I entered puberty the year after Erica Jong published Fear of Flying, the seminal ‘70s novel that's an ode to female sexual liberation and, uh, Freudianism. (That Jong intended the novel to be a comic farce, like a chick-based Tom Jones, is apparent in her narrative bedding of these two ideals.) I didn’t read the novel until I was in college, but it still shaped my sexual identity as a pubescent.
How could it not? The novel was discussed everywhere. And its distillation was the radical concept of the “zipless fuck,” the choice of two (or presumably more) adults to engage in consensual sexual interaction for its own sake, without emotional attachment, free of emotional resonance. Jong's heroine, Isadora Zelda White Stollerman Wing, defines the term like this:
The zipless fuck is absolutely pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no power game. The man is not "taking" and the woman is not "giving." No one is attempting to cuckold a husband or humiliate a wife. No one is trying to prove anything or get anything out of anyone. The zipless fuck is the purest thing there is. And it is rarer than the unicorn. And I have never had one.
As a kid of hippies and a teen of the ‘70s, I grew into adolescence with the amorphous understanding that not only was I free to be a sexual me, but also that I was free to pursue sex outside the confines of those pesky emotions. I could fuck whomever, however and whenever I wanted, as long as I abided by the golden rule—to fuck others as you would have them fuck you. My vulva was as free as my heart, and I was beholden to no human cocksucker. It’s an ideal, if not an idyll, I’ve toted with me well into the warm belly of my adulthood.
I, unlike Jong’s heroine, have had zipless fucks. Not many, but some. Not always memorably good. Sometimes memorably bad. I’ve fucked folk and moved on, leaving as little behind as a cloud disappearing over the horizon. That said, I often suck at casual sex, in part because if the sex is any good at all, I get excited—and if it’s very good, I get spun.
Such is what happened to me recently.
I have a shocking ability to take a nascent sexy-time relationship from frisky to freaked-out to festering necrotic in, oh, ten days. Sometimes less. I am incapable of playing it cool. I aspire to some kind of detached Hitchcockian ice blondness, some sort of silky hipped Rita Hayworth femme fatality. The truth is that truly sublime dick cracks my heart’s titanium casing, shucks it like an oyster, and there it beats before us, naked and mewling and needy on the hot, tangled sheets of the enseamed bed.
I try to tuck it in, to scoop it up and slurp it back into position, but I’m almost always caught, nervous and frenetic, desperate to shove my heart back where it belongs. Engorged and glowing, it rebels, flopping and beating indecorously. It’s an ugly scene, all in all, me on my knees, throat swollen like a Visitor caught swallowing a skinned rabbit. No one wants to see that. In particular, the man who very recently saw and ran, panicking sedately.
The gentleman in question had serious skills. From my experience, most men who consider themselves dominant do so as an excuse for being bad in bed. This man was legit. He had studied. He knew. He read. He was like this great maestro of somatic sensation, switching from pain to slow, languorous pleasure with an almost preternatural understanding. He spanked my ass rotten; I sit here today typing this on skin that blooms with twin heliotrope bruises. He used a paddle, a crop, his palms. He warmed my skin with the slow steady heat of a Viking Professional stove. His violence held exquisite finesse.
He straddled my body, pinning my arms and slapped my face in short, brutal swats, slapping my breasts with pinpoint accuracy. As he did, his cock hardened; his pleasure in my distress fed my desire, a perverse ouroboros. He would hold my throat in one hand, slap my ass with the other, and he'd whisper in my ear, “You like that.” I did. I did, very much.
When he finally, finally laid me down to fuck me, he’d begin with hard, deep, fast strokes; long, strong daddy strokes that woke me up from the inside. He’d watch me, listen to my breathing, praise me as my hand crept incrementally to my clit, to rub it because I could no longer forebear not. And then, only then, he’d grow glacier slow, fucking me with delicacy, even tact. This excruciating pleasure, skin burning and breath fast, endorphins crashing with bumper car abandon, my cunt alive from lip to tip, and this languid, lackadaisical fucking, this slow, inexorable delicious dick, feeding me in tender, tiny morsels.
The first time I came—loud and long and keening unfettered, long stings of vowels in gutter uttered trills—I felt the titanium heart case crack. A little shudder, a metallic flexing, a tiny line snaking. The second time, the crack grew wider, a shaft of light let into the crepuscular heart keeper, and enough to make my heart jump, and grow visible.
There is nothing quite so killing to casual sex as the sight of a beating heart. It’s a betrayal to the contract, you see. The thing that stops casual in its tracks and turns it—what? Formal? Something without a name. What lives in the wild space between casual sex and an actual relationship? That, my dear Ms Jong, may be the real unicorn.
The man in question sensed a change in me, the heart crack and all that unnamable jazz, and he withdrew. My heart—or whatever he would put his finger on, were he to do so—made him “feel uncomfortable.” He was not “in that place,” he said. And what could I do other than to withdraw, heart shrinking back into its metallic glamour, my hands patting my femme fatale waves, smoothing my silk over my hips, purple flower bruises fading quietly into white.