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third time's the whaaaat - The Literary Exhibitionist
third time's the whaaaat

-- चार हजार और नब्बे-दो --


How's this for something different (at least compared to most of what I've written for the past thirteen years or so): I'm going to start off by writing pretty openly about sex. If that is unappealing to you, you're welcome to skip this section.

I'll even open with the weirdest part, albeit one that likely would not surprise anyone who knows me well: I keep statistics about my sexual activity, and I have ever since I've been in an open relationship -- so, since early 2010. For the past six years, as well as year-to-date this year, I could refer to my data and tell you a) how many times I had sex with Shobhit that year; and b) how many times I've had sex to orgasm with other people, broken down by whether it was strictly oral or anal, and in the latter case whether I was the top or the bottom. (It should surprise no one at this point that I prefer to be the bottom, so that number is higher, although I actually haven't counted how many times I've done each one . . . that literally only occurred to me just now.)

Being in an open relationship has had several curious effects, nearly all of them I would consider positive. Any sanctimonious monogamist -- which would have included me until 2010 -- can fuck themselves for all I care, especially considering they have no authority to speak about something with which they clearly have no experience. There is also the fact that, until Shobhit and I made this change in our relationship, I had literally only ever had sex with one person. And guess what? Having sex with other people makes you better at it.

I mean, marriage still gets monotonous, even in that context. But these are the kinds of things that break things up, makes things more interesting, allows for more fun -- I could go on. One thing I often think about when I see the naiveté of people on Facebook posting pronouncements about how even looking at another person besides your partner is "cheating" -- that's the kind of shit attitude that breaks up relationships. How logical is it to judge someone like me and my choices when, hello, which one of us is still in the same relationship after thirteen years? People used to give me unsolicited relationship advice all the time, and it almost never happens now, I suspect because my relationship has outlasted those of almost all those other people. I learned through experience that you don't adhere to what other people say are "the rules." You make your own rules.

And again, guess what? The ironic byproduct of having both a long distance relationship and an open relationship was that Shobhit and I started having sex with each other far more often than when we were monogamous and living together. Before 2010, we were averaging three or four times a year. Neither of us even cared that much, either; it wasn't a particular sticking point in our relationship. But we did notice that whenever we did have sex, we tended to get along better, at least for a little while. There's something to be said for the intimacy it provides, when it is indeed with your partner. I won't say that it devalues sex with other people -- I still value that highly, truth be told -- but it certainly elevates sex with him.

With a few exceptions, I'd say that I averaged sex with Shobhit 1.5 times each time I took a four-day trip to visit Shobhit in New York or Los Angeles. Often it was twice; a fair amount it was just once; a few times it was none at all; a couple of times it was three times in one visit. But even on the low end, I was averaging once a month -- probably far too seldom for most couples, but astronomically high compared to our own track record before Shobhit moved. More often than not, we went out of our way to make it happen. It was a logical part of making sure our limited time together was quality time. I did have sex with other people even in L.A. occasionally, usually on days when Shobhit was working all day. These were never people I knew, and I never wanted it to be: I have always drawn a clear line between sex and any kind of relationship, as I have never, ever wanted a second relationship. Polyamory is not for me. One relationship is more than enough exhausting work, thank you very much. I would have a really hard time even trying to find someone new to have an actual relationship anyway, I think, under any circumstances.

Anyway, Shobhit's back home now. We've kept the relationship open both because I don't think declaring it forbidden for either of us would have been at all logical -- a clear setup for failure and disappointment on both sides -- and because I've had a taste of something I quite like and am not willing to give up. That said, I do have sex with other people far less often now, and with Shobhit far more often -- an uptick yet again, even over the clear increase in frequency that came with Shobhit's moving away. Now? We average once a week at minimum, and I'd guess maybe between a quarter and a third of the time we do it twice a week. It's always on the weekends, though, always in the morning, and frankly that's gotten a little tedious. It has generally been the only time Shobhit has wanted to.

And I bring all this up now only because we had sex last night -- a first in three different ways: 1) our first weekday sex since he moved back in Decemner; 2) our first nighttime sex since sometime well before 2010 probably; and -- this is the most significant -- as far as I know, the first time ever that we've had sex three days in a row.

I checked my Google Calendar to consult the data on this. As part of my tracking, I put a coded calendar event on each day I've had sex, with letters that represent who I've done it with (as in, Shobhit vs. someone else) as well as -- and I only track this for sex with other people -- whether it was oral, anal, and in the latter case top or bottom. If you were really interested, you could even find it on the public version of my calendar -- this is what I write on days I've had sex with Shobhit:


And you can see that on May 13, 14 and 15. Oh, May 6 too.

