Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
She recognised her fascination for Jacob for what it was, a completely carnal and primal feeling, controlled by neither her brain nor her heart, but only by her hormones.
Naina woke up to a muffled sound. Her head was throbbing. She rubbed her eyes and checked the time on her phone. It was 6:00 am. As she put the phone back on the night stand, she noticed a couple of open condom wrappers. Then it all came back to her. The sound of the door closing, the headache, it all made sense. So it was real then, not just a dream. And he had left.
A month and a half ago, several new final year undergraduate students had arrived for a summer program at the department. These were bright motivated students who had survived a rigorous selection process and finally been teamed up with various professors to do a summer research project.
Naina was on the department’s graduate student council, that had to arrange various events on the weekends, for them to socialize with the rest of the department. Over time Naina was getting increasingly attracted to one student named Jacob.
Jacob’s blue eyes sparkled with intelligence. His body was lithe. In social gatherings he rarely spoke, but when he did it was usually to make a witty or striking remark. His smile was warm and inviting with a hint of mischief, but something about his eyes said, approach at your own risk.
Naina had managed to keep the temptation at bay. She remained friendly with Jacob but kept a safe distance. She was engaged and in love with her fiancé. She recognised her fascination for Jacob for what it was, a completely carnal and primal feeling, controlled by neither her brain nor her heart, but only by her hormones. She could not control how she felt, or what erotic dreams she had, but she could control what she did.
Then there was last night. Naina was caught up in her research project and arrived late for the farewell party she had helped organise. As she hurried to the other end of the room, to meet Matt the head of the council, she wasn’t looking where she was going, and she bumped into someone. Beer spilled on to her hair and jacket. Annoyed, she looked up and found herself looking straight into those twinkling blue eyes. An electric shock ran through her body.
“Oh my. I am so sorry. I got beer on your hair.” Jacob retrieved some tissues from a nearby table and wiped off the beer. Naina felt her skin tingle as his slender fingers brushed against her neck. His face was so close to hers.
Naina flushed and pulled away. “The fault is mine. I wasn’t looking where I was going.” Naina said taking off her wet jacket. She wondered if Jacob had noticed anything.
“You can put your jacket next to the heater. That way, it’ll be dry when you are leaving.” Jacob suggested. Naina nodded and smiled and the two walked towards the heater.
“Isn’t this a dry campus? How come we have beer here?” Jacob asked with a mischievous grin.
His smile disarmed her. Her guard was slipping. A long distance relationship was hard. She hadn’t had sex in ages and now her hormones were threatening to break the dam. She mechanically answered his question as she set her jacket next to the heater. “The council arranged for a special permit. It was tough because you are all undergrads, but since you are all seniors over 21, the university approved it. Matt, the head of the council thinks there is no point in parties without alcohol. I was on my way to asking Matt if we got the permit, but your beer answered my question.”
“What about you? What was your part in making this happen?” Jacob asked as Naina picked out a bottle of Foster’s from the icebox.
“I chose the venue and got the paperwork cleared for it. If Matt had his way, this would be at a down town bar. But I prefer a game room. Games are a good way to socialise, don’t you think?” Naina looked up at Jacob assuming an expression of innocence.
“I do.” Jacob replied. “So what should we play?”
Naina looked around the room. “Hmm. How about air hockey? I see that the table is free.” This is an opportunity, she thought. He will be gone tomorrow and that will be that. This is my chance to indulge myself without any real consequences, she convinced herself. But will I chicken out, she wondered.
Naina was reasonably good at the game, so she was shocked when Jacob won point after point effortlessly.
“How do you do that?” She asked in awe, after she lost the second game, barely scoring 3 points. She felt even more drawn to him.
“You’re not bad, you know. If you change your grip of the mallet you can significantly improve your speed and control. Just move your palm…”
“No.” Naina interrupted. “Come here and show me.” She demanded.
Jacob looked intently at Naina for a moment and she met his gaze with confidence. He nodded. Naina couldn’t believe what she had just said. It was so unlike her. Her hormones with some help from the alcohol had pushed past her inhibitions and possibly good sense. There was still time to stop it all. Danger Will Robinson! her brain screamed, but Naina ignored its warnings.
Jacob came to her side of the table and stood behind her. He put his hand over hers and adjusted her grip. Naina’s heart raced. She wanted to turn and look at him but she couldn’t. Just then he whispered in to her ear, “We can leave the party you, know. If that is what you want …”
She nodded, still not looking at him. He put his other arm around her waist and held her close. She gasped and turned to look at him longing for a kiss. He only smiled. “Let’s go” he whispered.
