by Stevan Jovanovich
I’m not sure she knew what she was saying or what effect it would have on our relatively new relationship when she said, “My God, Lucas made love to me eight times the first night!” At that time, I had no idea what far-reaching effects, her comment would have on me. But, on a superficial level, that comment was the icing on the cake. She had spoken of Lucas extensively, obsessively, in the two months that I had known her, and I humored her in a supportive, therapeutic way as a new boyfriend should.
The first time she mentioned him, we were taking a Sunday walk in the park. Then, she went on about him for an eternal hour. Afterwards, I internally congratulated myself for being such a good listener—it took all the patience and understanding I could muster.
She had been apart from Lucas for a year before we met and prior to that he had been her lover for three years. Aside from her husband of nineteen years who she despised, despite bearing him two children, Lucas had been her only other lover. They ended her marriage (and his) with the promise of a second marriage built on love and passion. They had found each other!
They never married. Their perfect scenario dissolved into a haze after three years for reasons that were never clear to me—or her, it seemed. It might have been that it was “all about the sex” and it might have been that she loved him more than he did her. Despite my best psychic efforts to be the strong and understanding friend—as well as lover—I derived no satisfaction from these conversations and began to resent her affair with Lucas and her promiscuous discussions of same. Not that I would resent anyone having great love or great sex in their lives—in fact, I would wish it on them—but the frequency of her comments was bothering me. I didn’t need to hear yet another time that she “gave everything to Lucas” and “the sex was wonderful;” Yet I did, time and time again.
Up to that time, aside from some initial awkwardness on my part, we were having a pretty good sex life; it was cooking along with a spicy mixture of passion, caring, and lust. Each session was better than the last. I went to sleep wanting her and I woke up wanting her. After that explicit comment regarding Lucas’ sexual marathon prowess—eight times would you believe? — things changed. That comment in isolation might not have changed anything, but that comment as the terminal point in a string of similar comments changed everything for me—the scales tipped irrevocably. Her unburdening became my burden. I did not ask for this.
I should mention that I have had scores of lovers and three marriages in my life. I have been in love with love all my life. I should also mention that I am sixty-one and she is forty-four. I know what it is to be a forty-year old lover and what it is to be a sixty year old lover—there is a difference. Lucas, of course, was in his early forties when she was with him. When I have mentioned our age difference, she has replied flatteringly “You’re plenty young enough for me.” That’s fine, I think, but my marathon days are over.
Another month has gone by and it hasn’t been particularly good even though we took a midwinter sun holiday at a splendid resort in St. Martin. I was hoping I would feel better about things, but it didn’t happen. I am struggling. All my previous lovers without exception—whether it was true or not—made me feel like the most important man in their lives and, magically, perception became reality. She has not. She has left me wrestling with a specter, competing with a ghost, fighting a battle I have no hope of winning. She has left me foundering, a fish out of water flopping helplessly on the shore.
How can I be the most important man in her life when apparently that’s happened? How can we have the best sex of our lives when it sure looks like that’s happened? Perception equals reality.
“You’re the best!” Who cares if it’s a lie? It’s a lie intelligent and sentient people all over the world embrace.
I look at her youthful body—a girl compared to me—that I lusted after wholeheartedly and embarked on a breathlessly exhilarating relationship.
In the last month, I’ve attempted to re-stoke the waning fires of my desire with Cialis and Viagra but to no avail—without desire, the drugs are useless. You have to want it. It’s gotten so that I don’t care if we have sex anymore and when we do have sex, I don’t care if I come and sometimes, I get tired of the pretense and just pull out and stop and tell her that I’m too tired to go on. She accepts this. She still has orgasms; mine are irregular. We used to make love joyfully every day, but now it has a mournful and perfunctory cast. I need to psyche myself to do it twice a week and I’m not sure it’s even worth the psychic expenditure. I’m exhausted more than satisfied. I’ve run out of fantasies.
I feel robbed. My emotional pockets have been picked clean. Her loose banter—satisfying for her perhaps—has robbed me of peace of mind and a satisfying sex life, unrestrained and uninhibited. I rail against this even though there is nothing I can do about it and, in private, I rant and rave at the walls over the injustice of it. She and Lucas have robbed me. Lucas has robbed both of us. I can’t help but think that there is a perverse partnership at work, a conspiracy of psycho-sexual thieves.