Lolita is a book about a pedophile. That’s not sexy. Let’s not misunderstand. But it’s gorgeously written and there’s an undeniable sexiness about listening to someone — watching someone’s mouth — as they read something like that. Fitzgerald was good. Whitman was better. But when someone reads you Nabokov, it’s an otherworldly experience.
Try it. Close your eyes and imagine your current love naked, next to you twisting their tongue perfectly over this art:
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Sam would always read to me, almost every night. He wasn’t the kind of person you’d expect this from. He was working class, rough around the edges, not the least bit sentimental. His place was messy and filled with old furniture he was fixing up and piles of books everywhere. He’d never gone to college but he read more than I did, which was a lot.
We were always in bed. He would smoke (which was dirty, but kind of hot) and watch me read. When I was tired or his cigarette was gone I would pass the book to him and he would read it out loud. Everything sounded erotic coming out of his mouth. Erotic and comforting if those two things can coexist.
Sometimes I would start to play with him while he read. It was a funny game. He looked so serious — could I get him to crack a smile? To stumble over the prose? To toss the book on the floor and climb on top of me?
I once gave him an entire blow job while he read from Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood. I was a bit concerned that “losing” the game by not getting him to deter from his reading was a bad sign, but he came quickly and told me afterward it was very hot to have to struggle not to focus on his pleasure. There was a false sense of urgency about it.
I tried to do the same once but I could never stay composed and stoic during sex the way most men can. I think I made it two words into The Beautiful and The Damned while he went down on me before my eyes were in the back of my head and the book was on the floor.
But the hottest night we spent together began with the Julia Kasdorf poem Eve’s Striptease. The last lines:
She let me learn for myself all the desires
a body can hold, how they grow stronger
and wilder with age, tugging in every direction
until it feels my sternum might split
like Adam’s when Eve stepped out,
sloughing off ribs.
How can they not turn your insides? Hearing them read aloud, I felt so in touch with my womanhood, with my humanness. I tossed his book aside by grabbing it with my teeth and throwing it aside. It was cheesy, but it got the point across.
What I wanted in that moment — what good poetry causes us to desire — was an experience with my physical side. I wanted out of my head and into the moment. So I told him this. “Let’s fuck until we don’t remember our names.”
I straddled him then, and kissed his neck until I looked into his eyes and saw a person who wasn’t analyzing the moment, he was just there, experiencing and enjoying it. I got up, naked, and walked out of his bedroom into his kitchen. This would be better. I pulled myself onto his counter and beckoned for him to come over. It was the end of foreplay. It was time to lose ourselves in each other.
He came over and pulled my legs towards him so that I was an an unsustainable angle, but our hips lined up and his cock was teasing me, hesitating at the entrance to my pussy. I was on the counter and I couldn’t move, I could only look at Sam and beg him to do the rest. Fuck me.
When he did, it was deliberate, each motion designed to make my eyes roll further back into my head. I dug my fingers into his back. I wasn’t trying to cause pain, I was just trying to have something that grounded me to the earth because nothing else was.
The thing about Sam was that he made the world melt away like this. I never remembered anything bad about my life when I was with him. It was physical chemistry, it was whatever emotional connection it is that makes you spill your guts to someone the second you meet them. It was always sparks on sparks on sparks.
That night in his kitchen it was him driving into me, and me receiving him. We were animals, and we were intelligent creatures — both of these things were the source of the fireworks we discovered our bodies were capable of producing.
I’m not sold on the idea that you need to be with your best friend because chemistry eventually dies. Organic chemistry is the whole of who we are. It consumes us and when we come out the other side we simply opt for a new formula.