’s events; they just went to sleep. Sunday Peter didn’t drink, and they shared a pleasant evening of love play, controlled by Ginny.
Soon it was time to switch from softball to touch football, and Peter took the opportunity to opt out and take up running. Freed from the expectations of his teammates, he came very close to eliminating beer from his life. He ran enough to give a good account of himself and stay in shape, but not so much as to deprive Ginny of his time and energy. Tom, who had always had a talent for recognizing a good opportunity, also quit team sports and often accompanied Peter when he ran.
I parted company with Ginny and Nora the following winter to accept a more appealing job. Both were still enthusiastically using my techniques. Ginny and Peter had grown very close, and Peter was developing a talent for intimate conversation. I lost track of them soon afterward, but I met Ginny by chance almost twenty years later. She and Peter were still happily married and they had two children, a year apart, the younger just entering high school. She thanked me for helping her get Peter straightened out, way back when. He hadn’t had a drink in sixteen years and she described him as thoughtful, caring and communicative; indeed he had cultivated those qualities to such a degree that he had been able to parlay them into a successful second career as a labor negotiator.
Curiously, Ginny was no longer using my techniques and had long since stopped regarding Peter as her love slave. As he became increasingly open in his manner of relating to her, she saw less and less need to control him, and the techniques by which she had maintained her control fell into disuse. For the first few years, she would dust them off every now and then, just for fun; but that always seemed to remind them of the bad attitude with which Peter had begun their marriage, and it was something they both wanted to forget, so Ginny let the whole venture fade into obscurity.
I can understand the evolution of Ginny’s attitude toward female domination well enough to explain it (such is the nature of my craft), but as a woman who enjoys sexual power, I can’t relate to it at all. Though I know Ginny had no interest in female domination to begin with—she just needed to get Peter straightened out—I also remember how much she enjoyed it once she got started, and I can’t imagine how she could choose to stop. No matter. I wouldn’t have done it that way, but she’s happy, Peter is happy, and I’m happy to have helped. Love is neat, whatever the style.