Tracey Emin: My Life In A Column

'I used to think about sex all the time. Quite a contradiction for someone who's monogamous'
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The Independent Online

"Here comes love, it's like honey la la la-la, la la la-la-laaa, you shook me to the core, keep it coming, keep it coming, KEEP IT COMING, la la la, la laaa." I am having another hard-core New Order moment. My headphones are neatly tucked into my ears underneath my cycle crash helmet. I'm on my fourth lap around the park. My back is soaking wet, my powder-blue silk shirt is completely see-through, and my pale pink bra, small Adidas shorts and Birkenstocks create an outfit that is totally incongruous compared with the cycling-clad speed freaks that go round the park at a good 40 miles an hour. But I'm happy with my speed, my own little pace. It feels super fast to me as I skim down past the beautiful duck pond, right up high over the small hump-back bridge and skim super fast past the twin lakes honoured with the presence of black swans.

The words "keep it coming" are like a mantra floating through my brain. I'm quite excited, I'm on lap six, my brain is thinking super, super fast, my heart is beating and I can feel the oxygen flowing through my blood. I'm not sexually excited, but I am at a strange level of fever pitch. The endorphins are flying so fast and furious that, caught up in the jet stream, they could easily be felt a good million miles away. As I cycle through the copse of woods, I see mysterious men singly heading for the trees, middle-aged men in checked shirts, single men casually parked in cars. My mind starts to think of illicit sexual encounters. The words "keep it coming" go over again and again and again in my head. I'm concentrating on love and all that it means to me. But at the same time, flashes of grinding, breathless sexual moments appear in my mind's eye.

When I'm so far away from home, and from the people I love, I spend a long time concentrating on them, missing them, trying to remember their voice, their smell, their warmth. Trying to be as close as possible at the same time as being so physically far away; trying to astrally project myself on to them. I used to think about sex all the time. It was a complete preoccupation. Quite a contradiction for someone who's monogamous. I don't know why I became monogamous. It was like I had no choice, just a physical thing.

"Keep it coming, keep it coming". My mind spins round to deep, heated passion. Not sex, not the stuff that exists on the outside, but the stuff that really lives on the inside; the fermentation of two people. I think it starts happening before they even meet. I wonder what makes us compatible, what makes love really good for one person and really bad for another. How can the touch of someone sometimes feel like nothing, and another time feel like you are going to explode from inside?

Living for lust, for me, borders on the treacherous. It's so spine-chillingly weak, and shows a total lack of control. Maybe I'm saying these things because I probably show too much control. I have always said that I'm monogamous. But deep inside, am I? What goes on in my brain? Those private moments, the ones that people refer to as "healthy"... For me, thinking of two people at once is more or less doing two people at once.

I'm at my last, final lap now. Sweat is pouring down my face, and the words "I don't care what you do, I don't care what you say, keep it coming" are bouncing out of my earphones. I am now throwing myself into some wild, fantastic orgy. Every kind of sexual fermentation is happening. Mentally it starts off in the woods, but as I cycle at the speed of light through the trees, my imagination has gone on to some celestial level of cloud sex, all floaty and light. People drifting in and out. Heavenly orgasms. Barbarella angels. I start to smile as I take my final turn past the Woollahra gates. I am puffing and panting but feeling really happy. The serotonin is shooting through my veins. I feel 100 per cent alive, and I'm happily thinking about love and it isn't hurting me. It is filling me up.

I dismount my bike and pat it as though it is a faithful steed. I bend down and put my mouth over the fountain. The water covers my hot face and it feels lovely. I push my bike up the hill. My legs red and hot, my thighs completely flushed, and as I walk the sensation is jelly-like. I feel whole and complete. I turn the volume up on my iPod, mount my bike, and with one almighty push, I force myself up the hill, standing all the way, slowly rolling the pedals over. It's an act of balance and strength, painful and slow, but time is suspended as my body takes over my mind. The sweat is rushing into my eyes and my lips feel dry as I brush my tongue over them. Tingly, salty, I'm breathless and my heart pumps and the images of love fade in and fade out and slowly disappear. I leave the park feeling far more enlightened than when I arrived, and I just wonder how far love can travel.

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