Updated: Oct 3
For all his bravado, this was way more than he was ready to just take in stride. Sure he’d banged Jenny last night like a real pro, but was he ready for a swinger’s orgy? In his mom’s female body? He barely had time to try out masturbating as a woman, now he had to decide if he could supervise an orgy? He’d had a couple of threesomes, but she was talking a whole lot more than two girls with him. He asked himself ‘But, on the other side, would that be worse than being alone with Dad when he thinks I am Mom?’
Sue saw his distress and decided to back off. “It’s OK Stephen. I’ve been doing this since you were a baby. You’ll have a good time, just respond as my body leads you. I can work you out a detailed game plan. You could think of it like just another physical training drill.”
He just sat there, all this was getting to him. So much was in his head. What came out of his mouth was just one of the many thoughts in his mind. “Mom, how many men have you had sex with?”
This was way off topic, or was it? No matter it was not what she had expected him to say. She was back in charge and did not hesitate. Looking right in his eyes she said “Honestly I don’t know. I’ve told you before I was really wild in college. Certainly in the hundreds if you include my years at College of Charleston.”
He just looked at her. “Hundreds?” he repeated. His head was so jumbled.
“Yes, absolutely more than a hundred, though most likely it is well over two, and that is just counting the men who have put their penis in my vagina. Though like I said, the truth is I have no idea” Sue confirmed quietly. “How many girls have you had sex with?”
“Four” he said definitively.
"And if you include oral sex?"
"I've gotten blow jobs from ten different girls, and I have eaten out six. But I want you to know, I have never once tried to score with a girl. In every single case the girl came to me asking to do it. And the truth is, I’ve had at least ten other girls pretty directly tell me they wanted me to do them."
Sue nodded. That was actually a very good sign. “Good son. I didn’t think you were the kind of guy who collects notches on the bedpost. When did you first have sex?”
“Screwing sex? A little more than a year ago.”
Sue wanted to open the conversation up, so she asked “Would you be willing to tell me about how it happened?”
“A girl, I won’t tell you who since she is one of Kate’s friends, strait out asked me to be her first sexual partner the Saturday before last year’s Christmas break. Not to be her boyfriend, but just to have sex with her as a friend. She said she asked me because she liked me and knew she could trust me. From the very first she let me know she didn’t want a boyfriend, but she wanted to have sex. Since I had never had real sex before ether, we both learned how to do it together. We did it a lot over that Christmas break and all the way till the ever end of summer.”
Stephen was actually happy that this weird event had given him opportunity to talk to his mom about all this. He had always liked talking to his mom about the important things in his life. She’d always been the one he talked to about everything, that is until he started having sex. He and his mom had even once talked about the ‘right’ kind of porn. But his actual sex life, that one thing, was walled off. Even in the half-a-year he’d been dating Jenny, he’d talked to her and gotten advice about their developing relationship; while maintaining the open fiction that they were not having sex. Of course he knew she knew they were doing it, but still the subject was carefully avoided. Finally, after over a year of having a taboo subject in their talks, it was all starting to flow out. It was like he felt a need to catch her up on everything and there was a lot he wanted to tell her while hiding behind her face.
Monica asks Stephen to have sex while Kate gives her moral support.
“It was Kate’s idea for her to ask me. Right off that was pretty obvious since Kate was standing right beside her when she asked. As I later found out, Kate had started screwing back that prior fall when she was a freshman. It seems the fact she was having sex and her friend was not put a strain on their relationship because… uh her friend… felt left out and left behind. The other thing was that Kate was intent on working it out so she could screw her guys at the house when you guys were gone for your Saturday night outings with your friends. But she didn’t want to do that with me in the house unless I was also having sex when you were gone. She knew the house rules allowed for that as long as the partner was gone by 1:00 AM; but for some reason she didn’t want to be the only one doing it. I’d known her friend for years and thought she was nice and pretty in her own sort of way and well…how could I say no? It worked out just like Kate planned. With you and Dad gone until really late two or three Saturday nights a month Kate would have a sleep over. Then when her guy for the night showed up, Kate’s friend and I would go to my room and give them the house. The guys never knew we were there. To be clear, we always followed your house rules. Kate’s guy would never stay past 1AM, and in most cases he had a curfew and was gone between 11:00 & midnight. After that her friend and I would come out of my room. We would all hang out. Sometimes her friend and I would go back to my room until 1:00 when she would go back to being Kate’s friend again rather than my bedmate, just like the rule says. I hope you don’t think we manipulated the rules. Since the first of September though, it’s been different. I take Jenny home for her 11:00 curfew, so if her guy is still at the house, they go sit outside, or if he has a car they will go out for a late night snack. On the way home from Jenny’s I sometimes pick up either Dianna or the other friend for Kate. I don’t have actual sex with her anymore, but we sometimes snuggle and kiss on the couch while the three of us watch TV.”
