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In Search of the Final Freedom: Chapter 32

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

In Search of the Final Freedom: An Erotic Socio-Political Novel


Waving the Revolutionary Flag of Sexual Freedom

Chapter 32

New York

At 6:00 AM Friday, Cooper crawled out of bed the morning after his long and exhausting "day off" chaperoning Misty’s Euro-Club party. He knew full well he had another grueling marathon of a day ahead. As he got himself ready to go, rather than thinking on all the adult things his daughter had done the day before; he preferred to dwell on how fortunate he was that his teenager still liked having him around.

In his office at 8:00, he checked They had posted the series of articles on art & eroticism, including his own. At 9:00 he left for his presentation for the United Methodist’s conference. Bonnie called while he was on his drive to the conference site. They ran over the weekend’s itinerary and what he wanted her to pack for him. They reviewed and discussed the party and after-party. He understood her feeling that in hosting the two pool parties (Sunday and Thursday) they had crossed some kind of Rubicon; they had passed a point of no return, yet she was not sure of the destination. Mostly though, they discussed an agenda of things they would need to discuss regarding what went well and what they would do differently next time. In closing she made a few short observations about how well her time over at Ashely’s house had gone.

After the call ended, he could not help but ponder how the events of the day before dovetailed into the topic of liberated Christian sexuality he was presenting at the conference. The very fact that his wife had sex with one of his fellow Rotarians the night before; and yet they saw that as a small matter in the course of events, said volumes. Perhaps she’d (they’d) finally moved to the point that sex with other people really was just a normal part of life. He found that a bit surprising; yet it was also a validation of the conclusions he’d come to almost three years before.

After his presentation to a disappointingly small crowd (if three people can be called a crowd), he made the drive back to Augusta state to teach his Friday class. By the time a very tired Cooper returned to his university office at 3:00 he was beat, but had little time to dally.

While he was gone his graduate assistant had taken four messages from reporters regarding his Solon article. Cooper did not call any of them back but rather had Lilly make appointments for each of them on Monday or Tuesday. At 4:30 he picked up Bonnie at home on the way to Atlanta for their flight to New York. He was asleep almost as soon as he sat down in the Boeing 737.

Cooper had traveled a great deal as an architect for two decades, but in all that time he had never done more than transfer planes in New York City. Even for a seasoned traveler New York can be a bit overwhelming. It was late by the time Cooper and Bonnie stood outside the terminal and hailed a cab. Despite the fact it was well past business hours, the traffic seemed daunting and the buildings seemed to close in around them as they road into the city. The traffic, the crowds and the noise all reinforced Cooper’s dislike for big cities.

Their hotel room was small, but well appointed. The bed was comfortable, and that’s what mattered most. It had been a very busy week and though they talked about going out on the town, they ended up eating at one of the hotel’s restaurants and simply taking a stroll on the nearby sidewalks before going to bed.

The next morning, since the opening wasn’t until 1:30, they took in a few of the New York sites. They returned to the hotel after only two hours so they could freshen up and get dressed for the Soft Opening. While Bonnie worked on her make-up, Cooper reviewed his notes for possible interviews. Amy had emailed him early in the week that she would be counting on him to help her field the questions about the philosophical underpinnings regarding public expression of sexuality and the FFF’s position.

Bonnie had also emailed Amy before they left home, but her questions were about appropriate attire rather than content. Taking Amy's advice, she brought what she thought was a fashionable outfit for the afternoon Soft-Opening and the gown she’d worn to the LeMarco’s party for the Gala Opening in the evening. While she was sure a real fashionista would never wear a gown twice, she had no such qualms, particularly at what she’d paid for that gown.

The cab ride to the gallery was not long, and they pulled up in front of a fairly typical New York multi-story building with the bottom floor given to retail. Cooper couldn’t help but be amused that even in New York City; the display cases were empty except for a sign that read CENSORED.

At the door was a man in a black tuxedo. Cooper had to present their tickets before entering. The door was opened and they were politely escorted in.

The gallery was a Spartan affair, essentially a warehouse with an exposed second story steel structure. There were no walls that went to the ceiling, only eight and ten foot panels attached to support columns. But it was airy and conducive for large groups. Inside the door the first thing that grabbed their eye was an ancient rock wall (actually made of fiberglass) with figures of couples copulating carved into it. It ran the with of the space with a single arched passage way in the center. This created a sort of vestibule with the main exhibit space behind it. In the vestibule were larger-than-life two-toned cast aluminum sculptures rising into the trusses that held up the roof. Each sculpture was of a standing couple who had trees growing out of them.

They would have been very nice, but not unusual, works if they had not been so explicitly sexual. Looking up to the nearest one Bonnie could see the foot long penis spreading open a very realistic, though giant sized, pair of labial lips. From the ground looking up it was indeed the most graphicly sexual sculpture Bonnie had ever seen. Also in the vestibule was another sculpture, this one a true to life sized bronze of a couple making love on an actual, wood and upholstery, antique divan. It was quite striking, having caught the couple’s passion in mid-stride.

Moving into the main part of the exhibit, they had to negotiate around small groups of people deep in discussion. Many others had tablet computers in hand making notes. It appeared to Bonnie they were writing reviews of each piece. Cooper noticed a good number had badges around their necks labeled PRESS. He tried to read who they represented, but it was difficult without being too obvious. Moving around they could clearly pick out Amy’s works, they all had a colorful lushness that none of the others could match.

There were a number of paintings by someone with an interesting primitive style. Those paintings looked as if they had been uncovered by archeologist rather than having been recently created. Another artist used mixed media with a more impressionist approach, giving more a feeling of the moment. They had been looking at a grouping of three moderate sized paintings by Amy of human like figures making love when Bonnie turned around. There, taking up nearly the entire with of the twelve-foot-wide panel was the painting of them. She whipped Cooper around to see. It was magnificent. It was all their painting at home was, and much more. The size gave a presence and gravity that took their breath away.

“It was worth the trip just to see this” Bonnie said.

“I can’t believe how much more she put into it. And the sheer size” Cooper gushed.

As they stood and discussed how the addition of two female figures watching them having sex changed the feel of the huge painting, Daniel Holdridge approached them. When they had “posed” for Amy in the greenhouse, he was still Amy’s graduate assistant and had helped her by moving potted plants around and taking reference photos of them making love. Cooper had told Bonnie of how he’d come from a fundamentalist Christian university and how Amy and her friends had corrupted him.

The day they posed for Amy, Daniel had been very nice and quite helpful, if a little standoffish. He had always called her ma’am, even while taking photos of her having sex. Though his words were proper, even diffident, his eyes betrayed what he thought from the moment Bonnie had taken off her clothes. He did his best not to stare at her, but repeatedly she saw him doing so, even when she was just standing waiting for Amy…in the nude. She’d pretended not to notice him adjusting the erection in his pants.

They had already seen several of his paintings and, given the fact he’d only first started having sex on that trip to Guatemala over Christmas break, his work showed a level of intimacy that surprised her. Perhaps the very fact that he did not have sex until well into his 20’s might account for some of that, or perhaps it was due to the fact he must have grown up in a very sexually repressed world; mostly likely it was some of both. Bonnie was no art expert, but she thought his style seemed very 18th or 19th century, not at all modern in any way.

“Daniel!” Bonnie gushed, “Your paintings are magnificent.” And she gave him a hug that seemed to surprise him. “We haven’t seen nearly all of them yet, but the ones we have seen are terrific.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Campbell,” he said a bit befuddled. “I hope you will like the rest of them.”

“I’m sure I will.”

“Look for the one entitled Eternal Intimacy, it is based on you and your husband.”

Bonnie had seen him doing his own sketches while she’d been posing for Amy, but had not even asked herself why. She was flattered and she certainly wanted to see the painting. Daniel went on “You are the only married couple I’ve seen…uh…”

Bonnie finished “having sex?”

“Yes. All the others I observed and sketched were no more than friends. No that’s not right. One dating couple let me draw them, but even they really weren’t serious. So seeing you two was a unique experience for me. Watching you was different, it was…it was…well like I named the painting, intimate. It was like I could see a trust between you two that I didn’t see in anyone else, and you seemed to know what the other wanted and expected. I guess that comes from being married so long.”

Bonnie had to restrain her smile. “I am very happy we were helpful. I don’t know if Amy told you but she’s come by our home and done more sketches of us. You are free to do the same. We aren’t that far from the university and we even have a private back yard with woods if you want to draw something about making love in nature.”

His face lit up. “I’d love to.”

“Well you know where to find Cooper when you want to come. And we also have a swimming pool. Amy said you took to skinny dipping on your trip in December, our pool is always swim-suit optional.”

He again seemed to stammer and just barely got out. “Yes, that would be great. I’ll see you at the After-Show” and he was off.

Bonnie couldn’t help but be amused. Very pleased, she and Cooper moved on. Next, they looked at an interesting exhibit that required the viewer to look through an opening fashioned like an old theater’s proscenium. Looking inside, it was as stylized 19th century theater stage with slightly oversized forest scenery. In the center was a large flat-topped rock beside a half-fallen tree. On the rock were three sculpted nude figures painted as if they were plants rather than animals. The two females were in green tones while the male was in browns. Perhaps, Bonnie thought, Amy meant them to be some type of forest sprites or dryads. In sum it appeared to be a sculptural representation of a scene similar to Amy’s paintings.

While Bonnie had yet to understand what she was seeing, Cooper saw it for what it was. This was the live art display. He knew this was not exactly how Amy had originally spelled out her vision; but the project was still in the planning stage when they last talked about it. She’d said nothing about a second female.

Cooper quietly urged Bonnie, “Now just stand and watch the figures for a minute.”

“What am I looking for?” she whispered.

“Just wait” he asked.

After about twenty seconds the three figures, as a group, shifted their poses. “Oh my! Those are real people in there… having sex.”

“I was beginning to wonder if Amy was going to have them move at all” he said.

“How did you know what to look for?”

“Amy told me she was planning this display about a month ago.”

A middle-aged woman had stepped up just after the model’s position change. “Did you say those are real people?”

Bonnie pointed out “Watch closely, they don’t move very much until they go to a new position.”

Then the lady said “Oh, yes. I see it. She is just barely moving on him, but, oh yes, it is the real thing, they’re not faking it. That’s a ballsy move to have live sex in the Chelsea Arts District. No one has done anything like that since the days of Andy Warhol and The Factory.“

She jotted something down on a steno pad she was carrying, then asked “Did I hear your friend say Amy told him about this. Did he mean Amy Douglas?”

The woman speaking was silver haired and slightly heavy set. She appeared to be in her sixties and was very fashionably dressed, even provocatively, with a low-cut blouse showing a good bit of cleavage, especially for a woman her age.

“Yes, she’s been a friend of ours for years” Bonnie said then added, with some pride, “That’s us” pointing across the way where they could see part of the big painting partially hidden by another panel.

”Oh?” The woman was now clearly interested. “My name is Claudia McPherson, I write for the New York Daily News. And you are?”

“I’m Bonnie Campbell and this” pulling Cooper over to her “is my husband Cooper. Amy asked us to come for the opening because she wanted one of the model couples to be here, and because Cooper writes a lot of the stuff for their non-profit.”

The reporter put out her hand and reintroduced herself. “So, Professor Campbell, glad to meet you. In my briefing I was told you are the spokesperson for the Final Freedom Foundation.”

“Well, I don’t know we have an official spokesman, but I am on the Board and I have written a good bit of the material that was released to the press. Did any of that material come your way?”

“Yes, I read some of it in the press release and your article in Salon. I do both arts and culture work for the Daily News, that’s why I was given this story. It appears to be a bit of both. We could talk here, but I’d really rather have a sit down with you.”

