This article originally appeared on VICE Alps
The thought that Paul might be gay never crossed my mind. I never imagined that someone who'd been in a relationship with me would go on to perform what to me seemed like a pretty dramatic handbrake turn in their sexual preferences. It should be noted that I have, in my life, gained pretty solid marks when it comes to working with dicks.
But maybe, for a while, I was a bit blind. I often wondered why he never took the initiative when it came to sex. I knew that I was his first, so I thought it may have had something to do with inexperience. In spite of that, I kept wishing that he'd be a little more engaged in bed. Most of the time it was like I had to talk him into having sex with me. He was more excited when the new Rihanna single came out.
Absurdly, at some point I started to take pleasure in his lack of interest. I controlled when we had sex. Admittedly, I had to seduce him in a new way each time, and it really wasn't easy, but I had fun doing it.
I was also a few years older than him, so I kind of felt like a younger version of Mrs Robinson. And usually, it worked out for me – all my efforts to make him hard paid off. Faking an orgasm is harder for men than it is for women.
However, since my attempts weren't always successful, the thick skin I'd developed to deal with rejection came in handy often. We've all heard the "not tonight" cliche trotted out in films and TV programmes, where the woman is too tired or has a headache – in our case, it was just reversed. Sometimes it felt like he only wanted to have sex with me out of pity, which isn't exactly a turn on.
At some point, I finally realised that he wasn't interested in sleeping with me at all. By the end, the whole thing had became a one-woman show, and it was only platitudinal amounts of cooperation from him that kept it from looking like sexual assault. After dirty lingerie and sex toys stopped being seductive to him, I was at my wit's end and would usually just rely on my hand while Paul was in the shower.
That was the beginning of the end. Paul wanted to be all over the place, just not between my legs and at some point I couldn't deal with it any more. I wanted to talk, he didn't. I wanted to fuck, he didn't. In little under a year, we realised that our relationship couldn't continue. We broke up and lost touch.
Once I was single, my girlfriends confronted me with suspicions they'd apparently been harbouring for months. They hadn't wanted to raise them with me during the relationship in case I was in love but suddenly it all made sense.
A year later, I found out from mutual friends that he'd come out. Of course it wasn't that surprising – in my head the true direction of his sexual leanings had been obvious for a while. You might think I'd feel insulted or resentful, but that wasn't the case. On the contrary, I felt sincerely happy for him. I felt relieved.
Most straight women I've spoken to about the subject say their confidence would be totally destroyed if they found out an ex was gay, because it would somehow be their "fault". A friend of mine told me that if a guy outed himself "after her", it would make her doubt her own womanliness and her ego would be in the bin. That's the biggest crock of shit I've ever heard.
Eventually, Paul had the decency to meet me and talk it through, which I totally respect him for doing. I had a lot of questions and there were explanations that I deserved. We spoke for a long time about insecurities, repression and self-acceptance and I understood where he was coming from. In some way, I had always understood him. And at least I knew that I wasn't just a beard.