Sex Rears Its Ugly Head

January 9, 2008 at 4:04 am (Short Story) ()

Peter Davies was seventy years old when he developed an overwhelming desire to visit a house of ill repute. This sudden surge of virility came like a shot out of the night and his desire to be serviced by the ladies of the night took on erotic dimensions with a compulsion that was hard to control. Dreams of French knickers in black chiffon and suspenders with females ready to provide a sensuous and tantalizing service filled his waking and sleeping hours. His occasional viewing of phonographic sites on the Internet only added fuel to the fire.

One of the troubles of old age is continuing sexual desire when the old themselves are no longer sexually desirable. Somerset Maugham considered this “one of the misfortunes of human beings”. He further supposed that “it is not improper that they should gratify [these desires] but… they would do better not to talk about it.” Poor Davies, alas, was landed with the difficult and unfortunate mix of human nature and a Catholic conscience which would in time induce talk to others or to a priest in confession.

The physiological and psychological causes for his sudden increase of libido were perhaps related to a rigorous exercise program, he had undertaken, and a treatment for a benign prostatic condition, that he suffered from. The formula of natural herbs, he was on, was said “to support normal male physiology and sexual function.” Anyhow, with this toxic mix it took all of poor Davies’s will power to keep his hand away from his manhood.

The big question for Davies was, was he to take the bull by the horns, as it were, and plunge himself into the commercial delights of a high class bordello?

It has been said that in most stories of the human condition sex rears its ugly head but, of course, its attractiveness is the very honey pot that moralists would say was set to trap the unwary. Is the Song of Solomon a trap? Or the seductive words: “I am black but comely”?

The speculative rights or wrongs of Davies visiting a house of pleasure had a strong objective reality but subjectively he was still felt unfulfilled physiologically and this is the problem he had to cope with.

Davies decided that action had to be taken. He made a phone call to the House of Liaison, a rather unusually named bordello, near where he lived. The phone was answered by a friendly woman anxious to be as helpful as possible: “Hello, this is Gloria, can I help you?” Davies answered: “Yes, I’m wondering when Almira would be available.” He had read about Almira on a computer advertisement for the establishment. She was described as “a woman talented in many fantasies; that she would love to share with you.” Her other attributes were that she came from the West Indies and had coffee-coloured skin with a gorgeous figure and a sensuous manner. This alluring mix was almost too much for Davies. He always had a fascination with black women which probably sprang from the years he had spent in Papua New Guinea. Gloria informed Davies that Almira was available from 7pm to 12 midnight on Mondays to Fridays. She then asked Davies where he had heard of Almira and he said: “A friend spoke very highly of her.” Gloria said: “She’s great!” Davies then made a tentative appointment to meet Almira on Wednesday of the following week.

As the reader, what is your bet that Davies would go ahead and keep the tentative appointment with Almira? At best there was only a fifty-fifty chance of this happening. A lot could happen in a week: The surge of libido could end without fulfillment. His Catholic conscience could get the better of him. The payment of $300 for Almira’s services could become a problem.

The Biblical passage from Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. For Davies the juxtaposition of this quote was, the flesh was strong – or he imagined it was – and the spirit was faltering.

Well to make a long story short, both in the figurative and literal bodily sense, Davies didn’t visit Almira, but did visit the confessional; revealing to the priest his inner most thoughts and desires.

Following the usual formula: “Bless me father for I have sinned. It’s a year since my last confession and I accuse myself of the following sins.” In the post-Vatican II confessional some of the old methodology of the ritual was retained but the rite had increasingly taken on an informal conversational mode. The penitent no longer knelt before the priest behind a screen but sat on a chair and, as it were, carried on a conversation with him.

From Davies’s point of view this had its good and bad points. He felt that the informality of the contact made it harder to reveal one’s inner most secrets but, he guessed, it was a better atmosphere to engender the giving and receiving of spiritual and psychological advice. However, for him, the process of a person confessing and been shriven of sin was as much magical as sacramental. The words of absolution uttered by the priest articulated mystical powers of forgiveness.

The sins associated with lust, and his craving for sexual pleasure, were duly confessed, together, with doubts he had about the Catholic faith. The priest said nothing about his carnal sins and he told Davies that all thinking people have doubts. He gave him absolution and, for his penance, he told him to tell the next person coming in that he would pray for them.

Leaving confession, he felt that a burden had been lifted from him. Maybe, he was on the straight and narrow again and sexual desire was firmly back in its box, or he hoped it was.

Davies liked to think that the happenings in this narrative were a one-off episode in his life. It has not been mentioned before but Davies’s wife of some twenty-five years had died ten years previously. The memory of her, he hoped, should keep him pure in the Catholic sense.

But deep down there was in Davies a craving for a woman.

Contrary to his traditional Catholic beliefs Davies retained a vague belief in reincarnation and he said to himself once: “If it’s true, I want to come back as Hugh Hefner.”

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1 Comment

  1. Exercise Physiologist » Sex Rears Its Ugly Head said,

    […] Here’s another interesting post I read today by deberigny […]

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