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I like being single.
No, really, I do. I enjoy my own independence, and frankly I don’t have the time for a relationship right now. Juggling a part-time job, university and freelance writing could be enough to break down even the strongest relationships.
Enter James, my ex-turned-friend with benefits. Our agreement means less commitment with the same (if not more) care and respect – and, let’s be honest, hotter sex.
The pandemic and our varying work locations and university schedules have often made our ‘relationship’ long distance, though we are no strangers to exchanging saucy messages to keep things fresh.
But even the most seasoned and independent nomophobes among us crave the comforting physical touch and presence of another human being at times – and so earlier this month, with the impeding doom of another national lockdown, we jumped at the chance to be together one last time.
After a month of being alone, I was desperate to get my hands on him. One evening when we were messaging back and forth, I decided to take the plunge and send him a risky “come over?” text message. No later than 24 hours later he was outside my door – and we couldn’t get our clothes off fast enough.
Things started off great, as they always do. Despite being on-and-off for a bit (about four years, but who’s counting?), passion is not normally something we fall short on. James was only meant to stay a few days, a week maximum. But Covid-19 had other plans.
“It wasn’t until the next day when I lost my taste mid-way through a love affair with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s that I clocked what was happening.”
One night while we were snuggled up in bed, James was charmingly planting gentle kisses on my neck and back in the usual sure-fire way that gets a girl going. That would be, if I didn’t have a serious case of the shivers. Instead of begging him to go faster, I was begging him to fetch me more blankets.
It wasn’t until the next day when I lost my taste mid-way through a love affair with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s that I clocked what was happening. A quick trip to the local test centre confirmed my suspicion: “Your coronavirus test result is positive.”
You’d think that being in lockdown with someone I’ve spent nearly four years with would mean they’d nurse me back to health. But no. James’ idea of looking after me was a “scientific experiment” of putting hot sauce in my Lemsip to see if I could taste it. Before you try this cruel prank on your partners and call it a TikTok challenge, here are the results: I couldn’t taste it, but I could feel a persistent burning in my already sore throat. After using what little voice I had left to shout at him, I was feeling particularly sorry for myself.
So, what was I to do for the next two weeks with a man I find as devastatingly attractive as I do annoying? Cue the sexy playlists on Spotify, of course.
But this initial booty call turned two-week long isolation period soon took a toll on our sex life. When he was fired up, I was burning up with a fever. When I felt less hot, and a little more hot and heavy, he’d had enough of my constant sneezing and sniffling. And when we both felt like it, there was only so long I could go before needing to catch my breath, which regularly forced us to give up and call it quits.
“I could feel it putting a strain on our ‘relationship’. Were we coming to the end of what I thought was an incredible sex life?”
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t disappointing, because it really was. I wasn’t used to my body – something I loved, respected, and James worshipped – to now fail me, and cause his excitement to totally disappear. This was a new lockdown-low for us, and I could feel it putting a strain on our ‘relationship’. Were we coming to the end of what I thought was an incredible sex life?
Being the proactive woman I am, I decided to do something about it. I tried all the typical spice-enhancers in the bedroom: using sex toys on each other, watching porn together, dressing up in sexy, skimpy outfits. But nothing worked. I don’t blame him – James had endured a lot more than he bargained for when we agreed to hook up for the night. But the experience still left me feeling deflated and somewhat self-conscious about my body, even though he was now trying as best he could to look after me and make me feel beautiful.
It wasn’t all bad, though. Outside of sex, I have always enjoyed his company, and we spent many days exchanging excerpts from articles we were working on, and many evenings snuggled on the sofa watching crap TV.
Before long, our isolation was soon over. However, I was determined to try one more time, for old time’s sake. It took reaching for an unexpected bottle of, ahem, back-door lube to give us the sheet-clenching, screaming climax we both desperately needed after days of frustration.
A few days later, James left to resume his normal, single life, our mind-blowing sexcapade still fresh in our minds. The prospect of another post-lockdown lust session promised by the clothes he left in my drawers, and the kiss he planted on my lips when he left.
But for now, I’m thankful for all my body has carried me through during this ordeal. And I managed it all while embracing a new kink, and getting my mojo back.
Gabriella Ferlita is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter at @Gabriellaf_17
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