Sex For the Recently Divorced

Sex for the Recently Divorced- Shaw, Alan

Alan Shaw

Upon Showing Your Dick to a New Woman for the First Time, You May Experience Some New Thoughts and Rediscover Others You Long Thought Buried and Forgotten.

Does my dick look weird? Is it the right size? Will she like it like my ex-wife liked it? Did my ex-wife like it or was she being nice the whole time? Were the women before her?

My balls—what about their story? Do they hang the correct length? Is there a correct length? If so, what’s hers? Do girls still think about balls? Have they gone out of fashion, like slap wraps and collarless dress shirts? Should I hide them or hang a tassel from them?

How does this whole foreplay thing work again? How much foreplay is enough? Do I start with tongue kissing or is that too presumptuous? Is biting still a thing people do and if so should I learn how one bites sexy-like? I once saw in a movie that blowing in a girl’s ear counts as foreplay, so is that an option or will she think a moth’s flown in her ear?

Do I buy the condoms, or does she? If she buys them, do I give her money to, and does that make this a slightly hookery situation?

When do I reveal that I have a condom? Do I announce to her that I have a condom? Girl, I’ve brought the prophylactics. Let us bonk. Do I buy several of varying colors, lengths, flavors, and materials and set them out on the bed for her to choose from? Is there anything to this whole ribbed thing? Is there a color of condom that’s not cool to use? If I ask her, does that imply I think she’s in a gang, and does that make the sex hotter?

Is calling it “screwing” not cool? I’ve always liked the term “balling,” but is that crude? Is calling sex “shagging” still tainted with Austin Powers exhaustion? When can having sex be called “fucking,” and do I have to call it “making love?”

How do we get to the sex part? How did I ever convince my ex-wife to fuck me, again? Am I supposed to ask if we can start having sex, or do I wait for her to initiate? Does calling it “initiating” make the sex a clinical act and thus not sexual? Is there a sign or a code word? Should we choose safe words, and when is a safe word used too often? What is a good safe word and how many syllables should it have? Is sibilance a poor choice of safe word?

How much noise during the act is too much noise? Alternatively, how quiet is too quiet and likely to make her think I’m a serial killer? And what are the right noises to make? Are farm animal noises not a good idea?

Should I call her a dirty girl or my princess while we’re having sex? If she likes sexy talk, or the more complicated dirty talk, and I’m terrible at both, should I practice beforehand? Is there a manual for this kind of talk? Should I consider the stars and readers’ ratings for such manuals? Which source for sexy talk manuals should I trust more: Amazon, Good Reads, or Violet Blue?

When is praise called for, and when does praising what she’s doing change from encouragement to coaching? Should we cover this before, talk about what each of us likes and does well, a Hair Pulling-Butt Spanking Summit? Do I give her a list of my abilities and preferences, my sexual CV? I’m skilled at cunnilingus and the missionary position.

What do I say when I’m about to orgasm? Do I announce this, prepare her, or do I let the moment happen unbidden and assume she knows how sex customarily ends? Do I pull out even though I’m wearing a condom or finish inside her? What does that say about us and this moment given where I finish? Should I collapse on her after I’ve finished or remain propped up? If I do collapse on her should I let it happen naturally or turn my head so we’re not smelling each other’s breath?

What do I do with the condom once I’m finished? Am I supposed to know the plumbing situation with the house, how much waste and of what girth it can dispose of? Should I leave the condom in the trash can and take the can with me when I leave? If I leave that for her to tend to is that considered rude?

Is spooning called for after the first time we have sex, make love, bang, ball, or screw? Is there a necessary time frame this spooning must fill? Should I hold her, say something gentle and sweet in her ear? Do I whisper when I say these things? Should I instead use a sexy voice, Louis Armstrong but softer, or should I use a normal speaking voice so she’ll hear me?

How did I ever figure all this out before, and have I been doing it wrong this whole time?


Intestinal Terror on the Second Date

You asked her out for a date. It went well. You asked her out for another, this one with costumes you two bought from the Salvation Army. You said “Lets dress like hipsters and go get burgers from that hipster joint downtown.” You were certain this was a brilliant idea.

