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You Have Sex with Inappropriate People By Teresa O’Neill

2017 nonfiction winner

You Have Sex with Inappropriate People (Contains Explicit Language)

His legs are wrapped around me. We’re naked and his thigh is stuck to mine like bacon on rumaki. It’s a hundred degrees in his bedroom. I’m trapped and dizzy from the scent of the Paco Rabanne I specifically told him not to wear.

It’s my own fault. I wanted to date a sex therapist. I’ve never dated anyone whose knowledge of the female orgasm required a grade.

“I want to come in you. I want you to feel my hot cum in your pussy, running down your legs. Take my hot cum. Take it. All of it. I want you to have it!”

Since he’s wearing a condom I assume he feels it’s his duty to inform me of what I’m missing. After an hour of being thrust at like a chicken being splayed, I’m not concerned about what I’m missing; I just want feeling back in my pelvic area. I want his sweaty little legs off me. I want to go home and watch the end of “Dancing with the Stars.” But here I am on the hottest day of the year in his tiny cracker box apartment without a/c. What the hell kind of doctor doesn’t have a/c?

He takes a drink of water off his nightstand. It’s only 9:15. I seriously fear this is only intermission. In the old days bad sex used to be worth it for the great stories you could tell your girlfriends. Now I’m over forty and so are my girlfriends. We talk about our kids, our adult parents in failing health, and our mutual friends dying of cancer. We still drink but it’s no longer recreational, it’s medicinal. I’m a writer. At least this will make a good story someday. If I’m ever brave enough to write honestly.


Handsumdoctor4U was his online dating name. When I read about him online, he sounded like a parody. Cocky and self-assured. Everything I’m not. They say you look for qualities you don’t possess, so I scan for self-confidence like vampires cruise for blood. I have no interest in doctors as a whole, but he’s a sex therapist. This guy could be my sexual Indiana Jones, scaling my peaks and sliding into my crevasses. I live in Los Angeles and anything is better than meeting another accountant who really wants to write screenplays. I’m so tired of dating middle-aged divorcees who say “thank you” after a blowjob like I’m some randy missionary. After my divorce, I felt so beaten down and tired; weighing every word I’d say, guarding every moment, trying not to make things worse. Now, all I want is to be brave. Don’t back down… don’t be scared… take a chance… from this moment on… be brave.

A sex therapist looking for love. Think of all the money I could save. I wouldn’t have to explain any of my sexual kinks, I could just tell him, “When you touch me there it feels good. Yes, there. No, to the right. And up. Now lower. Use your hand. And your tongue. Can you use your hand and your tongue together?” If he can spin plates, I’ll have him do that too. He’ll be my naughty trained seal.

So, how did I end up in bed with a short squatty Jewish man who collects cloisonné? A man with a china cabinet so stuffed with painted miniatures he should be a ninety-year-old woman.

When I arrived at his apartment tonight, he was wearing green shorts and a slept-in white t-shirt with those European bathing sandals that make everyone look like Uncle Gustav on a Mediterranean vacation. “You made great time” he said as he opened the door, “I was going to change. Do you mind if I don’t change?”

I mind. I really mind. We’re not at the point in our relationship where you should feel comfortable wearing what was at the bottom of the hamper. But what am I going to say? No, you don’t get sex? That’s the only reason I’m here. He shows me a tray from his china cabinet, the one that his great uncle saved from the Holocaust. I think, holocaust… foreplay… two things you don’t normally find together.


We met five days earlier at a serve-yourself yuppie organic coffee shop where everything’s written on a blackboard and served in cardboard. Eco-dating. I got there first. He was nowhere in sight. It was the perfect first date scenario for him, I’m forced to pay for my own lunch because you order at the counter.

Granted, I wasn’t expecting a hunk. I’d seen his picture online. He was okay. Six feet, impish smile, average build, nice-looking in a suit. But in a suit every guy looks pretty good. In an expensive suit he might even have a job and that, my friend, is aiming high in the Internet jungle.

I got a table outside. He had called earlier because he had a work emergency. I wondered what a work emergency might be for a sex therapist. Someone can’t come? I imagined him hunched over his desk, leaning into the phone, speaking in urgent tones “Think of being violated. A stranger is following you down an alley. He takes you from behind. He is very forceful. You like it. You like it a lot. Tell me how much you like it!”