Sue smiled. “No, I don’t think you did anything wrong. You adhered to the letter and spirit of the law. I actually think it is quite an elegant solution. I am very impressed with all three of you.” Even though Stephen didn’t name her, Sue knew it had to be Monica Williams who he was talking about. How could she miss it? Monica and Dianna were the only two girls who spent the night on a regular basis. She knew he couldn’t be talking about Dianna since she was more like a sister and at the time she had still been in middle school. She liked Monica and as her son had so deftly put it, she was pretty in her own sort of way; not a pin-up beauty, but in the sexy artist way like so many of Sue’s college friends had been.
She kicked herself for missing the obvious about her daughter’s sexual activities. Kate had asked to start on the pill around Halloween that year. Her daughter had plainly told her she thought she was ready to start having sex and Sue didn’t ask any questions. She’d just taken her to the doctor and began picking up both the monthly supplies of birth control and condoms without prying. Only once had she laid down the law “no sex without both the pill and a condom.” At the time it had seemed the right thing to do especially since Kate had not turned fifteen till three weeks after she’d started on the pill. However, by taking this approach Sue inadvertently had created a “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation in her home. She now greatly regretted missing the opportunity to normalize her kids having sex back then. Sue, the great believer in sexual freedom for everyone, had missed the opportunity to normalize teen sex in her own home. Monica and/or Dianna spent the night almost every Saturday night whether or not she and Calvin went to the swing club or parties. Every Sunday morning Monica and/or Dianna was to be found in Kate’s bed. Yet, she also concluded by the used condoms that Kate had her boyfriends over for sex on the Saturday nights when they were gone. She had never quite figured out how all that was happening. That wall had prevented her from simply asking Kate even though she had no doubt that her Kate would tell her if she asked. Now due to this insane situation she finds out the answer to the riddle. But at that moment, she actually felt quite naive. She added, “And Stephen, I know you are talking about Monica. You’ve said everything but her name so you can drop the pretense.”
Stephen figured she’d know who he was talking about, but it was important that he didn’t betray Kate’s trust by telling. He was glad she hadn’t asked about Dianna. That might be too much for even his mother. He continued. “It was a win for everyone. In addition to those Saturday nights you were out she and I found times to have sex at least once almost every week from then till last summer. Last spring she and I both had dates, even sex, with a few other people. Well for me it was two people, for her it was three. I worked to be supportive of her as she talked about other guys. It was really strange in that we would be talking about people we liked at school one minute, then having sex the next. It was good that nobody at school knew about our arrangement. As far as anyone else could see we only knew each other because she was my sister’s best friend. As it turned out I was the one who said we needed to stop screwing when her relationship with a guy from school had gotten serious. That last time with her was wonderful and really strange. It was the first weekend in August when you and Dad took some paintings to an art show in Atlanta. You left on Friday and did not get back till Monday. You’d given Kate permission to have both Monica and Dianna come over and stay till you got back. Collin and Dianna where here before you left and Monica’s mom dropped her off not long after you’d gone. Monica’s boyfriend picked her up for their date later on. Oh, her boyfriend was one of the guys, Wyatt Emory, from the art group you do on Tuesdays. He’d been here more than once to see Kate when Monica and I were hiding in my room before they started dating. They’d been going out for well over a month by then and that day she came back a few hours later after they had gone to dinner, a movie and had sex out at the park. ”
He paused and said “Mom, I broke the rule that once. Those two nights she slept in my bed till morning. If you punish me for breaking the rule I won’t complain.” He knew even in his confession he was evading the fact that Dianna too had spent both nights in his bed as well, but he just didn’t know how to add that little fact. Well he knew he left out a whole lot about what happened that weekend, but perhaps later he could give her the whole story of that very busy two days and nights.
Sue was touched and a little amused by what she heard. “I think we can let it pass.”
Stephen smiled. He was glad he’d told that much, but he just wasn’t ready to tell her the rest of the story. So he went on “So when Monica’s date dropped her back off at our house…. well, when she got to our house Kate was already busy so she joined me and Dianna in the TV room.” He hoped she would miss that he’d not said where Dianna’s brother, Collin, was, since he was in Kate’s bed at the time. Again, he would tell her the whole story, but not just yet. “We all chilled there till after Kate was done. Finally she and I went to my room and in bed she told me all about her date, even the sex part while we were in bed together. We knew that the weekend was going to be our last time. We both cried. Well we fucked and cried; and cried and fucked. It took a while but we both agreed that we loved each other, but in a way that was not boyfriend and girlfriend; and not like a brother & sister either. We decided we were special close friends. I remember it so clearly because she described what we were doing as making love for the first time rather than having sex or screwing or fucking or whatever. For us it seemed so normal to love each other even while she was falling in love with her new boyfriend. We knew nobody else would understand. We were in and out of the bedroom on and off all weekend. Kate, Dianna and Collin are the only ones who know the whole truth about us. Oh, and so does Jenny.”
