It happens when both people are ready for it, even if one doesn't yet know it, but some luck is involved as well. She had worked in the department less than six months, cultivating a - correct - impression of being organized and motivated. Their relations were cordial but polite, and a bit formal. One afternoon when no students or other faculty were around, their talk had unexpectedly turned to pornography.
"I really can't see how anyone could read it," she had said.
Marie, the obsessive cleaning lady, had found a porn book in a trash can in the men's restroom and had brought it to her office to complain. Marie went on about students in general, about how she couldn't believe the things they did, and about how he, who had dropped by, should tell the Dean. He was the department chair and had no intention of doing that. After Marie had left he had tossed it in the trash. She had fished it out and read through it.
"It's so dumb! People can't do things like that, they don't look like that, there's no plot, they aren't endowed like that, it's so, well, how could anyone find it sexy?"
He liked the way she stressed the word "endowed." It showed what she was thinking but not saying. She had, after all, read it.
"Well..." He let the word hang in the air a moment. "Porn is mostly written by and for people who are horny anyway. It doesn't have to be very artful or believable to work for them. But..." Again he let the word ride. "... there is some very nice porn. Call it erotica if you want. The difference is the quality."
"But it's just sex! What's redeeming about it?"
"It needs redemption?"
"Now, you know what I mean. Do you think if you brought me some quote-unquote 'well written erotica' that I could find it interesting?"
He didn't answer for a second, then said: "You know, as your supervisor I really don't think I should have an opinion on that."
"But seriously, trouble like this is something I don't need. You know the climate today."
"Well, I'm not one to 'turn you in' or anything, you know." She sounded exasperated.
"I'll tell you what I'll do. I can get you some better written erotica. If you'll write a note saying that you asked me to bring it to you I will. You might or might not enjoy it. Everyone is different. If you want to talk about it later that'll be your call. I won't bring it up or embarrass you."
Of course she wrote the note. Then she stared after him while he walked back to his office. He got on line, printed off a short story by the writer named "deirdre," about a young woman who stumbles onto a friend's hidden sexuality and discovers vast yearnings within herself, and walked it back to her, all within about ten minutes. When her mouth actually opened in surprise, his penis swelled.
"This is an interesting, intimate little story, almost minimalist."
He wrote down the web address and gave it to her, then left. The next few days he read her note a dozen times, while he waited for the thing he had ordered, a used, hardcover copy of "The Story of O." He handed it to her when no one else was around.
"This is better known, and a bit meatier than the 'deirdre' story. We once had a friend we lent a copy to, whose husband tore it up when he caught her reading it. You don't need to return it."
How does it happen that one is introduced to something she'd never really thought about, but is then consumed by it as though she had been waiting for it all along? She'd read the deirdre story quickly, then more slowly, had folded it up to take home, then had unfolded it to read again. At home she opened it yet again and read it surreptitiously. She fantasized that she was that young woman. She didn't talk with him about it, and found herself wanting to avoid him.
When he handed her "O" a few days later she barely thanked him and shoved it into her purse. She started reading it in the office, then sneaked it home in her purse. She read it in the bathroom, in the living room after her husband was asleep, took it back to the office to read at lunch.
She masturbated to the first whipping scene. She hadn't masturbated since she'd married. She liked sex, liked sex with her husband, but she'd never been obsessed with it before. Now she was thinking of it all the time, at night, during the day, imagining experiences she'd never had. Late at night she logged onto porn story sites and devoured them, masturbating again. She was chronically tired. She had no one to talk to about this. The only one who knew anything didn't know the half of it, and he never brought it up.
So finally, after just a few weeks really, she stepped through the door of his office. She thought they could talk because it was after Fall graduation, and while the students and most faculty were gone the offices were officially open. No one else was around.
He smiled when he saw her, like he always did, but she was slow to get her words out and the smile became quizzical.
"I did read the stories. They really were, ah, nicely written."
She didn't know quite what to say. Certainly not that she was always horny and couldn't get enough stories, that sex seemed different to her now and she desired things she'd never thought about before. She did want him to know, but didn't know how to start the conversation. It had been hard enough just to come here to bring up the subject. She had almost failed. There was a long pause.
He broke the silence "I liked them too. That's why I chose them." Some more silence. "There's more that you want to say."
"Oh, no, nothing really."
"You came in here just to say that you liked the stories?"
She shrugged and made an embarrassed smile. She was starting to wish that she could sink into the floor.
She saw him move his eyes away from her, as though he were considering something. He looked back.
"Then I have one question. Did they arouse you?"
She found she was holding her breath. Finally, "Well, yes. They did."
She surprised herself by admitting this. It made talking about it easier, and it also made her think of her body and her proximity to him.
"But, uh, in reality the whipping and branding and, ah, everything was a bit much. I don't think people could really do that, not to that extent, not... you know." She trailed off, waving her right hand in a vague way.
"But that's just fantasy. Real people get excited by a lot of things, but they can be more vanilla things, too, sometimes barely sexual. Little things can be doors into larger arenas." He was talking like a professor, but she didn't notice. She needed him to talk about it.
"Like for example?" She was holding onto the door for support.
"Like for example? Do you really want an answer to that?"
For a moment she just stood there, her eyes round and dilated. Then she swallowed and nodded. Please say something nasty. He rose and walked over to her. She almost panicked, but he stopped a few feet away.
"Like for example, if you were just to go into the bathroom, take off your bra and panties, and bring them to me, I would find it very exciting, and I think that you might, too."
"Bring you my bra and panties." She was barely whispering. She had to exhale and breathe in again before she could continue, and then she tried to make a joke of it, to sound lighthearted. "No, I don't think so."
"That's fine. But then let's stop this conversation." He sat back down.
She walked straight to the restroom, into a stall, and removed them. She was shaking. This wasn't like her. It wasn't like anything she'd ever done. Then she walked back toward his office, holding the brassiere and panties in a tight ball in case she should run into anyone, alternately fighting ghastly smiles and feeling on the edge of tears. When she got to the office she tried to muster a smirk as she tossed the wad onto his desk. She said:
"Merry Christmas, big boy. This make you happy?" But she was stiff and didn't know what to do with herself while she waited for his response.
At first he just looked back and forth between the items and her. He had a somber expression. He picked up the bra after a moment and held it in front of his face while he looked at her, then he bit one cup right where her nipple would have been. She almost gasped, felt his teeth on her, felt a wave of desire. He looked at her the whole time. Then he picked up the panties. He held them to his nose and inhaled deeply, while she leaned on the door and again tried to remember to breathe. It was so very quiet.
"I want you to close the door."
She just stared, seemed incapable of moving.
"Do it now, please."
She fumbled at the heavy old door, not a hard one to handle, and ended up slamming it closed. After the reverberations stopped he rose and walked over to her again. He came in close this time, then had a hand behind her back and one at her chin, and then somehow they were kissing though she wasn't sure exactly how it had happened. She had let his tongue in right away and was sucking on it. He was playing with her breasts through her blouse, tracing soft circles on them with his fingers. She was against the door. Now he was talking.
"I'm going to do some things to you. You won't like all of them, but you'll let me do them anyway. Right?" She just nodded.
"I'm going to give you some tests. No one knows about us. This isn't happening. If you want to stop it'll really not happen. We'll go back to how we were. But if you do what I say there's a world of desire waiting for us. Are you ready?" She nodded again.
"Put your hands back against the door, over your head, and don't move them." She did it.
.... There is more of this story ...