Tag Archives: bondage

Bondage Birthday – Ancient Erotica In “Honor” of 50 Shades

In “celebration” of both the premiere of “50 Shades of Grey” and Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d offer a reprint of a piece of erotica I wrote over a decade ago. I hope it inspires a little passion in those of you who might be prone to such things. At the very least I hope it inspires comparison. I like to think that my smut is (was?) far superior to that of E.L. James. But then, she’s made millions. Can’t say the same myself. Ah, the world is full of injustices…(Forgive any typos, I posted this in a hurry!)

The invitation read “Come as you are. As you were. As we want you to be,” a slight variation on the lyrics of one of my favorite songs. The wood-cut on the cover pictured a woman, suggestively dressed and osed in shackels, and the piece of parchment was imprinted with the logo of the private dungeon I frequent on weekends. The time specified was 9:00 p.m.; the date, Friday May 27th, my birthday.

Since no particular costume was requested, I assumed that the interpretation of “As we want you to be” was completely up to me. I selected a full-body leather lattice-work affair that I’d had custom-made. Finally an occasion worthy of it! I slipped my limbs through the webbing, pulling the delicate, supple strings of lambskin until they crisscrossed my body evenly. My breasts were bound against my body by the outfit and I could already feel my pussy tightening in anticipation.

I pinned my hair up in an elaborate tangle of curls, rhinestone-studded bobby pins crisscrossing my hair, echoing the grid of leather on my body. I applied a thin stroke of eyeliner, pinched my cheeks until they pinkened and glossed my lips in sheer opalescence.

To prevent my being arrested en route to my destination, I needed some sort of wrap to conceal my leather-bound voluptuousness. From the hal closet I pulled a floor-pength black satin cape, lined in purple, with a grand gold tassel hanging from the point of the hood and sparkling gold frog closures. I carefully fastened each hook, enveloping my webbed body in the cool satin. Then I wiggled my toes into a pair of black pumps with high, steel stiletto heels.

When I arrived at the unmarked club door, a frail, dark woman let me in. I informed her that I was with the birthday group. As she glanced down the list and her finger came to my name, she whispered, “Ah, you’re the guest of honro? I envy you.” She appraised me with an almost imperceptible once-over, crossed my name off the list and gestured to a hooded man standing to the side of the door who stepped up and took me by the arm.
He led me through a darkened hallway and out into the crowded room, still draped in my satin cape, and up onto a raised platform. A familiar voice introduced me to the crowd as “the birthday girl,” and I received a polite round of applause. When the clapping faded the voice continued, saying that I was to follow every order, every instruction. I was to be submissive, under the complete control of my peers. I nodded in agreement and the disembodied voice ordered me to remove my cape. My hands were shaking as I unfastened the passementerie clasps, one by one, from the bottom, below my crotch, to the top, tight at my neck.

I stood for a second, sensing the anticipation of the audience. Then I gently pushed the slippery fabric off my shoulders and the cape slid to the floor. There were gasps and excited whispers of approbal. The voice commended my choice of apparel and invited the audience to inspect my garment more closely. People moved toward me, running their fingers along the lines of leather that wrapped around my body, the poking at my exposed flesh and tugging at the straps, as if trying to pull my body out through the spaces between the strips. The sensation of the tight suit digging into my skin, all over my body, and the man probing fingers was delicious. Soon there were seemingly a million mouths gnawing at the leather lattice work, saliva dripping between skin and straps, until one by one the connections holding the garment together were frayed and torn. Eventually the straps hung, cold and wet on my frame and soon there was nothing left but a pile of leather shreds at my feet. My skin tingled with the wetness of the audience’s accumulated drool.

The voice asked that the crowd step back and a small blonde woman emerged from behind them. She told me to knee, and as I obeyed, she pulled a dark velvet scarf from deep down in her overflowing cleavage. She placed it across my eyes and tied it tightly in a knot at the back of my head. She told me to stand, took me by the hand and assisted me down from the platform. I was led back through the crowd, following blindly, until I was told to stop. Disoriented and without eyesight, my other senses became heightened. I could smell everyone’s perfume and perspiration, and hear every little gasp of air each person took. The tiny bristles of the velvet fabric over my eyes tickled my eyelids. The air was warm, then cool, then warm again, as bodies brushed closely by me.
The voice said “Lift” and I was raised up into the air by a dozen strong hands and laid down on a cool, flat surface. I could feel the air stif overhead, from a fan or air duct, I assumed, but my body heat was warming the surface and I could feel tiny beads of sweat start to form at the small of my back. Simultaneously there was the quick tearing sound of Velcro and then my wrists and ankles were pulled in four directions and bound, securing me to the surface. This was such a vulnerable position, naked and prone beneath the stirring air. My cunt throbbed.

