…Have you ever had sex to avoid an awkward conversation?
This is a controversial question. We’re modern women, right? We’re not afraid to ask for what we want at home, or at work. Like Destiny’s Child we buy our own diamonds and we buy our own rings. Or we would if we weren’t too busy planning trips to Japan or wondering if we should go vegan.
I consider myself a grown up. I have a mortgage, a successful career and, hell, I even got married once (more on this another time). Yet even though I’m sexually confident and can ask for what I want, I sometimes find it hard to say ‘actually, I’ve changed my mind – I no longer wish to fuck you’.
This realisation hit me last year. Rewind a few months and I’m in my 20’s, in Mexico, and sitting on a moonlit beach with Andre – a heartbreakingly beautiful Argentinian man who, I have a sneaking suspicion, is about 20. Andre is attempting to light a spliff, but the Caribbean breeze is proving too much for his ageing Bic lighter. So he turns his attention to me instead. He barely speaks any English, and my Spanish is appalling, so the only logical thing to do is kiss.
This is really not what I imagined when I signed up for a yoga retreat… but I’m going with it.
I met Andre earlier that day when he led a bike ride arranged by my hotel. Having not ridden a bike for 20 years, Andre spent half an hour patiently holding me up like a proud father while I attempted to master the art of balance. Cycling – it transpires – is not like riding a bike.
Evidently my graceless enthusiasm (or me stripping down to my bikini top en route) did something for him, and he stuck by my side like a puppy for the rest of the day. Back at the hotel, we connected on Facebook and arranged to meet that night after his shift.
And here we are. Andre’s coffee bean eyes fix on mine and he goes in for the kill. His tongue is in my mouth. I mean, really in my mouth. It’s like those washing machine kisses that seemed de rigueur when I was 15. Almost immediately he’s grabbing wildly at my tits while inexpertly grappling at my jeans – skin-tight, white Liz Hurley numbers that are virtually man proof. Frustrated, Andre breaks off from his amorous frisking and suggests we go to my room.
Suddenly I’m not sure this is the best idea. I’m tired and meant to be ‘finding myself’, not ‘finding myself skewered on a teenager’s penis’. But he’s so keen and I’ve flirted so much and they never taught me how to say ‘this situation smacks of sexual Blind Man’s Buff’ in GCSE Spanish. So I shrug and lead him to my room, simply because I didn’t want to explain myself.
Back home, I quiz my friends. Do other women feel like this? More often than you might think. One friend tells me of a night of dry, uncomfortable sex with a man she wasn’t sure she fancied. Despite her vagina protesting, she soldiered on. Another friend confessed to engaging in an ‘accidental’ threesome, rather than admit she’d actually sobered up. Uncomfortable sex trumps uncomfortable conversation, it seems.
We laugh, but I wonder if there’s a darker side to this. Is this about a feeling of obligation? Or not wanting to be branded a tease? Or perhaps it’s something much more fundamental to my very British psyche. Good manners at all times and a pathological desire to avoid confrontation.
Either way, I need to learn to stop being a people-pleasing good girl.
Good girl…who am I kidding.