My iPhone screen lit up as I lay awake in my hotel room. I was on tour, and my band was all asleep, but for a few months I’d been texting with another musician I’ll call Florida. We spent one night together in Austin at SXSW, where we stayed up until 7 a.m. and fooled around all morning until I left, frazzled and braless, to play a daytime showcase. Since then, we’d both been on the road, and so we’d been sexting: the ever-so-intimate telegraph of modern solo jerk-offs.
“I want to tell you something,” Florida wrote. “It’s my fetish...”
“Go on,” I typed. “You can tell me. No judgement.”
“My ex-fiancée was not into it. It’s kind of weird.”
I waited for his incoming message, peeking around the room at my bandmates, half of whom were snoring. It was 4 a.m.
“If you were my girl, I wouldn’t be upset if you got with other guys and told me everything about it. Everything.”
Nowhere in my brain was there a particle that wanted to be anyone’s girl. Earlier that year my boyfriend and I had broken up, and with that, my decade-long attempt at monogamous relationships came to an end. But now, I was confident enough to be truly single. My career was going well. All I wanted to focus on was my band. No longer would I be bound to a boyfriend back home who drained me with his need for my love and attention. I was going to put myself first. I was going to live like Robert Plant: Screw whoever I wanted, when I wanted. A shameless embrace of my promiscuity. Men were just going to be these nice sidebars and no longer primary characters in my life story. Finally.
“OK,” I typed. “I’m listening.”
Florida went on about how he got off on jealousy. He liked knowing the woman he was with was sleeping around on him. The newly single part of my mind got excited. I had scored a cuckold (definition: the husband of an adulteress, often regarded as an object of derision, but in the fetish sense, cuckolds were willing). Florida wanted to watch me seduce, tease and flirt with random men. He wanted me to screw whoever I wanted when I wanted, and explicitly detail my sex life. As someone who had always struggled with infidelity, I felt as though I had hit the jackpot.
I have cheated on every single boyfriend I have ever had. I used to think it was because I never truly loved any of them, but now I realize it was more about the reality of my ego and confidence. I am a flirt by nature. I seek attention from both sexes. When I was 15, my Aunt Marissa gave me a novel called “Cheat” about a British woman who had seven sexual relationships going at once, with both men and women. I always wanted that. I wanted to be in control. I wanted to be the one who got to do whatever I wanted while my partner stayed obedient and faithful to me.
My one downfall was jealousy. I was not good at sharing my partner with others, which is why I would only guest star in three-ways and resorted to cheating instead of an open relationship. I wanted my partner to be faithful to me while I could get my kicks elsewhere. It was completely unfair, ludicrous and selfish. But here was Florida, handing me my twisted dream on a silver platter.
“I am so into this,” I typed to Florida.
“Tell me something now,” he pressed. “Something that will make me jealous.”
I thought for a minute.
“There’s this big construction worker type with a huge cock,” I wrote. I told him I’d had sex with the guy the last time I was home for a friend’s wedding. “After the party, I made him carry two vases of flowers and my shoes while we caught a cab. I also made him pay for that. We got to my house, we did a bunch of coke that he bought, then we fucked for hours. He fisted me until I cried. I thought about you occasionally but it didn't last because he is better than you.”
“This is so hot,” Florida responded. I imagined him trying to masturbate while typing on his shitty phone and laughed a little.
This was too easy.
At first Florida’s cuckold fetish was an exciting form of entertainment. I was bored on tour, and having this man who desperately wanted to know all the details of my sexual encounters was funny. I was into the power thing. I was in charge.
Plus, it propelled me to shamelessly go after whoever I wanted to sleep with. As much as I always played the hardass, I was a black hole of need. That’s true of anyone who seeks so much validation from others. Performing for Florida felt good. His fetish gave me a new backbone for my confidence. I wanted Florida to praise me for my slutty decisions, and he was more than happy to comply.
Every night, I’d text him little stories, sometimes exaggerated for his satisfaction. I detailed weird meet-ups with rising rappers and told Florida about every man I screwed or who even showed interest in me. And every morning I’d wake up to his drooling response. Normally sexting was a frustrating form of communication, but with Florida I got to have my cake and eat it too.
Finally, we met in the same room. I was in Manhattan again, and after my show at the Bowery Ballroom, Florida and I hopped in a cab and headed to the hotel he had booked. Armed with three bottles of wine and two months worth of build-up through our text messages, I was charged up for the sex of a lifetime.
But that’s not what happened.
A transgender porn star named Riley Kilo (who became famous when she appeared on an episode of TLC’s “My Strange Addiction” for dressing like a baby and diaper play) once simplified the psychology of fetishes for me: “A kink is a thrill, and a fetish is a must,” she told me.
Florida’s fetish completely took over in our hotel room. We could not just have sex. I had to be constantly coaxing him along, talking dirty about all the men I had slept with as he vocalized how bad he wanted to hide in the corner and watch me with other guys. The voyeurism of his fetish got to me. It was creepy.
Suddenly, I did not have control of the situation anymore. My pleasure took a back seat to his fetish. I had to talk and talk and talk and make sure that he was completely immersed in the cuckold delusion. But I only had so many stories to tell, and I was getting exhausted. I wanted someone to like me back normally, without the performance, and I began to feel drained, like a whore puppet, completely without agency and restricted by the boundaries of his desires.
It was my mistake. Truthfully, I was only in it for the power. I was pretending to be into the cuckold thing because I had convinced myself it was part of my mission. To be Robert Plant. To be that woman in the book my aunt gave me when I was 15. I thought that being with a cuckold would give me sexual freedom, but instead, I was trapped.
There’s nothing wrong with having a fetish, but there is something wrong when your partner’s desires do not align with your own. If a fetish is a must, then it’s also a must to admit when just you can’t go there. Sex should be satisfying. It’s a balance of pleasure. It was not Florida’s fault. He was just trying to get his.
Florida and I eventually drifted apart. I think he actually got back together with his ex-fiancée. Every once and a while he will text me. “You are my equal. You get me sexually.” I don’t have the stones to tell him the truth. That I’m just a normal woman who wants to have sex the way she likes it and doesn’t want to fake anything at all.