From there my heightened senses went into overload as fingers massaged me—my temples, the soles of my feet, the tense, elongated muscles of my neck. Warm palms caressed my belly, grazed my breasts. Light fingertips danced up and down my bound limbs, across my clean-shaven pussy, over my masked eyelids and through my hair, loosening my hairpins. Stiff, insistent tongues prodded my flesh, my ears, my nipples, still and cool in the breeze, then warmed by a sucking mouth, then hot between strong, pinching fingers. I writhed and moaned, feeling the juice escape my cunt and slide down between my slick asscheeks to the table, pooling into a wet spot.

I felt the table shift with the weight of someone at my feet. Two smooth, small hands gripped my ankles. How many seconds had passed as all the other lips and palms and pinching fingers left me? When the only contact was my body on the table and the smooth hands on my ankles, I held my breath, almost cringing. Then a silken face was rubbing, burying itself in the bald folds of my cunt, a sharp, slippery tongue jabbing into me, poking past my hard clit, sliding in the slick juices that were dripping out of me. I was practically singing with uncontrollable sighs and moans and shrieks as the face nudged into my crotch, again and again; a nose, a stiff protrusion from the silken face, sliding up and up, rubbing over and past my clit, each of my screams increasing in volume until the poking tongue started working my clit, working, and tiny teeth pulling and twisting it, and then just furious, repetitions lapping until I was sobbing and shaking in my pool of sweat and juices on the slippery table.

As my sobs softened and my tensed muscles telaxed and the singular tongue trailed from my gaping cunt down my quivering thigh, the fingers and mouths started up again, tweaking my nipples, kissing and licking the tears that had spilled from the corners of my eyes and out from under my blindfold. Someone placed their lips squarely upon mine and kissed me, sucking my tongue into their mouth until I was out of breath. Then, some sort of arrangement must have been made because, again, the disembodied mouths and hands pulled away, leaving me holding my breath as before.

From across the room I heard someone start to sing, and the bodies, still close around me, radiating heat and passion, joined in: “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Evelyn. Happy birthday to you.”

I felt a round, cold object placed upon my stomach. Someone lifted my head up and instructed me to blow. I did as I was told, gathering up as much air as my tightened chest would allow in and expelling it in the direction of the object on my belly. The crowd cheered and applauded and my head was rested back onto the table.
Pressure was applied to my stomach every few seconds and I gathered that they were cutting and distributing cake. After the same movements were repeated a dozen times, my head was lifted up again. “Open your mouth and extend your tongue,” the voice ordered. Again, I did as I was told. A wonderful consistency of chocolate deliciousness was set upon my tongue. I waited for permission to chew it, saliva dripping from one corner of my mouth. “You may eat it,” the voice said. It was a creamy chocolate mousse with a thin, hard chocolate crust. It felt like every one of my taste buds was participating in this sensual experience.

When the plate was removed I waited, my head still being porpped up, as I felt the table shift again and wondered what delight would be next. The air around my waist stirred; I felt the warmth of someone near and movement above me. Then, at my waist, I felt skin against my skin, anklebones jutting into my sides. Hairy legs knelt on the tabletop, brushing my rib cage.

Someone leaned on me—a man. A farily large, heavy man. I could smell him, the scent of his groin, the faint sour smell of sweat and urine, and I detected an increase in the temperature of the air above my chest. Large, weathered hands grabbed at my tits, kneading them, twisting the nipples. I could smell the man’s breath, smell the gin he’d been drinking and the extra lime he’d demanded.

The voice told me, again, to open my mouth and extend my tongue, and I obeyed. Then, again, although nothing had been placed on my tongue, the voice said, “You may eat it.” And in a quick whisper another voice added, “Or should we say blow!” The crowd tittered and in the next second my entire mouth was stuff with the fat cock of the large, heavy man breathing lime and gin. Without my hands, I couldn’t work him in and out of my mouth, so I could only purse my lips as he filled and emptied and then refilled my mouth with this immense, throbbing hard-on.

