He throws me to the bed, hops on top of me, and kisses me. He pulls away to tell me I’m beautiful, and tickles my neck with his scruff. I play innocent, he plays captor. He holds me down and nibbles my ear. My body flushes with adrenaline.
We’re home after dinner (and a couple glasses of wine). The scent is deliciously Parisian: we’ve come from a French restaurant, and I smell now the alcohol on our breath, the food on our clothes, and our cologne mixing. A fragrant romance. Yes, I am cliché.
We roll around on my bed, somewhere between tickle-fighting and full-blown sex, but before the passion crests, we pause to freshen ourselves. As romantic as are the scents we collected tonight, they don’t taste so good. OK, maybe the wine does. But a tooth-brushing at the very least is necessary.
We stop our post-dinner intensity to brush our teeth, wash our faces, and joke with one another as we do so. He pinches my butt through my underwear. We make silly faces in the mirror. The break, however brief, tempers our lust. Afterward, we lay down in bed, reading our books and playing on our computers for a while. We kiss occasionally, but nothing like it was when we burst into my room after dinner.
After some time, he shuts his computer off and kisses my neck. He’s ready for bed, but I postpone for a few minutes: “Just few more pages,” I say to finish reading the chapter I’m in. I kiss his forehead, and he’s asleep long before I finish. Ten minutes later, I shut off my bedside lamp and slip down beside him.
And here I lay. Look at us, I think, now snuggled next to him in the dark. We’ve been dating only a couple months and it feels like we’ve been together forever. We read in bed after romantic dinners and snuggle instead of…well, instead of doing what you would otherwise think a newly minted, honeymoon-soaked couple would do in the infancy of a romance.
I turn to my side and find his arm to wrap it around me. He squeezes me, and we drift to sleep.
Make no mistake: Lust makes her appearance, but not like before—not like with past bedfellows, where the sex is both the goal and a triviality. “Dalliance” here is nowhere implied. Sex with him is different. It’s more about restraint, temptation, and sensuality. To put it plainly, it’s a ton of foreplay, which is often just as pleasing, for a more explosive, satisfying finale.
Morning comes and we cuddle in silence. We rub the sleep out of our eyes. I complain about work. And then we get silly. He tickles me to wake me up. I try to avoid his kisses—I don’t want him tasting or smelling my morning breath—and we roll around in bed until we’re wide awake, and out of breath.
I’m on my back, panting from our play, and he’s on top of me, looking at me, brushing my hair back. He isn’t looking at my eyes. He’s…studying me. It makes me feel uncomfortable, awkward. No matter how often he does this, I think the same: he’s looking for a new wrinkle, another blemish, a reason, some kind of detail, to find to stop liking me.
“Why do you look at me all over like that?” I ask.
“Because I like looking at you,” he responds.
“It makes me feel insecure,” I say and I recall how I cower from my own face when it’s magnified in one of those obnoxious magnification mirrors. In the morning light, particularly, I must look terrible.
“It shouldn’t,” he says. “I think you’re beautiful.”
And so there “it” is: It’s that awkward moment when he’s looking at you and you’re insecure. It’s that awkward moment when you find yourself falling asleep without NEEDING sex. It’s that awkward moment when you stop to catch your breath, when you stop thinking…and start being.