getting around

His hand slid up my left leg, pushing my black jersey dress up around my hips. My stomach fluttered and the space between my legs trembled. This is it, I thought. This is really happening. His fingers found themselves tangled between the thin strings of my thong. He kissed my neck, my chin, and then his mouth was on mine. I tasted the beer he was drinking at dinner, and when he swept my hair to the side I smelled the rosy perfume I was wearing. I hope he smelled it, too — I was wearing it for him. This was foreplay, and it was familiar — something I knew well, though it had been a long time.

His bedroom smelled like clean laundry and minty cologne, and it was dark all around except for the glow of the alarm clock. It was after midnight, my thong was at my ankles, and I kicked my heels off. I watched the numbers pop to 12:06 a.m. and did the math: sixty dollars and counting. He rolled me over onto his plush comforter and put his weight on me. I opened my legs, my dress past my navel now and his pants rubbing against me. If we kept going at this pace, I was looking at eighty dollars, maybe even a hundred.

I'm not a prostitute. I'm a single mother in the city and my babysitter charges twenty an hour. We'd had drinks and an expensive steak dinner — then he'd walked me around his charming neighborhood, holding my hand, telling me I was beautiful. I just wanted to have sex with him without going broke.

My daughter is three. Her father left when I was two months pregnant. I haven't had sex since.

My daughter is three. Her father left when I was two months pregnant. We had sex two times after she was conceived and I haven't had sex since.

I wiggled out from under him and pushed him on his back, gathering my dress high around my waist. His hands pressed my ass down on him and even through his suit pants were on I could feel he was ready. I unbuttoned his shirt slowly. He twirled a piece of my hair around his finger and the clock popped to 12:11. 12:11!

Earlier that day my best friend had texted me: "You need to fuck him tonight. If you don't fuck someone soon you're going to die." She was right. The routine of my days was getting to me. I wake up. I help my daughter go to the potty. I make her a waffle with a blueberry smiley face. I braid her hair, bring her to school, go to work, pick her up. We play. Eat dinner. Sleep. The next day starts the exact same way. I'm growing cold and bitter and robotic. I'm only thirty-one. I'm sexual. My vibrator no longer satisfies me. I crave touch and skin and smell and breath and sweat all mixed together.

He pulled my other sleeve down and undid my bra (in one try, with two fingers). He took my left breast in his mouth, causing a spray of goose-bumps to appear on my arms and "ohhhhh" to sail from my lips. The clock popped to 12:19.

"I have a child," I said.

"I know." He inched over the bed, pulling open the drawer to a small Ikea dresser. Between his fingers was a little purple square I hadn't seen in a very long time. I ripped it open for him. I guided it over his penis. My hand slid up and down, checking to see that it was on, really on — really, really on. I got pregnant when my ex-boyfriend and I didn't use a condom. He had pulled out and I had prayed — but apparently not enough.

Now I watched as this man disappeared inside me, letting him go deeper and deeper while still looking at the condom. I saw the perfect ring of plastic exactly where it was supposed to be. When he told me he was close, I told him to pull out. "Don't come in me," I said. Please don't come in me, I thought. Hail Mary, full of grace, please don't come in me.

"I have a condom on, baby," he assured me, his breath hot on my neck.

Commentarium (61 Comments)

Nov 18 09 - 1:57pm
JM

lovely and sensual and mesmerizing.

Nov 18 09 - 9:21am
CM

Certainly a wonderful story. Intimate, personal, and heartbreaking.

Nov 18 09 - 10:31am
kel

I so respect you, Mia! A mom's gotta get some, too! But I'm sorry it was so hard and heart-breaking...I hope you are doing well! You are amazing!

Nov 18 09 - 10:45am
PL

Detailed, beautiful writing and so relatable. From one single mom in nyc to another...I feel ya!

Nov 18 09 - 11:13am
wow

A good reason to wait to have sex until you are in a relationship with someone you want to spend the rest of your life (and raise children) with.

Nov 18 09 - 11:32am
gds

I feel for her trauma, but she's gotta get back into the swing in a worry free way.

Nov 18 09 - 11:33am
DOD

@wow: how do you ever really know 4 sure? my friends just got divorced. kid is 4 months old. husband cheated when she was pregs. i say protection all the way. single moms need some play too!

