The Guy Covertly Researching BDSM at Work

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Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Guy Covertly Researching BDSM at Work: Male, 35, San Francisco, marketer, heteroflexible, in a theoretically open relationship.

DAY ONE

6:30 a.m. Have been having trouble sleeping, but I still wake up early. With time to draw a bath before work, I jerk off while fantasizing about someone I met at the neighborhood play space the previous night.

2:30 p.m. The Girlfriend interrupts the day with a text from her firm's office in San Francisco. She's just moved a few blocks away from me after living in the suburbs for the last six months of our relationship — a pretty big step for her, and us. "Want to go back to my empty apartment later?" "Yes. :)" "Excellent."

4 p.m. Now I can't get to five o'clock fast enough and I'm searching for guides to dominance and submission on my work laptop. Finding much NSFW material. There's been some tension between the girlfriend and I around my willingness to explore and her crave for rough kink. She has more experience, but some of my efforts to fulfill her requests have proven disappointing. I'd essentially resigned myself to let go of that, at least with her. But here I am, presented with a blank slate. I do not want to miss the opportunity because somebody might see a couple of breasts over my shoulder at the office.

5:30 p.m. At home, I pack some soft rope, slick lube, and a single condom. 

6 p.m. The place has two large windows looking out on the corner, perfect for putting on a show. After picking her up and putting her down on the granite countertops, I enjoy some hard Frenching and heavy petting, which quickly attracts an audience.

6:15 p.m. We retire to the bathroom for some privacy and I tie her up and screw her a couple of different ways. She begs to make me come. But I point out that she can't make me; to prove it, I've intentionally withheld. It's some of the most intense sex we'd had.

7:30 p.m. She drives back to her old place for the night, while I go home. I've left some sex and submission porn on my laptop for research that I'd never gotten around to watching, so I catch up while I finish myself off.

8 p.m. Less than an hour later I'm at it again, in the tub. It's a lot of sexy to process.

DAY TWO

7 a.m. Bright and early in the morning, I wake up and jerk off before getting out of bed.

7:45 a.m. And then again in the tub, surprising even myself. Oh, testosterone — years of chronic alcoholism had suppressed the hormone, and after quitting drinking, I started intense endurance training, which increases it. In under two years, I've gone from somewhat chemically castrated to raging teenager.

10:30 a.m. Yoga class, where I'm always a little nervous because I am surrounded by beautiful people who are difficult not to notice. And I do like to notice. But I try hard not to quietly cruise the class constantly, or fixate, and tend to beat myself up when I catch myself doing it. That said, I have a nice, friendly, and flirty interaction with a fellow student, so no hard feelings on her part, I guess.

1 p.m. Spend the afternoon prepping hard for a housewarming party tomorrow, to which I've invited two new attractive (platonic, so far) friends: Cute Hipster and Lady Lawyer. I take a break to help the Girlfriend move some stuff into her new place. Then we both take a break from that to have sex again.

2 p.m. Walking home, kind of regret not pushing for a massage instead. I'd asked for one earlier in the day when I volunteered to help move, but then I initiated the sex talk, so I guess any lingering resentment is mine to own.

8 p.m. After I get home to continue prepping and she finishes shopping and unpacking, that resentment (however unreasonable) contributes to a dispute that breaks out over text messages. Long unresolved issues around the relationship come up, and nobody is having any fun. I at least keep my calm through it, and feel my concerns are reasonable and justified.

11 p.m. We finally shut down for a fraught night of bad sleep.

DAY THREE

8 a.m. Even after trying to move on in the morning, the fight breaks back out. We manage to put it back down, though not necessarily gently.

10 a.m. Cute Hipster sends a note saying she can't make the party, which probably for the best.

1 p.m. With only hours before the party at four, Girlfriend reveals she'd made plans with a friend at seven — plans she'd made days ago, apparently, with a friend she'd been somewhat secretive and protective around in the past. And hadn't bothered to tell me during the long discussion around honesty and feelings and commitment expectations. I assure her I don't want to keep her from her friends, but I don't appreciate the secrecy and avoidance. I ask if she is threatened around my inviting crushes to the party, but she reassures me that isn't an issue. Somehow we manage to table it again, just in time for guests to arrive.

