Popcorn and Restraints

I had spent the day shopping with a friend, and we stopped by Good Vibrations in Berkeley, no really, so not a shameless plug: I wanted to buy some DVD’s and she wanted to try out one of the condom potpourri pouches. I don’t know if that is their official product name, but that is what we call them; a little variety pack of condoms.

I know it’s fantastic to stream porn, but sometimes I like to watch it on an actual TV screen. Plus, our wifi connection isn’t the most dependable and I HATE when the movies freeze.  I bought Sasha Grey’s Rough Sex and was super excited to watch it for the first time later that night after my kids went to sleep. The guy I was dating texted me a few times and during our text conversation I mentioned my purchase.

Rough Sex? He texted.

“Yup I replied.

“You want some porn watching company?

Hah! I thought, why yes. Yes I do. But it’s always more fun to tease:

“You going to bring me popcorn and restraints?

A pause in the texting, then:

“Popcorn and restraints, I will make it so. What time will the kids be in bed?

Now, that is the important question to ask in this situation. If he came over before the boys were asleep, they would be happy to see him and expect some of his attention; which he would have been more than happy to give. Like, we would have had to play Monopoly or Super Mario Bros on the Wii and then the kids would fight going to sleep. Half of their lives I have spent convincing them that nothing exciting goes on after their bed-time. No, nothing fun or interesting at all, just mom and her book. It makes going to bed at a reasonable hour much easier on their part if they are sure that they are not missing out on anything. So, if he came over after they were already passed out, we would actually have more time to be alone together. I text him the time and he says he’ll be there.

He arrives with a full backpack. He brings it into my room and pulls out a freshly popped bag of seasoned popcorn! I am thrilled! But then he starts pulling out long lengths of ripped linens. I look closer and see electrical tape wrapped about the strips in strategic places.  He began tethering them to the four corners of my bed.

My expression is pure amazement, “Popcorn and restraints?

“Yup, he said very proud of his handy work.

I popped in the DVD, we agree on a safe-word and, then, yes, well, I highly recommend the film.

Later the next day, while I was folding laundry, my younger son came into my room and saw one of the ropes still tied to the bottom corner of my bed.

“Mom, what is that?

I just tucked it under my bed more and said, “Nothing, camping gear, left over Burning Man stuff, go on.

And in my mind, I gave my future 15 or so year old son one get out of jail free card for an embarrassing sexual moment. I bargained that, when I find him in a potentially awkward situation, not dangerous or something that needs my attention, just something uncomfy, like this, I will not call him out on it. Because some day, when he is even older than that and much, much, more mature, he will remember this moment and recognize that his mom, back in her wild and crazy 30’s, had a restraint fastened to her bed.

Airial Clark

As of May 2012, I will have completed my Master’s Degree in Human Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University. Prior to attending graduate school, I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2007 with a double major BA in English Literature and Anthropology while raising two young sons as a single parent. At Cal, I was President of the Student Parent Association. I am a regular contributor to the Sex Positive Photo Project of the SF Bay Area and Shades Magazine. I have presented my original research at multiple academic conferences and symposiums. I will be presenting my Master’s Thesis Study at the OpenSF Conference this June. I have trained with Community at Work to be a group facilitator and am fully committed to the participatory process of decision making.

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