𝐹𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹 To have touched and entered the roused flesh of a woman

And what would you do? Stay quiet and begin, “Don’t you know, my child, that you are only permitted to do these things in Holy Matrimony. You must avoid places and temptations to that sin, you must promise me that.” Or would you sit quiet and excite your own seed in the box with your hand or pressing against the wood and let it flow in the darkness, same as Onan; her rustling clothes and voice and smell sweeping through the wire grille. Her flesh beyond the wire hungered too for its fodder, the thrusting body of a man for her own. Or would you burst out of the box and take her in madness? She’d said she’d been a virgin. She’d cried out with hurt in the river meadows but the man would not stop, he took her against her will. Would she cry too when you the priest tore her clothes off and took her on the stone floor of the church? That might be your priest’s life, if you’d no control now was there chance it might be different then. At least you had a choice now to go out into the world and get women, but once you were a priest you were a priest for ever, there’d be no choice left, and once you were trapped in your own choice would you stay quiet in it or go crazy? A priest all your days, hair coming away by its white roots on your comb till baldness and death, and never in all those days to have touched and entered the roused flesh of a woman in her heat, never for your nakedness to be hid in her nakedness, never to be held in her softness, buried deep in the darkness of her red flesh, and her hands stroking the nerves to ecstasy.

— from The Dark by John McGahern

(1965)