By Lisabet Sarai
We both know what’s going to happen. It’s understood, the inevitable consequence of the delicious tension crackling between us. Desire hangs around us like a perfumed fog. Reveling in the knowledge that you want me, I broadcast back the silent message that I feel the same.
Perhaps we kiss. I melt into your body, drunk on cheerful lust and the sense of rightness. We fit—but of course we do, this sort of natural magnetism doesn’t lie, but points us in the direction of blissful satisfaction. We’re not in any hurry. Languid yet buzzing with need, we explore one another.
Sometimes you’re a stranger. Sometimes you’re someone from my waking life, a startling revelation from my unconscious. Either way, I cherish these dreams for the sweet arousal they kindle, the traces of secret excitement that remain after the lascivious details have faded.
These nighttime visions always end the same way, though. Before we consummate our mutual desire, I remember. I’m married. I can’t go through with this, much as I want to. It would cause too much hurt to the man I love. This precious attraction is difficult to relinquish, but I have a responsibility to remain faithful.
The thrill dissipates. Reality bites, even if I’m still asleep. My dream reshapes itself. Sometimes I cry, or you do. Most of the time, the chimera of our perfect fucking simply vanishes, replaced by new images and emotions.
I’ve never told my husband about these dreams. What’s the point? In real life, I’m almost never tempted by anyone else—especially not now, post sixty years old. My wild times are behind me. My commitment is crystal clear.
I don’t regret anything. Still, those dreams evoke a bittersweet longing, a nostalgia for the woman I used to be.
I don’t think I’m fundamentally monogamous. I am perfectly capable of loving—in the erotic sense—multiple people concurrently. In fact when I met my husband more than three decades ago, I tried to get rid of him because I already had three serious lovers, and felt my life was sufficiently complicated without adding another, long distance relationship to the mix.
He was stubborn, and charming, however, not to mention a really good fit for me along almost every dimension. I didn’t really even choose him, not explicitly. It was just obvious that we should build a life together.
He’d had lots of lovers, too, before we met. Our marriage contract specifically states that we are both free have other sexual partners as long as we are honest with one another, and continue to give our relationship top priority. That was the principle. We never really put that clause into practice, not as individuals, though we explored swinging and polyamory together. As far as I know, since we married, neither of us has had sex without the other one being present.
It wouldn’t bother me if he had a girlfriend, I don’t think. However, the older we’ve become, the more I’ve understood that he’s a lot higher on the monogamy scale than I am. If I were to take another lover (which sounds ludicrous to me now—just goes to show how much I’ve changed), I’d wound him deeply. I don’t believe that the abstract notion of fidelity means much to him, but he’s lonely when I am not around. Plus I suspect that he’d worry about losing me to someone younger (since he’s a decade older than I am).
In my dreams, though, I’m still the lusty, experimental, open woman I was in my mid-twenties. And sometimes I wish that my sense of commitment wouldn’t intrude on my fantasies so reliably.
The only place I allow myself to be unfaithful is in my stories. There, anything goes.