Sara knew it was a bad idea right from the start, but something about it appealed to her wild side. One thousand and one sexual encounters in one thousand and one days. The idea had come to her after reading portions of The Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night. In the book, King Shahryar's wife is unfaithful, so he kills her. Believing all women to be unfaithful, he marries a different woman every day, spends the night with her, and then has her executed at daybreak. Scheherazade volunteers to marry the King, then begins to relate stories to husband, ending in a cliff-hanger right before dawn; his curiosity stays her execution for a thousand and one days, at which point he decides she's faithful and doesn’t have her killed.
At the time Sara had thought, I could come up with a better thousand and one nights to distract the king. The idea had caught in her mind's eye, had transformed into a modern retelling, then from a woman distracting a mans' attention to that of a man distracting a woman, then to a woman using men to distract her own attention. The more she thought about it, the more it intrigued her, fed her endless sexual fantasies, wrapped itself tightly around her psyche like a constrictor disabling its' prey, until it consumed her imagination.
She had decided to write a book based on her own experiences in trying to accomplish the goal of one thousand and one lovers in as many nights. I ought to market it as a TV show on some adult channel, she thought, or a series of adult films. I could make a fortune. But abstractly, in writing, it could be anyone, even though many people would know the truth. On film it would definitely be her, beyond any shadow of a doubt, and she wasn't sure she wanted that kind of notoriety.
When it came down to it, why did she want to do it? She wasn't sure she could answer that in one sentence. Because I like sex? That didn't cover it; it didn't even come close. Because I'm addicted to sex. I don't just enjoy it, I crave it. I need it. I want it all the time. It's almost uncontrollable. That was a lot closer, but there was more to it than just that, too. Part of it was that, to the best of her knowledge, no one had ever done it before. She also wanted to disprove the myth that women don't want sex as much as men. She wanted to show the world a frank and honest view of life from a woman's perspective, from the perspective of a woman who craved sex more than anything else. She wanted to break the taboos that prevented honest, intelligent discussion on the topic of sex.
No, that's bullshit. Those ideas sound great, but the truth is that I just want sex, all the time. I can't even admit it to myself. I have a problem. But there are worse problems to have, right? I could be addicted to gambling, or drinking. I could be addicted to any number of drugs. It could be a lot worse.
She had thought about it for weeks now, had setup a framework in which to work, and now she mulled over her plan, her rules, her goals. One thousand and one sexual encounters in one thousand and one days, and no two could be identical. Something about each encounter had to be different than any of the previous encounters. It went without saying that they all had to be with different partners. Or items, she corrected herself, thinking of Big Black, her favorite vibrator. She'd also seen pictures on the internet of "machine sex," bound women being fucked by electric motor driven dildos. Something about that entire concept felt wrong, too deviant; even when masturbating it was her own human hand controlling the inanimate object. It wasn't programmed to satisfy her, it didn't move on its' own. Although she could count that as one of her nights, she was not convinced that it was something she wanted to experience.
Different positions went without saying. She couldn't just lie on her back and be fucked missionary style one thousand and one times. Different locations, that one was also a must. In bed, against the wall, on the photocopier, in an elevator, a hot tub… there were a lot of possibilities there. Multiple partners was another option, her with two guys, two girls, a guy and a girl, three guys filling every orifice, a whole group of guys… again, many possibilities. Mutual masturbation, voyeurism, public sex, videotaping, costumes, role playing, bondage, dominance and submission… the list was seemingly endless.
But was it enough to give her one thousand and one different encounters? Could she really get the variety she planned? And why had it taken over her mind some completely? She knew that something inside her needed sex as much as she needed to breathe, but was that the only reason? Perhaps she was looking for satisfaction from her never-ending desire. Would this satisfy her? Would it wear her out on sex so much that she would be free from her addiction? Having exhausted every sexual possibility, would she be satiated?
Maybe that is what it's all about, she thought. Maybe I want to get it out of my system so I can live a normal life, without this constant yearning, this never-ending desire. That could be it. The yearning for sex was overpowering at times, preventing her from living normally, compelling her to sneak off and masturbate in bathroom stalls, her office, emergency stairwells. Sometimes she'd see a man and just have to have him, right there, on the spot. Maybe if she got it out of her system she could say no to sex just once; that would be huge, and was probably the reason she really wanted to follow through with her plan. But did it really matter why? She wanted to do this, for reasons she knew she didn't fully comprehend right now, but that she hoped would be made clear before she reached her goal.
It was Tuesday night, and she planned to start on Friday. What better night than a Friday to start almost three years of daily sexual experience? She had laid some groundwork; she had responded to some personal ads that she normally would have ignored, frequented some online chat rooms that she'd only previously given a cursory glance, made some contacts through friends that might lead her to a 'swingers underground', others that might lead her to people interested in bondage and S&M. She had also met a lot of guys in bars that laid the foundation for her first few weeks. She was as ready as she'd ever be.
She'd start Friday.
"You're insane," Rebecca said.
"I'm not insane." Sara folded her arms under her breasts and leaned back in her chair, unable to meet Rebeccas' gaze across the tiny table.
"Let me get this straight:" Rebecca leaned forward over the table, willing Sara to meet her eyes. "You're going to go one thousand and one nights having sex with a different person every night?"
"Oh, okay, then. I take it back, you're not insane. You're fucking nuts." Rebecca slammed her glass onto the table harder than she intended. "What the fuck kind of plan is that? What happened to 'I'm going to swear off men for a year to get my life in order'?"