“We are only in town till tomorrow morning” Cooper responded.

“How about right after the press conference?”

“I’ll say yes, but I haven’t even told Amy I’m here and don’t know if she has something for me to do.”

The reporter stuck to her guns and said “I’ll see you afterward. How about I’ll take you two to dinner and we can talk then.”

Cooper, feeling a bit out of his depth. No sooner had he done so than the aggressive reporter scurried off.

He looked over at Bonnie “That was weird. New Yorkers I guess.”

She gave him a wry smile “So goes the life of fame.”

“Yea right. I don’t even rate being a talking head.”

They toured the entire exhibit in well under half an hour. Only then did they finally see Amy. She was engrossed in a discussion with a group of people, none whom he recognized. He and Bonnie slowly moved into her field of vision hoping to get her attention. His plan worked and Amy waved for him and Bonnie to come over.

“I’m so glad you’re here” Amy exclaimed as she gave Cooper a hard kiss on the lips then gave Bonnie the same. He was sure she was making some point to the onlookers, but did not know what. She then introduced Cooper and Bonnie to her audience: an art critic, a writer for an art magazine and a reporter for The Village Voice. Then she continued “I hadn’t seen you and was afraid you didn’t make it.”

“We’ve been here for a good while, but didn’t see you” Cooper said.

“The show is absolutely terrific.” Bonnie then added “I love your painting of us, it is even better than the smaller one. I didn’t think that was possible.”

Amy then turned to the group of reporters and said “If you will follow me.” They went past two of the partitions to the large version of the first painting she made of Bonnie & Cooper.

Bonnie asked “When did you decide to add the other two figures? I love it, but I don’t recall you ever talking about it.”

“After I finished yours, I began thinking it needed something more. It was only when Cooper’s graduate assistant, Lilly, posed for me I decided to put her in the final painting.”

Bonnie nodded, “Oh yes. I see it now. Then who is the second figure?”

“It’s me. I decided I should be in at least one of these.” She then turned to the reporters and explained the paining was of Cooper and Bonnie. She described them as an upstanding southern couple, active in their church and community and they had agreed to let her paint them making love last winter.

Cooper corrected “That’s all true but we are also old friends of Amy and her husband.”

Amy agreed “Oh, yes that’s true. That’s how I knew that Cooper is the true Renaissance man. He is an extremely talented architect, a philosopher, a teacher and a passionate lover.”

Cooper was shocked she had said that. He knew she was opening her life up to the world at this exhibit, but did not think she was going to go that far. Evidently, she saw his shock because she added “but that last thing is strictly off the record.” Then she winked at him and said “but it’s the truth”, then she added “And they are very progressive parents of two fine teenagers. They caused quite a stir in their little Georgia town when Bonnie here, and their daughter who was sixteen at the time let a photographer shoot a whole set of photos of them at a nude beach last summer. This spring the photos surfaced on a web site. Quite the scandal, but neither Bonnie nor their strong-willed daughter ever apologized to anyone for their choices. When their daughter turns eighteen next spring, I have a standing appointment to paint her, just as I did her parents. But, leave that last part out of any story, they have enough problems with the local prudes without that bit.” Amy then looked around and said “Well gentlemen, that’s enough for now, I’ll answer more questions at the press conference after the doors close at 3:30."

“They are also the centerpiece of a second painting on the other side of the gallery.”

Bonnie and Cooper looked at each other in confusion.

Amy turned to them and said “Look for the one entitled May in the Forest. You two are the central couple.”

Once the reporters left Cooper asked “How do you think it’s going?”

“I think really well. Our publicist did a good job of inviting the most open-minded media people. So far I’ve only heard positive things, but I’m new at this working with the New York press.”

“So am I” Cooper agreed. “I got cornered by a woman from the Daily News.”

“How’d it go?”

“We got roped into doing dinner with her.”

Amy seemed to understand. “It could have been worse. You heard what I said about the press conference. I want you to join me and the other artists on the panel to field their questions.”

“I’m not sure I should be there. It’s your time to shine.”

”But I want you there to discuss the open sexuality philosophy with them. And besides I want them to meet the real couple behind what many have already called the best piece in the entire exhibit.”

“OK, we’ll come, but we will sit to the side and if you need us, we will be there.”

A woman with a press badge around her neck approached, this prompted Amy to agree to Cooper’s suggestion before she and the reporter began to discuss her paintings. They had time to kill so they went back to take a second, closer, look at the exhibit.

As they wondered, they looked for the painting entitled May in the Forest. When they found it, they could not believe they’d not realized that was them. After all, how many bald and bearded forest spirits did one see?” In this painting, almost as large as the other one with them in it; they were on a rock with Bonnie on top of Cooper. Around them, a dozen other forest spirits danced and made love. Bonnie asked her husband “Do you think Amy envisioned us as dryads here?”

Cooper had no idea. Over the next hour, they ended up having several interesting conversations with others invited to the soft-opening which helped the time to pass quickly. Thus, they enjoyed themselves until the gallery closed. About a dozen chairs had been set up in the vestibule area after official closing time. The press conference was a low-keyed affair, and apparently most of the reporters and critics knew each other well. In addition to the reporters there were several photographers and a video news crew. The questions were mostly about the artists’ background and how they came to create the exhibit. Amy related much of the story that she had told Cooper at the LeMarco’s party, but she completely omitted the fact the artists were sleeping with each other.

One of the critics asked why almost all of the art was of heterosexual couples. Amy answered “We actually do have quite a few more works involving same sex couples and of groups that include same sex couples. We excluded most of them from this, our first exhibit, frankly for political reasons. We didn’t want to fight more than one battle at a time, if we had put them out the entire press reaction would have been about homosexuality given the fact this exhibit was started during a project funded by a government grant. That brings me to mention the FFF, the Final Freedom Foundation for which this show is raising money. Let me introduce Cooper Campbell and his beautiful wife Bonnie.”

She motioned to Cooper and Bonnie who were standing behind the chairs. “Cooper and Bonnie are old friends and they were among the first couples I asked to sit for me…if you can still call it sitting since they were making love. For the record they have been married over twenty years, are active in their rural Georgia church and have two wonderful teenage children. The large painting near the north wall you all liked so much is of Bonnie and Cooper. Cooper is a highly regarded architect but has recently moved to the academic arena and teaches at Augusta State University. He is one of the co-founders of the FFF and writes most of our position papers. Cooper, could you come give a brief summary of the FFF position on gender and sexuality.”

This was Cooper’s moment. Over the years he had given hundreds of presentations to groups of this size, but not on this subject. It was only twenty feet from where he stood to the lectern, but it seemed much farther as the tension rose in his stomach. He so wanted to do this well.

Stepping behind the lectern, he began to speak. “The FFF rejects the modern dichotomy of hetero or homosexuality, instead we take our philosophical approach to human sexuality from the classical world. We believe nearly all humans are naturally sexually responsive regardless of gender and that preferences for one gender is a matter of taste influenced by a myriad of both biological and environmental factors. For instance, many young people are sexually attracted to people with tattoos and piercings, most older people are not; but that does not make those who are attracted to tattoos somehow fundamentally different than those who are not. Similarly, a non-body art practitioner could have enjoyable sexual relations with someone with body art. Of course they could. Thus, the FFF position is that people are sexual and under the right circumstances nearly all people can have enjoyable sexual relations with people with either sets of genitalia. Now, having said that, romantic attraction and sexual attraction are not the same thing and it is a mistake to treat sexual and romantic attraction as one and the same. Perhaps we need to decouple those two in our public discourse. However, my point is that the deeper one goes into this, the more people we would offend; thus, for now, we have largely sidestepped that topic.”

The reporter from the Village Voice asked “So does the FFF support LGBTQI efforts to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

“We support and promote everyone to come out of the closet. We support each person’s right to live out their sexuality, publicly, in their own manner without fear of discrimination. We support the right to be celibate, we support the right to be monogamous, we support the right to be sexually involved with as many people as you may choose and of any gender you choose. So yes we support the LGBT community and all the other groups that are marginalized for their sexual behavior. We support sexual openness in all its forms, but our focus is our opposition to the hypocrisy of public stands for one sexual standard while living a different standard in private.”

“So do you support a national ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation?”

“I said we support free expression of sexuality without fear. To limit our focus to just those who give their sexual behavior and desires the label of an “orientation” would be to miss the very point of promoting universal openness of sexual lifestyles and behaviors. We will not promote an agenda that limits protections to the relatively small percentage of Americans that identify as LGBT, to do so would be to privilege that group over those who are in the BDSM community, or nudists, or swingers or polyamorist and a whole range of other sexual behaviors that currently can be used against people in employment, housing and child custody. Even among people who engage in homosexual behavior, it is fair to say that only a small minority self-identify as LBGT. Back in the 1950’s Kinsey found that right at half of males had sexual contact to orgasm with another male in their adulthood, yet a UCLA meta-analysis of many studies find less than 2% of men identify themselves as gay. Why is that? I would suggest that the insistence by certain groups on labeling men who on occasion have sex with other men as gay, only drives that sexual behavior further underground. The queer community by very definition and title make a real effort to present themselves as outside, not of just the mainstream, but marginalized. That outsider status is very much the core of their identity. They have every right to take this position, but that is not the position of the FFF. We propose that the mainstream is far more diverse than is ever acknowledged. We seek to break down the barriers of silence, but of overzealous labeling as well. To do this we know we will run afoul of not only the religious right, but of many left-wing activists as well. That is precisely why we side-stepped the issue for now."

Cooper took a breath then went on. "The FFF would suggest that if we would let people just be people without sexual labels, we would find many more people open about the fact they enjoy sex with men, women and a good many other expressions of gender. For instance, a good number of my friends, who would never associate politically with the gay movement, will, in certain settings, enjoy having sexual contact with other men, some do so regularly. It is the use of labeling to control behavior, by both the left and right, that drive sexual openness underground. That, the FFF opposes.”

“Would you be one of those men?” the reporter asked.

“We are committed to diversity.” Cooper said using the old tactic of answering a different question if the question that is asked is not one you want to answer. Though he was beginning to admit to himself that he did enjoy the sexual experiences he’d had with men over the past few months, he was not ready to make that public. “FFF members do not exclude any race of people from our sexual world and similarly I would not be breaking confidence by saying most people I know who are involved with the FFF are open to enjoying same sex sex on occasion.”

The next question went back to art style and so Cooper sat down. About half an hour later a reporter asked “I would like to ask Mrs. Campbell a question.”

Amy, who was the moderator agreed and the reporter asked. “Mrs. Campbell, since it is likely that people in your very conservative home town will likely not only see photos of Dr. Douglas's erotic painting, but they will find out that you modeled for her live to paint it; are you afraid of any backlash? Second, I’d like to know how you feel about these ideas of complete sexual openness, again in light of where you live.”

Bonnie, though she had been a school teacher at one time and had taught classes in church for years, was totally unused to speaking in a professional setting. She sat frozen until Cooper pushed her slightly. She almost stumbled over to the table. Using one hand to brace herself she stalled “Can you repeat your question?”

As the reporter repeated her questions something happened to Bonnie. It had been two years ago that she and Jill had begun to talk about their sex lives. Over that time, her life had certainly changed. There had been many firsts, but overall, the transition had been incremental. To her, there had not yet been a point of no return. Even the events of the week’s parties were limited to a small group of people. She’d not yet done anything that would prevent her from keeping her life as quiet rural housewife intact. She’d heard and read Cooper’s thoughts on sexual openness, and though she had come to share his view on these things, it was his cause not hers. But in that moment, standing before the twenty or so reporters and cameras, the vision of Misty’s school principal trying to make her feel like dirt for going to the nude beach popped in her head. Then the faces of all the self-righteous women at the school and at church and even at the grocery store looking at her as if she were wearing the scarlet letter came to her. She became angry. Her fear left, and the same feeling of power she felt as the sex goddess came over her.

