After the mitemare, Dylan burrowed into the couch, watching TV and railing against Republican politics. This routine was broken only by visits to doctors, doctors and more doctors. We lived in a rural area, a minimum one-hour drive to medical care. Taking Dylan to doctor’s appointments was like having a second full-time job. Dylan was also seriously depressed, frequently talking about killing himself. After seeing so many doctors and not getting a diagnosis of a physical cause, I thought he was suffering from depression. I didn’t know if depression was the cause of the whole mystery illness or if it was a result, but Dylan was unwilling to acknowledge or to address depression. At this point, I was a year into managing him and his illness, and I was cracking under the pressure.

Cousin Harrison offered to have Dylan at his house in California in order to try and get better medical care. I couldn’t wait to get him out of the house.

We had not had sex and had barely touched for well over a year. I don’t think we could have had intercourse, but Dylan was craving human touch and some level of sexy play. I didn’t want to touch or get physically close to him. Dylan could not stand upright without getting dizzy, so he stopped regularly showering and brushing his teeth. His long hair was greasy and his breath smelled. I touched Dylan in the same way I touched the smelly dog, a quick occasional pat on the back. I wish I could have been more Mother Theresa about the whole thing, but I wasn’t.

Dylan went from being a rabid anti-TV person to someone who watched TV all day long. Harrison had taken his TV out into the yard a few years earlier and shot it with a rifle. Dylan shared this sentiment about TV and the two of them often yucked it up about the TV shooting.

A few years earlier I gave him a MacBook Pro for Christmas. As he unwrapped the box and saw what it was, he didn’t want to meet my eyes and he looked uncomfortable.

“I wish you hadn’t gotten me this. This is a total waste of money,” he said. “I don’t want to have anything to do with laptops or cell phones.”

But now Dylan was at Harrison’s house in California, and Harrison did not have a TV, having shot it, so Dylan had need for the laptop on which he watched movies, news and TV shows all day long. He saw a news story about Skype sex.

He called my on the landline. “I want to have Skype sex,” he said. I was surprised that he knew what Skype was. “Uh, I don’t know. Maybe.”

He called my on the landline.

“I want to have Skype sex,” he said.

I was surprised that he knew what Skype was.

“Uh, I don’t know. Maybe.”

I used Skype for business calls, but Skype sex had not occurred to me. I was married in 1999 and Skype was launched in 2003. If you are living in the same house with someone, and no one travels, there is no occasion for Skype sex. I never had Skype sex, I had never been asked to have Skype sex, I barely even knew what Skype sex was.

Was it legal? Could you get caught? Would other people find out that you were doing it? I had this vague notion that if you got caught doing it that maybe you would get in trouble and someone would come and take away your children.
“Be adventurous,” said Dylan.

I’m such a narcissist that whenever I walk by a mirror I have to stop and admire myself. When I’m on Skype, I don’t even look at the other person, I just look at myself in that little window. I didn’t give a shit about seeing his raggedy ass, but the thought of watching my sexy self had appeal. And I felt sorry for him. The least I could do was give him some kind of a long distance mercy fuck. How bad could it be? I can touch myself and look at myself in the computer screen. At that point it was more palatable than any sort of live sexual interaction with him.

“OK, OK, I’ll do it.”

“One more thing,” he said, ”I want you to masturbate with a vegetable.”

“What?”

“A vegetable,” he said.

“What kind of vegetable?”

“I don’t know. A carrot, a cucumber. You’re the local foods girl I’m sure you’ll figure out something.”

When I was thirteen years old my girl friends and I saw a mention about masturbating with vegetables in a magazine. We thought it was hilarious and it became a running joke. Way before the era of texting, we would pass notes in school as our primary form of communication. We had a long note on the subject of vegetable masturbation. We took it out as far as we could imagine in our collective note, chronicling our evolving notions of what would be most ridiculous thing to try and masturbate with. After each of us added to the note, we would fold it up into a little triangle and, suppressing giggles, pass it back and forth during classes.

Carrots? Oh my God!!!!

What about zucchini?

Wait, wait, I’ve got it WATERMELON!

