When I met Eric* at a friend’s birthday party, my first thought was that he was a man’s man. He was a six-foot-tall, broad shouldered carpenter from the Bronx with bulging arms covered in a myriad of swirling tattoos that strained the sleeves of his polo shirt. He caught me staring more than once. At my flirtatious request, he lifted his sleeve and showed me his ink.
I gently suggested that maybe he should see a therapist and I, naked and cradling his hulking, nude shaking body in my arms, began explaining the benefits of talking to a professional.
Over several drinks we went from body art to general interests to family. He was raised by a single mom; me too I’d offered. He didn’t know his father; me neither I’d said. His stepfather died when he was young; my whole family is gone I’d soothed. Our commonalities, plus his mixture of strength and vulnerability was sexy but also gave me a sense of comfort. I know he felt an instant connection too, because he insisted on paying for my drinks and was adamant about walking me home.
As we stood outside my apartment, I could see he was struggling to make the first move. I’m not shy, so I gave him my number and inserted myself into his arms for a light kiss. The kiss he gave me back was passionate, and I was convinced we had hot chemistry.
Our second date was in my neighborhood. After dinner drinks we retired to my couch for an after dinner make out session. I thought about waiting a little longer to have sex, but I couldn’t keep my hands off of him. I wanted this guy bad. As he held me, I gave signals I was ready to go further, but he wasn’t making a move. I stood up and led him into the bedroom. Finally he got the hint.
I could tell we weren’t a perfect match in the sack. He wanted soulful eye contact and soft gentle kisses. I wanted to bite his neck and rip his clothes to shreds. But we found a happy medium and settled into a satisfying rhythm for both of us … or so I thought. We had rolled into missionary position when he whispered in my ear.
Startled, I dug my heels into the bed and pulled my body away from his which hovered above me.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“Yes, why?” Was I not looking in to his eyes again?
“Just making sure…” he said. But there was something in his voice.
“Is this not good for you?” I asked. Was my dirty talk too dirty?
“No, no, it’s good. You just moved differently.”
“I moved differently?” I asked baffled.
“I’m just not sure you want to do this,” he said.
Excuse me? I was naked, on my back, with my legs spread the width of the bed. The vice grip I had on his upper back should have been a signal that he wasn’t leaving even if he wanted to.
“Because I moved my hips differently?” I said annoyed. “I started this, but if you want to stop, we can stop.”
He apologized and protested when I pushed at his strapping chest and pulled myself out from underneath him. His kisses and other attempts to get me back in the mood were nice, but my engine had gone cold.
“Maybe we should try again in the morning,” I said, which got me a little excited. I loved morning sex.
He didn’t respond. He was lying on his back next to me with his arm thrown over his eyes. I put my hand on his arm to nudge him when I glimpsed wetness on his cheek.
Is he crying?
I leaned closer and saw the tattoo on his chest heaving unevenly.
Oh God … he’s crying. This can’t be happening.
“Hey, it’s okay,” I whispered.
He shook his head rapidly. Unsure what to do, I pulled his rippling biceps toward me and put my arms around him.
His voice was tight with tears as he explained that he’s been “going through something” the past month and he dove head first into his issues with his mother and their relationship — she wouldn’t talk to him about his father.
He seemed to be having some large bout of insecurity in my bed. Had my proposal to continue our romp in the morning set it off?
“Do you have health insurance?” I asked. I tried to calm him down by explaining how he could find a doctor through his healthcare network. The co-pay should be minimal.
“And remember,” I added, “There is a difference between a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist.”
This went on for about an hour. His tears continued to flow.
“Thank you,” he said, sniffling, “for listening.”
With that he leaned in and kissed me, the wetness on his cheeks smearing onto my own. I pulled away and wiped our faces with the bed sheet. He pulled me in for more, but I stopped him.
“I’m sorry, I’m tired,” I said. But really my vagina had snapped shut like a sprung bear trap.
We didn’t have morning sex, my vagina was still closed for business. He could barely look me in the eye as he gathered his clothes and said goodbye. I told him to text me, which is code for “see you around.” I gently reminded him to call his health care provider as I shut the door and sent Eric on his way.
Although he was a sensitive guy, I preferred he go straight to therapy than on another date with me, where I would have to play shrink in the sack. I want comfort, I want a connection, and I want someone who gets me, but I don’t want crying during sex unless it comes with a full body orgasm.