“You’re breathing too much,” he says.
“Excuse me?” I snort.
“You’re creating too much wind.” My breathing is apparently having a dispersive impact on the smoke rings he’s working so hard to create from the massive vape parked between his lips.
I laugh, joking that he’s already starting to get annoyed with me after less than 48 hours in my presence.
“Today it’s my breathing, what’ll it be tomorrow?”
“There is no tomorrow,” he says.
That’s true. I’m leaving the following morning to fly to London, then back home to Los Angeles.
The previous night, my first in his Berlin apartment, my cute 27-year-old German-Argentinian host tells me he’s single because he gets bored of people easily. He’s making me dinner—spaghetti—something he says he’s never done for an Airbnb guest before. I speculate that this extra bit of hospitality is probably due to the fact that earlier that day, when I showed up at his apartment, I broke the ice by telling him I was going to the Berlin porn film festival, and from that small sliver of information, he gleaned that here was an American girl on vacation interested in porn and whom he could most likely have sex with if he put in a modicum of effort. He’s right. I would have sex with him even without the spaghetti.
He holds out a chunk of pasta from the package and asks if I think that’s enough for the two of us. I advise him to put back about half of it because it will expand in the water and in my experience I always overestimate and make too much pasta. He follows my advice and after seven minutes, strains it into the sink. He holds up the strainer, exasperated.
“This isn’t enough at all!” He exclaims. I laugh and apologize and tell him I'm used to cooking for one. “I’ll have to make more.” He seems more amused than annoyed. How annoyed can he be after all, he hasn’t even had sex with me yet.
“Okay, I’m not obsessed with porn,” I qualify what I’m about to say as we eat our spaghetti. I tell him how I’ve been looking at the landing page of PornHub while in Berlin, curious about what kind of porn Germans are into and if it’s different from the porn that’s popular in America.
“There’s more fetish stuff here, particularly dominatrix stuff,” I tell him. Something called face sitting seems quite popular—an act of dominance in which a fully-clothed woman with a big ass sits on the face of a naked restrained man until he almost passes out, then she lets him breath for a couple seconds before sitting her fat ass back down on his face; in the one I watched all the way through to the end, the guy eventually didn’t wake up and the woman leaned over him and asked, “Are you dead?” Then she walked off camera and it faded to black. Is this a snuff film, I wondered? I tell my host about another one in which a dominatrix with a white-blond ponytail wearing a pink leather body suit ala Britney Spears in the “Oops... I Did it Again” video—except with a zipper on the crotch—barks in German at a fat groveling man who keeps repeating the same word over and over again.
“What does ‘entschuldigung’ mean?” I ask my host.
“I’m sorry,” he says.
That makes sense.
I ask him what kind of porn he's into and he tells me he likes that dominatrix stuff. I tell him that I often think if someone observed what porn videos I click on, they would be really surprised about the ones I choose to watch. It doesn’t even make sense to me, I say.
“Like what?” he asks.
I confess that the other night I watched a video in which a guy had sex with a sleeping girl, and got very turned on. I understand the inherent controversy of admitting this in the time of Cosby, Weinstein, Kavanaugh, et all, but I believe that fantasy and reality are and should remain separate. In the words of Cindy Gallop of Make Love Not Porn, "I'm pro-sex, pro-porn, and pro knowing the difference." I think that problems arise in a world where sex education has been replaced by porn, and too many people don't know the difference.
“I wonder why we like that stuff,” he says, smiling.
I had spent the day at the sauna, which in Germany means all nude and co-ed. I tell my host about how even here where people are much more relaxed about nudity and it’s not sexualized like in America, I was watching the men and could tell a lot of them were trying really hard not to stare at the breasts and vaginas of the women sitting around them. I found it funny and perversely titillating to realize that even these seemingly more evolved men struggled not to look.
“Men are animals,” he says. He asks if I think women are as horny as men.
“Yes, but I think it’s more circumstantial. And the stakes are higher for women. Biologically, men are designed to spread their seed far and wide, whereas women have to consider—even on an unconscious level—the possibility of getting pregnant and having this guy’s baby, so it’s less frivolous for us. We have to be more responsible.”
He tells me that for him love and sex are separate. He explains it like this: “If I love you and I think you’re cute, I can’t be dirty with you.” Being dirty sounds like it’s important to him. I say I used to feel more like that but it has started to change for me lately.
I think about the last guy I fell in love with, the literal clown whom I met at a fringe festival. He was in an open relationship with his wife and eventually broke my heart. The clown had stared into my eyes when we made love and whispered “my Ava” and “beautiful Ava” and I came so hard I cried. I used to think “making love” was a stupid and embarrassing expression, but now it seemed I required it and could no longer come from the usual pounding.
“What about when you have a strong connection with somebody, the sex can be intense,” I say. My host shrugs. Clearly "being dirty” and somewhat detached is more his speed, as I will come to find out later.
I can't have asked for a more perfect candidate to fuck the loving clown out of me. We get stoned and, as I make an O with my lips trying to blow smoke rings like he’s taught me, he leans over and kisses me. He is undeterred when I have to go remove the diva cup I preemptively inserted earlier that day thinking I was getting my period—I appreciate his lack of squeamishness over the potential for a little blood. And whereas some guys in the past—particularly casual fucks—have used my impending period to justify not going down on me, he seems quite content to bury his face down there—a quality I respect.
