One of the challenges of being the sort of slut that I am – that is, an honest and exhibitionistic slut – lies in the ease with which a partner can come to feel un-special. There is a fundamental misapprehension at the root of this feeling: I appreciate a woman who has given me the gift of being her sexual partner the way a gourmet appreciates a fine meal, the way a sports fan appreciates a great game: in the moment, while it’s happening, there is nothing else in the world. Comparison is a nullity, appreciation and rapture are all.

And for me, this remains true after the moment: I remember fondly, reverentially even, every true sexual connection I’ve ever had, and I have no temptation to compare. The closest I’ll come to this is a sort of consciousness of particular high points or strengths (the Dancer’s unbelievable tongue, the Secretary‘s infinite submission, the Party Promoter’s delicious wardrobe, etc.), or, very occasionally, weaknesses (I can be looks-ist).

And more than this, there is something else. I experience sexual connection on a three-step continuum. I value enormously, and am grateful for and appreciative of, the gift a woman gives me when she gives herself to me, when she allows me to use her for my pleasure. This is step one, and, as we say at Passover, if that were all, Dayenu. Even the woman I fucked at Le Trapeze, the hottie who had perfect breasts and never took her glasses off, whose name I never learned…. I feel an enormous, and real, gratitude to her for joining with me in the thirty minutes or so we were together.

If, on top of allowing me to take my pleasure, a woman allows me to lose myself in the pursuit of her pleasure, to devote myself single-mindedly to her ecstasy – well, if THAT were all…. Here, I’m talking about a woman who gives me the gift not just of her body, but of her trust and vulnerability – the Insurance Broker, who confessed she wanted to be put on a leash; the Porcelain Doll, who asked me to humiliate and hurt her. I recognize how much of a chance someone is taking when being this honest, this exposed, and I genuinely honor – and am honored by – what it means for someone to let me in in this way.

But a woman who allows me to conspire with her in the creation of mutual pleasure, who joins with me in a conspiracy of pleasure – is truly, deliciously rare. Someone who takes pleasure in exploring uncharted waters with me, in creating new sexual possibilities about which I’d never dreamed? Who lies awake at night wondering what we can do next? That is truly a special woman.