I remember a discussion I had with some friends in college about how far we had traveled to have sex. The general consensus: far, quite far. We had all cashed in frequent flier miles or student vouchers, driven long hours, even, in my case, taken two day bus trips just to get some nook. I regret none of it. Nor, truth be told, do I regret vast amounts of time expended for less tangible erotic results: watching discolored and unshaped images on the scrambled Playboy channel, flipping through my mom’s nursing books for good line drawings and the occasional photo (preferably without venereal disease), sneaking onto my roof in the middle of the night to try to catch my neighbor undressing, watching countless hours of late night Cinemax with the sound off hoping just to see a boob. Practices such as these would be really pathetic if they weren’t so universal. We are amateur pornographers, all of us, in the most amateurish ways at least at certain points in our lives. And if we grow up and gain the right simply to go to the local adult book store and purchase a video, it is not without a certain diminishment of the joys of what we find. As Augustine says about reading the Bible, it’s the work that makes it interesting.
All this is why, of the twelve volumes of the anonymous Victorian diary, My Secret Life, the most interesting are the first few, in which Walter (the diarist) recounts his various endeavors to see quim. Walter is a randy little man, and he spends a lot of time trying to get an eyeful. His first chance comes with his cousin when they catch his mother and aunts peeing. Later they get the most out of keyholes, of lifting the petticoats of the servants and of hiding under street grates. The grates provide the best viewing, as the excerpt below demonstrates. Good things come to those who wait.* * *
From My Secret Life
Another night we heard two pairs of feet above us, one was the heavy footstep of a man. “Don’t be foolish, he won’t know,” said a man in a very low tone. “Oh! no — no, I dare not,” said a female voice, and the feet with a little rustling moved to another grating. Henry and I moved on also. “You shall, no one comes here, no one can see us,” said the man in a still lower tone. “Oh! I am so frightened,” said the female. A little gentle scuffling now took place, and then all seemed quiet but a slight movement of the feet. “Are they there?” whispered Henry from the vault. I nudged him to be quiet, and putting the light as high up as I could, pushed aside the slide a little only.
We were well rewarded. Just above our heads were two pair of feet, one pair wide apart, and hanging only partly down at her back the garments of a female, in front the trousers of a man, with the knees projecting slightly forward between the female’s legs, and higher up a bag of balls were hanging down hiding nearly the belly and channel, which the prick was taking. The distended legs between which the balls moved, enabled us however to get a glimpse of the arsehole end of a cunt. The movement of the ballocks showed the vigor with which the man was fucking, but there must have been some inequality in height, and either he was very tall, or she very short, for his knees and feet moved out at times into different positions. He then ceased for an instant his shoving, as if to arrange himself in a fresh and more convenient posture, and then the lunges recommenced. He must have had his hands on her naked rump, from the way her clothes hung, showing her legs up to her belly, or to where his breeches hid it, or where the clothes fell down which were over his arm.
Once, I imagine, the lady’s clothes were in his way, for there was a pause, his prick came quite out, her feet moved, her legs opened wider. He did not need his fingers to find his mark again, his long, stiff, red-tipped article had slidden in the direction of her bum-hole, but no sooner had they readjusted their legs than it moved backwards, and again it was hidden from sight in her cunt. The balls wagged more vigorously than ever, quicker, quicker, the lady’s legs seemed to shake, we heard a sort of mixed cry, like a short groan and cry together, and the female voice say, “Oh! Don’t make such a noise,” then a quiver and a shiver of the legs, and all seemed quiet.
When I first had removed the slide, I did so in a small degree, fearing they might look below and see it, but if the sun had shone from below, I believe now they must have been in that state of excitement that they would not have noticed it. To see better I opened the slide more, and gradually held the lantern higher and higher, until the chimney through which the light issued was near to the grating. I was holding it by the bottom at arms length, and naturally, so as to best see myself. Henry could not see as well, although standing close to me, and our heads nearly touching. “Hold it more this way,” said he in an excited whisper. I did not. Just then the lady said, “Oh! Make haste now, I am so frightened.” Out slipped the prick — I saw it. At the very instant, Henry pulled my hand to get the lantern placed so as to enable him to see better. I was holding it between the very tips of my fingers, just below the feet of the copulating couple. His jerk pulled it over, and down it went with a smash . . . A huge prick as it seemed to me drew out, and flopped down, a hand grasped it, the petticoats were falling round the legs, when the crash of the lantern came. With a loud shriek from the lady, off the couple moved, and I dare say it was many a day before she had her privates moistened up against a wall again, and over a grating.