After Sex by Jack Cameron

“Yes! Fuck me. Harder! Yes! Yes! Oh hell yeah, Nick! Just like that.” I’m sure the neighbors can hear her. And there was a time when this sort of thing would make me come in a heartbeat. But now I feel like I’m watching a movie. Karen comes hard and collapses on top of me. I feel the sweat on her back. She laughs as she looks around for something to clean up with. I think about who might be on Letterman tonight.

When did this happen? I remember when not just every thought but every decision I made in life was at least influenced by sex. And it wasn’t that long ago. Hell, I still had my collection of not too kinky porn on my hard drive. But when was the last time I looked at it?

She returns from the bathroom and hands me a warm washrag. I smile at this despite my lack of interest. I mean it’s not every girl who’s nice enough to hand you a warm washrag after sex. Usually you’re fumbling around for a stray sock or something.

Thankfully we’re well past the whole ‘Was it good for you?’ stage, but if she would have asked I would have lied and said it was great. It’s funny how some questions you stop asking because you already know the lie.

Karen and I have been together for four and a half years. We met after a party down on Proctor by the University of Puget Sound. I don’t even remember whose house it was. We’d seen each other at the party or at least I saw her, but we hadn’t met. It was just coincidence that we left at the same time. I tripped over a curb and she said, “You sir, are too drunk to drive, fuck, or walk.” She said it in a singsong voice that told me she was probably drunker than I was. I said something clever like, “You’re two thirds correct about that.”

Despite our condition, we both got into our cars. She revved her motor and I heard her laugh as she shifted into gear. When her car ran into mine, I was still trying to find the right key. It ended up that her car was more damaged than mine and wouldn’t run. If it weren’t for her red hair and my inebriation, I probably would have been angry. Instead I offered her a ride home.

The sex that night was the sort of sloppy stupid sex that sloppy stupid drunks have when they don’t know each other’s bodies. I thought she’d put an extremely tight rubber on me but it turned out to be a cock ring. At the time, I didn’t even know what a cock ring was.

The next morning we had a very quiet breakfast. I think we were both waiting for the other one to say it had been a mistake, but instead she said, “I’m sorry I ran into your car.” I asked if I could take a shower.

Girls’ bathrooms are wonderful. They always smell nice. There’s always an arrangement of soaps, lotions, and shampoos that guys not only don’t own but wouldn’t even know where to buy. As I started soaping up, I heard the door open and Karen slipped into the shower with me. The sex in the shower proved to us both that the night before wasn’t a mistake.

For a while it seemed like it was like that every day. We were like my pothead friends were with pot. When we weren’t doing anything else, we were having sex. My friends would call me to go out for drinks and I’d turn them down. What was the point of going to singles bars when I could go over to Karen’s? After a while they stopped calling.

About six months later we’d slowed down a bit. Three or four times a week rather than three or four times a day. Part of this had to do with school starting up again and part of it had to do with familiarity. I had a friend named Paul who used to go to the bar every night and get very drunk. At some point, he realized he could spend a lot less money if he just drank at home. He now has a fully stocked bar at home and a variety of different beers in the fridge at any given time. After a while he told me, “You know what’s funny, Nick? I don’t drink nearly as much anymore.” It seems to be an unwritten rule: Lack of supply creates demand. What no one tells you is that the opposite is true: abundance of supply depletes demand.

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’ve been with Karen so long that all demand for sex has disappeared. Now it’s just a function of the relationship like saying, “I love you.” on the way out the door.

It isn’t until the next day that I ask myself the big question: If I’m not basing all my decisions on sex, what am I basing them on? I work at a fucking coffee shop. So I’m obviously not career-driven. Sex, career, what else is there? Then it occurs to me maybe I’m not driven by anything. Maybe the pilots have left the cockpit. This would explain my lack of interest in sex and perhaps also the fact that I’m twenty-six and still make a living slinging lattes.

I call up Paul and ask him to meet me at the Parkway. At first he hesitates, he has everything he needs at home, but there is a distinct lack of women at his place and the bartender at the Parkway is cute so he agrees.

It turns out that Paul is not sympathetic to my plight even though I buy the beer: “So let me get this straight. You asked me here because you have a beautiful, sexy girlfriend who wants to fuck you on a regular basis and you’re not all that interested? I got one thing to tell you: send her ass to my house.” I try to explain it but the more I do the less sense I make, even to myself.

That night I ask Karen if she wants to have sex. The reason for this is kind of silly. I don’t want her to know I’m not interested in having sex with her so it’s better to ask when I’m not interested than for her to realize I’m not interested. She says she’s too tired and some part of me silently cheers.

In the morning, I decide it’s time to actually confront this topic head on. Karen doesn’t have class and I don’t have to work until two so we’ve got time, I think.

“Karen, have you noticed anything different about us lately?”

Okay. Maybe I’m not attacking the thing head-on but at least I’m trying.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the sex I guess.”

“Sex? We had sex two nights ago.”

“Yeah, but…”

“What? Didn’t you like it? I know me on top is your favorite position.”

“No, it’s not that.”

