He pushes me up onto my desk in the office. After a semester of thinking about my breasts, he rips at the buttons of my shirt. As he kisses me, I place his hands on my chest, his hands massaging. Ignoring how wrong it is to be with a student, I use my legs to pull him closer and start pulling off his shirt.
Then I wait for his next move.
I wait one minute… I wait five minutes…
I wait ten minutes and then I go brush my teeth.
When I come back, my phone still has no new messages.
I realized then Rory had fallen asleep, which to be fair, it was well after midnight and he had an 8am final, not for my class obviously. The teacher-student indiscretion was a requested role play from him. So, still awake, still turned on, I finished myself off without him and sent him a good night text. He was of course quite apologetic the next morning but I wasn’t upset. I was rather amused and really just pleased this time he had moved along the story line more.
The last time we had “sexted,” I was the instigator and creator of all dirty language, with him in a sort of stunned and supportive arousal. Again, to be fair, I was five glasses of wine in at a business opening for one of my friends and Rory was out in Texas for the weekend—components for a horny and text happy Flick. The fact that I was mid-conversation with friends and colleagues while in my pocket telling my younger man how much I wanted to suck his dick, added another level of forbidden eroticism. Though Rory seemed so surprised, mostly all I got in return was how much he would like this or that I suggested. But at that point I didn’t need a lot of fuel to keep going and to a degree his awestruck responses allowed me more confidence as seductress and corruptor. One of our running jokes is that I’m part of the Dark Side and he’s the faithful Jedi. (Have I mentioned that he’s a sexy, nerdy fraternity guy?)
Within thirty minutes, I was wet in the middle of a ridiculously hip (picture industrial lamps and natural wood tables) multimedia agency while the object of my lust was over 800 miles away. And this, my fellow libertines, is why I tolerate technology.
Most days, I’m a wary Luddite. I like my smartphone for instant google searches, I love my laptop for its word processor. But beyond that, I’m hesitant about new technology. I don’t see the need to constantly post pictures to Instagram, mostly because I don’t have one. I don’t appreciate how my college encourages us to outsource assignments for our students to computer programs. I don’t allow websites to save my password. I don’t even like to buy things online because that means putting in my debit/credit card information. I believe information is precious and privacy undervalued in a cyber-based society like ours. However, when it comes to relationships and sex, I would sooner cut off a foot than go back to a world without texts, email, and the god of all long distance relationships, Skype.
As a later generation Millennial, I still remember the days of dial-up and MSN chat rooms (before they were closed because people lost interest). In middle school, my best friend Michelle introduced me to them. The list of rooms would go on and on for all sorts of topics, mostly sex of course. At first, we picked random rooms and had our fun by seeing what we could get away with before getting kicked out, usually penis in big enough letters and pink font ten or fifteen times would do it. But then we started actually joining conversations, picking rooms with the most amount of people and seeing who we could pick up, lying about our age of course ASL: 18/F/KY. The bar would light up with private messages. And at 13, we discovered cybersex, which is where the allure most definitely started for me, especially when Michelle’s mother got a webcam. It was pixelated as hell, as most early 2000s video equipment, but it was still enough for the boys to see us and we in turn got to see them wherever they resided, from New York, to Florida, to California, to even Canada and a few from other continents, though all we really saw was a room in their parent’s house, just like ourselves. Still, it was direct access to the rest of the world and of course the rest of the world’s penises. So many dicks. The ease with which a boy could be convinced to unzip his pants on camera was simple, much simpler in the days before Facebook and youtube, before the term ‘viral’ meant more than an STD infection. And when the boys wanted a bit of tit for tat, we originally had a resistance, but, while Michelle’s remained, mine quickly faded. I feigned uncertainty because it seemed appropriate, yet in truth, I didn’t mind slipping off my shirt or pulling up my skirt to show more leg, or even my ass, what little there was from ages 13-15. I started to like it so much, that Michelle got tired of my subtle pushes to get on the computer every night I spent with her, and when that wasn’t enough, I broke my promise to only get on chat rooms with her and began to use my computer at home, waiting until my parents went to sleep, lest they walk in and see the words I was typing, like cock and pussy.
Some might say I was lucky not to be kidnapped and raped by one of the many pedo lurkers in those chat rooms. I might say that I was pushing boundaries of my sexuality, I wasn’t abandoning all sense of logic. I didn’t offer to meet any of these guys, even though they tried. I didn’t tell them my real name. I never even gave them my real location besides the state. If anything, it was a much safer mode of exploration because I was at no physical risk. Boys, and let’s be honest it was mostly boys testing out sex like I was, could talk about bruising my pussy by fucking me so hard and I remained pure as vanilla, and better than that, it remained anonymous.