“Hi, I’m Ed,” he says as he approaches my table. I put down a forkful of Chinese chicken salad and stand up. By the time I reach my full height, he’s still at my shoulders. I am 5’8”, he said he was six feet, but clearly one of us is lying. Or perhaps he measures his height in dildos where everybody knows eight inches equals a foot.

Why do men lie about their height? I lie, but I only lie about things I can get away with like my weight and hair color. Unless he knows my colorist or invites me to a pool party, I’m good. I can always cover, “No, I never said I was a swimsuit model, I said I was a sweatsuit model.” But you can’t lie about your height; eventually one of you has to stand up.

He pulls a ringing cellphone from the pocket of his burgundy silk shirt, “Excuse me, I tell my patients they can call me any time.” His voice sounds like a midnight disc jockey. Like someone is following him around with a reverb machine.

I wave my fork at him as he excuses himself. Once again I pull out my free copy of Real Estate Opportunities in Brentwood Magazine, because nothing goes better with a $6.99 lunch special than estate shopping. He paces outside the restaurant within my sight. I think I could run to the parking lot right now and hope the valet is fast. Or I can stay and hope things get better.

“I’m sorry,” he says as he slides in next to me, his knee touching my knee, his face inches from my face. “A patient of mine was feeling very guilty about having sex with a lot of men last night,” he said this as if describing a patient with a pesky cough.

“Sex with a lot of men. You mean on purpose?”

“Yes, there are people who have a problem getting aroused. She thinks multiple men will fill something that’s missing in her life.”

“You mean, like self-esteem.”

“I don’t judge my patients. I’m here to help.”

“But she’s being a slut.”

“We don’t say slut.” He smiles and moves in closer, “What can I do to give you pleasure? How can I help to make this a beautiful afternoon for you?”

Buy me dessert and go?

“We could leave right now and go to my place and enjoy each other. I met a woman for coffee once and we made love right in the parking lot.”

Well, bully for you, and where is Little Miss Gear Shift today?

He looks at me hopefully. Are you kidding? We just met. You didn’t even buy me lunch.

I hate to admit it but I’m a little turned on. He’s so inappropriately close. Like if he stares into my eyes long enough he can flip on the wild switch in my brain. I feel my face start to flush. He is tapping into my Vegas fantasy of being met at the hotel room door by Wayne Newton in a monogrammed towel. This guy is my Diane Arbus wet dream. This is the guy I fantasized about while flipping through her pictures of transvestites and carnies as a kid, images that left my libido with one foot in suburbia and one foot in the sideshow.

Nothing happened that day, or that night. But for days, like a sexual earworm, I heard his baritone voice in my head offering me pleasure. Whatever that is. What if I’ve just been having so-so pleasure my whole life and everybody else is having great pleasure? What if I’m an outlier? Since my divorce, I haven’t felt much. What if this guy is my only chance?

I’m tired of sitting on my couch watching I Love Lucy reruns in my sweatpants. Okay, I’m lying. I totally love doing that, that’s my problem. But I know I’m better with a partner. I was married for thirteen years, we shared things, laughed at inside jokes, I was living with my best friend. Now I don’t know what to say when a restaurant hostess asks me if this table is alright. I’m so used to turning to my husband for confirmation I don’t know how to answer. I don’t expect this guy to be the one, but at least he’ll be an adventure.


It was a couple of days later we met at his place for a “dinner date.” I thought we would have dinner first, but he had me first. He gave me a tour of his small apartment. In the bedroom was a dresser, a nightstand and a mattress on the floor. This is something you don’t usually see once someone has left college and has a line of credit. I hoped this barren set-up had something to do with angles and aerodynamics for maximum sexual gratification.

“Can you feel my cock? Am I hard? You make me so hard.”

Intermission was over. He continued his endless narration like he was directing a porn in his head and I just happen to be there.

“Oh, baby, you make me so hot. Can you feel me inside you?”

By now I am wondering who he’s having sex with. It sounds like such a great time.

Suddenly he’s up on one elbow, looking at me, “Would you be interested in going to a swingers party sometime?”

“A swinger’s party?”

Okay, I was a little interested, mostly because nobody’s ever had the cojones to ask me that before. Most guys don’t even joke about a three way unless they’re drunk. And this guy doesn’t even drink.

“What do you do at a swingers party?” I ask.

“I bring a lady friend. It’s couples only, no single men allowed. You pay a cover and go in. There’s one almost every weekend.”

“So, you’re on a swinger’s mailing list? I mean, how do you even know about these things?”

“There are a lot of publications. A lot of ways to find out.”