Sue softly said “You are wrong, I completely understand and your father would too. You are describing polyamory. It is how your father and I have lived for the last fifteen years. Just because you love one person as a partner, does not mean you can’t love other people in different ways. Just like you describe, your father and I are very supportive of each other as we date other people. I’m really impressed you found this on your own. How much does Jenny know?”
“I actually told her all of it the first week, actually the first day we were together. But I didn’t’ tell her Monica’s name until she began to come over. I had not expected that Kate and Jenny and Monica would hang out together. I told her that first day how Monica and I had planned to be just fuck buddies while we looked for relationships but we fell in love, then how I broke it off when she got serious with Wyatt. Of course that day we didn’t know we’d be together like we are. But, Jenny knows we haven’t had sex since last July.” Stephen didn’t’ know his mom would keep digging. He really wanted to tell her about Dianna’s part in all that, but he’d boxed himself in.
He took a breath. “I am not sure she understands how much we text and talk pretty regularly and… and, like I said, sometimes we make out, but we haven’t fucked even once since then. I’ve referred to it a good many times, but haven’t directly told her that sometimes I make out with Monica when she is here.”
Sue asked seriously, “Does she know you love Monica?”
Stephen nodded slowly. “I told her the very first day I met her. She knows full well how we talk and spend time together alone when Kate is still screwing in her room. I guess she figures she doesn’t have room to be mad. What is strange to me is how she has pretty much joined the Kate, Dianna and Monica crew at home. You’ve seen how the four of them are now. Sometimes I even feel like she’s here to see them as much as me.”
His mother laughed. “I know. She’s here a good bit when you are at practices. Don’t think that is a bad thing. And my guess is that the girls have discussed that relationship among themselves a great many times. Your sister can be persistent; there are no secrets I’m sure. I have no doubt that Jenny knows everything you and Monica do and talk about.”
Stephen thought for a moment “Yeah, I think you are right. She’s made a number of comments about Monica. Not bad or even jealous, just …. Well just like she was trying to let me know she knows.” He thought again, “Do you think she was trying to get me to talk, to bring it out in the open?”
His mom leaned forward. “I’m sure of it. I think you have probably missed plenty of opportunities she has given you to be open about your relationship with Monica. My suspicion seeing how well they get along is that both of them want you to simply make it part of the background of your relationship with Jenny. You have three choices, and only three. You can break up with Jenny, or you can stop spending alone time with Monica or you can find a way to make Monica an open part of your relationship with Jenny. Now I don’t necessarily mean you need to have sex with Monica, though that would be an option. I will tell you now, if that is the solution you guys work out your father and I will waive the house rules to allow them both in your room even if we are gone. And, if you want to talk to Jenny about polyamory, I would be willing to talk to her and tell her about my life.”
She watched him think on what she said.
Finally he replied “I know I have to do something and I won’t break up with Jenny and I have found I really need Monica in my life. A few weeks ago, Jenny wasn’t able to come over so when Monica’s boyfriend dropped her off like he does every Saturday night. For two hours we sat in the living room and talked while Kate and a guy banged upstairs. I don’t remember which guy was here that week. Kate always does it with the same six or so guys. She is even doing Wyatt again since he and Monica broke up. It is kinda weird that they don’t see it a problem that he did it with Kate before and after the four months that he and Monica were a couple.”
“I know it seems odd to you, but it doesn’t seem so to me at all.”
Stephen just nodded at what his mom said and went on “I don’t know all the guy’s names, but you actually probably know them all. As far as I know they are all from your Tuesday Art Club.”
Sue considered that and it made perfect sense that Kate would choose the guys in the Tuesday Art Club that had been meeting in her home for a year and a half. It had begun quite by accident Kate’s freshman year. Though freshmen were generally segregated from the rest of the school, extra-curricular clubs/activities was the one exception. Kate had shown both an interest and talent for art since she was little. Of course Mom was more than happy to encourage and act as a personal tutor as she developed her talent. But in a town in rural South Carolina there simply was no place for her to socialize with other kids with the same passion. So when Kate started high school she joined the art club. Mom had been all too happy to encourage in any way she could. Conversely when the faculty sponsor of the Francis Marion High Art Club found out one of her freshman club members had a mother who was an actual working professional artist, the invite to talk to the club came almost immediately.
Mrs. Joy Baker, who taught art and was the club’s faculty sponsor, followed up the informal invitation to speak to the club with a phone call the day she found out Kate’s mother was a professional artist. The phone call was followed up by a visit to Sue’s home studio.
Sue found the slim grey haired wife of an Episcopal minister to be a sheer joy to be around: full of life and an obvious eagerness to bring the joy of art to her students. Despite the grey hair, Sue was sure the fit looking woman was only a few years older than herself. They talked for almost two hours and Sue was sure she found a new friend. They talked of art, the business of art and even the back stories of some of the teacher’s favorite paintings she’d seen on Sue’s website. Sue was quite careful to point out she was happily married as a proxy for implying she was monogamous. Some things had to stay hidden. Even so Sue could tell as they wrapped up something was wrong. Instinctively she knew what it was so she took the burden off the woman. “I already know you can’t have me speak at school because of the content of my work. Right?”