My mother was one of those mothers who had no respect for the privacy of children. On one of her regular forays into my things, she found the vegetable masturbation note.

My mother sat me down looking scared, serious and frantic all at the same time. As usual, the frantic side prevailed. She waved the unfolded note in my front of my face.

“What’s this? What’s this?” Shrieked my mother, “What are you girls doing with watermelons?”

“Don’t paw through my things. You are invading my privacy. Anyway, its nothing, it’s just a joke.”

“Tell me the truth!” She screamed.

My girlfriends and I laughed even harder when I recounted the story of my hysterical mother who thought I was engaging in sexual acts with a watermelon.

I had two very nice vibrators. Big Red, and another smaller one that had interchangeable penis heads (realistic looking  head with fake veins, bumpy head and cylindrical head with tickler).

They were nicely sized, friendly to my internal ecosystem and they vibrated. Why did I need a vegetable? I use sex toys for sex and I use vegetables to eat.

Since I spend most of my time on the computer managing local foods projects, Skype sex with a vegetable sounded more like work than sexy playtime. But, I didn’t want to be accused of being sexually unadventurous, and I was desperate for any kind of action.

Since I spend most of my time on the computer managing local foods projects, Skype sex with a vegetable sounded more like work than sexy playtime. But, I didn’t want to be accused of being sexually unadventurous, and I was desperate for any kind of action.

I wanted to google Skype sex, but it took me a few days to get up the moxy. Just Googling it felt illicit. What if my son saw that in my browsing history? What if something popped up in Facebook: Andrea Dean (Thumbs Up!) likes this article about Skype Sex.

I did Google Skype sex, and I found some websites that had a few helpful tips:

If you are a teacher or someone running for political office Skype sex might not be for you.

I do have latent political ambitions, but I probably don’t need to worry about that right now. (Famous last words.)

Dress in something sexy.

Got that covered. I decided on a red metallic string teddy that had fringe around the bottom and a black thong that Dylan had bought me during happier times.

Drink a little wine.

Or a lot. I added smoke pot to that list.

Make sure the baby is down for a nap.

I don’t understand why anyone would need to be told that. At any rate, no problem there. The baby is a teenager. I would just make sure that he is gone at school or a friend’s house.

Plan ahead and make a date and time so you’re not caught unexpectedly between bikini waxings.

My underarm, leg and bikini hair management leaves a lot to be desired. If we had to wait for a perfect moment there, it would never happen.

Set the mood: Turn off the TV, especially if the news is on.

Do people really need that kind of advice? Does Skype sex get so routine for some that they do it while watching the news?

Practice in advance things you are going to say. Start with “light dirty talk”, things like…“I can’t stop thinking about your sexy body.” Saying this in a sultry voice—quietly, in a near whisper. “You wouldn’t still be wearing those clothes if I were there.” Then move on to more heavy dirty talk… “I love watching you touch yourself. I’m so wet for you baby.”

Glad to have a script. I’m not sure I could naturally conjure any of that language in this particular situation.

Have sex toys handy.

Therein lies the problem.

I scanned the contents of my weekly CSA box. Ginger? Too small. (Not unlike some men I have known.)

Daikon radish? Not a bad size, but too spicy. It would probably sting.

Carrots were serious contenders, but too long and thin. No pleasure to be had there.

Bananas are a nice shape, but if they are unpeeled they have that hard nub on one end and a big scratchy thing at the other. If peeled, they are too mushy. Besides, bananas are America’s favorite fruit, too wholesome for the task at hand.

Nothing in the CSA box was suitable, so I ran down to the food store for milk, eggs, and uh…natural dildo material.

I scanned the produce isle with a whole new eye.

Watermelon. Ha!

Cucumber.

Is it local? Is it organic? Will it show me a good time? Will it take out the trash when we are done?

Hmmm…That one has a nice shape—not too fat, not too skinny. You are my cucumber, baby. Glancing furtively from side to side (Did that woman next to me see how I eyed that cuke?) I guiltily picked up the cucumber and put it in my basket.

