He-ing and She-ing

If you have ever found yourself in a jet at 30,000 feet, with a willing and lubricious lady and no place to do it, you share with the cruising sailors of the world an ultimate frustration. Perhaps your frustration is less than their's, since, on a jet, there is at least the washroom, cramped and inconvenient as it is, in which the act, if not comfortable, is at least private and possible.

There are a number of places in which the barriers to coupling are so forbidding that it can only be accomplished in extremis. But the human condition being what it is, and the admonition to multiply is so indented into our double helix, that whatever the barriers, they are, sooner or later, overcome.

Let us consider some of the more arcane locales or conditions in which the passage of seed has been accomplished.

For teenagers, the back seats of cars are relatively comfortable and accessible. But consider the back seat of a VW Beetle or anywhere in a sports car. In the days of the American monster autos there was a certain mount of comfort and, even elegance, in doing your date in the back seat, even though the couple you doubled with had carefully adjusted the rear view mirror to view the action. With the shrinking of autos to meet Japanese incursions, comfort and the elegance have disappeared. Japanese sized cars may well be adequate for a itsy Japanese pair but can hardly contain the bulk of a high school line backer.

A car is essentially a public place and that, for some, may have been an added spice. Public coupling is a common, if dangerous, practice in all of the world except in Israel. The complaint in Israel is that if you 'screw in the street, everyone will stop and give you advice.' But except for the Holy Land, or at least the Israeli sector, exhibitionistic activities are common and, so long as the temperature is not so low as to prune and shrivel, it has and always will be a heightened experience for some folk.

Splintery knot holes and barbed wire (ugh!) fences have failed to deter incarcerers from having it off with incarcerees. There are moments and places when the completion of the act presents such clear and present dangers that one wonders at the inattention to safety and survival of the celebrants. There is the tale, perhaps apocryphal but no less apropos, of the couple who chose railroad tracks and failed to disentangle as a train roared into view. The train screeched to a stop just inches from the energetic pair. A furious engineer dismounted and loudly remonstrated to the couple who by this time had done the deed and were adjusting their clothing.

Rather than being disconcerted by the loud attack, the man on the tracks quietly pointed out to the engineer that you were coming, I was coming, she was coming and you were the only one with brakes. The engineer thought about this for a moment and, being a reasonable man, quietly remounted his train and chugged off.

The risks taken in adultery are astounding even when the penalty might be death or decockafication. You would think that aficionados of this delightful dalliance would be more careful than to cohabit in places in which, actuarily speaking, exposure is guaranteed. The only safe adultery is with the written permission of the spouse, or spice, in question. You would be surprised how easily this is obtained and how stubbornly adulterers refuse to go this route. Is it, perhaps, that adultery is no fun unless someone is being unknowingly horned ?

For most of us intercourse is, deviants aside, an intensely private confrontation that requires a reasonably comfortable platform or position and a temperature that neither fries nor freezes. While most of the time a contortion can be found that will result in insertion, the more arcane the twisting the more stable must be the platform in order to prevent serious injury. If you are going to do it in a phone booth then the booth must at least be firmly planted in the ground and the glass not too frangible. If in an auto, it is far better parked than bumping along a rutted back road. Even if in a bed, the connection between headboard and springs should be secure lest lusty heroics separate them and land you in a discouraging heap on the floor.

I have never been a fan of water beds since they preclude getting a firm grip on anything, and feather beds, into which your lady love disappears in clouds of linen, can create entanglements that, tourniquet like, cut of the blood supply to arms, legs and other important appendages. Personally, feathers make me sneeze.

Privacy, warmth and stability are required for the arena of love. The arena itself must have enough space to swing your sexual cat and should be fixtured in such a manner as to encourage the often exhausting and sometimes ludicrous comings together. (If that immortal condition can ever be accomplished at all.)

But to get back to sailing, can you think of a less likely place than a small sailboat asea that fits the minimum requirements for successful sex? I cannot. I have been trying for twenty years to learn why, of all of God's places in the Universe, He has decreed that sailboats shall be denied dalliance. Love may laugh at locksmiths but it accepts defeat at the prospect of a smile (Eskimo term) on a sloop.

There is simply no privacy. In addition to lack of space a sailboat below is like nothing more than a boom box, an echo chamber in which the slightest sigh of delight becomes an announcement to the boat that you are doing it. The need to suppress the small, and sometimes not so small, gurgles, chortles splutters and synchrony of sex is enough to make you forgo the whole process to begin with.

If you cannot, at some epiphinic moment, be allowed a long and loud 'Yessss' or even an adulatory and thankful 'Oh God', much of the pleasure is painfully swallowed like a sneeze unemited. And how about all those small, but vital directions such as, put that here, or open those, or ooh that tickles or even, watch it your breaking my arm. How in creation, which this obviously is not, can you avoid decent, or more to the point, indecent instructions without the entire boat picturing, imperfectly, the activity that is going on. What in the world, they will wonder to themselves later as you meet on watch, what in the world was he doing with his arm there. Actually they will not really know where there is but the wonder will never cease.

