Jack’s Naughty Bits: Emmanuelle

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Jack's Naughty Bits
Long live transportation sex. Mile-High lavatory love, greased rail train sex, backseat cab coitus, hummers while driving (even if you’re driving a Hummer) and, my personal favorite, the eight and a half-foot club (sex in a Greyhound bus) — it’s clear that moving vehicle violations are a potent pool for sexual adventure. Something about the combination of burning fossil fuels, vibrating machinery and the risk of getting caught adds to sexual frisson like little else. However many pistons are pumping, people love sex on the move; or at least they love fantasizing about it. Sad truth is, the reality often disappoints. (One friend was interrupted in his Mile-High triumph by the pounding of flight attendants on the door; while in flagrante, his back seems to have been pressed against the steward call button!) But if you can find a cabbie who will take your hundred-dollar tip and keep his eyes on the road, or a fellow insomniac to slip into the loo while the rest of the bus riders are counting sugarplums or, dream of dreams, a cabinmate on an international train whose only language you speak is the kiss — then, my friends, you have the stuff of stories. Or at least the stuff of bad fiction.


Now why would I use “bad fiction” as my setup to segue into a discussion of that consummate work of ’60s French erotica, Emmanuelle? Well, loyal readers will know that my cheese limit is easily reached, and only so many descriptions of the female genitalia as “the sex” can I read before wincing commences. But, alas, if any work rivals Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying for most famous transportation sex scene, it is certainly the opening airplane avventure of young Emmanuelle. Though most people will remember the scene from the movie and not the book (from which it differs not insubstantially), Emmanuelle on the page exhibits the same groundless, spontaneous, indiscriminate sexual lashing out that erotica readers (and viewers) seem to want in a woman. So here she is, the great icon of female sexual liberation (for men), the notorious Emmanuelle . . .


From Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan
Translated by Lowell Bair

Emmanuelle boarded the plane in London that was to take her to Bangkok . . . The steward led her to her seat. It was what would normally have been a window seat, but there was no window. She could see nothing beyond the draped walls. It made no difference to her. She did not care about anything but abandoning herself to the powers of that deep seat, drifting into drowsiness between its wooly arms, against its foam shoulder, on its long, mermaid lap . . . 


The steady, subdued, almost imperceptible vibrations of the metal fuselage attuned her body to the frequency. Starting from her knees, a wave rose along her thighs, resonating on the surface, moving higher and higher, making her quiver . . . Thinking Emmanuelle was asleep, the stewardess cautiously tilted back her seat, transforming it into a bed, and spread a cashmere blanket over her long, languid legs . . . Emmanuelle had abandoned herself to the stewardess’s care without opening her eyes. Her reverie, however, had lost none of its intensity or urgency. Her right hand now began to move over her belly, very slowly, restraining itself, descending toward her pubis. The thin blanket undulated above it. Her finger tips, pushing down on the soft silk of her skirt, whose narrowness made it difficult for her to spread her legs, found the bud of flesh in erection that they sought and pressed it tenderly. Her middle finger began the gentle, careful motion that would bring on orgasm. Almost immediately, [a] man’s hand came down on hers . . .


The man’s hand did not move. Merely by its weight, it applied pressure to her clitoris, on which her hand was resting.


Nothing else happened for some time. She then became aware that his other hand was lifting the blanket and drawing it aside. It took hold of her knee and felt its curves and hollows. It rose slowly along her thigh and soon passed over the top of her stocking.


When it touched her bare skin, she started for the first time and tried to break the spell. She sat up awkwardly and turned halfway on her side. As though they wanted to punish her for her futile revolt, the man’s hands abandoned her abruptly. But before she had time to react, they were on her again, this time at her waist. They deftly unfastened and unzipped her skirt, pulled it down to her knees, then moved up again. One of them slipped under her panties and caressed her flat, muscular belly, just above the high mound of her pubis, stroking it as though it were the neck of a thoroughbred . . . Then the hand forced her thighs to spread further apart. It closed over her warm, swollen sex, caressing it as if to soothe it, without haste, following the furrow of its lips, dipping in lightly between them, passing over her erect clitoris and coming to rest on the thick curls of her pubis. As they moved to and fro between her legs, the fingers sank deeper between her moist membranes, slowing their advance, and seeming to hesitate as her tension increased. Biting her lips to stifle the sob that was rising from her throat, she panted with desire as the man brought her closer and closer to orgasm without letting her reach it . . .


A buzzing sound indicated the loudspeaker was about to be used. The stewardess’s voice, deliberately softened so the passengers would not be awakened too abruptly, announced that the plane would land at Bahrein in about twenty minutes.

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Jack Murnighan‘s stories appeared in the Best American Erotica editions of 1999, 2000 and 2001. His weekly column for Nerve, Jack’s Naughty Bits, was collected and released as two books. He was the editor-in-chief of Nerve from 1999 to 2001, before retiring to write full time and take seriously the quest for love.

Introduction ©2000 Jack Murnighan and, Inc.