Joy nodded sadly. “I am afraid so. As much as I would love to, I can’t. Even if you didn’t mention you mostly paint nudes and even worse erotica, your web-site does. All it takes is one student to tell his conservative parents that you came to class and that parent to look you up to create a scandal that would engulf both of us.”
“But…” the teacher said “I have a suggestion for you to consider. Suppose a student invited selected club members who would most benefit from a visit to the home studio of a professional artist who happens to be her mother; well the school would not be involved. And if someone just happened to leave a list of a few students who would be unlikely to find offence at the art they might see…..”
Sue had not before considered such an idea. The idea of acting as a mentor to aspiring artists appealed to her immediately. Not to mention the advantages of having her home to be the place Kate’s peers gathered. Sue thought back to her high school years. She’d known since she was ten, the only thing she wanted to be was an artist. Her conservative parents had been supportive, as long as she created Christian themed art. But, as she developed her skills and used the public library to learn about art, she was drawn to two things, art deco and nudes. Her parents did not like deco and she never let them know she spent hour upon hour sketching her own nude body using the full length mirror in her bathroom. Those sketches she made of her own body she kept well hidden. It had been before the internet brought the world of art to a teenager’s fingertips, so it was only at the central library pouring over art books that she found inspiration. But she could not even think about bringing those books home. How she would have benefited from a mentor. “I’m sure that could be arranged.”
The grey haired woman said “You don’t know how much help you could be to some of my students. The official Art Club is almost exclusively made up of my most promising students with a real love for art, but even with them I have strict limits on what I am allowed to teach. Some, I know, are like me with more love for art than artistic talent, but even for them exposure to someone like you would broaden their horizons. If we lived in a major city, even here in the South, I could take them to museum galleries that would give me an opening to at least broach many subjects I’ve been warned explicitly not to allow in class or the club. I hate it but that is our time and place.”
Sue smiled, “Yes, I fully understand. I grew up in Beufort. I didn’t see my first nude painting in person till I was in college.” Then she laughed “And my freshman art class at the College of Charleston was quite the awakening.”
The teacher laughed with her and clearly understood. She added “Oh me too.” They both shared a few memories of going from overly sheltered homes suddenly into the big world. ‘Yes’ Sue thought this will be a friend. There are so few people in this town I can talk to about my craft.’ Since that day, she and Joy have gotten together once a month or so. Sometimes the just do lunch, but other times they make road trips to Charlotte, Columbia and even to Charleston to go to art exhibitions. Sue keeps the teacher updated on the student’s work and Joy provides guidance to Sue in working with the teenagers.
Initially Mrs. Baker suggested five seniors to Sue. Kate then quietly spoke to the three girls and two boys on the list. She gave them her mother’s website’s address and made the invitation. That first week all five came along with Kate and Monica. It was a hit with the kids from the first day. In the next few weeks five juniors and five sophomores were invited to join. They all joined the group eventually, though most weeks over the next eight months only about ten teens were actually at the Richard’s home. For the rest of the year, each Tuesday afternoon from after school till 6:00 became the time for what the kids soon called The Art Commune. There was no question that the group thought themselves quite special and subversive. Part of the cachet was the group was both exclusive and secret. It was the students themselves who decided after the second week to never speak of the group or the meetings at school. The call for secrecy was not just a kids gimmick, they knew full well if word got out about the content of the art and the frank discussions that Sue was all too happy to have, it would all end. That is not to mention Sue’s painting “uniform” or togs as she called them.
Her work outfit had been created by happenstance when she was in college. In the winter of her sophomore year she and three fine art major friends had rented a house in Charleston with a greenhouse behind they planned to use as their studio. It was perfect, airy, well lit and roomy. The only problem was they were in Charleston, and for over nine months a year it was HOT. As the spring heated up she wore less and less. She’d actually painted in the nude a few times, but her housemates were fearful of offending the neighbors and eviction. Her solution was to purchase a pair of overalls at a Good Will store and cut the legs off very short and wore nothing else but her shoes. For all but the coldest days, the men’s overalls without a shirt underneath became not just a practical outfit, but a signature look and feel for herself. By the time she had the purpose built home studio with air conditioning over a decade later, she couldn’t imagine painting in anything else. As her children grew up she simply never came to the point she thought it problematic for a mother of two growing kids to dress that way. Though she liked to lead people to think otherwise, she had added to that original pair of Good Will overalls half a dozen times with new better fitting ones. Still she was quite proud of the fact that she could, and sometimes did, wear the pair that dated back over twenty years.
