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On why absence makes the heart grow fonder

This is a weird one because I’m writing it while the subject is in the next room. Sitting in his pyjamas, frowning at the mysterious black box of web code while he does magical things with his fingers that make the internet happen.

When we’re together, we watch TV. We paint walls, we count pennies, we laugh. And, of course, we fuck.

He’s good at touching me. He touches me all the time – playful slaps on the arse when we’re making dinner, a casual grope while we catch up on Game of Thrones, kisses and sly strokes that end with his hand down the back of my knickers, warm and soft against my arse.

If I wanted to, I could walk through into the next room to touch him right now. But I won’t.

I’m crap at affection

Despite being a filthy girl, keen to be used and abused, I’m not so great at touching. While I’ll happily sit and stroke someone for a while, or get comfy in the crook of their shoulder as we watch TV, I reject casual affection the way you’d swat away a mosquito.

Fuck off, I’m busy.
Don’t touch me, I’m eating.
Doing the washing up.
Just… get your hands off me. I feel trapped.

Because I associate hugs and affection with a certain kind of choking panic, I anticipate that every hug I enter into could end up siphoning five minutes of otherwise productive time out of my day. I’m an idiot, of course – if affection and touching were as terrifying as my knee-jerk reaction tells me it is I wouldn’t have spent half my life in bed with guys who make me cry with orgasmic joy.

And yet I look for escape routes. I watch the clock over his shoulder. I forget that, actually, I do really enjoy this when I can just shut my brain up for five minutes and settle into it.

The hotness helps my brain do exactly that. A cuddle for the sake of a cuddle brings on trembling and twitching – an unnecessary and irrational this-isn’t-getting-the-bills-paid panic. But a sly hand down the back of my jeans, cupping one of my arse cheeks and pushing two fingers’ worth of knickers into the crack of my crotch? That’s distracting. That’s fun. That’s the button I need pushed before I can sigh relief and hug back with enthusiasm.

An absence of affection

As I say, I could touch him now if I wanted to. I could wander into the next room, strip to my underwear, and slide his laptop off his knee. I could straddle and fuck him on the squeaky sofa, pushing my nipples into his face and reveling in his delighted moans.

But I’m not going to do that, because the anxiety tells me that I shouldn’t be fucking, I should be working, and affection can wait until later. It can probably wait until tonight, when we’ve both clocked off. Sadly then I might not be in the same hungry-horny mood: the waves will have subsided and I’ll be back to pushing him away, twitching at his deliciously warm hands teasing my cunt while I’m trying to cook dinner. At the time I won’t regret it – I’ll see myself as the sensible one, She Who Shan’t Be Distracted, who Gets Things Done.

It doesn’t really matter today, when he’s nearby, but when this blog goes live on Sunday, I’ll be far away. Creeping hands and playful slaps will be replaced with curt texts and joky emails, and all the ‘Miss you’s and ‘Love you’s that I forget to say when he’s around. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and it also makes the brain realise what an incomparable prick it can be when it has everything at its fingertips.

I won’t be able to walk through to the next room to touch him. I won’t be able to bury my face in his stomach and tell him he’s delicious. I’ll feel, but be pathetically unable to articulate, just how fucking stupid I am for knocking him back day after day. His hands won’t be on me, and I’ll have all the time and space and independence I am usually crying out for.

And because I’ll have it, I will hate it. And I will miss him.


  • As a military spouse, I can relate to the last part too often; and sadly as a woman of the same feelings: I also don’t care at all for affection and deny and get agitated at it.

  • Serocco says:

    Treat every day like it’s your last. Space and independence probably won’t matter if it’s all you’ll ever get for your life. Brushing off affection and rejecting it from someone you love will leave you feeling pretty stupid.

    But it’s your life. Your choice.

