tagLoving WivesWhat Did I Do that was Wrong? 02

What Did I Do that was Wrong? 02



My conversations with Leanne were very different, right from the beginning. She is much less methodical and orderly than her husband, and we tended to jump from one subject to another. In addition, she was obviously unhappy and anxious, and a mixture of guilt and defiance was evident from the very moment she first came into my office by herself.

"Well, I guess it's time now to hear from the slut, right?" She stared at me as if daring me to agree with her.

"I've never found that to be a very useful term, actually," I said.

"What shall we call me, then--the wife who can't keep her legs closed? The evil, cuckolding whore?"

"Is that how you think of yourself, Leanne?" I asked.

Suddenly she started to cry. "No!" she said. "Oh, I don't know! Maybe I do, a little."

She dried her tears with a tissue. "I never used to--not before Mark and I were married, not even before...before THIS happened.

"I am...I was...a very sexual person. It was something I learned about myself back in my teens, and it's been true ever since. Sex means a lot to me. And the thrill, the excitement, of being with different people--I've always needed that.

"But I never felt like a whore before."

"And what's caused that change?"

"The way Mark looks at me! The way he shuffles through life now, all crushed and self-pitying. The way he can't make love to me any more, or even stand to be around me..." She was crying again, quietly, looking at me.

"After dinner he disappears into his office with his paperwork, or gets lost in front of a ballgame on TV. And he'll stay up until long after I've gone to sleep, or he'll give me a peck on the cheek and go off to sleep in the guest room. I miss him! I want him back, and he won't let me in.

"Tell me, Tom! Tell me, please: what did I do that was wrong? We had an agreement, and no one can say that I didn't keep my side of the bargain. I was totally careful, totally discreet.

"And then Mark came home early one afternoon, and I didn't hear the phone because I was outside, and it's all gone to hell. I'm afraid for him and afraid for my marriage. I'm scared he'll never come back to me."

We sat a few minutes more, while she cried. I handed her the tissue box after a while and she took it without comment. Finally, when she was calmer, I said, "I hope that I can help. I think I can. But I need to know more; is it all right if we go back to the beginning?"

As I said, Leanne didn't tell me her story in a nice chronological order, but I got the gist of it. She was the third in a family of three girls, growing up in Minneapolis. Her mother was a homemaker, and her father, a history professor at the University of Minnesota, was cold, distant, and demanding. Leanne was never as outstanding a student as her eldest sister Mary, nor as good an athlete as her middle sister Kaitlyn, and she always struggled to win her father's approval.

By high school, however, she was clearly the prettiest, and she reveled in her father's belated attention and compliments. Getting the attention of high school boys was a natural extension of getting the attention of her father--only easier--and she basked in it.

She learned how to flirt, how to be sexy without seeming cheap, and the boys flocked to her. Despite not being a cheerleader, the usual requirement for social success, she became the girlfriend of the quarterback on the football team in her junior year and held onto him until they both graduated.

This was partly because she was a bright, attractive and charming girl, and partly because she was willing to have sex with him. Bradley was no virgin when he took Leanne's virginity; but unlike many jocks he was a kind, caring boy, and he really loved Leanne. He was gentle and patient; so her first experience of intercourse was somewhat painful but not at all frightening, and she was happy to continue having sex with him.

Her mother quietly got her on the pill, as she'd done for Leanne's two older sisters, and Leanne and her boyfriend fucked whenever they could find a time and place to do it--every week at least. She found that she adored sex—apparently far more than girls typically do, at least according to the magazines she read.

But after six months or so of screwing only Bradley, she began to be more and more curious about other boys, and more and more tempted to try one of them. Only her strong sense of loyalty and faithfulness to the boy she was sure she was going to marry kept her from acting on her temptations.

"But I'll tell you," she said, "it sure didn't keep me from fantasizing. There were about six boys in my senior class, and a couple of teachers, I used to daydream about having sex with. Sometimes at night I'd masturbate while imagining doing it with one of them, and it was far more exciting than when I fantasized about Bradley.