Certainly she’d always known how much boobage showed, and while that might have been a statement of liberation a long time ago, now it was just the way it was. The overalls left the sides of her breasts fully exposed and almost always part of at least one areola peeked out from the sides of the bib. Occasional full nipple slips were not all that occasional, less common were when an entire breast came out in the open. Sue was defiant even when her mother once, and only once, had come into her studio. It was her studio and she dressed the way that she chose. Anyone who came in did so by their own choice. After all most of her paintings featured nudes, both male & female, and a good one in ten were overtly erotic.
In her space she dressed how she pleased. She’d never even considered changing her work outfit even when her kid’s friends reached their teens. After all, as a practice she changed into and out of her work clothes in the studio as a sort of ‘going to work’ ritual. She only left the studio in her work outfit if absolutely necessary. She’d avoided self-reflection and deliberately refused to ask herself if she liked how both Kate and Stephen’s friends (male and female) looked at her when they came into her studio while she was at work. Deep down she knew the answer, so she just refused to consider the question. So from the very first Tuesday, the selected students saw more of Mrs. Richards than any of them expected. She reasoned that was a good introduction before they were exposed to the content of some of her work. As it turned out, her attire helped greatly with the cachet of the Art Commune.
She loved playing teacher. In time her guard came down and she was able to be herself (mostly). She tried to let the students guide the topics from week to week. The group was most definitely the artsy type: Sue’s kind of people. Over and over they thanked ‘Mrs. R’ for giving them a place they could not just learn. It was a place they could share their own art that they were not allowed to bring to school, and just be themselves.
So when Stephen said she would know the boys Kate was sleeping with, he was right. The original group had a total of six boys, two of which identified as gay so that left four, all nice guys that Sue had no concern about her daughter bedding. At the end of Kate’s freshman year, the seniors graduated, and they invited four rising sophomores to join. All summer on both Tuesdays’ and Thursdays, the Art Commune members were invited to come to the house, but it was far less structured than during the school year. Of the newcomers two were boys and neither were gay but both (in time) came out that they had sex with each other. What Sue didn’t understand at the time was when they said they enjoyed sex with girls that, by then, they both had done it with her daughter
Stephen and Monica play in his room while Kate plays in hers with a friend from her Art Club
With this background, Sue just told her son “Yes I know all the boys. I don’t have any concerns with Kate having sex with any of them.”
His mother’s casual acceptance of hearing that his little sister was screwing six different guys was jarring. But it was the new reality in his home. He went on with his story about his relationship with Monica. “So while Kate and what’s his name knocked boots upstairs, Monica and I talked. She is on the third boyfriend since I’ve been with Jenny. She is finding it really hard. For me my love for Monica and Jenny are both growing as time goes by. For me it’s not an either/or thing. I love them both. But it’s not like that for her. She keeps comparing her new boyfriends with the relationship she has with me. She knows that is poisoning those relationships but she can’t help it.” He took a breath. “Mom, we were really, really close to giving in and making love right on the couch that day, but we didn’t. We both confessed that we would very much like to start having sex again but we don’t know what to do.”
Sue wished she could devote her focus to this part of his life, but today she just could not. She thought she could help, but not today. She sat up and clapped her hands as if to make it all go away. “You are in a difficult spot, but not impossible; however, that isn’t something we need to worry about until we get this current crisis solved. But, the longer you let it ride, the worse it will be. For now, we need to focus on tonight.”
Stephen nodded in agreement. Then suddenly he realized he had just given up something he held in confidence for his sister. But perhaps with everything else, his mother would miss that he outed that his barely sixteen year old sister has been having sex with multiple guys since the week she turned fifteen. But on the other hand, his mom seemed to already know. So perhaps he hadn’t betrayed Kate.
Sue did not miss what her son had said, but it was of no concern. From the condoms & wrappers she emptied out of Kate’s trashcan she knew her girl was having sex on a regular basis. But to Sue it really didn’t matter if Kate had done it with one guy or twenty as long as she was in the house while she had sex and Stephen was home to ensure her safety. As she’d let Stephen know, he and his sister were not breaking the established house rules with what they were doing.
Three years ago when she and Calvin realized their kids were on the cusp of sexual maturity, they had taken the time to work out formal written house rules for the kids. They had meant the rules to establish long before it was actually an issue that when they had sex, they preferred that Stephen and Kate do it in their own home. After talking at length and doing a considerable amount of research, they crafted the rules to let their kids know that their home was the best place for teenage sex. Not in cars, not behind some bushes, not at parties; but right here in the Richard’s house. But critically they had decided not to say it explicitly since at the time Kate was only thirteen and Stephen was fourteen. They knew the rules would not really come into practical force for several years but they wanted them to be part of the background before the kids needed them. They went as far as posting the rules in a large polished wooden frame between the two kid’s bedroom doors in the upstairs hallway.
Though Sue had suspected as much before, now she knew for sure that by failing to explicitly say the kids could (should) have sex at home; their two children believed the rules implied that Mom and Dad did not want it happening when they were there. The unintended consequence was that everyone at home pretended that neither of the kids were having sex even though everyone knew that wasn’t true.