She stood up straight and began. “As a woman and mother how do I feel about my husband’s ideas of complete sexual openness?”

She said the words slowly, emphasizing her Southern accent. “First I should point out that sexual openness is not just Cooper’s idea. The concepts you are asking about were carefully worked out by both of us. It was a joint project. They were twenty years in the making before my husband put them to paper. I also need to say that I’m not just a woman and a mother; but I am a Southern woman, a stay-at-home wife and a mother of two teenagers. The world in which I live is entirely removed from the experience you live here in New York. Mayberry is still alive and well, and I live there.”

Cooper noticed how she had slipped into that silky smooth cadence of the southern aristocracy. He knew full well she had different levels at which she spoke with her combination of American Standard, Tennessee Appalachian and Georgian gentry accents. She had tuned up the Georgia gentry to full volume to underscore what she was saying.

Bonnie continued “In my world, middle-class morality is enforced by an aristocracy who do not feel themselves obligated to obey such moral niceties. In my community sexual repression is just another tool of the elites to control the working class in general, and with an ever-watchful eye on the black community. I live in a state that just a few years ago released an African-American young man from a twenty-year prison sentence for allowing his girlfriend, who was only two years younger than him, to give him a blow job. I come from a place where in the next county a fifteen-year-old honor student committed suicide last year after the police came to her school and took her away in handcuffs for sending her eighteen-year-old boyfriend a naked photo of herself. I live in a town where a young kindergarten teacher was fired from her job, her life dream ripped away when she was named in a divorce proceeding as having an affair with a married man. I live in a state that has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the industrialized world, yet the schools are forbidden to teach teens the most basic methods of birth control. And……I myself have been dragged before a room full of school officials, including law-enforcement, and shown nude beach photos of my sixteen-year-old daughter from the internet. Their intent was clearly to destroy my girl’s life for violating their unilaterally imposed rules of decorum. The school officials focused their attacks on what they assumed would be a powerless sixteen-year-old."

"Had I been a poor single mom, or even worse in our community, a poor single black woman, they likely would have succeeded. However, by virtue of the fact that our daughter’s father, Cooper, is a white professional man with deep family ties to the county's ruling elites, she was never in real danger of prosecution. Yet, they still could have damaged my daughter in the same way the girl who took her own life was. Fortunately, our daughter is self-empowered and refused to be shamed for her choice to go naked on a public beach. And it helped our daughter's resolved that on that day she was on that public nude beach, her mother was right beside her, equally naked."

"So, in our daughter's case, the attack only emboldened her to publicly express her sexuality. Unlike that poor girl who was shamed and bullied into taking her own life, our daughter did not let the oppressive forces back her into a corner when those photos appeared on the internet. Knowing Mom and Dad had her back, she refused to accept the shame they tried to pin on her. The next day, she went to school with head held high. With her own courage, she gave courage to her fellow students to stand up for what they believed to be right, not what those in power believe. I could not possibly have been any prouder than I was that day. All these attacks by the powerful on the powerless are premised on the assumption that nudity and sexuality is dirty and should be hidden. So, you ask what do I think of the idea of bringing sex into the light of day?”

“As a woman, I believe such openness will bring about more equality of both social class and gender. As a mother it is simply advocating to others what Cooper and I have practiced in our home and recommended to our friends since our children were infants." Bonnie was full of confidence now and knew what she was about to say next, she knew this, not the parties, would be her Rubicon. She took a deep breath. “What do I think about bringing private sexual behavior out of the dark and into the light of my public life? We live in a society where polite lies are more acceptable than open truth. Few people, even professing morally conservative women, are monogamous throughout their marriage. A research study using DNA testing of nuclear families found that one out of three women who stated they had never ever been unfaithful, bore at least one child who did not share the father’s DNA.” She paused to let that sink in. “Yes, one of three not only had lied about not having sex outside marriage, but were so sloppy about it that they bore their lover’s child. So how many marriages really are monogamous? I would suggest very few. I make no apologies to anyone that I am not.

She paused to let that statement rest for a second before continuing. "Yes, Cooper and I have an open marriage by mutual negotiated consent. While some might take offense at that, the reality is that nearly all marriages are open. The only difference between our marriage and most is that we have negotiated consent while most marriages do not. We declare openly to each other and to the world what most people hide even from their mate. For us as a nation to keep clinging to false public morality that bears little resemblance to actual private behavior is bad both for relationships and for society as a whole. I know I’ve given you more of an answer than you asked, so the short answer is; I think, no I know, the freedom to express one’s sexuality in public is as basic a right as is freedom to express oneself by speech in public. Is that what you wanted to know?”

There was a pause after Bonnie’s wholly unexpected response. Finally, the reporter said “Yes, you answered that part of my question, but what about the painting?”

“As far as the painting goes, it is beautiful. Why should I be anything but thrilled? That piece of art will be viewed and appreciated for generations. You may not know that the paining you see here is the second, final version of Amy's vision. Her smaller test version hangs in our living room in Sparta, Georgia. So, I guess we can’t be too embarrassed by it.”

With that the questions moved back to the artists until the press conference was over. Quietly Bonnie asked Cooper anxiously “How’d I do?”

He whispered “You were great, I mean really. You could not have done better.”

After the meeting broke up, Amy came over and with enthusiasm said, “You were fantastic, both of you. I wish I could thank you more, but now I’ve got to get ready for the big show tonight.” She leaned forward and gave each of them quick kisses. Then before she left, she said “It will be crazy tonight so if I don’t see you then, I want you to come to the After-Show in the FFF hospitality suite at the Warwick. We’ll all get drunk and naked, for artistic reasons of course. It’s room 3106” She smiled a wicked smile and was off.

“So are you two ready for a great New York dinner on the Daily News?” Claudia McPherson asked from behind them. “I know I said 5:00, but since you are still here, and I can’t imagine you are not hungry.”

Though he really didn’t much like this woman, Cooper really was hungry. “Lead on, the tourist will follow.”

With a jolly air she said “You’re not a tourist, you’re on business and that makes you one of the people who make this city go.”

Bonnie had not thought of it that way. She had to race to keep up as Claudia headed out the door “Where are we going?”

Hailing a cab, the reporter said “Now if you’ll promise me a great interview, I’ll take you to the Blue Hill, my favorite place on this side of town; but we should hurry since our reservations are for 5:15, so we will be as good as walk-ins.”

“We promise” Bonnie said as Claudia pushed them into a cab.

She wasn’t kidding, the meal was amazing. Bonnie and Cooper tried to make it worth her while. For a long time Claudia took notes as Cooper discussed the FFF’s philosophy that political freedom is impossible without sexual freedom. Then he continued on to their central premise that the continued censuring of public sexual expression is a violation of basic human freedoms.

“So” Claudia asked “the FFF would say that if a couple wanted to get naked and have sex in central park they should be allowed to do so.”

“Absolutely, the state has no vested interest in telling them to stop.”

“What about in this restaurant?” she asked.

“The state does have a vested interest in public health and we would not oppose the laws requiring full clothing where it already deemed necessary for hygiene, such as restaurants. As a general rule, the FFF would say that the state has no right to prohibit nudity or sex in most public outdoor settings.”

“So you link public sex to free speech?”

“Yes, I thought Bonnie made that point pretty clearly. The courts have long supported the concept that clothing is speech. It is the same as nonverbal communication, such as pantomime; so too we believe sexual expression is a form of speech. We just suggest the two should be linked.”

As they were finishing dinner Claudia moved to Bonnie and Cooper’s personal life. Starting by quoting Bonnie from the press conference she said “Bonnie, you used the term open marriage. To be clear does that mean you have sex with people other than your husband?”

The sudden shift of focus took Bonnie off guard; however, she was ready for the question. “Like I said earlier, Claudia, from the research I’ve done, there are very few healthy women of my age who have been monogamous since their first marriage. So the fact I am not monogamous, makes me in the vast majority of women. I’m sure your personal knowledge, like mine with my friends, would support that contention. What is unusual is that I will sit in front of you and my husband and freely say that I have had over ten sexual partners in the past two years. Though we began discussing the possibility of me having sex outside marriage a good five years before I first acted on it, once I did, he followed suit. Cooper doesn’t object that I have adult fun with other people including our close friends, as long as I take safety precautions.”

Claudia busily wrote notes long after Bonnie finished. Cooper had seen her turn on her recording device, so the notes must be supplemental. When she finished her writing, she looked at Cooper, “Bonnie seems to indicate that she initiated the practice of open marriage. So you were monogamous after she was not?”

Cooper simply said “Yes” but Bonnie elaborated “It was over a year after I became sexually active that he first had sex with another woman, and even then I was there encouraging him or he probably would not have done it.”

“That’s seems unusual, I would have guessed it would have been the man pushing for open marriage” Claudia said almost to herself.

This annoyed Bonnie and she, with some irritation, launched into Claudia “I would suggest you have been listening to those who think all men are sex maniacs and all wives are oppressed. I live in the most conservative part of the country and I can tell you with some certainty that the married women today are at least as sexually active as the men, if not more so. So I think maybe you should do some research and write a story on that.”

Claudia backtracked and said “I guess I need to do some background research. I didn’t mean to offend you. Let me ask this to make sure I have it right. You two have an open marriage, but it is Bonnie who most often has other sexual partners?”

Bonnie agreed that was correct.

“Is the FFF also in favor of open marriage?”

Cooper answered “The FFF does not have a position at all on that subject. What the FFF favors is for people to openly practice whatever type of relationship two people might choose to have.”

“Two or more people” Bonnie added.

Cooper corrected himself, “Yes, or more, we would certainly be supportive of the concepts of polyamory. Though to be honest, we only have one set of friends who would fit a strict definition of polyamorous.”

Bonnie again jumped in “I don’t know. I think we have several friends who would fit that definition. I can’t be specific, but we have friends who as a couple have had a regular lover, and Cooper I think that might even apply to us.” Bonnie shielded her face and mouthed Trish where the reporter could not see.

Cooper then understood “Oh, yea, I guess I was thinking something more formal, yea, I guess we would fit under the polyamory umbrella too.”

Bonnie then went on “For instance, Claudia, you might not know it but among young people, at least in our area, there is a trend to polyamorous type dating, where a group of kids go out together rather than in pairs like we did. I know I’ve heard Misty refer to her relationship with several of her friends as poly. In her group, they are sexually active with each other on a fluid basis. A girl might be with one guy one time and another guy or girl the next night, same with a guy. But they don’t consider themselves promiscuous because they mostly keep it within the group.”

“So, your seventeen-year-old daughter is part of a polyamorous grouping?”

Bonnie said “I’ve said all I’m going to say specifically about her. I won’t violate her privacy by telling you more without her permission. If you want, you can give me your number so she can call you. She likely will be glad to talk to you in more detail. But, I’ll say again in case I wasn’t clear, there is fluidity in groups and a group view of sexuality so that even while there are distinct couples, there is a tribal element as well. But I will say in general terms, that among the teens we know, there are far fewer exclusive couples than there were when I was their age. In fact, I can’t think of any of Misty’s friends who have an exclusive relationship.”

“This might be a story in itself. I will do some work on the new sexual attitudes of teens. I guess it wouldn’t surprise New Yorkers that teenagers here do that, but the idea that such behavior is now in rural America might be quite surprising to my readers.”