The walk in the cold night air and the anticipation served to heighten her arousal. They barely got in to her apartment and closed the door when she jumped in to his arms and they kissed. It wasn’t long before they were tearing each other’s clothes off. What a night it had been! Naina was no virgin, but the feeling that she was being bad, doing something forbidden, added a new flavour to the pleasure.
Jacob had left at early in the morning without a word, just as she had hoped he would. He had understood perfectly.
Naina took her time with her bath and breakfast as she thought about the previous night. Then she picked up her cell phone and called her BFF, Rita. She needed to tell someone all about last night. But Rita was shocked. “You did what? And what about Rohit? Are you going to tell him?”
Oh yes, what about Rohit, Naina thought. She had it all figured out, right? Something about, it was just sex, no emotional entanglement, no consequences, something about a coping mechanism for long distance relationships. Her rationalizations all sounded so vague an ridiculous in the light of day.
“I don’t know if I should tell him. Should I?” Naina asked Rita
“Of course you should. You can’t begin a marriage with secrets. Tell him all about it being a one night thing. Tell him you were sexually frustrated. May be it will all work out. May be he will understand.”
Confused Naina said, “Okay let me think.” She hung up.
Let me call Didi, she thought. She may be able to help me figure it out. Naina’s sister Manisha, patiently listened to everything she had to say. “So, Didi, should I tell him?” Naina asked. “Rita says I must. Beginning a marriage with secrets is a bad idea she says.”
“Was it really just sex to you? Do you feel no emotional attachment or longing for this guy?” Manisha asked.
“Yes it was just sex. No I don’t long for him.” Naina asserted.
“Then what’s the point of telling Rohit? It’s over and nothing can be done to change it. With Jacob gone there is no chance of this spiralling in to an illicit long term affair. By telling Rohit you will rid yourself of the guilt. But you will make him feel bad for no fault of his. He will probably let it go, but he will be hurt. If you feel guilty about keeping a secret, it is your cross to bear. But there is no reason to make him suffer for your indulgences. Besides, if there really is no emotional attachment, you too will forget soon.”
“Thanks Didi.” Naina said and hung up.
The two people she trusted most had given her diametrically opposite advice an both sounded sensible. What should she do? Secrets, guilt, crosses, suffering, how did she get entangled in this mess? But it was just sex, she said to herself, just sex. Couldn’t sex just be casual? A simple fulfilment of a physical desire, like eating when hungry. What made it all so complicated?
Naina looked at the phone, the device that made the meaningful relationship she shared with Rohit possible, even though they were separated by over a 1000 miles. Rohit and she spent hours talking about everything imaginable from their hopes, fears, fantasies, to gossip and discussing movies, books and TV shows. Apart from their strong physical attraction, they also shared a strong emotional bond. Next to the phone, on the night stand, lay the 2 condom wrappers, the remains of a pleasurable night shared with a man she hardly knew.
What should she do? Naina wondered as she stared at the night stand. She knew at once. She must call Rohit and talk to him. Should she tell him about last night? She did not know yet. But she did know that she must call him. She would know when she talked to him.
This story had been shortlisted for the June 2017 Muse of the Month, but not among the top 5 winners.
Image source: By rt69 on flickr.com (Queereaster) (www.flickr.com) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons, for representational purposes only.
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Kanika G, a physicist by training and a mother of 2 girls, started writing to
Listen to ur Didi. She is right. A one night stand is a one night stand. That is it . Why complicate matters. Just don’t tell. Even If you are in a committed relationship , it doesn’t mean that both of you should share every moment of your life together. Both partners need to have a life independent of each other, a life of their own, and of course secrets for yourself . Then only mutual respect for each other can and will develop. Each and everything happening in your life needn’t and shouldn’t be shared with the other. That was what is called being an adult in a matured relationship, not 2 kids infatuated with each other. Be a woman, not a girl!!
Thanks Sara for reading and sharing your thoughts and ideas.
Naina should not speak about this matter with Rohit. It was her simple sexual desire which she satisfied through Jacob. This one night incident can happen with Rohit too. Sexual desire is as equal as any other need of life and it is important also. So don’t worry Naina, you have not done anything wrong with your relationship.
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
We’ve unnecessarily complicated sex. What was supposed to be something liberating & exhilarating is now mired with guilt & shame. Only one kind is condoned – marital sex (& there too, the woman shouldn’t expect much, just be a giver). While I don’t support betrayal, if sex was what set Naina free, then so be it!
