By Lisabet Sarai
After a solid week of roses and candy,
hearts and flowers, I’m just starting to recover from Valentine’s
Day. When you write erotic romance as I do, you are more or less
required to participate in the romantic frenzy. Over the past seven
days I was involved in two different Valentine’s blog hops
simultaneously. Every email I sent out to readers, every promotional
message or invitation to my blog ended with the obligatory “Have a
Happy Valentine’s Day”. All my publishers had contests dedicated
to love. Every day I received notices of Valentine’s release parties,
Valentine’s chats, Valentine’s treasure hunts, special Valentine’s
prices, et cetera. I spent more than an hour yesterday
collating entries to my own giveaways and sending out notifications
I’m exhausted. Not that I have anything
against Cupid’s Day, mind you. I enjoy a candle light dinner, a glass
of wine, and the intimate aftermath as much as anyone. It’s just that
my notions about romance aren’t exactly conventional. For example, in
contrast to the Happily Ever After crowd, I tend to find one night
stands deeply romantic.
I’m not talking about Erica Jong’s
zipless fuck here, a chance conjunction of bodies with physical
pleasure, and perhaps the shattering of conventions, as its primary
goal. I’m talking about the sense of erotic connection I’ve sometimes
experienced in the arms of a stranger. The one night stands that live
in my memory had a sense of rightness that amplified every sensation.
Two individuals blundering through life, we collided by chance, and
for a brief, beautiful time, we became one creature. Bound by lust,
and perhaps loneliness, together we lit up the night.
Traditional romance celebrates the
concept of soul mates. Some of the lovers who shared my bed just once
seemed to know me so well, I was almost ready to believe in that sort
of destiny. At the same time, bittersweet regret always lingered in
the background, the specter of inevitable parting. The shadow of
pending farewell threw the immediate pleasure and joy into sharp
For me, one night stands are erotic
exactly because they don’t last forever. The transience heightens the
intensity. Rationally, I understand that the magical feeling of
connection may be an illusion. Relationships based on chemistry alone
rarely survive. What if I’m not deluding myself, though? What if this
man really was “the one”? How deliciously tragic to know
that we’ll go our separate ways! And how sweet to imagine an
alternate, impossible future, a future of endless nights, equally
incandescent. The fantasy thrills me exactly because I know it will
never be fulfilled.
No wonder I have such trouble adjusting
to the tropes of romance .
I’ve tried to capture the eroticism and
transcendence of one night stands in some of my short stories (though
reviewing my back list, I’m somewhat disappointed to realize how
few). Perhaps the purest expression can be found in “Shades of
Red”, available in my collection Spank Me Again, Stranger. A
young woman, fascinated by the red light district in Amsterdam, rents
a window for herself. A stranger engages her services, seeking the
discipline her costume seems to promise, and she discovers that
indeed she does have a talent for dominance. The bond they share as
she beats him is not at all what she expected.
He’s shy and grateful afterward. I sit
in the armchair, watching him as he dresses. He’s definitely a
handsome man. When he pulls his wallet from his pocket and tries to
give me a hundred euros, I shake my head.
“Thirty. That’s what we agreed.”
“But you gave me so much – just
what I needed.”
“Never mind. Business is
“I said no. Are you going to start
He smiles, puts most of the money away,
and presses a ten and a twenty into my hand. “Thank you. Thank
you so much.” For a moment I think he’s going to kiss me. I wish
that he would. But that moment passes. He reaches for the door,
squeezes past me in the crowded room and is gone, into the night.
I lean back in my hired chair staring
at the bills in my hand. I’m sweaty. My hair has come loose from the
clip and is tangled down my back. My arms ache.
When I unlace my corset, my breasts
tumble out, the nipples as hard and sensitive as ever. I unsnap the
leather panties, drenched and stained from my juices. They make a
sticky noise as I pull them away from my pussy. The ripe smell of
cunt rises, mingling with the bitter scent of semen. I reach for the
vibrator, conveniently to hand in the tiny room. The cool stainless
steel cylinder slides deliciously into my swollen cleft. I flip the
switch to high and writhe helplessly as the vibrations trigger one
ragged, ecstatic climax after another.
Epiphanies? Revelations? I don’t think
he’ll forget this night. As for me, I know that the memory of his
red-streaked buttocks and tear-stained face, my power and his
surrender, will fuel intense orgasms long into the future.
I still feel high as I lock my door
behind me and step into the street. I’m naked under my coat. Every
sensation is frighteningly acute. A random breeze plays in my damp,
bare sex. The smell of spilled beer mingles with the tang of autumn
The alleys are still crowded. I hear
snatches of conversation in a dozen languages, riffs of jazz and rock
and roll. I sense the beat of the men’s hearts as they congregate
around some red-lit rectangle of glass.
A lithe male figure in a turtleneck
brushes past me and my breath catches in my throat. Images flood my
mind, images of pale, pliant flesh, offering itself to me.
It occurs to me, as I make my way back
to my five star hotel and my ordinary life, that perhaps I am the one
who was marked this night.
I defy you to tell me that’s