• Emily Ainscough

Love and The Sea

You join me this Wednesday to continue regaling my tales from the beautiful Welsh coast. I think I covered the 'FND' bit of my holiday in part one (which you can find here), so now I'll get on to the love and the sex! (Which, let's face it, is what you're all here for). But I'm really glad that I've done it in this order, because I think it's a good metaphor for my dating philosophy: First safety, then sex. Proper intimacy is only available as a reward for really looking after yourself, and so only when you feel completely comfortable can you begin to have those earth-shattering orgasms your older sisters and best friends promised you. How can you expect a toddler to have fun playing on a minefield? You need to make a play pen, take the sharp objects away, keep an eye on them. All that planning and communication is making yourself a play pen - then, as a reward, go and play in it!

And in Wales I was definitely rewarded… for all my bravery and self-safeguarding I was rewarded with five days of swimming in the ocean, kissing boys and talking of love. Only two years ago I nearly drowned in a Scottish Loch when an episode caught me unawares and I hadn't put in place the proper preparation. But there I was in Wales, splashing in shallow waves with an air of careful carelessness, looking out to the horizon and feeling free. When I turned my smile inland again, I was so happy to watch love blossom in the people around me. There really are only a few things better than watching people that matter to you be happy. Two of those dear friends are in much healthier relationships now than they were when I last visited Pembrokeshire, and it was so palpable. The clouds that had been looming over them of toxic situation-ships have now shifted, the snow-globe-snow has settled, and it's like they weren't even walking - they were floating! I couldn't look at them without smiling, I'm even smiling to myself just remembering it now.

And then there were the love stories I was lucky enough to hear over glasses of wine on a warm evening. My friend’s mum (a brave and beautiful woman with an encyclopedic knowledge of rocks and a good taste in music) told me tales of the men who had formed her love-life so far. Some stories were sad, some where happy, but all were complex and beautiful. She did it with such sincerity that my knees were actually physically shaking just listening to the stories. Isn’t that crazy? How somebody can capture something that happened to them with such fervour that it felt like it was my life, my present, my heartbreak? I don’t know if any of you are painters, but when you pour gloss varnish over a finished canvas it brings out the colours the way a monsoon does. That’s how it felt, like she was pouring the varnish over life. It reminded me that it takes many chapters to build a love life, many characters. The fact that I will love again does not make my previous loves less real.

And even though I don’t have that ‘special someone’ in my life right now, I didn’t feel jealous or sad or impatient. I too felt absolutely bursting with love. (and I don’t know if you can tell by all this hyperbole…but I still do!). There was so much of it to go around it overflowed and overflowed, and we were all drowned in it.

And no, I haven’t forgotten about the orgasms! I was also blessed with plenty of those! I had a lovely experience with a friend of a friend who was safe and kind and thoughtful. I giggled and smiled and walked home barefoot the next morning on the hot pavement, no knickers, messy hair, big smile. I don’t usually enjoy oral sex but I decided to let him go down on me and it was actually really lovely. (In the past, receiving oral sex has been sort of sexually neutral for me…something I feel comfortable partaking in but get no real pleasure from... awkwardly looking at the ceiling and trying to conjure up enough fantasies to feel something… and then ultimately failing and making mental notes of shopping lists). But this time it was nice, everything about it was nice. Sweet, giggly, caring and uninhibited by self-consciousness... Yes, sometimes in life, experiences just are exactly what you needed them to be.

And it wasn’t like this holiday was magically free of any symptoms, seizures or pain – like any week in my life it was crawling with funky-functional symptoms! But it was okay. Right now, everything feels okay. (And it’s also okay that there are times that will come again soon in which it won’t feel like this). But just this minute I feel so lucky to be living this wonderful life. So, if anyone else out there is having a glass of Malbec right now, let’s do a virtual ‘cheers’ – to good shags, good people, good summers, and the sea.



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