"One night in my senior year I came home early and my big sister Mary was upstairs on her bed screwing her college boyfriend Teddy. They'd come for a weekend visit. Since they thought they were totally alone in the house she hadn't even closed the bedroom door!

"So I sneaked upstairs and watched them do it. I'd never been so turned-on in my life. Teddy was much bigger than Bradley--he had a bigger cock, I mean--and I was soaking my panties thinking about how it would feel inside me. I knew I could never do it with him, but I daydreamed about him for weeks."

When Leanne began college at the University of Minnesota and Bradley went off to Grinnell College in Iowa, it wasn't much more than two months before their long-distance romance fell apart; he'd met someone else. So much for the man she was going to marry! Leanne was unhappy and hurt, but only for a few days. Then she began to realize that the good-looking guys at Minnesota who were always flirting with her in the dorm or the cafeteria weren't off-limits any more.

"I decided I didn't want another boyfriend, at least not for a while. The whole time I'd been with Bradley I had fantasies about lots of different guys, and this was my chance."

So Leanne gave in to the temptations of casual sex, dating several different men at the same time and having sex with nearly all of them, often on the first or second date. It was exciting, having all that male attention, and she loved it for a few weeks. But she quickly found that her behavior was causing problems.

"First, all that partying was keeping me from getting my studying done, and I nearly flunked two of my courses that first semester. Second, I'd slept with three different guys in my dorm, and word started to get around that I was a pushover. I had all sorts of jerks coming up to me and making crude remarks, or even trying to cop a feel. And then a guy I met in a bar, who I was more than ready to go off to bed with, turned out to be into some pretty rough stuff!

"A girl from my history class saw me with him and pulled me into the Ladies Room. She told me her roommate had gone out with him the previous year and he'd beaten the hell out of her during sex--she ended up in the Emergency Room with bruises on her face and two broken ribs!

"Well, that scared the shit out of me. I slipped out the back door of the bar, so I could avoid the guy, and I went back to my dorm and decided to make some changes."

I was very impressed by Leanne's account of how she took control of her situation, thinking carefully about what she wanted and how to get it while keeping herself safe. First, she cut down on her dating to 2-3 times a week, to make sure that her studies didn't slide.

Second, she resolved to stop getting involved sexually with anyone in her dorm or in her classes. It was easy enough on a big campus to meet men, and much safer for her reputation if they weren't men who saw her every day or knew all her friends.

Third, she enrolled in a Women's Self-Defense course offered by the Phys. Ed. department. She took the course for three semesters, and got very good at the maneuvers necessary to protect herself if a guy got rough, which happened once or twice. Finally, having seen a scary film about STDs at a dorm meeting, she vowed to use condoms from then on without exception.

For the remainder of her time at Minnesota Leanne was a successful student, active in her sorority, with many friends; all the while having sex with a succession of men, usually not more than once or twice each. Her friends occasionally teased her about not having a boyfriend, or wondered aloud why the cute guys they sometimes saw her with never seemed to appear a second time.

But she was very careful to keep the details of her sex life completely private. She almost always had sex with the men she met in their rooms or apartments, ideally some distance away from her own dorm. Occasionally the back seat of a car proved to be a suitable spot, and a few of her lovers even sprang for a motel room from time to time.

Leanne told me all about this with excited pleasure, but not without a certain defensiveness. She understood all too well what society thinks of a woman who behaves this way, even though a man who does the same thing is considered a "stud" or a "player".

"Tom, I loved what I did--I don't regret it and I'm not going to apologize for it, okay?"

"You don't have to apologize, Leanne," I said. "I believe that consenting adults can have as much or as little sex as they want, with anyone they want, in any way they want, as long as everyone is in agreement. Our culture frowns on certain behaviors by women, but that's our culture's problem."

She seemed pleased with my reply, but I could tell she didn't completely believe me.

In her senior year Leanne fell in love with a young professor in the Sociology Department, where she was a major. She'd been in two of his courses and he'd taken a special interest in her, praising her academic work and urging her to do a senior thesis. He never violated the rules for student-faculty relationships, but when the second course ended he asked her out to dinner.

