As long as the sex was good I could forgive Sheldon most anything. He was a man of many idiosyncrasies; routinely breaking into song and dance, arguing politics founded on a “just because” ideology, and manning a frantic train of thought that went from zero to sixty with little explanation in between.
But everything was negotiable -- as long as the sex was good.
The night Sheldon came over I was ready. I dimmed the lights and donned a sexy but casual knit dress that was just the right marriage of “I was about to bake a pie” and “Grab my neck and straddle me from behind.” I’d had a very serious talk with my seductively coiffed vagina—she was to achieve the perfect internal temperature.
It wasn't long before the two of us were a tangle of lusty bodies on my refurbished French Provencal. I opened my eyes to see Sheldon’s burning into mine, his calloused hand gripping at my breast.
For the life of me, I couldn’t stop touching him--all sinew and Adonis angles. I kissed down the length of his torso and we both exhaled sighs of relief. “You taste incredible,” he whispered from between my thighs. I thought I would die. Kissing me, he headed south once again. “Noooo, Sheldon,” I crooned, “Come here.” He faltered when I handed him the condom. Something was off.
I raised up on my elbows and looked down. “Oh,” I said. Someone wasn’t as, um, ready as I was.
But I was a determined woman. Once again, I went to work, coaxing our mutual friend back to life. Sheldon grabbed another condom. I waited patiently. Even in the dark, I could see him struggling. “What is it?” I asked, sincerely confused. “Nothing,” he said, kissing me again.
My mind grasped for examples from TV or in the movies—how the Carrie Bradshaws of the world dealt with extreme situations like these. I’d never been in a non-position like this, but I knew, Rule No. 1 was denial. I said nothing. Sheldon filled the silence. “Maybe…can you turn around, maybe?”
Wow. A sixty-nine on our first go-round. Unconventional, yes, but I was no prude. I was Captain Super Sex. I orgasmed in the face of convention. “Sure.”
Ten minutes later, we were both fired up and ready to go. Or so I thought. Sheldon handed me the condom and no sooner had I pinched the prophylactic’s tip then he was, once more, at ease. And once more I went for the BJ, but Sheldon’s expired manhood was stubborn. It rested, unwavering, on my tongue like a giant, immobilized slug.
What. THE. Fuck.
For weeks Sheldon and I had been make-out bandits. He had consumed my thoughts to the point of distraction from all other pertinent things in my life: work, play, other men. I had invested time, legitimate time, time I could not get back, in this man. But I had done so willingly, and in consideration of his promise—express and implied—to realign the walls of my vaginal undercarriage. But my walls remained intact. Sheldon was an oath-breaker. An impotent one.
I lay down, looked up at the ceiling and prayed for patience as I often do when considering punching someone in the mouth. Sheldon sighed deeply, and wrapped his arms around me as he nestled his head securely on my chest. “Sorry.”
“Is something the matter?” I asked.
“No, not really,” he’d replied, casually. Why the hell was he so calm? Was this a run o’ the mill Saturday night for him? Oh my god, was this normal for him? He snuggled closer, planting soft kisses on my abdomen and tracing shapes over my arms with his fingertips.
Relax. Just be cool. Don’t say anything offensive. Maybe it’s not his fault. Maybe this has never happened before. The world’s an unpredictable place. His penis lives in the world. Don’t react. Think, woman. Think. What would Jesus do?
I writhed a bit beneath the weight of him. I wasn’t much of a cuddler under the best of circumstances. And these were the fucking worst. Jesus might not put him out, but he definitely wouldn’t oblige the cuddle.
“So, are we done, then?” I asked, trying desperately to remove the strain from my voice. Anger and disappointment tore through me as the reality of this perfect body laying on top of me in a state of suspended animation sunk in.
“I think so,” he answered meekly. “Yeah, I’m having logistical issues. Don’t worry. I know it’s going to be amazing when we’re together.” He squeezed me tighter, nuzzling me closer. Is this man serious? When we’re together? Does he think this is happening again?
I cleared my throat. “’Logistical’ issues?”
Sheldon continued to hold me, totally undaunted by the gravity of his epic failure. “I have trust issues, I think. I’ve never been with someone who I wasn’t sure really liked me back. Maybe if you told me—“
“‘Maybe.if.I.told.you?’” I repeated, slowly.
Popular wisdom would have us women respond to such a situation with understanding, and a sweetly murmured "It's OK. It happens to every guy sometimes." But I wasn’t the Caesar Milan of dicks. I wasn’t anybody’s therapist. I wasn’t a dick-whisperer; a voodoo woman sent to earth to breathe life back into humbled penises. This man had brought his beautiful body into my home, seduced me in word and action, and left me high and frankly not dry, but you get the picture. To add insult to injury, Sheldon burrowed his head comfortably between my breasts, secure as a newborn babe, and sighed contentedly.
I chose my words wisely. “Uh. I’m not sleepy. So? Right. I’m going to put on some clothes and watch TV.”
Sheldon looked up at me, his face finally betraying a semblance of discomfort. “I can watch with you.”
“Mmm. Better not. It’s late, and I know you usually go to bed super early. You don’t have to leave, or anything. I just, you know…” I moved quickly, dressing as I spoke. I needed to put the kibosh on what was sure to be a revival of our cuddlefest in the living room. No, thank you, I thought. I don’t have “trust issues.” My shit works just fine. An hour later, I woke to the sound of Sheldon putting on his jacket. He was leaving. I didn’t apologize. I didn’t ask him to stay.
I sometimes imagine him beyond my closed door. Walking slowly down the long hallway, down the steps, and out the front door into the parking lot. Ironically, though I’d glazed over our political differences in the beginning, my own sexual politics had been our undoing. Admittedly, some small part of me felt bad.
Sheldon had been a nice guy. A great guy. But my home was not a charitable foundation for broken dicks. They could not show up at my doorstep and expect refuge. Sheldon’s Walk-of-Shame had been an unfortunate one, but a necessary one. Neither my literal nor figurative walls offered that kind of amnesty.