Blame it on the body

I sometimes think my body is a separate being, detached from whatever else is left of me – sitting in the corner of the room or perched on a bookshelf, laughing at me or sticking up two fingers.

With the number of times it lets me down or humiliates me, I can only conclude that it has a separate cause or purpose. I strive for success and my body constantly sabotages my efforts.

Take my bum, for example. I have frequently bent over to pick something up or just to reach across for, say, a pen at the other end of the table. And what does ‘Old Cushion Cheeks’ do? She sends things flying – knocks books off shelves, topples over glasses, even bumps into innocent bystanders. My top end then has to apologise.

‘Cushion cheeks’ has also frequently let me down in the boudoir by piping up at crucial moments with her parping trumpet. It could be mid-bonk, just as we are switching positions, or in post-coital cuddle. Suddenly she will see it fit to parp, leaving me red-faced and with nowhere to hide. Men, I may be letting down my fellow females in admitting this, but when we blame it on a front-bottom/’Fanny fart’ we are probably telling the truth about 50% of the time; the rest of the time it’s a full throttle bottom guff.

If it’s not my rear messing things up, then it’s likely to be my throat or nasal passages – ever had a work-related or serious telephone conversation where you are desperate to cough or sneeze? You try to conclude it as quickly as possible as your voice either starts to resemble a rasping wasp or you lose the ability to speak altogether as the sneeze ascends to its finale.

This has an odd effect on intercourse, as you suddenly have to stop moving or the cough, which seems to be connected to vaginal muscles, fires his penis out like a cannon. I have yet to think of some way in which this could have a useful purpose.

If, like me, you have never had a perfect washboard stomach, you will also be familiar with the belly-slap. This is most likely when you are on top of him, leaning forwards, when your wayward wobble slaps and flaps against him in the throes of passion. The effect is intensified if he also has a bit of a tum – but this seems fairer in my mind as no one person can be blamed for the smacking sound and neither of you has to feel self-conscious about it. With a slim guy, I am much more ashamed.

Creaky joints can also get in the way of perfect passion. I hope not to inherit my family arthritis for some years yet, but can already produce some very impressive cracks and creaks in my knees, shoulders and fingers. The sound of a gravel drive being stepped on is, however, less welcome when one kneels down to attend to a waiting penis, stretches ones arms back while lying on a bed or has to unstiffen ones fingers at some point in proceedings.

So, men, next time one of us passes gas, coughs, sneezes or creaks at a key moment as you make sweet love to us, just remember it’s our body trying to sabotage things. Just carry on and pretend it didn’t happen.


He presses his body against her, his chest against hers and she feels his heartbeat drumming hard. He has just climaxed inside her and is suspended in post-coital exhaustion. She holds him tightly and buries her face in his shoulder as the warm tear water starts to fill the rims of her eyes. She tries to think of something else but it’s no use; the tears are now fully formed. So she holds him for longer and he seems to want to stay there, oblivious to her silent crying. She controls the urge to sob and shudder, blinking hard and softly kissing his shoulder and chest.

She longs for the ability to transfer her emotion to him, convert him to her faith (her faith being him and his being her).“Please love me like I love you” she keeps saying again and again in her head. But to him she is nothing – just a hole to drill from time to time. “Please love me.”

By the time he rolls over she has swallowed back the tears and discreetly dabbed her eyes with the back of her hand. He hasn’t a clue that she felt anything other than carnal pleasure. He is relaxed, relieved to have shot his load, enjoying his post-orgasm lethargy. But it is the morning after and soon he will slowly start to move, get dressed and leave her here alone with his aroma still in the room. All that will remain will be the creases in the bed sheets, the dent in the pillow, an empty coffee cup and some faint teeth marks on her shoulder, which will have faded by the end of the day.

She is preparing for the emptiness, the longing. It always comes as soon as he leaves. She is just sex, convenient sex, a bit of a conversation, a few drinks then sex.

He starts talking about something completely unrelated and she feels the tears pushing their way up again, but he cannot see her. She cannot let him know she feels anything, so she swallows hard and turns away to take a sip of water. This buys her more time to compose herself, take a deep breath. She’s fine, relaxed, breezy. She could even attempt to say something witty and self-deprecating.

It works – he’s oblivious and she secretly congratulates herself for becoming such an expert at repressing her emotions.

He leaves, contented, untroubled, unaware.


I look out of the window for the umpteenth time at the same time as reprimanding myself for doing so; I know standing at the window doesn’t make anyone arrive sooner, but I still do it and have done it since I was tall enough to see out.