"In retrospect it was crazy for me to marry him," she told me. "Adam was older (he was 28), sophisticated, brilliant--it was incredibly flattering for him to want me for more than my body. He thought I was really smart and talented, which just knocked me off my feet. We never even had sex for the first two months we dated, though I would have jumped into bed with him the moment he asked.

"But he was all wrong for me, once the infatuation rubbed off and I could look at him clearly. Adam was a quiet, introspective loner. A typical academic in many ways, I guess. But as smart as he was, he bored the hell out of me! He didn't want to go dancing, or ski, or even take a picnic to the park or go to the movies. He wanted to work in the library, or read in his study at home. And he wanted me to make him dinner, kiss him on the cheek, and stay out of his way--until it was time to fuck, after which he'd roll over and go to sleep. He didn't want to fuck all that often, either—maybe twice a week, which wasn't nearly enough for me."

Needless to say, the marriage didn't last very long. Leanne divorced Adam, amicably enough, after a year or two and moved to Chicago. She looked up the father of one of her sorority sisters and got a job in his real estate office, while she studied at night to get her own real estate license.

Once she had a license she began selling houses, which she's been doing successfully ever since, working at two different firms before joining a Century 21 franchise about a year before she met Mark.

And, of course, once she was free of Adam she went back to her active sexual lifestyle.

"I was making pretty good money within a year or two, and I found a great one-bedroom apartment downtown, just a mile or so from the lake. And I went a little crazy. Chicago is so full of great men!"

She stared at me defiantly, as though waiting for me to criticize her. When I smiled at her without speaking, she went on.

"I know how this sounds, dammit. But I love men--and I love cocks."

Again the challenging stare, again no response from me.

"I've talked to a few guys I know about how they love boobs. How every woman who walks by is an invitation to stare, and to fantasize--what it would be like to see them, to hold and stroke them, to suck on them. Well, that's how I feel about men and their cocks.

"They get so hard, but they're soft at the same time, you can squeeze them and stroke them, and guys go crazy. And when a man is really turned-on they get so hot!"

She was looking at me, daring me to stop her, or to squirm.

"And they're so different. I think one of the reasons I like...you know, one-night stands with new men so much is the excitement of a new cock, one I've never seen or felt before. Will it be big? Will it have a curve, so it hits my G-spot?

"And each new man is so different-- very eager or just playing it cool, powerful and strong or slow and gentle. Sometimes a guy will last for ages inside me, and I'll come several times. That's fantastic. Sometimes a guy will come within a minute or two and be all embarrassed, but I still love it. I always tell him it's exciting to know I turned him on so much he couldn't hold back.

"The difference in skill level is also amazing. God knows I've had my share of disappointing fucks, with guys who haven't got a clue about women. But there are men who absolutely turn me inside-out, they know just what to do and when to do it. Sometimes it's their hands, or their tongues, or the way they thrust against me, hitting my clit just right. Or sometimes I think it's that they know how to pay attention, they're tuned-in to my responses so they pick up right away on what excites me.

"Mark is like that," she said thoughtfully. "He's certainly not the biggest I've ever had, he doesn't go all night long or anything--but he's so attentive and responsive to me, and always so eager to please me. He makes me feel so desired and so loved." Her voice trailed off for a moment, and she looked away towards the window before pulling herself back to our conversation.

"I love to see how a new guy smells, what he likes in bed, whether he'll go down on me, what positions he wants to do it in. It's amazing how nearly every guy thinks the first time has to be in missionary position! But when I ask a guy what else he'd like to try, he almost always has a favorite."

Leanne went on like this for quite a while, with enthusiastic details. I think in part she was continuing to try to challenge me, to shock me or make me call her a whore. But also, I realized, since she was so discreet about her sex life, even with her close friends, she'd never had anyone before to talk frankly with about this. It was a relief to be allowed to say all these things.

"I had a lot of ways to keep things from getting too...too personal with any one man, or from losing my privacy. I didn't hook up with anyone from work or anyone I knew socially. In fact when I met guys, like in a bar or something, I always used the name "Marie". I never gave out my phone number, just took their number if I was interested. And I never brought guys back to my apartment--we always did it at their place, or at a hotel."