You wore a Kangol and a gray sweater vest. She wore a sexy librarian frock and Mary Janes she bought for five dollars. Her roommate took a photo of you two before leaving for the hipster burger joint. The girl holds her head back, laughing deep and shamelessly while you pose, PBR can hoisted in triumph. You’ve already fallen for her, if only for how she laughs. Its pride and swagger, the boisterous roar that says there’s not one dainty inch to her.

You’ve been charming all night. On the drive over you told her about a Fresh Air interview you heard that afternoon and surprised yourself with how smart you sounded. You opened the car door for her, and next the restaurant door. You ordered martinis for you both, calling up every lesson Don Draper taught you.

But then you asked the server to ask the chef to cook your burger as rare as possible.

The roiling began five minutes after your food arrives.

It starts as a series of short, bugle note blasts. They pop in your stomach just above your belt line. Three short stings as juices and pressure roll the food around in your guts. You recall that you asked that your food be cooked like this so the girl you’re taking out would share your food. She likes her burgers rare enough to ride home. You learned this on the first date and like that about her. That she eats and wants to eat food the way it’s meant to taste.

As it progresses, you recall the time you visited a deli in Prague, how you watched the butcher behind the counter (because they have butchers in delis there) grind out sausage, press it into latex-looking sleeves. You will remember how he rolled his thumb across the newly minted sausages, sliding out the bubbles, what looked like bubbles, and you will know that your guts feel like those sausages, bubbles rolling around inside with no egress.

The pressure will come on sharp and alarming, a punch. Your dinner dropped into your nethers, rowdy and banging at the walls.

As you muster your charm, willing yourself to be handsomer, you will remember what your grandfather told you about having prostate problems. How it swelled. How he said it felt like a dog rooting around inside him, as if his ass was a black trash bag and the dog’s nose thrust and probed around inside. You will suddenly empathize.

When you can finally relieve yourself, a day and a night later, cold pearls of tears will prick at the corners of your eyes. Gentle gems hung from your lashes. You will gasp, thankful, but certain that holding in this monster tore something inside you. You will be certain that, given the perspective of hindsight, this is the moment you will look back on, like a lynch pin, as the crossroads you took. This is where the cancer started. All because you couldn’t use the bathroom at your new girlfriend’s house, and sadly still can’t.


This Is How They Will Find You After You’ve Died Trying to be Sexier

You will hear her say it and you won’t believe it at first.

Bikini waxing. She went for one with her girlfriend.

You will ask a friend what that means. Well, you know what a bikini waxing is; you’ve studied that well enough. But what you ask the friend is if you have to reciprocate.

That friend will tell you, “Oh, yeah. You have to shave your crotch, man.”

“Well,” he says, “just the shaft and the balls, trim the surrounding hedge, but don’t go all pre-pube. That’s gross, for some, and you don’t want to make assumptions at this early stage.”

You’re going to have to manscape. You can’t get by on a firm chest, rolling abs, and a lantern jaw any more. It’s not enough to iron your jeans occasionally and wear something other than a Spider-Man t-shirt. A clean car, or having a car, isn’t enough to get you girls. This isn’t high school, not anymore. This is adulthood and this new girl isn’t a girl, but a woman. That’s what you’re dealing with, a real woman with shit to do and an agenda that informs her politics. She shops at Whole Foods and volunteers for relief work at children’s’ hospitals, and she does that shit for fun and career advancement.

You didn’t do any of this for the last one, for the woman you were married to. But that was the one you met when you were still a kid and thought promises and hope were all that life required, not work and compromise and taking out the trash when she asked you to and foreplay and balancing the bank account you two share. This is real life, real women, and real stakes. So now you have to groom.

But you’re not one of those guys who likes to. You don’t look at your ample, if coarse, chest hair and think that it needs to be trimmed back, so you damn sure don’t look at your cock and think it needs even more care. Not of this sort, at least.