Bonnie leaned forward, “Now Claudia, my guess is it is hard for you to grasp that not all teens are city kids, or even suburban. Rural America is alive and well, even if you New York City folks don’t know it. And, despite the common belief; a sizable minority of rural Americans are not Trump loving, Confederate flag waving, immigrant hating red necks. Yes, a majority are, but it would be wrong to think they are the only type of rural southerners. If you’ll give me your business card, I’ll give it to our daughter and if she want’s she’ll contact you so you can ask your questions directly to her.”

Claudia did so, then said “Go back, you just ran over something. You indicated that both the girls and boys might be sexual with other girls and boys. Are you saying they are also sex role flexible too?”

Cooper answered, “Like I said in my presentation, we think the social trend is toward abandoning the heterosexual-homosexual divide. Sex is what people do, not what people are. Unless forced to firmly choose one or the other, most people will develop a preference for having sex with people who have one or the other set of genitals, but a preference for one does not exclude enjoyment of the other. In the same way I prefer mint-chocolate chip ice cream doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy butter-pecan.”

The reporter smiled, clearly remembering something, “in the press conference, you were directly asked if you were one of those people who can enjoy both flavors. But you conspicuously did not answer the question. That won’t play well for some of the stories they will write. I’ll save you a headache and ask the question again. Do you enjoy sex with both men and women?”

Cooper was on the spot. He knew the fact he evaded rather than answered no to whether he had sex with men sufficiently addressed the question. “It’s like this. I didn’t want to be put in a box and I know there were two reporters in that group who work for LBGT activist magazines. And…” He paused “I’m not sure what to say.”

“I wasn’t asking for a label. I just asked do you enjoy having sex with both men and women?”

Cooper phrased his answer carefully, “Yes. I have had enjoyable sexual experiences with both men and women since Bonnie encouraged me to expand my horizons. So, it’s all still rather new to me, given the fact that until February, I had been monogamous for over twenty years. And I only had a few sexual partners before I met Bonnie. Does that answer the question?”

It did, and she promised to speak with the reporter who had asked about it in the press conference. She said she would ask him not to press the issue since his magazine had a policy of not "outing" people.

After dinner Claudia dropped them off at their hotel. They had a little more than an hour to change into their formal clothes and get back to the gallery. Cooper had his black tux and Bonnie into her very low-cut burgundy gown. Cooper thought she was extremely sexy and wasted no time in putting his hands under the fabric to ascertain that his eyes were right to think she wore nothing under it. She indeed wore absolutely nothing at all underneath.

Bonnie and Cooper asked the doorman to take a photo of them in front of the hotel with Cooper’s iPhone. She thought they looked very elegant. As she knew it would, even the weak flash of her phone shot right through the fabric making it appear she was wearing something far more sheer than she actually was.

As the cab pulled up it was clear this was a very different kind of event than the one earlier in the day. In front of the gallery there must have been two dozen or more media people, all with cameras. These were not art reporters but rather the infamous paparazzi waiting for celebrities. It was unnerving when the cab stopped. Before they opened the door, it was surrounded by peering faces. Bonnie’s mind jumped to the fact she wore no underwear and this was just the same situation as when several celebrity women had accidently shown off all their goods to the waiting cameras. She wasn’t sure if the prospect of being exposed like that was exciting or frightening.

Even though it was not dark, the camera flashes went off once her first, well-tanned, leg stretched from the cab seat to the curb. She felt like a star. However, nearly all the photographers backed off once Bonnie and Cooper were fully outside the cab. It seems when they saw the cab held neither a socialite nor a celebrity, they lost interest. The disappointed cadre’ of photographers made way for the nobody’s; however, several flashes went off as Bonnie walked by. She knew those powerful flashes would leave little of her shape hidden. Not far from the door, a photographer asked her to stop for a photograph, and then asked for her name and relation to the exhibit. She knew famous or not, she looked great in that dress. The photographer seemed to take some interest when she told him that she and Cooper were the primary models in two of Amy Douglass’s large format paintings.

Bonnie and Cooper presented their invitations and went inside.

Once inside the gallery, Bonnie was glad she had spent the money for her very nice dress back in March, all the women were fabulously attired. No matter their age they were all sexy and beautiful. Bonnie wondered if word had gotten out that this was an opportunity for the women to show off. Bonnie had long wondered who bought those haute couture dresses she saw on Fashion TV and why. Now she saw who bought them and that they were for events like this. She felt much less glamorous and racy than she had before entering the gallery. She was far from the only woman wearing a very low-cut dress risking a wardrobe malfunction and from the last time she wore this dress, a “malfunction” was more a probability than a possibility. Even if (when) her areolas peeked out, she still would not be the most exposed woman she saw. That award went to Amy Douglass.

While all the other women wore showy gowns and such, Amy had chosen a different tack. She wore a well-made black wool skirted suit, except the skirt had been hemmed above the knees (Bonnie couldn’t imagine a suit like that had been made that way). Rather than high-heels like she and all the other women wore, she had on low-heeled boots. But that wasn’t what got Bonnie’s attention. It was the very completely sheer purple blouse over a lace quarter-cup bra that turned the business-like outfit into something quite different. The overall look was perfect: serious yet provocative. It was exactly right for her for this occasion.

In her silk dress Bonnie did not look out of place even if she still felt so. The people at this event nearly all lived in a world of wealth and glitter that she’d simply never even dreamed of entering before. There were few people looking carefully at the art. Most stood around preening and talking. As they walked through the gallery, she saw more than a couple of faces she’d seen on TV or magazines. Though Bonnie was not a People Magazine type and didn’t recognize many of the socialites and celebrities, it was not hard to tell who were the VIP’s; they were the best dressed and sometimes had an entourage in tow. She tried to remind herself these people were no better than her; still, it was hard for the daughter of a West Virginia hillbilly not to feel a little out classed.

Cooper, unlike his wife completely missed the social class statements of the women’s attire. To him a dress was a dress. He couldn’t tell one that came from a department store from one that came from a fancy Manhattan designer’s shop. However, he did notice very few people seemed to be making any sort of serious appraisals of the art. Right off he also decided this group was at the gallery for clearly different reasons than those who had come in the afternoon.

He also noted that compared with the dozens of paparazzi outside, inside there were only two photographers working. They were busily shooting photos of just about everyone, even him and Bonnie; though they clearly took more interest and more photos of his wife. He didn’t blame them. She was stunning, even in this company. He just wondered how he could get copies of some of the photos that the FFF’s photographer took of Bonnie.

Early on he’d seen Amy. Her outfit he had noticed and knew full well why she’d chosen it. A little later he saw Dr. McKinnon’s head between two larger men in an animated discussion with a group of well-dressed socialites. She saw him, smiled and waved before launching back into her discussion with those around her.

After only a few minutes he and Bonnie were standing next to a short older man who was, unusually, taking a great deal of time looking at the art. Cooper thought he looked familiar. It wasn’t until he began to talk to his companion that Cooper recognized Woody Allen’s voice. A little later on, even he was able to identify Parris Hilton wearing a sparkly, semi-transparent dress revealing only a lace thong beneath. Cooper’s first thought was that he hoped the photos of her, and all the other celebs, would say something about the art.

It was shortly thereafter they ran into Gillian Moyers. Cooper knew she would be there since her whole role with the FFF was to bring her Hollywood star power to the cause. Her dress took him off guard. If she wanted to make sure everyone knew she was there, that dress ensured everyone would look at her… and look again. Back in Georgia, her outfit would have gotten her arrested in a heartbeat. Her breasts were entirely exposed. The dress was fully cupless and she wore no pasties or body paint, only a dusting of gold sparkly stuff.

Bonnie had never met Gillian and had to force herself not to act like a tourist rube when the actress saw Cooper and waved for them to join her. Approaching, Bonnie noticed that not only were Gillian’s breasts exposed, but her skirt was sheer enough that she could see that rather than panties, the movie star wore only a string of gems. Quickly she ascertained that the woman was wearing pseudo-panty jewelry like Bonnie had worn to the pool party last week.

When Cooper told the family he’d met Gillian Moyers at the first board meeting, she had not really known what the actress even looked like. Misty however said that she was a huge fan. It seems she’d starred in a movie called Firelight, one of those far-fetched spy films. She’d played a female James Bond type who was both lethal and sexy. Misty explained to her mother that because the movie’s sex scenes were outside the boundaries for its “R rating to open in the US, the MPAA demanded some editing. The movie’s director and Gillian both put up quite a fuss. They had gone very public with their outrage that TV shows on HBO and Netflix crossed those boundaries all the time, yet they had to trim their film to get it onto theater screens.

The explanation helped Bonnie recall reading about the controversy, though she’d not noted the people involved at the time. She’d read that when Firelight opened in Europe a week after the US premier, it was ten minutes longer than the US version. Most of the additional footage was in a scene of a naked man, with an erect penis, carrying on a conversation with the female star (Gillian). The director had tried to get a less graphic version of the scene approved by the MPAA, but ended up cutting it out completely for US theaters. Additionally, a combined three minutes were added to Gillian’s two sex scenes. That was what created the buzz around Gillian.

The two scenes were so “realistic” that a reporter actually asked her if the sex was real rather than simulated. Gillian, on camera, answered “Yes it was real. In both scenes I was actually having penetrative sex. I’m a method actor and I decided that it is nonsense to keep pretending to do something that we all do all the time. Sex should not be treated the same as violence. We would never actually shoot someone while making a movie so we have to make something fake look real. But there is no reason to do that with sex. Before shooting began, I spoke to the two men I was scripted to do the scenes with and suggested we not just simulate the sex, but actually do it.”

According to what Misty told her mother the night Dad had said he’d met Gillian, over the next few months after that interview there was a concerted effort to ruin her career. Rather than cower, she became even more outspoken about her sex-positive beliefs and openly talked about her free-love lifestyle. That was what made her a hero to Misty and the Euro Club. She told her mother that when she found herself in the same situation, Gillian Moyers’ response to slut shaming had been an example to her. Bonnie had not been aware of any of that.

Walking over to Gillian, Bonnie felt more out of her depth than ever. The actress greeted Cooper with an air kiss, then she introduced him to her two companions as the writer of the FFF material. He, in turn, introduced her to Bonnie. Bonnie’s first thought was to not act like she was star struck, after all she had never before met a real movie star. Gillian made a very kind comment about Bonnie’s appearance, before telling her friends that she and Cooper were the primary models for the big painting that was creating such a buzz.

The woman standing by Gillian reached for Bonnie’s hand. “It’s a wonderful painting. I understand it was made from sketches Amy Douglass made from live modeling sessions. I understand college students being willing to have sex in her studio, but for people like you, it took real courage. To do that in today’s political climate means taking real risks.”

Bonnie brushed off the compliment.

Shaking her hand, the thought came that the other woman seemed vaguely familiar, but she wasn’t going to ask. It was only when Gillian introduced her as Emilia Clarke that Bonnie realized she was the young woman on Lamar’s screensaver. She hadn’t recognized her without the white hair she sported on Game of Thrones.

Bonnie completely lost her ability not to act like a tourist. She knew she had begun to yammer but couldn’t stop herself. “If our two teenage children knew I was talking to the two of you they would die of jealousy.” She looked to Emilia and said “We loved you in Game of Thrones playing a strong young woman, though I’m afraid our son loves you for other reasons. He was twelve when we let him see the series and well….I think you’ve made a lifelong impact on him.”

That got some laughs which calmed Bonnie down. Because she knew what she wanted to say to Gillian if they ran into her, she did not stop talking yet. “And Gillian, I want to thank you for your courage to stand up to those who tried to shame you last year. When some photos of our daughter at a nude beach showed up on-line and at her school, your example helped her not to cower. She was able to respond by claiming ownership of her actions and to show pride in her body. While nude photos shared on-line without permission have destroyed many teenage girls; with some inspiration from your actions, she came through it stronger than ever. I just wanted you to know you are making an impact on a great many teenage girls.”

