Catherine Townsend: Sleeping Around

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The Independent Online

My birthday is coming up, but this year's celebrations will pale in comparison with the milestone I marked last week: the realisation that I'm well and truly over my ex-boyfriend Richard. My epiphany happened exactly one hour after I slept with him.

I've never been a fan of sex with an ex - or "corpsing" as my girlfriends call it--so when Richard rang, I should have known that the phrase: "Do you want lunch?" should have included the words "off my naked torso?" It was a risky decision, especially since I had already reached the stage where he was no longer the first thing I thought about in the morning. But Jonathan had just moved to New York to take up a new job, and - even though my heart was healing - the organs further south still pined for Richard.

Our "friendly brunch" started out very innocently with smoked salmon bagels. But after downing a bottle of sauvignon blanc things became decidedly more dangerous. Questions about the health of our respective families/friends/dogs turned to an examination of our personality differences and then sexy propositions. He paid the bill. I asked if he wanted to walk me home. When we got to my hallway, he stepped inside and reached for me with the words: "Don't worry, I'm just going to hug you." I can remember after that is rushing upstairs, clothes flying and the afternoon rain pouring in my window over our writhing bodies.

Afterwards, I wondered why the chemistry from my ill-fated fling with Richard still gave me such an irresistible rush. I came to the conclusion that sleeping with an ex is like window-shopping at Alexander McQueen: you want what you can't emotionally afford. I'm over the fling, but how do I get over the sex? My logical flatmate, Amy, had the answer. "You need to write down pros and cons," she said. "You'll then start to see his flaws, and they will help you figure out what type of man you want in the future."

So she made a pitcher of margarita and we got to work on our sexual shopping list. It soon became painfully obvious that the "pro" column (the number of times he did nice things or made me feel loved) was far outweighed by the "con". Worse, it really spelt out how selfish he could be - even in the bedroom. "Let's just say that the number of times I went down on him, minus the number of times he went down on me should give me something close to a single-digit number," I told Amy. "It didn't."

The truth was spelled out in black and white. A bit of sexual shock-therapy was just what I needed. I won't be "corpsing" again.

Bearing that in mind, I laughed when I saw the shopping list that Amy posted for my birthday party, featuring a doctored photo of Richard with blood-red eyes and fangs. It said: "Don't go there! Remember simple formulas: Going down on you three times in three months = LOSER!"

She can relax, because I've had enough of lukewarm left-over flings. I'm ready for some fresh meat.

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