But after a few hours’ whinging and bargaining, you will find yourself straddling the sink in a bathroom you share with the friend who said you had to do this.

You will consider the cleanup involved in where you have chosen to shear yourself, the extensive task ahead of you, and you will change locations, change them several times.

First you will crabwalk the sheep of your crotch to the trash can, squat over it and aim. Knees angled out, painfully, bent low, your crotch and all its delicate and very cuttable flesh now hidden in shadow. When your knees begin to pinch, you will move to the shower.

It offers more space to work, ample light, and you’re sure you can shake out all the hair scattered onto your roommate’s towel hanging on the rack at the back wall. But it can’t be this easy. After the third time you yank the cord out of the wall; you will move to the toilet.

You try not to think about the time you and the roommate had food poisoning and spent the weekend taking turns at the toilet. You try not to think about all the times you’ve been scolded by friends for taking a call while using the toilet, once they hear the flush. You try not to think about all the times you caught you cat drinking from the toilet.

Instead all you can think about is dropping the plug-in trimmer; all you can see in your mind, predicting the future, is your dead body, scorch marks around your perineum, corresponding smoke and water-logged trimmer bobbing at the surface of the toilet. Deciding this is no way to die, that it’s simply too much, you give up.

This is why, when you finally drop trou’ in front of the new girl, your crotch is home to a bald cul-de-sac that ends abruptly at your left thigh, tapering off to a tropical rain forest of wiry leg hair. The girl was amused, laughed the way you like, and said, “Let’s see if we can fix this.”


A Conversation Between a Man and a Woman He’s Had Sex With Once and Is Trying to Have Sex With Again

They’re lying in her bed, and he says to the ceiling, “Married men only know how to fuck the way their wives let them.”

While laying against his chest, she says, “That’s how you think it works?”

“Because it’s the only way, yeah. How else are we supposed—”

“That’s such a defeatist way of thinking.”


Sitting up in bed, she says, “What you’re saying, it’s tossing in the towel before the fight starts. Or, better yet, it’s picking a supple, floral print hand towel that a fetching and willing young woman has handed you, regarding it carefully, turning it to one side then the other—”

“Is there an end to—”

“There is, so, patience. Be like a hospital and have some. I let you talk.”


“Are you going to fuck me or are you going to insult me and not let me finish?”

He looks to the wall.

“Thank you. What you’re doing when you think like that, and when you interject as a manner of habit, just waiting for your chance to speak with your statement all picked out and wrapped up in false sincerity, all you’re doing is saying to me, a woman, that you, a man, while both of us are possessing the willingness to fuck and the knowledge that the other does too, that you are incapable of learning how to fuck a new way, are inexperienced from before your marriage, and lacking any originality in regards to how you like to get off. So, there, that’s what I hear when you say that. You’re saying you’re a dead fish.”

“You heard all of that?”



“So are we—”

“You gonna tell me it’s not true?”

She says, “Oh, fuck off!” laughing and hitting him with a pillow.


  1. Alan Shaw, this is hilarious and touching and hope-filled and so very poignant. Bravo, man!

  2. Great piece, Alan. Can’t wait to read your next one. Cheers!

  3. Nice job, Alan. This piece is hilarious and personal and all-around impressive 😀

  4. There were a few places where I felt punched in the chest and then forgot because I started to laugh or at least, to smile. If it makes you feel any better–newly divorced women experience a similar anxiety, so though your piece is oriented towards the male experience, all divorcees can relate to the awkwardness mixed with hope that you’ve described so perfectly. Great piece.

  5. Yes, Allie.
    The humor in this piece works so well in two ways: The story is so universal and can really be understood by people in so many different backgrounds. It is tough to start fresh in new situations. But at the same time, it is so carefully crafted to portray a man’s thoughts post-divorce and in a new relationship, which I don’t see so often in literature.
    Such an enjoyable story.

  6. Hot Damn, Alan Shaw. I just read you, and this is crazy, but who are you and where can I read everything you’ve got?

  7. Michaela, you make me laugh. Great comment.

  8. Well writ indeed.

  9. Poignant!

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