Our local food store has an abysmal organic produce section. The cucumber wasn’t organic. Afraid of wax and pesticide residue, I peeled my cucumber, put it on a pretty plate and placed it on the bedside table.

I took a hit off a joint, washed it down with a swig of wine and put on my sexy outfit. I arranged the bedspread and pillows and set up the computer and webcam at the foot of the bed. Webcam aimed straight at me.

I lay on the bed, rolled around and touched myself tentatively…trying to get myself in the mood for the whole endeavor.

I looked at myself in the computer screen, mmm…not bad…pretty hot. I liked how I looked in the red string teddy.

The time for our Skype sex date arrived.

House phone rings.

Me: Hello?
Dylan: Hey, uh… can you help me log into Skype?
Me: OK…well, open Skype.
Dylan: Where do I find Skype?
Me: In Applications.
Dylan: I don’t see Skype. I don’t know if I have Skype. How do I know if I have Skype?
Me: Well, did you download Skype?
Dylan: I don’t know, I’m not sure, I guess not.
Me: OK…go to skype.com. See the download button? Hit that.
Dylan: Which one? For Mac or PC?
Me: Well…you’re on a Mac right?
Dylan: I guess so.
Me: Yes, you are. Hit Mac.
Dylan: OK…it says it’s downloading.
Me: All right…when that’s done, Skype me.
House phone rings.
Me: Why are you calling me on the phone, why aren’t you calling me on Skype?
Dylan: I don’t how to do that.
Me: You have to log in. Create a Skype name.
Dylan: What should it be?
Me: I don’t know. Whatever. Try your name.
Dylan: That’s taken.
Me: Make something up.
(I’m thinking how about computerretard or imafuckinluddite)
Dylan: OK, that worked.
Me: OK. What’s your Skype name? I will swap contact details with you now.
Yes…just accept it. OK…now we should be able to Skype. I’m going to hang up the regular phone now and I’ll Skype you. When you see it on the computer just hit the green answer button.
House phone rings.
Me: Why the fuck are you calling me on this phone? Why are you not just answering the Skype call on the computer?
Dylan: It’s not working.
Me: Jesus Christ! Are you logged in?
Dylan: I’m not sure.
Me: How can you not be sure, open Skype and put in your username and password.
Dylan: OK. I did it.
Me: See me in your contacts? Just call me now and I will answer it.
Skype ring.
Me: Hello. Fucking finally.
How come I can’t see you?
Dylan: Oh—I guess this computer doesn’t have a webcam.
Me: OK, that’s just as well, really. Let’s get going.
(I can see myself in the Skype window and I look good. I start touching myself to get in the mood.)
Dylan: Can you put your butt on a pillow to raise it up and move your pussy closer to the camera?
Me: I’m wearing this teddy that you bought me. You don’t want to see the outfit?
Dylan: Uh…No, not really. I just want to see your pussy. It’s out of focus. Can you get it to focus better on your pussy?
(I go into Skype settings and fool around with the manual focus, auto focus, pan in pan out and tilt. I click the “follow my face” function, which in this case was more like “follow my pussy,” but it seemed to work.)
Dylan: “OK good, good… don’t move.”

I don’t like being told what to do by my husband under any circumstances, but the omnipotent voice of my husband/recently turned porn movie director coming through the tinny sounding computer speakers was especially annoying.

Unfortunately, I could also see myself in the little Skype window on my computer. As we have discussed, normally something I enjoy. But this view was horrid. No woman wants to see her ass and thighs up this close.

Me: OK, stop interrupting me so I can get warmed up enough to get excited about this cucumber.
(I just try to forget he’s there watching and start again. Touching my boobs (which he can’t see, but I like it), left hand reaches down between my legs, right hand reaches for the cuke.)

House phone rings.

Me: What the fuck? Why are you calling me on this phone?
Dylan: I can’t see you anymore.
Me: At what point did it stop?
Dylan: I don’t know…when you said something about trying to get in the mood for the cuke? Can you just film it and send me a DVD in the mail?

This is what my sex life had come to. Food shopping, followed by an hour of tech support, only to be left high and dry with a brown, limp cucumber at my side.

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