Sue was both impressed and appreciative that Stephen had been so forthcoming. She thought she needed to reciprocate with a higher degree of honesty about her own sexual history. She thought for a moment then said “Let me clarify the answer to your first question. Up until the end of my freshman year in college I had only had sex with two boys; one in high school and one in my freshman year. However, in the two years after that I had sex with at least a hundred different guys….. that is at the very least and I can’t be more precise than that. For that I have no shame at all. My value as a woman and a human being is not decreased one bit if I invite a hundred or a thousand men to put their penis into my body. However I am ashamed of many of the circumstances in which I had sex in those two years. For my irresponsible and reckless behavior I paid a heavy price. But if I am honest, I paid a far lower price than many do for the same poor choices. If you ask me later I will tell you more about that time, for now let’s let it go. I met your father in the spring of my junior year, but we were not a couple until well into the next fall. I’d cleaned up my life and had incorporated my love of sex into a productive life. For the first year that I dated Dwight, we were not exclusive. Though we were a couple and living together much of that time, we had a good number of threesomes and foursomes and both of us had casual sex with friends when the other was not there. How many new guys did I screw in the year and three months between when your father and I became a couple and when we got married the Christmas after I’d graduated? If you are making a running tally, let’s say twenty-five.”
“Your dad and I both graduated at the same time, but your dad went to grad school so we stayed in Charleston. While he worked on his master’s degree we got married. At the time we believed that monogamy was expected for married people so for four years, until after both you and your sister were born, neither of us had sex with anyone else. But we decided that was not for us. After Kate was born I had my tubes tied, and a few months later Dwight had a vasectomy. In the first couple of years after we embraced open marriage, both of us had a good many new sexual partners as we developed our polyamorus circle. If you want a number, I guess the first year we had an open marriage I fucked an average of about one new man every couple of weeks. The second year I did about half that many. After that, since you were about four years old, I have averaged around six new men a year. Some years it's been higher and other years it's been less. For two of those years I didn’t have a single new male sexual partner. Dwight and I think of ourselves as polyamorus. The overwhelming majority of sexual encounters we have are with people we have been with before. Even tonight, while yes I, well you, will have sex with someone I’ve never done it with before, that is the exception not the rule. Do you see? It’s like you and Monica. Let’s say Jenny wants to have a threesome, I’m sure Monica would jump at the opportunity, but for you that would not be someone new. So like I said, I simply can’t’ give you a number of men with whom I’ve had sex. So let’s just say one hundred-fifty before your dad and I were married and one hundred since then. Does that put your sexual activity, or that of your sister into perspective?”
She could tell he was choking on those numbers, but she thought he was looking at the wrong thing. “Son, I failed you in that we haven’t had this talk before. I should have sat you down when you were thirteen or fourteen and told you that sex, yes even teenage sex, is a wonderful thing. The honest truth is if I could do it all over again, I would have had a lot more sex in high school; yet, I would have fewer different sex partners in college and would have taken more precautions for my safety. But, I am happy to hear that even before you had turned seventeen you’d found the joy of sexual love with not just one girl but two. I won’t pretend that I don’t hope that at some point you can find a way to embrace your love for Monica as openly as you do your love for Jenny. The way I see it is that love is too precious to waste. If you can find a way to openly embrace a polyamorus relationship with both girls, it will bring all three of you infinitely more joy than denying one love to keep the other.”
Even as she spoke he wanted to tell her that he was in love with three girls, not just two. But he understood what she was saying. He’d had sex with Monica after she’d fucked not just her three boyfriends, but after casual sex with his best friend Collin. More than once Kate had threesomes with Collin and Monica in her room, then Monica had joined him in his bed just as soon as Collin had cum. To them there had been a special kind of joy in him hearing through the bathroom that connected the two rooms the moans and banging then for her to come into his room so she could continue with him. Yes, he understood what his mother was saying.
Sue paused then decided she also needed to at least obliquely comment on his sister’s choice to have many sexual partners. “As long as you take proper measures to prevent pregnancy and disease there is only one moral imperative regarding having sex. Each and every person with whom you have sex should think better of you and of themselves the next day. If you ensure this is true, sex will be a blessing for you and your partners. The number of girls who invite you to put your penis in them is not the important thing, how you treat them before, during and after is. Conversely a woman’s virtue is measured by the kindness of her heart, not how few or many penises slide in and out of her body. Don’t let anyone tell you different. I apologize for failing to explicitly tell you and your sister this three years ago. I now can see that our bodies and minds have been switched for a reason. This is like Karma. We must learn the lessons we are meant to learn. Perhaps it is my fault. No, it is most likely entirely my fault this happened to us. I promise I will do everything I can so that tomorrow morning we wake up in our bodies better for the experience.”
