‘But Herbert, that’s three nights in a row!’
Not that I’m complaining or anything. In fact, I’m quite delighted. There’s me worrying that our sex life would nose-dive when the seductions finished, but the reverse seems to be true. Never once did we spontaneously do it three times in a weekend.
‘Well,’ H grins, ‘I’ve been reading a book with quite a lot of sex in it.’
Herbert has just finished reading my draft of The 52 Seductions. The only bit he really objects to is where I speculate that I would have made less fuss about the hot candle wax (Herbert: ‘Would you buffalo!’). Apart from that, he declares himself, ‘quite chuffed really.’
Even so, I thought he’d be the last person to be turned on by it. Surely reading about your own sexual performance has erection-shrivelling potential? But then, that’s not where H’s interest seems to lie.
What he’s really enjoying is reading my point of view. I hadn’t realised I was so mysterious to him. Having spent the last year discussing the intricacies of my sexual response with anyone who happens across this page, it didn’t occur to me that Herbert would be the last to know.
But, suddenly, he’s relieved. ‘I wasn’t sure if you enjoyed certain things, or not,’ he says. ‘It’s sometimes hard to tell.’
The odd thing is, I often assume that he knows more than I do. Only last night, he told me that he can feel the echoes of my orgasm long before I do, a sequence of twitches and spasms that ‘let me know you’re on the home straight.’
‘Your clitoris,’ he says, ‘dances.’
‘Really?’ I’m genuinely astonished. I just don’t get to see it from that angle. ‘In what way?’
He holds a finger in the air, and mimes a jerky tremble. ‘Wow,’ I say.
‘Do I do anything like that?’
I think for a while. ‘No. Sorry.’
‘I didn’t think so.’ He looks disappointed. I consider telling him about an ex-boyfriend whose penis let off a high-pitched squeak in the moments before ejaculation, but I think better of it.
It is somewhat shamefacedly that I admit that we’re finally developing a language for sex after the seductions are finished. Reading my words has loosened Herbert’s tongue. He’s full of new-minted questions about what sex feels like to me from the inside. And he’s also full of newly-articulated ideas about what he’d like to do next.
On Saturday night, for example, he presses a finger to his lips. ‘I think I’d like you to start by crouching over my face,’ he says.