The anonymity of this encounter had me turned on almost to the point of dementia. I gasped and wheezed, trying to breathe and suck off this huge man, performing blind fellatio for the murmuring audience, wanting so badly for him to spurt his come on me and in me and all over me. I heard him start to grunt and knew his orgasm was not far off, so I bobbed my ehad faster, sucking, sucking, trying to concentrated, then I felt something smooth and cold and hard penetrate my sweating cunt. Someone was working some sort of dildo in and out of me, mathing the thrusts of the huge man hulking over me, shoving the object deep inside me as the man rammed his cock into my throat.

My eyes rolled back in my head behind my velvet mask, and as the scent of sweat and lime and gin overpowered me, I was frantically shoving my pussy at the pumping dildo, trying to cry out in orgasm, even as the hulking man was spewing huge gobs of come down my throat, across my cheek, onto my tits, down my neac and back into my mouth, then pulling my head into his twitching, muscky groin. He was groaning and expelling that gin and lime scent as I lay there under him, my inner muscles clenching and spasming.

At some point the hulking man climbed off me and down from the table and I rested, panting, the entire surface a slip’n’slide of sweat. My heart was pounding so hard, as if amplified, and I believed I could hear the heartbeat of everyone in the room as they came intheir hands, their lover’s mouths, onto the floor, wherever they could find to release their juices and seed in a massive group orgasm. The air was close and heavy with the smell of come and sweat, and I swooned there in my table-size puddle. I could barely catch my breath.
And then it started again, the fingers poking and the palms sliding and skidding across my sweaty body, but there was something else, something different, a new texture. It was like mud—warm, gritless mud. And when the many tongues began moving over me, over the mixture of mud and sweat, I knew that the cool substance must’ve been the chocolate mousse. They spread it and rubbed it and licked and lapped it, a massage of many tongues, chocolate-coated tongues creeping in and out of my mouth, and I sucked the creamy mousse off them, my mouth gaping like a land-locked fish as I waited for the next mouth to meet mine.

The many sensations of touch and smell and sex were overpowering. I felt high and lightheaded. When the faceless touching and tonguing finally tapered off, someone freed my wrists and ankles from the restraints, with those quick tearing sounds of Velcro again. I was helped down from the table. My arms and feet felt as though they were floating beyond my control, and yet at the same time they felt immensely heavy. The voice said it was time for me to take off the blindfold and join the rest of the party guests, so I untied the strip of velvet and blinked, taking in the view of my surroundings.

My many friends stood around me, their faces smeared with chocolate mousse and they were smiling and holding sweaty glasses of champagne. “To Evelyn, on her birthday!” they cried in unison, and someone slipped a full bottle of champagne into my hand. I toasted myself along with the crowd, tipping the bottle back and taking a long chug of champagne.

We were in the basement of the dungeon, which is equipped not only with the usual SM stockades and shackles, but with a huge, round jacuzzi. People began shedding their chains and leather and garters and slipping into the hot bubbling water, and I joined them, happy to be rid of the sticky layers of saliva and chocolate mousse.
We drank and carried on late into the night, the many guests making good use of the available facilities. Couples shackled one another to the walls and submissives bent over leather hassocks awaiting the smart slap of passing dominants. A particularly attractive brunette woman was dangling blindfolded in a harness hung from the ceiling, her bared bottom being expertly pinkened at the hand of a brutish man in nothing but a series of heavy cock rings.

At one point, the festive bottles of champagne were replaced by icy cold beers served from jumbo coolers. Beer and bodies passed from hand to hand and mouth to mouth, all property becoming community property. The room was a striking tableau of total carnal indulgence.

It was a truly joyous celebration of life—and lifestyle—and certainly my most memorable birthday ever.

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His Wife’s Big Surprise

This little piece of cuckoldry was spun for the July 1998 issue of Hustler’s Leg World. It even got a cover blurb: “Tied & Cuckholded – A Husband’s Exciting Shame.” I’d had plenty of experience at Penthouse, where “Watching My Wife” was one of the most popular letters section.

“Honey, do you think we have a good sex life?”