Stephen had a pained look on his face. “I don’t think you can claim it to be all your fault Mom.” Though I have yet to understand what exactly I need to learn, but I can’t imagine I am an innocent bystander in this.
Sue just shrugged, “Perhaps, but I can only do what I need to do. So last night when I blew up at you, might I assume that the reason you were late was that you and Jenny were off having sex somewhere?”
“I’m not saying this is an excuse for my behavior, but please understand that while you were enjoying your time with Jenny; I was sitting up waiting for my son to get home. You really should have answered my texts or calls. I was really worried. I know you think I’m overly protective, but that is what mothers do.”
“Sorry Mom” he said contritely. “I won’t do that again. I promise.” She was sure he meant it.
Sue straitened her shoulders and said “Let me make it clear then. When things get back to normal, you will still need to be off the road by one; but we will now treat staying at Jenny’s or any other girl’s house just like you were spending the night with one of your guy friends. Yes, I know there is zero chance Jenny’s parents will let you spend the night with her, but you know what I mean. The first time you spend the night with a girl I will need to talk to the parents to see if it is OK with them. After that just let us know if you are staying overnight. But I don’t understand why you don’t just bring Jenny here anytime you guys want to make love. It’s not like you two haven’t had sex here dozens of times already. I really don’t understand why you two never have sex at the house when your dad and I are home. Have we ever even hinted that we don’t want you to have sex in the house while we are here?”
Her son stammered. He seemed to be confused. “I…we….Kate and I thought you didn’t. The house rules…they seem to say that we can have people over for sex as long as you don’t know about it. We concluded over a year ago it was something about plausible deniability. When you didn’t ask any questions when Kate asked to start on birth control it seemed like you were saying that you supported her choice to have sex, but you wanted to be able to claim you didn’t know about it. You’ve done that with other things in the past.”
She cocked her head. “Well that is nonsense. It is never what we meant. Let Jenny know that I think it is a beautiful thing that you two love each other and I think it is wonderful you can share your bodies. Consider this, if you are open about the fact you are making love in the house while I am home, you are allowing me to share in your joy. Exactly like last night when your dad was enjoying sex with that gorgeous younger woman. No I wasn’t there; I couldn’t see or hear what they were doing, but I made it possible and I knew he was sharing our sexuality with them. Love making is life and beauty. When you let those who make it possible to rejoice in your pleasure you are expanding the reach of your joy. Just like I am sure that your sister gained an immense amount of pleasure for those six months you were making love to her best friend in the next room over. She knew she had made it possible for her best friend and her brother to explore the wonders of sex, even as you were doing it. She was part of your love making even if she never once actually was in the room while you two did it.”
Stephen seemed quick to say “No. We never had a threesome of foursome or anything like that.”
“You are still missing what I am saying. When someone helps make it possible for you to create sexual pleasure, they are a part even if they are not actually part. Tonight I am sure you will enjoy a host of new things that feel really, really good. I won’t be there, well my body will but you know what I mean. I will be part because I helped make it possible. It will give me joy to know I helped. As we go through life we enhance our own happiness by sharing our joys with others. Can you see that?”
He nodded but she wasn’t sure he got it. Perhaps he needed to think on it. So she shifted to address the pressing issue of the moment. “You really do need to decide if you are going tonight. Do you need to call your father back and cancel for tonight or are you up to the challenge?”
Again he was befuddled at how she kept jumping from one wild thing to the next. It was hard to keep up. Was she always this way? Or was this a side effect of the body switch? “Could you give me a little more time to think?”
“Not really” his mother responded. “If you wait till he gets home it will be almost impossible to back out.”
He nodded then said “OK. Then I’m in. I’ll do it.”
She knew she’d dumped a lot on him, but she couldn’t imagine he’d give up the chance to go to a swing club. “If you are sure then we need to plan. When we get back from The Riverside Cafe’, you and I will go to my mother’s. We will only stay a few minutes, but the drive will give us time away from your sister to prep you for what to say and do. So we need to change you into something more presentable for my mother before we go. When we get home and I’ll pick you out something to wear tonight.”
Once Stephen had been pulled into a casual dress they left her room. Stephen went to his room to check his email. Sue went to the living room where she found her daughter still on the couch reading. She was glad that they had not been discovered.
Kate looked up at her brother coming down the stairs, “When are we leaving?”
She had no idea it was not really Stephen who told her “Mom will be down in a minute.”
It was only when she’d reached the bottom of the stairs that Sue realized that while Kate was in the exact same position she was when she’d seen her last. She was out of the red-checked flannel pajama set she’d been in earlier and was now fully dressed. For a moment Sue became alarmed that her daughter had gone upstairs to change without her knowledge. ‘Had she seen or heard anything?’ Certainly not. She was far too perceptive to not see something wrong if she’d looked in on her and Stephen talking.
