It is late on a Saturday night and a man and woman in their late twenties are getting ready for bed. As they drift around their rooms, attending to the minutiae of life, they are naked. For them, this is usual and of no sexual importance. They are no longer excited by simply being naked in each other's presence. In fact, they now scarcely notice each other's bodies. As it is Saturday night, they know they will have sex before they go to sleep. Yet, as they vacantly pursue their separate routines, there is no hint of foreplay, even when on occasion their paths cause their bodies to brush past each other.
It is a week since they had sex — last Saturday, in fact. Four years ago, when they first met, they had sex at least once a day (except during her menstrual periods, when neither of them was particularly keen). In those early days they would have ridiculed the possibility of intercourse only once in a whole Week. Now, once a week had become more and more common, even though their usual routine was still to have sex twice a week. Until, that is, two months ago when they had given up using contraception.
Not that they were in any rush to have children. They hadn't yet contemplated the earnest nightly conception campaigns that some of their thirty-something friends had delighted in describing to them. Rather, they preferred to leave it to fate (and so far fate had decreed 'no conception'). They had both found mild sexual excitement in the possibility of conception and for a while their rate had returned to three or four times a week. This week, however, had been different. A couple of separate nights out and, if they were honest, an unexplained coolness between them had conspired against their ever quite getting round to sex. The usual warmth of their relationship had not fully returned until this Saturday morning as they drove on a pre-arranged visit to her sister. Even now, as they eventually got into bed, they could both still feel the legacy of the week's coolness. It was with some tentativeness that the man made his first faltering contacts with his partner's bare body. Once started, however, they quickly slipped into their usual routine.
He begins by gently kissing her face and stroking her breasts. Then they kiss deeply. He strokes her legs to her knees. After a while, he moves down and sucks her nipples. All this time, she cursorily strokes his back and buttocks. Tonight, as is often the case, she cannot concentrate and her mind keeps slipping back to conversations with her sister earlier in the day. She is jolted back to the present when he places his hand between her legs, moves her longest pubic hairs, opens her lips and inserts a finger to check if she is wet. He thinks she is ready. She knows she is not and winces at the prospect of unlubricated penetration. She moves her hand, finds his penis and gently squeezes, in part to see how ready he is but primarily to delay his moving into position. Briefly, her ploy works. He pauses to savour the sensation and responds with half-hearted massage of her genitals. Even though his massage misses her clitoris by a centimetre, he detects (or imagines) an increase in wetness on his finger inside her vagina. He moves his hand and begins to shift his body into the missionary position. She keeps her hand on his penis, and when the moment comes helps to guide its swollen tip into position. She leaves her hand between them for a few seconds to stop him pushing too hard, too soon (she is still nowhere near moist enough). Then, she has no alternative But to abandon the act to him. It takes a while before his gentle working backwards and forwards makes her lubricants really start to flow and his penis is able to enter fully.
Until she was lubricated, the woman had focused her mind on his and her genitals and the mechanics of penetration. But once she is lubricated and he begins the routine of thrusting, her mind drifts back to her sister. Her attention returns to the present only when he makes an uncomfortable movement. Despite her abstractedness, years of practice allow her to time the quiet noises in her throat to the man's thrusts. Then, suddenly, her mind jumps back to Wednesday night and the man who had flirted with her when she was out with a group of her female friends. Now, in her mind, it is him on top of her. Her heart speeds up, her breathing quickens, and her noises get louder. But just as her fantasy begins to take shape and she feels she might even come, her partner makes a particularly awkward thrust. Her fantasy disappears. The moment has gone, and the next second she realises he is ejaculating. She makes a sound for each of his contractions, then relaxes with him as his penis shrinks inside her. Impatient for him to remove his now dead weight, she coughs, gently. His limp appendage is ejected, he moves off her and they slip into their usual post-coital embrace. Both feel guilty at not having made more effort for their partner's sake and both feel depressed. Briefly, they exchange untruths over how pleasurable everything had been before eventually drifting into post-coital sleep.