“This isn’t about the whole swallowing thing is it? I told you, it makes me gag and unless me barfing up your spooge is sexy…”

“No, no, no. It’s just-“

“Just what?”

“Hell, I don’t know. I guess it’s just that I’m not as interested in sex as I used to be.”

The words hang in the air. She doesn’t say anything. She just looks at me. I’ve seen that
look before but I can’t remember when. Finally she says,

“Not interested in sex or not interested in me?”

I hadn’t thought of that. Is it just her? It seems like I’ve been with Karen for so long that sex and sex with Karen are the same thing to me. It occurs to me that all these thoughts are happening and I haven’t answered her question. I don’t know the answer to her question. Somehow I find myself saying, “I don’t know.” And then I realize where I’ve seen that look before.

“Well figure it out.” Karen slams the door shut as she leaves.

Shit. That did not go well. And that look. It’s the same look she gave me after she saw me making out with my ex-girlfriend, Stephanie at that party two years ago. The look just said, ‘You don’t want me, do you?’ Stephanie. Hmm. That’s an idea. I bet if I call her…Yes, that’s a brilliant idea. Call up your ex and have sex with her just to figure out if you’ve lost interest in your girlfriend or sex in general. Y’know, it’s a wonder any girls talk to me at all.

I go online and go to a few porn sites. Even in my hyper-sexed days I’ve had mixed feelings about porn. It’s not the whole exploited women thing because it’s not like they don’t get paid for what they’re doing. It’s that 99% of the porn out there is really awful. It makes no sense to me because I’ve gone out with some women that not everyone would think were attractive and the fact remains that every one of them looked beautiful naked. But you look on a porn site and they’ll have an obviously attractive woman in the dumbest pose you’ve ever seen using some sort of flashlight for lighting. There are times I think about going back to magazines, but they leave evidence. Still, every now and then a site gets it right. So I surf for about a half hour before I find anything decent. Some blonde on a beach. Natural light always looks better. I try to imagine myself on the beach as I look through the set of photos. I try to envision a few scenarios, but nothing helps. I’m not even remotely turned on. It must be sex and not sex with Karen.

Working at a coffee shop is hard work but it’s not the sort of thing that takes a lot of brain power. So my whole shift I’m thinking about what I should do about this Karen/sex thing. I’m pretty sure telling her that I’m not interested in sex and that it’s not her isn’t going to help. And just not having sex with her is going to end the relationship or at the very least lead to her cheating on me and I don’t want that. So the question becomes what do I want?

After work I decide to call Stephanie. Not for a quickie but because she probably knows me as well as Karen does and she’s always good for advice. Stephanie says we should go out for coffee. I remind her that I just spent the last eight hours in a coffee shop and I’d rather go anywhere else. So we end up at the Parkway.

I explain the whole thing to her, leaving out the porn, of course. She listens and smiles and even buys a round of beers. Karma for me buying for Paul last night I suppose.

“So you’re not as interested in sex as you used to be.”


“Well are you attracted to women?”

“What? Yeah, of course.”



“Do you find me attractive?”


“You wanna fuck?”


“Do you want to walk outside go around the back of this place pull up my skirt and fuck me like you did that time at the fair?”

“Steph, I’m not going to have sex with you.”

“No, you’re not. But that’s not what I asked. I asked if you wanted to.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“You guess so.”




“Your sex drive is like totally gone.”

I finish my beer and order another. Steph does the same. As the beer arrives she asks the bartender if we can move from our table to a nearby booth. The bartender nods.

“Why are we moving?” I ask.

“I want to try something.”

To understand the sort of person Steph is you have to remember that this is a girl who lost her virginity at thirteen and taught half her boyfriends everything they know about sex. She was almost like a guy. She could have sex with all these different people and no one ever called her a slut. I met her when I was sixteen and we’d had an on again off again thing ever since. She wasn’t like this with all her guys but I knew I wasn’t the only one on the list.

As we slide into the booth she says, “Give me your hand.” She takes my hand and slips it under her skirt and into her panties. She pushes my hand between her legs. She puts her hand on top of mine and starts pushing our fingers inside her. Then she takes her other hand and puts it on my crotch. But not in a sexual way. Kind of like a doctor might do it. “Oh my god.” She takes my hand out of her panties. “That did nothing for you.”


“That’s crazy. Hey, wait a minute. I’ve got it. Maybe you’re gay.”

“What?!?” This whole thing was getting a lot stranger than I anticipated.

“Yeah, totally. Remember Michael? I found out he was gay a couple months ago, but let me tell you he wasn’t gay when he was with me. Maybe it’s just something that happens one day. You’re thinking about pussy and then BOOM you’re gay.”

“I don’t think that’s how it works.”

“How would you know? Have you ever been gay before?”


“Here, try this. Think of me naked. You feel anything?”


“Okay. Now think of your buddy Paul naked. Does that do it for ya?”

“Ewww. Fuck no! Steph, I’m not gay.”

“Prove it.”

