By LORI HUGHES
I had no idea how universally great universal change rooms could be for my sex life
I love to swim, always have. I find it both hedonistic and masochistic, even narcissistic. I swam competitively in school and won a bunch of swim meets, in backstroke and breaststroke – the former because I have long arms and the latter because I have small breasts. I mention narcissism because I’ve always been conscious of, and conscientious about, my athletic body – good genes, my mom was a university track star –and swimming has kept me in shape physically and emotionally. I like my body and have proudly, and discreetly, “loaned it out” in that eternal sex game men and women play, ‘women giving sex, men getting it.’ For me, discretion in sex has been a guide. Which meant, until Valentine’s Day last year, I’d probably had less sex than a lot of women my age.
“On Valentine’s Day I hit the perfect sex storm – swimming, hunk guy and the universal change rooms at my aquatic club.”
I don’t share intimate information with anyone but my best friend, Adele. We’ve had awesome conversations about our sex partners and now that we’ve passed the ‘big-30,’ we are, according to statistics, a little above ‘average’ when it comes to the number of sex partners. Until last year, I’d had nine partners, two long-term loves – two years and four years. The rest can be measured in months or a few weeks and two, one-night stands. All good. Except one of the one-nighters. Big mistake on my part. I’d had too much to drink and was pissed off at the world, actually my boss. But that’s another story. Adele is over a dozen. I remember when she hit the dozen, she called it her ‘dirty dozen.’
On Valentine’s Day last year, things changed for me. I jumped from nine sex partners to a baker’s-dozen in a couple of months and now, as another Valentine’s Day approached, I was at seventeen.
That Valentine’s was what I call ‘the perfect sex storm’– swimming, hunky guy and the universal change rooms at my aquatic club. I had joined this new club because it’s spectacular and I had just received my annual bonus. I’d never heard of universal change rooms before and even though I was told there were ‘private change cubicles,’ I was a little uncomfortable when I first walked in. Men, women, kids all around, all together. My first thought was, fuck, I want my money back. Instead, I tried it.
The 35-meter pool looked fabulous and the kids were in the kiddie pool, so I jumped in and did a quick half-mile. I would have done more except it was my first swim in over a month and I was having a drink with Adele in an hour. As I climbed out, I noticed this guy standing at the end of the pool waiting to dive in. Except he wasn’t diving, he was looking at me. I glanced but he was staring – not leering – just a curious, inviting, blue-eyed smile. I looked again. He’s a swimmer.
The lean, angular body, long legs, flat abs and snug-fitting Speedo were familiar images and triggered fond memories of past swim teams. I was comfortable – swimmers are like family – so returned the smile. Slight but genuine. He could be Scandinavian? Blonde, short hair, boyish face and blue eyes as mesmerizing as an endless summer sky. Can’t be more than twenty-five.
Adele would be waiting but I didn’t head for the change room … those eyes. I grabbed my towel, bent over and toweled my hair. I could feel his gaze. I liked it. Then he was next to me.
He said, “Hi, I’m Peter, Peter Kier.”
I tingled, straightened up and kept toweling my hair. “Hi … Cedes.”
“Cedes? That’s different.”
“Short for Mercedes,” I said.
In the next twenty minutes we swam a half-mile together and hung on the side of the pool chatting. Adele can wait. He was awesome. A delight. Warm, funny, bright, brash – he made a couple of sex-loaded remarks – and was one helluva swimmer. We did a few more lengths and he looked like he was coasting. He’s Swedish – he said, ‘from the land of the Vikings.’ He’d been an alternate on Sweden’s Olympic swim team.
Back in my twenties I had a ‘love-at-first-sight’ event – lasted ten months – but this was different. It wasn’t love-at-first-sight, romantic, yes, but it was also ‘wanna-fuck-at-first-sight.’ Really. He was yummy sexy. Adele would say, go for it. His aura was sexy. The glint in his eye was sexy. His voice, the way he talked, the things he said – honest flirting … easy, fresh, direct. Sexeee. They say Swedish men are more open with women, being from a more sexually mature society they go right past all the coyness and bullshit. As we talked and laughed, he touched me and every time I tingled. He said he was visiting on a grad-student visa, doing a Ph.D. in biology, and when he said he was returning to Stockholm next week, my heart sank and my vagina shouted, no … I want him.
This time walking into the universal change room was exhilarating. His locker was across the room from mine and when we separated the tingle in my core became an ache. Sadness. I hesitated undressing and toweled my already-dry hair, again. I peeked from under the towel. OMG! He’s coming over. He was next to me. He touched my arm and the tingle became a quiver.
“Cedes, you said this was your first time in a universal change room, you know we have them in Sweden. And unisex washrooms. They’re great.”
“Great for meeting people. Great for getting’ past all the bullshit. Ya’ know – ”
I put my hand on his forearm. “What bullshit?” He moved closer. The heat was obvious, the desire honest. It wasn’t a new feeling for me. But he was new. Exciting. Romantic – in a fantasy way. Despite the crowded change room, I couldn’t deny the soothing, hypnotic force of his presence.
“Cedes, in Swedish we say … ”
“Jag ved … I know.”
I knew he knew. He put a hand on my waist, turned me, slid it to the small of my back and eased me toward a change cubicle.
He asked, “Do you know?”
“Yes,” I said effortlessly. I’d had sex in the afternoon before – liked it – but never with a bunch of people on the other side of a flimsy curtain. I was not an exhibitionist but had fantasied about sex in public places and Adele and I had talked about how and where. But this?
When he closed the curtain and pushed me against the wall, the people and my inhibitions vanished. I surrendered to his boldness, to the lust. I stepped out of my bathing suit.
As a hazy image of the crowded change room drifted across my mind, a voice in my head said, I don’t give a fuck. As his powerful hands gripped my hips, the voice became fuck me, fuck me, fuck me … Not a word was spoken.
I arched my hips and invited my conquering Viking in, to plunder my pool of sexual desire. His fingers stroked my clitoris.
The cubicle was small and I couldn’t see his face but knew those hungry eyes were burning. But he contained his need, controlling himself until I had one, two … and another orgasm. Then, as I shuddered into exhaustion, he muffled his voice and succumbed to the fire in his magnificent Swedish body. I had my Viking.
In the lobby, we said good-bye and with a sweet kiss, he left. I felt conflicted, sad and happy. I saw a poster on the wall that said, “Happy Valentine’s Day … share your heart.” It was Valentine’s Day and I had shared. It might sound crazy but the excitement and spontaneity were romantic. My heart was into it. It’s a part of my sexuality and my sexuality is a big part of me. We shared a Valentine’s gift. The sadness waned, I was happy – with me.
Peter returned to Stockholm and I never saw him again. But the universal change rooms changed my sex life. Over the past year, since Peter, I’ve indulged in four more uninhibited sexual encounters – all good swimmers. Very good. For me, the universal change room turned swimming into a whole new sport.
This Valentine’s Day, I don’t have a special Valentine to share with, so I’m going swimming … you never know how the universe might unfold. ❤️