By Lisabet Sarai
Three years since I last saw him, and now his plane is late. I perch on the edge of the chair across from the American Airlines desk where he told me to meet him, tension winding me tighter with every moment.
It’s always like this. My chest aches. It’s difficult to breathe. My nipples are as taut and swollen as if he already had them wrapped in elastic bands. I try not to be distracted by the stickiness between my bare thighs. I glance at the arrivals screen. His flight has just landed. Ten minutes, fifteen at most, before I can expect him. I fill my lungs deliberately and try to slow my racing pulse.
I hover between joy and terror. It has been so long, too long. What will he think of me, the strands of gray in my hair, the new wrinkles? What will he ask of me? Will I be able to give him what he needs? I remember other reunions, too few, too short. No time for more than a few kisses, a few playful swats on my bared butt. I remember lying on his lap in Golden Gate Park, my skirt flipped up around my waist. I can precisely recreate my shame and my excitement. I recall slouching down in the front seat of his car in a dark, sweltering parking garage, while he unbuttoned my blouse and dabbled his fingers in my cunt, naming me as his slut. A few hours every few years is all we manage, a country and my marriage separating us even as our history and our fantasies draws us together.
Today will be different. I’ve booked us a hotel room, in this city where neither of us live. We have the entire day. My husband waits for me at home, while I wait here in the airport for my master.
Sometimes I think that anticipation is what separates erotica from porn.
Porn is about getting off. Sex is the main event. Usually, there's minimal preparation, little time spent setting the scene or exploring its meaning for the characters. Nothing wrong with that. Why should you wait for what you really want?
Erotica, in contrast, is more about the experience of desire than the sensations of sexual activity. Desire has physical effects but fundamentally it is seated in the psyche - mind, heart, spirit, whatever you want to call it. Thinking about fucking an object of desire can be as arousing as the actual act - sometimes more so. Anticipating the connection with one's lover can provides an intense erotic charge quite independent of the actual meeting.
Anticipation can evoke a variety of emotions. Fear or nervousness may be a significant component, especially when you know you're about to push beyond your previous limits.
It was just an ordinary door. Solid core, Yale lock, standard peephole, identical to all the other doors on the fourth floor of this unexceptional building on the corner of West 14th and B Street.
So why was he sweating and trembling as though he stood before the gates of hell? No, that wasn't quite right. He knew the door led through damnation, to salvation. He craved the peace, needed to be redeemed. But he was, as always, afraid to take that first step.
His cock was already an iron bar in his worn jeans. His heart jack-hammered against his ribs. Don't be a pussy, he told himself. Get on with it. His work-reddened knuckles hesitated, inches from the door.
Without warning, it swung open. His heartbeat raced into overdrive. He could hardly breath.
From "Poker Night"
I seem to write a lot of scenes where my characters hover outside a door, anticipating the pleasure or pain that awaits them on the other side. Thresholds and gates are potent symbols, I guess. I believe that sex has the power to reveal new truths, new sides of our selves. The doorways in my tales lead my characters into new realms of knowledge as well as sensation.
The other aspect of waiting outside a door is the notion of choice. Aroused, trembling, fearful of what will be revealed, the character must decide to take that fateful step into the intoxicating unknown.
The next two hours were possibly the longest in my life. I couldn’t focus on my book; I kept hearing Geoffrey’s velvet voice: “If you’re ready for more...”
I wasn’t ready. Maybe I’d never be. I knew, though, that I couldn’t, wouldn’t, let this chance slip away. My body buzzed with tension, anxiety and lust more or less indistinguishable. I tried to picture what it would be like, but my imagination was not equal to the task. What did I know about dominance and submission? Sure, I’d seen “9 ½ Weeks” like everyone else, but I figured that was just fantasy—though the film did affect my dreams for days afterward.
“You must give me your trust,” he had told me. Could I do that? Was that even wise, to surrender myself to someone who, despite my knowledge of his reputation, was basically a stranger?
I replayed his delicious kisses over and over. My pussy grew wetter and more swollen with each passing minute. I considered pulling my vibrator out of the drawer, to cool myself down and bolster my rational capacity. I knew somehow that Geoffrey wouldn’t approve. He wanted me to wait, to build up the pressure. That was why he’d barely touched me in the foyer. He wanted me hungry.
Lying fully clothed on the chenille bedspread, I was acutely aware of my body—aching nipples, damp thighs, pulsing clit. I circled a wrist with my finger and thumb, wondering about sensations of rope or leather. I would have sworn that I was one hundred percent alert, counting the seconds until my summons. Yet somehow I drifted off into sleep.
I bolted upright some time later. My bedside lamp made a lonely pool of brightness. The window showed a square of solid black where there had been deepening twilight before. I snatched my alarm clock and peered at its face. Eleven oh five! Fear shot through me like an electric shock.
Shuffling into my sandals, I raced down the hall to his door at the end. My heart felt as though it would split my chest. I sucked in a lungful of air and knocked.
“Enter.” One word only. A command. An invitation. I turned the knob, my knees wobbly, feeling like I was moving through jello.
From The Understudy
I think I may actually enjoy writing the premonitory arousal even more than the sex itself. I spend a lot of time fantasizing about sexual scenarios, and so do my characters. What happens in their heads is at least as real as the events in the bedroom or the dungeon.
I also realize, reflecting on my own work, that anticipation is perhaps most potent in the case of BDSM tales. I suppose this isn't surprising. A skilled dominant knows how to stimulate the submissive's imagination as well as her body. The step across the threshold from vanilla normality to kinky excess is easier when one is mentally prepared.
But it's never that easy...
The hotel lobby was bright and noisy with tourists. Kate felt conspicuous and embarrassed as she crossed to the elevators, as if she were already naked.
In the elevator, a western man and a Thai girl fondled each other, whispering and giggling. They left at the sixth floor. The ride to the twelfth seemed to take a long time. Everything was hushed, muffled. Her heels made no sound on the thick carpet. Her heart beat in her ears, absurdly loud.
Kate hesitated as she turned the key in the lock. Seized with sudden fear, she nearly turned and ran back down the hallway to the elevator. This was irrevocable. She knew that. In opening this door, she would open her well-ordered life to chaotic and irrational forces that she did not understand.
She remembered Gregory's words. “You were born to this,” he had said. And “I will teach you.” She swallowed hard and turned the doorknob.
From Raw Silk