When it's sex with other people, I write this: (_x_)

Okay, yes, that is actually the old-school style emoticon for a butt. Whatever works! Anyway, you can see that one on May 3, followed by what looks like a word but actually isn't: "boo." That's actually a "b" to indicate that I bottomed; and two "o" letters to indicate I had oral sex with two other people. I never said I wasn't slutty. Nor do I consider being slutty a bad thing -- I feel very strongly that both men and women should be absolutely unashamed of how many people they've had sex with, no matter how high the number.

Anyway, this feature is not available on the public version of my calendar (which, aside from those codes, mostly just show my social plans -- movies and dinners and lunches and the like), but when I am logged in and looking at the private version of my Google Calendar, it includes a search engine. In it, I can search for "_x_" and it brings up a list version of all the dates on which I've had sex of any kind. This was how, because I was curious, this morning I was able to search through this archive and determine whether I had ever had sex three days in a row before.

And I can tell you definitively: nope. Not with Shobhit or with anyone else. I mean, okay, I've certainly had sex with three people within that time frame before, but what I'm talking about has more to do with . . . stamina, I guess. And although I have no data to prove I haven't had sex three times in three days before 2010, I can tell you with near certainty that I haven't, because of how seldom Shobhit and I had sex for several years in the first half-decade of our relationship -- and that includes our very first year together, when Shobhit quite frustratingly asked not to do it too often, because "I don't want our relationship to be based on sex." It seemed sweet at the time, until I realized it resulted in many years of not getting any for ridiculously long stretches of time.

The closest we have ever come, so far as I can tell, was during our anniversary trip to Oregon in June 2015 -- Shobhit and I had sex three times in the space of four days.

There's a particular irony to this week's three-day stretch, though, because after having sex yesterday morning, I literally thought to myself, Okay, I think I'm sexed out for a while. And after that thought had come to me, and I thought about that, I further thought to myself, Is this just what being in your forties is like?

Ha! I guess not. Ivan was getting ready for bed shortly before 2 a.m. and his opening and shutting of his bedroom and bathroom doors woke me up. That, evidently, became a window of opportunity for Shobhit, who rolled over toward me and he was unusually horny -- something that, in the past, has often been a difficult state to get him in (far more than it ever has been for me; it's been an ongoing issue). And at first, I honestly thought, I don't think I'm ready for another round of this. But it didn't take me long to come around, and I kind of thought to myself, Well, all right. I guess I might as well. (Maybe that kind of thinking is more like what is typical of being in your forties? Honestly there probably is no "typical.") So, we went at it again, this time actually a few less than 24 hours since the last time. But, it was well past midnight, making it the third calendar date in a row. So, the first time: three fucks in three days.

Can you imagine if it happens again tonight? I really don't think it will, but -- Jesus. A person can only do so much! It's already almost -- but not quite -- too much. And given our sexual history, that's a bizarre, bordering on surreal, thing to be contemplating. I guess, if nothing else, eventually life always throws you curve balls. (Look at me, making sports analogies while discussing gay sex.) Anyway, we're getting perilously close to running out of lube. I need to buy a new bottle.

P.S. Due to my well-worn narcissism, my favorite thing about sharing all this is the idea that someone out there just might be thinking, Only Matthew would keep statistical data on his sex life.

-- चार हजार और नब्बे-दो --


-- चार हजार और नब्बे-दो --

I guess I could get to telling you about my weekend now, since I never wrote about it while it was happening. Nothing particularly exciting occurred, but there were social outings that necessitate acknowledging, so I can reference them in the next Social Review.

I met Shobhit for Happy Hour at a bar called Diesel on 14th Avenue between Madison and Union, on my way home from work on Friday. This was mostly by Shobhit's design, to get him a point on the next social review, because we thought I was having dinner with Ivan that evening, and Shobhit was opting not to join for that -- but he'd still get a point if we met for Happy Hour.

It turns out Diesel is a bear bar, full of an older and more mixed type of crowd. They were showing RuPaul's Drag Race, which was actually fun to watch, as they had the sound playing -- often places don't, which I always find annoying: what's the point of watching a show you can't hear? Best of all, though, they made their Happy Hour drinks shockingly strong. The bartender used a full-sized glass for my Screw Driver, filled it with ice, and then filled it at least 75% with the vodka before topping it off with the orange juice. Most places reverse those proportions, and I'll want to go back there for Happy Hour for this reason alone.

We did little more than stand around with our drinks, watching the show, though, and then we walked the two blocks back home.

When we got in, I was most disappointed to see Ivan sitting at the dining table, eating. What the hell? He had messaged me on Thursday asking if I had plans Friday evening as he was going to take "a mental health day" and suggested we have dinner at the new Thai place on 12th and Pike. "Oh, I changed my mind," he said, "I'm sorry I didn't message you." Well, fuck.