When the chat rooms died out, messengers took over and my anonymity disappeared. The boys who I confessed my fantasies were the ones who waited for the same school bus, who worked backstage during our drama club plays, who sat next to me during academic team matches. Like Rory, I often caught them off guard. Girls were not supposed to be interested in sex. And in person, I didn’t push that agenda. Online, however, I lied about the underwear I wore, making it lacy and black.
What I found in youth was that the internet gave me the freedom to explore, to keep the sanctity and safety of my body but still unleash the sex drive from building hormones. When people complain now about teenagers sexting, I have a similar distaste in the mouth, not because teenagers are doing it, but because it doesn’t remain private anymore. Girls, primarily, are exposed to more than the intended recipient. That’s the flaw. Never when I was sending teenaged boys descriptions of my body did I ever worry that they would share it with their friends or worse, on a public internet forum. The fault there is not with technology, but as it often is, the fault is with how we use it.
At its best however, technology is the greatest thing to happen to sex and relationships. I myself have a penchant for long distance relationships. It happens quite accidently but it happens. My first boyfriend lived an hour away and I only saw him on weekends, daily texts and calls made the distance shrink. My second boyfriend and I got together when I was applying to grad schools in the United Kingdom. Four thousand miles is a much harder barrier, but then there was Skype.
Far from perfect, Skype had bad signals, video/audio synching problems, but it was free on our laptops. For over a year, we made it work, struggling with time differences and diverging lives. Being able to see his face made sustaining our relationship possible. It kept him from becoming a fading image in my head but a moving picture in my room, sometimes hanging out with my friends and me. Then there was the semi-new world of Skype sex. The hardest part of a long distance relationship is not maintaining the intimacy, it’s maintain the physicality. When you can’t touch the one you love, it doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, it makes the heart grow absent. But getting naked on Skype provides a surrogate touch. It triggers those chemicals that remind us a real person is on the other side of that transatlantic cable.
My years on chat rooms became childish practice for what Ray and I used to do in the privacy of my dorm room in London. Titling the imbedded camera, I would bend to whatever pose he demanded, bending over, spreading my legs, grabbing my own ass and opening up to him. He would sit on his own bed, stroking himself, watching as I slide a finger in and out of my cunt to the pace he directed, or as I ran my vibrating blue bullet over my clit (before the batteries ran out and I never bothered to get more). A slew of curse words, decadent descriptions, and increasingly panted instructions were telegraphed from oceans apart until we both reached orgasms and lay heart racing and exhausted. My flatmate, room neighbor, and best friend, Abby admitted that she could hear us go at it on most occasions. Though we were loud, virtual sex was just a filler it wasn’t a mainstay, but so far apart, it was enough to keep us going. If I had to pinpoint the beginning of the end of my relationship with Ray, it would have to be when his laptop got a virus and he never got it fixed, which meant no more video and no more Skype sex. For six months, he became a disembodied voice. There were a lot of reasons he and I should never have worked, but the reason we didn’t last was because of a lack of technology.
Recently, I went to see Aziz Ansari do stand-up for his tour called “Modern Romance.” He spent about an hour and a half lampooning technology’s influence on the dating scene. One of those funny because it’s true situations. He talked about how we have tiers of people we’re constantly talking to, how texting and constant contact makes it impossible to make concrete plans, how social media has made us obsessive stalkers, how we agonize over every “yeah,” “lol,” or “:)”. I agree that there has been a devolution to the “romance” of communication, but I still believe in the opportunity that technology provides to relationships and, more emphatically, creative sex.
Whether it’s texting the girl you just met at the bar, posting a missed connection on craigslist, looking for your future husband on okcupid, sending a dick pic to the girl who sent you a picture of her boobs (just make sure to crop out identifying features, i.e. the face, don’t be stupid people), or skyping your boyfriend, technology is saving and creating relationships in ways we never could have imagined. When James Joyce was sending dirty letters to his wife Nora or when Virginia Woolf was convincing Vita Sackville-West to “throw over” her man in order to hear things that would stir “only by dark on the river,” they had no idea that we would continue the seductive tradition devoid of pen and paper. It’s human to want to be loved, to be heard, and technology is just about finding any means to fulfill those two drives.
Right now, I’m in Washington DC. Rory is visiting family in West Virginia. In a few days, he’ll move to Texas permanently. Over time, we’ll probably lose touch. He’ll move on. I’ll move on. But until then, we’ve been texting and we’ll keep texting. With any luck, and if he doesn’t fall asleep again, I’ll text him things that stir only by dark on the WiFi….and maybe I’ll send him a few pictures too.