Kate looked like a ‘mini-me’ of her mother. Sure Kate was slimmer all around and her hair was more red; but that was due to Sue’s efforts to keep the gray at bay not nature. Both had pink skin and freckles. In the last year Kate had found she could ‘borrow” many of Mom’s clothes. Still Mom’s bras were too big as were her jeans, but in many things the difference in their dimensions were not so great that Sue’s clothes didn’t fit her little girl. More than once had Kate’s school teachers commented that Sue didn’t need to wear a name badge since it was plain as day whose mother she was.
Like her mother, Kate was drawn to drawing and painting. She loved to find creative expression in what she made with her own hands. Like her mother was at her age, she lacked the social currency to be part of the in crowd. While not physically unattractive by any measure; neither teenage Sue nor her teenage daughter possessed the overt good looks, the personal magnetism or the means to buy popularity with family status that got teen girls noticed by their peers. Just like Sue had done a generation before, her daughter seemed to be spending her teen years in the purgatory of social oblivion. Unlike her mother though, Kate possessed her father’s easy going attitude about life that Sue has never had. Sue had strived, still strived, to control her environment and force it and the people in it to dance to her tune. Kate was like her father in that she just let the world wash around her. Sue was glad her daughter was not like her in this. It would save her years of pain and frustration.
Watching her daughter, Sue thought of her life when she was sixteen. She had longed every day to be part of the cool kid’s world. That was not Kate. Perhaps the fact Stephen, who was only one grade ahead of her gave Kate a window to see those mean girls who fought for social superiority were, in fact, not to be envied. Kate seems to have already internalized something that it had taken her mother years of pain to learn; that those cool people were actually no better than her. Kate did not seem to care what the cheerleaders and the other stars of the Francis Marion High School firmament thought or did. Perhaps as Stephen’s sister she was protected from the abuse the popular girls so often heaped on social nobodies. Sue, and likely Kate, knew with a certainty Stephen would never let anyone pick on his little sister. At Francis Marion he had the clout to make it stick. So while the mean girls might want to abuse her, it was not going to happen. Perhaps that was Kate’s reward for living in the shadow of a brother who was a good looking, socially smooth, athletic and academic superstar. Kate seemed happy to be herself. She had plenty of friends from the school’s artistic subculture. Sue had met and really liked many of them, and those who were part of the Tuesday art group she knew very well indeed. The truth is she liked Kate’s friends much more than the people her son brought over to the house. Her friends were quirky and fun and Sue loved it that her house was so often the hang out for the ‘out-crowd.’ While she had made it sound a none-issue, the fact Kate evidently had brought every one of the boys Sue knew well over for Saturday night sex was actually a little unnerving.
While Sue continued to think on this, it dawned on her that her daughter had learned the core lessons about sexuality even if she had failed to teach them explicitly. If she were to guess, Kate had learned on her own that contrary to the message propagated by both Hollywood and religion; wonderful, joyous and fulfilling sex did not have to involve pair bonding, just trusting friendship. That must be it. She knew her girl. Kate would never think to use sex to buy attention or self-esteem. Kate’s self-esteem was absolutely not a problem. She’d never known any teenager so self-confident in her own worth. How many high school girls would have the self assurance to hang a nude painting of herself, painted by her mother no less, on her bedroom wall like Kate did? Though she would have to ask her directly to confirm it; Sue was sure Kate, totally on her own, rejected the popular belief that sex with good friends is cheap or transactional. Her daughter had somehow discovered that sex with friends was wonderful in its own right. That would explain why she opened the door for her closest friend to share her brother’s bed while she bedded the other boys in her social group.
The bias relief painting of Kate and the Flint's puppy, Max, created by her mother from sketches and photos Sue had made at a lonely beach on the Outer Banks.
Sue for the n-teenth time that morning berated herself for failing to provide explicit guidance regarding sex for her kids. Yet…both of her kids seem to have, somehow, learned those lessons from her anyway. She’d read that children learn values from what parents do and how they live from day to day far more than from what they say. That brought up a whole new set of questions. How much had she and Calvin revealed about their attitudes about sex to their kids? It was pretty clear it had been a whole lot more than she, or perhaps even they, realized. Many times Sue had told people that open marriage was more about the freedom to have sex with whoever she chose than actually having sex with other people. It seems now that her and Calvin’s positive attitude about casual sex had come through loud and clear. Even more, the belief that sexual partners, even spouses, don’t own the other’s sexuality had been taught equally clearly. After all, Stephen obviously was not traumatized or even particularly surprised listening to his father on the phone. Watching his face as his dad talked, Sue saw amusement, not horror. Had Sue found out her mother had been screwing around when she was that age it would have upended her whole world view. For Stephen it seems to have only confirmed that she and his father lived what they said they believed.
As Stephen (Mom) came down the stairs, Sue decided she had to talk to Kate as soon as she got her body back. It was way past time to bring down that wall between them regarding sex. She would come clean about her lifestyle this week. The Richards home would no longer harbor secrets.
Perhaps this curse, or miracle or whatever it was would provide a path forward.