Josh said he wanted to watch me masturbate. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a man use that word before. The boys I’ve been with have always tended to say things like “jerk off” or “oil your oyster.” But not Josh. He possesses a serious, more clinical side, which I tend to like. He states his preferences in a no-nonsense way I can understand. And I’ll admit—I understood this. But that didn’t mean I could do what he was asking.
“What’s the big deal?” he asked. “You’re on stage practically every night, Rae.”
“I’m not jerking off on stage,” I said, mortified by the thought. The image came quickly to my mind: me in front of a crowd of fifty, parting my shaved pussy lips and stroking my clit while all those strangers watched.
“I might like that,” Josh said, as if he could see deep into my fantasy. As if he were one of those in the crowd, watching every dancing move of my darting fingertips. I narrowed my eyes at him. Exactly where was he going with this? He’d asked to watch me masturbate. He had said nothing of crowd-sourcing his pleasure.
“We’ll start small, babe, don’t worry,” he said to my look of trepidation.
“We haven’t even established we’re starting at all,” I replied. He’d only asked. I hadn’t said I would. He was taking my hesitation for acquiescence. He ought to have known better. After four years of living together, Josh knows me inside and out. Well, almost. I guess what he was asking now was to see me at my most undressed.
“You’re making a bigger deal of this than you should,” he said, “I’ve taken care of myself in front of you before.”
“It’s not the same.” However, as I said the words, I realized I didn’t know why. I’m not sexist by nature. Why wouldn’t it be the same for me to watch him as for him to watch me? I thought of the different times I’d witnessed him pleasuring himself in the past. The first time he ever jerked off in front of me was by accident. I had walked into the bathroom, knowing the water was on and assuming he was taking a shower. He was taking a shower. But he was also taking himself in hand under the hot spray. For a moment, he didn’t seem aware I was there, watching. Then he turned and wiped the steam from the shower door, so I could see more clearly. Ultimately, he’d shot against the glass door, and I’d almost lost my balance, so invested in the impromptu performance that I’d momentarily forgotten how to remain upright. I’d found watching him a complete turn-on, and by the time I’d stripped and joined him in the shower, he was hard once more and ready to take me against the cobalt-blue tiled wall.
So why did I have a problem offering him the same type of show? Josh seemed to want to know. He looked at me curiously. “Is it because I’m a guy? And guys do dirty, naughty stuff like that but girls don’t.”
I blushed when he said dirty and naughty. I think he knew I would. Not that I blush easily, but when he said the words, I thought of the times I’d caught him.
“No,” I said, but I didn’t sound convincing. Not even to myself.
“You’re all rose petals and candy fluff. Is that it? You never would dirty your fingers with your own sultry juices.”
“I don’t think like that Josh. You know I don’t.” He’s seen me up on stage for so many years, has heard the type of hard-rocking songs I sing. If I were to describe myself, candy fluff would not fit into the write-up. We met after one of my shows. No groupie, Josh had been at the concert with two of his pals. He’d had the balls to hang out after to meet me. I’d been impressed with his confidence from the start. He’d discovered that the act I portray onstage—tough girl rock chick—is just that. An act. Off stage, I have a much shyer side that I show to few people. Josh found me out.
“I know you masturbate, Rae.”
Part of me wanted to ask him how he knew. And part of me wanted to tell him to stop using that stupid word. We could come up with a new term, a fresh term, something that didn’t sound so serious.
“How do you know?” I finally asked.
“Because I can tell. I know what you look like after you have an orgasm.”
“Come,” I corrected him. “After I come.”
“Yeah, right. Your cheeks take on this pretty flushed color, and your eyes are brighter, bigger somehow. Sometimes when I come—“ he hit the word hard and looked deviously at me—“home, I can tell that you’ve just been mastur…”
“Playing with myself.”
“Yeah, right,” he said. His foot touched mine in the bed. I liked that our toes were teasing each other.
“I never knew you knew,” I said softly. I’d always thought that was something one took care of in private. That hungry, desperate need to get off. I’d never been in a relationship where this type of situation was discussed. You fuck your partner. You play with yourself. You don’t really talk about either in any great depth.
“So how do you do it?” Josh asked, clearly not understanding my above rules, or choosing to ignore them.
“What do you mean?”
“Do you have a vibrator? Do you use your fingers? Do you do it in the shower?”
I took a deep breath and rolled over on the mattress. He rolled me back over to face him. “You’re not going to hide from me. I want to know.”
“I’ve got stage fright,” I told him.
“You never have stage fright. You love being in front of an audience, singing all of those emo songs, dripping with personal facts.”
“Not about my pussy.”
He laughed. “Good. I don’t want you singing about your pussy on stage. I want you to tell me how you take care of yourself when nobody’s looking. And then I want to be the one looking. Can you do that for me?”
I didn’t have an answer. Could I?
The second time I’d found Josh stroking himself was in the bedroom. He didn’t stop when I opened the door. He stood there in front of me, hand moving piston fast on his rock-hard cock. Just like the time in the shower, I’d thought the scene was sexy. In fact, I’d been desperate for him to fuck me before he could make himself come, begging for him to stop wasting it on his palm and give his cock to me.