When we first start having sex, I try to maintain eye contact and pull him close, but his eyes glaze over or refuse to meet mine as he stares down at my flapping tits or watches himself thrusting in and out of me. Despite my asking him to slow down, he pounds harder and faster and, as he does, I slip further and further away from any chance of orgasm. Eventually I give up trying to connect with him and instead shut my eyes tight and default to the fantasy I’ve come to depend on in times like these—the secretary bent over her boss’s desk organizing his papers when he comes upon her with a hard on. But even this old standard proves fruitless. Apparently the clown has ruined me not only for porny sex but also for my tried and true, orgasm-guaranteed fantasy. Will I forevermore require deep eye contact and tender proclamations during sex in order to come?
Just as a few nights ago I experienced the rude awakening that I am now suddenly too old to sleep in an eight-bed, dorm-style hostel room amongst a bunch of drunken 20-somethings singing Backstreet Boys karaoke, I now feel too old for this particular brand of fucking. It seems like just yesterday I was sucking dick in a dive bar bathroom and feeling really good about my life choices. Now here I am wanting my two-night stand Airbnb host to make sweet love to me and tell me I’m beautiful. What the fuck happened to me? When did I get so old?!
After moving me around into several different pretzel-like positions—legs on shoulders, hip twisted to the side, knees out like a frog as he fucks my feet (new one for me!), he asks where I want him to come. Ah, my favorite question.
“My tits?” I try. He looks nonplussed.
“My ass?” I try again.
“Your face!” He beams, eyes shining. He looks so fucking excited I burst out laughing.
“No one wants you to come on their face,” I assure him. This comes as a surprise to the porny fucker.
When he eventually does come on my tits, he tells me he’s never done that before. Really? This amazes me. I wonder if I have somehow inspired the porniness of this guy’s fucking. Is he normally a tender lover but because this eager American introduced him to the porn festival and admitted to watching a sleeping girl get screwed, he thinks this must be the one to try out the moves he’s been practicing only in his imagination--the porny moves no self-respecting woman before me has allowed him to try? Not for the first time in my life, I wonder if my being a sexual woman who is honest about her proclivities inspires men to disrespect me. Not that I necessarily find being ejaculated on disrespectful, but the ease with which some men assume this is something I want always surprises me. And I find it often comes coupled with a seeming disregard for my pleasure, at least when it comes to orgasm.
Both times we have sex that first night, when I pull him close and ask him to slow down, he resists, instead opting to spread my legs wider or put them over his shoulders or actually speed up his pounding to a frequency of motion that will never in a million years make me come. The second time we have sex, when he declares, “I’m going to come,” I say, “not yet.” And still, he comes. So, despite all the finger banging and his face buried in my ass for five minutes and him poking around my vagina as though giving me a gyno exam—something that actually makes me laugh out loud and inquire, “what are you doing back there?!”—I do not come. Which leads me to the inevitable conclusion that all this seeming attention he pays to my pussy is really more for his own pleasure than it is for mine.
The second night, we have sex one more time, and I do come. I tell him to put a condom on and I go to the bathroom to remove my diva cup, which is now full of blood. I return and tell him to get on top of me. I slow him down for long enough that I am able to eek out a modest orgasm. Afterwards, I get in my PJs and almost fall asleep next to him.
“This is dangerous,” I say. I have a flight to catch at 7:30AM and have to be up in four hours.
“You could set an alarm in here,” he says, but I opt to go back to my own room where I am guaranteed at least a few hours sleep. I guess in some small way I’m learning to take care of my own needs—a benefit of turning thirty, I suppose. I kiss him goodbye.
Predictably, the following day on my flight back to London, I replay our time together. His amused annoyance with my breathing, me pretending to hold my breath, joking that “I want to make this work,” spoken in a ditsy American accent. Our stoned laughter. My excitement when I finally successfully blow a single smoke ring and he isn’t even paying attention. His tight body and the tattoos on his shoulder and thigh and the one of a tadpole on his ring finger. The view of his tight ass as he stands naked with his legs crossed, hovering over his computer. His James Dean-like pompadour of sandy blond hair. His nose ring. The cute way he pronounces “cheese” in his Argentinian accent. “Chiz.” The fact that he is a Sagittarius, like me, and how the only other Sag I’ve been with is Gaffer Guy—clearly not a good match for me.
I should be used to this post-coital nostalgia fest by now, but somehow it always catches me off guard. Why is it that no matter how mediocre the sex is or how clearly incompatible I am with someone, if I fuck them, I will inevitably spiral into this wistful replaying of our time together? Is this what I meant when I said women are just as horny as men but we have to be more responsible, have more self-control? It's not only because we might end up pregnant with his child, but maybe more so because our feelings betray us. At least mine do. It's become blatantly apparent that if I have sex with someone—even if I don't like them all that much—I will inevitably fall a little bit in love. It feels inexorable, outside of my control. In fact it feels like a biological holdover from a time before birth control, before the possibility of abortion. Because even if I know in my head that in the unlikely event that I did get pregnant, I would certainly get an abortion—at least while I still can!—my body tells me a different story, an ancient story, one that is unfortunately quite compelling.