Gillian seemed pleased and replied “From what Amy Douglass has told me, you are the one who taught her to stand up. After all, you came to this event to represent all the models who made love in her studio for her to photograph and sketch. When I had sex in front of a camera, I was paid, but you did it out of principle. And since, as I understand it, a smaller version of one of the paintings of you two hangs in your living room; I can assume you have raised your daughter in a sex-positive home. Clearly your example said more to her than anything I have done.”

It was Bonnie’s turn to be pleased. “Thank you. I certainly hope so. Do you think your example will inspire other actors?”

Gillian replied “So far I’ve gotten lots of support from my colleagues, but none have followed my lead. I don’t know if you have heard, but I am co-producing a new series based on the life of Empress Josephine. We don’t have a deal yet, but Netflix is interested in streaming it.”

“No, I hadn’t heard. I’ll admit I don’t really follow Hollywood news. Will you be in it?”

Gillian smiled, “Of course. I’ll be Josephine. I’m a real fan of hers. She was like a modern sexually emancipated woman two hundred years ago.”

“And you can get away with things on streaming that you can’t on the big screen.” Bonnie then asked “Might I ask if you plan to continue with unsimulated sex. I ask because I assume that a series based on a woman who was quite open about her decades of having one lover after another would have a good bit of sex in it.”

Gillian laughed again. “So you know something about her life. Yes, there will be a great deal of nudity and sex. There will be more than was in Game of Thrones but less violence. The open sexuality of Josephine’s time was a lot like it was in ancient Rome, so the series will be more like the Spartacus with Lucy Lawless than anything else. What will be ground breaking is that the plan is that all the sex will be real, nothing will be simulated. You won’t see couples in contorted positions so as to show penetration or guys pulling out to cum. I envision the sex on screen will be pretty much like the European cut of Firelight which showed only brief glimpses of actual penetration; but there is no question it was real.”

Bonnie nodded “Yes, that is what it was like in your movie.”

“That is the plan we have pitched to our investors. I know that people have gone through Firelight frame by frame and highlighted the three seconds or so that actually shows a penis in my mouth, and another ten that more-or-less shows one arching up into my vagina; though there are no gynecological shots of the dicks going in me. But just watching the film, those eleven seconds are broken up into bits of one or two seconds each, so they are far from intrusive. What we found from that project was that shooting in a way that neither hides nor highlights the mechanical parts of actual sex yields a final product that is more beautiful and natural than can be achieved just faking it. Our focus groups tell us that for the audience, it was more important that they knew I was actually enjoying the sex they saw on screen, and I did; than seeing the penis going into my mouth or vagina. I don’t know if you’ve seen the European version of Firelight, but it is not porn for sure; but it doesn’t artificially try to hide things either.”

Bonnie put in, “Yes. After Cooper told me you were on the board, I made sure to see it. You are right, knowing it is real did change how I saw it.”

“We will be shooting entirely in Europe where there will be little controversy about the nudity and genuine sex on set. I am already working with an accent coach to learn to speak with a Caribbean French accent like Josephine had…though the dialogue will be in English not French”

After a few more minutes of chatting, the FFF photographer came by and asked to get a photo of the two actresses’ together. Taking advantage of them posing by one of the large statues together, Bonnie boldly asked if Cooper could take a photo of her with the two of them for their kids. That took Ms. Clarke off guard in that the other woman was effectively topless. Gillian assured Emilia that the Campbell family are nudists so they are not afraid of bare breasts. Of course, Bonnie didn’t consider herself a nudist, but she let the comment go. Not only did Cooper shoot a photo with his cell phone of the three of them, the FFF photographer took two more.

Over the course of the evening, Bonnie recognized the faces of a good many famous actors & models; however, most of the VIP's she had no idea who they were. The highlight of the evening was meeting Angelina Jolie whom both Cooper and Bonnie thought was the most beautiful woman alive. They’d been there for nearly two hours and were beginning to get board when they finally got at chance to speak with Amy. She was talking to a couple of people who were facing the other way in her animated style, not far from one of the paintings featuring them. Amy, seeing them waved them over and said “Cooper, your just in time, Ms. Jolie was asking about the FFF.”

Cooper almost fell over himself. In person, and now in middle age, she was more stunningly beautiful than he’d realized. He felt completely unnerved and began to stammer. Amy rescued him by saying “This is Cooper and Bonnie Campbell, they were the models on the rock in the painting over there” she gestured to the May in the Forest painting. “and Cooper wrote most of what you have read about the FFF’s philosophy.”

The beautiful star put out her hand and said “Call me Angelina. The painting is absolutely wonderful.”

She went on to ask about the FFF and Cooper was delivered from having to really talk because he just repeated the spiel he had now given a dozen times. Even still he quickly excused himself as soon as he’d answered her questions. Bonnie, now more comfortable than she had been before, stayed for quite a while longer with what had grown to a group of about a dozen people discussing art and FFF philosophy.

Cooper, as he waited for Bonnie, watched people’s reaction to the live art piece. Most, he saw, did not see it for what it was and simply walked by. Perhaps one in four stopped short when they realized at what they were looking. Naturally when one person in a group saw it, they alerted the others who then were equally as shocked. Though shock was the initial reaction of nearly everyone, not one person appeared offended by the performance art, and most appeared, to Cooper, to be sympathetic to the piece.

A little later he and Bonnie ran into Dr. McKinnon who was just at that moment looking at May in the Forest. Like the other two board members they had seen, the professor was quite exposed. For the first time it occurred to Cooper that they had planned this. Hers was a simple gold floral gown; but the parts of the dress that were devoid of flowers were completely see-through. It was obvious she most definitely did not have on anything underneath. She was no super model, but she certainly was not unattractive in a serious professional woman sort of way. She gave him a hug.

He asked “What do you think of all this Denise?”

She smiled and nodded. “It is going better than I could have hoped. Though I must say I wonder what will happen if any photos show up on-line of me wearing this dress. I know I have made a career out of being provocative, but this is a first.”

Cooper asked to find if his guess was correct “So may I assume you and Amy and Gillian coordinated your attire?”

“Yes you may. Originally Gillian had called Amy for her OK on what she’d planned on wearing. After we all talked, we agreed to make our outfits part of our statement. What I didn’t realize is that all our self-exposure only made us a little more out-there than some of the other’s here.” She looked to Bonnie and said “You look smashing. That is a gorgeous dress and you pull it off amazingly well.”

Bonnie thanked her and looked down at her dress to find both of her areolas were exposed (again); but this time she didn’t make the effort to adjust the dress to cover them. Before Bonnie could say anything else, Dr. McKinnon went on. “I must admit, I almost lost my nerve before leaving my hotel room. If I’d brought anything else to wear tonight, I might not have gone through with it. I’ve never ever worn something remotely like this out in public."

Cooper wanted to say she looked amazingly sexy without seeming too forward. "I think your outfit is wonderful." Bonnie followed up with her praise that was more specific than her husband’s.

Denise responded "I didn't have anything like the money that Gillian has for clothes, so I simply took the dress I’d bought for an event last year and removed the opaque under layer. It wasn’t until I looked in the hotel mirror that I realized how much of me I would be showing. The upside is that my attire has surprised more than a few people and given me the opportunity to present the FFF viewpoint. We might not get another opportunity to get access to so much press and so many opinion makers as we will tonight. I normally only get to talk to other academics and activists; but in this room are more people with real influence over culture than I’ve ever had access to. So, it is worth the discomfort of going almost naked.”

Cooper came back “You are far from being almost naked.”

“Come on Cooper, I could see it in your eyes. You saw every one of my girl parts in the ten seconds it took for you to walk over here. And if I got that response from you, you can guess what I’ve gotten from people who do not know me.”

He knew she was right.

“One thing about it,” she added “if pictures of me in this dress do show up in the smallest corner of the media or on the web, you can be sure my neo-feminist enemies will be sure to give us a great deal of free publicity when they condemn me.”

Dr. McKinnon evidently saw someone coming around a corner and said “Well time to go back to work. I see someone I wanted to talk to is free for a minute. Get us some good press. I’ll see you at the After-Show."

By the time the show ended and he and Bonnie left, they had lost count of all the faces they recognized and Bonnie just hoped she could recall them when Misty and Lamar asked. The most important talk however was with a reporter from ABC news doing a series of interviews for use on Good Morning America. As had been arranged by the publicist, ABC had exclusive rights to bring a video crew in during the last thirty minutes of the show. While they were there, they did a brief on camera interview with each of the artist and the FFF board members. All the interviews were done right in front of Spring in the Forest. According to the man with the video camera, the painting was big enough that they could include just a part of it in the frame, so as not to need any digital blurring to get it on the air. His interview was short, perhaps five minutes. Cooper talked to one of the producers afterward and was told that his interview was the most informative of the set, though not the most airable. The woman said his interview would be edited down to under a minute and would be held as a filler piece on a slow news day sometime in the next few days or on He could not disagree that it would be hard to compete with a half-naked Gillian Moyers.

While those who came to view the exhibit came and went all night, rarely staying even an hour; Bonnie and Cooper felt obligated to stay till the show closed and the last of the visitors left. When the front door was locked, there was a last round of photos by the FFF photographer of each of the artists individually and as a group. Amy asked for a final photo of the FFF board members. Bonnie stood back by the photographer, but Amy saw her and said “Bonnie, you are one of us now; and you have the nicest dress so we can’t leave you out. Come on over here.”

When Bonnie saw Gillian take a fashion pose, then Denise, Bonnie followed suit. She wasn’t’ sure why she did, but she even arranged her dress so the sides of her areolas were exposed. That had been happening all night by accident, but this time she did it on purpose.

The photos done, Amy said “I expect to see this photo in Cooper’s study next time I’m over.” Bonnie had already thought of that. “Just get me the photo file and I’ll have it printed.” When an 8x10 print showed up on Cooper’s desk at Augusta State the next week (much to his GA’s amusement), Bonnie promptly framed it and put it in her husband’s home office. As she’d expected, the flash from the cameras had indeed made her dress look far more sheer than it actually was.

In the cab on the way to the hotel that Amy and the other artists had used as home base for the last week, Bonnie said “I really am exhausted. It’s been a long day. How long do we have to stay at this event?”

“I’m not sure. I am flying blind here too. I’ve been to a lot of similar functions and they tend to be like drop-ins; but how long I stay at them depends on what I need to do while I’m there.”

“So?” Bonnie asked “What is it we need to do?”

Cooper laughed. “Well, I’m not sure. As I understand it, this is sort of a reception for the five artists, their friends and, most importantly, the donors who made it possible. I supposed there will be a few other invited guests that Amy thought would be helpful to be there as well. It’s an FFF event though, since it was the foundation that put on the show. That is why I, we, need to go.”

“Sounds dreadful” Bonnie lamented.

“Don’t be so sure. Recall what Amy said earlier about it being a time to drink and get naked; though I’m sure she meant after the donors leave. So, perhaps this will not be so bad after all.”

Bonnie laughed. Perhaps he was right. She hoped so.

The After-Show was in the main room of the suite that Amy and the other artists had shared for the past week as their base of operations. The rooms for them had been rented by one of the patrons that had made the exhibit possible. The suite’s common room was fabulous, with a large sitting area, a professionally manned wet bar and a pianist at the baby grand piano. On either end of the room were doors leading to bedrooms.

When they arrived, Cooper noted that the two younger artists, Daniel Holdridge & Dawn Sands were already present along with their significant others. He’d met both of the artists at the soft opening, but had not actually done more than exchange pleasantries. He knew it was now the time to properly meet them, though he was quite pleased that Bonnie took the lead.