Anna had her nose half buried in a women’s magazine as she posed the question to her husband.

“Hmm?” was Steve’s response.

“Our sex life. Do you think it’s good?” Anna repeated, emerging from behind her Cosmo. “I was just reading about ways to spice up your sex life. It seems like ours has been, well . . . ”

Her voice trailed off. The thirtyish blonde was tucked under their duvet, the spaghetti straps of her Victoria’s Secret nightie slipping slightly off her smooth shoulders.

“I wouldn’t complain,” Steve offered, not turning away from Letterman. “Would you?”

“Oh, I suppose not,” Anna sighed, returning to her magazine. “But even the best sex life could use some spice.”

“Babe, if you want spice, you just let me know what flavor,” Steve said lovingly, leaning over to peck his wife on the cheek.

And so ended an average evening in the lives of Anna and Steve. He didn’t give it another thought until he checked his voice mail at the office late one afternoon about a week later. “Steve?” his wife’s voice wavered. “Remember what you said about, um, spicing up our sex life?” There was an ominous pause and Steve started to worry. “Well, I’ve got a surprise planned for you tonight, so try not to be too late.” And she giggled. Steve hit delete and smiled. So, Anna wanted to add a little zing to things, he mused. Probably some Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie, a bottle of cham­pagne and a basket of strawberries. His cock stirred at the thought of some action. It had been a while. Seems like they’d slid into the usual married life sex schedule: once a week, if he was lucky. If a bit of spice were to up that average to, say, twice a week, Steve was all for it. He packed up his briefcase, looking forward to getting home–and getting some.

When Steve strode in the door, nothing seemed very surprising. Anna met him in her usual jeans and silk blouse. He didn’t smell anything cooking and he didn’t notice any champagne chilling.

“Hey hon,” Anna said, kissing him on the cheek. “Go on upstairs and get comfortable. I’m still working on your surprise.”

She seemed awfully calm for a wife about to spring a sexual extravaganza, Steve thought, slipping out of his sport coat. He kicked off his loafers and started up the stairs, nervous again. There was no sign of a surprise in the bedroom either. The bed was still made and Steve didn’t spot any lacy lingerie lying around. He stripped out of his shirt and slacks, debating whether to lose the boxers as well. Finally deciding that naked was best, he removed them and stretched out on the bed in anticipation. To Steve’s slight embarrassment, his cock was already half hard. Kinda pathetic, he thought. But hell, better to be at attention and ready for anything.

Steve gave his prick a casual stroke and closed his eyes, still curious about what was to come. When Anna breezed in, she laughed devilishly. “I see you’ve almost started without me,” she purred, grabbing his hard-on and giving it a playful squeeze. “Guess I’d better get started before you finish without me!” And from out of her pocket, Anna produced a black silk blindfold. “Let’s put this on you, so it’s a real surprise,” she said, smiling. Steve didn’t protest. Anna was in charge of this treat and he was going to enjoy every second. He closed his eyes against the dark silk.

“Now, I’m going to tie your arms and legs to the bed,” Anna whispered. “I’ve got some soft, silky cords and it’s all in fun. Okay?”

“You’re in charge, babe” Steve laughed, figuring that would be the right thing to say. “Just don’t hurt me.” So, she was going to venture into a bit of bondage? Steve had seen a few of those videos at bachelor parties and it sounded fine with him. He didn’t struggle as Anna wrapped the silk ropes around his wrists and ankles, securely fastening them to the bed frame. Steve’s cock jumped and twitched, eager for what was to come. A blowjob, maybe? Hmm, that would be great blindfolded! He grinned knowingly when he felt Anna’s tongue twirling around his ankle. She slowly and torturously licked and kissed him, up one leg and down the other, strangely neglecting his straining prick. From there he felt her move to the side of the bed, where she continued her ministrations, tweaking his nipples, still licking, kissing and sucking.

“Babe, you’re making me nuts,” he growled. “I can’t wait to get inside you.”

“Shhh,” Anna whispered. “Be patient.” Then she was on to his neck, his ears, the palms of his hands. Steve had never experienced anything like this before. He made a mental note to write Cosmo, thanking them for motivating his wife to give him this little treat. When Anna had licked and nibbled just about every inch of his body, Steve’s cock was swollen and ready to burst. If Anna didn’t relieve him soon, he didn’t know what he’d do. That’s when she untied his blindfold. But instead of regaining his sight by seeing his wife poised to slurp his prick into her mouth, Steve was met with the sight of a naked stranger standing at the foot of his bed. And the guy’s cock was bigger–and harder–than his own.

