Amy and I are pretty good at "the communication thing." We talk things out pretty well. But like all couples with a long history, we make our fair share of assumptions without clearly communicating, and we end up in relationship minefields on occasion.
We resort to a lot of "shorthand" typical of marriage ... which is just a different way of making assumptions, I suppose. There is verbal shorthand -- language or phrases familiar only to us. (We refer to our favored way of lying together in bed as "position one.") And there is an emotional shorthand that develops. (Amy calls to me from down the hall, and I can tell from a tone in her voice that she's upset, so I move quickly down the hallway.)
Here's a less obvious example: On Saturday night, I suggested a shower together. Amy paused before answering. A fly on the wall might have assumed she was considering my proposal, but in fact it was being dismissed. To be honest, I knew before I asked -- she had been cleaning up crap around the house all night, obsessing about our home's disorder. Her speech was coming in short, purposeful bursts ("What do you want to do with these magazines?" "I'm getting rid of these socks, they bug me"). She wasn't angry, but neither was her demeanor light. In other words, she probably couldn't have been feeling less like having sex without being in an emergency room waiting area. Still, I had to ask, just in case she was willing to try and shift gears.
When she waffled, I took the burden off of her. What I wanted to do required her full emotional participation. If I didn't have that, I was no longer interested myself. There will be other nights.
Last night, I decided quite spontaneously to break down one of the "shorthands" Amy has built around us. I had propositioned her with oral (of the non-reciprocating variety), and she was semi-interested until she discovered how late it had was. "Sorry to ruin your fun," she said, officially taking sex off the table as she buttoned her pajamas. Already naked in bed, I told her that was fine, that I understood.
After she turned off the lights and climbed into bed, we were having a conversation about something unrelated, and I took her hand and put it on my cock. She didn't move it for a moment or two and we kept talking.
At a break in the conversation, I said: "Play with me for awhile."
"Well ... okay." Her hand moved around a little. The tone in her voice wasn't lost on me.
"Are you reluctant," I asked, "because you think you're going to get me going? That you'll leave me all teased and turned on and frustrated?"
"Well ... yeah," Amy said.
"You know, sometimes I just like being touched. Teased. It doesn't have to mean I want all-out sex."
"Okay," she said, and her hand moved with a little more assurance.
"It's nice to know occasionally that you know it's there, even when it's not gonna get used."
She got it. We talked about something else while she manipulated. My cock was hard. I was happy where I was, just enjoying the feel. This wasn't going anywhere, and that was just fine.
After a few minutes, Amy turned away from me. One might have taken that as shorthand for her being upset with me, but this was not the case. She's just more comfortable sleeping on the side of her body that faces away from me. Every night she does this, and every night I spoon against her after the flip. On this occasion I also thrust my newly aroused shaft against her pajama-covered butt.
"Thank you," I kissed into her ear. "It's nice to have just that once in awhile." Amy sleepily acknowledged.
Not a day goes by that I don't find opportunities to touch Amy in an "adult" way. Usually it involves caressing or grabbing her ass. Sometimes, if the "coast is clear," I'll come up behind her and gently palm a breast. Sometimes the touch is accompanied by a comment, eliciting one of her self-conscious laughs. I'm stealing a chance to fondle my lover -- on the sly, without my wife finding out. The fact that my lover and my wife are one and the same seems immaterial.
Some people would find this touchy habit annoying. Apparently Amy doesn't. In fact, this morning, after dragging a hand across her butt for the third time in less than five minutes as I moved around the kitchen, I apologized: "I'm sorry," I said. "I'll stop touching you."
"You do not have to stop touching me!" she assured.
Well, good, then. I won't!
(Except perhaps I do have to be more careful when I cup her breasts with cold hands. No need to see if she can put a hole in our bedroom ceiling with her head.)
So I have this shorthand with her body as we move through our day together ... but she doesn't return the favor much. She doesn't cop feels. Why is that? Maybe it's just not her thing. She enjoys receiving gropes, but maybe she's not comfortable giving them. Or perhaps it just doesn't occur to her. I'm trying to let her know that it's okay to tease me.
I was thinking about this in the shower this morning. When I got out, I returned to the bedroom where Amy was still snoozing. I woke her with a kiss and then I rubbed her back, which melted her. I reached under the pajama top and caressed a breast. She seemed to be enjoying it, not hurrying to get up. Then she said: "I suddenly need to pee." When she arose, she saw me in my turgid state. "I'm sorry that I'm leaving you with that," she said as she reached down and gave it a couple tugs. She sounded genuinely disappointed.
Off to the bathroom she went ... and off to the bathroom I followed. When she sat down and when she looked up, she was staring directly at my cock. She let out a low chuckle and took the head in her mouth. She sat there for less than a minute, sleepily licking the shaft while my fingers rubbed her head. When she was done peeing, I asked her what she wanted for breakfast, walked out, pulled on my underwear, and started the rest of my day.
Just play. Just fun. A little tease, and another suggestion to her that it doesn't have to go somewhere every time, that we can fool around for a few moments and then return to business as usual. It's hard to find the playful side of our days with the internal and external stresses. And as we go through our days as spouses and parents, it's nice to remember that we are also lovers.