It all started when Kate began telling a group of us about her 11-month dry spell at a party at her home. She put a very humorous spin on the cavalcade of socially inept and charmless men she’d been on dates with, but as the tale went on, it became clear that her seemingly inexplicable sex drought was taking a toll.
“It’s really not good for my ego,” said Kate, who I’d always found to be funny, charismatic, talented, and attractive. “I don’t want to let my standards slip, but at this point, I just really just need to get laid.”
“Well, I could help you out with that,” I said, hoping that a cocked eyebrow would indicate to her—and the small group of friends surrounding her—that my remark was (or at least could be) meant in jest.
My utterance got the flirty courtesy laugh it barely deserved, and then Kate turned her attention to refilling everyone’s wine glasses. So, imagine my surprise when, just 24 hours later, I got a message from Kate that read: “I’ve been thinking about your offer. If you’re serious, I’ll take you up on it.”
Excited as I was, I knew we’d need one crucial thing before this rather pragmatic tryst could get underway: Leila’s blessing. Leila was a family friend of Kate and, for the past eighteen months, my wife.
I should mention at this point that Leila and I were non-monogamous, though neither of us had done too much about it. As such, the boundaries on what was kosher and what was not were still ill-defined. It was over dinner that night that I decided to kick the tires of our open relationship, albeit carefully.
“Do you know that Kate hasn’t had sex for nearly a year?” I said to Leila, who wasn’t able to attend the party. “Wow, that really is a long time,” she said.
“Right?” I continued. “ So…I was wondering what you thought of me helping her scratch the itch.”
“You mean have sex with her?” she said. “With Kate? Oh, I don’t know…”
“C’mon, why not?” I asked. “Look, she knows I’m crazy about you. I’m a safe subject. It’ll be like a sleepover, really.”
“Aside from all the sex,” Leila added.
She was smiling now; amused, maybe even excited by the idea. “I think it would be a really nice thing for us to do for a friend,” I said. “She needs to get her mojo back.”
For the next day or two, we discussed the pitfalls of the project and figured to avoid them. Finally, she gave her consent, saying said she knew Kate well enough to know that Kate didn’t have a malicious bone in her body, and consequently didn’t feel threatened by the idea. Leila also liked the message it sent about our relationship—that it was both durable and pliable “It’s much harder to break a relationship that’s bendy,” she said.
I wasted little time telling Kate, who seemed thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, that I felt compelled to remind her that it was just little ol’ me she’d be spending the night with, and not Idris Elba. But then, 11 months is a very long time. Kate—ever organised—put our “cheat-cute” on the calendar and, two days prior, I checked in to make sure she was still game.
“Are you kidding me?” she answered. “I can barely stop thinking about it.”
In fact, she’d thought about it so much that she had a whole night planned that involved cocktails, dinner and a visit to an upscale strip club before heading back to her place for the main event. Even though it hadn’t yet become a phrase, I was thinking more “Netflix and chill,” but then, this was her night, her charter, her call.
If Kate harboured any trepidation about our contrived sex date, she disguised it masterfully when I picked her up at her apartment. Feeling suddenly bashful, I stammered out a hello, and we left for a trendy neighbourhood bar. There, Kate told me about how several guys she’d been on dates with had taken themselves out of contention by being insensitive, inattentive, six to eight inches shorter than advertised, or merely dull. After dinner and thirty minutes of pretending that I liked strip clubs as much as Kate did, we headed back to her place.
A thick silence fell in the elevator on the way up to her apartment. I needed to start bridging the gap between idle chatter and the business at hand. We really had no idea whether we’d have enough chemistry to pull this whole thing off convincingly. Kate was already looking up at me through her bangs as I took a step toward her and put my hands around her waist. With my nerves on edge, we kissed.
The instant we went through her apartment door, nearly a year’s worth of pent-up lust came flooding out of Kate. She was ripping up the standard sexual playbook with a zeal that laid the extent of her frustrations bare. She raked her nails across my back, bit my ears and turned the air blue with the things she said. Not a style I was used to with Leila; it was all I could do to keep up.
Gradually, Kate let off enough steam for us to get in sync with each other. As this was a one-night-only engagement, we took full advantage of the situation. It was a sometimes awkward, sometimes silly, but overall fun evening that lasted well into the wee hours.
The next morning, at breakfast with Kate, I mulled over what an outlandish adventure this had been. By accidentally expressing what I secretly wanted to one woman—and being honest about that want to anotherI’d somehow pulled off the unthinkable. I wondered what else in life I could do just by voicing my desire for it. Before I left, Kate gave me a card for my wife. It underlined the idea that Kate had merely borrowed something that belonged to Leila. Now she was returning it…and me…for good.
“Well?” asked Leila as I walked back into our apartment. Knowing that she didn’t want the blow by blow, I just told her that it was fun, that it was good to be home, and gave her a hug. At that moment I could scarcely believe that I was married to someone who could take this in stride, and hoped that I could be as generous and understanding when it was her turn to head out on a sexual adventure of her own.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health