Steve tried to sit up and made it only a few inches off the bed. The silk ropes constricted around his wrists. He fell back, chastened. Before he had a chance to ask, Anna introduced the interloper. “Steve, this is Carlo,” she cooed, stroking the stranger’s stiff cock. “He’s here to add a little Southern spice to our sex life!” And while Steve watched, Anna knelt down and took Carlo’s enormous cock into her mouth. Her eyes were flutter­ing as she deep-throated the Latin lover.

“Si, baby, si,” he hissed, grabbing Anna’s blonde curls and pulling her head closer, forcing his huge tool further down Anna’s throat. Steve groaned. This was definitely not what he’d been fantasizing about. Who the fuck was this guy, anyway? He was just about to ask. Hell, ask? Demand! But as Carlo’s hips pumped slowly in and out of his wife’s throat, Steve felt his engorged cock throb. Could he possily be turned on by this? He’d never even entertained the thought of his wife with another man. Not outside of a nightmare, anyway. But here it was, happening right before his eyes. And it wasn’t like he could do a damn thing about it. His hands and feet were still securely bound. All he could do was watch.

Releasing Carlo’s cock to come up for air, Anna asked, “What do you think, honey?” She gave the guy’s cock a tender kiss. Steve winced. “Isn’t he gorgeous?” Steve didn’t respond. He couldn’t. True, the tanned, muscled stranger was pretty good-looking. Probably made a decent living as a gigolo, nothing to do but hit the gym all day. “How would you like to see him fuck me?” Anna asked, pumping her fist up and down the gleaming shaft of the stranger. “Carlo, babe, I would love to feel this magnificent prick of yours buried inside me.”

“No problem, señora,” Carlo growled. “How would you like it?” Anna scrambled up off her knees and braced herself at the foot of the bed. “From behind,” she panted. “Like an animal!” Anna gripped the bed right between Steve’s feet. Her breasts hung down, swaying obscenely, as she shook her ass at the stranger. “Mount me like a bull!” Anna ordered. “Toro, Toro!” Steve’s mouth fell open in shock. He’d never heard his wife talk dirty before. His cock twitched and jerked. God, he was dying for release. It didn’t appear to be happening anytime soon, though. Steve stared as the Latin lover moved up behind his wife, stroking his tool. And not five feet in front of his disbelieving face, Steve watched as Carlo sank his throbbing prick into Anna’s cunt. His wife’s eyes fluttered closed.

“Oh, baby, that is sooo good!” she purred, pushing herself back against Carlo’s grinding pelvis. Carlo reached around and grasped her breasts, kneading them roughly as he began to pump into her. Harder, and harder again, Carlo rammed his cock home. Anna’s hands were still gripping the duvet. She arched her back to meet the Latino’s thrusts. Steve strained to hear the sound of his wife’s pussy belching to accommodate the stranger’s huge cock. He could smell her arousal, pungent and strong. He groaned in distress. His cock was throbbing like never before.

While Carlo was banging rhythmically into his wife’s cunt, Steve hungrily took in the obscene tableau. It was like watching a porn movie, starring his wife! It had him so turned on, wildly, incredibly turned on. More so, in fact, than he could ever remember feeling. If only his hands were free so he could jerk himself off while watching! He fought against his restraints in frustration, desperate for release, half crazy with both jealousy and lust. Small droplets of sweat were sliding down his wife’s arms, dribbling off her tits, dripping onto the bed. Steven couldn’t believe how much she was enjoying herself. She was eagerly slamming her ass back to meet each of Carlo’s thrusts. How could this guy hold out so long? Steve wondered. He’d have shot his load ages ago. But still Carlo kept pumping, his eyes screwed shut with passionate concentration. Then suddenly he stopped.

“How about another position?” he asked, still sliding slowly in and out of Anna’s dripping pussy.

“Sure!” she squealed enthusiastically. “Where?”

“On the bed,” Carlo panted. “Right over your husband.”

