In the morning, as the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases climbed past 35,000 in Germany, I drove my cock deep inside her from behind. The warmth and sweat of sex from our bodies encountered the cool March air. I pulled her arms behind her, grabbed the hair on the back of her head, as if she were a maiden, bound to the front of a ship, heading into stormy, unknown waters. At the table, Minna spread brie on good German bread as we discussed “The ‘Not a Checklist’ Negotiation Sheet” by Tornus. I had sent her the list back when the supermarkets were still stocked with toilet paper. Minna had told me that the checklist was a turn off. Suddenly, she asked me if I liked the wine she had chosen.

“I didn’t know if it peers with the cheese,” she said.


“How do you say it? Peer. Pear?”


“I can never get that right.”

“That’s a tough one.”

“It’s like when I studied abroad and they laughed at how I said squirrel.”

“How do you say squirrel?”


“Sounds fine.”

“You should have heard me then.”

“Wie sagt man squirrel auf Deutsch.”

“That’s hard. Eichhörnchen.”

“What? Einhonen?”


“Eich hoon shin.”

“Almost. Eichhörnchen.”

“That’s squirrel?”

“Yes. You know ‘chen’? It’s a, how do you say? Diminutive.”

“But you don’t say r’s in Berlin. Eichhörnchen.”

“That’s better. Almost.”

“So the checklist?”

MInna explained that she didn’t like the labels. She preferred to trust her partner and explore. I scratched my beard. I had been trying not to touch my face but I had a habit of stroking my beard. 

“I understand that. But, I think it can really help to frame limits and rules. I mean we don’t have to go through the whole list right now,” I told her.

“You send a German a list and you know what happens,” Minna said, mockingly.

We fondled our way into the bedroom. The harsh light from the ceiling shone down unromantically. We took some photos recreating a Vettriano painting. I tied a rope around Minna’s waist, just above her hips, then around the bottom of her butt, then around her upper thighs. I kept looping the rope around her legs until it reached her ankles. When I was finished, it looked as if the maroon rope was a ladder climbing up from her feet to her stomach. It was beautiful and constricting.

I pushed her onto the bed and tied her hands above her head. I went to kiss her but this time there was something different. I felt our energies conflicting. She didn’t kiss me back. When I went to slip my hand between her legs she pulled away.

“Are you being a brat?” I asked her. I put my hand around her neck. “I know you like this, don’t you.”

Minna didn’t answer. I looked into her eyes but they were cold. Usually she melted under my touch. There was something different now. I listened for our safewords, “Wait”, to slow it down, or “Stop”, to completely cease the play, but she didn’t say them. Minna struggled under my grip.

“You’re fighting me more than usual,” I said.

She gritted her teeth.

“Maybe I want you to fight for it,” she said.

I paused, uncertain as to what to do next. I grabbed the back of her head by her hair.

“Do you want me to fight for it?” I asked.

Minna didn’t answer. She just stared. Her eyes were hard to read. I slapped her butt harder than usual. I untied the rope around her legs, pushed them open and tried to slip my hand up, almost touching the lips of her. She jerked her hips back and forth, evasively. I held her down by her chest and used more force with my hand between her legs. My hand made it to her pussy and it was dry. This wasn’t normal for her. Usually she was dripping wet. I grabbed her jaw and tried to kiss her as my fingers almost made their way inside of her. 

“Wait. Stop. Stop,” she said sharply. “Stop.”

Automatically, I pulled away. Minna was panting nervously. She closed her eyes and rolled away from me. I untied her hands and laid down next to her. I went to draw my hand caressingly down her back but she moved away. I pulled a blanket over her and lay down next to her.

A few minutes later, I switched the light from the ceiling to the bedside table. Everything felt less harsh. Softer.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I just need a few moments,” Minna said.

We lay in bed for a while longer. I wondered what had happened.

“Okay,” Minna said a moment later. She rolled over. “Sorry,” she said.

I tried to look in her eyes but she avoided that. She had come back from wherever she went but not all the way. She seemed fragile.

“There is no reason to be sorry. If anyone is sorry it’s me. I’m sorry,” I told her. “I just feel like I didn’t know what was real. I didn’t know whether you were playing or whether it was real. Can you tell when it’s real?”

She didn’t respond right away. There was still distance there.

“I told you it’s complicated with me, “ she said. “I promise you it goes away when I trust someone. The longer we play, the less scared I feel. Part of it is that I want to push myself. I want you to play rough. I want you to take control. But sometimes I feel both of these things. What I want and what scares me. It’s a question of which one wins in the moment.”

She curled up into the crook of my neck and then pulled her head back to look at me. Her eyes were green with a rusty hue. They held many layers. She continued.

“This is how complicated it is with me. I want it. But I’m scared. I have to ask you. How much are you holding back from what you want from me?”

She laid her head on the bed and closed her eyes. Perhaps bracing for the answer or transcending into her own, dark space. Her question surprised me.

“How much am I holding back?” I asked. I thought about what had just happened. It didn’t feel right to me. It felt like I couldn’t tell the difference between real and play. It could have ended up much worse than it did. Perhaps with someone less caring, considerate, or empathetic. I felt conflicted. I had never had the opportunity to force someone like that. To force someone like I did in my fantasies. I felt confused. 

“I just want to know what you want,” I said. “If I don’t know that, I don’t think I can do this.”

I felt Minna’s emotions, as if they were a wave into which we were about to crash. I felt the vulnerability between us that is only derived from awkward and intense sexual experiences. No one else in our life would ever see us this way.

“It’s confusing. I know,” Minna told me. “All I can say is that if we keep playing then my panic attacks will go away. The more I trust you, the more I will be comfortable with what I want. Just stay close to me this time.”

Across the courtyard, we could hear a TV show. From a different flat, a couple was having sex. We could only hear the woman but we could tell when the man began thrusting faster and faster.

Again, I tied Minna’s hands above her head. I pushed her back onto the bed. I drew my fingers up and down her thigh high stockings. I nibbled and bit at her nipples. She moaned. I kissed her neck and pulled her hair. I felt between her legs. This time she was wet. I teased her pussy with my fingers, hinting I would put them inside of her but then pulling them away. Eventually, I used my tongue to tease her clit. I slowly circled it, gently applying pressure, then increased the frequency and pushed on it more and more. I slipped my fingers inside of her only after she begged me to. I placed my knees by her head, still playing with her pussy, sliding my fingers in and out, curling them on the back of her clit, while she sucked on my cock and got it hard. I slipped a condom on and drove my cock deep inside her and held it there. Then I took it out and licked her more. I continued this exchange- fucking then licking- until she didn’t know what she wanted. She begged me to fuck her. Then she begged me to continue licking her. Then she begged me to keep fucking her. Eventually, under my tongue, with an eruption of energy and pleasure, moans and convulsions, she came.