5 p.m. When I see that the Lady Lawyer has arrived, I try to put on my best blasé act as the Girlfriend comes over to introduce herself. Seeing her just wade in and the two of them hit it off makes me grin while I gulp. They couldn't look more dissimilar, and practice at either ends of the profession, but clearly somehow they're both my type. But however neurotic I know the both of them to be, they seem to get along fine. And look pretty cute together! In the end, a successful fête.

9 p.m. So successful, the Girlfriend and I crash hard.

DAY FOUR

1 p.m. At work, I take a meeting outside with an attractive co-worker to talk over a project. We've talked about open relationships in the past after discovering we'd both read some of the same books on the subject. She says her boyfriend came home one day and declared that he should "let her sleep with other dudes." She says she gets sick imagining him with another woman, and they've nixed the idea.

4 p.m. Trade notes with Cute Hipster on OkCupid, as we’ve both recently fallen in love with the same maudlin indie singer-songwriter. She’s nearly a decade younger than me, and I’m not optimistic — in trying to make plans with her last week, she asked if it's okay with the Girlfriend if I hang out with other women. "Yes, it's even okay with the Girlfriend if I make new friends of the lady variety." It's a shocking reminder of the amount of insecurity I used to take for granted! And a sign that while she may be cute, did she even read my profile?

5 p.m. The Girlfriend texts to see if I want to have sex with her at her new place again. Which, of course.

7 p.m. We stop for dinner first. The Girlfriend reveals that she hooked up with a best friend's ex behind her back when they were all just out of grad school and hadn't revealed that to me out of fear that I'd run off. I explain I don't care about the hooking up, personally, but in my view if she was responsible for anything it was the dishonesty of doing it behind her friend's back — not that it's my place to judge. She seems almost shocked that I didn't run away and has the calm exhaustion of someone who'd just put something heavy down.

8:30 p.m. Back at her place, I sit back and let her get off. The novelty of sex in a cold bathroom has worn off somewhat, and after a couple of days with enough tension I don't even get the urge to masturbate. I'm not at the peak of lust. After patiently holding on, I come quickly after she does.

10 p.m. We head to her old place in the boonies for one last night, where my patience is rewarded with the back rub I've been craving.

DAY FIVE

7 a.m. I jokingly banter about possibly becoming a porn star. I'm fit, I've been known to maintain an erection for hours, even immediately after climax, and I'm certainly comfortable on a film set. Play party fantasies and the perfect stage of her new apartment have brought out an exhibitionist urge I hadn't realized I had.

7:30 a.m. Shortly after the levity of joking about possible porn names ("Bodi Laher"), an unrelated flash of sadness hits me, which is what happens when you don't process grief for twenty years, apparently. I break down into tears for a moment, then have an urge to get off. And here I thought I was over puberty. I ask the Girlfriend if she minds if I take care of myself. Instead, she helps me out with a blow job. For the first time, she spits, saying she couldn't swallow it all.

4:30 p.m. My therapist confirms my suspicion that I could fall into playing an inappropriate parental role in the relationship. But she also points out that the Girlfriend might crave some of that paternalism. It's a good reminder that just because I'm looking for equality in my relationships doesn't mean that there aren't power dynamics still at play.

8:30 p.m. I pick up the Girlfriend at her place for a fancy dress party, looking wolfish in a killer suit and freshly groomed with a shave, haircut, and freshly painted powder blue nail polish manicure.

9 p.m. At the party, we run into an old acquaintance she'd originally met at an orgiastic house party years ago.

9:45 p.m. I look on as she flirts with a boy who flirts back and don't feel the slightest pang of threat. Then a cute, tipsy young starts flirting heavily with me. I don't feel the least bit guilty. All in good fun!