Anna didn’t bother to respond. She just scrambled onto the bed, positioning herself on her hands and knees, her sweaty tits dangling enticingly in front of Steve’s face. She had one knee pressed against his hip, the other uncomfortably nudging his swollen balls. She was practically right on top of him! And the scent of her ravaged cunt was even stronger. All she would have to do is just squat down, if she would just move a few inches, and Steve would be gratefully inside her. But that wasn’t the plan. Anna braced herself as Carlo gripped her waist and slipped easily into her greased hole. She moaned as Carlo’s cock filled her and a second later she was sliding back and forth on his pole. The fucker didn’t even have to work! Steve strained to see Carlo entering his wife, but the angle was impossible. He knew what was happening, though, and he could easily imagine the details, her pussy lips stretching wide to accommodate that stiff, shining cock. Anna was moving forward, then back again, sliding her slippery cunt up and down on Carlo’s prick, while Carlo just knelt there with a satisfied smile on his face.

“Your wife,” he said, nodding at Anna’s gleaming body, “she is a good fuck.” Steve’s mouth was so dry he couldn’t speak. He was, by this point, totally out of his mind. “Verrrry, goooood,” Carlo repeated, his cock still sliding in and out of Anna. She pressed herself down against Steve’s chest, arching her back and shoving her ass out lewdly, and he could feel how sweaty and hot she was. But still, no contact—and no release—for his engorged cock! While Anna continued her rhythmic ride on Carlo’s prick, Carlo started to pinch and slap Anna’s ass. This seemed to drive her even more wild, and she sped up her motions. “Oh, señora, that is good!” the Latin groaned. “Sooo gooood!” And Carlo bent over Anna’s back, driving his cock in deeper and deeper, until he slammed in one last time and held it there, his breath coming in noisy wheezes and rasps. Anna moaned as Carlo emptied his cock inside her, mashing her tits into Steve’s chest and pushing her ass back into the Latin’s groin as hard as she possibly could. And when Anna’s belly brushed lightly against Steve’s cock, he erupted uncontrollably, spewing spurt after steaming, pent-up spurt of his seed against his wife’s heaving stomach.

They held that position for a few moments, each reveling in their own post-orgasmic bliss. Finally, Anna pried herself up off of Steve’s chest, her belly gleaming and gooey with his come. Carlo pulled his now-limp member from Anna’s pussy and his copious load immediately began to ooze from her swollen lips, dribbling down her thighs. Carlo moved away from the bed and out of Steve’s line of sight. Not that he was paying attention to the Latin any longer, though, because his wife had repositioned herself. Anna straddled Steve’s face, forcing him to confront her dripping cunt right in front of his nose. “Can you smell his come?” she hissed, smearing her pussy across Steve’s face. “Eat me, baby,” she whispered. “Eat his come out of me. Make me come like you do.” And Steve obediently began lapping Carlo’s come from his wife’s pussy, slurping it off her trembling thighs, nib­bling mischieviously on her swollen clit.

It didn’t take Anna long to climax. The heightened excitement and Steve’s loving tongue conspired to drive her over the edge in just minutes, and she screamed with release, convulsing against Steve’s face. “Man, that was amazing!” she exclaimed, scrambling to reposition herself again. While poor Steve was still bound, spread-eagle, he had managed to achieve another hard-on, despite the previous circumstances and his huge orgasm of only moments ago. Anna mounted him in such a frenzy, he barely had time to give it a thought, and soon the two were fucking wildly, their coupling bodies a sweaty blur. Anna bounced and humped, riding Steve’s cock like something straight out of a sexual fantasy, and Steve valiantly shoved his pelvis up off the bed to meet her every bounce. The sound of their two bodies slapping together seemed amplified by their delerious sexual abandon. Steve felt like he could fuck forever. Absolutely forever. But that wasn’t to be either. Without the usual warning, his orgasm simply overcame him. And Steve cried out as his raw, overworked cock flooded his wife’s already-filled cunt. In answer, Anna’s pussy clenched in climax, squeezing every last, impossible drop of come from Steve’s spasming balls.

When Anna slid off of Steve and flopped, breathlesss, on the bed beside him, she curled up around his sticky body and sighed contentedly. “So, honey, do you think we have a good sex life?” she whispered hoarsely.

“Baby, we have got the spicy, fuckin’ hottest sex life there is!” Steve responded. “Now do you think you could untie these ropes?”