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Yes we do unnecessarily complicate sex.
If sex is the only drive, secrets to be maintained well then dont go for committed relationship and cheat them. Does prostitute has an affair ? Never.r. Money is the motive for prostitute for sex and selfishness is motive for one night stander whereas both share the body with others. At the end both are doing prostitution where as in one night stand it is Pick and choose type. No need to marry decent guy do behind secret adventures. Marry a prostitute and make him selective in choosing partners. One cheater saying good & patting the back of another cheater will not make reality brighter.
Few missed comments. People who can’t be satisfied by one person or people who wants variety or people who can’t commit to honesty, loyalty and integrity to a relationship or people who can’t see the spirutuality and purpose of human life need not go for a committed relationship and bring blot to the relationship. For them, option like being single and enjoy is available as there are so many men outside like Gentle men, caring men, cute men, interesting men, dynamic men, vibrating men, interesting men, intelligent men, intellectual men, childish men and finally Gym men with six pack who are always ready and available with little effort to make women being wanted, will give women butterflies, bring fire and sparkles to women. Why to go for a committed relationship and hurt them being betrayal.
How we look at the cheating is the main issue. It doesn’t matter whether it is one night stand or affair. The point is when one is in committed relationship, it needs to be honoured. How we view cheating ?
1. When we go to market or shopping mall, if vendor cheats us, we shout at him, tell all our friends on this not to go for purchase with that vendor and finally we black list him for future purchasing. But when it comes to cheating our partner in committed relationship, we take it so lightly and justify with all reasons. Are we saying our partner in a relationship is not even worth of a vegetable and we can cheat him just because of our selfishness (keeping secrecy and enjoying with other man)?
2. We cleverly attributes due to hormones sex happened with other person. Sex is anything like food. If some one is in a long distance, each one can visit at regular intervel and spend time together also self satisfying techniques can be used. It is not that one has cheat and sleep with other partner. It only shows lack of respect and love to the committed partner. Even Thief has reasons to for doing thefts. Murderer has reasons to Murder. But whether Theft or Murder can be justified for whatsoever reasons may be? Few people take cheating so lightly and take all justifications for straying away from the committed relationship. This is because we don’t recognize emotional hurt/feeling of betrayal/lack of respect and love towards loyal partner that a cheater is inflicting and therefore he covers it by keeping it secret. I would say it is not the circumstance or hormone but it is personal trait of the cheater which matter.
3. If we can’t use our intelligence which God has endowed us, what is the difference between animal and human? Even a pet at home is loyal towards it’s holder even though it has not vowed anything in verbal. Are we saying, a cheater is not even a worth of a pet?
4. For spirutuality and God believers: Marriage is sacred union and is part of overall path in achieving self realization. Where does these cheating and affairs stand?
Above views are feed for some thought provoking on the subject, Apologies if anybody hurts with above general comments.
Indeed it does depend on how you view cheating. It is no doubt a breach of trust, like when a person gambles away family money without the spouses consent, or restarts smoking after promising to quit, especially if it is making them sick. These can have grave consequences for the family, but human beings sometimes succumb to weaknesses. It is never right, but is it unforgivable? That would depend on the strength of the relationship and many other little factors based on a shared past I would think.
This story is about an ethical dilemma. It is his right to decide weather or not to forgive her, but if she is sure he will then is it fair to give him pain by telling him, for shouldn’t it be her cross to bear? On the other hand how can they be partners if they can’t be honest with each other and help each other through the toughest times?
Anyway thanks again for taking the time to sharing your thoughts.
Yes I agree to your comments. But story ended justifying the incident as sex is like food and there is no emotional angle to the ONS and hence it is OK to have ONS with any one she liked or attracted to under weakness. She has not reflected repentance , nor determination/how to overcome the weakness so that she will not succumb to the same weakness with some other guy who may be more attractive than jocob except for whether to keep it secret or not from Rohit. Forgiveness does come with responsibility on cheater not repeating the incidence. Thanks for the feedback.
It is also very human to at first to try to justify your mistakes to yourself to cope with guilt. For some a ONS indeed has far less emotional impact than it has for others so this too is subjective. Either way, this is a story, not a lesson in morality. It tries to capture the rationalizations and ethical dilemmas post a ONS. Obviously it’s not the only reaction, but it is one possible one that I wanted to present.
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