Nov 18 09 - 11:38am
dora

I can totally relate. I'm not married, but there have definitely been times when I KNOW we used a condom, I KNOW I can't be pregnant...but I'm late and freak out and take multiple bargain pregnancy tests. Glad you're getting some, Mia!

Nov 18 09 - 12:22pm
EE

If you're that concerned, keep spermicide in your purse, then when things get hot and heavy, use the spermicide in addition to a condom. Two methods of birth control are better than one if you really don't want to get pregnant!

Oh, and $20 an hour for a babysitter? That girl is ripping you off. You only have one kid ... $10-15 should be the rate. You can definitely find someone reliable for less.

Nov 19 09 - 1:40am
SG

Well, her deadbeat-dad ex is the real shitheel villain here in any case; BUT I also think she's insane if she thinks she can have sex with guys wearing condoms and still make them pull out before they come. Especially with no before-talk. I mean Jesus, that was the whole point of him WEARING a condom, no? If you're gonna do that, I think you owe it to anyone you haven't warned ahead of time to get him off some other way after you've had your fun. Just to be GGG, as Dan Savage would say.

Nov 19 09 - 1:44am
POP

I bet her ex (the dad who left) isn't sweating his sex life. jeesh!

Nov 18 09 - 2:36pm
klp

Agree,making a guy pull out with a condom is just cruel. But @SG how do you know the Dad is a villain, we got no backstory here. The Single Mom doesn't always deserve the instant sympathy.

Nov 18 09 - 2:43pm
POP

@klp: Maybe he's not a villian, but why did he agree to have a child then bounce--likely bounce when ABORTION (two months in--is a pretty shitty time to abort!) was no longer an option? Get it? She's making waffles and taking plan B--what's he doing?

Nov 18 09 - 3:02pm
LAP

If you really don't want another kid, why not have tubal ligation? An alternative, since you've proven your fertility (and if you want another child down the road) is an IUD. There are methods at your disposal to minimize your worry to a large extent.

Nov 18 09 - 3:16pm
DM

Ex was stupid to not use condom, so was she. Once a woman gets preggo, she is VERY unlikely to listen to what the guy has to say. It becomes her decision. Guy cannot win in this situation. I don't think she is ready to screw yet.

Nov 18 09 - 3:24pm
POP

is the dad who left allowed to screw?

Nov 18 09 - 5:05pm
ZR

Sounds like she is really using this guy and I'll bet his feelings will get crushed. Why doesn't she hire a prostitute (sex worker)?

Nov 18 09 - 6:10pm
JCF

This was a great article! It's a reminder of how we humans tend to react based on fear more than anything else, even when logic says otherwise, and we know it. Maybe this will help. I can't absolutely guarantee you won't get pregnant even on the pill and also using a condom. However, I also can't absolutely guarantee you won't be hit by a meteor tomorrow. There's risk in everything we do, including risks in doing nothing, but you've only got one life, and you might as well live a little! If you do get pregnant and decide you don't want another kid, at least by that guy, adoption and abortion are alternatives you can consider. If you do get hit by a meteor, well, sorry for the jinx.

Nov 18 09 - 6:31pm
sg

great story and an interesting juxtaposition of the passionate moments with the anxious reality of a woman once burned. great writing too. thanks for sharing your story so honestly. i completely hear your need to feel like a human being and want to have sex with someone.

Nov 18 09 - 10:20pm
CB

why would she want to hire a sex worker and take what is likely a bigger gamble at getting an std in addition to the risk of getting pregnant by a not-for-hire guy? that would make me doubly anxious. not to mention the fact that men use women all the time, and vice versa. if you dont want to be used for sex, i think you probably should not sleep with someone on the first date regardless of how nice you think they are. if you do, it is with the adult realization that you are using eachother, to some extent

Nov 18 09 - 10:53pm
RCR

This essay is beautiful and relatable. I've never been pregnant, but I've definitely made some crappy decisions and had some near misses. I can understand wanting to have sex and being terrified of the consequences, and having your game plan change right in the middle of things. I wish I could give the author free babysitting and a cup of tea.

With respect to any of my fellow commenters who would like to tell the author what she should or shouldn't do, if she's being mean to her partner, or making mistakes, or being anything shy of ideal: I assume none of you have ever done things you're not proud of, and if, in fact, you have ever fucked up something important, you might not want to throw that stone inside your glass house.