So I said, "How about tomorrow?" And Ivan said, "We'll go tomorrow, I promise." So, Shobhit and I made our own dinner, after the making of which I still did spend some time with Ivan, as we all sat in the living room to watch the week's episode of The Handmaid's Tale, Ivan and I enjoy it as always and Shobhit complaining because he's the only person in the world who thinks it sucks.

-- चार हजार और नब्बे-दो --

I almost completely forgot about this part, which was dumb because it took up my entire Saturday afternoon: Laney came over for a Hitchcock double feature in the Braeburn Condos theatre: Psycho and The Birds.

Evan and Elden came too! That was kind of a surprise, when I got the text from Evan that We're here. I mean, I had invited her, and she did ask me via Facebook Messenger several days prior what day it was starting and which order we planned to watch the movies. But she never responded again after I told her, so she never confirmed plans to come. But I was still delighted to see them.

Laney had guessed that it had been a good decade since she had watched Psycho, but then Evan was like, wasn't that the double feature when Laney first brought Evan to one of my Movie Nights, when we watched the original Psycho along with the (far inferior) 1998 remake? That would prove she saw it within the past six years at least, as we knew it was after Shobhit moved away. And, searching through my archives, that indeed was October 21, 2011. So I guess officially I have known Evan for five and a half years now. And it was also five and a half years since Laney watched Psycho.

When was the last time I watched The Birds? That would be September 19, 2012 -- when I went to see a theatrical showing of it at the movie theatre by Northgate Mall . . . also with Evan! Shobhit decided to skip Psycho but came down to join us for The Birds for this stint, and he wasn't sure he had ever seen it before. I was fairly certain he'd watched it with me on DVD from Netflix several years ago, but, amazingly, my rental activity page at dvd.netflix.com shows no indication of my ever having rented it before now. I guess Shobhit was right about that one.

Both movies still hold up remarkably well, even if they are both pretty dated (The Birds more than Psycho on a technical filmmaking level; Psycho more than The Birds on the level of psychological representation). They are both incredibly impressive films in the context of the time of their release.

-- चार हजार और नब्बे-दो --

Ivan had an apparently very relaxing day that he took off of work on Friday, and then, having plans to pick up an extra shift at work on Sunday (partly the reason for taking the day off on Friday), quite a lot of stuff going on Saturday -- I was kind of touched, actually, that he made the effort to fit me in for dinner, and stick to it, because he felt bad that what I thought had been my dinner plans on Friday got thwarted at the last minute. He had lunch with a friend, and was planning to see a movie and even have a friend for "a sleepover" that night, and still kept the dinner plans.

Although Shobhit wasn't going to do dinner on Friday, once he looked more closely at the menu for Bai Tong Thai Street Café, the more interested he became. I had slightly been hoping to get Ivan to myself for dinner, but realized that, especially after getting that for dinner and dessert the previous weekend, maybe I shouldn't get greedy. There are certain things I can talk about more openly with friends when Shobhit is not around, which sometimes makes getting a break from him more appealing -- it's not that I won't talk about these things with Shobhit around, it's just that it can be easier to do so without Shobhit hijacking the conversation. But, Ivan was not especially talkative this time out, and I suspect he would have been the same whether Shobhit had joined us or not, so it really didn't matter.

Ivan did take an opportunity to ask us a provocative, potentially loaded question: "What do you think is the most challenging thing in your relationship?" I actually was having a hard time deciding to answer when Shobhit -- of course -- beat me to it: "How controlling I am." And that didn't take me long to respond to: "I would agree with that." Shobhit justifies this by stating how he was the one who taught me the best and most efficient way to become debt free. That is true, but it does not excuse his obsession with knowing how I spent all of my own fucking money. In his mind, he's helping me keep spending under control in an effort to maximize my savings. In my mind, I have plenty of savings and as long as it continues to grow, I'm good. He thinks they aren't growing fast enough, and so he thinks he can pick at me for, say, spending an extra three bucks to get peanut sauce with my fried rice. I very much got the feeling Ivan agreed with me that picking at me for such things is ridiculous; most people do. What most people think never sways Shobhit, though, because in Shobhit's mind he is always right no matter what, even when actual facts staring him straight in the fucking face prove him wrong. It's crazy making, but whatever. I'm getting laid, right?

Okay, that was kind of a joke. I do value Shobhit for more than that. The mere absence of loneliness says a lot, though: when Ivan remarked the other day what a strange relationship he thinks Shobhit and I have, in the context of our struggles, Shobhit literally said, "It's better than being lonely." And Ivan, who has been single for the past four years, replied, "I would agree with that, actually." Even the perpetually single Tommy once said something along the very same lines to me, indicating he would much rather be in my position than the one he was in -- the idea that dealing with the inevitable struggles of a long term relationship, within reason of course (this would exclude extremes like, say, domestic violence), is certainly preferable to indefinite loneliness. Indeed, I have no idea how I would cope if I lost Shobhit. I do believe I would get over it and move on eventually, but until that happened, I would still expect the grief to be the worst I ever experienced.