  • Sarah says:

    Hmm, our situation sounds very similar. My husband works from home, also a web developer. I work from home too. However, I came from the opposite end of the spectrum – very comfortable with affection, very uncomfortable with sex. I was started on a medication that put me in menopause seven years ago – I stayed on it for two years but it robbed me of my libido or ability to be physical for over five years. Hugging was great. A peck was lovely. Anything more instilled me with terror, literally. My husband is very sexual and I couldn’t even bear him grabbing me, I would resist even a good snog. It was dreadful. Fortunately, when I came off all hormone treatments at the end of last year, my libido returned stronger than ever. I was never very adventurous in bed (my husband can’t cum through sex, never has been able to, and even the idea of him cumming elsewhere was difficult for me when we first got together) – now I’ve become a complete slut. It’s brilliant. My doctor thinks I have PCOS which could explain the massive sex drive – I’m hoping treatment won’t ruin it.

    A couple of weeks ago, my husband went away for a week. He was down so we started sending cheeky texts, which turned into filthy texts, then into disgraceful email essays explaining what we were going to do, then into full on depraved skyping (as someone with body image issues, I never thought I’d be focusing a web cam on my cunt but there we are). Neither of us wanked for a week – he can’t go a day without ejaculating usually so he was a mess by the time he got back.

    By the time he got home, we were insatiable. For the first six days of him being home, we fucked twice a day. While he was away, I encouraged him to me about his secret, never-revealed fantasies which he has always kept quiet through shame… and we did all of them. And it was amazing.

    On the first few of those twice a day sessions, he came twice – something I’ve never seen him do before. We both have sexual issues and hang ups – I think, had we tried to discuss them face to face, it could have taken years for him to reveal everything he wanted to do to me. It may never have happened. Seeing his face, doing stuff he never thought he would get to do, and saying things like “this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me” with the biggest grin on his face, is one of the best memories of our whole relationship for me. That week apart turns out to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to us. We have always been madly in love, but now we are madly in lust too.

    Things have quietened down now. I think perhaps he feels guilty for some of the stuff we did (not that he needs to, as I’ve told him repeatedly, and I’m still encouraging him to talk to me), or maybe he’s just had his fill of the dirty stuff for now, which is what he says (he does tend to be a binge and rest kind of a guy). We had amazing, intimate lunch break sex yesterday, and the night before, but that intense, needing to do everything we can possibly do feeling has passed for now.

    He has to go away again next week and I have no idea how long he will be gone. I’m dreading it (I barely ate or slept while he was gone) but also looking forward to what things will be like when he gets back. I bought him a box of sex accessories for our wedding anniversary – he tends to be an au naturale kind of guy, and we’ve been so busy experimenting that we haven’t used any of it yet (besides some of the disgraceful underwear). I’m sure it will all get an outing when he returns next time.

    Anyway, my point through all of this is that, being apart can be a really good time to talk about things you find difficult because it’s much easier to write it down than say it out loud – obviously for you that’s not sexual stuff, but still difficult to talk about. It sounds like you have some pretty major issues around intimacy that you should try to address. Believe me, as someone with a history of abuse who has had years of being completely repressed, I totally understand how that feels and there’s no judgement. However, I can’t put into words how good it feels when you’re totally committed to someone, being totally intimate and also being completely uninhibited sexually. Getting all three together is possible and it does take a special person to bring all three out of you. For me, the bedroom filthiness just makes the really gentle touching, kissing and soppiness even more incredible.

    It’s good that you’re aware of these feelings and how you react to certain things – if you can start to address them, you’ll be so much happier. I know that the idea of forcing yourself into uncomfortable situations can be terrifying (I kept trying to have sex when I didn’t want it, and that screwed me up far more) and I wouldn’t recommend that. Try to deal with the feelings first before pushing it. I hope you can get there because the rewards are massive when you do. I definitely don’t intend this to be patronising, we all have our hang ups. There’s clearly some deeply ingrained fear of being totally intimate and committed, and the kind of sex you’re into can be a great way of perpetuating that if you’re not careful – it’s worth opening up if you can :)

  • Chris says:

    I first read this when I was a few thousand miles away from my ex and these issues are part of the reason we later split up. So poignant and well articulated, thank you for helping both of us to think through our issues. xx

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