“Hi” she said putting a hand out to Dawn who was standing with what Cooper presumed to be her boyfriend. “I’m Bonnie. Your art is simply wonderful. I like how you used 3-dimentional objects in many of your works to bring them to life. From what I could see they got a good reception.”

“Thank you. I can only hope the reception will be good enough to sell some of them. Now that I’m no longer a GA, I need the income.”

“What are your plans now that you have your MFA in hand?” Bonnie inquired. She just assumed she’d been working on a masters of fine arts degree.

“That depends a lot on how well my paintings sell. I get half of the sales price and the FFF gets the rest; but more importantly, this is my big chance. A New York show is the dream of every young artist and I need to make the most of it.”

Bonnie hadn’t considered the precarious nature of trying to make a living as an artist. She’d wondered why Amy kept teaching even though she saw herself primarily as an artist, not an educator.

Denise McKinnon & Jim Peterson led a small group who arrived while Bonnie was chatting with the younger artists. Cooper stepped over to greet them. Denise gave Cooper a hug. “I hope I’m not late, Jim has some friends he wanted to come up to meet everyone. It seems some people actually did read my book. Even more amazing I’m not universally despised in the feminist community.”

One of those who’d come in with Denise reached out a hand to Amy and said “Hugh Goldsmith, of Rolling Stone Magazine. Your art is a breath of fresh air; I’m thrilled to meet you. This show will be the talk of the town by Monday. How long do you plan on running?”

Amy stood up and answered “We have the gallery for two more weeks. Some of the pieces will be auctioned next Friday but we have another dozen pieces to show, including another of Denise here.”

The Rolling Stone writer stepped forward and put an arm around Denise. “She didn’t tell me until we’d left the gallery that one of the paintings on display was of her and a coworker. She really practices what she preaches in her book doesn’t she?”

“She’s the real deal all right” Amy agreed.

“I suggest you schedule some more evening showings, from what I heard from my colleagues, you will most definitely get some good reviews.”

“That’s a relief. I really didn’t know what kind of reaction we’d get.”

At the height of the event, the reception room had perhaps three dozen people at once; but mostly there were closer to twenty as they came and went. The space never began to seem crowded. For the first hour it was obvious to Bonnie that the focus was on a group of very well dressed, mostly older people. She concluded that those were donors and potential donors. As such, she left them to Cooper and the other board members & artists to entertain. Gillian apparently changed out of her outfit into something more casual (and covered) before arriving with an impossibly good looking young French man. She introduced him as Francois something. He was the head of her new series’ production team.

Bonnie noticed the girl who apparently was Daniel Holdridge’s girlfriend sitting by herself looking quite alone and out of place. She’d not been at the afternoon’s soft opening, but she was on his arm the entire night. Crossing the room to where she sat in one of the conference table’s chairs which she’d turned to face the window, Bonnie asked “Is this seat taken?”

The girl, and she seemed to be young enough to be called a girl, looked up, a bit startled before saying “No it is not.”

Bonnie sat and offered her hand “I’m Bonnie Campbell. You look like I feel, like someone that doesn’t know why she’s here.”

The girl smiled and nodded. “Yes, but the view is amazing. I’ve never been to New York before.”

Bonnie replied “You are right the view is worth taking in. I’ve never been here before either. There is nothing like this in the West Virginia mountains where I grew up.”

“I’m from just outside of Asheville, I know what you are saying. I am Nell Boyd. I’m here with Daniel Holdridge, one of the artists.”

“I saw you with him tonight and I thought you might be.”

The girl replied “I know who you are too. One of Dan’s paintings is of you and your husband. I recognized you from his photos...” She cut off abruptly.

Bonnie was sure she had not meant for those words to come out. It seemed obvious that she was speaking of the photos her boyfriend had taken of her and Cooper making love. Bonnie offered “You mean the photos Daniel took for Amy of my husband and I having sex?”

Nell nodded her face bright red.

“Its OK. Do you think I would have let him take them, or even be there, if I thought there was something I didn’t want people to see?”

It took a moment before the girl said “I guess not…but…

“I know what you mean” Bonnie said. “In the world you and I grew up in, the idea that it is perfectly all right to watch people making love is almost beyond comprehension.”

“Yea.” Then she came back with “But the photos are wonderful. So much better than stuff on the web because you are real people and your love is real. I could tell it in the pictures. So could Daniel. That is why he made the painting…and he actually is working on a second one of you two. I know my parents would say they are filth, but they are wrong….and…and I really am glad you came over. I wouldn’t have had the courage to approach you first, but I’d hoped to talk to you ever since I saw you at the gallery.”

“Here I am. Though, I’m afraid I’m nothing special, just an ordinary housewife and mom.”

“You are hardly ordinary” Nell replied. Just look at you so utterly confident in that gown knowing all these people have been looking at paintings of you making love. That is extraordinary for sure.”

Bonnie put her hand on Nell’s. “I’m flattered that you think so, but it is actually my wish that your generation would come to see that as nothing unusual. I know our kids’ friends are beginning to see it that way.”

She seemed to think for a moment then asked “So, it is true that you are like a leader at your church and yet you have one of Dr. Douglass’s paintings right in your living room?”

Bonnie laughed. “You have been talking to someone.”

She nodded “Dr. Douglass told Dan, and he told me. I think it is amazing. And your family all swim in your pool nude?”

“Yes, along with our friends and their kids. I’ve actually given your boyfriend an invitation to come by sometime this summer. You certainly would be welcome too.”

“Oh wow. I don’t know if I could go naked with people around.”

“Our pool is clothing optional. We never want people to be uncomfortable. But, the invite is there if you want it.”

She nodded, “I’ll think about it.” Then she said “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure. Anything you want to know.”

“Do you feel guilty at church after having sex with people other than your husband?”

It was clear she was well informed. Bonnie chose her words carefully. “I’ve never thought sex for fun is wrong; but I understand why many people would. The short answer is that sin is about abusing people; but sharing joy and pleasure is never wrong. If you are interested, I can send you some of my husband’s writings on the subject.

“Dan has given me an overview of what Dr. Douglass has told him, but if he has a paper or book or something I’d love to see it.”

“He doesn’t have a book…yet; but I’ll see you get what he has written? Now may I ask you a question?”

“Sure” Nell replied.

“How is it you are here? This event is targeted to a very rarefied progressive group. Yet I’m getting the vibe that you have a similar conservative Christian background as Daniel.”

Nell explained. “Without sounding preachy, I think it was God’s providence. He brought Dan into my life in January, just when I needed to clarify my own values; as opposed to those of my parents and my church back home. You see, while he is four years older than me, and only had sex for the first time at Christmas; I had been doing it regularly with my boyfriend in high school. We had done it almost every week for two years, but I had to keep it hidden from my parents and everyone at church. The only problem was no matter how good it made me feel, there was this nagging feeling of guilt that I couldn’t shake. I had been struggling to rectify what my church taught and what was true in my life all that time. Then last fall, when we went to different schools, I suddenly stopped having sex. It was that experience that convinced me that having sex, even once every week, was really good for me; and without it, my mental health suffered.”

Bonnie looked into her eyes, “That is a very interesting observation. Perhaps you don’t know that your conclusion is backed up by empirical research.”

“Really? I thought it was just me.”

“No, its most people. So how long have you been sexually active?”

Nell laughed again “I started having sex with Mark, that is his name, right after I turned sixteen. The truth is, I’d been dying to do it since I first discovered porn and how to get myself off years before. But I needed a guy I could trust not to tell anyone, and I needed a way to be able to get alone with him since my parents never let me alone with boys. I had to wait until I got my driver’s license and by then I had the right guy lined up. For over two years I had a secret lover; but in truth he was more of a friend with benefits than a boyfriend. We both knew it was all about sex. We were very different people, but in bed we were great together.”

Bonnie put in “To know the difference between a wonderful playmate and a soulmate takes more wisdom than most grown women have, let alone a teenager.

Nell nodded. “My parents never knew that I was having sex right in my bed every Wednesday night when they were at their Bible study. He is really smart and got money to go to Georgia Tech and I ended up at Augusta State. We tried to make it work, but by Christmas we both knew it was time to move on. I met Dan two weeks into the spring semester because he was Dr. Douglass’s GA, and she was my adviser.”

Bonnie suddenly understood why she looked so young: she was just a year out of high school. “So how is it that Daniel helped you clarify your sexual values?”

“Its hard to explain. But you are right that we both have the same Christian background, though I think his is more conservative than my Southern Baptist Church. I think it was we were asking the same questions at the same time. Since you are here, I guess you know about the Guatemala trip and what happened.”

Bonnie nodded, “Yes. I know that he had sex for the first time. As I understand it, Dawn over there was his first partner.”

She looked over to where Dawn was talking to an older couple. “Until I got here yesterday, he had been sleeping with her, having sex, all week. Before he left home, I told him he could and probably should continue with her where they left off in January.”

Bonnie knew for this young woman that was a huge step both for them as a couple and for her to talk about it so casually. She did not interrupt and let Nell go on.

“When he found how wonderful sex with Dawn was, he suddenly was confronted with the problem I’d been struggling with for years. I really don’t know why, but the first time we went out I told him things I have never told anyone before. It was like I knew he was the right person to open up to. Then he told me everything that happened in Guatemala even though he’d planned on never telling anyone, ever. You see, he brought from that experience the realization that sex is not inherently evil as he’d been taught; but that it was good and life affirming and God’s gift to humans to help them find joy in a hard world. In one week, Dr. Douglass and her friends convinced him that having sex for your own pleasure and that of your partner is not depraved and selfish; but rather it is a way to spread joy…God’s joy. I don’t know why, but when he told me all that, I knew that with him, together we could look for answers I had been seeking on my own. Right off we seemed to have this ability to reach & trust each other. It was far more meaningful I trusted him with my secrets than the fact we had sex that night.

Bonnie understood. “That is really interesting. Sometimes the right person comes along at the right time.”

Nell nodded, “I have no doubt this was providential. In those first few months we fell in love even as we jointly considered a whole new way of life. Neither of us had ever expected to where it would lead us. In the last six months I feel as if I’m living for the first time. I’d never imagined a world where I could use my body to feel this good without hiding how I do it from everyone. It’s like now, even though I just met you, I don’t mind telling you that more than once I have masturbated while looking at your sex photos. Sitting next to you like this, looking at you in that gown, turns me on. Part of me wants to pull my skirt up right now and start diddling myself.”

Bonnie laughed. “I’m pretty sure that before the night is done, you will be free to do just that if you want. Amy’s strongly hinted that things will get steamy later on.”

Nell’s eyes got big “Really?”

“Yes really. And don’t sell yourself short. You look scrumptious in that dress. May I guess you’ve never worn anything so provocative in public before?”

She smiled broadly. “No I haven’t. You think I look good in it?”

“Absolutely” Bonnie said. “You give me tingles looking at you too.”

She giggled “I’m glad.” Then she leaned over and whispered “And I don’t have anything on under it.”

Bonnie made an exaggerated look down the front of her very low cut minidress. The entirety of the girl’s “C” cup breasts was quite visible as she leaned toward Bonnie. “Yes, I can tell. Very nice, you have a very nice body indeed.”

Nell smiled so broadly that it took over her face. “And you do too Mrs. Campbell. And I think everyone at the art show knows you didn’t wear anything under that dress.” Then she giggled. After a moment she said “See, here we are talking about this and it is like a normal part of life.”

“That is exactly what it is, and what the FFF believes it should be.” Bonnie said.

Nell went on “Dan’s and Dr. Douglass’s art project has been really secretive, but among those who are in on it we are free to talk about things I never knew I would ever say out loud. And three times I helped Dan while he made charcoal sketches of couples doing it right in front of us.”

