Self control – Joel Compton had never really had much of it. He liked to believe he knew exactly when and where it all started becoming a bit loose – the day he first laid eyes on a picture of a naked woman in a men’s magazine. He was only seven, but even at that tender age reckoned his discovery to be of great significance, despite his complete lack of comprehension. He could still recall the exciting, glossy smoothness of the paper. But the finer details of her face and physique, those instantly engaging elements of a body, a person and personality – these had been largely overlooked in the time he spent staring at the centrefold. She had been blonde, he was sure of that. He remembered that frizzy, air-filled blonde hair that porn had stubbornly retained while society had, thankfully, managed to discard.

Upon seeing her nakedness, by far the most exciting juncture in Joel’s existence, his mind sensed an emergency and executed a protective, instinctual manoeuvre. It set his young, physical body to auto-pilot, deploying a small percentage of its capacity to maintaining basic functions. Joel’s eyebrows simply lifted as his eyes widened, taking in the body of the nameless woman, particularly her breasts. “Boobs…” The word, the idea had him captivated. The rest of his mind’s resources set to absorbing the excessive overload coming in through the eyes. He didn’t even know it, but this image, this adrenaline filled moment, was being permanently recorded into his memory. While Joel stared, entranced on autopilot, the intelligent part of his mind set about recording important tactile information that would be required to recall this moment in the future – the warmth and tone of the afternoon sunlight, the rough, fibrous texture of the carpet in his parents’ bedroom. Stimuli from all of his senses were flagged, stored. His autopilot approvingly surveyed the scene below, enabling Joel to let out a wide-eyed, “Whoa…” That’s when the primitive part of his mind awoke. Driven only by instinct, it hunted its desire with ferocious ingenuity. The prey, once captured, was then represented in a permanent likeness on the dark cave wall of Joel’s cerebellum. Synapses fired crazily as Joel found himself riding a physical and emotional rollercoaster. His wonder-filled mind lurched between laughing, screaming, vomiting and/or crying, all emotions trying to burst out at once. At that exact moment, the sound of his father’s car pulling up in the driveway outside produced another response. Unbeknownst to Joel, this image, this sensation had just been irrevocably anchored to his subconscious mind. Seven years old and already messed up. With shaking adrenaline coursing through his entire body, Joel threw the magazine under his parents’ bed before running to hide under his. He only came out once he was sure he could speak again.

And so, when Joel encountered that memorable woman’s perfect likeness one day in his thirties, he was excited. Blown away. His perfect woman had entered his life. He knew, rationally, that she, Sirena, could not possibly be the same woman from the magazine, captured by his primitive mind over twenty-five years before – she’d be in her fifties by now, at least. No, Sirena had a modern hairdo for starters. There was no doubt that this new woman had his complete and utter attention. She stimulated a part of his mind, formed in its first significant encounter with Joel’s deepest ideas around sexuality.

Internet dating had never been successful for Joel. He went back to his pre-internet days and followed his usual rituals in the courtship stage. Sure, it cost him some money, but he had always had success with relationships when he splashed out on his lovers. He liked to imagine himself as a bit of a flash player. It felt like only a minute had passed before he was in Sirena’s company, but Joel liked to remember it more like it was weeks, months even.

Of course, their relationship progressed. It felt natural, instinctual as he proceeded to seduce Sirena. With his generously laid groundwork, he had her clothes off in no time at all. Finally, she was before him, naked. He surveyed her beauty – her likeness to the woman from Joel’s childhood, unmistakeable. The enormity of this moment unleashed a torrent of emotions and he became slightly sentimental. He remembered the moment that he knew he definitely had a type, and here she was, with him, just the two of them, together. Alone. He reached out to touch her, to make sure his discovery was real. She was real. Not only that, but she responded to each touch of his fingers on her smooth, warm skin. With fingers trembling, his every touch was greeted by her electrifying LCD quiver.