Amy Rose Spiegel is an editor and freelance writ(h)er. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, NME, BuzzFeed, Dazed & Confused, The FADER, and many other publications. She came up in New Jersey and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. The following is excerpted from Action: A Book About Sex published by Grand Central Publishing. © 2016 by Amy Rose Spiegel. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
I do not believe that the quantity of sexual partners a person has, or the frequency with which a person takes different partners, hollows out the sacral nature of sex. I was nineteen the first time I had sex with three different people in a day. This felt adventuresome in the way of a scavenger hunt: What new experiences could I collect in the given timespan? (1. Make out with a Rolling Stones mouth tattoo on a dude’s bicep. Check!) God, it wasn’t even that deliberate. I just happened to find myself in bed accompanied by three different partners, eyes open to eyes closed. (I just happened to find myself having triple-sex by seeking it out and being wild into it. So funny how these totally serendipitous coincidences work!!)
The first was Ahmed, whose bed was puffed, perfectly white, and unfamiliar, like one at a slightly upscale chain hotel—maybe a Hilton Garden Inn? I woke, turned to kiss him, and then rotated him on top of me as he whispered kind things about my body. We had been seeing each other for a few weeks. I felt like he was impermanent—like a person-shaped continental getaway, just as I did the rest of the cabal of people I had been dating and sleeping with following my first real trial of a breakup, with Chris. Ahmed liked to go to raves, which augmented this feeling. So did the fact that he was a breed of babe with an unclassifiable eye color—Pantone would drool over the challenge. His physicality was all-over compact, save for his aquiline nose, which jutted from him in the way that gorgeous natural landmarks invade their surroundings: a mountain on a plain; that one tree in the neighborhood with the knothole you hold weirdly dear. I ran one hand along his chest and trailed the other across his neck as he came. I didn’t, but I would later. Exchanging the courtesies expected of us in this generic-hospitality setting, I affirmed that we’d had a blast, rescued my T-shirt from where I’d flung it into a corner, and dipped into the June air, feeling mad good.
My own bed belonged more in a dorm room than a Hilton, which was appropriate, as it was, in fact, college-housing-issued. Charlie didn’t mind since he shared my age and unfamiliarity with upper-middle bedding—the first time we had sex was in his basement room at his parents’ house in Park Slope, just after he cooked me a steak with a cherry-balsamic reduction, counted the swans that still lived in Prospect Park’s gummy waters before the city’s animal control murked them out two years later, and showed me his handgun. Besides owning an automatic weapon, another of his classic boasts was that his grandfather was a famous American poet, whose writing I found bland in a patriotic O-the-snow-and-water-fowl-of-this-nation way. Outside of noting the seabirds, Charlie hadn’t taken up the family trade, preferring instead to pursue the bifurcated career of model/Golden Gloves boxing champion/preschool teacher. He sang me Johnny Cash songs, described me as “a piece of candy” (I found this somehow charming?), and daydreamed about chartering a helicopter to show off Manhattan to me from where we could see it all at once. Unfortunately, he was also chokingly vain and sometimes used baby talk, which, against all likelihood, did not dissuade me.
When I called Charlie to come over on Three-D-Day, he was at my building in Brooklyn Heights within twenty minutes. I answered the door naked, hoping it’d expedite one more commonality we could enjoy on our other, aka my lumpen single-wide mattress. He peeled off his black henley. He was my height plus half, and—shocker—built like a Golden Gloves boxing champion. I loved looking at his legs, but avoided eye contact with his inflated biceps, since his fanged 40 Licks tattoo took up most of one of them. He smoothed my legs together over my torso and fucked me seriously and hard, like he was training. I came almost immediately, and he followed my lead there, too.
I told him I had a lot to do and would see him later. He left me grinning and perspiring, sitting cross-legged in the buff on my sheets, snorting the open-window perfume of a fresh day. My roommate, Marni, unlocked our bedroom door not three minutes after he had maneuvered it closed with a combat boot behind him. “Hey?” she asked, used to catching me naked a bit later in the evening. “Hi! Oh. Chris just left,” I explained absently, since she knew I was still seeing my ex and I didn’t feel like telenovela-ing my situation to the person with whom I lived. “Oh, cool,” she said vacantly, lighting a joint—I honestly don’t know why I thought she or ANYONE would look at my sex life with consternation, or any opinion at all. I got dressed and opened a book, whiling away some time before “still seeing my ex” was expressed more honestly a few hours later.