No matter how brightly lit, a house is always dark when you come back inside during summer. Electric light is dull after the sun, and windows, no matter how wide you open them, can’t do better than the sky. Although it’s annoying to wait until my eyes adjust before managing the stairs—I can barely find the light switch in the shadows—I also like it. It feels cool and private.
And it emphasizes just how warm and rich the sunlight was, how lucky I’ve been to be out in it, how good I feel.
Even as my legs seem to weigh a ton each climbing up to my room, it’s a pleasant tiredness. I’m just about worn out.
I’m ready for bed.
A nap, I think—but first, I want to come.
It’s not that I’m eager for sex, my loins aflame with desire or something. It seems like a nice thing to do. To be honest, my urge to go for a walk had been stronger—strong enough to carry my body out of my desk chair to the window, multiple times, peering out into the warm day, until I had to give in. This erotic spark doesn’t carry me anywhere I’m not going already. I’m not even heated between the legs yet. But I know I will be, and the knowledge is warmly caressing my brainstem.
This expectant-yet-unaroused state isn’t uncommon for me. My libido is as rare as something precious, which it also is. I want to want, at least sometimes. Desire is its own special pleasure. But it’s not a necessary one, and I can have pleasure without it. Today I feel like that. At peace in my body and filled with a gentle promise.
I enter my bedroom, where southern sunlight filters through the white- and blue-striped curtains like a haze. Ignoring the light switch, I leave the space dim and cool as a cave. Currents of air conditioning lick my skin as I undress. They whisper over goose bumps and sweat-slickness. Exposed, I feel as though my naked body gleams in the twilight, though it probably doesn’t.
I’m not like the covers of the books that fill my top shelf, books I often turn to when I’m in a state like this, books which I love like old friends with benefits—books advertised by people who are faceless, voluptuously thin, with innie belly buttons and skin the shade of honey and cream. Well, in the end I’d prefer to have a face. I’m not as hairless as they are, either, and though I feel smooth and even sleek under my hands, that’s only from familiarity.
Familiarity is enough; at times like this it gets me going even more than those well-thumbed pages. I keep my shorts on, and after a moment’s fumbling behind my back I decide to keep my bra on, too. They say anyone who wears a bra long enough learns how to slip it off without removing their shirt. I guess sixteen years isn’t long enough for me.
The bed looks so firm, plush, inviting, a plateau of creamy sheets. I get in and nuzzle against them. Just changed yesterday and airing all morning in the breezes from the cracked-open windows, they smell as fresh as mint and as comforting as vanilla. Breathing deep, I curl my legs and rise on them just a little froggy posture, not elegant but so good at getting the job done—getting space to slide my hand down between them.
I’m very targeted in how I touch myself: fingers curling over my groin, palm to my clit. For now, my left hand lies on the bed. Other zones, however erogenous—breasts, the back of my neck and shoulders, the outsides of my hips, the curves of my ass—can be neglected. After a two-hour walk, the rest of my body has had its chance to be exercised and cherished. My stomach has been washed, baptized in cool sweat. Blood rushes beneath my cheeks, which already feel tight from the sun’s heat. Worked-out muscles tremble along my legs. The tiny jumps beneath my skin travel all the way up to my thighs.
My waistband sits snug enough that I can only fit the one hand inside, and once I do, it’s basically pinned at the wrist. I can only move my fingers, swirling them over my underwear. In a way, the frustration is exciting. It’s sexy. Probably not what they originally meant by sexual frustration, but there you go.
I shoot right from willingness to arousal, needing no more desire to spark the sweetness. I undo my zipper and add the other hand, closing it over my first and shoving with it, pushing harder against what my hips cradle. My shoulders take on my weight. They could get sore if I do this for a long time, but I never do. I’m too efficient to last long.
More sweat breaks out on me; I feel it shimmer on my back and the insides of my thighs. Made slippery, my fingers and my hips swirl counterclockwise. Widdershins. It’s not a sexy word, but it means sex to me. Not when I think of sex but when I do it. Always this motion.
I’m thinking about sex now. Not much—I could probably get off on physical stimulation alone—but fantasy becomes almost second nature at times like this.
It’s a lean fantasy. No kissing, no foreplay. They meet in my mind, bodies without names, without stories, and they come together in pure erotic explosion.
In my imagination, gender doesn’t matter, and neither does sex. Is there penetration? I’m not sure; it’s irrelevant. There is collision between bodies, as my body collides with itself. My fingers crush my folds around my clit. Cotton underwear goes sticky. Denim chafes my thighs where my shorts cut off, rubs the backs of my rubbing knuckles. The friction is good, helpful. All the same I imagine shredding cloth, think of ripping the rest of my clothes off.
This is as violent as I ever am.
In my imagination, the figures move liquidly, sensually writhing, but into my hand I grind with abrupt, jerking thrusts. I must look awkward, ungainly, contorted—but I feel great. I don’t fuck myself for anybody but myself. If I come out at the other end sore and a little strained, I’ll also be satisfied.
I think they might bite each other, those figures. Not kissing but sinking their teeth in, leaving a mark. My teeth have grasped some of the pillowcase, not deliberately but because it gets rucked up between them as my mouth opens, panting. I’m fucking face-down, pushing my nose into the bedclothes to catch some of my own lingering scent among the fresh air and detergent.
Pleasure, dark, spiky, seizes every muscle and nerve in my body. And god, I run after it. I push, almost smothering myself in the pillow because I care more about finding the good angle than getting enough air. Breathing isn’t relevant. I can breathe after this—this—
A shaft of shadowy sensation rises through me, an ethereal impalement beside which any actual penetration would be crude. Even imprecise. This fits exactly. My inner muscles shudder around it, churning my nerves to fever pitch. My palm and fingers rub, push, once more, twice more, and everything flows out from me, ripples as a stream. Pleasure peaks and subsides, rises and falls like waves in choppy water.
I sink against the pillow and turn my head enough for a deep breath. The air is fragrant with sex and sweat and the greenish lawn smell coming in from the windows. I know I come silently, so their being cracked open is never a problem.
I’m warm and sweet, and I’m calm, and this part is even better for me than actual orgasm. This soothing pleasure, exhaustion tingling deep against my bones. I close my eyes. I rest. Feeling oddly grateful, and having no one to be grateful to but myself.
T.C. Mill (She/her)
T.C. Mill is a writer and editor (one answer to the question “What do you even do with a philosophy degree?”) in the Midwest. Her work has previously appeared in Litro, The Erotic Review, and anthologies from Cleis Press. She’s also a co-editor of the New Smut Project, putting together anthologies of literary erotica. She blogs at TC-Mill.com.