Damn right we’re gonna talk about Fleabag. This post contains spoilers, so catch up on Fleabag on iPlayer if you’d like to see it before you read on. But unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that the audience of Fleabag is dripping lust into sofa cushions across the country, because we’re desperately willing her to fuck a priest.
There is nothing on this planet – no kink or sex position or saucy story or image of a rock-hard, spunk-dripping cock – that comes close to arousing the level of horn I feel when confronted with a man who desperately wants to fuck me, but can’t.
It’s this kind of lust I’m trying to capture when I write about men from my youth: that lust tinged with ‘we mustn’t!’ that came from dirty fumbles down alleyways in the dark. The urgent pounding of blood in my crotch when married men have leant in to whisper filthy requests in my ears – making my cheeks burn hot with anticipatory guilt because the first thing I want to say is ‘yes.’ But I can never capture it here, not properly. Because it is never as real on the page as it is when you see it in someone else’s eyes: that spark of recognition that you want to do it, and you simultaneously know you are not allowed.
I’ve written stories in which fucking is forbidden. Tales of break-up sex in which ‘we can’t!’ is more prominent than ‘we must!’ Stories about sex-as-eternal-torture, in which the heroine knows all she needs to do to be released is to regret – just for a second – that rush of lust that dumps adrenaline into her veins and slickness into her knickers at the thought of getting pounded by a guy she shouldn’t fuck. But I can never capture that feeling – that longing – as it exists for me in reality.
It is the ultimate kink: the sex that is forbidden. The sex that all participants desperately want, but which for various reasons they are not allowed to have.
I’m not talking here of unrequited lust: the longing you feel for someone who won’t fuck you back. I’m talking about lust that’s like a magnet, drawing both of you together. Becoming the only thing you can see.
I’m talking about Fleabag sitting in silence during a Quaker meeting, unable to banish her intense desire to fuck a priest. I’m talking about that very same priest asking her if she knew there was a man who wanted to be a saint so badly he castrated himself to try and erase that longing, that lust.
It’s men making eyes at you, and those hints they drop in voices that crack with the effort of restraining themselves:
“I’ve missed you.”
“I really want to touch you.”
Meaning: “I’m hard – right now – beneath my jeans.”
“I am thinking about biting the flesh of your arse as I breathe in every atom of the scent of you.”
“Since the last time we saw each other I have wanked myself dry.”
Nothing good will come of this, probably. Fleabag may fuck a priest, but I don’t think he’ll lead her to heaven. In my experience these kinds of lusts have rarely led to happiness. The guilt adds spice and richness to the fuck, but ultimately you need more than that if you want to build something solid: kindness, companionship, even just the ability to share a cup of coffee without muttering ‘I want you to dig your fingernails into my tits and push your hard cock against my arse until I can feel the precome leaking through my knickers.’ You need to be able to spend nights together relaxing, or sleeping, rather than just listening to the rush of blood pounding in your ears as the most sensitive parts of your body swell and throb with the need to just… fucking… have them right now. Here, on the carpet. With the door closed and one eye on it in case someone walks in and discovers you.
Is Fleabag going to tempt the priest to give up his calling and become her boyfriend? I hope not. That is not what this is for. This is for those of us who lust and writhe and squirm with need. For the women who are bemused that society tells us sex is something under our control – that we can mete out patiently to men in exchange for security or money or handbags or hugs – when in our experience it’s far more guttural and instinctive than that. Those of us who were told that men were only after one thing, only to spend nights howling in agony as our cunts twitched empty of the cock we so desperately longed for. Those of us who had never thought to fuck a priest, until we were reminded that priest-fucking is forbidden, prompting us to ooze oceans into sofa cushions and quiver at the word ‘kneel.’ Whose clits twitched at the sound of the word ‘Father’, just as Fleabag’s did.
I don’t know what will happen next, though, and reading those last two paragraphs back I am questioning everything I think. Do I really believe you can’t build relationships on these quivering, slick piles of lust? Nah. My brain is just a bit scrambled, and my thoughts are weird and incoherent. Synapses are firing that have nothing to do with logic. Because that’s what this kind of lust does to me.
This story doesn’t need to end with romance. Longing doesn’t need to be a precursor to love. I don’t need – or want – a happy ever after, while I’m wallowing in the fetid joy of sex that feels utterly wrong.
I don’t want restraint, I want fun. I don’t want love, I want lust.
And cruel as it seems, weird though it may be: I don’t think I ever want Fleabag to actually fuck that priest.