Nov 18 09 - 11:26pm
pp

Well sounds like the Author is wise enough to be freaked out about ruining her life with unwanted/unplanned parenthood, but I think its kind of closing the gate after the horse has bolted. What places have an abortion limit at 8 weeks?

Maybe if there wasn't such a draconian attitude towards abortion this woman could have avoided this kind of situation and actually have a kid through a conscious choice.

Seriously people should not be having kids just because they made a mistake and don't want to get an abortion, especially if you decided to have the baby as a "couple" then the other person bounces.

Also if you're not comfortable with dating or sex, you shouldn't be putting yourself in circulation. We all have crazy shit going on in our little worlds, but if you drop it on people without warning (pre-orgasm no less), then its okay if they bail out.

Nov 19 09 - 12:17am
pp2

Uh, where did abortion get into this? So you are telling the author she should have killed her baby? Wow.

Nov 19 09 - 1:47pm
SPC

What a beautifully told story. It doesn't get better than that. Thoughts, emotions straight to the page with complete transparency.

Nov 19 09 - 1:47pm
mmc

This is a really heartfelt article, nicely written.

Nov 19 09 - 1:51pm
gg

The author seems to "love her kid," but hate being a parent. I'm pretty sure most people feel this way. Yet they feel the need to pressure me to procreate. Misery loves company?

Nov 19 09 - 8:43am
luv

@gg: i think the author love her kid and being a parent BUT i think the point of this piece is that the absent parents are FREE to f*CK. this piece is about responsibility, passion, and fear. And hiring a sex worker?EHEHEH! NO. How about that a 31 yr old mom is still allowed to eat steak and have no strings sex LIKE EVERYONE else--she didn't get herself pregnant. The dad was around in the beginning. HELLO!

Nov 19 09 - 12:00pm
kit

I don't think it's weird he pulled out. my guy comes on my stomach all the time. so he had a condom on--clearly she was nervous and didn't think she would be--doubt she went into this thinking, gee, let me torture him during the sex i haven't had in 3 yrs. give mia a break! she was just doing what normal 31 year old women do all the time. having sex.

Nov 19 09 - 12:43pm
rem

Very well written and realistic.

Nov 19 09 - 5:00pm
LO

i can picture everything happening. she can write.

Nov 19 09 - 6:26pm
rd

this sounds more like a excerpt from a book than a real life experience

Nov 19 09 - 7:25pm
LO

@rd: exactly. brilliant, ay?

Nov 19 09 - 7:35pm
FL

I can't believe what a crazy bunch of judgemental dorks there are on here. What the hell are they doing reading nerve anyway?? I thought was really sweet and real. It's about rolling dice and taking chances, not an own invite for puritanical and cowardly windbagging

Nov 19 09 - 7:43pm
CJ

beautiful.

Nov 19 09 - 7:56pm
tori

I have LIVED THIS!! I mean, I'm not a mom. But the panic, the craziness the next day...love it.

Nov 19 09 - 8:02pm
SWG

Bravo to Mia. To anyone telling her she's wrong for being nervous and conflicted, I hope for your sake you're never in the situation that Mia is in. F*ck you for blaming the victim. Unless you believe that we as a species are only supposed to have sex to have children (in which case, why the hell are you reading Nerve in the first place?), how dare anyone judge her for detailing her jumble of emotions? Does anyone really expect Mia to know ahead of time how she would react to the situation? And for all the criticism about making the guy pull out with the condom on... how about some appreciation for the guy being a man about it? Sounds like he knew exactly what the situation was and was cool with it - probably more so than Mia was. I applaud you, Mia, for sharing the story and for finding the courage to take those first steps back into the water. Being a parent might mean you have to readjust your priorities, but it doesn't mean you have to stop being human.

Nov 19 09 - 9:00pm
mcr

Bravo for having written a vibrant, honest, touching story. Please ignore the few asshat commenters who can forego no opportunity to spew idiotic bile.

Nov 20 09 - 11:22am
bm

thank you for making me feel less alone.

Nov 21 09 - 1:33am
MAS

Beautiful...simply beautiful.

Nov 20 09 - 3:49pm
EC

"Cruel" is torchering kittens or insulting somebody. "Cruel" is not "not letting somebody come in your body" No one has a RIGHT to that. There is a very high percentage of women who don't come every time they have sex. Jesus.

