Jack’s Naughty Bits: Henry Miller, Sexus

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Jack's Naughty Bits

is the death of sex — or so the common wisdom goes. Grim tidings for one who, like me, not
only wants to spend the rest of his life with a single person, but wants to do it fused at the pelvis. And
even though I need both hands to count my parents’ marriages, I still believe the institution has something
to offer. As an old lover of mine once said, “The difficulty in getting out of a marriage encourages us to try
our very best, and not run away out of fear or weakness.” Backward as this argument may seem, it has a
lot of pull. Our eyes stray, our patience tires, our hearts resist breaching, our deepest secrets fear the light:
all these things can set us out the door. Marriage gives us pause. It doesn’t exactly deadbolt us in — a good
thing, for there are many marriages that should sunder — but it puts a little rust in the old turnstile.


Yet even if the shackle of marriage is a good thing, it does not resolve the problem that the sex might wane. I was thus quite relieved to read Henry Miller’s account of an evening he spent
back in the arms of his wife, whom he had left so that he could move in with his paramour. Now, granted,
Hank never proves to be the model husband, but the scene below details not only the reawakening of the flame that
had brought him and his wife together in the first place, but, more instructively, his realization that the
woman in his arms is quite unlike the person he long thought he knew. Breakdowns in communication had
kept her from being as sexually free as she, and he, would have wanted. Finally able to be herself, she’s
happier than she had ever been, and more appealing.
Perhaps, then, we can learn from Miller’s experience (though not his method): be open to and open for
your spouse and there will always be room for discovery.

* * *

From Sexus by Henry Miller

She wants to lie down on the floor and put her legs around my neck. “Get it in all the way,” she begs.
“Don’t be afraid of hurting me. I want it. I want you to do everything.” I got it in so deep it felt as though I
were buried in a bed of mussels. She was quivering and slithering in every ream. I bent over and sucked her
breasts; the nipples were taut as nails. Suddenly she pulled my head down and began to bite me wildly —
lips, ears, cheeks, neck. “You want it, don’t you?” she hissed. “You want it. You want it!” Her lips twisted
obscenely. “You want it. You want it!” And she fairly lifted herself off the floor in her abandon. Then a
groan, a spasm, a wild tortured look as if her face were under a mirror pounded by a hammer. “Don’t take it
out yet,” she grunted. She lay there, her legs still slung around my neck, and the little flag inside her began
twitching and fluttering. “God,” she said, “I can’t stop it!” My prick was still firm. It hung obedient on her
wet lips, as though receiving the sacrament from a lascivious angel. She came again, like an accordion
collapsing in a bag of milk . . .


“Oh God,” she said, flinging her arms around me, “if only . . .”


“If only what?”


“You know what I mean . . . Was it my fault,” she said, “that this never happened before? Was I
such a squeamish creature?” She looked at me with such frankness and sincerity I hardly recognized the
woman I had lived with all these years.


“I guess we were both to blame . . .”

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