You ring the door bell and the door opens seconds later. It is the man you had come to see. You had half-expected the house to be unoccupied, judging by the outside appearance in the darkening September evening.

"I wasn't sure you would come," he says, and you wonder why you did come, this evening.

He is dressed in a tight-fitting black tee-shirt and leather trousers. His short dark hair is combed carefully and his goatee beard is neatly trimmed. He moves to stand next to you, not touching, but close enough that you can almost feel the heat from his body. You can quite definitely feel his breath in your ear as he speaks to you.

"I have told you," he whispered, "That what happens here, tonight, is for my pleasure and my pleasure alone. Whether you enjoy anything I do to you is no concern of mine."

And you realize why you did decide to come here, this evening. Your live-in boyfriend - not husband, maybe never husband - is a sweetie. He licks you to orgasm, night after night, as reliably and diligently as he irons his shirts and mops the kitchen floor. Then, his duty done, he comes inside you, always inside you, always from behind, and falls asleep almost immediately, leaving you - not frustrated, exactly, but with a nagging feeling that you are missing out on something, something that is important to you.

The care, the tenderness, the kid gloves with which the boyfriend treats you is cloying, stultifying. You feel you can only react in one way, equally dutifully, equally boring. There is no mystery, no spontaneity; there is none of the nervous excitement that you feel now as a warmth, a surprising moistness, between your legs.

The man leads you through the dark still house; the only lights are from expensive-looking domestic electronics and kitchen appliances. He guides you into a room at the back. It is very dimly lit, the overhead lights turned right down so they are no more than yellow glowing points in the ceiling.

This room is a gym, you realize; complex machines of chromed metal and black leather hulk on either side, and the one window has its blinds tightly closed. At the far end, the wall is covered in mirrors, floor to ceiling. Before the mirror, covering a large part of the open space on the polished wood floor, is a large dark padded mat, this kind you would use for yoga.

"Talk your clothes off," he instructs, "All of them, including your shoes. Leave them here" - he indicates a bench to one side of the door - "and go and stand on the mat."

You nod and hasten to comply. You had dressed carefully for this visit in a modest blouse and jeans to match the cover story you had not actually had to use as you left for your carefully unstated destination. Underneath, you are wearing skimpy and revealing panties, and a push-up bra, and high heels - higher than you would normally wear, their height concealed under the legs of the jeans.

You had perhaps expected this man to want to see you in your sexy underwear, in your strappy high-heeled shoes. But he is interested in your body, it seems, not your undergarments. The bra and panties join your other clothes in a crumpled pile, one shoe having already slipped to the floor. The boyfriend would have insisted on tidying up.

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