Ivan actually seemed to want me to meet his "FWB," he kept referring to the guy as, but said he would not be back with him until around 10:30, and by that time, I was in bed. I have no idea what the fuck was going on, but I got super tired and zonked out early all weekend -- 8:30 on Friday night, around 9:30 Saturday night, and around 10:00 last night. And although I heard Ivan come in with the guy Saturday night and introduce him to Shobhit (Shobhit loves to point out how huge the guy's shoes are, convinced as he is that it's correlated to cock size -- for some reason never wanting to believe my assertions that it's a myth -- this being, of course, totally in character, as I already stated Shobhit's refusal to regard actual facts), I missed seeing the guy even yesterday morning, as Shobhit and I went out to do some grocery shopping before they got out of bed. When we got back, the guy was gone; Ivan quipped, "I kicked his ass out." Ivan had indicated this young man had been over at least a couple of times before, so it seems at least somewhat likely he could be back again. Ivan thinks he's really cute; he showed us his Grindr profile picture over dinner, but he was making an odd face and neither Shobhit nor I could see what the attraction was. But Ivan has proven to have ridiculously specialized tastes; when I once asked him if he had the hots for any particular actor, the only one he would cite was Bulgarian actor Zachary Baharov, star of the noir film Zift, which he had gotten from Netflix and had me watch with him in mid-March. Shobhit and I both took one look at that guy and were like, Blehhh. Ivan also dismisses many otherwise gorgeous men out of hand for no other reason than being too much shorter than him, which I have always found bizarre. What a pointless reason to dismiss someone.

-- चार हजार और नब्बे-दो --

So anyway, I guess that brings us to yesterday, when I did see Ivan for a bit in the late morning and early evening -- he was a little more contemplative yesterday, after semi-shocking me on Saturday with more than one uncharacteristically optimistic comment -- but then I left for a solo viewing of Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, which, based on reviews, I expected to be all right, and that was about how it was for the first three quarters or so of the film. But then things really started to come together in the last act, revealing how well crafted the script actually was. I was pretty impressed with it, in the end, and think Shobhit actually would have liked it. But getting Shobhit excited about any movie is always a crapshoot, and often surprising in its own right.

It gave me a movie to see, though, in an otherwise lackluster list of options, at least when it came to movies playing that I had not already seen. I really want to go to at least one more movie in the coming week -- especially considering there will be no movie-going next weekend, as that's our spring trip to Idaho to see Mom and Bill -- but there's nothing else worth seeing. Except! The 20th anniversary showing of The Fifth Element, which I have seen several times and even saw relatively recently (I am sure, although I can't find confirmation -- neither in this journal nor in my Netflix rental or viewing history; Hulu has a viewing history but they make it far too difficult to scan through, as you have to click through pages instead of having an option to see it all in one list). The key thing for me, which Shobhit doesn't seem to understand, is seeing it on the big screen for the first time since 1997. This was a special effects-heavy film, and an unusually fun one, and I expect to get to see a lot more detail than I've ever been able to see on a television screen over the past two decades. I still have one of the discount AMC tickets purchased at Costco anyway, so that one won't cost me anything extra.

Anyway, I then spent the evening, after writing my review, working on the New York Times crossword puzzle and watching TV shows with Shobhit. I did call Mom to wish her a Happy Mother's Day; we talked for only 13 minutes, but she said she needed to take a nap, and we'll be seeing her next weekend anyway. I'm hoping to take them out for dinner as an anniversary gift, as May 24 is their 20th anniversary. This may be complicated by the presence of Christopher; I presume he has a car but I have no clue how he's paying for gas, and there's no way all five of us will fit in Shobhit's car. I need to message Shelly to see if she'll come over; if so, then perhaps her car can transport one or two people too.

I'm beginning to think Mom's memory is further declining, by the way. It's a little depressing. But what can I do? Nothing at all. Just continue coming to visit her at least twice a year. I really don't do that for me. I do it for her.

I did also call Sherri, even calling her cell, but there was no answer. I left a message wishing her a Happy Mother's Day. She already knew I had acknowledged her in at least two ways anyway -- I'm certain she already had the card I sent, and I also posted something to Facebook, to which she responded. Now I just need to remember that I soon have to make a birthday card for Mom (June 2) and a Father's Day card for Dad (June 18), and then it'll be a while before I have a rush of cards to make again.

-- चार हजार और नब्बे-दो --


positive energy please