When she slowed down a bit she gazed at me again, waiting for me to condemn her.

"I assure you, Leanne," I said, "you don't have to apologize for any of this. Being sexual isn't bad--and knowing what you like is a good thing. You're honest with yourself about your sexuality, and it sounds as though you're equally honest with the men you have sex with."

She relaxed just a bit, as if she was beginning to believe I really wasn't judging her.

"So this lifestyle was working fine for you--and then you met Mark?"

"Yes, exactly. It was a couple of weeks after my 28th birthday. I was handling the marketing of some homes his company had built, and we met on the site as they were showing me the properties.

"I wasn't looking for a husband, or any sort of serious relationship. I was still perfectly happy with my life: I loved my work, I had some good friends, and I was getting lots of sex. When I first met Mark....

"Well, you've seen him. He's one of the best-looking men I've ever seen, so of course I was attracted to him. And I could tell he noticed me, though during the tour all he did was smile and make a few polite remarks. Then when I was getting ready to leave, he walked me back to my car and asked if he could buy me a drink some evening.

"I really hesitated at first, because of my 'no men from work' rule, and because he already knew me as Leanne. But he was such a charming guy, and SO good-looking, that I made an exception. I told myself that we might casually see one another in a work setting, but that we wouldn't be working together regularly, so it wouldn't be a problem.

"We met the next night. At first all I had in mind was going to bed with him. I'd been fantasizing about him, that handsome face and that athletic body. But when we sat and talked I kept being distracted away from my horny feelings.

"He was just so classy and so interesting! He told funny stories, but he also listened to me. I felt like no one ever had listened so attentively and carefully when I spoke--except maybe Adam, when he was first trying to get me to fall in love with him. But that wore off pretty fast!" She snorted derisively.

"But with Mark... He's definitely no wimp, but he was such a nice guy. Polite, considerate. It almost didn't fit, him being such a hunk. Usually guys who are that attractive are also arrogant assholes--fine for fucking once or twice, but you wouldn't want to spend any extra time with them.

"We lingered over our drinks for a long time. When we were finally getting ready to leave the bar, I hoped he was going to invite me over--I was more than ready to have sex with him. But instead, he took my hand and asked if I'd come over on Friday and let him cook dinner for us. 'I'm not too bad a cook, actually,' he said with this really cute smile.

"And that Friday night at his apartment changed everything. I got there still thinking of him as a really hot guy--a nice one too, but mainly a hot one--whom I wanted to sleep with. But by the next morning I was already half in love with him.

"Mark is so gentle, so considerate--but all man too!--and there was just this spark between us. Not just sexual attraction, I'm used to feeling that, but some crazy sense that we belonged together. It scared me a little, because a serious relationship was the last thing I was interested in.

"My previous ones hadn't worked out so well, and I was happy seeing a lot of guys, keeping it light and keeping my distance. But Mark effortlessly got by all my defenses.

"The sex was incredible, but that wasn't why he got to me so much. It was maybe, WHY the sex was incredible that did it. He treated me like the most beautiful creature in the world--I had his total attention every minute, and he seemed to love every part of me, not just my tits or my ass or my pussy. He touched me, stroked me, licked me, told me how beautiful I was, how incredible it felt to touch me.

"I stayed over most of the weekend. I'm sure we did it at least five times, and it was different every time--always wonderful. The first time he ate me so beautifully I just about tore the hair out of his head when I came. And then he fucked me gently, lovingly, so slowly I nearly went nuts. I shouldn't say 'fucked'—it was making love, even though we hardly knew each other yet.

"And then later it was completely different: hard and fast, a little rough, with my legs up over his shoulders and him slamming into me. I'd had a lot of great orgasms before, but coming with him felt different, because I felt so close to him."

Leanne's account of their love-affair was much like Mark's. They enjoyed everything they did together, from the romantic to the mundane. She adored just sitting on his living-room couch in the evenings, wearing nothing but one of his button-down shirts, watching TV and holding his hand.

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