Bonnie understood. “Yes, it is quite a transition. You have entered a new world and a new way of looking at sexuality. If you come by my home this summer, I think you and our daughter would have a lot to talk about. She is only a year younger than you, but she’s lived in this kind of world her whole life.”

“Maybe Dan and I can come at that.. I’m not moving home this summer. In theory I’m staying for classes, in truth I’m staying because I’d rather be with Dan than my parents. ”

Bonnie stood; we can talk again later. I think that you may have a memorable ending for a memorable day.”

Cooper was relieved when the last of the donors finally left. The people who remained were FFF/Artists, their significant others and personal friends. He could see that Amy was very visibly relieved the big opening night was over, and a complete success. Almost as soon as it was just “insiders” in the suite, her jacket came off. She sunk down in the deep comfort of one of the large couches. After a couple of glasses of white Champaign, she was positively mellow. To the group around her she said “I really don’t think that could have gone better.” She took a sip of her Champaign. “When the gallery suggested a publicist, I thought they were crazy, especially when I found out how much it would cost; but now I realize why.”

Bonnie picked up, “I’m no big celebrity follower, but I was impressed by all the people I recognized. And, would it be vain to say it was fun when people asked me to get selfies with them. They didn’t know if I was a somebody or not, so they treated me like I was.”

Amy nodded and agreed “Well, you look amazing in that dress. I can't imagine you didn't have a few oops moments."

Bonnie laughed, "Yea, more than once."

Amy agreed "I got the same kind of looks too. I’ll make sure you get copies of all of the photos our photographer took of you and Cooper. Those celebrities not only got out the press but drove up the bids for the art. We should be on all the major news websites and in at least a half dozen national print magazines, not to mention what ABC will air. If we can’t get the FFF going with that kind of publicity, nothing will.”

Cooper said “I must admit, I was not expecting to give interviews like that. It was a little unnerving.”

“You did great Cooper” Amy said “And Bonnie, I didn’t have time to say so earlier, but you were simply amazing with that answer you gave at the press conference. It was passionate, and gutsy. Even these New York reporters were impressed. I had several of them confirming your name, which means they want to quote you. Between the two of you, you certainly generated enough sound bites that the FFF will need some help handling all the responses and inquiries we get.”

Bonnie, without planning to do so, volunteered. “Now the kids are pretty independent I have plenty of time. I’d be glad to help.”

“As executive director, I accept your offer and name you the correspondence secretary for the FFF” Amy said. “I’ll email you the password to the FFF account and you and Cooper can work up a way to handle the responses.”

The reporter for the Village Voice was one of those insiders who had not left. He was accompanied by another young man and they came over to sit across from where Bonnie, Cooper and Amy sat. They were both good looking and immaculately groomed. Even to Bonnie's rural Georgian eyes, it seemed obvious that they were gay. Of course she was at an art party in New York City, what else should she expect. This wasn’t Sparta after all.

Amy introduced the reporter and his friend; “This is John Russell and his partner Mitchell Markelburg. You already met John, but I don’t think you’ve met Mitchell. He was instrumental in us securing the foundation money to put on the show. None of this would have happened without him.”

Modestly he replied “I would hope that is not true. I would like to think others would have stepped in if I hadn’t. You and your friends are the real pioneers, pushing forward a broad-based progressive agenda on sex that has been moribund since the late 70’s.” Then he stepped up and offered his hand to Bonnie then Cooper. “John told me what you both had to say at the press conference: I thought it was great.”

It was apparent to Cooper this was a man who was used to being in charge. “And what do you do when you’re not promoting erotic art?” he asked Mitchell.

“Ah, I’m just another Wall Street suit.”

Amy corrected “No, not just another suit, the brightest young star in the city. Why do you think he had the clout to get those foundations to fund us?”

Mitchell just leaned back and smiled, then as casually as could be, pulled a bag of pot from his pocket and some rolling papers. Cooper and Bonnie tried not to show surprise. After all they were with a very different group here. Cooper hadn’t even seen a joint since he was in college, and even then he didn’t partake. Similarly, Bonnie hadn’t seen one in just as long, though she did partake at the time. But that had been decades ago, long before they were parents of two teenagers.

Both Bonnie and Cooper became very uncomfortable. Both were ready and waiting for the other to suggest they leave. However, neither was ready to initiate a retreat and so they stayed as the pot and booze worked its way. It was not long before the group was talking loud and laughing a lot. After Bonnie had downed her fourth glass of Champaign she was laughing with the rest. Cooper however was almost a tee-totaler and stuck to sodas as the room filled with giddy laughs and sexual innuendos.

While the room buzzed with life, Cooper slipped off to the restroom. He returned to find Denise and the guy from Rolling Stone, that she’d been flirting with for nearly an hour, had gone. Bonnie was now laying with her head in Jim Peterson’s lap Cooper went to get a glass of Diet-Coke from the wet bar. He’d not noticed the bartender had gone, so he took a can from the mini-refrigerator. When he turned to go back to the couch, Jim had one hand under the light fabric that covered his wife’s breasts. While Cooper watched, he pushed it aside, then the other. His wife was now fully exposed to everyone. She did not however, seem the least bit annoyed at the man's actions. Their conversation continued as if nothing was unusual despite the fact that this man, that Bonnie had just met, was caressing her exposed breasts.

Cooper decided to take a seat on one of the bar stools to just watch for a while. The live piano music had been replaced with recorded club music. Thankfully it was not overly loud. Over by the window, Dawn Sands had begun to dance. Though she was, as Amy had said, not a beauty; he found something peculiarly attractive as he watched her move. She was short, perhaps 5’ 2”, and on the heavy side. Her large breasts swung side to side as she twisted and turned; yet Cooper could not stop watching. He was thinking on what it was that he found so sexually appealing about her when she stepped out of her red gown. Not surprisingly she wore nothing under it.

Gillian rose from the couch and began to dance with her. Soon she pulled off the slip-dress she’d changed into after the show. She wasn’t completely nude however. She still wore the jeweled pseudo-panty she’d been wearing all night. Cooper could see that it was very much like the one Bonnie had worn at the pool party. It hid nothing and drew attention to her vulva.

Dancing by the large window, to Cooper, the two women seemed an odd pairing, the movie star and the artist; but they seemed to blend together as if they had done this a hundred times before. Cooper didn’t think they knew each other prior to the art show, but s

oon he could see the chemistry between them. The sexual passion in their interaction grew quickly.

When Dawn’s boyfriend and the good-looking reporter from the village voice stood, Cooper expected them to join the women, but instead the two men danced with each other. Not that he was surprised to see the reporter dancing with a man, but it took a moment to get what was happening. Apparently both Dawn and her boyfriend were comfortably bisexual. “This will be interesting to watch” he thought to himself.

And he was right. The two homoerotic couples put on quite a show. Over the course of about ten minutes the dancing became blatantly sexual. It did not take long for the two guys to shed their clothes as well. Cooper was sure all four knew they had become the entertainment, and they played it to the hilt. Their hands were all over each other: caressing arms, legs, chests, and genitals. Both guys sported full erections.

On the couch, Cooper could see that Jim had worked a hand down between Bonnie’s thighs. Her hips slowly thrust to his ministrations. Daniel and Nell sat in the near couch but had their backs to Cooper. They seemed to be pawing each other as they followed every erotic move by the four nude dancers. Knowing what he did of Daniel’s background, Cooper was sure this was quite a sight indeed.

Mitchell, the Village Voice reporter’s boyfriend, stood and walked over to the piano. He watched for a few minutes, then walked over and tore open a condom packet before placing it on the keyboard cover nearest the dancers. Cooper realized he must have missed something because momentarily, Dawn’s boyfriend sat on the piano bench and reached for the condom as if he expected it there.

Dawn danced near the piano to watch her boyfriend roll the condom on the cock. Cooper, along with everyone else, was watching as he downed the shaft.

Inwardly Cooper knew he wished it was him taking that penis in his mouth. He had developed more of an interest in men than he liked to admit to himself.

“Hot isn’t it?” Mitchell Markelburg’s voice said from Cooper’s right. He’d walked around the room after placing the condom on the piano. Evidently, he did so just to talk to Cooper.

“Yes, it is” Cooper nodded.

“May I guess from your evasive answers at the press conference about doing men that you like to suck cock?” Mitchell asked as he took a seat next to Cooper.

It was a surprisingly direct question, but Cooper answered without looking away from the show. “Yes. On occasion, I do. Truth is I'd do it more often if I could.”

“I can see your wife does too” Mitchell said as he looked over to his right.

Cooper had been watching the dancers so closely he’d completely missed that Bonnie had rolled to her side and was now suckling on Jim’s tool. From his place across the room Cooper didn’t have a direct view, but it was obvious she was giving him oral sex. How had he missed that? Amy, still sitting beside them, didn’t seem to pay them any heed.

Without any warning, Mitchell unzipped his pants and pulled a good sized erect penis into the open “So, do you want some tonight?”

Though surprised at the forthright offer, Cooper slid off his stool and stood in front of Mitchell, wrapping his hand around the warm shaft. “But what about John, aren’t you two a couple?”

Mitchell said “Yes, but we are no more monogamous than are you and your wife.”

Cooper was not prepared for what happened next, though he made no effort at stopping it. Mitchell leaned forward and kissed Cooper, pushing his tongue between Cooper’s unsuspecting lips. Though a jolt of revulsion knotted his stomach, he responded and offered his tongue to Mitchell as he jacked the cock in his hand.

Though he grew more aroused by the kiss, the sick feeling in his stomach was growing fast. To stave off some embarrassing unpleasantness he broke the kiss and, squatted down to stuff the firm organ in his mouth. It had been since the party at the LeMarco’s that he had tasted a man; even so, he went to work on the penis shaft and head with pleasurable abandon. The taste of the salty musk of the shaft and feel of the rubbery bulbous head washed away the sick feeling in his stomach and replaced it with the burning desire to taste this man’s semen. He had been evasive about his enjoyment of sucking cock to the reporters, and to himself; but as one part of his brain enjoyed, the other half began, for the first time to really accept that he very much enjoyed sex with men. He even knew he hoped that he'd be fucked tonight as he sucked the cock in a room full of people.

Much to his astonishment though, after less than a minute Mitchell pushed him off. Cooper looked up. Mitchell held a condom. It was a very odd sensation opening the packet and rolling the slippery latex down the penis. He had never sucked a penis with a condom on it. He found it distinctly less enjoyable, but he understood the insistence. This was also the first time he had been sexual with someone who identified as gay. He didn’t know why that mattered, but it did for some reason.

Pushing the other thoughts out of his mind, he focused on giving pleasure. Holding the silken sack in one hand and gripping the firm tube with the other Cooper focused all his being on the smells, taste and sounds of pleasuring this man. He had lost all sense of time as he pressed his lips tight moving up and down. He even began to find an erotic pleasure in the latex and redoubled the pace of his work. He was just thinking he could do this all night when a groan came from Mitchell. Cooper felt the sack tighten and soon he knew a stream of sex had filled the condom’s tip. Even so, he didn’t even slow his mouth fucking. If Mitchell hadn’t pushed him back again he would have kept going.

“You and your wife seem to both love cock” came a voice behind him.

Cooper stood.

John, who was just walking up, gave his boyfriend a kiss. Evidently, he’d finished getting his blow job too. “That was a nice start for the evening.” John went on as he stood next to Mitchell. “Amy said we can use her room for a while. She’s content to relax on the couch. Why don’t the three of us move to one of the bed rooms and get more comfortable before we continue.” Without waiting for a reply Mitchell and John moved toward an open door at the end of the room.