"I don't know how to make you to understand." Sara's eyes roamed around the room, looking for something, anything to look at that would allow her to avoid Rebecca's gaze.
They'd been best friends for five years after having known each other for only a few months. They had met online, in a chat room of all places, and found in each other their polar opposites and identical doubles all in one person. Where Rebecca was weak, Sara was strong. Where Sara needed help, Rebecca was an expert. They shared almost identical interests, and spent much of their free time together, enjoying the same hobbies, movies, music, and foods. They seemed to share a wavelength to which no one else was attuned.
They also shared each others' bed, once. Sara had been with another woman before they met; Rebecca had always been curious. One night over drinks the subject came up. They had a moment, which became a kiss, which became more. It had been everything both of them had hoped for, tender, passionate, unending, and utterly satisfying. Neither of them was disappointed. They talked about it incessantly, the risks of a sexual relationship to their friendship, the reaction of their friends and families, their goals for the future, marriage, children, every detail they could imagine. Though they couldn't rule out a future together, it wasn't what Sara had imagined for herself, though Rebecca seemed more open to pursuing it to see where it led. They had agreed that if they were carried away in a moment of passion, they would let it happen. If a shared need was felt, they would allow themselves to indulge, but that they would focus on maintaining their friendship, fostering the empathic familiarity they shared. Both agreed that their friendship was too valuable to jeopardize.
Their friendship grew stronger with each passing year. Without words, each knew when the other needed a shoulder to cry on, time alone, or a night out, and somehow their needs coincided often enough that they did nearly everything together. When Sara came home on Friday after a long week at work, ready for a night out at the clubs, Rebecca was getting ready to go out dancing. When Rebecca had broken off a relationship and needed a night home watching chick flicks, Sara had brought home the latest tear-jerker. It was almost as if they shared a psychic bond, each privy to the others' innermost thoughts, which was why Rebecca was so stunned by Sara's unforeseen plan.
"Listen, I know you like sex, but…" Rebecca let her sentence trail off.
"I don't just like sex, Rebecca. I crave it constantly. I need it."
"Maybe you should talk to somebody about that."
"Like what, a shrink? Cause they did so much good the last time." Sara had been forced to see a shrink as a teenager by her parents and school counselors. Rebellious by nature, it had not been a beneficial experience.
"Maybe you need to give it a chance. You're not a child anymore. If you approach it from the right perspective..."
"I'm not seeing a shrink."
"Okay, fine," Rebecca straightened in her chair. "You need sex constantly and you won't talk to anyone about it. Aren't there safer ways to get it regularly without fucking a thousand guys?"
"They don't all have to be guys…"
"Damn it, don't be a smartass; you know what I mean. What about masturbation? What about one steady person? Someone willing to try new things with you."
"Masturbation doesn't always cut it," Sara knew Rebecca could understand that. "And there's things I couldn't ask of just one person. Things I..." She trailed off, unable to finish her thought.
"There's got to be something less risky, something safer."
"I'm sorry. It's just that… you don't understand. There're things I'm curious about. Things I've never tried. Something has to satisfy me. Something has to…" Sara couldn't finish her sentence. She knew what she wanted to say, but she lacked the words to express herself fully.
She needed to do this. She wanted to do this. It wasn't the plan that she needed, it was the experience. Sure, she could get her experiences without taking things to this level, but it gave her a framework, a goal, something to focus on while she experimented and experienced everything she could think of sexually. This wasn't something she needed to do per se, but it was something she wanted, something she felt she had to do. It was almost as if it were a trial, a process she would force herself to undergo, an experience she didn't choose herself, but to which she was subjected by the forces that drove her through life. Something inside her had developed this idea, and she felt forced to comply with the plan now that she had voiced it.
"Sara…" Rebecca tried to get her attention, moving her face into Saras' line of view.
"I don't want to argue with you." Sara made the statement with a note of resignation in her voice, as if what she wanted had no bearing on where the conversation would go. She lifted her gaze to meet Rebecca's.
"I'm not arguing with you, I'm just…" Rebecca searched for words, "concerned. I mean, we've talked about a lot of stuff. We've shared our fantasies, each other. You know what I want, I thought I knew what you wanted. I thought we knew each other, but… this is just surprising, that's all, and it doesn't sound like a good idea. I mean, where did this come from?"
"I don't know. I really don't. I just… I don't know." Tears welled up in Sara's eyes. She blinked them back, hoping Rebecca wouldn't see, but knowing she did.
"Sara…" Rebecca took Saras' hand and squeezed it, eyebrows knotted in empathy, a lump forming in her throat.
"I don't want this to come between us." Sara felt the tears burn hotter, knowing she was holding back a floodgate with nothing but eyelashes. "You're my best friend. You're the only person who ever understood anything about me. I didn't want to tell anyone about this. I was just going to do it, but I felt like I needed to tell you… like I needed you to understand."
"I'm trying to understand." Rebecca wrapped Saras' hand in both of hers, arms extended across the small table.
Now that the initial shock had worn off, Sara knew she could take her time and explain it to Rebecca. She knew there would be questions, but she'd be able to answer them and, even if she couldn't make Rebecca understand or accept her idea, she could at least defend herself to the point where Rebecca wouldn't be as completely opposed to the idea as she had been. She might even be able to convince Rebecca of why she needed to do this; perhaps the conversation would help her better understand her own motives.