Nov 20 09 - 5:30pm
RHK

What a great story and a great showing of responsibility on your side. I hope you can learn to enjoy sex again. You deserve it. Trusting someone will help.

Nov 20 09 - 6:31pm
dwp

fuck the waiting and responsibility - all i want to do is babysit for you.

Nov 20 09 - 8:23pm
GK

This would make a good short film.

Nov 20 09 - 10:36pm
SD

Very well written. I can totally empathise with her situation, even though I'm a guy. This shows how the enormity of responsibility on a woman can be crushing. But she has done herself no favours in this almost "zipless fuck". Don't just think sex is the answer. The key to healing is communication and sharing.

Nov 20 09 - 10:48pm
TGS

@SD: Give her a little more credit, would you please? There's nothing in the essay to suggest the author thinks sex is "the answer". Its one facet of a complex person (as we all are) that she was trying to come to terms with.

Nov 20 09 - 11:49pm
DKW

I volunteer to assist all single mothers that need some lovin'.

Nov 21 09 - 6:36pm
JL

Wonderful writing. Thank you.

Nov 22 09 - 2:16pm
k-i

i am a single mom and when you raise a child alone, you ALWAYS fear doing it again. the child is wonderful--doing it alone is hard--not so much the parenting, but rather the loneliness that comes w/ it. the deadbeat dads do not know the burden they set on child and mom. we are human. prick us we bleed.

Nov 22 09 - 3:18pm
Elle

I know what this author is talking about. Sometimes I can't relax or enjoy because I'm also deathly afriad of getting knocked up, and I don't even have a kid. I've just grown up around second-generation teenage moms who remind me all the time how having kids stunted their own dreams. Now at 28, fully educated on birth control and whatnot, I'm still as paranoid as I am was at 18. Great story.

Nov 23 09 - 10:11am
JF

I can relate to this story. I'm always paranoid, regardless of the precautions taken.

Nov 23 09 - 12:59pm
dif

the men that leave have nothing to worry about--unless you count a lifetime of guilt.

Nov 23 09 - 11:11pm
yeow

I really enjoyed reading your honest, heartfelt story. I've never been in your exact situation, but I can sympathize with the paranoia when the stakes are so high. Good for you for going on the pill, and I hope this contributes to a fulfilling sex life in the future.

And like someone already mentioned, nobody is required to get the other party off during sex. You consent to how much you're ok with, and if coming inside isn't something you're ok with, good for you for not doing it.

Nov 23 09 - 11:51pm
cjm

Plan A B AND C. You're safe. Get some more.

Nov 24 09 - 2:14am
Ak

Beautiful!

Nov 24 09 - 2:08pm
yio

the pill and a condom = more sex 4 mia. have fun and make blueberry smily face pancakes too! have it all.

Nov 27 09 - 1:46pm
RB

Enjoyed the article. Have no kids but that same paranoia strikes me the day after, too, no matter how great I might feel the day before. Nice to know I'm not crazy or at least not alone in the feeling.

Nov 30 09 - 12:38am
LAC

I can't believe the people who were saying that because the guy wore a condom, he basically earned the right to come in her. People use multiple forms of birth control all the time, I don't see why condoms *and* the pull out method seems so weird. She is doing what she needs to in order to be responsible. It seems ridiculous to criticize that

Dec 14 09 - 10:05pm
CC

Hi, I'm on the pill 3 months now. The guy I'm casually seeing wore a condom the 2x we did it. I WAITING for my period. Happens to the BEST of us. Mia, you deserve CONNECTION!!!

Feb 19 10 - 6:50pm
nj

I enjoyed this. I can relate to the sense of fear as a woman, as many men are very selfish. This is why I've used injectable birth control for many years now. Unfortunately most men will try to not use condoms, even arguing with me about it, as if there is no such thing as disease. It has made sex something sad and fearful for me a lot of the time.

May 05 10 - 2:57pm
AM

I got a girl pregnant and walked away. Now I'm married and we're having a baby. I think about the kid I left and his mom all the time. My life is a mess.

Apr 19 12 - 7:25am
just one guy

So you made him buy you an expensive dinner, he fucked your stretched-out mom-pussy for five minutes, and you made him jack off into a condom. You fucking suck. You deserve all the stress. No wonder your baby-daddy tyree dipped out on you. fuck you.