Waiting for someone to arrive doesn’t get any easier. Despite age and experience, it still drives us to distraction and makes us obsess about things that are normally trivial.

I take another look at my dress. It looks wrong and makes my tummy bulge. I run upstairs to frantically search for an alternative, then dash into another room which looks out on to the road. Still no sign of him.

I check my phone for the 20th time – no new messages. So I start looking at earlier ones to see if there is any hint that he will be late or even not show up at all. There’s nothing obvious – just a series of ‘Oks’, ‘Yeses’ and ‘See you thens’.

Why do we over-think things and look for ‘signs’? They don’t read into anything.

Catching my reflection in a mirror I scrutinise my makeup. A tiny smudge of eyeliner convinces me I have to do that eye all over again – it just won’t do. And is my underwear ok? Does that bra work? Do my arm pits need an extra scrape with the razor, even though I did them only 40 minutes ago in the shower?

Eye redone, undies satisfactory, pits passable, I rush downstairs – I could have missed him in the 30 seconds which have elapsed since I last looked out of the window.

I then turn my attention to straightening newspapers and magazines on the table in the lounge, crawling around on the floor picking bits off the carpet and straightening cushions on chairs. This is all punctuated with glances out of the window every few seconds.

I am now running out of slightly pointless things to do and will soon move on to utterly ridiculous things if he doesn’t come soon. He is already five minutes late. What if he is not going to show at all? What will I do?

My phone suddenly bleeps. I jump a few inches off the ground, as I am so on edge that the slightest thing is liable to send me into shock.

‘Running a bit late’, he says.

‘A bit late?!’ I scream out loud. Not the best news when I’ve been running back and forth and up and down the stairs like a demented hamster. But at least I know and now have even more time for carpet bit-picking, cushion-fluffing, lining up bowls of nuts in perfect symmetry and checking my makeup 20 more times.

‘Ok,’ I reply, ‘no worries’.

Do you remember the first time?

I was very prim and proper about sex, believing it to be a special, sacred thing… when I was 16.

This may seem a shock coming from a self-confessed, slightly tipsy, slapper and bearer of two children.

But yes, readers, at the age of 16, I declared to my friends that I was definitely not going to have sex before I got married. I wouldn’t even have a tincy wincy go at it, just to see if my betrothed was any good at it. No, my virginity would remain intact until I entered the marital bed for the first time.

Whether this was naïve, idealistic or plain stupid, I will never know. I just remember meeting up with some of those friends after the first term of college and my reaction when they enquired as to how the whole virginity thing was going. I felt my face turning a deep beetroot shade as I confessed I lost it to a 5’5’’ goth bloke (my first time).

It seems that at 18, I held on to my ‘maidenhood’ a little longer than most. According to the most recent figures I can find, the average age to pop one’s cherry is around 16, the UK’s age of consent. But apparently 27% of women manage to do it before they reach this age while this figure for men is just 22% (figures from the 2011 Health Survey for England).

I am aware of two girls who did it at around 14, but if any of my other peers were ‘at it’ they certainly remained very quiet about it.

So what age is the right one? It probably depends on the individual, their maturity, attitude to relationships and their religious beliefs, if they have any. I don’t feel like I missed out by waiting longer – as you can see from these pages, I made up for lost time, anyway.

It would seem different countries – let’s just restrict it to Europe for now – beg to differ on the UK’s idea of when one is ready. Spain has the lowest age of consent in the continent at just 13 while Estonia, Germany and Italy plump for 14 and France, Denmark and Greece are among those to declare it 15. But in Malta and Turkey it is not legal to do it until you reach 18.

But it all depends on how people in these countries behave – children are allowed to have a sip of wine in France or Spain to get them used to it while in this country, we would never do this, but many of us Brits will binge drink, vomit and collapse in the street when we can legally drink. Maybe with a measured, well-informed and calmer approach we would be more responsible about the whole bonking thing. Then again, maybe not. Alcohol adverts often bear the small print ‘drink responsibly’. Could we extend this to clubs, bars and certain holiday destinations with the message ‘fuck responsibly’?

The other bit of that 2011 survey states that women, on average have had 4.7 sexual partners while men have had 9.3. Is this really the average, or did they carefully select who filled out a questionnaire? Regular readers will know that yours truly falls very far above this ‘average’ yard stick. Maybe I should not give my ‘number’ as it is too shocking to confess…