“But if I’m with somebody already, why would I go somewhere else and have sex with a different person?”

He smiles, “We could still have sex together. Or with other people. Whatever brings you pleasure.”

There it is again. Whatever brings you pleasure. He waves that word around like Merlin with a dildo.

What would bring me pleasure? I think about it. Pleasure is getting a back rub with no obligation to reciprocate. Somebody doing my mending that’s in a big pile on the floor. Somebody cutting my mangos so I don’t slice myself. This would give me pleasure. But

“Hey stranger, nice ass, bend over”… not so much. I don’t tell him this, but I do make a joke about where naked strangers might put a nametag.

“You’re a funny girl,” he says.

You have no idea, I think.

I know he means funny strange since there isn’t one humorous bone in his body. He probably thinks I’m using humor as a defense. Well, duh.

“So there are rooms with people having sex?”

“Yes. And there’s a lounge with stripper poles and a restaurant.”

“A restaurant?” Now you’re talking. I sit up and put a pillow between us ready to have a serious Charlie Rose discussion. But mostly I am excited we’re not having sex.

“So I’m your date but we’re having sex with other people?”

“Well, it’s up to you.” he says.

“What if somebody wants to have sex with me and I don’t want to have sex with them?”

“We can have a signal. You can tug on my arm or use a code word and I’ll come rescue you. We can go to the restaurant.”

“At this restaurant we’re naked and people serve us food?”

“They have a menu. You don’t have to be naked.”

“But you can be?”

“If you like.”

“Wow. They’d have to be careful about what they serve, if it’s too spicy or too heavy everybody would fall asleep at the orgy. Or if it’s a buffet how do they get away with health code violations? They know where everybody’s hands have been. And steno candles and pubic hair, that’s a Triangle Factory fire waiting to happen.”

He gets quiet. I feel like I’ve broken his spirit. He probably skimmed over the comedy writer part of my profile. My brain is now buzzing with potential body parts for alamode. “Are you hungry?” he says.

“Yeah, actually I am.”

He leaves the room and returns with a plate of food. He sits it on the mattress and says, “Some sensual foods.”

I look at the plate of leftover cheese and a few pieces of fruit and think, hey, way to not buy a girl dinner.

“Fig?” he offers.

“Look,” I say, “I’d love to talk to the caterer at a swinger’s party someday, it really sounds interesting. The participation part though, I don’t think that’s for me, but I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Whatever gives you pleasure” he says in his deep DJ growl.

His cellphone rings, “Dr. Ed here.”

He disappears into his bathroom, the only room in his tiny apartment with a door. Perhaps another nympho is loose on fraternity row. Only Dr. Ed can save her now. He shuts the door and he’s in there for five… ten… maybe fifteen minutes. I eat a hunk of sensual cheese, I put on my clothes and I leave.


At home I write the words, “His legs are wrapped around me. We’re naked and his thigh is stuck to mine like bacon on rumaki.”

And it gives me great pleasure.


Teresa O’Neill Teresa O’Neill was a writer/producer for television. She has written for numerous Emmy award-winning television shows including, “Home Improvement,” “Becker” and “Coach.” She was the first female comedy writer ever hired on the sitcom “Night Court” starring Harry Anderson and John Larroquette. This career trajectory — often like being the only woman in a locker room — was a big shock for the shyest girl in school who, according to a test in elementary school, was destined to become a priest or a gardener.

Teresa has developed shows for ABC, NBC, CBS, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount, Lifetime, the Disney Channel, blah blah blah. Did she get a show on the air? No. This is when she decided to get a life and write essays about it. This move was a big disappointment to her bank account and self-esteem. But once she figured out how to tell the truth, it was nearly impossible to go back to writing made-up characters.

Teresa earned a B.A. in Cinema-TV and an MFA in Professional Writing from USC, and has taught TV writing and humor writing at USC and Loyola Marymount. She has also written and performed a one-woman show, “The Happy Writer and Other Mythical Creatures” in L.A.

Her writing life continues to be messy and uncertain. There isn’t a day goes by she doesn’t wish she could tap dance instead. She is writing about this problem — essays that explore what she does do with her time while avoiding writing. She longs for a life that allows her to walk upright and mingle with people who don’t wear bathrobes. As much as she complains Teresa is very lucky. She lives in Los Angeles, has an awesome husband, an amazing son and four pets… and counting. She hopes to publish something someday so she can account for the last ten years of her life.











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