Looking around him, Cooper saw that half of the group had gone. Only the two young couples and Amy were still in the sitting area. Dawn’s boyfriend who had been blowing John, now had his face down between the legs of Daniel’s girlfriend. Dawn was helping Daniel out of his clothes.

“Where did my wife go?” Cooper asked.

Mitchell said “Oh, she, Jim Peterson, Gillian Moyers and the French guy went into the far bedroom around ten minutes ago. Cooper didn’t realize he’d been down on Mitchel anything like that long. He followed the two men into the bedroom.

***** An hour later, a worn out and sweaty Bonnie left Jim’s bedroom. The foursome had been quite the experience. She’d not realized that Gillian had been interested in her at all until she’d asked her if she and Jim would like to get it on with her and Francois. Jim, who had been giving her a very pleasant hand job, literally jumped at the offer.

Once in the room, Bonnie realized that she was the one Gillian had really wanted and Jim was just a tag along. Not that he seemed to notice. The movie star was quick to help Bonnie out of her dress so the two of them could get things started. Gillian was as enthusiastic and joyful making love as anyone she’d ever been with; but it was Francois who was the memorable one. He lived up to the hype of French men and then some.

Bonnie somehow had found a reserve of energy and the hour or so she spent in the bedroom had been very active and exciting. She’d not realized how an entire day filled with open eroticism had built up such a store of sexual desire in her. As she walked into the common room, her thighs actually hurt from the string of powerful orgasm the Frenchman had given her. Looking around it seemed that everyone except the two guys who had taken her husband into Amy’s bedroom were still there. Neither she nor anyone else wore anything at all.

Most everyone was relaxing and talking, though Cooper sat up in the corner of one of the “L” shaped couches with Amy sitting in his lap in the lotus position. Though Bonnie was absolutely sure his penis was inside of her, there was no outward indication that they were having an erotic moment. Instead, she was talking to Daniel, Dawn and her boyfriend who sat near her. Gillian and François poured themselves glasses of Champaign before sitting to join the others.

Nell had stood when she saw Bonnie enter the room and seemed to be waiting for her at the other side of the seating area. She joined the young woman and they sat down. Bonnie deliberately led them to sit so that their thighs pressed together, then put an arm around her to pull her tight. They were both sticky with sweat and there was no mistaking Nell’s response to feeling Bonnie’s skin on hers. She knew how that would affect they younger woman, but Bonnie wasn’t going to initiate sex with her. Rather she was giving an example of how the spark of naked flesh on flesh can be pleasant even when sex does not follow.

“That was fun” Bonnie said in a voice more breathless than she actually felt at the moment. Nell responded by snuggling in closer to Bonnie before saying “Oh yea. It sure was. Bonnie waited to see if the girl wanted to add anything. Gillian, Jim and Francois joined the conversation with Amy. When Nell did not say any more, Bonnie asked “So, when did Cooper and Amy start up?”

“About ten minutes ago. He’d gone into one of the bedrooms with the two gay guys, but he came out by himself.” She seemed to think for a moment then said “Dr. Douglass stayed in here with us for a long time. Not having sex, but just watching and sometimes talking to us while we were doing it. That was strange and cool. Then she went into the bedroom where your husband went, stayed for a little bit then came about the time the four of us finished. Your husband came out a few minutes later. He still had a full hard-on, so I don’t think he’d cum yet. Dr. Douglass showed him where to sit, then she got on him. She’s been sitting there since then.”

Bonnie put the pieces together in her head. To herself she said, “OK, I think I see what happened.” Then she turned her face to Nell, “So?” Bonnie asked the girl. “How do you feel about all this now?” Their faces were close enough together and they were far away enough from the others that their conversation was sure to be just between them.

Nell was quick to answer. “Now I understand more about what it was like for Dan in Guatemala. For Dr. Douglass and her friends, sex really is just a normal thing that they do. Until I experienced it, I didn’t understand. And now, I am as relaxed as can be, naked in a room full of people.”

Bonnie put a hand in Nell’s hair. “Yes, it is a real paradigm shift that is very hard to understand until you’ve been there.”

“I had really hot sex with Van right in front of Amy as well as Dan and Dawn. I didn’t feel the least bit self-conscious even when I got loud when I came. Not only that but I watched my boyfriend screw Dawn without a bit of jealousy and I did it with a girl for the first time. It was amazing. It didn’t feel dirty or cheap or any of those things I’ve been told casual sex would be like.

Bonnie leaned over and kissed her forehead. “I’m really glad it worked out. I expect this party will go on till first light. I have no doubt you all will have at least one more round of sex before then. I would recommend you try it with Francois, he is very talented. But I’m afraid I am spent. All-nighters are for young people not old folks.”

“You aren’t’ old” Nell replied.

“I’m sure I’m your mother’s age.”

Nell sat up a little so as to visibly look Bonnies nude body over. “You might have lived as long as my mother, but you aren’t as old as she is. There is a difference. You are so alive in a way I can’t imagine my mother ever has been. She freaks out at the slightest display of sexuality.”

Bonnie understood but said, “Oh I’m sure she had it once. You are proof of that. It is more likely she has simply suppressed her inner fire so long that even she has forgotten it is there. That negative reaction is likely driven by her long habit of stamping her libido down. It is sad but all too common.”

They sat for a good while watching Amy who had finally begun to move her hips as she sat on Cooper. Bonnie whispered in Nell’s ear “Now is the time to diddle yourself. Do you still want to do that after what you have done tonight?”

It took some time but Nell whispered back then giggled, “More than ever.”

Bonnie scooted into the corner of the seating unit. Nell looked back and understood what she was suggesting. She moved to sit between Bonnie’s legs facing out. Leaning back onto Bonnie’s chest, she spread her legs a little and placed her right hand on her vulva. With her left, she took Bonnie’s hand and guided it to her breast.

And so the last of Bonnie’s night in the hospitality suite was spent holding the college girl and caressing her as she brought herself to a pair of orgasms before Amy was spent.

When they got into the cab to go back to their hotel, Cooper just had to ask his wife about having sex with Gillian.

“Oh, it was a night to remember for sure. Gillian really is as hot in bed as her movie portrays her. But it was Francois who was the stem winder. The variety of ways he used his hands, his mouth and his dick was mind blowing. I could have spent the whole night just with him; but I knew that wasn’t an option. Not that Jim was bad, it was just he couldn’t compete. I had a great time for sure. Misty is going to die when I tell her I had sex with Gillian Moyers.”

Cooper couldn’t help but agree that their daughter would be very impressed.

Bonnie went on “I was surprised though she’d never seen a woman do DP in real life before. When I asked to have the use of both of the guys so we could make a Bonnie sandwich, she was really excited to watch. It turns out that Francois really likes doing anal, but Gillian doesn’t do it. Of course you know me, I just asked who had lube. Turns out Amy had left a bottle right on the end table. I guess she’s had quite a week on her own.”

Cooper replied “Yes she did. She let me know she has some great stories to tell me.”

Bonnie waited until they made it to the hotel room before asking her husband about his first all-male sexual experience.

Placing his tuxedo jacket on a hanger, Cooper said, “It was, to say the least, intense.”

“What did you guys do?” Bonnie asked as she carefully hung her dress.

“I’ll put it this way, it was what I would call my first full sexual experience with a man. I kissed them both.”

“Well that’s new!” she said rather surprised. “What was that like?”

“Once I got turned on enough, it was fine, but at first it was kinda gross” he said. “Now that I've tried it, I can say for sure it is not my thing. But I'll tell you one thing, just like my wife, I like to be ass fucked good and hard”

“You do?” she said with a knowing grin. “Do tell all about it.”

“For almost the entire time with them I had one or the other of them up my ass. John recovered from his blow job really fast so he started. When he needed a break Mitchel was really. The did that three times. I’ve never been fucked so long as to make it not feel tight any longer, well tonight it got that way.”

“So you got fucked really good, and I saw you blowing Mitchell before I went into the other room with Amy, Jim and Sergio. May I assume you blew John too?”

“Oh yea, most of the time while one was fucking me, the other put his dick in my face to suck.”

“Did you like that?” she asked while cleaning the makeup from her face.

Cooper, who was now as naked as his wife, lay back on the bed. “What do you think? It was best when they had worked up a good rhythm where the one behind and the one in front thrust at the same time. So far, I’ve been able to take every dick I’ve tried all the way down without gagging. It was cool when one would fuck me hard pushing the one in my mouth deeper.”

She smiled “Yea, I know what you mean, I like that too. They did use condoms, right?”

“Yea the whole time. When they fucked me they used lubed ones with ridges, it felt good. But, at first I did Mitchell for just a minute in the raw. I really wanted him to cum in my mouth, but he didn’t let me. He made me put the condom on after just a little bit. ”

Bonnie said with irritation. “That’s good. You can still catch things from oral sex.”

Cooper blushed and nodded, “You are right. I've got to tell you, Mitchell can do the most amazing thing while giving head. When I would get so turned on I' was going to cum, he would put pressure on the base of my cock till the urge passed. By doing that he kept me right at the edge forever."

"I thought you said one or the other were fucking you almost all the time?"

"Oh, they were. I was standing on my knees and John was behind me fucking while Mitchell was in front sucking my dick." Just thinking about all of it brought Cooper’s penis back up to half mast. She finished her face and turned to her husband. Noticing the growing hard-on she crawled over to him on the bed and said softly “I remember what you said after the party at the LeMarco’s, you really like being used like that by men don’t you?”

“Yea, I really do. I hope you don’t mind.”

“No, I think it’s hot and kinky.”

“Really?” he asked.

“Oh, yes really. I’d like to just sit back and watch you some time with a guy or guys.”

“We just need to find the right guy back home. That won’t be easy.”

She agreed, then said “One good thing about you letting those two have their way with you, we don’t have to worry about getting called anti-gay in the Village Voice. In fact, I bet because of your selfless efforts John will write a sympathetic article.”

They both laughed.

She said “All of these things about doing guys you are finding out, I learned way back in high school. Still it is a bit odd to think of my husband as the object of men’s desires.”

She crawled on the bed and kissed him. Then she said, sorry it's been too long for you to taste Jim's jizz in my mouth. I swallowed one of his loads and Gillian did the other."

He glared at her "You lectured me on using a condom with these New York guys, but you didn't?"

With a Cheshire cat grin she said "Well, you aren't the only one who has discovered they like to feel a man cum in their mouth, and she put her lips back to his.

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Mar 07, 2023

The Final Freedom Foundation’s philosophy as expressed by Cooper during his speech at the press conference is admirable – to let everyone be themselves without labels. This is part of the ”Culture Wars” being fought across the world: “There are generally agreed to be three major contestants in these Culture Wars: the traditional, often fundamentalist, mythic-literal, religious believers, advocates of God’s truth as literally revealed in the Bible; the modern, rational, scientific believers, advocates of progress and achievement; and the postmodern, multicultural, sensitivity believers, advocates of nonmarginalizing attitudes and ecological sustainability. These three value groups are present not only in the United States but worldwide, and in some cases, they are behind the breakout of actual warfare (although that also…


May 07, 2022

In one of Woody Allen's movies, "Bullets over Broadway" a group of artists, writers and actors discussed the differences between sex and love. One character said: "Sex is only six inches deep, while love is endless." Or something like that. This first chapter of Book 3 of "In Search of the Final Freedom" is filled with your Sex Positive philosophy complimented by the physical expressions of that philosophy. I must congratulate you on the wide scope of your narrative, your compelling characters and their interactions, and the way you presented the different sex scenes. (You must have experienced something like this in real life.) Although Sex Positive is a leap in the right direction, it is still only six inches…

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Thank you for your kind words.


May 06, 2022

There's a lot in this, but Nell was my favorite part. Why do we think casual sex is dirty or cheap? Because of how much we've been told that it is.

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