O, the fictional heroine of Pauline Reage’s revered and reviled erotic novel about love and submission among the haute bourgeoisie of post-war Paris had been my traveling companion for a long time. She had a gift for making dramatic entrances and her first appearance in my life couldn’t have been much more so.
In 1977 I was eighteen years old and deep in a thoroughly inappropriate relationship with a dance teacher at school. He was thirty-nine and I‘d chosen him because I thought my sexual education would be better had from a grown man than a boy my own age. To his credit, and it’s about as much as he gets, he hadn’t pushed for The Main Event, which I hadn’t yet experienced. Instead, like many in a safer time and place, we’d experimented with various sexual activities short of intercourse. I discovered an affinity for fellatio that persists to this day. I’d also found that though I got wet sucking him, not much happened when he attempted to return my services. I had no standard by which to judge his technical prowess, but I already suspected this was more about me than about him. It’s still a rare man or woman I’d rather be done by than do.