If you have ever screwed on a sailboat you will already know that, privacy aside, there just is no reasonably satisfactory place to do it. Sea berths are properly designed to compact the sailor into a face-up, horizontal position in which both sides, the top of his head and the soles of his feet are tightly braced against motion. A really good sea berth is not at all dissimilar to a coffin, except that a coffin is somewhat more roomy and much more softly upholstered. (Come to think of it, a sea berth with a lid might be just the thing.)

Lee boards further limit the sailor from achieving a giving/receiving position and the raise problem of 'how the hell are we going to get your legs open?' At some point the problems become so acute that either you or both of you descend into paroxysms of uncontrollable laughter (further puzzling your crewmates) or simply give up in disgust.

Should you seek a wider arena aboard, you find that there is nothing any better than your bunk below. Topsides, on deck, what space is not crowded with dinghies, spare fuel and unstowed sails, is cold, wet and slippery. Should you come to terms with the cold and the wet, it becomes necessary to don a safety belt. Think about that for a moment.

The lack of privacy, absent an amenable temperature and the simple paucity of places to do it, are nothing compared to the ultimate insult that a sailboat inflicts on all activities, not only sexual ones. However, the damage done by this final insult is most egregious when applied to the gentle and loving act of procreation.

The final insult is movement, the endless, unanticipatable thrust and parry of a sailboat in a sea way, any sea way. If the motion is not making you sick, throw-up sick, it is doing other things, less obvious, to your inner ear. The message your ear sends to your brain, in close and contiguous contact, is, For God's sake, don't even think of fucking ! It is a message which all your desire and passion cannot overcome.

Sea way motion interdicts in many forms. Vomiting and nausea are only two of the more obvious. There are other more subtle and some excruciatingly embarrassing manifestations. Mine for instance; I fall asleep. Can there be any greater disaster than to snooze off on top of your lady or, worse to be too sleepy in the first place to even try.

At times headaches appear or a general and unidentifiable malaise similar to the onset of the flu. The manifestations of mal de mer are endless and not one of these googel of symptoms, not one, serves to promote fooling around. Emotional dismay is somewhat mitigated, at least the embarrassment is, by the fact that usually both parties are affected . . . one may be vomiting while the other is falling asleep. Thus the act is doubly enjoined.

Beyond the nausea and the 1001 other symptoms that emerge from the motion of a sailboat, there is still another more real, more physical, interdiction. That is the lurching and the upping and downing and the siding to siding that are never consonantal, let alone conducive, with the measured and succulent inning and outing of successful sexual comity.

The motion of the surface of the sea attacks the rhythm of sex, the very drumbeat of procreation, to which our hormones prance their exquisite gavotte. When you are managing your partner and managing yourself and keeping both from being bodily erupted onto the deck, how in the world can you be expected to manage your orgasm and have some little bit of concern left over for hers ?

One of the great recreational lies in the world is the romantic fol de rol that sailing encourages coupling and cohabitation. The charter people should know better. Indeed, they do know better since they do their own osculatory (and more) activities back at their comfortable and unmoving offices. But the seed is sown, if not in vaginas then in the heads of sailors yearning for thrust of bowsprits into combing seas along with the accompanying romantic thrusts. Sailors are convinced that sailing is sexy. Sailors are convinced that what does not happen easily at home in bed will soar to new heights on a boat. The only thing that is likely to soar is him out of his bunk.

In spite of all evidence to the contrary, the belief that sailing is sexy is on par with the statement that the Aegean is fun to sail in. Neither is fun. Both are harmful to your health and the to the delicate nature of your relationships. And, Heaven Forfend, that either or both of you have exposed, as you will, your pallid dermi to an arrogant sun and receive, as you will, a burn that penetrates to your very soul. And then some oaf or oafus, perhaps a mite less scorched, appears above you conterminously sandpapering your redness with unwanted attention. Under these circumstances the withholding of conjugal favors is the most mild reaction, impalement on a safety stanchion may be the most extreme and I daresay you could convince a judge of mitigation. Especially if the judge is a sailor.

The truth is that, in spite of difficulties, sailors are a lusty folk. The most common story about sailors is that they have a girl in every port.

Is it any wonder that they have a girl in every port since that seems to be the only possible way that that they can get any. Sailors are as powerfully horny on land as they are powerfully deprived at sea.

Sailor, if you want to screw, stay home. If you want to conjoin with the universe, a rather larger matter than with your mate, then, by all means take to the world of the sea.

You have a clear choice, sex or serendipity, there is no best of both worlds at sea.

Of course, you do eventually reach land.