Catherine Townsend: Sleeping Around

'Being trapped with someone in a room for 72 hours made me feel like a lioness pacing her cage at feeding time'
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The Independent Online

When Paul suggested spending a few days at a luxury destination in Morocco, I saw the perfect opportunity for a pornographic getaway to bring out his kinky side. I love vanilla sex, but I was ready to sample a few more exotic flavours.

Still, I was a bit wary. I've largely sworn off holidays à deux since my first love, a Frenchman, left me stranded in a Venezuelan hospital.

He'd booked to fly home a day earlier than me, and we ended up at each other's throats because he was too cheap to change his ticket. My handbag had been stolen, and I was short on cash. In the end I spent the last night of my holiday alone in a dodgy hotel in Caracas, with a chair wedged against the door, checking for scorpions. The only thing dirty about that weekend was the stained carpet.

I feared my holiday curse was back when the pilot announced it was snowing near our destination. Then, after our first candlelit dinner, Paul started to feel ill and we had to race toward the bathroom instead of the bedroom. I tried to find a cold compress, but ended up blotting his feverish forehead head with cucumber make-up remover.

The next morning, things were looking up. At our two-person hammam, Paul watched a fit woman pull my bikini bottoms down to rub mud and clay into my nearly naked body. And despite the shrinkage factor generated by the cold plunge pool afterwards, we were both so turned on that we almost didn't make it back to the bedroom.

Then I shared my fantasy of being dominated. He improvised by covering my eyes with an airline sleep mask and tying my wrists to the bedposts with our dressing-gown ties. By our last night together - after contorting into impossible positions during a bath in the gigantic rose-petal-covered tub - we were both feeling chilled out and fantastic.

But being trapped in a room with someone for 72 hours, no matter how amazing, made me feel a bit like the lioness pacing her zoo cage at feeding time. So, smashed on champagne, I picked a post-coital fight when he mentioned he "definitely wants children". I told him that I'm not ready for a relationship, explaining that the C-word that strikes fear into my heart isn't commitment, it's compromise.

The next morning, I apologised for being such a drama queen. "It's easy to get along when everything is perfect," he said gently. "The best litmus test of a relationship is when things go wrong. And for the most part, I think we handled things brilliantly. At least you're never boring."

He was right: we'd spent three days in each other's company working as a team, even when neither of us was naked and shackled to the bed. The trip had been a real adventure. Still, on the flight home, I told him he would have to chill out about babies. If he hears me uttering anything about naughty little girls needing to be spanked, it's going to be in an entirely different context.

c.townsend@independent.co.uk

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