We don’t end up fucking out behind the Parkway. We do end up fucking back at her place. She’s not like Karen at all. Where Karen is all angles, like a statue, Steph is all curves. We’re rough with each other. We’ve done this before and we know what we like. But somehow it’s not right. It’s not just the whole infidelity thing. The sex just isn’t as good as I remember it. Maybe it’s just the whole memory of an event being better than it really was thing or something. Still, I find myself thinking. “I’m having sex with Stephanie again.”

Why does this happen when I’m not interested in sex? This is the question I’m asking myself as I try to find something to clean up with. Steph is not a warm washrag kind of girl. My cell rings. I know who it is before I look. I decide not to answer it. Steph doesn’t mind that I have a girlfriend but she’s also the sort that would be sure to speak up the second she heard me talking to Karen. And even though she’s in the shower, with my luck she’d come out just at the wrong moment. Especially after that lackluster performance.

I call Paul.

“Paul. Karen hasn’t called you, right? Good. Okay I need you to say I was hanging with
you tonight?”

“Why Mr. Not Into Sex? Where are you? The library?”

“No, I’m at Steph’s.”

“Fuck you, man. I’m calling Karen right now to have her come by and give you a ride.”

“That shit’s not even funny.”

“What’s not funny, man is the fact that you say you don’t want to have sex and here you are getting more action than Jamie Foxx on Oscar night. Seriously, man, I’ll cover you if you tell me your secret. Later days, dude.”

Steph walks out of the shower wearing only a towel on her head. I stare at her curves. She smiles, “Not into sex, huh? Seems you were pretty into it to me.”

“Yeah, I guess I’m cured.” This is a lie but I realize I don’t want to have this conversation with Steph. If I told her it wasn’t good, she’d just want to fuck me again until she got it right. There are things in her past that make her like this. Sex is her trump card. She uses sex to control the men in her life and if I take that away from her, it’ll be a problem. It’s best to just let it go. As she kisses me, I wonder if this is the last time.

On my way back home, I call Karen and tell her I was out with Paul. She apologizes for slamming the door on me and says I should come home soon. I tell her I’ll be there as soon as I can and decide it might be a good idea to stop by Paul’s and take a shower. Paul almost doesn’t let me in when I tell him why.

“Hey, I think I figured out your trick.”

“Oh yeah. What is it?”

“It’s like when you’re looking for work. You never find a job when you’re looking. It’s always when you’re not looking. The job usually finds you. You’re not interested in sex so that means that sex is just gonna come after you. It’s a great strategy, man.”

It’s almost eleven at night when I finally get home. I brace myself for the yelling match that’s about to happen. I’ll just let her go off. At this point I have no space to argue. I’m fairly certain that the ‘I fucked my ex-girlfriend and it wasn’t that good’ defense isn’t going to work.

The apartment is dark as I open the door. I don’t turn on the light. Maybe she’s gone to sleep. I get to the bedroom and see the candlelight. She’s dressed in a skimpy black outfit I bought her last Valentine’s Day. I’m about to say something but she puts her hand over my mouth. She hands me a drink. Whiskey on the rocks. She grabs an identical glass and downs it. She unzips my pants and goes down on me, ice cubes still in her mouth. I forgot how good that feels.

The sex that night is the best we’ve ever had. I even find myself getting into it. She comes then she starts whispering dirty things into my ear all the weird kinky shit that’s always made her laugh at how absurd it is: “You wanna fuck me in front of my sister and her husband, don’t you? You wanna come in me, lick me clean and kiss me. Come in me, come in me. Comeinmecomeinmcomeinme!” It becomes a chant and when I do, I feel incredible. I’m not even thinking about anything at all. I’m in love with her. Damn that was good.

As she returns from the bathroom and tosses me a warm washrag, she says, “So you’re not interested in sex anymore, huh?”

And despite the whole experience and how good I feel, I still don’t have that obsession I’m used to. “Well,” She glares at me, incredulous. “I guess the thing is I just don’t find myself devoting my every thought to it. I mean it used to be everything I did was about sex and now sex is just an aspect of my life. It’s not the motivator it used to be.”

“Congratulations, Nick.”


“You’ve grown up. Now maybe you can join the rest of us.”

“I don’t think you get it. Sex was why I did everything.”

“No, it wasn’t.”

“Yes, it was.”

“No, you just thought that it was. The reason you do everything you do is because you’re you.”

“That makes no sense.”

“Of course it does. You’re not working at a coffee shop for sex.”

“I got the job to get money so you would have sex with me.”

“I had sex with you before you had a job.”

“Yeah, but if I stayed jobless you would have left me.”

“Maybe, but you still could get sex though. I mean that girl Steph would probably fuck you if you were a junky bum on the street.”

Normally I’d try some lame attempt to defend Steph but the mere mention of her name sends over a wave of guilt.

“Nick, the reason you do the things you do is because you want to be who you are. Not because of sex. And I’m glad you’ve finally realized that.”

“So there’s nothing wrong with me not wanting sex all the time?”

“No. There are things wrong with you but that’s not one of them.”

Maybe she’s right. I don’t know. Karen tends to like to solve things with quick pat answers and I’m not sure that this is the sort of thing you can solve that way. Whatever the case, it’s not bothering me as much as it was and that’s the important part.


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