Midnight I ask her to touch herself and do the same as she looks on to get things warmed up, then we have sex side-to-side so she can rub her clit to climax. I turn her over, pin her down, and continue until her moans subside and I choose to come.

DAY SIX

6:30 a.m. I get to enjoy a louche walk of shame home to my apartment in my nicest suit, shirt untucked and tie dangling, with a wide, snide grin on my face, which becomes a frown when I realize I've managed to leave my keys back at her place.

7:15 a.m. The Girlfriend smiles when she swings by my neighborhood coffee shop to drop off the keys.

9 a.m. "I think I was getting the eye from a cute girl on the train," the Girlfriend texts. She was worried it might have just been someone she'd run into at work and not actual interest. I suggest the worst thing that could happen is she might rather awkwardly make a new friend at work. Go for it! Or at least, that's what I've been trying to tell myself.

6 p.m. After work I head to an old friend's place for a clothing swap. I've had a crush on Old Friend for well over a decade. For all the vain hope and longing it might have inspired, I always admired her easy affection. Whenever she would find me glum at a party she would give me a smile, a hug, and a "Hey, handsome!"

7:30 p.m. It's all the more awkward when she starts stripping to her skivvies — there are limits to the amount of strictly brotherly disinterest even I can feign. On the way out, I stop to say, "It was nice to see you again" to someone I clearly recognize from the neighborhood play space. "Oh, yeah, where have I seen you before?" "The play party that Burning Man camp threw?" "Oh, no, definitely not then. Definitely not."

7:35 p.m. Near instantly I realize the faux pas I've committed. I mean, you and your friend have been piling latex fetish gear on the clothes pile and trying on the same tutus! But it was my mistake making any assumption about his openness based on that. A lesson in boundaries.

8 p.m. I meet the Girlfriend for our weekly therapy session, and we talk over the fight from the weekend. I have come to recognize that my role in encouraging her avoidance is because of my tendency to overreact. I promise to come up with a plan to specifically address my angry reactions for my part.

9:30 p.m. She has to go back to her old place to be at her office in the suburbs in the morning, so we kiss good night and go our separate ways. By the time I walk home, I'm exhausted and head straight to bed.

DAY SEVEN

10:30 a.m. At yoga class, a cute couple of blondes arrive, including a blonde jock of a woman with gymnast thighs and dancer calves and all around a body that requires a conscious effort not to fixate on. On the other hand, her friend on the mat next to her seems to be having the same trouble in my direction. So I don't really feel so bad.

2:30 p.m. The Girlfriend and I head out to a neighborhood queer bar for a daytime dance party. I'd invited Cute Hipster and Lady Lawyer. The former already had plans and the latter didn't respond, but it's okay.

3:30 p.m. After being separated for a moment when the Girlfriend wants to get out of the press of the dance floor, a ginger gentleman steps in front of me and starts a hard cruise. Flattered and a little flustered, I find myself flirting with him, friendly but coy. I turn him down as gently as I can, but he demands a kiss. Well, why not? So I give him a peck on the lips and a smile, kind of hoping that The Girlfriend catches a glimpse since I know she likes to see boys making out.

4 p.m. After finding a corner of the patio with some elbow room, we get comfortable and enjoy taking in the scene.

4:15 p.m. When she heads to the bathroom, a woman strikes up a conversation with me. As with the boy, I show friendly interest but otherwise decline. Still, all the positive attention is validating.

5:30 p.m. Back at my place, the Girlfriend and I have brief but rough sex. Then it's nap time.

9 p.m. We sit in my new kitchen eating leftovers for dinner, a quiet, sweet moment where we're both a little blushy and moon-eyed for each other. And for a moment I notice that I'm letting myself enjoy it.

11 p.m. Refreshed and fed, the two of us head back out to a local New Wave nightclub hand-in-hand. I could get used to this!

TOTALS: Four masturbation sessions; six acts of intercourse with climax; one act of bondage sex without climax; five flirty encounters; two notes traded; one boy kissed; one clothing swap strip tease observed; one play party faux pas; one walk of shame.