It was the first time he spent the night in my room.

After having pulled the mattress from my bed onto the floor, what began as a pleasant evening of cuddling soon became a session of writhing, grinding and panting. That night, and the next two nights, we explored not only each other’s mouths but the far reaches of our bodies.

In a moment of passion, I felt his lips pressed up against the tender flesh of my neck. A mixture of pain and pleasure shot through my body as his teeth connected with skin. The pressure increased, and I let out a shuddering moan of ecstasy. I wanted more, and he eagerly gave it to me.

Later that night, after the passion had died down a bit, I got the first look at the gift I received — a dark-red circle roughly the size of a half-dollar about three inches below my left ear. As I ran my finger over the bruised flesh, I felt a dull ache surging out into the surrounding skin. This one would be hard to hide, but I didn’t care at the moment. I was basking in the afterglow of a perfect evening.

The next day, I was pulled from the warm arms of my man and forced to be a responsible student. I had to go to class. I didn’t really try to cover up my love mark that day. I wore a T-shirt and my black peacoat, which did little to obstruct it. I didn’t care at first. I felt like it was a badge of honor, but after realizing I do, in fact, need to communicate with my professors, I kind of wished I had done something to appear somewhat professional.

This is where I envy women. At least, I do when it comes to fashion. As a man with a hickey, I found I have few options for cover-up. My first thought was to wear a scarf. Seems sensible, right? I soon realized the only scarves I own are thick winter ones, which might have looked a bit out of place in April.

I instead decided to attempt a polo shirt. The collar should come up enough to hide the mark on my neck. However, even that didn’t quite work, as the hickey would still peek out over the top of the collar at times, especially if I had to turn my head.

Hmm.

What to do? What to do?

In talking with others, it was suggested that I use some makeup. That would probably work. But, wait. I don’t own any makeup, and I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what to buy. Well, this is quite the predicament.

I did my best to cover up my badge of honor that weekend when I went to work. I’m not sure how successful I was, but nobody said anything. However, it made me think.

Why is it that having a hickey is still taboo in our culture? Why do we continue to consider this little mark the pinnacle of trashiness? Even I’ve been guilty of this thought. We have come so far in our culture when it comes to sex and casual relations.

I recognize that we still have far to go in this culture of slut shaming and objectification of women, but we cannot ignore the steps that have been made toward normalizing sex as a fact of life.

I can only hope that one day I can wear this hickey like a badge of honor and not worry what others may be thinking. Until then, I think I should invest in a nice spring scarf.

Email Cardinal Points at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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